document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Life is not without struggle and we are easily burdened with its pressures. Often we have more than enough on our plate on a daily basis and we are weary from the load we carry. It is precisely to us in our battle-worn condition that Yeshua (Jesus) extends the invitation:
“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest (shalom). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Shalom—peace, health and prosperity—is a gift of God's grace. Although we have a part to play in procuring shalom, it is not the product of our will-power nor of our self-help. It is an endowment from our Father in heaven. However, conditions apply and shalom is not obtained in our daily experience until these conditions are met.
Condition #1: “Come to Me...”
We must want shalom.
That is self-evident, you say. Who wouldn't wish for peace, health and prosperity? I am surprised, however, how many people are quite happy in their misery, sickness and lack (poverty). You very likely know some of these people—probably have to put up with them at work. They complain a lot and prey on your sympathy. No matter what you say or do, they really have no intention to change. They love the attention and pity drawn to them by their doleful condition and whining.
Condition #2: “Learn from Me...”
We must be willing to learn.
Creating shalom is a process that involves learning and comes with a learning curve. It takes time, study and practice to develop of shalom. We apply ourselves to His Word (the Bible). We attune ourselves to the lessons (parables) embedded in Nature. Fueled by our quest to learn, we discover insights otherwise hidden. We pay attention to people around us, particularly our elders, and garner knowledge. We hearken as experience teaches us discretion and wisdom.
If we are willing to learn, our Father rewards us with insights and promises relevant to the shalom (peace, health and prosperity) we need to live well. As a loving, caring father mentors his son and daughter, teaching them the art of living well, our Father in heaven disciples and instructs us.
Condition #3: “Take my yoke...”
We must be willing to change.
One of the great obstacles in our pursuit of shalom is the comfortable and familiar. We just don't like change. Change requires giving up old habits, thoughts, beliefs. Change demands letting go of hurts, bitterness, anger. Change calls for surrender of our will and way to His. That's not easy.
Fully aware of our struggle, our Father reassures us with the words, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” Have you ever thought of God as humble? But that's exactly what our Father is like—rock solid and firm (tough love) but gentle and humble with a big heart of love for us.
So if you accept the conditions which apply, here is a blueprint for shalom that I have discovered in my quest. (In subsequent articles, I will elaborate on each concept. Your feedback is greatly valued.)
THE BLUEPRINT for SHALOM
1. Set your compass
Prepare for the day by properly aligning yourself.
2. Chart your course
Determine your path from here to there.
3. Create your aura
Create the eye of the storm and stay in it.
4. Activate universal laws
Cultivate good seed in good soil and give generously.
5. Engage in active personal development
Make necessary changes to achieve clarity and growth.
6. Expand your power source
Cultivate spiritual growth.
7. Stay in rhythm
Sing your melody, play your instrument in symphony of the universe.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of His Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises. (Romans 15:13)
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