Acts 9 is a description of Paul’s conversion. He stayed in Damascus for a while, guided by Ananias. In time, he was sent to Jerusalem under the careful eye of Barnabas. Paul’s persecution of the church had been well known, leaving doubt that he had become a disciple. In the conclusion, Luke writes Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. The early church was “strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit and grew in numbers.” Their main oppressor, Saul – who became known as Paul – had been converted, resulting in a season of peace.

I am gripped by those words. I long for such peace to come to our lives and to our church. In the season of peace comes strength; a growth in numbers attended by the power of the Holy Spirit. Peace has a way of clearing the path for blessings and increase of all kinds. Israel experienced it on a few occasions. I Kings 22 states that for the span of three years there was no war. The nation flourished with innovation and expansion. Solomon found peace in his early years also. Israel became an economic powerhouse culminating in order, security, and stability.

Peace is a possession of unspeakable worth. In some ways it is fragile and must be treated carefully. Anger and resentment can break it apart. Strife, bitterness, and self-ambition is a fire set to consume it. The Peace that comes from God has keeping power all its own. Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When homes are at peace, it means that some level of order has been achieved. The enemy has no room to work when it reigns supreme. Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. When churches are at peace, it is accompanied by the strength of the Holy Spirit, ushered via honor and doctrinal soundness. It should be noted that during Israel’s time of peace, the people took advantage of the stillness. They planted and harvested; prayed and made sacrifices. They gave continual thanks and did not squander the blessing. It was only when they left the realm of obedience that they lost the catalyst that caused such gain.

Kindness and a soft answer are the elements of this most desired season. Love, in its most basic form, is the banner which covers and protects our peace. If there is an opportunity for us to find it, we must make full use by offering thanks to God with a pure heart.

I pray for the peace of God to be resident in our nation, our homes, and in our church. Not for us only, but also for those who are in need. Lastly, I pray the scripture: Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole