VIDEO Peace With God

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

When a break in relations happens at a personal level or a national level, the goal is always the same: the restoration of peace. But for that to happen, one side must take the initiative and reach out. Both sides could be willing to restore relations, but normally one takes the lead.

The Bible is clear that man’s relationship with God was broken due to sin in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12). That break could have resulted in an eternal stalemate were it not for the loving character of God. It was God who reached out to humanity offering a path of reconciliation. That path—foreshadowed in the Old Testament—was fulfilled when God sent Jesus Christ into the world to be judged for mankind’s sin. As a result of the death and resurrection of Christ, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). It was God who “reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). It was God who took the initiative toward peace.

Have you responded by faith to God’s initiative? Can you take the first step in restoring peace wherever it has been lost?

What peace can they have who are not at peace with God?  Matthew Henry


Romans 5:1-5a “Faith Triumphs in Trouble (Part 1)” Line by Line Bible study with R.C. Sproul

Strength for the Journey

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”  1 Kings 19:5

One summer, I faced what seemed an impossible task—a big writing project with a looming deadline. Having spent day after day on my own, endeavoring to get the words onto the page, I felt exhausted and discouraged, and I wanted to give up. A wise friend asked me, “When’s the last time you felt refreshed? Maybe you need to allow yourself to rest and to enjoy a good meal.”

I knew immediately that she was right. Her advice made me think of Elijah and the terrifying message he received from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2)—although, of course, my writing project wasn’t anywhere near the cosmic scale of the prophet’s experience. After Elijah triumphed over the false prophets on Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent word that she would capture and kill him, and he despaired, longing to die. But then he enjoyed a good sleep and was twice visited by an angel who gave him food to eat. After God renewed his physical strength, he was able to continue with his journey.

When the “journey is too much” for us (v. 7), we might need to rest and enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal. For when we are exhausted or hungry, we can easily succumb to disappointment or fear. But when God meets our physical needs through His resources, as much as possible in this fallen world, we can take the next step in serving Him.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

Looking back, when have you needed to slow down and receive sustenance before pressing on? How can you look for signs of burnout as you serve God?

Creator God, You formed us as Your people. Thank You for our limitations, which remind us that You’re God and we’re not. Help us to serve You with gladness and joy

Getting Our Attention Through Adversity

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

When facing adversity or hardship, some Christians ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Others think they are being really spiritual when they suffer in silence or say things like, “God knows what He is doing. He doesn’t have to explain anything to me.”

It is true that our heavenly Father knows what He is doing and does not owe us any explanations, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss our hardship or avoid thinking about what He might want to accomplish through it. On the contrary, the Bible tells us to remember that God is sovereign, even over our adversities (Eccl. 7:14). This was the case in today’s reading, where Paul says God sent an affliction—which he describes as a “messenger of Satan”—to keep him from exalting himself (2 Corinthians 12:7). The apostle admits pride is a problem for him and acknowledges that God is justified in dealing with him to correct it.

Such a truthful confession does not eliminate suffering but sweetens it until we can say with Paul, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Alive into Heaven

“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)

This remarkable event—the translation of Elijah alive into heaven, without dying—was altogether miraculous, but it really happened! Among other things, it assures us that heaven is a real place in this created universe, for Elijah is still there in his physical body, still alive, to this very day.

The prophet Enoch, who had also served God in a time of deep apostasy, had likewise been taken into heaven without dying (that is, into the “third heaven,” beyond the starry heaven, where God’s throne is), as recorded in Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5. Enoch’s prophecies, addressed to the entire world of mankind, were given at approximately the midpoint of the period from Adam to Abraham, whereas those of Elijah, addressed only to Israel, were given at essentially the midpoint of the time from Abraham to Christ. Both were caught up alive into heaven before their ministries were finished. It is possible that they will return again to Earth as God’s “two witnesses” who will prophesy to both Jews and Gentiles in the last days (note Malachi 4:5-6; Revelation 11:3-12), then finally to be slain and resurrected.

In any case, there will also be one entire generation of believers who will—like Enoch and Elijah—be caught up alive into heaven. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

This could very well be our generation! And “when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). HMM

Great Preachers Of Their Time

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

—1 Corinthians 2:12

 

I’m against the idea of putting the “big preachers” on tape and playing them back to the congregations that feel they are being starved by listening to “little preachers.” Fallacy, brethren—a thousand times, fallacy!

If we could have the Apostle Paul on tape recordings and let him stand here and preach, he could do no more for you than the Holy Ghost can do, with The Book and the human conscience….

Oh, brethren, I would not detract from God’s great men, but I can safely say that that’s not what the church needs.

The church needs to listen to the inner voice and do something about it!   TTPI, Book 1/108-109

Lord, we’re inundated today with “big preachers.” And while we appreciate their gifts and ministries, I pray today for all who are “little preachers. “Help them not to be discouraged by their seeming smallness but to be faithful servants of Yours, declaring with great passion the message of the Book, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Humility Invaded by the Presence

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.

—Proverbs 22:4

 

Bring your life into line morally so that God can make it holy; then bring your spiritual life into line that God may settle upon you with the Holy Ghost—with that quality of the Wonderful and the Mysterious and the Divine.

You do not cultivate it and you do not even know it, but it is there and it is this quality of humility invaded by the Presence of God which the church of our day lacks. Oh, that we might yearn for the knowledge and Presence of God in our lives from moment to moment, so that without human cultivation and without toilsome seeking there would come upon us this enduement that gives meaning to our witness! It is a sweet and radiant fragrance and I suggest that in some of our churches it may be strongly sensed and felt. ICH073-074

O God, let Thy glory be revealed once more to men: through me if it please Thee, or without me or apart from me, it matters not. Restore Thy Church to the place of moral beauty that becomes her as the Bride of Christ: through me, or apart from me; only let this prayer be answered. O God, honor whom Thou wilt. Let me be used or overlooked or ignored or forgotten. KDL066

 

An Anchor in a World Adrift

Hebrews 6:19

As we network the globe with the wonders of the World Wide Web and probe the secrets of distant planets, the molested bodies of small children are exhumed in Belgium and victims of genocide are uncovered in mass graves in Bosnia and Rwanda. Teenage militia roam the streets with automatic weapons ablaze. Little children are exploited as cannon fodder, marched in waves across mine fields ahead of their older comrades.

Sadly, the lives of children are cheap. Millions of unwanted children are ripped from their mothers’ wombs in the most prosperous nations. The horrors of sexual abuse of small children is but the tip of the iceberg of moral degeneration. Land mines lodged in the landscape of warring nations are the tragic legacy of conflicts that have already exacted a horrific toll. Eight hundred persons a day have been killed by them and thousands more maimed—often children.

Society is paying the consequences of the pollution of our moral ecosystems with pornography and permissiveness and more subtle but powerful messages that incite to morally outrageous behaviors. When we have forgotten the worth God sees in us and abandoned the purpose God has for us, then the glory of human persons is abdicated. When the Shekinah of His glory fades, life becomes cheap.

Meantime, the fragile ecosystems of our planet home are increasingly threatened by indifference and greed, and the irreplaceable resources of the human family are recklessly squandered.

We enter a millennium that will be remarkable for its mind-boggling technological achievements, but without moral direction. We must speak to a generation searching for a place to stand, someone to trust, searching for a place to lodge faith’s anchor, to find meaning, a place to invest one’s life for a purpose grander than achieving financial security and self-gratification.

We have just such an anchor! Against the drift of the tide of meaninglessness and despair, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”

(Hebrews 6:19). The question is whether we have taken hold of the hope offered us in Jesus Christ. And whether we are prepared to offer it to others, and to say,

“Master, for just this, we are here, in this time, in this place, in our kind of world—a world adrift, a world in moral danger of self-destructing. Master, for You, for that world, we are here.”

Kay F. Rader, The War Cry