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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1)
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Not every Bible verse we read may give us peace and comfort initially. A good portion of Scripture is instructional, designed for our well-being particularly when we’re unable to see the bigger picture. This was the
ecase for me four years ago. Romans 13:1-5 was not a comforting piece of Scripture to me, but I discovered peace and comfort in God in my obedience to His word. Like it or not (and I did not) Barack Obama was my president and I was going to submit because God said so. To put it another way: I feared not the man, but the Lord. I still do, therefore #Notmypresident was never an option.
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Now (for me) the tide has turned and I have a sense these Godly directives will be a bit easier for me to follow, but for you maybe not so much. Perhaps these last four years for you were smoother, but now you’re faced with submitting to folks you may very well despise. As I’ve previously outlined – I feel your pain and I can relate to what you’re going through. I am here to tell you that if you truly fear God, you would do well to comply with His directives. In so doing there is peace and there is comfort.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.” (Romans 13:1-5)
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Now of course this is all grand counsel if you are a Christian. If you are not, the Bible and all of God’s tenets are foolishness to you, which happens to be another position I can relate to. The solution for me was to submit to Jesus Christ and His perfect will for my life. Prior to receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior, there was no peace or comfort, only temporary solutions to problems that I had absolutely no control over. In Jesus I discovered the solution.
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If you’re still reading and you’re not a Christian, I suspect that perhaps you’re feeling God attempting to draw you closer into a relationship with him. If that is the case, the onus is upon you to respond to Him and I’d encourage you to investigate further.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask a question.

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The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion…The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:2a + 4

No Justice–No Peace

noWhile No justice, no peace! is a nice sentiment, and it sounds marvelous when you get a couple hundred people to chant it in harmony, it is not a solution that works towards true peace, at least not in the context it is being used here, It doesn’t work because in order for ‘justice to be just’, it must be applied to everyone. In other words, if you’re demanding justice in a particular situation, then you yourself must be subject to justice in every situation. That’s true justice.  I for one am not ready for that. All things considered, I will choose God’s mercy over His justice any day of the week.

How Then Do We Achieve Peace

The answer is revealed in God’s promise and oath recorded in Psalm 110 (above). The short-answer is Jesus, but why; why is Jesus the solution to warfare, strife, and dissonance?

Consider Melchizedek

For this Melchizedek…first being translated “King of Righteousness, ” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace.” Hebrews 7:1-2

Melchizedek is the high priest who met Abraham after he and 318 servants fought and won a decisive battle against Chedorlaomer and his huge army. Many believe (as I do) that Melchizedek was in reality a Christophany, or an appearance of our Lord Jesus. Regardless what you believe about Mel, the passage from Hebrews 7:1-2 answers the question (in part) as to why Jesus is the only way to everlasting peace.

First Things First

It tells us that Melchizedek means, ‘King of Righteousness,’ and then afterwards, he is called ‘King of peace.’ In this we see that there is an order; righteousness comes before peace. It must! The Psalmist reminds us that Jesus is coming in the order, or ‘style’ of Melchizedek. Jeremiah 23:6 builds on the doctrine similarly:

In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

C. H. Spurgeon put it this way:

“First, King of righteousness.” How early that “first” was, I cannot tell you. “In the beginning was the Word,” but when that beginning was, who knows?—for is He not, indeed, without beginning? First and firstborn, from everlasting You are God, O mighty Son of Jehovah! First, King of Righteousness, and then afterwards, when men fell, when rebellion, strife and war had sprung up—then He came to heal the mischief and become, “King of Peace.” He comes Himself as the Divine Ambassador, our Peacemaker and Peace. He comes here into this place even into the midst of His Salem, into the midst of His people, and gives us, now, as He has long given, the vision of peace—opening up before the eyes of faith the completeness, the sureness and the delight of perfect peace in Himself.”

Only One King of Righteousness

We are not righteous; no man can be unto himself; a quick review of the Ten Commandments will drive that point home. Our righteousness is His righteousness. Christians are clothed in His garment; we are, as Philippians 3:9 declares:

Found in (Jesus), not having (our) own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

noOnly perfect and true righteousness leads to perfect peace and why Hebrews 6:20 rightly identifies Jesus as our ‘Forerunner’.  This state of being cannot be accomplished on our own. Jesus must lead the way, otherwise we cannot be seen by the Father as righteous, and therefore we cannot attain peace. We can almost picture the football team bursting through the paper banner with Captain Jesus leading the charge, but better yet, we can envision the Temple veil being rent in two after Jesus finished the work on the cross.

No Jesus, no peace,

Know Jesus, know peace.

Jesus be with you,

Peace be with you.

Pray

Believe it or not; like it or not, God loves the Syrian people. He loves them so much that He sent Jesus to die for their sins, just like He did for you in I. Pray that the Gospel message is going out in Syria and that they will take heed and take hold of the promise. Also pray for our nation and our president. The United States does not have to be the ones to fulfill this Bible prophecy. Pray for the unsaved souls and pray for nominal Christians you need revival. Pray that Christ’s righteousness will be the garment of choice so that peace can follow.

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If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22

Believe it or not, heaping burning coals on someone’s head is a good thing. Many Christians have errantly interpreted or have been falsely taught to believe that this verse is suggesting that doing nice things for bad people makes them burn with rage. That is not the implication here at all. God does not reward His children when they do mean or vengeful things. 1 John 1:5 is one of many Bible verses that testifies to this:

…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 

The truth of the matter is a person’s head [Biblically speaking] is a reference to the fire source in a person’s fireplace, stove, or furnace. It is typically the smallest of embers that are kept glowing in order that when a full blaze is desired all that is needed is a little tinder, some kindling and oxygen. Old time engineers would always keep a ‘head’ smoldering in the locomotive, needing only a shovel full of coal to quickly get the boiler cooking. I recall learning in school how native Americans would carry these coals in a portion of a hollowed-out log when they traveled in order to have fire easily available.

At this point you might be thinking that if all that is needed is tinder, kindling, and oxygen to restart the fire, why does the Proverb indicate that our nice deeds are akin to heaping coals (aka: hot embers) on a person’s head if their head already has embers in it?

Good question! 

What’s being conveyed here is that your enemy’s head (his coals) have gone cold, which is a further indication that the enemy in question is not a believer. How do we know he is not a Christian? Because, according to Isaiah 42:3 and Matthew 12:20, God does not let the head of a true believer ever go out.

A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench…

So what Proverbs 25:21-22 is actually suggesting is that when we lovingly attend to the needs of our enemies it is an evangelical act as it serves to lead a person to Jesus Christ. Heaping coals is comparable to planting seeds! Our kind acts towards non-believers are likened to heaping embers of faith upon their souls. It’s not an act of rekindling a fire, but bringing a fire to a place where one never existed and doing so in the name, power, and authority of Jesus Christ

  1. What do these passages say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. Are there changes we can make?
  4. What is your prayer?

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What purpose then does the law serve? Galatians 3:19

Heard on a Plane…

“Would you like a beverage sir or some peanuts?”

“I’ll have a diet coke please.”

“Would you like a parachute as well?”

“Huh?”

“A parachute sir. Your life will be much better if you have one, I guarantee it! In fact, your life will be prosperous, full of peace and joy! Having a parachute is the only way. I have one and you should have one too!”

“Thank you, but I have no need for a parachute. I’m very happy for you though. I’m glad your parachute gives you peace, comfort, and joy.”

The Critical Information

The attendant, not wanting to upset the passenger, failed to tell him that the plane was in fact going down. Why upset him (she must have assumed) when he seemed to be having such a good time. However, failing to share the critical information ultimately would lead to this man’s destruction.

The Purpose of the Law

The Law (the Ten Commandments) lets us know that we are all going down. It does that by letting us know that we are all sinners. Tell most folks about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and omit the Law, they will likely respond that they have no need for saving. They probably consider themselves to be good people.

The Law declares otherwise.

“There is none righteous, no, not one…none who understands; There is none who seeks after God..” Romans 3:10-11

No one seeks after God, at least not until after they realize that God was seeking them first. God sought us first by providing the Law as a mirror. This mirror reveals to us how we truly look to Him: dirty. It is this realization, that we are sinners in need of salvation, that leads us to the parachute that is Christ Jesus.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes… Psalm 19:7-8

One More Time

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

  • Are you going to Heaven?
  • Are you a good person?
  • Do you know the Law?
  • Have you taken the Roman’s Road?

*Two words about analogies: they’re flawed.  Whenever we take a biblical truth and attempt to explain it  by making  a worldly comparison (as I did with the parachute story), we fall short.  While some analogies help us to understand biblical concepts, at the end of the day we must solely rely upon the truth of God’s Word.

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Enter by the narrow gate…wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it…Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

For the Few…

This passage frightens a lot of people.

‘Narrow and difficult’ sounds to them as if the Christian walk is a daunting, practically unachievable task, akin to traversing hell on a high wire. This is not at all the case for the follower of Christ.

Remember, Jesus said,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Since we have the assurance that there are no contradictions in the Bible, we can know that Jesus would not say ‘come’ to this easy and restful place, and then turn the tables. That notion is contrary to all we know about Jesus.

Nevertheless, the verse reads, ‘narrow and difficult’ is the way, so what are we to make of it?

Narrow

Have you ever fallen off a sidewalk?

Me either.

I’ve been pushed off sidewalks and I’ve been pulled off sidewalks, but I’ve never fallen off one. I have however fallen off of many a curb, but curbs are not sidewalks, are they?

I liken the narrow path of the Bible to a sidewalk, wide enough for perhaps three people to walk abreast; adequate space to walk comfortably with Jesus and perhaps a brother or sister we encounter along the way. Naturally, plenty of room exists fore and aft.

This narrow walkway is a safe place.  Falling is not inevitable, but rather the result of bad choices we make along the way.

Difficult

Do you have a working definition of the word difficult?

Are you sure?

In my quest to unravel the Matthew 7:13-14 passage, I compared the New King James text to the King James text. Interestingly enough I discovered that the KJV version does not read, ‘narrow and difficult,’ it reads ‘strait (straight) and narrow.’

In other words, the KJV version uses the word straight for narrow and the word narrow for difficult.

That led me to Strong’s Concordance where I discovered that while straight does in fact mean narrow, the word narrow (in the Greek) means ‘a compressed way,’ or more specifically, ‘to press (as grapes).’ It occurred to me that this narrow, difficult way being spoken of was in actuality a reference to the sanctification process that naturally occurs as we walk side by side with Jesus.  Sort of a sidewalk and wine-press all rolled into one.

So, the question is…

Is sanctification difficult?

I submit to you that transformation is only arduous to those who are not submitted to it.

If you are one who struggles to maintain fleshly pursuits or wrestles with the idea of being changed, than you likely find your walk with Jesus to be a difficult journey. But if on the other hand, you are submitted to the changes that He wants to make in you, you probably find the walk to be a light burden that is challenging, invigorating, and rewarding.

Having said that, we all struggle in our walks from time to time.

That’s good.

It’s a good thing if we recognize that the difficulty we are experiencing is directly related to our sinful desire to hold onto something that is not pleasing to the Lord. Do you recall the story of the rich, young man? Recognition in this regard can be the catalyst that compels us to ask of God, “Why am I struggling so?”

If we are sincerely seeking the truth, God will answer and identify those things we need to put down and walk away from.

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6b

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God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13b

We Have the Power

The mystery of our relationship is that Christ Jesus is alive and resides within our very being. All knowledge, wisdom, and power are in Him and He is in us, therefore, we have access to the very things we need to make easy the yoke and light the burden.

Do you know what you have?

The story is told of the gazillionaire, William Randolph Hearst who once saw a photograph of a classic art-piece that he had to have for his extensive art collection. He dispatched his staff to obtain the painting at any cost. They returned with the news that the work of art was not available. The reason being: Mr. Hearst already owned it and had it stored in his warehouse.

Incredible Simplicity

God made it so easy. There is one way: Christ alone. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

That’s it folks. We don’t have to look elsewhere, Christ is ready, willing, and able!

If it’s your testimony that the yoke of Jesus is not easy and His burden is not light, then clearly you are not doing it right. You are in fact wrestling with an Opponent that you cannot beat. At this juncture it would be prudent to open your eyes and gaze upon the face of your Lord and Savior to see He is not your adversary, but your Advocate before the Father.

But…

Didn’t Jesus say that in this world we would have tribulation? Can’t we assume that tribulation and difficulty are synonymous?

You can if you want to, but it’s wiser to equate tribulation to the light burdens Jesus spoke of. In so doing we discover that in Christ they are temporary and bearable. It is the only manner by which a dying Stephen could proclaim,

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit… do not charge them with this sin.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59-60

Stephen was called to martyrdom and therefore found it to be a light burden to bear. Had he struggled, no doubt it would have been an extremely difficult process to endure.

Tribulation: The Upside

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5

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Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

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Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 7:4

Still Struggling?

Somewhere, some good Christian is saying, “You just don’t understand what I’m going through and regardless of what you say, it’s difficult.”

You’re right, I probably don’t fully comprehend your situation, but I do grasp His solution.

Difficulty is heaviness and heaviness is a unique sensation unto itself. The moment it is experienced we instinctively know that we must either put the weight down or seek help to carry it. To deny this awareness is to affirm that you oppose sanctification (you are not submitted to God).  It is at this point where many walk away from Jesus.

Don’t walk away.

We have  promise:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Sadly there are few who find the straight and narrow way, because they fail to accept and believe that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life worth living.  Faith on the other hand is the glue that keeps us on the path.

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Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

When it comes to exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it’s obvious that churches have different approaches. Some have the ‘let all things’  part down, but aren’t too keen on the ‘decent and orderly’ perspective, while other congregations have nailed  ‘decent and orderly,’ but might be neglecting some of the gifts. The Apostle Paul adds some clarity by adding another component to the equation.

Let all things be done for edification. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:27, 33

Who’s Getting the Glory

Edification is just a fancy word for strengthening, or building up another person in the Lord as it pertains to the good of the church.  The root of the word essentially means, ‘to build a house.’ Properly exercised, edification does not take any glory away from God.  Ignored, it produces strife rather than peace. God is the author of peace and where there is no peace there is likely no body-building going on.  And where there’s no strengthening of the body there is probably no order or decency.  Reverse the negative trend and a usable pattern emerges.

All things + Order + Edification = A Strong, Loving, Peaceable Church

“This sounds like my church.”

Then I thought about it more deeply.  I remembered that my congregation, like me, is a work in progress.  If I’m honest, the church I attend is not operating as smoothly, as efficiently, and as effectively as we could.  I further see that I am part of the problem and by God’s grace, part of the solution.   Remembering that Christ is the faithful provider, if the situation is to improve, it can start with me.

I must purpose in my mind to exercise the spiritual gifts I have access to, in an orderly fashion, in a manner which builds up rather than tears down,  for the singular purpose of bringing glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am not saying that this is a work we must do.

If anything, it’s a commission that we get to do.  If there’s a sense of obligation that comes  from anywhere other than gratitude, the effort is of little use because it’s misguided. Our motivation in this realm is directly proportionate to gratitude, and if it isn’t, then a reexamination of doctrinal terms ‘deliverance and redemption’ would be in order.  Why is Communion so important?  This is why.

What are Your Thoughts

  1. What does your church like?
  2. What would your church like if it were filled with a hundred of you?
  3. Do you have gifts you’re ignoring?
  4. Are you ‘in order’ or ‘out of order’?
  5. How’s your gratitude?

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There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you. Deuteronomy 18:10-14

The following remarks are for the Christian.

  • Read the Deuteronomy passage above.
  • What does God say about witches and witchcraft?
  • Notice the terms, ‘shall not’ and ‘abomination to the Lord.’ What do they mean to you?

Now read the Romans passage below.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

Meditate on the last portion of the last sentence for a moment, “…Those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Did you notice the two distinct groups of people who are deserving of death?

  1. Those who practice such things.
  2. Those who approve of those who practice them.

Today’s blog presupposes that you are a) a follower of Jesus Christ and, b) you don’t practice these abominations to the Lord, at least I certainly hope that is the case.

But I’ve noticed something. There are far too many Christians who approve of those who do practice such things. Be warned. According to God, such acceptance is worthy of death. In light of the truth…

Why do you dress up your children as witches and warlocks?  Why do you have cutesy witch decorations in and around your home?  Why in the world would you embrace books and movies that glorify witchcraft?

“Dave,” you say, “just calm down; you are overreacting.”

If you believe these observations are an overreaction, do you also believe that God arbitrarily inserted these verses into His Word the Bible and that they have no meaning or justification? I submit to you that He did not–God means what He says and a wise person should give heed to His word.

Stop

Stop trying to justify your actions. Simply obey the Lord and in so doing you will discover that your walk with the Lord is easy and fruitful. In contrast, the anxiety Christians often experience comes when we struggle against the truth. Surrender to the Way and receive from God the peace that surpasses all understanding.

You know the whole witch-thing is wrong. You always have. For God’s sake, just let it go.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

It would seem I have undertaken the impossible task this morning of trying to explain the unexplainable. After all, if the Bible declares that something ‘surpasses all understanding,’ then any effort on my part to clarify would be pointless, right? Well, we can all relax; I am not going to make any such attempt.

However, there is one thing I can share as it pertains to this ‘peace of God’ stuff ~ I assure you that it is real and worth having. Next to my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my salvation and my hope of Heaven, it is one of my most prized possessions.

A Trying Couple of Months

“From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…” 2 Corinthians 11:24-27

I cannot compare my issues to these. The reality is that I posted Paul’s account (here) as a reminder of just how slight my matters can truly be. The point I would like to make is that while some of my problems are personally significant and others trivial, nevertheless, in concert, they do tend to wear a soul down. In this way, all our problems are similar. However, I am not complaining. I only make mention so that I might expound upon God’s peace and how precious a commodity it is.

What is peace?

Well for one, it’s what the ‘Occupy Wall Street Protesters‘ are severely lacking.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines peace as, “A state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind. Freedom from war…Freedom from internal commotion…Freedom from private quarrels…Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind… quiet of conscience.”

Don’t you want that? Nobody in their right mind would say no. The true question is how do we get it? For that answer we must turn to the Bible. Precisely, we must turn to Jesus. More precisely, we must put on Jesus.

Put on Jesus?

Yes! Many people believe in Jesus, but few have put him on.

What’s the difference? Well let me ask you, do you believe in parachutes; do you believe that if the plane you are flying on was going down and a parachute was made available to you, do you believe that it could save your life?

Most of us would say yes.

We also understand that belief in that parachute is not enough; we must put it on in order for it do what it was designed to do—save us. The same holds true for Jesus Christ. If you want to be saved, belief is not enough—you must put Him on and keep Him on until you have safely arrived. Would you loosen your parachute straps or remove it before you landed safely? Not unless you’re an idiot.

But doesn’t the Bible say salvation is by faith (belief) alone?

It sure does. The problem that arises is that many of us do not understand what faith is. Let’s go back to Webster’s. Faith is defined: ‘to trust; to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate; to believe, to obey.’

From this we can conclude that where there is faith there is also obedience. Obedience is proportionate to one’s faith, and ‘putting on Jesus’ is akin to obedience. In this regard, faith and obedience are synonymous. The peace of God that surpasses all our understanding begins with obedience to Jesus.  Omit Jesus and you will never have this kind of peace.

The Path We Follow

The fourth chapter of Philippians provides a blueprint towards peace, but let’s keep in mind that outside of our obedient faith in Jesus, it’s of little value. Sure, the path is narrow, but let’s be grateful that God has provided a simple and convenient conduit for everyone. All that remains is choosing wisely.

Consider the Route

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:4-6

Rejoice in the Lord

It’s not a chore. Go back to the parachute illustration—your plane was on fire, you put on the chute, you jumped out, and you safely landed. When your feet hit the ground, did you need someone to tell you to rejoice? No. It’s a natural byproduct of having been saved.

Our joy is in the Lord!

Let your Gentleness be known

Gentleness by definition is an expression of joy. It is also the direct opposite of so many things that displease the Lord. Human beings are not born gentle, but when we put on Jesus, His gentleness adorns us. Concealing gentleness, or any other attribute of our Lord and Savior, is akin to removing Jesus.

Be Anxious for Nothing

The Lord is at hand! He is in control! He knows exactly what we’re going through, He knows how it winds up, and He knows the blessings in store for those who are submitted to His plan through it all. The tapestry God is creating is much bigger than what we can see, but we can declare, “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!” Revelation 15:3

Let your Requests be Known to God

With thanksgiving, bring everything to God by prayer and supplication. Webster’s reminds us that supplication speaks to praying earnestly, sincerely, sacrificially, solemnly, and with humility. As a result,

“…The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

If it were not so, I wouldn’t bother telling you.

Losing Your Peace

I don’t believe a Christian can lose their peace, but I do believe we can walk away from it from time to time. I’d be a liar if I told you my peace never waned. The only reason I am at peace today is because today I am practicing what I am a preaching. That’s not always the case. But our God is gracious and merciful and faithful. Although we might wander away from His blessings occasionally, He will never wander away from us. A person can walk a thousand miles from his home and when he turns to face it, be a thousand miles away. Not so with Jesus. Regardless of how far away you walk from Him, when you turn around, there He is.

“My yoke is and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

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A New Date for the Rapture

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:1-4

It is recorded that this particular Psalm was penned by Moses and many believe that it wonderfully correlates with the Creation story found in Genesis. I would agree with that assessment. I also agree with Pastor Jon Courson’s evaluation that it not only parallels the seven days of Creation, but also the entire seven millennium history of mankind, including prophetically that which has not yet occurred. Of course the premise rests upon the Psalmist’s God-inspired phrase, “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday.” We see the idea picked up in the New Testament as well.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8

I take the seven-day Genesis account of creation literally; that it was seven, twenty-four hour days. But I also believe that in God’s seven-day Design, He amazingly gave us a prophetic picture of what was in store for His creation over the next seven millenniums. The King James Version renders the 2 Peter 3:8 verse, “Beloved, be not ignorant,” emphasizing the importance of knowing that in God’s economy a thousand years is equal to one day and visa versa. Why is that critical knowledge? Well, as it pertains to the modern-day Christian, it helps us to understand that we are in fact living in the last days.

Day 1

In Genesis 1 we read that God begins His Creation. Aside from the Creation itself, what would you consider to be the most significant event in the first one thousand years of known history? Would you say that it is Adam’s eating of the forbidden fruit? I found it interesting that God said in Genesis 2:17, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” While critics say, “Adam didn’t die; he lived for 930 years after he ate of fruit!” God might add, “That’s right! I AM true to My word; the lad didn’t even make it until the end of the first day.”

Day 2

You carry them away like a flood… Psalm 90:5a

In the Genesis account, on the second day God made places for the waters of the earth. Not coincidently, the big event in the second millennium was the Flood in the days of Noah.

Day 3

They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. Psalm 90:5b-6

On day three of God’s Creation, the earth brought forth grass and vegetation. The Psalmist’s words remind us of the big event of the third millennium: Jacob’s trek down to Egypt with the family. There, under his son Joseph’s protective hand, they flourished in the fields of Goshen. However, in time the nation was enslaved beneath the tyrannical rule of an evil pharaoh who forced them to cut down their own straw to make his bricks.

Day 4

For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. Psalm 90:7-9

On the fourth day, God created the sun, the moon, and the stars to give us light. It was by this light in the fourth millennium that Israel’s secret sins of idolatry were exposed. As a result they were led away into captivity by the Babylonians.

Day 5

The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10

On the fifth day God made the fishes and the fowls; and the Psalmist records, “And we fly away.” In the fifth millennium, the big event was Christ’s coming, His death and resurrection, and Israel’s rejection. By 70 AD, the temple was destroyed and those Jews who weren’t slaughtered were dispersed across the globe.

Day 6

Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:11-12

We know that on the sixth day of Creation, God created man. Our Psalmist would remind us here that man, in this his sixth millennium, should be mindful to number his days, for the seventh day is rapidly approaching; the Day of the Lord is at hand. Roughly speaking, the sixth millennium ended in the area of the year 2000.

Day 7

Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:13-17

On the seventh day God rested and in the Gospels Jesus repeatedly told us, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus is our Sabbath; i.e., our rest and His coming is nigh. How soon will it be? Consider the words of the Psalmist, “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,” the idea being early in the day. By all accounts we would say, “Oh, satisfy us early in this millennium.” This passage from Matthew’s Gospel sheds some more light:

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”. Matthew 24:32-36

In these last few weeks, with all the end-of-the-world predictions, we have been reading the, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” passage quite a bit. But focus for a moment on the verses preceding that one.

The fig tree in Christian typology represents the Nation of Israel. Many say (and I agree) that Israel became tender and put forth its’ leaves when in May of 1948, they became reestablished as a nation in the Middle East. The Gospel writer records that, “This generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”

How long is a generation? Bible scholars cannot agree; some say fifty years, some seventy, and some say one hundred. The fact of the matter is that we are in the early years of the seventh millennium now. While we cannot be dogmatic about the length of a generation, we can say that somewhere between today and the year 2048, Christ’s return would be an answer to Moses’ come early prayer. The bottom line is that every Christian should behave as if Christ’s return were imminent…because it is.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8

In regards to the mentioning of Harold Camping in the title, it was not my intent to give him any credence–the man is deceived and we should not ridicule him, but rather keep him and his followers in our prayers.  I only wanted to highlight the truthful doctrine that Jesus could come for his church at any time. 


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh‘s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?” And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.” So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” Genesis 40:6-8

In the Pits

Is this you: you desire to enthusiastically serve and bless the Lord, following through on the vision He has given you, but you find yourself in the pits, unable to do much of anything towards fulfilling that dream. I know I’ve been there. God had great plans for Joseph, but he was falsely accused and imprisoned—is that the way you feel sometimes? Do you ask of God, “Father, you have given me this work to do, and I want to do it, but everywhere I turn there is another obstacle?”

Help Someone Else

To say that Joseph’s dreams were hindered somewhat would be an understatement, but notice how he was led by the Lord to handle the situation…

Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph…And Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: Genesis 40:9a + 12a

It is as if God said to Joseph, “Before your dreams are fulfilled, I want you to help others with their dreams.”

I find that very significant and I suspect it is the testimony of every faithful Christian I know; when you are down or thwarted from your mission, help someone else. I can honestly say that every time I’ve practiced this principle, the Lord has been faithful to keep me moving in the direction He wants me to go. In contrast, when I choose to mope, I effectively quench the Holy Spirit and as a result, my spiritual progress stalls.

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20

When we stumble it helps to always remember that God has allowed it; He has allowed these obstacles (whatever they are), to be placed in our path. That should cause every Christian to wonder why; “For what divine purpose have I been ensnared?”

So the next time you’re knocked down, before you jump to your feet, take a moment or two to look around to see who else is down there with you. Perhaps it is one or more of these folks the Lord wants you to assist. Your fall could very well be the help someone else was hoping for today.


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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