VIDEO A Flood of Peace

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, and the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. Psalm 29:10-11

Sometimes we hear Christians say, “Don’t worry; God is still on His throne.” But the word “still” could easily be deleted from the statement. “Still” implies the possibility that God might one day not be on His throne.

The psalmist used the imagery of God on His throne and illustrated it with reference to the most disruptive time in earth’s history: the Flood (Genesis 6–9). Some interpreters see “Flood” as referring to troubles in general, as in Psalm 29:3. While “Flood” can refer to troubles in the Old Testament, the past tense “sat” suggests a reference to a flood in the past—the Flood in Genesis. If God was on His throne during the Flood, surely He is on His throne and ruling during all of life’s “floods.” Just as Paul promised in Philippians 4:6-7 (“the peace of God”) and 4:8-9 (“the God of peace”), peace will be found when God is ruling during life’s troubles.

Whatever “flood” you are going through right now, remember: God is on His throne and will be forever. Receive the blessing of His peace!

Peace rules the day when Christ rules the mind. Unknown


Psalm 29 – The Voice of the LORD in the Storm

Happy Thanksgiving

In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

A study by psychologist Robert Emmons divided volunteers into three groups that each made weekly entries in journals. One group wrote five things they were grateful for. One described five daily hassles. And a control group listed five events that had impacted them in a small way. The results of the study revealed that those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives overall, were more optimistic about the future, and reported fewer health problems.

Giving thanks has a way of changing the way we look at life. Thanksgiving can even make us happier.

The Bible has long extolled the benefits of giving thanks to God, as doing so reminds us of His character. The Psalms repeatedly call God’s people to give Him thanks because “the Lord is good and his love endures forever” (Psalm 100:5) and to thank Him for His unfailing love and wonderful deeds (107:8, 15, 21, 31).

As the apostle Paul closed his letter to the Philippians—the letter itself a kind of thank-you note to a church that had supported him—he linked thankful prayers with the peace of God “which transcends all understanding” (4:7). When we focus on God and His goodness, we find that we can pray without anxiety, in every situation, with thanksgiving. Giving thanks brings us a peace that uniquely guards our hearts and minds and changes the way we look at life. A heart full of gratitude nurtures a spirit of joy.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What threatens your sense of gratitude? How is God calling you to a “happy thanksgiving” as you bring your needs before Him?

Father in heaven, where I see problems, grant me a spirit of gratitude and grateful praise.

Responding to God’s Discipline

God’s discipline is another example of His great love for us Hebrews 12:4-13

Do you remember how much you dreaded your parents’ discipline when you were a child? They were doing it for your sake so you’d learn that sin and disobedience have negative consequences. Their goal was to train you to be responsible and good. 

Our heavenly Father also disciplines His children, but His purposes are even higher. He does it to train us in holiness so we’ll reflect His likeness. Divine discipline is corrective; the Lord uses difficult trials and painful circumstances to turn us away from unholy practices and to teach us the way of godliness.

So when experiencing God’s discipline, we should understand that we’ve sinned and take His correction seriously. Instead of fighting the process, we’d be wise to cooperate by strengthening our area of weakness so we don’t fall again. At the same time, we should keep our eyes fixed on the promised harvest of righteousness and peace.  

If your troubles are a result of your own ungodly actions, confess them immediately and turn back to the Father in repentance and obedience. Not every hardship is a result of sin, but God will use all of our adversity to build faith and develop Christlike character. 

The True Gospel

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” (Galatians 1:6)

There is only one true gospel (meaning “good news”) in Christianity, but there are many false gospels. Various cults have proposed such concepts as the social gospel, the prosperity gospel, the full gospel, and others, but it is dangerous to attach adjectives or other modifiers to the gospel unless these are specifically attached to it in the Scriptures. There are enough of these, however, to emphasize that the true gospel does have many facets. God’s “good news” is always about Christ—His person and work—but His work is from eternity to eternity, and He is both the mighty God and perfect man. Therefore, with Paul we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).

The gospel is the “everlasting gospel,” focusing on Him as the one “that made heaven, and earth” (Revelation 14:6-7). It is also the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23), focusing on Him as the coming “King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).

It is the wonderful “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13). Thus, it also is the true “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), reconciling man to God.

Because Christ is God, this “gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1) is surely the one true “gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). This is the gospel that we have been commissioned by Christ to preach “to every creature” (Mark 16:15), so we need no other. And since it is, indeed, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11), we should never desire another. It meets every spiritual need for time and eternity. HMM

Alone…Together

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple…did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.Acts 2:46

There are other experiences deep and wholly inward that cannot be shared with any other: Jacob at Bethel and Peniel, Moses at the burning bush, Christ in the garden, John in the Isle of Patmos are Bible examples, and Christian biography will reveal many more.

A community of believers must be composed of persons who have each one met God in individual experience. No matter how large the family, each child must be born individually….So it is in the local church. Each member must be born of the Spirit individually.

It will not escape the discerning reader that while each child is born separate from the rest it is born into a family, and after that must live in the fellowship of the rest of the household….

The church is called the household of God, and it is the ideal place to rear young Christians. BAM112-113

Next to God Himself we need each other most. We are His sheep and it is our nature to live with the flock. BAM114

The God Who Speaks

So My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:9

Although we know that God is all-powerful, we also know that He is personal. But what does it mean to be a person? What predicates personality?

The best definition of personality I know is the one given to me by the tutor who taught me theology: “To be a person, we have to be able to think, to reason, to feel, to judge, to choose, and to communicate in words that constitute a language.” Richard Swinburne, a theologian, observes that people use language not only to communicate and for private thought, but to argue, to raise a consideration, to object to another. Unlike animals that show evidence only of wanting food and drink, people can want not to want something—like a fasting man, for example, wanting not to want food.

Now with that in mind—that one of the constituents of personality is the ability to think and speak—read the first chapter of Genesis. Notice how many times the words appear: “God said.” Count them. God is portrayed to us as a speaking God. And because speech is one of the constituent parts of personality, this proves to us that the Deity is a personal Being. We are not long into Genesis before we are brought face-to-face with the fact that there is more to God than mere power; the Almighty is a Person. This means, among other things, that the Almighty cannot be studied from a “safe” distance. Because He is a Person, He is someone who wants and waits to be known.

Prayer

Loving heavenly Father, how thankful I am that You made me like Yourself—to know and be known. May my strongest desire be to know You, not merely to know myself. For it is only when I know You that I can most truly know myself. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 1:1-31; Jb 33:13-14; 1Kg 19:12; Ezk 43:2

How many times does it say “God said”?

How did Ezekiel describe God’s voice?

Leaders and Managers

But the Lord told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king.”—1 Samuel 8:7

The Israelites were to be a nation unlike any other. Every other nation had a king or ruler, but Israel’s king was to be God Himself! Still, the Israelites complained that they wanted to be like other nations and have an earthly ruler! As we read about the Israelites, we marvel at their foolishness. Yet we are prone to make the same mistake, choosing our human wisdom over God’s leadership.

There is much discussion these days about leaders and managers. According to popular teaching, leaders have the vision and set goals for people or organizations to follow. Managers handle the day-to-day marshaling of resources under their charge. In the Christian life, God is the leader of our lives, our families, and our churches. God sets the direction; He establishes the priorities; He provides the resources. We are the managers. We take what He gives us and do with it as He directs.

The biblical term for leader is Lord. As our Lord, Christ has the authority to reveal the direction for our lives. As Lord, He chooses our careers, leads us to our marriage partners, and helps us set our daily priorities. We are to be good managers of the mind, body, and spiritual life He gives. He is the Lord of our families. He knows what is best for our children. He knows how to make marriages strong. Our responsibility is to obey Him as He leads our families to Christlikeness. Christ is the Lord of our church. He takes responsibility for expanding it (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:18). Only He knows what is best for our church. Our task is to faithfully perform the role He assigns us.

Do not foolishly trust in human wisdom and leadership as the Israelites did. Follow your Lord and trust Him alone.