50. A Strange Opposite


“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  I Corinthians 14:33 NIV

Isn’t that an odd pairing?  I think:  disorder vs. organization.  Turmoil vs. peace.

But God places His peace as the opposite of disorder.

So which is the cause and which is the effect?  Does God create order and it causes peace, or does He create peace and it causes order?

I think there is a clue in the context.  The issue was conflicting agendas seeking to dominate the same space.  Paul delineated who would have access to the scarce resource of air time so that there could be peace.

When God’s order is being followed and each person is in the place assigned to him by God, there is peace.

So simple.

So hard to achieve.

Balmoral, you are a community with finite space.  There is only so much land, only so much time, only so many government offices to be filled, only so many shelves in each store, only so many gallons of water available to the inhabitants.  This is the reality that every community in the whole world faces.

But you do not have to share the reality that the rest of the world experiences when there is conflict and casualties due to scarce resources.

We bless you with the peace that comes when a community is in sync with the master plan developed by the Master of Space and Time.  There is a right number of houses and apartments.  There is a right number of stores and churches.  There is a right distribution of highways and byways.

God can allocate the right amount of fresh strawberries, stacked firewood, window shades and windshield wipers for all your people. 

We bless you with your current reality coming into alignment with God’s master plan.  Let every place be properly filled with the right things, at the right time, for the right people so that peace can flow like a river through the exchange of life in your community.

Copyright August 2011, by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 4 Comments

49. Kingdom Signposts


“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”  Romans 14:17-18.  NIV

We talk a lot about erasing the line between the secular and sacred.  This is a classic verse that illustrates that fusion.  God is pleased when people serve the King with righteousness, peace and joy.  But these are also traits that those who do not acknowledge our King would hugely prize in their neighbors!

Changing the composition of a community takes time but it can be done.  When I moved to this apartment complex, the manager was a termagant who loathed joy.  She churned out rules upon rules that forbade anyone from having any fun anywhere.  Her rules for the pool were so Draconian that in an average summer season, fewer than 50 people total ever used the pool.

I nicknamed her The Mortician, and called the complex “The Mortuary.”  I also began to pray for her to be relocated by her boss and for joy to fill the complex.  And it has.  She is gone.  The new manager could care less about the activities of any humans who might be here.  Young families are moving in with the joyous sound of kids playing.  The pool has had at least 500 visitors this year so far and the shouts of kids and adults playing is a treasure.

God specifically blessed me with a back patio neighbor family that is absolutely joyous. They laugh and laugh and laugh, evening after evening, thoroughly enjoying each other without a single prop.  If a community can go from joyless to joyful, it can certainly go from anxious to peaceful as well.

So Balmoral, we bless you with all of the turnover in your community to be Father-filtered.  We bless you with an increased pace of people moving out and in.  Whether it is job transfers, or family dynamics, or simply the irresistible hand of  God, let there be a higher level of orderly turnover in the next two years than this town has ever seen before. 

May all those who are deeply committed to a lifestyle of conflict be systematically transitioned out of Balmoral. 

May those whose souls are stained with the grim colors of anxiety find themselves supernaturally growing into a place of peace as You brood over the deep roots that feed this toxin into their lives.

May the driven bosses and employees find heaven’s own cadence for the tasks they need to accomplish so that, even in the buzz of commerce, peace is the hallmark.

And Balmoral, we bless you with attracting more and more individuals who already know how to walk in peace.  May those who love peace and carry it with them move into the vacant apartments and houses and farms in this region.  

As elections come and go, we bless you with having more and more leaders who are skilled in making peace a living asset flowing from the government, not simply the absence of conflict mired in compromise. 

We bless you, Balmoral, with teachers who have command presence so that the classrooms are filled with peaceful joy, instead of teachers having to rage against the recalcitrant kids. 

Finally, I ponder the fact that the city fathers seem to have lost their way and cannot decide on anything that is an appropriate brand for the city.  I bless you Balmoral with having the Prince of Peace fill that vacuum with His Name and Presence so that this community is known far and wide as THE place to live if you are a man or woman of peace. 

Copyright August 2011, by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 2 Comments

48. Spiritually Minded Peace


“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”  Romans 8:6 NIV

A mind of death.

I wonder if God meant a mind that wishes for its own death.  Or maybe one that causes death to the person with its unwise thoughts.  Or maybe even a mind that causes death for those around through its inappropriate thoughts.

Ugly any way you cut it.

Ah, but a mind of life and peace!  There is a treasure.

Savor it.

You wake up and your mind begins to plot abundant life for you and those around you.

You face the stuff of life and your mind is solidly anchored in peace, not disrupted by the agitation and trauma gratuitously distributed by others.

You lie down at night to sleep and your mind enjoys replaying the tapes of the flavors and colors of life that branded your day.

How do we get there?

The land and the mind play off each other.  When there have been an abundance of tormented minds living on a piece of land, it will become a place which projects lack of peace onto the next resident.

By contrast, when land has been cleansed and blessed a person can come with a deficit of peace and their personal efforts toward healing and grounding will be significantly enhanced by the gift of the land to them.

Balmoral, when God first spoke to me about you, He said this would be a place like the Queen’s palace in Balmoral, Scotland, where I could come and experience a release from the challenges of leadership.  It would be a place where I could relax, retool and refill.

I bless you Balmoral with becoming everything God designed you for, but specifically being a place where peace soaks into the busy mind and bathes it with a healing quietness.

Copyright July 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 2 Comments

47. A Father’s Gift


Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  John 20:21 NIV

Standing alone, it looks like a magnificent promise.

So how did the Father send Jesus?

-Illegitimate.

-Poor.

-Fleeing the country for political asylum.

-Raised in obscurity, poverty and dishonor.

-Blocked from walking out His passion for ministry for almost two decades.

-Opposed in ministry.

-Rejected in His home town.

-Hated by the religious institutions.

-Misunderstood by His parishioners.

-Embezzled.

-Betrayed.

-Killed.

Umm…where is the peace?

There was only one point of peace throughout all that and it was the knowledge that His life was significant.  He was doing what He had been designed to do.  He was following Father’s orders.  He was sowing a crop Father would be watching over.  And in the end, there would be only productive pain.

His life would count for all of mankind for all of eternity.

He sent the Eleven out the same way.  To be reviled, abused and eventually killed.  And to change the world in the end.

Balmoral, pain and the perception of imaginary pain are two of the devil’s favorite tools.  They have derailed endless believers over the years by causing them to lose perspective.

I bless you Balmoral with becoming a place where people in pain retain a right perspective.  I bless you with an incomparable anointing to allow God’s people to see God’s purposes and to embrace the right pain in order to produce stupendous transformation as they possess their birthright.

Copyright July 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 3 Comments

46. The Gift of Peace


“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”  John 14:27 KJV

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.”  John 16:33 KJV

How does the world give peace?  It offers the peace of external conflict being resolved or at least pushed back.

How does Christ give us peace?  He invites us into Him and in that union there is peace for us, regardless of what is going on in the world.

The irony is that these words were spoken to the disciples just moments before Jesus was arrested and taken through the most peace-eradicating set of circumstances any man could face.

The theologians have exegeted and the preachers have expounded on what it means for us to be in Jesus and to have that kind of peace and how we get there.

The short version is, some people get there easily and some don’t seem to be able to find the way.  It is tragic that this incredible gift from Christ is not able to be received by all.

Balmoral, I come with sadness and tenderness over this issue.  I speak specifically to those in your community who know the promise and have sought to enter into that place in Christ where His peace supersedes the turmoil inside and outside you — but the pathway has eluded them.

I do not know why it is so easy for some and so hard for others.  I simply come back to the fact that it is Christ’s desire that each person walk in heaven’s peace because they are immersed in Him.

I bless you, Balmoral, with becoming a place where it is easy for people to find their peace in Christ — especially those who have sought it long and hard, to no avail.  May they come from the world over to find access to Christ on this land.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 2 Comments

45. Seasons of Peace


As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ” If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.”  Luke 19:41-42 NIV

“If you had known . . . ”

There are a thousand question about why they did not know.  There is a mystery about the seasons of knowing and not being able to know.  There is the reality of Jerusalem having a paucity of peace in the last 2,000 years.

But just let your imagination roam for a minute.  What if they had known . . .     What would Jerusalem be like (and the rest of the world because of them) if they had been bathed in peace for the last 2,000 years?

Now ponder Balmoral.  This community is not large or prominent. Most of the people in the world would not recognize the town if I shared the real name.  Yet through an incredibly complex set of divinely orchestrated circumstances, I ended up knowing about this place.

And, to my surprise, God designated it as my “Balmoral.”  As a result, while waiting to go there for my retreat, I have secured the help of hundreds of people around the world to cleanse and bless the land strategically.

I wonder if any small community has ever been blessed in such a focused manner, for so long, by so many?  What will that produce here?

Now go back to the fact that Christ has invested deeply in making this happen.  It is quite the story, actually.  Do you really think He did it just for me?  I doubt it.  I think He did it for Him.

In the same way that He could “see” what Jerusalem with peace would have been like, so He can clearly see what the town we call Balmoral is going to be like and all the different ways it is going to advance the Kingdom.

Balmoral, I bless you with luxuriating in the joy and dignity of having found favor in the eyes of the King.  Many cities like Jerusalem were designed at the foundation of the world to have peace, but they forfeited that right. 

Surely there are sundry other communities which God designed for great things in this season, but they likewise did not recognize the peace that was being offered them.

Balmoral, what have you done right long before God told me about you?  Surely you have responded excellently to something, somewhere, for the King to be prepared to invest so much more in you through this exercise. 

I honor you for whatever it is that caused you to recognize what would bring you peace.  I honor you for being hand-picked for a great and noble future.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

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44. Dismissed in Peace


Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation . . .  Luke 2:29-30 NIV

Simeon had heard something from the Lord that he built his whole life around.  At least, he was pretty sure he had heard from the Lord.  I suspect there were days when he wondered though.  It is particularly difficult when you are the only person who has heard a particular message.

The years passed.  He stayed on task.  He believed and prayed and waited and stalked the Temple, watching tens of thousands of moms and dads bringing in their newborns for the mandatory dedication.  He waited for that nudge, that marker.  He didn’t even know what he was waiting for but believed that he would know when he knew.

Yet, even though the promise was no death before seeing the redeemer, the reality was, the years were passing by and his life force was running down.

Then, suddenly, on this day, the Spirit told him emphatically to get up to the Temple.  He did.  And when that unspectacular couple drifted by in the crowd, he knew that he knew.  His life had meaning.  He was vindicated.  All that time believing and praying and waiting had come to a successful climax.

So he welcomed death because he was bathed in dignity.  The anxiety of wondering whether he had heard rightly all those years before was replaced with the peace of a life lived with maximum purpose for the King.

Balmoral, I bless you with being filled with men and women who die in peace because their lives were lived well.  

You are becoming a place where people can hear God clearly.   I bless you with being a community with many Simeons.  May you have men and women who will find ultimate fulfillment through carrying a world-changing prayer burden their entire lives. 

I bless those men and women with the tenacity to believe their calling and trust their hearing so they do not need frequent reassurances. 

And I bless the funerals in this community with being marked by the intense peace people have when they have fulfilled their calling. 

I bless the world changers in Balmoral with the dignity that flows from dying in peace.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 3 Comments

43. Peace to Men


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:13-14 NIV

When the solitary angel prefaced his announcement, he said it was “good news of great joy.”  The gospel certainly is good news.

We have written hundreds of thousands of songs in the last 2,000 years to celebrate myriad aspects of the good news.

The preachers have used billions of trillions of words to describe the good news.

The theologians could sink a freighter with all the books they have written to express the good news.

But on this first day, when the theology of the Kingdom was first announced from heaven’s point of view, the angles summed up all those songs and sermons and weighty tomes in a single phrase:  “Peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

The gospel in eight words.

I think it was very significant that God sent angels to make that statement, not a prophet.  Only an angel could appreciate how badly we need peace.  We have become somewhat accustomed to the conflict of this world.  The angels are accustomed to the peace that pervades eternity.

I imagine that the angels in heaven had been watching the conflict, turmoil and anguish here on earth for millenia.  I suspect they ached for us.   I believe the great company of angels who filled the night sky were not just fulfilling messenger duty.  Rather, they brought a vast explosion of emotion as they announced on behalf of all the angelic hosts that FINALLY mankind was going to get to experience the peace which they were accustomed to!

But wait! The angels were merely reflecting the values and emotions of their God who also ached over the grief we cause each other in our twisted world.  So while the angels shouted in exultation over the news, the joy from the throne over the fact that the time was finally right for peace to flow from the Father to His children was actually greater.

Balmoral, Christ came from heaven to earth to give you peace.  He does not begrudge you peace.  It is not a prize reserved for the very few.  Every good and perfect gift comes from Him, but when He summed up all His desires for you, it is simply peace.

I bless you, Balmoral with embracing this truth.  Every time you see some tension, anxiety, or outright chaos in your community, think back to the fact that this is not Father’s wish for you.

And every time you see two teenagers walking down the street, giggling with each other and enjoying life, know that Father is pleased.  Peace is on them.  Every time a family sits down to a meal with anticipation, every time a husband comes home to a warm welcome, every time good neighbors lean over the fence for a chat, Father is pleased.  Peace is there.

Peace is not at high tide yet, but He rejoices over every outbreak of peace in the midst of the turmoil.  That is the defining nature of heaven and is the gift He desperately wants you to have.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 3 Comments

42. A Pathway of Peace


And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.  Luke 1:76-79 NIV

What a contrast.

Those living in the shadow of death will instead find the path of peace!

Balmoral, you live in the shadow of noisy debate in the public square.  Daily the pundits and policy makers sound off about nuclear power, immigration dynamics, gay rights, social services and terrorism.  The debate is strident and the stakes are high.

In the smog of words, wisdom is scarce.

I bless you, Balmoral with not being dependent on the wisdom of man.  I bless you with having a supernatural wisdom among your decision makers so that as a community the decisions you make in this decade will lead you into the pathway of peace, so that future generations will marvel at your sagacity.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 1 Comment

41. Peace with Freedom


He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34 NIV

Wait, Wait!  Stop!

There is something so wrong with this picture.

HER faith?  What faith?  This is the woman who had to sneak up behind Jesus and steal her healing from Him.  She had no faith that He would heal her.

She knew the rules. She was ceremonially unclean because she had been bleeding for a decade.  She was a woman.  She was an impoverished nobody and Jesus was engaged with Jairus, one of the leaders of the synagogue, whose daughter was dying.

And because she knew the rules, the rules crippled her faith.  She did not have the faith to believe that she would be welcomed if she interrupted the religious leader by coming around in front of Jesus and asking for healing.

Ah . . . but she did have the faith to believe that He could.  Even though she could not bring herself to believe that He would want to invest in a nobody like her, she still believed He could.

It was that fragment of faith that brought her healing.  Was she a textbook case of a spiritual giant?  Hardly.  Life had devoured her assets and her dignity.  Her ability to believe in Jesus’ goodness was just not there.  Hence the theft of healing.

So Christ had two choices.  He could look at what she had or what she didn’t have.  He could focus on the fact that she believed He could, or He could focus on the fact that she was sure He wouldn’t.

But really now, think about it!  Aren’t the people who are so crushed they CAN’T believe they are worth His attention, the very ones who need the biggest proof from Him that they are worthy?

Balmoral, I know there must be people in your community who are walking in her shadow.  You need a touch from God desperately, but you are demoralized by endless failures. 

Your faith is not sterling and because you know that, it erodes your faith in your faith even more. 

I bless you with the King seeing the faith that you do have more clearly than you see the faith that you don’t have.

I bless you with receiving the gift of dignity that comes from hearing the King’s blessing of peace which comes from His accepting your faith, in the condition it is in today.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

Posted in 4. Blessings of Peace | 1 Comment