“The Blessing Of Peace”

July 13, 2016

Arizona palm trees at night 7/11/16

Palm trees at night
(Not a Lancaster County photo!)

“The Blessing Of Peace”

Please note: Today I (Stephen) am in Phoenix, Arizona at a chaplain conference which concludes this morning. I will be returning home tomorrow morning (5:00AM flight). Although Brooksyne is not with me on this trip she is still collaborating in preparing these messages using Dropbox. A greater than usual amount of typos is likely my responsibility since I am doing the final edits and adding material on the fly!

Message Summary: Jesus places a blessing on those who pursue peace. It is a characteristic of the genuine children of God. The apostle Paul wrote a timeless challenge, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Note: Podcast not prepared for this message

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

During the Chaplain Conference it has been a blessing to meet new chaplains and renew my association with others serving in a great variety of positions. Our chaplain team is very racially and ethnically diverse. The other night I had a conversation with an Hispanic Rescue Mission Chaplain who has served for 20 years at the Los Angeles Union Mission. I visited with a Korean VA chaplain, a black Air Force chaplain, a Cuban/American Army chaplain, Indian hospice chaplain and many others. There are about 225 chaplains at the conference, most who came with their spouses.

Our world is so full of conflict based upon every type of difference and even when there is no major difference. The human race just seems to have an inclination to conflict as a result of the Fall. There is much to be written about ongoing conflict between races, nations, political parties, family members, and on and on it goes.

But our message today will be simple and brief as we set a personal scene of peace from a rural road in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania USA.

Walking friends on Kraybill Church Road 7/12/16Brooksyne writes, “I have two walking partners who have become close friends: Tho, from Zimbabwe Africa who moved here over a year ago. Our other walking partner, Jane, is an old order Mennonite who has become a good friend since we moved to our present home in 2002. Presently we are all three seeking to improve our health by trying to keep a healthy diet and walking 10,000 steps daily (five miles). It’s a lot easier to get those steps in if you walk with a friend.

Jane wears the distinctive clothing associated with her Mennonite faith. Certainly Tho has major cultural differences based on her Zimbabwean background. To some passing by it may seem an unlikely friendship, especially on a rural road in Lancaster County but the common denominator is our mutual faith in Christ and our spurring one another on to get in shape physically. Jane’s 13 year old daughter sometimes joins us as well as 12 year old Neville, Tho’s son. Walking with friends makes the walk seem effortless and provides opportunity for deepening friendships.” (Neville took the photo of our 3 mile walk last night.)

That’s what needs to be happening all over the world and is happening in many places such as the unity we are experiencing here at our conference as we share our common love and devotion to the Lord and our desire to have His purpose fulfilled in our lives.

Our first daily text is from the Beatitudes. Jesus places a blessing on those who pursue peace. It is a characteristic of the genuine children of God. The apostle Paul wrote a timeless challenge, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father,  as a nation it seems that we are so greatly divided that peace is far beyond our grasp. Sometimes division comes not because we want to be at odds with others but because we take a stand for righteousness sake like James and John, Peter and Paul. We seek Your guidance in these troubled days when good is called evil and evil is called good. We want to get along with our fellow man, contribute to the needs of those around us, and bring peace and reconciliation to those who live in strife. But when the circumstances that cause division are a result of our stand for that which is Biblical help us to courageously cling to Your righteous right hand treating those who oppose us with gentleness and respect since Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

See I Peter 3:15,16, Matthew 5:44

Some chaplain faces

Chaplaincy support staff 7/12/16
The chaplaincy support staff. We went to college with Barb on the far right.

John Kennedy, Al Worthley 7/12/16
For many years Al Worthley (right) was my chaplaincy supervisor till his retirement last year. He is a real encourager and periodically called me just to see how things were going. He has also connected me to many other friends. In fact I met Jerry, a Transport For Christ trucker chaplain, who has an association with me I wasn’t even aware of. John W. Kennedy (left) is an editor who presented a helpful writing seminar so perhaps my writing for Daily Encouragement will show some improvement. John is wise to use his middle initial to avoid any confusion with a very famous Kennedy name. He informed us not to end a sentence with 17 exclamation points so I will try to stop doing that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Kennedy, Al Worthley 7/12/16
Anish John is an Indian (not Native American) hospice chaplain. When I saw his name tag I thought it said “Amish John” and I sure didn’t think he looked very Amish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yandy, Army chaplain 7/12/16
Yandy is a Cuban American Army chaplain with an amazing story of deliverance.

Jeanine Sullins  7/12/16
In this case the chaplain is Jeanine Sullins accompanied by her husband. They are from Muskogee Oklahoma, making them both an “Okee from Muskogee”
Jeanine works with “Awareness and Prevention of Sex Trafficking” (This phrase may cause our email to be blocked by some servers)

Motorcycle chaplains  7/11/16
What do you suppose these guys do?

I’ll share a bit about the training yesterday. Donette Boyd, a black female Air Force chaplain shared her remarkable testimony of a childhood of severe abuse to dramatic conversion to a call to chaplaincy.

“You Are My Faith” Here is a powerful tribute to chaplains by General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. Look closely and you will see Chaplain Donette Boyd in the presentation. Video  (2 minutes)

Richard Hammar, an attorney specializing in church and clergy issues gave a helpful presentation on current challenges and there are many.

I heard a challenge to faithfulness from Scott McChrystal, a retired Army chaplain, as well as one from our national director of Home Missions, Zollie Smith.

For anyone who may be interested here is a pdf of the presentation I made at the chaplain’s conference yesterday.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Blessed Are The Peacemakers”  Audio on webpage

Correction: Chris, an alert reader who was a part of our church over 25 years ago informs me the photo yesterday was an elk!


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