Defining Moments

We all have defining moments – snippets in time that determine whether the trajectory of a dream, a pursuit, a job, or a relationship will change for the better or for the worse.  Our defining moments are often accompanied by tough choices, much like the ones the prodigal’s father had to make the day his wayward son returned home.

Others in this father’s position might have chosen rejection, retaliation, retribution, or a variety of other ill-advised responses. Yet, motivated by his desire to restore the relationship with his son, this father welcomed home his long-lost son with open arms.

Just imagine the impact of that moment! Instead of a cold shoulder, the prodigal was wrapped in a warm embrace. Instead of justice, he received mercy. Instead of a lecture, he experienced love.

This defining moment between the prodigal and his father was marked by grace. The father didn’t focus on the past. He focused on the future. He didn’t dwell on what was lost. He focused on what he had gained – his dear son.

This father’s response to his son was motivated by love – the kind of love described here: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a, NIV)

Final thoughts…

Are you facing some defining moments in your relationships? Go to the Father. Examine your heart.  Then ask yourself these questions:  What do I want most?  Retribution?  Reimbursement?  Revenge? A restored relationship? 

It won’t always be easy to choose the latter, but by God’s grace, it is possible. The journey to peace may be filled with great challenges, but with even greater rewards. Together, let’s walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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A Repentant Heart

Many stories have been told, many songs have been sung, and many sermons have been preached about the prodigal son and his wayward heart (Luke 15:11-32). Regrettably, this young man abandoned his father, his brother, his home, his responsibilities, and his values. Yet, for all his mistakes and misjudgments, he eventually demonstrated a quality that is much less common – a repentant heart.

I do not aspire to this young man’s early rebellious and foolhardy choices, and I certainly hope that I never have to face the proverbial prospect of sharing slop with pigs before I repent. Still, sometimes I wonder how close I have come to a similar scenario. How many times, in my stubbornness and pride, have I been willing to do anything and everything but to right a wrong?

If you’re like me, then you know it’s not easy to admit to being the one who blew it, who overreacted, who overstepped the boundaries. It’s often harder still to make things right – first with God, and then with the brother or sister whom we have offended.

I think most of us would admit that, at one time or another, we have fallen short. We have failed. The good news is that, like the prodigal, our final journey does not have to take us far from home. Instead, we can make the choice to take the path of humility and repentance that leads us home… to the Father, to the fellowship of loved ones, to forgiveness.

Dealing with lingering relational strife? Struggling with regrets? The prodigal found the path to peace. We can too. Walk the path.

Up ahead on the Path…

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the prodigal’s father and older brother, and take time to reflect on some important questions. What motivates us to forgive? What stands in our way? As always, I hope you’ll keep reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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From Obscure to Obvious

If you’ve ever searched your home from top to bottom for something, there’s nothing more aggravating than finding that what you’d been desperately searching for was right in front of you the whole time. I don’t know about you, but this has happened to me – and on more occasions than I care to admit!

It’s strange, but there are times when that which should be obvious becomes oddly obscure. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been following the two men on the road to Emmaus who encountered Jesus along the way. As they reflected on His gruesome death and unusual disappearance, Jesus walked and talked with them, explaining the Scripture and expounding what the prophets had foretold concerning His own death and resurrection.

Later, Jesus and his traveling companions sat down to eat a meal. Taking the bread, “…[Jesus] gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were open and they recognized him…” (Luke 24:30b-31a), NIV.

As the two travelers took time to share a meal with the Savior, the words of Scripture penetrated their hearts, and their eyes were open. That which had been so confounding, was now crystal clear. Jesus was the fulfillment of all the prophets had declared in Scripture. He was their Messiah, the King of kings, the Lord of lords.

Final thoughts…

So many times when our hearts and minds are encumbered by confusion or the cloud of conflict, the most apparent solutions are often hidden from our view. Yet, when we make our first priority spending time with our Savior, opening the Word, seeking the Father’s heart, and listening to the Spirit’s voice, many times we’ll find that our understanding of God’s guidance in these circumstances can move from obscure to obvious.

As you walk the path to peace in your relationships, I urge you to ask the Lord to help you move forward with your eyes wide open. Call on Him to help you see things the way He sees them – to expound His Word in your heart and to give guidance to your steps. As you do, I believe that you will gain His wisdom and insight as you walk the path.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you,” (James 1:5, NIV).

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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What Things?

If God knows the past, the present, and the future, what things do we need to tell Him?  If He knows us better than we know ourselves, why take everything to Him in prayer?

As we process through those questions, let’s go back a few thousand years and rejoin the two men who traveled that renowned road to Emmaus.  As they walked and talked, their conversation was consumed by the extraordinary events surrounding the death of Jesus and the mysterious disappearance of His body from the tomb.

When Jesus joined these men on the way, He asked them to tell Him about what they were discussing.  Confounded by Jesus’ inquiry, one replied, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” (Luke 24:18b, NIV)

In response, Jesus offered this one simple question, “What things?” (Luke 24:19a, NIV). Jesus wasn’t after information.  He didn’t need it.  Instead, He desired relationship.  He wanted to gain their trust. He longed to help them process what was going on in their lives.

Final thoughts…

Still today, Jesus joins us in our journey. As we walk and talk with others, He is eager to be more than a spectator to what is taking place in our lives.  Instead, He wants to be invited into our conversations, to hear our questions, to speak into our circumstances.  Whether we are facing triumphs or trials, the Spirit of God gently whispers to our hearts, “What things?” 

Is there something on your heart? Don’t hold back. Tell the Lord about your troubles. Invite Him into your moments of celebration.  Allow Him to comfort your heart in your times of sorrow.

Through the conflict and chaos of life, the One who sees you at your best and loves you at your worst, is eager to make the journey with you. Instead of looking back, look up. He will be with you as you walk the path.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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