His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. 2 Peter 1:3
Living in the post-Garden of Eden world—a world that labors and groans as it awaits its renewal (Romans 8:19-22)—we sometimes forget that we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul’s use of the word “creation” in that verse follows his “light to shine out of darkness” phrase in 2 Corinthians 4:6—another reference to creation.
In spite of our living in a fallen world, we live in an Eden-like relationship with God. We are not deprived of what we need. In spite of the tension sin presents in the world, we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” through Christ. In spite of the powers of darkness being present, God’s light—just as in Genesis—has been made to shine in our hearts. In spite of the evil one being present, Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10).
In moments where you feel limited or constrained in this world, remember that you are a new creation in Christ. Our only constraint is the limits of our faith.
The whole creation is Thy charge, but saints are Thy peculiar care. Isaac Watts
Precious and Great Promises
Tipping the Scale
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. Proverbs 21:2
There is a world invisible to the naked eye beneath our skin. With every breath we take, our heart pumps blood through veins and arteries, minuscule cells reproduce and heal, and organs perform their functions. If this is true of the world within the walls of our skin, how much more is it true of the physical world surrounding us?
From our perspective it may appear that the unrighteous prosper, while the righteous experience trouble and pain. But when the scales seem incorrectly tipped in this life, remember that God not only created the entire universe, He sees the invisible motives of every heart. He will execute justice. We can trust Him to not only balance the scales of life but to also extend mercy. His plans and purposes are often hidden from us, but God is faithful. Yes, we will face challenging circumstances in life, but we are never alone or out of God’s sight. God sees our hidden tears and listens to our whispered prayers—we can trust that when the scales of justice are weighed righteousness will reign.
The state of your heart dictates whether you harbor a grudge or give grace, seek self-pity or seek Christ, drink human misery or taste God’s mercy. Max Lucado
Surrounded by God
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lordsurrounds his people both now and for evermore. Psalm 125:2
In a busy airport, a young mother struggled alone. Her toddler was in full tantrum mode—screaming, kicking, and refusing to board their plane. Overwhelmed and heavily pregnant, the burdened young mother finally gave up, sinking to the floor in frustration, covering her face, and starting to sob.
Suddenly six or seven women travelers, all strangers, formed a circle around the young mother and her child—sharing snacks, water, gentle hugs, and even a nursery song. Their loving circle calmed the mother and child, who then boarded their plane. The other women returned to their seats, not needing to discuss what they had done, but knowing their support had strengthened a young mother exactly when she needed it.
This illustrates a beautiful truth from Psalm 125. “As the mountains surround Jerusalem,” says verse 2, “so the Lord surrounds his people.” The image reminds us how the bustling city of Jerusalem is, indeed, flanked by surrounding hills—among them the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, and Mount Moriah.
In this same way, God surrounds His people—supporting and standing guard over our souls “both now and for evermore.” Thus, on tough days, look up, “unto the hills,” as the psalmist puts it (Psalm 121:1 kjv). God awaits with strong help, steady hope, and everlasting love.
How have you sensed the Lord surrounding you with His love? Who can you share His love with today?
There is one thing everyone wants, and that is a sense of inner peace. Many people think it comes only when all the circumstances of life are pleasant, but for Christians, God’s peace is available even when nothing around us is calm and ordered.
Our verse today reveals a number of important truths regarding the peace of Christ:
First of all, we are given a command: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” The implication is that we play a role in whether or not we experience His peace. And anytime we are given a command in Scripture, we can count on God to enable us to obey it.
Second, Christ’s peace is capable of ruling in our heart. The word rule means “to act as arbiter.” An arbiter is a person who has the power or authority to decide a dispute. When doubts or worries arise, Christ’s peace reminds us of God’s truths, which have the power to quiet our heart and renew our trust in Him. This amazing peace also overflows into our relationships in the body of Christ so that we can live in harmony with one another.
Third, gratitude is an important aspect of peace. Thankfulness is the result of remembering all God’s benefits instead of dwelling on the circumstances that tend to rob us of peace. Counting our blessings in this way insures the rule of Christ’s peace in our life.
We don’t have to let our concerns and worries bury us in a sea of unrest. Christ’s peace, which is available no matter what we are facing, can strengthen our confidence and trust in Him.
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he hath set the world upon them.” (1 Samuel 2:8)
The above text contains the first reference in the Bible to God’s world. The “pillars” upon which it is set are, literally, “firm summits” (not “columns”), speaking of its permanence, “established that it shall not be moved” through the eternal ages when “the LORD reigneth” (Psalm 96:10).
That is the real world, where all who have been “raised up” by the Lord through faith in His Word will “inherit the throne of glory” and reign with Him forever. But that real world has, for a time, become “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), often mistakenly represented by its worldly inhabitants as their “real” world. In reality, this present world is very ephemeral, for “the world passeth away” (1 John 2:17).
This present unreal world has become the domain of Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), for “the whole world lieth in wickedness [or ‘the wicked one’]” (1 John 5:19). Consequently, it is essential for believers now living in the world to heed the Lord’s warning: “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:19).
The “world” includes its inhabitants and the world system they have developed. This present world, because of sin, has become so unreal that it no longer even knows its Creator. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10). Nevertheless, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). We can defeat this present evil world and prepare for our eternal service in the real world to come. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). HMM
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.
—Acts 17:6. There is no limit to what God could do in our world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this:
Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I give all I possess. Take all of it, Lord—and take me! I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for Your sake, let me lose it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
If even 300 of God’s people became that serious, our world would never hear the last of it! They would influence the news. Their message would go everywhere like birds on the wing. They would set off a great revival of New Testament faith and witness.
God wants to deliver us from the easygoing, smooth and silky, fat and comfortable Christianity so fashionable today. I hope we are willing to let the truth get hold of us, even at the cost of rejection or embarrassment.
The faith of the heavenly overcomers cost them everything and gained them everything. What of our faith? JIV116-117
Oh God, I hereby give myself to You “in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for Your sake, let me lose it.” Amen.
Ye shall not fear them; for the Lord your God He shall fight for you.—Deuteronomy 3:22.
And behold God Himself is with us for our captain.—2 Chronicles 13:12.
for trust that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near!
Oh, for faith that changes fighting
Into victory’s ringing cheer—
Faith triumphant, knowing not defeat or fear!
Hopefulness of final victory is ours, if we only remember that we are fighting God’s battles. And can He know defeat? He who is the God of the great world around us is the God of the little world within. It is He who is contending in thee; thou art but His soldier, guided by His wisdom, strengthened by His might, shielded by His love. Keep thy will united to the Will of God, and final defeat is impossible, for He is invincible.
Our only victory over temptations is through persisting courage, and an indomitable cheerfulness.
Frederick W. Faber.
Courage, it shall be well: we follow a conquering general; yea, who hath conquered already; and He that hath conquered for us shall ever conquer in us.
“Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Ps. 81:10
What an encouragement to pray! Our human notions would lead us to ask small things because our deservings are so small; but the Lord would have us request great blessings. Prayer should be as simple a matter as the opening of the mouth; it should be a natural, unconstrained utterance. When a man is earnest he opens his mouth wide, and our text urges us to be fervent in our supplications.
Yet it also means that we may make bold with God, and ask many and large blessings at His hands. Read the whole verse, and see the argument: “I am Jehovah, thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Because the Lord has given us so much He invites us to ask for more, yea, to expect more.
See how the little birds in their nests seem to be all mouth when the mother comes to feed them. Let it be the same with us. Let us take in grace at every door. Let us drink it in as a sponge sucks up the water in which it lies. God is ready to fill us if we are Only ready to be filled. Let our needs make us open our mouths; let our faintness cause us to open our mouths and pant; yea, let our alarm make us open our mouths with a child’s cry. The opened mouth shall be filled by the Lord Himself. So be it unto us, O Lord, this day.