VIDEO From Peace to Peacemaker

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

A couple of modern cultural maxims reflect an important biblical principle: “It takes one to know one” and “You can’t give what you don’t have.” In other words, personal experience and possessions dictate what we can attempt to pass on to others. And that is especially true when it comes to being a peacemaker in this world. Since having peace in this world depends first on having peace with God, that’s where we must start. Once we have peace with God, we can be at peace with others—and share peace with them.

The New Testament is abundantly clear that our own peace with God comes through our justification by faith, which results in our reconciliation with God. Once reconciled to God, the peace we enjoy can be shared with others. In fact, another way to describe our role as peacemakers is as ministers of reconciliation—Paul’s description of those who have been reconciled to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Do you have peace with God today? It comes through faith in Christ. Once we have peace, we can be peacemakers in this world.

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


The Divine Guarantee of an Eternal Salvation, Part 1 (Romans 5:1–2)

How Did I Get Here?

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?  Job 2:10

 

Tiffani awoke in the pitch-black darkness of an Air Canada jet. Still wearing her seat belt, she’d slept while the other passengers exited and the plane was parked. Why didn’t anyone wake her? How did she get here? She shook the cobwebs from her brain and tried to remember.

Have you found yourself in a place you never expected? You’re too young to have this disease, and there’s no cure. Your last review was excellent; why is your position being eliminated? You were enjoying the best years of your marriage. Now you’re starting over, as a single parent with a part-time job.

How did I get here? Job may have wondered as “he sat among the ashes” (Job 2:8). He’d lost his children, his wealth, and his health, in no time flat. He couldn’t have guessed how he got here; he just knew he had to remember.

Job remembered his Creator and how good He’d been. He told his wife, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (v. 10). Job remembered he could count on this good God to be faithful. So he lamented. He screamed at the heavens. And he mourned in hope, “I know that my redeemer lives,” and that “in my flesh I will see God” (19:25–26). Job clung to hope as he remembered how the story began and how it ends.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What situation fills you with agony and dread? How might you regain your bearings and live with hope and joy?

Father, You’re not surprised by what surprises me. You were good before, and You remain good now.

To learn more about the book of Job and its message, visit bit.ly/337DURd.

Thinking Our Way to Success

Colossians 3:1-4

Have you ever asked yourself, What is true success? The biblical answer is this: to become the person God created each of us to be and accomplish the work He has set for our life. Scripture tells us that this kind of achievement starts with our thinking (Prov. 23:7). We know this is true because of how the mind works, influencing our attitudes and actions toward both the Lord and others. The godliness of our mind determines, to a large degree, the godliness of our life.

Colossians 1:21 tells us that prior to our salvation, we were alienated and hostile in mind toward the things of God. So, the old way of thinking won’t help us become the person God envisioned. That is why Scripture calls for spiritual renewal of our thoughts and attitudes (Eph. 4:23) and helps us understand what should and shouldn’t be in our mind (Eph. 4:31-32).

To set our mind on the things of God, we must consistently choose to have the Lord’s viewpoint and reject conformity with the ways of the world (Rom. 12:2). When we fix our attention on the Lord’s character and will, we’ll begin to understand His perspective.

Success in the kingdom of God starts with renewed, godly thinking. What will you focus your thoughts on today?

Great Divider

“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” (Luke 12:51)

From the very beginning, God has been a great divider. On the first day of creation, “God divided the light from the darkness”; on the second day, He “divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament” (Genesis 1:4, 7). When God first created humans, they walked together in sweet fellowship, but then sin came in and made a great division between humans and God. Nevertheless, “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).

The price has been paid for full reconciliation with our Creator, but “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19), so Christ Himself is now the One who divides. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Jesus Christ divides all history and all chronology. Things either happened “Before Christ” (BC) or “in the Year of our Lord” (AD). People are either under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. Most of all, He divides humanity. “There was a division among the people because of him” (John 7:43; see also John 9:16; 10:19). These divisions because of Him can cut very deep. “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother” (Luke 12:53).

Finally, when He comes to judge all nations, “he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:…And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:32, 46). The division is life or death, light or darkness, heaven or hell, Christ or antichrist—and the choice is ours! HMM

An Unconvincing Testimony

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

—Acts 22:15

 

There is a large amount of ineffective Christian testimony among us today. Much of it is well-intended, I am sure—honest and sincere. We do the best we can with what we have. But our performance turns out to be something like that of the salesman promoting fountain pens. He tries to make a case for his product, but his would-be customers know he really thinks ballpoints are far more practical.

Too much of our Christian witnessing is unconvincing because we have not been convinced. We are ineffectual because we have not yet capitulated to the Lord from glory. It is like the proselyte making proselytes….

Perhaps this is happening because we are trying to plan how everything should happen. Everyone of us reads a little how-to book on witnessing. We try to do it the way we have been taught. But it is perfunctory and without any contagious element. If angels can weep, they must weep salty tears upon seeing a proselyte who has never really met the Lord making another proselyte who will also never meet the Lord.   FBR101-102

Out of the abundance of a heart filled with love for You let me speak today. Let me see You this morning in a way that will cause me to leave this prayer time with a renewed passion to minister. Amen.

 

As Happy as You Are Holy

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

—Psalm 146:5

 

The childish clamor after happiness can become a real snare. One may easily deceive himself by cultivating a religious joy without a correspondingly righteous life.

No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he shall be.

For those who take this whole thing seriously, I have a suggestion: Go to God and have an understanding. Tell Him that it is your desire to be holy at any cost, and then ask Him never to give you more happiness than holiness. When your holiness becomes tarnished, let your joy become dim. And ask Him to make you holy whether you are happy or not.

Be assured that in the end you will be as happy as you are holy. OGM049-050

The work of the Holy Spirit is, among other things, to rescue the redeemed man’s emotions, to restring his harp and open again the wells of sacred joy which have been stopped by sin. POM112

 

Why Sorrow?

Hebrews 2:10

Someone asks, “But why all this suffering—why should it be permitted at all? Is it not bad for the world, and so bad that God, if He be God, should prevent it?” Well, that is a difficult question. But it is, I admit, a fair one. It is, of course, a very old one. Many stricken hearts have asked it in all ages. Many fine minds in every age from the time of Job have tried to answer it. And the real difficulty about answering it satisfactorily is that there is no one answer. It is a subject on which we cannot generalize.

Nevertheless, two principal explanations of sorrow and suffering do stand forth in the history of mankind—two answers to that insistent inquiry, “Why should this or that agony be permitted in the scheme of a world created and governed by a wise and benevolent God?”

The first is that sorrow and pain are the first fruits of sin. By this it is not, of course, meant that every sorrow is a direct penalty for some particular wrong. No doubt some sorrows are. If, for example, a father neglects to train and discipline his boys and they grow up and rebel against him and break his heart, he is largely the cause of his own grief, and his neglect of his duty finds him out. Or if a woman neglects her health, or takes drugs or lives an unnatural life, she brings trouble upon herself.

It would, however, be absurd to say that all sorrow has this character. For it is evident that while much of it has, much of it has not. Suffering goes on its way to afflict many who have no responsibility for the wrong which brought it about. This is one of the most hideous facts about evil; but the responsibility for it is no more to be placed upon God than upon any other sufferer. He is one of the many who suffer from the consequences of sin—perhaps it will turn out at last that he was the greatest sufferer of all!

Why, then, is it all permitted? I answer not for punishment, but for discipline, for instruction, for warning, for training, and for turning men’s hearts away from the earthly to the heavenly, from the human to the Divine. Unnumbered multitudes have realized in suffering a gift of priceless value, renewing the soul—refining character, and developing sympathy, humility, patience, strength—and bringing with it a revelation of God and His grace and power which had before seemed impossible. Suffering is permitted, not only to refine our spirits, not only to strengthen our faith, but to make us perfect for the work of saving others—of reaching other hearts, of carrying the heavy burdens of others, of healing the wounds and woes around us.

Bramwell Booth, Life and Religion