Give Thanks, Get Peace

Philippians 4.4-7 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Note the progression of events:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always.
  2. Rejoice!
  3. Let your moderation (gentleness, mildness, fairness – all of which come through Jesus) be evident to all. The Lord is with you.
  4. Be careful for nothing (like Matthew 6.25 Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.).
  5. Talk to God about your requests via prayer and supplication
    1. WITH THANKSGIVING
  6. And then what?
    • PEACE!
    • Peace which passes all understanding!
    • This peace shall keep your hearts and minds
    • How?
      1. Through Jesus Christ

~ sigh ~ Don’t we all want peace in our hearts and minds? Family, friends, the world may rage around us, but we can have peace in our hearts and minds. We can display that peace to all around us.

Have you noticed that peace calls to peace? Peace – as in “Jesus is our Peace” – is tangible and evident in our lives. When we encounter someone else who has that same Peace, we notice; it draws us. Others are drawn to us who have that Peace. We have kindred Spirits.

We can all achieve that peace in our hearts and minds through thanksgiving.

Talk to God. Bring Him your thoughts, your supplications, your fears and worries and dreams. And in all of it, give Him thanks. Give bountifully. We can thank God in all things and for all things because we know that He loves us infinitely and unconditionally. We know that He really is taking good care of us. Our perspective isn’t the same as His, so we don’t see it all. But He does. And He is wrapping His loving arms around us with everlasting tenderness.

Remember:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord
  2. Give it all to God
  3. Talk to Him
  4. Thank God for everything
  5. Receive His Peace.

Praying Psalm 119 Over a Loved One

Praying God’s Word back to Him carries the power of His Word. God teaches us how to pray in His Word, and we may use His Words to make our hearts’ cry to Him.

Psalm 119 is an intense passage of praise for God, His law, His Word, and the force of that Word in the lives of us all. If you are praying for salvation for a loved one (or for one who has gone astray, or who never did grasp the authority and jurisdiction of God in his life), here is one way to pray God’s Word over that loved one. This can be prayed often, over a long period of time. The words here are geared toward a male; however, God’s Word is personal, and you may use this as He leads you. After reading this, return to your Bible and pray your own prayers as you read and meditate on God’s Word.

Of course, another of the true powers of prayer is that prayer changes the pray-er.

Galatians 6.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

א
ALEPH.

1 May ___ be blessed and undefiled in his way, may he walk in the law of the LORD.

2 I pray Your blessing upon ___, that he keeps Your testimonies, and that he seeks You with his whole heart.

3 May he also do no iniquity: may he walk in Your ways.

4 Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts diligently.

5 O that ___’s ways were directed to keep Thy statutes!

6 Then he shall not be ashamed, when he has respect unto all Thy commandments.

7 He will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when he shall have learned Thy righteous judgments.

8 I pray ___ will keep Thy statutes: O forsake him not utterly.

ב
BETH.

9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.

10 May ___ seek Thee with his whole heart: O let him not wander from Thy commandments.

11 May he hide Thy Word in his heart, that he might not sin against Thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach ___ Thy statutes.

13 With his lips may he declare all the judgments of Thy mouth.

14 May he rejoice in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 May he meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.

16 May he delight himself in Thy statutes, and not forget Thy word.

ג
GIMEL.

17 Deal bountifully with Thy servant, ___ that he may live, and keep Thy Word.

18 Open thou his eyes, that he may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.

19 He is a stranger in the earth: hide not Thy commandments from him.

20 Break his soul for longing unto Thy judgments at all times.

21 Rebuke his pride that he may not be cursed, as he errs from Thy commandments.

22 Heap upon him reproach and contempt; for he has not kept Thy testimonies.

23 As princes sit and speak against him: let Thy servant meditate in Thy statutes.

24 Make Thy testimonies his delight and his counselors.

ד
DALETH.

25 ___’s soul cleaves unto the dust: quicken thou him according to Thy word.

26 Cause him to declare his ways, and You will hear him: teach him Thy statutes.

27 Make him to understand the way of Thy precepts: so shall he talk of Thy wondrous works.

28 Melt his soul for heaviness: and strengthen thou him according unto Thy Word.

29 Remove from him the way of lying: and grant him Thy law graciously.

30 Cause ___ to choose the way of truth: lay Thy judgments before him.

31 He has not stuck unto Thy testimonies: O LORD, put him to shame.

32 Cause him to run the way of Thy commandments, then Thou shalt enlarge his heart.

ה
HE.

33 Teach ___, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes; cause him to keep it unto the end.

34 Give him understanding, that he shall keep Thy law; yea, that he shall observe it with his whole heart.

35 Make him to go in the path of Thy commandments; show him the delight therein.

36 Incline his heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away his eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken Thou him in Thy way.

38 Stablish Thy Word unto Thy servant, cause him to be devoted to Thy fear.

39 Make him to dread Thy reproach, and to fear it: for Thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, cause him to long after Thy precepts: quicken him in Thy righteousness.

ו
VAU.

41 Let Thy mercies come also unto ___, O LORD, even Thy salvation, according to Thy word.

42 So shall he have wherewith to answer him that reproaches him: may he trust in Thy word.

43 And take not the word of Truth utterly out of his mouth; may he hope in Thy judgments.

44 So shall he keep Thy law continually for ever and ever.

45 And he will walk at liberty as he seeks Thy precepts.

46 May he ever speak of Thy testimonies also before kings, and not be ashamed.

47 May he delight himself in Thy commandments, and love them.

48 May he lift up also his hands unto Thy commandments, may he love them, and meditate in Thy statutes.

ז
ZAIN.

49 Remember the word unto Thy servant, cause ___ to have hope in Thy Word.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Thy word hath quickened me – Thy Word can also quicken him.

51 His pride has had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from Thy law.

52 May he learn Thy judgments of old, O LORD; and take comfort in them.

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of his wickedness – he forsakes Thy law!

54 Make Thy statutes to be his songs in the house of his pilgrimage.

55 May he remember Thy name, O LORD, in the night, and keep Thy law.

56 This I have, because I keep Thy precepts; I pray that peace for him, as well.

ח
HETH.

57 Make Thyself ___’s portion, O LORD: I pray he would keep Thy words.

58 May he intreat Thy favour with his whole heart: be merciful unto him according to Thy Word.

59 Cause him to think upon his ways, and turn his feet unto Thy testimonies.

60 May he make haste, and delay not to keep Thy commandments.

61 Though the bands of the wicked have robbed him: may he not forget Thy law.

62 At midnight may he rise to give thanks unto Thee because of Thy righteous judgments.

63 Make him a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.

64 The earth, O LORD, is full of Thy mercy: teach him Thy statutes.

ט
TETH.

65 Deal well with Thy servant, O LORD, according unto Thy Word.

66 Teach ___ good judgment and knowledge: cause him to believe Thy commandments.

67 Afflict him as he goes astray: direct him to keep Thy word.

68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach him Thy statutes.

69 He is proud, and has forged a lie against me: keep me strong in Thy precepts with my whole heart.

70 His heart is as fat as grease; turn him to delight in Thy law.

71 It is good for him that he is afflicted; that he might learn Thy statutes.

72 Make the law of Thy mouth better unto him than thousands of gold and silver.

י
IOD.

73 Thy hands have made ___ and fashioned him: give him understanding, that he may learn Thy commandments.

74 I pray it will come to pass that they that fear Thee will be glad when they see him; because he has hoped in Thy word.

75 Cause him to know, O LORD, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted him.

76 Let, I pray thee, Thy merciful kindness be for his comfort, according to Thy word unto Thy servant.

77 Let Thy tender mercies come unto him, that he may live: make Thy law his delight.

78 Let him be ashamed of his pride; for he dealt perversely with me without a cause: cause him to meditate in Thy precepts.

79 Let those that fear Thee turn unto him, and those that have known Thy testimonies (that he may have those about him to lead him unto You).

80 Let his heart become sound in Thy statutes; that he be not ashamed.

כ
CAPH.

81 Make ___’s soul faint for Thy salvation: bring him hope in Thy word.

82 Cause his eyes to fail for Thy word, saying, When wilt Thou comfort me?

83 Make him become like a bottle in the smoke; do not let him forget Thy statutes.

84 How many are the days of Thy servant? when wilt Thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

85 His pride has digged pits for himself, which are not after Thy law.

86 All Thy commandments are faithful: he persecutes me wrongfully; help Thou me.

87 He had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not Thy precepts.

88 Quicken us after Thy lovingkindness; that we may keep the testimony of Thy mouth.

ל
LAMED.

89 For ever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.

90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

91 They continue this day according to Thine ordinances: for all are Thy servants.

92 Unless Thy law become ___’s delights, he should then perish in his affliction.

93 Do not let him forget Thy precepts: for with them Thou quicken.

94 I pray he is Thine, save him; cause him to seek Thy precepts.

95 His wickedness has waited to destroy him: may he consider Thy testimonies.

96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but Thy commandment is exceeding broad.

מ
MEM.

97 O cause ___ to love Thy law! May it be his meditation all the day.

98 Thou through Thy commandments will make him wiser than his enemies: for they are ever with him.

99 Give him more understanding than all his teachers: make Thy testimonies his meditation.

100 Cause him to understand more than the ancients, as he keeps Thy precepts.

101 I pray he refrains his feet from every evil way, that he might keep Thy word.

102 Let him not depart from Thy judgments: I pray You will teach him.

103 Make Your Words sweet unto his taste! yea, sweeter than honey to his mouth!

104 Through Thy precepts he gets understanding: therefore I pray he learns to hate every false way.

נ
NUN.

105 Make Thy word a lamp unto ___’s feet, and a light unto his path.

106 May he swear, and perform it, that he will keep Thy righteous judgments.

107 He is afflicted very much: quicken him, O LORD, according unto Thy word.

108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach him Thy judgments.

109 Cause him to put his soul into Your hand: do not let him forget Thy law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for him: let him err not from Thy precepts.

111 Thy testimonies may he take as an heritage for ever: make them the rejoicing of his heart.

112 May he incline his heart to perform Thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

ס
SAMECH.

113 Cause ___ to hate vain thoughts: but love Thy law.

114 Become his hiding place and his shield: cause him to hope in Thy word.

115 Sweep away the evildoers from him: that he may keep the commandments of his God.

116 Uphold him according unto Thy word, that he may live: and let him not be ashamed of his hope.

117 Hold thou him up, and he shall be safe: and he will have respect unto Thy statutes continually.

118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from Thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore make him to love Thy testimonies.

120 Cause his flesh to tremble for fear of thee; make him afraid of Thy judgments.

ע
AIN.

121 He has not done judgment and justice: leave him to his oppressors.

122 Be surety for Thy servant for good: let his pride oppress him.

123 Cause ___’s eyes to fail for Thy salvation, and for the Word of Thy righteousness.

124 Deal with Thy servant according unto Thy mercy, and teach him Thy statutes.

125 Make him Thy servant; give him understanding, that he may know Thy testimonies.

126 It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for he has made void Thy law.

127 I pray ___ would love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

128 And that he would esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and that he would hate every false way.

פ
PE.

129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: may ___’s soul keep them.

130 The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

131 Open his mouth, and cause him to pant as he longs for Thy commandments.

132 Look thou upon him, and be merciful unto him, as thou usest to do unto those that love Thy name.

133 Order his steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over him.

134 Deliver him from the oppression of man, and cause him to keep Thy precepts.

135 Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; and teach him Thy statutes.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because he keeps not Thy law.

צ
TZADE.

137 Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are Thy judgments.

138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

139 May zeal consume ___, because as Thine enemy, he has forgotten Thy words.

140 Thy word is very pure: therefore Thy servant loveth it.

141 He is small and despised: do not let him forget Thy precepts.

142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on both of us: make Thy commandments his delights.

144 The righteousness of Thy testimonies is everlasting: give him understanding, and he shall live.

ק
KOPH.

145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: cause ___ to keep Thy statutes.

146 I cried unto thee; save him, that he shall keep Thy testimonies.

147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hope in Thy word.

148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that he might meditate in Thy word.

149 Hear my voice according unto Thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken him according to Thy judgment.

150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: he is far from Thy law.

151 Thou art near, O LORD; and all Thy commandments are truth.

152 Concerning Thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

ר
RESH.

153 Consider ___’s affliction, and deliver him: do not let him forget Thy law.

154 Plead my cause, and deliver him: quicken him according to Thy word.

155 Salvation is far from him because he is wicked: for he seeks not Thy statutes.

156 Great are Thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken him according to Thy judgments.

157 Many are his persecutors and his enemies; do not let him decline from Thy testimonies.

158 I behold his transgressions, and am grieved, O LORD; because he keeps not thy word.

159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken him, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.

160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of Thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

ש
SHIN.

161 Princes persecute him: may his heart stand in awe of Thy word.

162 May ___ rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

163 He does not hate and abhor lying: cause him to love Thy law.

164 Seven times a day may he praise thee because of Thy righteous judgments.

165 Grant him great peace when he loves Thy law: may nothing offend him.

166 LORD, I have hoped for Thy salvation upon him, may he do Thy commandments.

167 May his soul keep Thy testimonies; and love them exceedingly.

168 May he keep Thy precepts and Thy testimonies: for all his ways are before thee.

ת
TAU.

169 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give ___ understanding according to Thy word.

170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver him according to Thy word.

171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught him Thy statutes.

172 My tongue shall speak of Thy word: for all Thy commandments are righteousness.

173 Let thine hand help him as he chooses Thy precepts.

174 May ___ long for Thy salvation, O LORD; make Thy law his  delight.

175 Let his soul live, that it shall praise thee; and let Thy judgments help him.

176 He has gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant; do not let him forget Thy commandments.

Our Authorities

Romans 13.1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

God Himself has instituted and ordained our governing powers; they are our authorities. Furthermore, God holds the hearts of our authorities: Proverbs 21.1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Romans 13.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Clearly, we are to obey our governing authorities: Their authority comes from God, and we are to obey God. Damnation is a severe consequence of resistance.

Is it ever right to resist authority? In Acts 5, the apostles were commanded not to teach in Jesus’ name. They responded in verse 29: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Why should we submit to our governing authorities if we don’t like what they do? Don’t we live in a democracy? Don’t we have the right to protest? After all, our governing authorities gave us that right.

Romans 13.3-5 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Before you protest, before you rant and rave:

  1. Be sure you are obeying God. How to know if you are in obedience to God? Read His Word. Study it: 2 Timothy 2.15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  2. Be sure your actions are motivated in love, and be sure you love rightly. Love God first. Luke 10.27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
  3. Be sure you are acting, speaking, and thinking in peace. Remember, peace has nothing to do with how you feel, nor with circumstances or people around you. Peace is a right standing with God. Romans 14.19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
  4. Be sure your efforts are to bring glory to God. Proverbs 6.16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

What if you’re right? What if you are acting in peace (bringing others to God in love)? Edifying others? Glorifying God? The apostles, and Jesus Himself, certainly stirred things up, but they were obedient, always giving glory to God and honoring Him and His Ways. 2 Corinthians 4.2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

God divides. His truth divides, His Word divides: Hebrews 4.12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Allow God to decide the divisions. That is not our job; it is His. We are to speak the truth in love, and let God work in the hearts of others.

We are to remain steadfast and loyal to God alone. If He prompts to enter into political activities, then enter in. However God directs you, work in obedience to Him. But remember: God instituted our governing authorities; He guides our authorities with their hearts in His hands; and He loves us abundantly, overwhelmingly, and perfectly.

Knowing that, knowing God, is peace.

God Divides

In our present times, there is much call to unite. But I present the truth of God Who does not unite, but Who divides.

One of God’s first tasks was to divide the light from the darkness (Genesis 1.4). He divides the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25.31-33); the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13.24-30).

God still divides the light from the darkness. He will forever divide the light from the darkness.

In the Old Testament, God separated His people Israel from the rest of the people of the world. Israel was to be an example, a beacon of light to invite all others to come worship the Lord God; but Israel was not to unite with others of the world.

Jesus, Himself, said that He came not to give peace, but to divide: Luke 12.51-53 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

We who follow God, who are His chosen and called, who have God’s very Holy Spirit living within, are not called to unite with the rest of the world. Yes, we are called to be peacemakers. However, that does not mean to unite ourselves with them, does not mean to compromise our Biblical values to fit with their values, thinking that we can live in peace. No. The only way to peace is to fall on our faces and obey God Almighty. We invite others to join us in worshiping the only true God. But we do not unite by stepping out of our own faith.

Do not follow a man who makes promises to unify. No man can promise peace. The only unity that exists is unity in the Spirit of God. If a man preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified, then follow the One to Whom he points.

If you are a child of the Most High, if you have His Holy Spirit within you, fall on your knees and worship Him by your obedience in heart, soul, mind, attitude, words, and strength.

Jesus’ words in Luke 12. 51-53 reflect what God told us in Micah 7.5, 6 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

But look! Micah continues with God’s promises (vs 7-9) Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

Do you catch your breath and get goosebumps at the power in God’s Word??

Go forth with the understanding that you are not called to unite people together in peace. You are called to worship God, to call others to Him, and to let God decide who will join Him in peace and unity; and who will be cast into outer darkness.

1 John 3.1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Those whom God calls will know us, will unite the Spirit within them with His Spirit within us. For those who do not know us, it is because they do not know God. We must not unite with them. As we bow to God’s will, leave them to God’s will.

Why Read the Bible

WhyReadTheBible

2 Timothy 3.15 – 17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

First, let’s get some foundation:

  1. The Bible is Truth.
  2. The Bible is God’s inerrant Word.
  3. The Bible contains all we need for righteous living.
  4. The Bible is God’s love letter to us: His way of establishing, maintaining, and deepening our relationship with Him.

Read the Bible to discover Truth. When we don’t read God’s Word, we start making up our own truth, and living the way we think is right. That was the original sin with Adam and Eve: to be like God and know good and evil. Only God’s perspective is Truth. Whatever we think is good or evil is twisted according to our fleshly desires.

Read the Bible to balance your life. John 14.27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Read the Bible to understand yourself better. Hebrews 4.12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Read the Bible to understand how to relate to God. John 14.15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Read the Bible to understand how to relate to other people. Colossians 3.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. God’s Word provides insight into human behavior. It explains why we think the way we do, and how to correct our thinking. It gives us God’s perspective on love. what love is, and how to love one another when our flesh is unwilling.

As you read more of the Bible, it comes back to you more often. Whether you’re watching the news, conversing with others, or completing routine chores, God’s Word interjects itself into your meditations and thoughts. You will be able to make connections that you never thought of before. That’s because reading God’s Word provides wisdom.

Read the Bible in order to understand what not to do: Psalms 119.9-11 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. We must have some sort of plumb line so that we may live righteously. Wrong thinking leads to wrong actions, wrong feelings, depression, anxiety, and a sinful lifestyle.

To gain deeper understanding and appreciation for God’s Word, I direct you to Psalms 119. Read it. Read it often. Read it deeply. Use it as a springboard to read more and more of God’s Word.

Man with a Colt

ManWithAColtimage from google images

In Mark, chapter 11, Jesus sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

And sure enough, certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? The disciples tell them that the Lord has need of it, and the men let them go with the colt.

Whose colt was it? Did it belong to one of the men standing there?

I think that God put it in their hearts to let the colt go. And I think they followed the disciples and the colt, to see what was going on. Perhaps the owner of the colt knew of Jesus and His miracles. Perhaps the owner’s own wife or son or daughter had been healed. Perhaps he had been one of the crowd who had recently watched Lazarus come out of the tomb.

Imagine the owner’s feelings when he saw the garments spread on his colt, saw Jesus Himself sitting upon it, and entering into the city.

The crowd sang praises to Jesus: v9  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Note: The crowd cried “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The word Lord, here, is the same word that was used back in verse 3, when the disciples told the men that “the Lord” had need of the colt. The language was referring to God in both cases.

The colt owner likely got his colt back after it was all over. Maybe he was proud that his own colt had been used for such an important occasion. Maybe his neighbors and friends, who knew of Jesus, came to touch the colt or look at it.

The man with the colt may likely have been one of the crowd, shortly thereafter, who cried “Crucify Him!”

What was the change? I believe, besides the powerful pull of our flesh, that it was the leaders: the Pharisees and scribes. Those Pharisees had immense power. (In John Chapter 9, the parents of a man born blind were afraid to admit to the Pharisees that Jesus had healed their son. Verse 22: These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.) It was a grave thing to be put out of the synagogue: culturally, socially, and emotionally. The Pharisees had the power to put anyone out, and they would use it. The common people were afraid to displease the Pharisees; they felt the Pharisees must be closest to God, since they served Him all day, and knew all the laws and how to follow them. In Matthew 15.12, the disciples were anxious that Jesus had offended the Pharisees.

It is an immense responsibility to have so much power. Luke 12.48 ends with, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

And so the people, and perhaps the man with the colt, cried out, “Crucify Him!” And Jesus prayed His Father, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23.34).

This was the most horrible thing in the history of the world! That we could crucify our Savior! We didn’t know. We were blind. We followed the beliefs of the world.

But God made it all better. We cannot imagine, at any given time, that God can make everything all better. But He can! And He does.

That crucified man was God, Himself, and He rose from the dead to save us from our sins.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

We MUST look carefully at those whom we follow. We are to obey those in authority over us, obey our government. But we must carefully discern. We must use the wisdom God gives us.

Listen, God speaks: I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32.8

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30.20, 21

We live in a momentous time. Take a careful look at who holds power: government, media, religious leaders, and celebrities. Please scrupulously groom your information sources. Use God’s Word as your plumb line and filter all you receive through Him. Pray for His guidance and counsel. When He calls you, be His hands and feet.

Matthew 9.36-38 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Will you be a laborer for God’s glory?

Holding it Together

HoldingItTogether

Do you feel sometimes that it’s getting too hard to hold it all together?

Let it go.

Yep, really. Let go. Take a deep breath. Talk to God. If you are stressed out about overload, you’ll need to have a deep conversation.

God is the One Who holds all things, and Who holds all things together.

Colossians 1.15 – 17 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

These verses in Colossians remind us that

  1. Jesus is God
  2. all things were created by Him – ALL things, whether seen or unseen
  3. All things were created through Him and for Him
  4. He has gone before all things (He knows what’s going on and what’s going to happen, and how it all turns out)
  5. He is holding it all together.

Consider also Hebrews Chapter 4, that famous passage dealing with resting in God.

Hebrews 4.10, 11 For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.

God desires, invites, us to enter His rest. We do that by obedience.

And then there’s that fascinating passage tucked right in there:

Hebrews 4.12, 13 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

God knows what obedience looks like, and He knows our hearts. Are you rushing around with a full plate, stuff spilling off in all directions? Are you feverishly covering that plate with all your might, trying to hold it all together? Are you trying to make that plate look pretty for anyone who is watching?

Drop the plate.

Let God clean up that mess. Kneel down on the floor with Him as He goes through each spill. HE KNOWS YOUR HEART. He designed you. He knows what delights you, what stresses you out, where your comfort zone is, where you need to go to strengthen your heart, and He knows your limits.

Things might look like a mess as you sort all this out with God. People might see you. They might smirk, or offer to help, or look away, or give a hug. Other’s responses are not your territory. That’s between them and God.

Deal with God. Find out what He’d like to see on that plate. Find out how He’d like you to divvy up your time and energy. His wisdom includes being able to see the Big Picture. Ask God why you cherish the things on your plate. Did you think you were doing them all for Him? Psalm 37.4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. It’s true; it’s always been true. Find your delight in God. Ask God what delights you. He created you and knows you; He wants to delight you. Ask Him to help you delete those things that are not delightful, but that are hard to give up. [You can try to find out why you like to hold onto them if you want, but it’s not necessary.]

Study carefully those things that God wants on your plate. The Holy Spirit will fill you with energy and a desire to accomplish those things. Lean on the Lord, draw from His strength, follow His guidance.

Find God’s rest. Delight in Him.

You don’t have to hold it all together; you just have to hold onto God.

Lessons from Exodus

LessonsFromExodus

God gives us so much in His Word! Salvation, teaching, edification, He gives it to us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3.16, 17).

I believe God gives us a picture of the story of His salvation in the book of Exodus. There are parallels and lessons to be drawn, important for us to know in our walk with Him. This is why the Exodus story is re-told throughout the Bible (Psalms, Acts, etc.): it’s important! God has a lesson for us, a message.

I’m pretty sure a whole book or books could be written on the subject, but here is a short list of lessons from Exodus:

    • God chose His people Israel. There was nothing in them that they did or performed or thought that made them special to God among other people. He simply chose them out of the world to symbolize His love and grace; and to be a light for Him in the world to others. Abraham was their father; Jacob (later named Israel) was the patriarch of the twelve tribes.

     

    • Egypt symbolizes sin / the life of sin / our darkness / death / that which is not of God.

     

    • God placed Joseph in Egypt before the family of Israel moved there; Joseph was there to save them. God already had a plan in place for His people.

     

    • Egypt looked pretty good to the Israelites when they first got there. It was a land of plenty (because God had placed Joseph there to provide). They were free to come and go and conduct their business. They were given a special place to call their own when they moved there, Goshen, separate from the Egyptians.

     

    • The Pharaoh who knew the Israelites died, and a new Pharaoh came in. Just like that, Satan and evil can change from looking good to showing his true colors.

     

    • The Egyptians slowly enslaved the Israelites. The Israelites could have moved away prior to their complete enslavement, but life was good, this was their home, and they stayed. They didn’t see what was coming. God gave us another picture of this in the Holocaust: people could not imagine the evil that was coming, this was their home, and they stayed.

     

    • Sin entices us to stay by looking good and/or comfortable. We are slaves to it by the time its true nature is revealed.

     

    • Pharaoh symbolizes worship of false gods. In Egypt, Pharaoh was considered a god. The people looked to him for sunshine or rain or providence, and believed he provided for them. The Israelites, while they lived in Egypt, were drawn to this false worship. They had the stories handed down to them of their fathers, of God and His provision and care; but after 400 years of living in Egypt and of being slaves, they were in complete bondage. Although they believed lies, they still knew the God of their fathers (the midwives feared God, in Exodus 1; in Exodus 2.23, “the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage,” the Word does not specifically say they cried out to God, but He heard them; at the Red sea, in Exodus 14.10, “the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD”).

     

    • God created Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter was kind, and took Moses in. Sometimes the world looks kind and takes care of us. We must see the world for what it is, and obey God in it.

     

    • God called His people out of Egypt. There was no way the Israelites could save themselves. God provided the only way out, and it was miraculous. No one else could have saved the Israelites. The Israelites were God’s chosen people.

     

    • Only the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of the Israelites saved the firstborn from death. Only the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, saves us from death.

     

    • God made the Israelites a stench in the nostrils of the Egyptians. The Egyptians shoved the Israelites out, and gave the Israelites spoils to send them on their way. God’s people are often a stench in the nostrils of the world.

     

    • The Egyptians and Pharaoh wanted the Israelites back after they’d gone. Often, the Israelites wanted Egypt back after they’d gone (“And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt“). Both Egypt and Israel wanted life to go back to the way it was before. The Israelites were in bondage, but at least they knew what to expect in their everyday lives before God started interfering.

     

    • God led Israel out of Egypt in a miraculous way. It could only be via a miracle that they were saved. The Israelites had only to obey God, and follow Him, and He saved them. Even when they did not obey Him, He still saved them: they were His chosen people.

     

    • Moses was a man of God. He stood between God and His people as a beacon, a prayer warrior, a leader, an example, and a governor. God still uses His people in such ways.

     

    • God provided a pillar of light in the darkness and a pillar of cloud in the day, to guide and protect His people. He still provides His Light and Protection in our lives through His Word, and His presence in His Holy Spirit.

     

    • When Pharaoh chased after them with his army, God had His children in a spot where no visible way of escape presented itself. God protected His children with the pillar of fire; He also protected them by allowing no other way of escape. He needed them to know that HE was their salvation, He and no other. When the children of Israel thought there was no way, God made a way; a way no one could think of or invent. God is our only way of escape; we need to look to Him, not anywhere else or to ourselves.

     

    • After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, God allowed them to witness His destruction of Pharaoh and his army. After God saves us, He will allow us to witness His destruction of our enemy: sometimes in this world, but surely at the end of the world when Christ returns. (Note: God destroys the enemy; we have no power to do so.)

     

    • Even after miracles of God’s provision in the desert, the Israelites still complained and turned away from Him. They wanted to depend on other gods.

     

    • In our lives, we all have times in the desert: times of wandering, of wondering where God is, of doubting, of hardships and pain and terror.

     

    • While still in the desert (after He had called them out and saved them from death), God gave His children commandments, rules to follow, ways to behave, and strict mandates on how to worship Him. Why? Because they needed it! They had no idea of how to live righteously, how to live in a healthy manner, how to live in harmony with their brethren, or how to worship God (no idea of His holiness). If they didn’t have rules, they would make their own (as they often did, anyway), and disaster would follow. With rules and commandments, the Israelites had a blueprint, an outline of what a holy life looks like. They would know when they obeyed it, and they would know what disobedience looked like.

     

    • The Israelites feared greatly, and many of them never did depend on God. They said, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?” Yes, for some, God did take them into the wilderness to die. Better for God’s people to die in the wilderness than to die in sin. When they refused to enter the Promised Land because of fear and doubt (and refusing to follow God), God put them back into the wilderness until that generation had died, and a new generation grew up in the fear of the Lord. God knows the end of our days, and how we will respond to Him. He knows when it is better that He take us out of the world.

     

    • God fed them every single day with manna. He always provided water, even in a dry and thirsty land. He still feeds us every single day, and provides Living Water.

     

    • After their wanderings, God led His people to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. This is what a saved life looks like. This new generation was fit for the Lord’s work. They had been toughened in their wilderness journeys, they were brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’s commands, they had not only heard the stories of God’s miracles from their parents, but had witnessed God’s miraculous provisions themselves, each day. Deuteronomy 29.2-6 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.

     

    • God’s children were not led to Canaan to sit back and receive everything. No; they had to fight battles, they had to defend against the enemy, they had to work to provide food, they had to be on the lookout always. They had to keep their eyes on God, and remember where they had been, and what God had done.

     

    • In the Promised Land, the Israelites had God’s testament and commands to follow. Moses had written everything down, had taught it to the people, and had taught it to Joshua. God’s people started out well. But, just as we all do, they fell away.

     

    • The Israelites devastated their Promised Land, just as we have devastated ours. No, not every single child of God forgot Him (God always has a remnant), but as a people, they turned away from Him and invented their own ways and glorified themselves.

     

    • And God judged them. Just as He judges us. He allows and intervenes and provides situations and circumstances and people so that we will look to Him, love Him, follow Him. He still calls to us.

Stumble and Pray

StumbleAndPray

James 3.2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, this one is a perfect man, able indeed to bridle the whole body.

Who among us has not stumbled? Where does that stumbling go afterward?

  • Crawling around, blind
  • Cursing our situation
  • Sitting and wailing and wallowing
  • Jumping up and running into more stumbling blocks
  • Realizing we are on our knees, and praying

If we reverse the order listed above, and first realize we are on our knees, and we pray, then all the other responses are moot.

Hosea 14.9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

1 Peter 2.7, 8 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

There are many ways we stumble. We can trip ourselves in our own sin. We can walk in darkness and stumble over unseen obstacles. Others can trip us, even when we walk in the light.

Although they vary in some ways, stumbling is akin to tribulation. These will happen in our lives. God allows such things. Why? Because He loves us. This is how we learn, how we are disciplined to look up and look to our Savior.

Are you on the ground? Allow yourself to stay there and contemplate. Allow God’s Holy Spirit into your heart to search and try you.

Psalm 139.23, 24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 91.9-15 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.