Be at Peace Ebook – [Free ebook download so you can join in wherever you are]

Every year my church does a “Month of Dedication” leading up to Easter. This year our senior pastor, Mike Lawrence, has written our guide through the month. Our theme this year is “Be At Peace” from Romans 12:18 – “So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.”

It is easy for me to get very sad when I read the newspaper, watch television, read bumper stickers, etc. these days. Our country is so divided at this time. Some are hopeful, some are fearful. The government is talking up ramping up military spending and building a wall, while cutting spending for the arts and humanities, and programs that care for those who need the most help – things like Meals of Wheels, healthcare, and so many other programs that help people. We are divided. And it makes me sad.

Unfortunately, my home often feels the same way. It seems like there isn’t enough kindness and unity, and there’s a little too much “mine!” and yelling. My kids sure know how to assert their rights to each other! But they know a little bit less about laying down their rights out of service and love toward one another. As much as my husband and I try to model this, we also assert our own rights – to peace and quiet! To being in authority! To set bedtimes! But if I want more peace in my own home, or in my sphere of influence in the community, I must begin by seeking peace in the way that Jesus modeled and recommended: by laying down my own rights and seeking to serve and love others, even if it doesn’t serve my agenda or ideals.

I will be reading through and blogging on the themes in our Month of Dedication, which you can download as an ebook if you’d like. This is how it works: for each of the four weeks until Easter, there are about 5 sections to consider, with a section of Scripture and some thoughts and questions to think about and discuss if possible. Do one a day, and if you miss a day, you won’t be behind! Or if you have extra time and want to do a couple sections at a time, that’s cool too. Go at your own pace. We decided (or I decided and my husband cooperated) that it would be cool to do it together as a family with our two oldest kids, age 7 and 10. I am really hopeful that we will have some good conversations and come out of this month a little more unified and peaceful. I don’t think it’s impossible! But I do think if we aren’t intentional about the change we want to see, then we probably will never see it. Last night we made it through the Foreward and Romans 12, not even starting the main part of the book. We stopped every paragraph or two and talked with the kids about what it meant – I never think about how many big words and concepts there are in the Bible until I try to read it with my kids! But slowing down as I go through really helps me to think about what it means too, instead of just glossing over the reading as if checking a box off a to-do list.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to post this month, but I plan to share my journey toward peace, and I hope you’ll join in, either in the comments here or on our church Facebook page, if you’re connected to North Eugene Faith Center.

combat peaceRomans 12 says “As much as it depends on you…” I love the picture of this soldier and his peaceful interaction with the two kids. It can often feel like we face hostility in our daily lives. There are many things we can’t control in our environment and surroundings, but like the soldier in this photo, I can look for the places to bring life, hope, and peace into a situation. I can decide how I will react to what goes on in my world, and if I will choose to join in the hostility or seek a way to neutralize the tension around me. I can choose to go to prayer instead of trying to come up with my own solutions. I can choose love and service. Will you choose peace?