War & Peace

Happy Independence Day, Kids!

During my walk, I listened to “Prisoner of Hope,” by the Gaither Vocal Band. The word “prisoner” just doesn’t seem appropriate on this day that celebrates our nation’s declaration of independence. I started to think about other words, like friends & foes, enemies & allies, victory & surrender, and war & peace. These are the words that you typically hear during a conflict, like the American Revolutionary War.

Someone might ask, “What is the theme of Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel, “War and Peace”? I haven’t read Tolstoy’s book, but I have read the Bible. In addition to the overall theme of the Bible, “War and Peace with God,” it’s my opinion that the theme of its old testament is “God is King,” and the theme of its new testament is “God is Love.”

God is King
A declaration of independence from the Kingdom of God is a declaration of war against God, who is holy, just, & sovereign. Satan, who is called the ruler of the world in the Bible, tries to make us friends of the world by encouraging us to totally ignore God’s laws and to make up our own laws (i.e., define for ourselves what is right & wrong). The Bible says that friends of the world are enemies of God. (James 4:4) Therefore, by default, friends of the world are allies of Satan.

God is Love
Friends of the world can end their war with God by accepting His terms of peace. Jesus offers, not the world’s peace, but His peace (i.e., reconciliation with God) (John 14:21-27 & Romans 5:1-11). God’s peace treaty requires full surrender to His authority, which is demonstrated by obedience to the Gospel and faithful service to Jesus, the Prince of Peace in the Kingdom of God.

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus stated, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Will we be called sons (daughters) of God? Are we helping others to reconcile with God? Are we saving souls from death and covering a multitude of sins by turning them back who have strayed from the truth? (James 5:19-20) Are we speaking the truth in love? Or, are we instead hearing Satan whisper, “Just be friends,” and following his advice?

I love you!

Interestingly, “Prisoner of Hope,” appears on the album, “Lovin’ Life,” which sounds a lot like the title of one of my recent journal entries. Check it out, “Prisoner of Hope,” by the Gaither Vocal Band:

Here is a classic hymn about ending the war with God & accepting His terms of peace. Check it out, “I Surrender All”:

And, I’ll never forget singing this favorite hymn at Grandpa Hall’s funeral. Check it out, “Victory in Jesus”:

In Psalm 103, which begins, “Bless the Lord, my soul … bless His holy name,” David wonderfully expresses, in so many words (of praise), that God is King & God is Love. I believe David’s psalm inspired Matt Redman’s song, “10,000 Reasons,” the chorus of which begins the same way, “Bless the Lord, O my soul … worship His holy name.” Check it out: