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!

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!

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!

Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV – Who am I?

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

God knew our every part before time began. He formed us and molded us to be His image. Marvelous are His works. So why are there times when we think of ourselves as less than God’s masterpiece?

God’s power is revealed in His creation and it bears witness to God’s wisdom. We are who God wants us to be. God did not create us to become someone other than what He intended. His wisdom has been imparted in us to be exactly what He desires. And God’s desire, for us to be what He has called and made us to be, never dwindles. He pursues us so that He can continue to mold us. He is the potter and we are the clay.

So I ask again, why do we think of ourselves as less than God’s masterpiece? Because we look at ourselves through our own eyes and emotions. The world speaks a lot about being the best. It pours out billions and billions of dollars to advertise just how we should think, what we should look like, all to improve our self-image thus improving our self-respect.

Self-respect is defined as a sense of personal worth and dignity. Scripture points to the need for believers to ground their self-respect in God himself, rather than trusting in the opinion and valuation of other individuals or society as a whole. The basis of self-respect is a relationship with God.

God’s strength is the source of self-respect. “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me”. (2 Timothy 4:17 NKJV) So our personal worth or how we look at ourselves is grounded in God’s strength and a disciplined life in Christ. When we walk and live in Christ, we have relationship with Him. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV) The world does not define us. Christ defines us. The world doesn’t have to agree with that. But that’s ok.

Friend, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you in His image and it was “very good”. When you begin to feel less than adequate or you begin to feel that the world’s viewpoint is better, than stop. Stop and think about this and then go to God in prayer. Allow God to pour into you the truth. The world is not the truth. Jesus is the truth. ““I am the way, the truth, and the life”. (John 14:6 NKJV) Building a relationship with God through prayer and the study of God’s Word is foundational to changing the way we sometimes think of ourselves. Ask the Lord to allow you to see through His eyes. You will then begin to understand how He is the Master craftsman and you are His masterpiece.

O Holy Lord, thank You that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We thank You that we were made in Your image to do good things. You knew us before time began and molded us in our mother’s womb to be exactly what You desired. Guide us and teach us Holy Spirit to walk in the ways of the Lord so that we can shine as God’s masterpiece. For Your glory and honor. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 90:17 NKJV – Your presence is all we need

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.

The beauty of the Lord encompasses so many things. He is glorious. He is matchless. He is wonderful. He is all loving. He is Almighty. In the midst of life, in wilderness or not, it’s the blessing of God’s own presence which gives meaning and joy. When we are wandering in the wilderness of life, we may not leave any monuments or boast to any of our own accomplishments, but God will give eternal significance to the deeds of hands that serve Him. It is God that establishes the work of our hands. It is God who receives the glory.

There are times when we just “keep on keepin on” because we are called by God to live out His will in our lives. We press in when it gets tough. We labor in the face of discouragement. We endure the hardships. The reason? It’s all about Jesus. God gave His all for us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) Now we give our all for Him.

An essential part in the life of believers is more than a matter of external observance. It’s more than a matter of what other people will observe, but it’s a total commitment to God. We serve because He served. We love because He is love. We give because He gave. We submit because He submitted. We press in toward the goal because He established our prize. We give our all because He is our all in all. And if others see our service as being different, or see us as “peculiar”, than glory to God. Pleasing God involves inward attitudes, not simply external observance. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18 NKJV)

The beauty of all of this comes from the eternal and everlasting desire for God to spend eternity with His creation. His desire to be with us has never changed. His gift to us, Jesus, opened the gateway to God’s presence. Jesus Christ is the way to engage God’s Holy presence. Jesus Christ is the way to eternal life. Jesus Christ was given to us because God loved us first. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19 NKJV) And when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, God continues with His promise to establish the work of our hands.

No matter what we may face, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter the time or the day, no matter how severe our situation is, as believers, God will establish the work of our hands. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) And if we keep our eyes on God and if what we accomplish by the hand of God touches someone else’s life, than Praise God!

Friend, join me today in prayer, thanking God for His work in us. Thank God that He prepared beforehand the good works we would do. Thank God that He establishes our way for His purpose and His glory. And thank God for giving us His Son, Jesus, as our gateway to His glory.

Precious and eternal God. Thank You that since the beginning of time You desired to spend eternity with Your creation. Thank You that You establish the work of our hands. Keep us Lord as we serve You. Strengthen us with Your mighty hand. Restore us Lord when we become weary. Thank You God that You gave Your all for us, Your Son Jesus, so that we can receive Your greatest gift. May all we say and do give glory to Your name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!