Things Unseen


The sinking of the Titanic was an early 20th century tragedy of epic proportions. At the time, it seemed impossible that this “unsinkable” ship would experience anything but smooth sailing on its maiden voyage. Yet, after striking an iceberg that lay almost undetected under the surface of the cold Atlantic waters, the Titanic began its descent to the bottom of the ocean floor in just a few short hours after the fateful collision.

As with the Titanic, sometimes the greatest dangers in our relationships aren’t terribly obvious – instead, they lay just beneath the surface. While these proverbial “icebergs” have the capacity to do great harm, if we will take the opportunity to ascend to our Father, He can open our eyes to potential hazards – both seen and unseen.

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness, (Psalm 26.2-3).

There have been occasions when I have relied on my own instincts and inclinations when navigating troubled waters in relationships. Yet, over time I have found that great planning and good intentions are no substitute for God’s guiding hand in my life. When I rest in His unfailing love and faithfulness and choose to let Him examine my intentions and thoughts, I know He will lead me in the way that is best for me, reveal unknown dangers, and protect me from treacherous relational collisions.

Are you dealing with a difficult issue in a relationship and need insight? Let me encourage you to turn everything over to the One who cares for you and is faithful in guiding you through The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

In next week’s post, we’ll start the Reflect portion of our journey on The Path of a Peacemaker. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing blog!

Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Looking Out for Number One


I recently read this humorous, yet sobering, sign: “CORPORATE EXERCISE PROGRAM CANCELLED.” Below it read, “Scientific research has shown that humans get the required amount of exercise by jumping to conclusions, dodging their responsibilities, flying off the handle, running down their boss, and pushing their luck.”

If you can relate, you are not alone! While there’s a lot of buzz about a “team approach” in the work place, many of us can attest to the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to fend off the conflict that enters our lives, but the Apostle Paul offers some counsel that will help if we’ll take it to heart:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,   (Philippians 2:3-4).

For some, this passage in Philippians raises a valid question: “If we aren’t looking out for our own interests, then aren’t we opening ourselves to being walked on like doormats?” Rather than negating the need for truth and accountability, it provides the appropriate framework for those situations when there is a need to address tension and conflict.

As believers who desire harmony and healing in our relationships, we have come to recognize that ambition and vain conceit are the enemies of peace. Yet, with God’s grace and the power of His Spirit, we are empowered to demonstrate the kind of humility and compassion that creates an environment in which relationships can flourish and grow.

As peacemakers, looking out for number one is not about satisfying our own desires. It’s about pleasing our Father – who truly is number one! When we are committed to honoring God and serving others, we can rest assured that the outcome belongs to Him, and that He is eager to “do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Taking the First Step


As we journey The Path of a Peacemaker, there are many things that can trip us up along the way. Pride and stubbornness are among the more obvious obstacles, but there is another equally dangerous stumbling stone – passivity. While I’m waiting for you to take the first step, you are waiting for me, and so the cycle goes. We are waiting, waiting, and waiting some more…

When our hearts are injured, sometimes we feel justified in expecting the other person to offer an act of contrition before we are willing to make a move toward reconciling the relationship. Yet, Jesus offers a different approach:

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Isn’t it amazing how God can use a sacred moment of worship, a time when our focus is solely on Him, to open our eyes to a problem between us and our fellow man? Yet, when we ascend into God’s presence and align our hearts with His own, He gently reveals to us the relational challenges in our lives and releases us to attend to them – even before we have concluded our time of worship.

When God prompts us to make amends in our relationships, are we willing to disrupt our activities and be obedient to His leading? As peacemakers, our calling is to be purposeful, not passive – to initiate, not hesitate. Whether the conflict is a new challenge or a struggle that has gone on for years, if we are willing, the path to peace can begin in this very moment. The journey may not always be easy, but God is faithful to take us from where we are to where He wants us to go. With His help and guidance, we can take the first step onto The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Pursue Peace


If you’re a sports fan, you know the value of teamwork and the importance of every player leaving it all on the field. Many superior teams have suffered defeat when a group of lesser skilled but more highly committed athletes have succeeded at playing hard and working together.

When entangled in conflict, oddly enough, the team concept has some points of application. In order to resolve an issue, it takes those on both sides of the dispute to come together and be committed to the process of reaching a peaceful resolution. While there are steps we can take to restore peace in our own hearts and with God, living in harmony with our fellow man takes some cooperation from them, too.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” (Romans 12:8).

While we do all that we can to follow Christ’s example by extending to others the same humility, grace and kindness He has shown to us, ultimately, we can only control our own response to a situation. As for me, I can only determine whether I’ve made my best effort to live at peace with everyone, if possible and as far as it depends on me when I am willing to ask myself some hard questions:

Ascend: Have I surrendered this issue to the Lord and am I seeking His face?

Reflect: Have I thoroughly examined my heart, thoughts and actions?

Connect: Have I exhausted all reasonable methods to humbly connect with the other person and confess my role in the issue?

I admit, I don’t always get it right. Sometimes my best efforts to restore a relationship are unsuccessful. Maybe you can relate. Regardless of what has contributed to unresolved conflict in our lives, it can weigh us down and cause us to question our calling as peacemakers. Rather than giving up, can we be willing to accept new opportunities to resolve the issue? If we’ll ascend to our Father who knows and cares about our circumstances, He will give us all that we need to faithfully continue along The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Ascend: Go to the Father Because… (Part II)

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We’ve all heard the expression about “sticks and stones” and are fully aware that, while sticks and stones may break our bones, the reality is that words really do hurt us. In fact, divisive words may injure something more fragile than our body – they can shatter our hearts. Gossip, lies, backstabbing, and betrayals of all kinds create wounds from which some of us have yet to heal.

Unaddressed injuries such as these can cause a once soft and pliable heart to become calloused and hard. Over time, if we allow the pain to continue to fester beneath the surface, there’s a good chance that our bitterness and unforgiveness may completely consume us.

If we want God to open the door of healing for both our hearts and relationships, our first step is to humbly go (ascend) to our Father because… He welcomes a contrite heart!

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).

No matter what relational difficulties we may be experiencing, when we ascend to our Heavenly Father and surrender our brokenness to Him, He is able to help us see what we cannot see and can strip away any pride or fear so that our hearts will look more like His heart. I confess that this isn’t always my initial reaction in times of conflict, but as I become more seasoned in my faith, I am learning to do this sooner and more often. What a privilege and blessing this has been in my life!

How about you? Do you struggle with going to God first in the midst of conflict? Let me encourage you that He brings hope in the midst of our trials, and His promises to us are sure. As we humble our hearts and receive His tender mercies, He will walk with us on the path of peace.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll take a look at this in the coming weeks. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Ascend: Go to the Father Because… Part I

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There was only one way out of the mess the prodigal son had made of his life – he had to return to his father. As I think of his situation, sometimes I wonder how long he agonized over this difficult decision. How could he have any assurance that his father would take him back? After all of his foolish and shameful actions, didn’t he risk the possibility of rejection? Was the trip back home really worth the risk?

While you and I have the benefit of knowing how this parable ends and what it means, could the prodigal have foreseen the outcome of his bold decision? Did he hearken back to the love and tenderness of his father? My guess is that he knew the same thing about his father that you and I know about our Heavenly Father, and like us, needed to be reminded of this truth:

“…The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

The Heavenly Father’s capacity to love us goes beyond what our human minds can fully conceive. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul prayed that the church would be able to comprehend “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18) God’s love is so great that it not only knows no bounds, but there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from it! (Rom. 8:39)

As children of a gracious and merciful God, this should give us the confidence to go to our Father at any time with anything. We know that he can restore relationships, heal our brokenness, and redeem our sorrows. He loves the unlovable, forgives the unforgivable, and, though it’s not easy, He helps those who are peacemakers to do the same. Together, let us ascend to the Father because… He is compassionate!

 Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Why should we go to our Father in our times of conflict and trouble? We’ll take a look at yet another reason in next week’s post. Thanks again for reading The Path of a Peacemaker blog, and please keep sharing it with your friends and family! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Ascend: Go to the Father

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For every problem there is a solution – and conflict is a problem that confronts the human race every day. Some conflicts are easily resolved, while others become so complicated that, based on outward appearances, there is little hope for a path to peace.

No matter the initial intensity, resolving a dispute becomes an even greater task when we impulsively react instead of choosing the best response. Since we’re all human, these things are bound to happen from time to time. In moments like these, what should we do?

While there are several significant steps in the peacemaking journey, the first and most important one is perfectly illustrated in this declaration by the prodigal son: “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.’” (Luke 15:18)

Ascend – Arise and Go to the Father

The prodigal son chose to go (ascend) to his father during his darkest hour, much in the same way that David did as he endured many agonizing years of conflict and adversity at the hands of King Saul. Despite the tumultuous circumstances, this “man after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14) not only understood, but beautifully articulated the essence of God’s unwavering care and concern:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth… The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-2, 7-8)

Do you have a problem? Your Father has the solution. Maybe you’ve sinned against God, or someone has sinned against you or a loved one – or perhaps a little of both. No matter what challenge you may be facing, your first and best decision in every situation is to go to your Father. He cares for you and is your source of help!

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What about the nature of our Heavenly Father compels Him to help us in our journey as peacemakers – and how can we be sure He will come to our aid? We’ll explore this further in the weeks ahead. As always, thanks for taking time to read The Path of a Peacemaker blog – I hope you’ll keep sharing it! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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When It Rains

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When frustration mounts over seemingly endless personal or relational challenges, many of us can relate to this expression of exasperation: “When it rains, it pours!”

While most of us would prefer a life of complete peace and tranquility, troublesome times are sure to come. When they do, are you able to view the challenge as an opportunity to seek the Lord and grow in your faith? Or, do you see it as simply another inconvenient interruption meant to further complicate your life? I confess, my initial reaction is usually the latter.

There’s no doubt that all of our experiences, whether good or bad, have a way of influencing our perspective, shaping our character, and providing a broader context for each of our stories. Although it’s often difficult to understand intense seasons of testing, James reminds us they serve a valuable purpose in our lives:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

When (not if) it rains and pours, you might find that frustration gets the better of you. In those moments, I’d encourage you to pause long enough to take a breath, look to heaven and ask yourself, “Can I trust the Lord’s plan for me?” If you rely on His steadfastness through the storm and faithfully walk The Path of a Peacemaker, God’s love and grace will be reflected through you in a way that honors Him and serves others.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is the first step toward resolving conflict in our lives? We will look at this more closely over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading, and please keep sharing the blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dangerous Desires

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As we’ve journeyed The Path of a Peacemaker, we’ve looked at some of the contributing factors and responses that have played a role in conflict – but what triggers the conflict itself?

While things like personality clashes, gross injustices and demonstrations of favoritism produce sparks that can be fanned into flame, the Apostle James reminds us that this kind of conflict has a universal starting point:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)

When dangerous desires such as jealousy, pride and selfishness are at war within us, it can trigger conflict with our fellow man. When tense moments arise, rather than counting the cost and holding our thoughts and actions long enough for them to be tempered by the Spirit of the Living God, our natural tendency is to react – speak first, think later.

As children of God, we know that the greatest opportunity to resolve our side of the contentious situation occurs when the desires of our hearts are brought into alignment with God’s desires. Since this doesn’t come naturally for us, it behooves us to approach the Father and pray as David did: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What’s the purpose of conflict in my life? We’ll take a look at this in next week’s post! Thanks for reading, and please keep sharing the blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Healthy vs. Unhealthy Tension

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Tension and the Story of Humanity

As we’ve examined the story of the prodigal son, his father and older brother, the thread woven throughout their lives – and each of ours – is that of tension. The prodigal’s poor choices led him to the brink of poverty, hunger and destitution. God used this healthy tension in his life to bring him to his senses. Lacking in grace, the resentful older brother experienced tension too, but of the unhealthy variety.

Fast forward to the here and now, and the opportunity to experience tension in our daily lives is boundless! There are choices to make about how to raise children, manage finances, operate a business, grow a church, or achieve any other mutual goal. Issues such as these can produce understandable points of disagreement among even godly, well-intentioned people. Discussing them with maturity, respect, and a commitment to unity result in healthy tension which produces a more positive outcome. When compassion and respect are lacking, however, this healthy tension morphs into unhealthy tension which is sure to cause harm.

Tension and Your Story

Tension is a natural part of life, and is often triggered when what I want stands in opposition to what you want – and vice versa. The good news is that when we address tension in a healthy way, it is possible to avert the crisis of a full-blown conflict.

When differing positions emerge, a healthy approach is to attack the problem, not the person. Express desires, instead of making demands – and demonstrate respect while resisting attitudes that foster resentment. Ephesians 4:2-3 puts it like this: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

We’ve all made our fair share of mistakes when it comes to peacemaking – and peacekeeping. Thankfully, our experiences afford us the opportunity to learn and grow. As you commit yourself to Christ and strive to walk The Path of a Peacemaker, He will continue to guide you in your pursuit of peace.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Don’t miss next week’s post! We’ll take a look at some of the things in our lives that trigger conflict. Thanks, once again, for reading and sharing the posts from The Path of a Peacemaker! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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