“Because They Trust In You”

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3 You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever,  for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

The eye of a hurricane is the calmest part of the storm, there is usually no wind and the skies are clear.  It is usually true that the stronger the storm the better defined the eye of the hurricane will be.  The eye is surrounded by an eyewall of thunderstorms that contain the most dangerous weather.  When a hurricane is at sea, the eye is still calm except at sea level where waves may reach a height of 130 feet.  If we can compare the violence of the world around us to a hurricane, we can see that there is a place of peace and calmness in the middle of all that chaos. But we can’t just sit on the surface and wait, we have to prepare for the storm by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the world.  By trusting completely in Him, we can rise above the waves and live in peace in the midst of the storm. When the storm starts to dissipate, the eyewall will start to break down and we will experience some winds but they will not be strong enough to harm us.  There will be some rain but only enough to water us and make us grow, not enough to wash us away. If we choose to focus on the world and its carnality, we will find ourselves in the eye-wall of the storm. But if we repent and pray Peter’s short prayer. “Lord, save me”, He will stretch out His hand and pull us to safety.  We can’t stop the hate and violence in the world, but God has provided a place of peace and safety for His children. The choice is ours.  We can choose to stay focused on Jesus and live in the peace that He gives us or stay where we are and live in the chaos.

10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, ​ yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,”  says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  ​ — Isaiah 54:10 NIV​


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“My Peace I Give You”

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27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 NIV

In our daily lives, why do we not experience the peace that God has made available to us? Is there a secret to finding and holding onto that peace?  Is it necessary to do something special or quote a particular verse to access the peace that God has so freely given to us?  Is that peace for now or for some time in the future?  Is that peace even real?  If we could discover how to find and hold onto that peace, wouldn’t it be a great blessing to us and a great message to a world in chaos? Maybe, it starts with our definition of peace.  God’s peace isn’t the absence of troubles or violence or loss or storms.  It is learning to have peace while we live in and go through those times.  Jesus, as a man suffered rejection, ridicule, betrayal, and tremendous persecution, yet He did not sin by worrying or being afraid, but held onto the peace that the Father gave Him.  We say,”Yes, but Jesus was _______”  and you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that while He was on earth, Jesus was fully human.  He walked, talked, grew tired, rested, became hungry and ate common food. He was, in fact, just like us, except that He didn’t sin. He is our example that peace is not a lack of certain issues but a gift that we must learn to experience everyday.  When He was in the boat with the disciples in the midst of the storm, He slept.  The disciples became anxious and feared for their lives. Jesus spoke, the storm dissipated and peace was restored to the sea. Jesus is with us in the boat as we sail through life.  When the storms come, ask Him to speak to your storm and experience His peace. So, it is not some secret formula, it is complete faith in believing what Jesus said.

The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Hold Them In the Highest Regard”

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12 Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  – 1 Thess. 5:12-13 ISV

We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives.  So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staff as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church.  Love them, pray for them and  be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor. 

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17-18

God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down. We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Let The Word of the Messiah Inhabit You Richly”

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16 Let the word of the Messiah[b] inhabit you richly with wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing to God with thankfulness in your hearts.Col. 3:15 ISV 

Col. 3:15-17 ISV

The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.  According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. This is “the peace of the Messiah” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy?  Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”.  To “dwell” means to live in a specified place.  For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts.  Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy.  So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Be Of One Mind, Live In Peace”

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11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV​

Rejoice!  Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice?  Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”.  All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“The Important Thing”

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18 When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. – 2 Cor. 10:18 NLT

We live in a world of almost total deception.  We are taught that other people’s opinions of us are based on externals.  To win friends and influence people, all men must have six-packs and all women must look like professional models.  We must dress in the latest styles and wear the brand names or we will become outcasts in our society.  Our self-worth has become based on popularity and what others think about us.  If that is how we come to determine our self-worth, we are headed for a lifetime of misery and big disappointments. We need to be sure that we understand that the one Person we need to approve of us is Jesus.  Jesus, the one who thought we were worthy of His death, is the one we need to impress. And we can only do that, if the internals are right.  Our hearts and our mindsets must align with the Scriptures and not the latest fads.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ​ — Psalm 51:10-12 NIV

We can stress ourselves out everyday chasing the latest and greatest things that the world throws at us to be popular and we will end up worried, tired and unhappy. Or we can choose to live lifestyles that recommend us to Jesus, put our feet on the Rock, rest in His arms and live a life filled with joy and peace.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Called To Be His People”

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,​ 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called​ ​to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name​ ​of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:​ 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Cor. 1:1-3 (NIV)

Paul founded the Church at Corinth on his second missionary journey in A.D. 50 -51. While he was in Ephesus on his 3rd missionary journey, he received some negative reports concerning the morality of the believers there. He immediately sent Timothy to correct the situation at Corinth. He also wrote this letter to the church, probably thinking that it would arrive before Timothy got there. The members of the church were starting to return to the old ways of idol worship. In particular, the immorality with the temple prostitutes and overindulgence in both food and drink. But, if we read verse 2 very carefully, we find that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote this letter to me and you. It reads: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” That includes us and we should take it as a stern warning not to go back to our old ways. While we may not have shrines where all types of immoral acts are carried out, we have more than enough idols of our own making. Each one of us needs to take a few minutes and ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the idol(s) that are standing between us and our God.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“By Jesus Christ Himself”

1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. – Galatians 1:1 NLT

Galatians 1:1-5 NLT

Paul reminds the Galatians and us that he is an apostle sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul did not, in his own flesh, decide to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was chosen by God for this specific task.

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry—Romans 11:13 (NIV)

Then Paul goes on to remind them and us that we have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Encouraging each other is something we should practice everyday until it becomes a habit. In the turbulent society that we live in today, we all need encouragement and a reminder that there is a safe harbor for us to come to when we need rest and peace.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.—Psalm 4:7 (NIV)

10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.​—1 Thess. 5:10-11 (NIV)

Peace and rest are just two of the gifts we receive because we are joint heirs with Jesus. His obedience to death on the cross brought glory to the Father. Our obedience in living for Jesus will bring more glory to the Father forever and ever.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Jesus Told Him”

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”—John 21:18-19 (NLT)

Jesus is prophesying to Peter about how he would die. Peter was led to the cross by others and was crucified upside down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to be executed in the same method that Jesus was executed. At least eight of the twelve apostles died as martyrs with two, Peter and Andrew, being crucified. There are some leaders that teach that life as a Christian is free of stress and problems. This is not validated by a study of the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is taught.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33 (NLT)

Jesus tells us in this verse that we will have trials and sorrows. Not just the normal troubles of those in the world, but more because we love and obey Him. But He also tells us that we can have total peace in Him. His peace is not a lack of trouble or violence, it is peace that we can access in the midst of all that. Jesus has overcome the world and we are overcomers through Him. We can’t be conquerors and overcomers if there are no problems to overcome or no mountains to conquer.

Conquerors

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Peace of Mind and Heart”

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – John 14:27 NLT

Peace

God has sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us. He sent the Spirit in the name of Jesus. That is the Trinity of God — Father, Son,and Spirit. They are one and the same but with different functions. God created, Jesus redeemed and the Spirit calls us to accept Jesus and be a child of God. Jesus gives us the gift of peace. It is not peace that means there are no wars or violence or problems in our lives.That is what the world thinks of as peace. But true peace, the peace that Jesus gave us is the kind that keeps us calm in the middle of a storm, in the middle of medical emergencies, financial emergencies or any other bad situation that you can name. The peace of God is available to every child of God, but we have to decide to accept it and abide in that peace, just as we had to decide to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We can accept the peace that Jesus offers us or we can hang onto our cares and worries and let the devil devour our peace and joy.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.–1 Peter 5:6-8 (NLT)

Humbling ourselves under the hand of God means that we completely agree with Him that He can and will do exactly what He said He would do. To believe anything less than that is to deny the Omniscience, Omnipresence and the Omnipotence of the great God that we serve.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 06-04-2020