VIDEO God Is Good!: Peace

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Representing the United Nations’ goal of world peace is a nine-foot-tall bronze statue outside the U.N., “Let Us Beat Our Swords into Plowshares”—an image of a metalworker shaping a sword into a plow. The statue is based on the words of Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3—prophecies of a future of peace when God’s righteousness rules on earth.

Sadly, the U.N. has failed to bring about world peace. While God’s kingdom of peace will be established one day, it is possible to have individual peace even when it is absent from the world. Prior to His leaving the earth, Jesus promised His disciples they could have peace—not the world’s peace, but God’s peace in their hearts and minds. Paul said it was possible to be anxious for nothing, gaining peace by committing our concerns to God in prayer and letting His peace guard our heart (Philippians 4:6-7).

Because God is good, He gives His people the gift of peace. If your heart is troubled today, receive God’s peace as you pray.

Faith that goes no further than the head can never bring peace to the heart. John Blanchard


The Gift of Peace – John 14:27 – Skip Heitzig

Adolescent Faith

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always. Deuteronomy 5:29

The teenage years are sometimes among the most agonizing seasons in life—for both parent and child. In my adolescent quest to “individuate” from my mother, I openly rejected her values and rebelled against her rules, suspicious their purposes were merely to make me miserable. Though we’ve since come to agree on those matters, that time in our relationship was riddled with tension. Mom undoubtedly lamented my refusal to heed the wisdom of her instructions, knowing they would spare me unnecessary emotional and physical pain.

God had the same heart for His children, Israel. God imparted His wisdom for living in what we know as the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7–21). Though they could be viewed as a list of rules, God’s intention is evident in His words to Moses: “so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” (v. 29). Moses recognized God’s desire, saying that obedience to the decrees would result in their enjoyment of His ongoing presence with them in the promised land (v. 33).

We all go through a season of “adolescence” with God, not trusting that His guidelines for living are truly meant for our good. May we grow into the realization that He wants what’s best for us and learn to heed the wisdom He offers. His guidance is meant to lead us into spiritual maturity as we become more like Jesus (Psalm 119:97–104; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Peter 3:18).

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How has God’s wisdom helped you grow in your relationship with Him? In what area of your life do you need to heed His wisdom?

Loving God, help me to trust that You know what’s best for me.

Living by Grace

Ephesians 2:1-10

As Christians, we know we’re saved by God’s grace. But grace isn’t a onetime gift. Following our salvation, the Lord continually gives us that blessing every day so we can live by it in every aspect of life.

Paul wrote extensively about believers being recipients of God’s favor and often opened or closed his letters with “grace to you.” He experienced the power of divine grace to trans- form his life and enable his service (Acts 9:1-20). The apostle was also able to endure adversity with joy and contentment because he knew divine grace was sufficient for his weakness (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:9). And the Lord will do the same for us.

Paul urges us to continue in God’s grace because it’s the way we live in full dependence upon Him (Acts 13:43). Every time the Lord meets our needs, guides our steps, forgives our sins, or comforts and strengthens us in our hardships, He’s lavishing us with divine favor. And it doesn’t end in this life. In the eternal ages to come, He will show us “the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7)

In His Steps

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)

There is nothing more satisfying to a believer than to be living in the will of God for his life. And it is good to know that God actually delights in leading us along that way that He is laying out for us. There are numerous Bible verses to this effect. One of the most familiar is “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

That verse gives us a basic principle for knowing His way. We need to seek His leading in everything! Of course, it may not be an easy path. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Even if the path seems difficult at times, it is a good path because it honors Him. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). He is the good Shepherd, and if we lose the way for a time, He can bring us back. As the prophet said: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

An important check to be sure we are not drifting far off the path is to be sure we don’t disobey or question His written Word. “Order my steps in thy word,” we should pray each day (Psalm 119:133). Then He promises: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

It may not be an audible voice, but we can hear. Jesus promised: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Then we can say, as the ancient servant testified: “I being in the way, the LORD led me” (Genesis 24:27). HMM

Song Of The Soul Set Free

Dalet

My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word. I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes. Help me understand the meaning of Your precepts so that I can meditate on Your wonders. I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word. Keep me from the way of deceit, and graciously give me Your instruction. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set Your ordinances [before me] I cling to Your decrees; Lord, do not put me to shame. I pursue the way of Your commands, for You broaden my understanding (Psalm 119 vv. 25-32).

Rich in contrasts, this passage displays the positive against the negative. First, a mournful tone is heard: “My life is down in the dust”; “I am weary”; “Keep me from the way of deceipt”;”Do not put me to shame” (vv. 25, 28, 29, 31).

Then on a rising crescendo, the psalmist realizes the possibilities available to him through God’s Word—renewal, strength, truth, freedom! As he begins to understand these precepts, he is filled with wonder.

Jesus articulated this truth in John 8:30-32: “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”’

Personal Prayer

O Lord, set my heart free as I adhere to your truth and holdfast to your commands.

A Contemporary Lyric

The Day That I Met Jesus

The day that I met Jesus

My life was torn with grief and pain,

My soul had longed for something new in life—

Then I believed, and Jesus came.

That day that I met Jesus

My life was changed—my sins were gone,

The Lord has won Himself a trophy of grace,

For Jesus lives, He lives within my heart.

If I could be the one

To tell you what the Lord has done;

If you would just believe Him

And at this hour receive Him

If you would only let Him conquer you!

Words and music by Don Wyrtzen © 1964 by Singspiration.

“We’ve Won a Holiday”

We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.—Ephesians 1:7

What is it in the heart of most men and women that rejects the idea of God’s free and generous offer of salvation? It is pride, the deadliest of all the deadly sins. Bernard Shaw, an example of a modern-day thinker, said: “Forgiveness is a beggar’s refuge. We must pay our debts.” But we cannot pay our debts. As our spiritual fathers saw so clearly, the only language we can use in the presence of a God who demands so much and whose demands we are unable to meet is:

Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

In response to our coming, the free unmerited favor of God flows down to us, cancels our debt, imputes and imparts Christ’s righteousness to us. How can Christ’s righteousness be imputed and imparted to us? It’s His righteousness, not ours.

A simple illustration may help to illuminate this point. A dull little boy came home from school one day and said to his mother: “We’ve won a holiday.” The truth was, another boy had come top of the region in the examinations, and the head teacher decided to give the whole school a holiday. Yet the dull little lad said: “We’ve won a holiday.”

Grace is like that. God permits the righteousness of Jesus to cover us and then—as we open ourselves to it—to enter us. He did it, but we benefit from it. Isn’t grace really amazing?

Prayer

O Father, as I contemplate still further the “riches” of Your grace, once again I have to confess it’s truly amazing. No wonder men and women use that term to describe Your grace. No other adjective will do! Amen.

Further Study

Php 4:1-19; 1Tm 1:14; Tit 3:6

What has God promised?

What did Paul testify to Timothy?

Watching

Matthew 24:42

When I was a tiny child, my mother found me perched in a library window looking out intently at the distant road. “What are you doing there, child?” she asked.

“Watching for Papa,” I said. “It is almost time for him to come, and I want to see him.”

“But you are not ready,” rejoined my sensible mother. “Look at your dirty hands and that soiled apron. Papa wants to see his little girl clean, and he likes your hair shining. Go and get yourself ready for Papa, and then take your papers and dolls’ clothes off his table. I’m all ready for him, and so must you be.”

It seems to me now that her advice is still good for older children in spiritual matters, and that her words show us exactly how we are to “watch” for our Lord. We are first to be ready ourselves, and then to make His earth ready as far as lies within our power. We have no business looking up to the clouds of heaven while our hearts will not bear the inspection of Him for whom we are looking. We have no leisure to study dates and times when the law of God for our daily lives is fulfilled in our hearts.

“Therefore, be you also ready,” (Matthew 24:44 KJV) said Jesus. “Watching” can have no practical meaning but getting ready, if we are not so, and keeping ready, if we are.

It is explained in other parts of the holy Word how we are to be watching.

“Watch unto prayer,” admonishes Peter, “for the end of all things is at hand”

(1 Pet. 4:7 KJV). Shall the end find us in fellowship with God?

“Watch thou in all things,” (2 Timothy 4:5 KJV) Paul exhorted Timothy, just going into the work, and with great prospects before him. The young man was to watch Jesus continually, to test whether or not his life matched his Lord’s.

Jesus himself said, “Watch therefore; for you know not what hour your Lord does come” (Matthew 24:42 KJV).

The eyes that so look for Jesus in all matters of the daily life will see Him. They will not have to wait for His appearance in the clouds of glory, but they will behold Him in the clouds of heaviness which may shadow their everyday life; they will find His healing balm on every thorn which would pierce them, His tears mingling with every drop of sorrow their eyes pour down, His form bending under every cross appointed them, taking its weight and pain and transforming it into a thing of joy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they [as they watch] shall see God” (Matthew 5:8 KJV).

Elizabeth Swift Brengle, Half Hours with My Guide