When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount,1 one of the most quoted orations of all time, He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
So what is a peacemaker? A peacemaker is someone who comes into a situation that is stressful, angry, or disturbed and creates peace. This is hard and requires courage.
Have you ever wished you could do something that would change the world? But did you ever feel that your obscure little life would leave no mark? You have no idea how wrong you are.
We can all make a difference, every single one of us. That doesn’t mean that any of us can stop all wars, find a cure for cancer, and end all famine and poverty. But each of us can play the role God has given us to the best of our ability.
Unselfishness isn’t just about giving money. Sometimes it’s easier to give money than to give of ourselves. To give our time, attention, sympathy, understanding, and prayers to someone else, we have to be the “real deal.” We have to reach out, to understand, to feel compassion, and to do something about it. Often it’s those sacrifices of time that really count—such as when we give up our day off to participate in a local charity’s work or to visit someone who is sick.
Have you ever experienced some particular problem or pain that surprised you by how debilitating it was? Perhaps it was a sore toe or an earache that outwardly seemed small, but it made your day a major struggle. Then along comes someone who says, “I get infections in my ear all the time, and it’s uncomfortable but I don’t let it bother me. You just need to stay positive and keep going.” Well, though we do need to strive to “give thanks in all circumstances,”1 trying to keep your head above water may be difficult for you at these times.
While rushing to an appointment, I passed a scruffy beggar with a baby in her arms. It’s a common sight in Caracas, Venezuela, where this took place.
Give her something. I recognized that inner voice as Jesus’.
Question: My family and most of the people I’m around every day aren’t interested in spiritual matters. How can I “keep the faith” in what seems to be an increasingly skeptical world?
Answer: Faith is at the core of our spiritual lives, so it’s worth fighting for. Here are a few tips that can help your faith not only survive, but thrive:
God knows everything about us as individuals. He knows our frame. He knows what we’re capable of. He knows our gifts, talents, weaknesses, and strengths. And despite whatever we might think of ourselves or our lacks, He picked us for His team!1 He is certain that, with His power, we have what it takes to fulfill the role that He wants us to play.
Jesus has a special place in His heart for children, and, as Christians, we are called to follow in His footsteps and try to raise our children with the knowledge of God and His son. Jesus showed us to lead by example and use kindness and understanding to teach children and remind them of God’s ways. This requires that we have patience, a close relationship with God, and a personal commitment to His ways.
How about playing a game where you compete only with yourself and get to do some good in the process? How about the “Game of Hearts”?
Last year, my daughter discovered her breast cancer had returned, and I found my mind becoming mired in depressive and hopeless thoughts night after night.
In spite of every indication that there are difficult times ahead, I’m excited about this new year! I’m enthusiastic about striving for new goals and pushing myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. The noun “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, from enthous, meaning “possessed by a god, inspired.” And interestingly, it was originally used in a derogatory sense to describe excessive religious zeal.