The Pathway of Peace

Philippians 4:6-7

All of us have responsibilities—whether regarding work, family, community, or church—and we may rightly feel some concern about how to carry out these commitments. When our natural cares get out of
balance, the result is anxiety.

Though Paul faced an inordinate number of trials (2 Cor. 11:23-28), he was able to say, “Be anxious for nothing.” He understood that anxiety reveals a lack of faith—it’s not possible to be worried while fully trusting God. Fretfulness also takes a toll by draining energy and dividing the mind. Besides that, disproportionate apprehension prevents effective service to the Lord by keeping one’s focus self-centered rather than God-centered.

To keep concerns in balance, we must present our requests to God (Phil. 4:6), who is ready, willing, and totally sufficient to handle every care we bring Him. We do this by . . .

• Prayer. The Greek word implies worship and appreciation for God’s attributes, not some panicky thought tossed His way.

• Supplication. Our cry of humility conveys total helplessness and dependence upon almighty God.

• Thanksgiving. We are to approach God without blame or complaint, but with gratefulness that He will ultimately use the difficulty for our good, as He has promised (Rom. 8:28).

Philippians 4:7 says that when we bring God our requests in this way, the result will be His wonderful, inexplicable peace. Realizing this, we should learn to go to Him first—not as a last resort

Stand Firm

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58

As our final project for a high school earth science class, a friend and I built a stream table. With extensive help from my father, we built a long plywood box with a hinge in the middle. Then we lined it with plastic and filled it with sand. At one end we attached a hose. At the other end was a drainage hole. After assembling all of it, we raised one end of the stream table, turned on the water, and watched as it created a path directly to the hole at the other end. The next part of the experiment was to place a rock in the stream and watch how it changed the path of the water.

This project taught me as much about life as it did about science. I learned that I can’t change the direction things are going if I’m on the bank of the river. I have to step into the stream of life and stand there to divert the flow. That’s what Jesus did. The Bible refers to salvation as a rock (2 Sam. 22:47; Ps. 62:2,6-7), and the apostle Paul clarifies that Christ is that Rock (1 Cor. 10:4). God placed Jesus in the stream of history to change its course.

When we remain steadfast in Christ, abounding in the work of the Lord, God uses us to change the course of history through acts of obedience that turn others to Him. by Julie Ackerman Link

The Master is seeking a harvest
In lives He’s redeemed by His blood;
He seeks for the fruit of the Spirit
And works that will glorify God.
—H.S. Lehman. © 1924 H. S. Lehman

Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. —Abraham Lincoln

Catastrophe or Cataclysm

“|God| spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5-6)

These two verses speak graphically of two different kinds of terrible physical convulsions, both of which were divine judgments. The volcanic upheaval that sent fire from heaven pouring over the wicked cities of the plains was called an “overthrow” (Greek katastrophe, from which, obviously, we get our English word “catastrophe”). Great upheavals such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and hurricanes are rightly called catastrophes.

But such events are only local or regional in extent and occur relatively often. There was one event, however, which was unique in all history. When God brought the “flood” upon the ungodly antediluvian world, the word used to describe it was the Greek kataklusmos, and this word is never applied in Scripture to any event except the terrible Genesis Flood, when “the world that then was, being overflowed |Greek katakluzo| with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6). From these Greek words we derive the English word “cataclysm.”

There was never any flood like this flood! It covered all the world’s mountains, and everything on the land died, leaving great fossil deposits and great beds of lithified sediments all over the world.

There has been only one worldwide cataclysm in the past, but another is coming—global fire instead of global water. Jesus said, “For as in the days that were before the flood |i.e., kataklusmos| they . . . knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:38-39). HMM

I called upon him, but he gave me no answer

“I called upon him, but he gave me no answer.” (Songs of Solomon 5:6.)

THE Lord, when He hath given great faith, hath been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered His servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained unmovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges. Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to His own pleasure. If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He will with His own!

No prayer is lost. Praying breath was never spent in vain. There is no such tiling as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things that we count refusals or denials are simply delays.—H. Bonar.

Christ sometimes delays His help that He may try our faith and quicken our prayers. The boat may be covered with the waves, and He sleeps on; but He will wake up before it sinks. He sleeps, but He never oversleeps; and there are no “too lates” with Him.—Alexander Maclaren.

Be still, sad soul! lift thou no passionate cry,
But spread the desert of thy being bare
To the full searching of the All-seeing eye;
Wait! and through dark misgiving, black despair,
God will come down in pity, and fill the dry
Dead place with light, and life, and vernal air.
—J. C. Shairp.

And the evening and the morning were the first day

“And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5

The evening was “darkness” and the morning was “light,” and yet the two together are called by the name that is given to the light alone! This is somewhat remarkable, but it has an exact analogy in spiritual experience. In every believer there is darkness and light, and yet he is not to be named a sinner because there is sin in him, but he is to be named a saint because he possesses some degree of holiness.

This will be a most comforting thought to those who are mourning their infirmities, and who ask, “Can I be a child of God while there is so much darkness in me?” Yes; for you, like the day, take not your name from the evening, but from the morning; and you are spoken of in the word of God as if you were even now perfectly holy as you will be soon. You are called the child of light, though there is darkness in you still. You are named after what is the predominating quality in the sight of God, which will one day be the only principle remaining.

Observe that the evening comes first. Naturally we are darkness first in order of time, and the gloom is often first in our mournful apprehension, driving us to cry out in deep humiliation, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

The place of the morning is second, it dawns when grace overcomes nature. It is a blessed aphorism of John Bunyan, “That which is last, lasts for ever.” That which is first, yields in due season to the last; but nothing comes after the last. So that though you are naturally darkness, when once you become light in the Lord, there is no evening to follow; “thy sun shall no more go down.” The first day in this life is an evening and a morning; but the second day, when we shall be with God, for ever, shall be a day with no evening, but one, sacred, high, eternal noon.

Fellow citizens with the saints

“Fellow citizens with the saints.” Ephesians 2:19

What is meant by our being citizens in heaven? It means that we are under heaven’s government. Christ the king of heaven reigns in our hearts; our daily prayer is, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The proclamations issued from the throne of glory are freely received by us: the decrees of the Great King we cheerfully obey. Then as citizens of the New Jerusalem, we share heaven’s honours.

The glory which belongs to beatified saints belongs to us, for we are already sons of God, already princes of the blood imperial; already we wear the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness; already we have angels for our servitors, saints for our companions, Christ for our Brother, God for our Father, and a crown of immortality for our reward. We share the honours of citizenship, for we have come to the general assembly and Church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven.

As citizens, we have common rights to all the property of heaven. Ours are its gates of pearl and walls of chrysolite; ours the azure light of the city that needs no candle nor light of the sun; ours the river of the water of life, and the twelve manner of fruits which grow on the trees planted on the banks thereof; there is nought in heaven that belongeth not to us. “Things present, or things to come,” all are ours. Also as citizens of heaven we enjoy its delights. Do they there rejoice over sinners that repent—prodigals that have returned? So do we. Do they chant the glories of triumphant grace? We do the same. Do they cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet? Such honours as we have we cast there too. Are they charmed with His smile?

It is not less sweet to us who dwell below. Do they look forward, waiting for His second advent? We also look and long for His appearing. If, then, we are thus citizens of heaven, let our walk and actions be consistent with our high dignity.