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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Shalom.

This evening, at Café Church (now known as Café Christian Fellowship), Bergerac, I had the privilege of bringing the message.  It was based on John 20:19-31, and was titled Being a Peacemaker.  We looked at the wonderful Hebrew word, 'shalom', which is translated 'peace' in English-language translations.  The Greek word in the passage that we read is 'eirene' - but that word is translated by 'shalom' in the Greek-language version of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament).

Okay, so that's the linguistic introduction!  'Shalom' is, however, much more than 'peace' in the sense of 'absence of hostility.  It is, in fact, the peace of Almighty God - an absolute, and total, contentment - and it's available to you, and to me!  It's a personal peace.

However, it is also a relational peace.  I quoted Charlie Brown (from the Snoopy cartoon strips) this evening.  In one particular strip, he said: "I love this beautiful world that God has made.  It's just the people I can't stand!"  I also quoted the older 'jingle': "To be above with saints we love, will be the purest glory.  To be below with saints we know - well, that's a different story"!   Most of us live in some sort of community or other, and it's important that we develop a strategy to cope with this togetherness.  At least part of that strategy is given by the Lord Jesus in the passage.  It's to do with forgiveness!  Is it easy?  Absolutely not!  But if we are partakers of the 'shalom' of God, that will make it easier!   If we are at peace with ourselves, we can be at peace with others, and we can gladly forgive.

The third aspect of 'shalom' is the eternal one, as we find ourselves at peace with God.  That, after all, is the most crucial objective of the coming of the Lord Jesus into the time-space continuum in which we live out our mortal lives.  Paul wrote: "... if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them..  And He has committed to us, the message of reconciliation." (II Cor.5:17-19).  Indeed, it is out of His forgiveness of us, that we are called to forgive those around us!

Jesus said: "Blessed (and the word means 'Happy'!) are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God."(Matt.5:9).  But I can't be a peacemaker if I don't know peace with God myself!

Shalom!  It's a great word: speaking of peace within, as I experience forgiveness of my personal sins; peace with others, as I am enabled, by the grace of God, to forgive them in turn; peace with God, as I am reconciled to my Father in heaven, through the precious blood of Jesus, shed for me at Calvary.

Do you know that 'shalom' in your own life?  If not, do you long to experience it?  I would be delighted to be of some assistance to you.  Please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.  Alternatively, if you go to 'My favourite links', you will find a coupls of links that may be of help.

Blessings, and shalom.

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