Shalom

How blessed are those who make peace! For they will be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9 CJB

I am a middle child. I have three older sisters and two younger. My oldest sister, Cindy, is nine years older than me, while my youngest sister, Melanie, is nine years younger.

The term most often applied to middle children is peacemakers. That was my role as a child in our loud and sometimes chaotic family. I hated conflict and strove to make peace.

What is a peacemaker?

Google defines it as : “A person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.” But, the Hebrew language doesn’t use the word peacemaker, but the phrase “those who make peace.”

In English the word peace means, “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”

Perhaps the best known Hebrew word for most Christians is shalom. Although people use it as a greeting, most people will say shalom means “peace.” But, if you know me, or have read my blog for any amount of time, you might predict I will tell you there is more to the meaning of the word shalom than just peace. 🙂

Shalom means more than “freedom from disturbance” or absence of strife. Strong’s Concordance, as well as the Hebrew defines shalom as:

Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7965.htm

Completeness means, Having no deficiency; perfect. Finished; ended; concluded; as, the edifice is complete.https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/complete.html

Soundness is, “The ability to withstand force or stress without being distorted, dislodged, or damaged.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/soundness

The Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6 tells us Jesus is the Prince of Shalom or Peace. However, Jesus never promised us a world without disturbance or strife. Actually, quite the opposite.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 ESV

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

John 12:53 ESV

But, Jesus did promise to make us complete. He promised to give us a sound mind and told us He would never leave us or forsake us.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV

Jesus said, “O the Blessedness of those who make peace…” So, how do we carry out completeness and soundness?

How can we bring people to a place of completion while helping them withstand the battles around them? Prayer, discipleship, helping them discover their identity in Christ, and simply walking this Christian life beside them.

Again, taking in all the Beatitudes we have covered up until now, we find it begins with our heart, humility, and compassion.

In Exodus 34, God describes Himself to Moses:

“YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; 

Exodus 34:6 CJB

God described Himself as merciful first. Jesus used this exact Hebrew word in the Beatitude: How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.

Throughout these Beatitudes, Jesus is telling us to be like Him and the Father.

This brings us to the promise of this verse: For they will be called the sons of God. We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

My twins were born at twenty-seven weeks, weighing two pounds and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Women from my church provided me with rides to the hospital, since the doctor had not cleared me to drive. I remember one particular day clearly. While sitting next to their isolettes, I watched Alexandria’s tiny body struggle to breathe–her lungs collapsed. She was already on a ventilator, but the neonatal staff could not keep her lungs inflated. She was so weak and gray-looking from the lack of oxygen circulating in her fragile body.

My driver, who I met for the first time that day, was eight months pregnant, and had three other children at home. I knew she needed to go, but I could not leave Alexandria. I told her to leave me there, but she would not go. She stayed with me until my baby girl was stable. My husband was at our restaurant and since this sister did not want me to be alone at home, she took me there. I don’t see her anymore but will always remember this woman’s kindness and the care she and the other women who took me back and forth to the hospital gave me for six weeks.

They were Jesus to me during my time of need.

Ask the Lord how you can give peace to someone this week.

Here are links to the other Beatitudes in this series…

The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are those who are Meek

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Blessed are those who show Mercy

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

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Don’t Give in to Fear

Don’t Give in to Fear

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV.

I like the King James version of this verse because it uses the phrase “sound mind” instead of self-discipline or self-control. Fear tends to make us conjure up a lot of possible (usually frightening) outcomes as a response to something we can’t control.

Fear takes away our usual sound or rational thoughts.

I am not usually a fearful person, but this past week tested me.

My 23-year-old daughter started showing symptoms of the coronavirus last Tuesday—sore throat, headache, and fever. We hoped it was a normal virus or cold. But by Friday she had pressure in her chest and was weak and dizzy.

She could barely walk across the room without resting. She was nauseous if she thought about eating.

My momma heart hurt for her, and fear was crouching at the door of my emotions. I told the Lord I didn’t want to give in to the fear that was threatening to take over me. I told Him this many times. I kept praying for Alexandria.

If you’ve read many of my blogs, you know my twins were preemies—born at 27 weeks. They had their share of ventilators, pneumonia, and asthma. We worried that her lungs could be ripe for this virus.

Let me just say here she was never officially tested or diagnosed. We were told to stay away from hospitals and doctors’ offices unless you were having trouble breathing. She wasn’t. So we stayed away.

We have a holistic approach to health care. So, we had her on liquid silver and zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, and D. I felt like a pill pusher…

On Friday morning, my husband and I anointed her and prayed for healing. During prayer, the Lord gave me a picture of Alexandria as an infant in the NICU isolate. I remembered this day.

We received a call at 4:30 in the morning telling us our baby girl was in critical condition. She had pneumonia in both bronchial tubes within her chest. She was no longer breathing on her own.

When I got to the NICU, I saw my very sick baby girl. She was gray and still. The doctor gave her a drug to paralyze her so she would not fight the ventilator. We prayed for her and asked everyone we knew to pray for healing.

So, I as saw this picture in my mind, I felt as though the Lord reminded me He healed her then and He could heal her now.

Peace ran through my body, just as it had twenty-three years ago.

Monday morning Alexandria got up, feeling herself again. The fever was gone, the headache, aches and pains disappeared. She wanted to eat.

I am thankful for all the people who were praying for our daughter.

But, mostly, I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who knew her plight and never left her or our family.

My family is in quarantine for at least another week or two. The rest of us have no symptoms and I am praying it stays that way.

But my house seems small with five adults here ALL. DAY. LONG! Let me tell you.

I am thankful for friends who have dropped off groceries and hair color, too :).

Stay healthy and don’t give in to fear. It has no place in your home or life. Give it to Jesus and let Him send it to go back to the place it came from.

We have much to be thankful for. We have homes, food, and people who love and care about us.

What are you most thankful for during this time?

Fallen Heroes

Today’s post is by my friend Diane Virginia. She is a wonderful storyteller and I love to read everything she writes. This story was first used on www1.cbn.com for a Memorial Day post. Since it is Veteran’s Day, I thought is was appropriate to use it.

I hope you enjoy it.

In Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day[1] speech given at Arlington National Cemetery, [2] the President says, “It’s the young who do the fighting and dying when a peace fails and a war begins.” He lists hero after hero, outlining through these examples why we honor our fallen military men and women.

Reagan shares, “Not far from here is the statue of the three servicemen. … Perhaps you’ve seen it—three rough boys walking together, looking ahead with a steady gaze. … The three are touching each other, as if they’re supporting each other, helping each other on.” Reagan is stirred by this artistic rendition of the three young men because it typifies the commitment and courage of the United States’ armed forces, some having given their own lives to save the lives of their loved ones at home.

What does the Bible say about celebrating fallen heroes? We don’t have to look far to see it is God’s intent to remember our valiant military men and women, and to recount their accomplishments.

King David, for example, like Reagan, makes an accounting of his military men and their achievements. First, he names Adino the Ezinite who spears eight hundred enemies in one battle. He continues his honorarium and names Shammah the Harite who stands his ground in a barley field refusing to yield it to the Philistines (see II Samuel 23:8). David mentions other heroes along with their accomplishments.

This is only one biblical example where military heroes are recognized. There are many other places in the Bible where heroes are named and honored.

If God is “The Prince of Peace” (see Isaiah 9:6), then why do we fight wars in the first place?  President Reagan answers this question towards the end of his speech by saying, “If we really care about peace, we must, through our strength, demonstrate our unwillingness to accept an ending of the peace. We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to protect it where it does.”

Sometimes peace needs to be enforced by military prowess. When godless men oppress our children, women, and elderly, it is then we must call upon the courageous amongst us, including our brave young men and women, to save us from these intruders.

Our peace is not free…. It is the gift of selfless heroes who look beyond their needs to secure ours. Jesus says,

“The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy. I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10b ESV).”

Our military robs the enemy of his assignment to destroy, and secures life for us.

It is fitting for us to honor our fallen American mighty men and women, for they have paid the ultimate price to secure our freedom, because their love is like our Lord’s. When Jesus faces death on Calvary’s cross to save humanity, He says,

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13 ESV).”

Jesus leads the spiritual army, and conquers the ultimate battle—and in the process, secures for us eternal life.

It is worthy of a national pause to thank God for the United States’ armed forces, who have followed in the footsteps of Commander Jesus by giving their lives to save ours.

Thank You Lord, for our fallen heroes, for they have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free.

[1]Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day, and established as a national observance by General John A. Logan in May 1868.

[2]https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiF6ZTh55jhAhVpUN8KHVNEBmUQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailysignal.com%2F2011%2F05%2F30%2Fpresident-reagans-1986-memorial-day-speech-at-arlington-national-cemetery%2F&psig=AOvVaw2q4PjeRAlKocp

Copyright © 2019: All rights reserved: VineWords Stories and Devotions Inspired by the Vine: Author Diane Virginia Cunio; Pen Name, Diane Virginia: Fallen Heroes: Our American Mighty Men; www.vinewords.net

About the Author

Diane Virginia Cunio is the author of The Kiss of Peace: An Intimate Exploration into Song of Solomon (awaiting publication). She is passionate about sharing Beloved Jesus’ divine love for you, His bride, as allegorically portrayed in the vignette, Song of Solomon.

She has developed the model for motion-activated musical prayer-stations for use in the garden retreat, themed to the places you as Beloved’s bride travel to in Song of Solomon.

Diane is a regular contributor for Christian Broadcasting Network. She has written for Faith Beyond Fear, Pentecostal Publishing House, The Secret Place, and other ministries.

To schedule Diane as a speaker, please contact her via her website: Stories and Devotions Inspired by the Vine. You may find her on Facebook or contact her via email at email@vinewords.net.