Isaiah 32:17-19 NKJV – In His rest

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings and in quiet resting places, though hail comes down on the forest, and the city is brought low in humiliation.

The Holy Spirit brings a sense of well-being, contentment and wholeness to believers whatever their outward circumstances. Peace is therefore an indication of the Holy Spirit’s presence. What an incredible promise and thought. Especially in the times in which we live. It seems that there is torment and turmoil on every corner.

We find that the Holy Spirit brings peace of mind to those facing difficult decisions. “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:19 NKJV) My wife and I have been in a season of challenge and some might say, “a season of struggle”. There have been times over the last several months where our faith has been fully tested. Our trust was challenged it seemed almost every day.

But one of the things we found as God walked with us during this time was God’s amazing desire to gather us up. God brought us out of the situation as we called upon His name and brought us to a spiritual rest where the peace of God truly surpassed all understanding. It continues to be in those quiet times when all that is left is God, do we find our greatest strength and joy. This rest is promised to all who place their trust in God. Spiritual rest is found only in God. “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 NKJV)

This is God-given assurance. It’s a promise to all of us. This assurance produces spiritual maturity and stability, so that believers may withstand the adverse conditions of life. Friend, we will stumble and sometimes forget the powerful assurance that God gives to us through the promises of His Word. We are human. But we have hope. Hope in the One who defeated all temptation, all struggle, all circumstances, and all sin. The Resurrection power of Jesus Christ conquers all that we face. When grounded in God, hope provides the motivation to live the Christian life even in the face of trouble and un-rest.

Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place our trust and faith in You and Your Word. God, we live in a world tossed around by turmoil and un-rest. But Praise God that we don’t have to fear because through You and Your loving care we have hope. We come to You Lord with our cares and struggles and place them before Your throne. We lift up our praises to You and thank You for delivering us. Holy Spirit come and encourage us as we walk together to fulfill Your plan. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Don’t’ believe me, believe God!

Colossians 3:15 NKJV – The peace of God

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Sometimes we choose to live our lives outside of the peace of God. Yet as believers, we are called to be a lighthouse for the Lord; to be a showcase of the reconciliation and peace Jesus Christ has brought to us. The world should see in us His love, His forgiveness and His grace. Sometimes we choose to take hold of the world instead of taking hold of the hand of Jesus.

Peace is found only in God and is maintained through having a close relationship with Him. John 15: 4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Here Jesus emphasizes a steadfastness needed in a relationship with Him. This personal relationship begins with faith. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

So why do you suppose we would want to live outside of the peace of God. I believe it’s a trust and submission issue. Failure to trust may be a result of a betrayal of trust in the past. But we can be assured that God will not fail us. We can put our trust in God’s power and strength, His unfailing love, and certainly in God’s salvation through His Son, Jesus. Trust in God is nurtured through His revealed truth.

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV) The faithfulness of Jesus in shown in His character because He is the truth. He is the way. He is life. (John 14:6 NKJV) The peace that is found in Jesus Christ is a supreme remedy for all of our fears and it is a legacy that He left for each and every one of us because we are His heirs.

When was the last time we prayed for the peace of God to be upon us, our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, our church, etc?   The world is a fallen place. The world does not look out for us and cares not for our peaceful existence. The peace of God can only be found in Jesus and a relationship with Him. Join me as we make it a part of daily prayer that the peace of God would rule in our hearts and the in lives around us. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV)

Dear Lord, thank You that the peace we need to live in this world is found only in You. Thank You that You are constantly watching over us and waiting for us to simply submit to You. May we always walk in Your hand as You guide and direct us. May the peace of God rule in our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Forgive us Lord when we place our trust in the world to help us get through the day. May we turn back towards You in repentance and receive Your forgiveness and restoration. We love You Lord, and pray in Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV – Cast all our cares upon You

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

A dear friend of mine from Florida, Bob, posted this prayer one day and it caused me to stop what I was doing, read it again, and pray. Thanks Bob!

Prayer of the day: Father God. Thank you for your reminders that we need never carry things alone. That many times, the burden we carry is not ours at all. Thank you that you have reassured us over and over that you care for each of your children and will never let even one of them go. Amen

I needed this reminder that the Lord is with me at every moment, at every step. God never leaves me alone. And He is able to carry the load of my life if I allow Him to do so. When I think about what constitutes the “load of my life”, it’s consists of my work, being able to get by in this world, the worries I have that my children are fine, being able to support my wife as a husband should, just being able to keep a smile on my face living in this world today. Some of you might say, “Now wait a minute! Aren’t you supposed to get through all this? You’re a Christian! Your faith should sustain you.”

Like I said before, “I needed this reminder.” My faith in the Lord does sustain me. I live in the knowledge of who God is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) Yet, there are times we all fall into the snare of the enemy and discouragement and worry takes over. Today’s post is about releasing our worry to God.

When we release our worry to God, He is there to take care of it and take it away; replacing it with His peace.   It’s all about letting go. God’s desire is for all of us to walk with Him in total confidence of His saving grace and His love for us. But sometimes we get in the way of that. It’s like saying to God, “Lord, I just have a few things I need to take care of. I’ll catch up to you in just a minute or so.” That’s pride. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24 NKJV) Our union with Jesus Christ is the basis for our encouragement. It brings into our lives all of the benefits of being a child of God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

The Message paraphrase says this in Proverbs 29:23, “Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.” The recipe for releasing worry and the pride that sometimes goes along with it, is PRAYER. It seems to always be about PRAYER. Maybe that’s why God reminds us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV)

Lord, thank You for Your reminders that You love us and care for us and that You desire that we need not to carry our burdens alone. You are with us always; even to the end of the age. Help us to remember to pray and to allow You to move in our lives so that we can walk with You in freedom and humility. You are our God and we are Your children. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV – What kind of peace do you desire?

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

I don’t know about you, but I desire to be at peace all the time. Life’s tough enough to be constantly agitated or disturbed. One of the things that I don’t like is coming home from work and bringing home “the office”. Or some might say bring home “work”. What I mean to say is that sometimes the work environment gets to be so stressful that you literally bring home that stress and the emotions that go with it. I despise not being at peace when I come home.

I love my wife, Nancy, so much that I try not to bring the worries and troubles of the office home with me. As a matter of fact, one of my greatest joys is to see Nancy’s smile. If I were to bring home all of the disturbances that occur at work, I might miss that bright smile. And that would break my heart.

What this scripture verse is reminding us to do is to keep our thoughts and our minds fixed on God. When we do that, it demonstrates our trust in Him. This is accomplished through prayer and meditation. The Apostle Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” and he follows with, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:7-9 NKJV) Hallelujah!

Our foundational verse in the Book of Isaiah is a promise from God. It doesn’t say that God might, it says that God will. And what kind of peace does God promise? Perfect peace. Peace that is perfect in all ways with no lack or defect. Let’s fix our minds on God and trust Him and let’s carry with us His perfect peace. You never know when God might use you to demonstrate His perfect peace to someone else. What an opportunity that would be to share the love of Jesus.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect peace. Thank You for this promise. As we set our thoughts on You, pour out Your peace upon us. Forgive us Lord when we allow the stresses of this world to overtake us. Help us to turn our eyes upon You, our Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 12:25 NKJV – Breaking the chain of anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.

Anxiety is a crippling emotion. It grips a person and causes lots of other problems; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Doctors say it can cause many ailments and diseases in people. Some people feel trapped, alone, and by themselves as a result of anxiety. I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to sound here that I have this emotion all figured out. I don’t. I still deal with this emotion from time to time. Some of you reading this know all about anxiety and what it can do. My prayers are with you.

But what I’m talking about here is what God thinks about anxiety and how He instructs us about this emotion. There is such a thing as a “ministry of encouragement”. The ministry of encouragement is more than a superficial word. It’s a spoken word that is an important aspect of caring for one another. In the book of James it says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16 NKJV) We see anxiety all around us. We see it in our family, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and even feel it ourselves. The bible tells us clearly how Jesus dealt with those He saw. It says that, “He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34 NKJV) The multitude were those who Jesus walked with, talked with, and ministered to. An encouraging word is a compassionate word. It is given to uplift someone above what they are facing. It is directed to move their mind from where they are to another place. A place of peace and a place of love.

The first part of Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine”. The second part says, “but a broken spirit dries the bones.” I desire more of the first part then the latter. But the latter describes exactly what anxiety does to a person. It dries you up to where there is no life giving flow any more. Overcoming this emotion is very important to God. He desires for us to be free; to have the chains broken of anxiety that rob our joy. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV, says “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.”

I feel that I’m talking to someone who will read this and understand what I’m talking about. God has called each of us to be an establisher and a builder of His Kingdom. I believe that means to be an encourager. One who is willing to share a kind word, build up someone who is down, and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ.

Let me share a secret with you. When I am full of anxiety or worry and I set my emotions aside to encourage another person, what I am worried about just seems to wither away. At least for that moment. Encouraging others is a medicine for the heart; both theirs and our own. When we go to God in prayer and make known to Him what causes us worry and receive that peace, and then partner that with bringing encouragement to another person’s life, we are bringing God’s promises to life. What a tremendous formula for freedom.

Great and glorious God, thank You that You care so much for us. That You want the chains of anxiety to be broken for good. That we can call upon You and make our emotions known to You and receive Your peace. Help us to have a revelation moment when the grip of worry and anxiety leave us and may we give You all the honor and praise. Thank You for Your Word Lord and help us live a life of encouragement and compassion for others. May we be more and more like Jesus. In Jesus Name we pray. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 14:16 KJV – The Comforter

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

What an incredible promise of the Lord. Jesus was giving final instructions to His disciples on what was next. What would lie ahead for them. This was Jesus reassurance to them. That God would send “another” Comforter. The true meaning here in the word “another” is from the Greek word “allos” which means “another of the same sort”. Jesus was telling His disciples that the Comforter would be just like Him, an exact representation of Himself. The disciples were hearing that even though Jesus was leaving, God cared enough for them to send His Holy Spirit who would live and abide with them forever.

Wow! I remember hearing this passage as a new believer and it impacted me a great deal. It gave me a feeling of great security in Christ; that the Holy Spirit would live and reside in me to guide me along the way of serving Jesus. I realized I wasn’t going to have to follow Jesus alone and be a servant of Him all by myself. That God had sent “another”, just like Jesus to walk with me, to guide me, to teach me, to comfort me. In my prayers in the morning, I try to remember to pray that the Holy Spirit direct my path so that everything that I say and do would bring honor and glory to God. What great love God has for us that since the beginning of time, God’s plan was to be with us at all times. Thank You, God!!!

Heavenly God, thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to be with us and live in us. To guide us as we live our lives. Help me, God, to seek Your Holy Spirit in time of need, in time of trouble, when I need direction, or when the world overcomes me and I need a Comforter. Help me to not try to figure it out all by myself but seek You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV – Find His 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.

The yoke is a piece of rigging with which a team of oxen or horses are tied together and come under the control of the one driving them. It is a cross bar which rides on the shoulders and then is linked around the head of the animal with a ‘U’ shaped piece. For humans, there are two kinds of yokes in life. The yoke of the world is filled with things that create burdens and cause weariness in people. The other yoke of life is the spiritual yoke which Christ invites all of us to take upon ourselves. This yoke is a symbol of partnership. Partnership in Jesus Christ’s service. This yoke again binds us together with Christ, but we must give up the yoke of the world, in order to take on the yoke of Christ. Did you get that? First, we must give up, take off, throw down, the yoke of the world, in order for us to take on, put on, and wear with joy the yoke of Christ.

When we learn and experience Jesus, we find the very Lord of the universe to be humble. Yes, Jesus is humble. He also desires for us to be like Him. He desires for us to come to Him with a humble heart, promising then to lift us up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NKJV) In this humbleness, we will find rest for our souls. I remember times when in the quietness of prayer, in the stillness of the room, God manifested His rest upon me. There were times where I felt being lifted up and I hovered above where I was. This isn’t something mystical. This is the presence of God and His hands were lifting me. When we set aside all that engulfs us, all that the world throws at us, all that distracts us, and simply quiet ourselves before Him, I suspect or rather I believe that kind of humble submission beckons God to encounter us. He has with me. There we find God’s rest. His yoke is then easy because He bears the load. Hallelujah!!!

Dear Lord. Thank You for inviting us to take Your yoke upon us. Help us so that the heaviness of the world’s yoke doesn’t break us down. In Your lovingkindness, You bring us to the point of humbleness where we can encounter Your rest. Bind us together, Lord, and lift us up. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!