VIDEO April Showers of Peace

 

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called … Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

After World War I, the League of Nations was formed to ensure peace. Ineffective, soon  World War II was underway, and the United Nations replaced the League of Nations in the aftermath. But peace has never held.

Peace is not just missing among nations; peace is missing in many hearts as well. And when we see conflicts in the world, it’s easy to understand why so many live with unrest and worry. But the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church provides the power to live in peace: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” (Galatians 5:22). Someday, when Christ establishes His kingdom on earth, He will replace human efforts at worldwide peace with His own righteous and loving peace. The Prince of Peace will finally restore peace to all the earth.

Until that day, enjoy showers of peace as the Holy Spirit empowers you to live a life “anxious for nothing” as the peace of God guards your heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).

Few things more adorn and beautify a Christian profession than exercising and manifesting the spirit of peace.  A. W. Pink


Unto Us a Son Is Given, Isaiah 9:6 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Run Toward Challenge

He looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  2 Kings 6:17

Tom chased the young men who were stealing his poor friend’s bike. He didn’t have a plan. He only knew he needed to get it back. To his surprise, the three thieves looked his way, dropped the bike and backed away. Tom was both relieved and impressed with himself as he picked up the bike and turned around. That’s when he saw Jeff, his muscular friend who had been trailing close behind.

Elisha’s servant panicked when he saw his town surrounded by an enemy army. He ran to Elisha, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” Elisha told him to relax. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then God opened the servant’s eyes, and he “saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (vv. 15–17).

You may also find yourself in some dicey situations. You may have to risk your reputation, and perhaps even your security, because you’re determined to do what’s right. You may lose sleep wondering how it will all turn out. Remember, you’re not alone. You don’t have to be stronger or smarter than the challenge before you. Jesus is with you, and His power is greater than all rivals. Today, many believers are on the front lines in the battle against the Covid-19 virus. May we pray for them and others who are running toward the challenge. Ask yourself Paul’s question, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Really, who? No one. Run toward your challenge, with God.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What wakes you up at night? How can you give your worries to God?

Help me, Jesus, to truly see that You’re bigger than any problem facing me today. Thank You for Your everlasting presence!

For help, read Overcoming Worry at discoveryseries.org/q0711.

God’s Answer to the Problem of Sin

Romans 5:6-10

Many people think they should wait to accept Christ’s offer of salvation until after they have improved themselves in some way. But that is actually the exact opposite of the gospel’s message.

We’re all unworthy of salvation. There is nothing we could ever do to merit God’s forgiveness and acceptance. However, He bridged the gap of sin that separated us and Him. We didn’t deserve this act of love; God did it on His own, motivated by His unfailing grace.

It would be a tragic error to think we had to make ourselves more presentable without first depending on Christ to enter our life. Jesus didn’t say, “Go clean yourselves up, get some rest, and then come to Me,” did He? Rather, He opened His arms and said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Jesus didn’t wait until we deserved Him—He knew that we never could. Instead, He gave Himself freely for all mankind and extended an invitation for every sinner, just as he or she is, to come to Him and find rest.

Flesh and the Spirit

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

The conflict between flesh and spirit is a frequent theme in Scripture, beginning way back in the antediluvian period: “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh” (Genesis 6:3). The “flesh,” of course, refers to the physical body with all its feelings and appetites, while man’s “spirit” refers especially to his spiritual nature with its ability to understand and communicate in terms of spiritual and moral values, along with its potential ability to have fellowship with God.

Because of sin, however, the natural man is spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). When the flesh dominates, even the apostle Paul would have to say, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18). This aspect of human nature became so dominant in the antediluvian world that “all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:12), and God had to wash the world clean with the Flood.

Now, however, the substitutionary death of Christ brings salvation and spiritual life to all who receive Him by the Holy Spirit. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:10-11). By the Lord Jesus Christ, the human spirit is made alive right now, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the body’s resurrection is promised when Christ returns.

“They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh.” The daily challenge to the believer is this: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25). HMM

Just Pray Till You Pray

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

—Colossians 4:2

 

 

Dr. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers. Among these rules is this one: “Pray till you pray.”…

The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with our thoughts to draw them in from where they have been scattered through the multitude of distractions that result from the task of living in a disordered world….

If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way through. Some Christians smile at the thought of “praying through,” but something of the same idea is found in the writings of practically every great praying saint from Daniel to the present day. We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed.   TWP069-070

Oh Lord, what an important and needed challenge! Help me to wait and “pray through.” Amen.

 

True Holiness IS Positive

It shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.

—Isaiah 35:8

 

What does this word holiness really mean? Is it a negative kind of piety from which so many people have shied away? No, of course not!

Holiness in the Bible means moral wholeness—a positive quality which actually includes kindness, mercy, purity, moral blamelessness and godliness. It is always to be thought of in a positive, white intensity of degree. Whenever it is written that God is holy it means that God is kind, merciful, pure and blameless in a white, holy intensity of degree.

When used of men, it does not mean absolute holiness as it does of God, but it is still the positive intensity of the degree of holiness—and not negative.

This is why true Bible holiness is positive—a holy man can be trusted. A holy man can be tested. ICH065-066

[The Holy Spirit] is an infinite force that makes our life powerful, and enables us to accomplish all for which we are called as the disciples of Christ. It is power over sin, power over self, power over the world…power to be, to do. CTBC Vol. 4/518-519

 

God’s Shepherds

1 Peter 5:2-4

The Gospel narrative records that “When [Jesus] saw the crowds He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

The picture of the shepherd with his sheep is woven into the Bible’s language and imagery. Flocks of sheep blanket Judea’s central plateau that stretches 35 miles from Bethel to Hebron. In biblical times, as today, the most familiar figure of the Judean uplands was the shepherd.

The shepherd’s life was hard. He was never off duty. No flock ever grazed without a shepherd. The shepherd’s lonely task was constant and dangerous. Besides protecting his sheep from physical danger, the shepherd had to guard against wild animals. And there were always thieves ready to steal the sheep. The shepherd maintained constant vigilance, fearless courage and patient love so his flock would survive and prosper.

God entrusts church leaders, whether lay or clergy, as shepherds of His people. The Greek word for shepherd, poimain, reveals that the shepherd is one who feeds and nurtures the flock. Peter admonishes Christian leaders to be shepherds and examples to the flock.

First century shepherds had four indispensable pieces of equipment. Essential to the shepherd was his script—a bag made of animal skin in which he carried his food, typically bread, dried fruit, olives and cheese, all needed to remain physically strong.

Each shepherd treasured his custom-made sling. In the hands of a competent shepherd, a sling became a lethal weapon. This versatile device served as an instrument of offense and defense.

The third essential tool was the shepherd’s rod, a short, wooden club often studded with nails. The rod aided the shepherd in defending himself and his flock against beasts and robbers.

The shepherd’s final requisite equipment has become symbolic of his vocationthe staff. With his staff he could retrieve any sheep that had strayed from the flock.

The biblical picture of the shepherd illustrates the Christian leader’s responsibility to love, nurture and guide those under his or her care. The trustworthy leader of God’s children follows his Lord’s example, the One who for each of us became the Good Shepherd.

William Francis, The War Cry