Ascend: Go to the Father Because… Part I

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There was only one way out of the mess the prodigal son had made of his life – he had to return to his father. As I think of his situation, sometimes I wonder how long he agonized over this difficult decision. How could he have any assurance that his father would take him back? After all of his foolish and shameful actions, didn’t he risk the possibility of rejection? Was the trip back home really worth the risk?

While you and I have the benefit of knowing how this parable ends and what it means, could the prodigal have foreseen the outcome of his bold decision? Did he hearken back to the love and tenderness of his father? My guess is that he knew the same thing about his father that you and I know about our Heavenly Father, and like us, needed to be reminded of this truth:

“…The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

The Heavenly Father’s capacity to love us goes beyond what our human minds can fully conceive. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul prayed that the church would be able to comprehend “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18) God’s love is so great that it not only knows no bounds, but there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from it! (Rom. 8:39)

As children of a gracious and merciful God, this should give us the confidence to go to our Father at any time with anything. We know that he can restore relationships, heal our brokenness, and redeem our sorrows. He loves the unlovable, forgives the unforgivable, and, though it’s not easy, He helps those who are peacemakers to do the same. Together, let us ascend to the Father because… He is compassionate!

 Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Why should we go to our Father in our times of conflict and trouble? We’ll take a look at yet another reason in next week’s post. Thanks again for reading The Path of a Peacemaker blog, and please keep sharing it with your friends and family! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Ascend: Go to the Father

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For every problem there is a solution – and conflict is a problem that confronts the human race every day. Some conflicts are easily resolved, while others become so complicated that, based on outward appearances, there is little hope for a path to peace.

No matter the initial intensity, resolving a dispute becomes an even greater task when we impulsively react instead of choosing the best response. Since we’re all human, these things are bound to happen from time to time. In moments like these, what should we do?

While there are several significant steps in the peacemaking journey, the first and most important one is perfectly illustrated in this declaration by the prodigal son: “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.’” (Luke 15:18)

Ascend – Arise and Go to the Father

The prodigal son chose to go (ascend) to his father during his darkest hour, much in the same way that David did as he endured many agonizing years of conflict and adversity at the hands of King Saul. Despite the tumultuous circumstances, this “man after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14) not only understood, but beautifully articulated the essence of God’s unwavering care and concern:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth… The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-2, 7-8)

Do you have a problem? Your Father has the solution. Maybe you’ve sinned against God, or someone has sinned against you or a loved one – or perhaps a little of both. No matter what challenge you may be facing, your first and best decision in every situation is to go to your Father. He cares for you and is your source of help!

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What about the nature of our Heavenly Father compels Him to help us in our journey as peacemakers – and how can we be sure He will come to our aid? We’ll explore this further in the weeks ahead. As always, thanks for taking time to read The Path of a Peacemaker blog – I hope you’ll keep sharing it! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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When It Rains

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When frustration mounts over seemingly endless personal or relational challenges, many of us can relate to this expression of exasperation: “When it rains, it pours!”

While most of us would prefer a life of complete peace and tranquility, troublesome times are sure to come. When they do, are you able to view the challenge as an opportunity to seek the Lord and grow in your faith? Or, do you see it as simply another inconvenient interruption meant to further complicate your life? I confess, my initial reaction is usually the latter.

There’s no doubt that all of our experiences, whether good or bad, have a way of influencing our perspective, shaping our character, and providing a broader context for each of our stories. Although it’s often difficult to understand intense seasons of testing, James reminds us they serve a valuable purpose in our lives:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

When (not if) it rains and pours, you might find that frustration gets the better of you. In those moments, I’d encourage you to pause long enough to take a breath, look to heaven and ask yourself, “Can I trust the Lord’s plan for me?” If you rely on His steadfastness through the storm and faithfully walk The Path of a Peacemaker, God’s love and grace will be reflected through you in a way that honors Him and serves others.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is the first step toward resolving conflict in our lives? We will look at this more closely over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading, and please keep sharing the blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Dangerous Desires

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As we’ve journeyed The Path of a Peacemaker, we’ve looked at some of the contributing factors and responses that have played a role in conflict – but what triggers the conflict itself?

While things like personality clashes, gross injustices and demonstrations of favoritism produce sparks that can be fanned into flame, the Apostle James reminds us that this kind of conflict has a universal starting point:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)

When dangerous desires such as jealousy, pride and selfishness are at war within us, it can trigger conflict with our fellow man. When tense moments arise, rather than counting the cost and holding our thoughts and actions long enough for them to be tempered by the Spirit of the Living God, our natural tendency is to react – speak first, think later.

As children of God, we know that the greatest opportunity to resolve our side of the contentious situation occurs when the desires of our hearts are brought into alignment with God’s desires. Since this doesn’t come naturally for us, it behooves us to approach the Father and pray as David did: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What’s the purpose of conflict in my life? We’ll take a look at this in next week’s post! Thanks for reading, and please keep sharing the blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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