VIDEO Christmas Peace

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3

Recent surveys have shown that people don’t sleep as well during the Christmas season. In some cases, it’s because of increased partying and alcohol consumption. Other times, the problem involves travel and disrupted schedules. For still others, it’s nagging worries about spending too much, putting too much on the credit cards, or having too much to do in entertaining and serving. Family and financial pressures can rob us of sleep, and family problems have a way of showing up just in time for the holidays.

But there’s good news!

Isaiah 26:3 takes no breaks for the holidays. The words of that verse are good for every hour of every day, and they don’t weaken or wane during Christmas. There are no exemption dates. Today, tomorrow, next week, for the rest of this year, and forever the Lord will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him, who dwell in His Word, and who trust in Him.

The Bible says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1, NIV).

So trust in the Lord forever, for in Jehovah, the Lord, there is everlasting strength.


Perfect Peace – Isaiah 26:3-4 – Chuck Smith

What You’re Worth

The Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter!”  Zechariah 11:13

 

Now an accomplished writer, Caitlin describes the depression she battled after fighting off an assault. The emotional violence cut deeper than her physical struggle, for she felt it proved “how undesirable I was. I was not the kind of girl you wanted to get to know.” She felt unworthy of love, the kind of person others use and toss aside.

God understands. He lovingly shepherded Israel, but when He asked them what He was worth, “they paid me thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:12). This was the price of a slave; what masters must be reimbursed should their slave be accidentally killed (Exodus 21:32). God was insulted to be offered the lowest possible value—look at “the handsome price at which they valued me!” He said sarcastically (Zechariah 11:13). And He had Zechariah throw the money away.

Jesus understands. He wasn’t merely betrayed by His friend; He was betrayed with contempt. The Jewish leaders despised Christ, so they offered Judas thirty pieces of silver—the lowest price you could put on a person—and he took it (Matthew 26:14–1527:9). Judas thought so little of Jesus he sold Him for nearly nothing.

If people undervalued Jesus, don’t be surprised when they undervalue you. Your value isn’t what others say. It’s not even what you say. It’s entirely and only what God says. He thinks you are worth dying for.

By: Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe your value? Who can you help to grasp true value?

I’m grateful that I’m valued by You, God!

When You Hear Silence from God

John 11:1-6

When Lazarus was dying, his sisters urgently called for Jesus. Imagine how their grief must have compounded when He didn’t instantly respond to their request.

God’s silence is difficult to accept. We want Him to leap into action when we call, particularly if we are hurting or afraid. But since He promises to meet our needs, we can be sure that His silence has purpose.

Silence grabs our attention. The disciples knew that Jesus could heal, so they must have wondered why He delayed instead of rushing to His friend’s bedside. But the Lord wanted them to witness something even greater: His power over death. They had been confused by His statements about conquering death, and they needed to understand that He could fulfill His own resurrection prophecies (Mark 9:31-32). The miracle at Lazarus’ tomb was part of their preparation.

Silence teaches us to trust. Mary and Martha sent word of Lazarus’ illness because they anticipated that the Lord would heal him. But would their faith waver if that expectation was not met? Martha answered the question by stating, “I have believed that You are the Christ” (John 11:27). And sure enough, the Lord demonstrated His power with a stunning miracle: their brother’s return to life.

At times, the only thing we can hear when we pray is our own breathing. That can be frustrating and frightening. But Scripture says God is always with us, and His silence will not last forever (Job 23:8-10; Matt. 28:20). Cling to those promises as you wait for Him to answer.

Zechariah’s Visions in The Eyes of the Lord

“For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes. . . .his seven lamps . . . . those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (Zechariah 3:9; 4:2, 10)

All of the visions among the myrtle trees promise a future in which the Lord rules the world from Jerusalem. Each of the visions also speaks of angelic and God-ordained agencies that are used throughout history to accomplish His will. Those insights bring serious questions about the nature of God’s sovereignty.

What is the need for horsemen that walk “to and fro”? What about the “eyes of the LORD”? Assuming the lamps, candlestick, and olive trees are pictures of God-ordained human involvement (as other Bible passages would confirm), what roles would they play?

There is obviously much we don’t know about the heavenly sphere of operations. It does appear, however, that the omniscient Lord and Creator has allowed others (including angelic beings) to participate in His creation and development of the eternal state to which everything is inexorably moving. We know that “the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psalm 76:10).

We, God’s twice-born, are given the privilege to preach the gospel by which others are saved through the power of the gospel. We are to be witnesses, speakers, testifiers, workers of the ministry, about which even the angels themselves are curious (1 Peter 1:12).

Apparently, the sovereign Lord is developing an on-the-job knowledge that He will put to use in the eternal state. Meanwhile the Adversary (Satan) is constantly opposing and attempting to confuse both the message and the messengers. But the “great and precious promises” of God will not be thwarted (2 Peter 1:4). HMM III

He Does Put Me Flat Down

And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.

—Ezekiel 3:16-17

I once heard a brother preach on the fact that the church should be without spot or wrinkle. To get the wrinkles out of a sack, he said, you fill it. To get a wrinkle out of a rug, you lay it down and walk on it. God sometimes fills us, the preacher continued, but sometimes He just puts us flat down so that everyone can walk on us!

King David long ago knew something of the latter method. He wrote, “The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows” (Psalm 129:3). I think David was talking about his enemies. And they must have been wearing hobnail boots!

Ezekiel had just come to this kind of a low-ebbed, humbling experience when God opened the heavens. In effect, God put His hand on him and said, “Now I can use you. I have some words and some plans that I want you to pass onto your country men.”   MMG117-118

Lord, whether You fill me or “put me flat down,” I want to befit to be Your servant. Use Your best methods on me, Father, as I submit myself for Your use and Your glory. Amen.

 

God forbid that I should sin against the Lord

Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord, in ceasing to pray for you.—1 Samuel 12:23.

 

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like, a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

Alfred Tennyson.

 

Perhaps we do not think enough what, an effective service prayer is, especially intercessory prayer. We do not believe as we should how it might help those w*e so fain would serve, penetrating the hearts we cannot open, shielding those we cannot guard, teaching where we cannot speak, comforting where our words have no power to soothe; following the steps of our beloved through the toils and perplexities of the day, lifting off their burdens with an unseen hand at night No ministry is so like that of an angel as this-silent, invisible, known but to God.

Elizabeth Rundle Charles.

 

Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbor on our knees.

Charles H. Brent.

 

A Divine Expulsion

“Thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.” Joshua 17:18

It is a great encouragement to valor to be assured of victory, for then a man goes forth to war in confidence, and ventures where else he had been afraid to go. Our warfare is with evil within us and around us, and we ought to be persuaded that we are able to get the victory, and that we shall do so in the name of the Lord Jesus. We are not riding for a fall, but to win; and win we shall. The grace of God in its Omnipotence is put forth for the overthrow of evil in every form: hence the certainty of triumph.

Certain of our sins find chariots of iron in our constitution, our former habits, our associations, and our occupations. Nevertheless we must overcome them. They are very strong, and in reference to them we are very weak; yet in the name of God we must master them, and we will. If one sin has dominion of us we are not the Lord’s free men. A man who is held by Only one chain is still a captive. There is no going to Heaven with one sin ruling within us, for of the saints it is said, “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Up, then, and slay every Canaanite, and break to shivers every chariot of iron! The Lord of hosts is with us, and who shall resist His sin-destroying power?