Pat Throckmorton Photo

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The time is now. We must speak, act, walk with peace in mind. The number of times the word “peace” appears in the Bible ranges from 263 to 428, depending on the version you are reading. The initial reference to peace is found in Genesis 15:15: “You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.”

We have all been in situations of conflict where we could turn that “mess” into a “message.” God didn’t promise that we would be without battles and strife in our lives. But He did promise to help us through those circumstances.

I grew up in a home where peace was not felt; we were always waiting for that proverbial hammer to drop. I experienced troubling personal relationships even into my mid-50s. Sure, I attended church and was bound up in all the activities involved in church-going, but I never felt entirely at ease. It was not until God put Keith (my spouse) in my path that I was able to know true freedom from fear and anxiety. God is good like that!

Most of us are familiar with the song written by Sy Miller and his wife, Jill Jackson-Miller, that has become a signature composition devoted to world peace and harmony among people. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me; let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God our creator, family all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”

Imagine what this world would be like if individually we all proclaimed to live in peace! Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 9:6 that the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace: “For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

God commands us to follow after peace. Psalm 34:14 advises, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” And again in Matthew 5:9, the Bible states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Listen to the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 14:19: “Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Paul went on to say (in chapter 12, verse 18), “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

We are cautioned not to seek revenge on others but to leave that to God. Romans 12:19-21 reminds us, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.’ On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Once God’s peace rules in our hearts, we can share that peace with others. Why not make ourselves publishers of peace? So, let us be known as the peacemakers, even ministers of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 counsels, “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 had committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are there Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. John 14:27 reminds us, do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. There are countless entities at work within us: sin, uncertainty, fear, doubt, anger, rage. Jesus says he will give us peace if we are willing to accept it from Him. We must allow the peace of God to work inside our hearts.

Life is filled with strife. Romans 15:30 states, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” Romans 15:30 KJV. Striving together in prayer is good, and so is seeking after God’s great gifts to us.

Ours is a God of Peace proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:33, “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”

Pat Throckmorton is a resident of Perquimans County.

Pat Throckmorton is a resident of Perquimans County.