“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. “ Romans 14:19 (KJV)
Home…just the word brings feelings of comfort and warmth to my heart. The old song is so true…be it ever so humble, there really is no place like home. I guess I have rightfully earned the nickname of “homebody” over the years. Everyone who knows me very well can vouch for the fact that I love home. As a woman, I believe it is one of our God-given duties to make our homes as welcoming, warm, comforting, and peace-filled as we possibly can. Our homes should provide a safe-haven for our husbands and children and be “lived in” and feel inviting and comfortable to them…and to us. I can honestly say that there is no where on earth I would rather be…and stay…than right here at home.
Today’s passage instructs us to “follow after the things which make for peace”, and I believe that it is just as important to apply this to our homes as well as our individual lives. What are “the things that make for peace” in your life? What gives you that deep-down sense of being right where you belong and right where you want to be? For me, it is the simple things, and these are a few of my favorites.
I feel a sense of peace when Kevin and Zachary are near me. Just knowing they are both in the house somewhere, even if doing their own thing, settles my nerves and brings a deep-down comfort. I am comfortable with them, and they love me just the way I am…whether it is on my best or worst day. Just their presence brings peace to our home.
We have a fish tank on a stand near our kitchen table that was once filled with beautiful, lively fish. One by one, they have died and their little lifeless bodies have been flushed off the scene of life. Now, we have one left…I hate to call any of God’s creatures ugly, but this fish is not pretty!! :) It is an algae eater, a scavenger, a bottom-dweller….and it is thriving. As people eat at our table from time to time, sometimes I will get asked why we keep the tank going, when all of the fish have died….well, all except this unattractive creature that keeps clinging to life. And each time the question is asked, I always give the same response…I love the sound of flowing water, and our fish tank comforts me. It gives me a sense of peace.
As I am awake all hours, due to Kevin’s unpredictable work schedule, I spend a lot of nights in my favorite recliner in our living room. From my favorite chair, I have a perfect view of our fish tank in the kitchen. When it was full of fish, I loved to watch them late at night, as they swam about…it was so peaceful and lulled me to sleep when I was anxious. One night I came out to settle into my little corner of peace, and alas! The bulb had burned out on our tank! So I began a quest to find a replacement.
I went to PetSmart, Ace Hardware, Walmart, and I can’t remember where else, and no one carried this particular fish tank bulb. I even went online and tried eBay and other sites. The tank set-up was given to us by a friend, and it appears to be pretty old, so my hopes of ever again drawing peace from watching our tank at night waned with each failed shopping attempt. I had even prayed that God would please help me find one…I knew He understood the nights I spent enjoying the tranquility it provided.
I had all but given up, when one day, out of the blue, my dear friend called. She was standing in a thrift store with a fish tank bulb in her hand, and she asked me what size and type I was looking for. I hurried in to the kitchen to see, and lo and behold, it turned out she was holding the exact bulb I needed!! We both rejoiced, and she bought it…her and God’s gift to me! (God DOES hear and answer even the smallest, seemingly unimportant prayers!) Some day soon, if the Lord wills, I will buy more fish to restock our tank, but until then, I will simply enjoy the sound of water as it helps me drift off to sleep.
I love primitive things. If you have ever been to our house, you know that I love to decorate and fill our home with anything old. Quilts are one of my favorite collections. They add so much character and warmth and peace…just by seeing them on a bed, or draped over the back of a chair or this primitive ladder that my brother-in-law made for me that I have propped in the corner of our living room.
Through the years, Kevin and I have enjoyed many trips to antique stores and malls. Whether or not we buy anything, it fills me with a sense of peace to be surrounded by stable things that have endured the tests of time. I love to look at antiques and imagine what the original owners were like and how things were in our nation when they were created. I wish they could talk and tell the stories of the people who used them and enjoyed them and held them in their hands through the years. We have accumulated quite a collection of kitchen utensils, old bottles, scales, small tools, vintage signs, crocks, and other primitive items over our years of “antiquing”. They are scattered here and there, and they bring a sense of gentle peace throughout our home. One of my favorite signs is this one tucked in between some of my favorite quilts.
Candles, little primitive lights, doilies, family photos, pillows, and plaques….all of them are some of my favorite things. They make our house “our” home. And they provide a sense of stability and peace. I love to listen to peaceful music….old hymns, and encouraging, uplifting songs of praise are always things that make for peace. Peace is something very valuable and precious to me. Psalm 34:14 (KJV) says, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” In order to have and maintain a peaceful atmosphere in our lives and in our homes, it will take effort on our part. We will have to pursue and go after it in order to achieve this much-needed, much-sought-after way of life in these troubled, unsettling times.
All of these outward things are wonderful assets to the making of peace, but real and true peace is an inward peace in the heart that only Jesus Christ can give. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Outward things that make for peace are important elements in our lives, but Jesus gives a peace “not as the world giveth”. As the old saying goes, “if the world didn’t give it, then the world can’t take it away!” The peace that Jesus gives is eternal. It is a deep-settled peace down in the most remote recesses of the soul, and it is everlasting peace.
Do you have this kind of peace, my friend? Are you troubled? Are you afraid? Jesus has true peace for your heart, no matter how troubled or afraid you feel. He came to build a bridge of peace between God, His Father, and man. Won’t you walk over that bridge and make your way towards Him today? True peace awaits you in the shelter of His arms!