VIDEO Drawing Near – Peace Is Coming

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Meister Eckhart was a medieval German preacher whose principal subject was the presence of God. He said: “I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.”

How do we cultivate a sense of God’s presence? It’s important to begin and end the day with the Lord, making time for silence, Bible reading, and prayer. Between getting up and retiring, we should learn to pray quietly about whatever comes. “Lord, bless this phone call.” “Lord, help me rest on this flight.” “Father, encourage that sad face I just passed.”

If the evil in the world troubles you, imagine how it hurts the Lord to see it too. But we’re not alone. We have a faithful Defender, Friend, and Confidant who walks with us through life. He will guard us from the evil one.

We have the presence of a faithful God enveloping us day and night. In that thought we can rest.

We should grasp God in all things and should train ourselves to keep God always present in our mind. Meister Eckhart


Peace is Coming – Jon McNaughton

Beyond Words

This man . . . heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 2 Corinthians 12:3–4

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was one of the church’s most celebrated defenders of the faith. Yet just three months before his death, something caused him to leave unfinished his Summa Theologica, the massive legacy of his life’s work. While reflecting on the broken body and shed blood of his Savior, Aquinas claimed to see a vision that left him without words. He said, “I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings seem like straw.”

Before Aquinas, Paul too had a vision. In 2 Corinthians, he described the experience: “[I]—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things” (12:3–4).  

Paul and Aquinas left us to reflect on an ocean of goodness that neither words nor reason can express. The implications of what Aquinas saw left him without hope of finishing his work in a way that would do justice to a God who sent His Son to be crucified for us. By contrast, Paul continued to write, but he did so in the awareness of what he couldn’t express or finish in his own strength.

In all the troubles Paul encountered in service to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:16–3312:8–9), he could look back and see, in his weakness, a grace and goodness beyond words and wonder. 

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

What problem have you had that seemed like a curse? How have you seen God show Himself good to you in ways you can’t describe?

Father in heaven, please give me the courage today to look for an inexpressible sense of Your presence and strength in my weakness.

The Good Things in Life

Knowing and pursuing God gives us our best life Psalm 34:1-22

How do we achieve the good life? Well, it depends on what you pursue and what you consider “good.” The world defines good things as items and experiences that make us happy. But from the Lord’s perspective, the good things in life are those that fit into His purpose and plan for us. 

God’s will could include material prosperity, health, and opportunities, but He also considers periods of trouble, need, and suffering as valuable. The Lord prioritizes our spiritual well-being over physical or material comfort and ease. 

Our Father wants us to seek Him rather than the treasures and pleasures of this life. If we do this, He promises we’ll “not lack any good thing” (Ps. 34:10).  We’re told to ask the Lord to meet our needs, but we should also come to Him with an open heart that seeks to know and love Him more. 

God Himself is the highest good we could possibly seek. Everything that He gives, whether much or little, is a good and perfect gift from Him (James 1:17). When our pursuit is the Lord rather than the things of this world, we’ll be content with whatever we have (Psalm 37:4). 

The Sinner’s Prayer

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

Evangelists have often urged lost men and women to pray this “sinner’s prayer” if they desired to be saved. The account does say that this publican, after praying thus, “went down to his house justified” (v. 14).

But there is more here than appears on the surface. It is not merely God’s mercy that is needed, for He has already been merciful to let us continue to live at all. The word translated “merciful” is used only one other time in the New Testament and is there translated “make reconciliation for.” Speaking of the saving work of Christ, it says that He came “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). It is also closely related to the words for “propitiation” and “mercy seat.”

This parable of the Pharisee and the publican is set in the context of the Jewish temple worship, where sinners would bring their sacrificial offerings to cover their sins, knowing that “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Such sacrifices were completely worthless, however, if offered in a spirit of religious pride and/or self-righteousness, like those of the Pharisee. There must be repentance and faith in God’s promise of forgiveness through the death of an innocent substitute, pre-figuring the true Lamb of God whose coming death would truly make eternal reconciliation for the sins of the people. The publican prayed in this vein, and he was saved.

In our day, on the other side of the cross, a sinner’s saving prayer must say, in effect, “God, be propitiated to me on the basis of the death of Christ for my sins.” Such a prayer, offered in sincere repentance and faith in God’s promise, brings justification before God. HMM

A Supernatural Radiance

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.John 15:11

One distinguishing mark of those first Christians was a supernatural radiance that shined out from within them. The sun had come up in their hearts and its warmth and light made unnecessary any secondary sources of assurance.

They had the inner witness. They knew with an immediate awareness that required no jockeying of evidence to give them a feeling of certainty. Great power and great grace marked their lives, enabling them to rejoice to suffer shame for the name of Jesus.

It is obvious that the average evangelical Christian today is without this radiance. The efforts of some of our teachers to cheer up our drooping spirits are futile because those same teachers reject the very phenomenon that would naturally produce joy, namely, the inner witness…: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” (1 John 5:10). BAM013

[D]ivine joy is the privilege of all consecrated believers….The world must see the light of heaven in our faces if it would believe in the reality of our religion. ISS089

Our Only Hope

I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth.Jeremiah 9:24

In today’s church, we seem more interested in knowing about ourselves than in knowing God. The result of this is increased anxiety, depression, and a hundred other ills. However, God has revealed Himself through the Scripture in many different ways: as powerful, personal, plural, having holy love, a God of wrath, trustworthy, gracious, all-knowing, and all-wise.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, as our passage for today shows, that when the Lord talks about Himself in the Scriptures, it is usually in terms of His attributes or character traits: kindness, justice, righteousness, and so on. And there is a clear and definite purpose in this: the more we know of God, the more established our lives will be here on the earth.

I myself am convinced that there is nothing more important than knowing God through contemplation of Him. I am not talking about mere intellectual knowledge. I speak of the knowledge of God that comes through contemplation of Him, the ability to see life from His perspective, through His eyes. It means to look out at life’s circumstances through the lens of faith, bearing in mind God’s plan, to accept that whatever is happening is allowed by God and that everything comes under His personal surveillance. This kind of God-understanding and God-awareness is our only hope for coping with the problems of our day.

Prayer

Father, I am convinced. I see that if I am to operate in a context of confidence, I can only do so as I look out at life through Your eyes. Help me to do more than glance at You occasionally. Help me to gaze on You continually. Amen.

Further Study

Php 3:1-11; Col 1:9-10

What was Paul’s desire?

What did Paul pray for the Colossians?

Seeing with Your Eyes

I had heard rumors about You,

but now my eyes have seen You.—Job 42:5

In his time, Job was the most righteous person on earth. He was so godly that the Lord took pleasure in pointing him out to Satan (Job 1:8). Yet, despite his love for God and his diligent obedience to His commands, even Job had not fully come to know God. The blessings God had given to Job had not revealed everything about God’s character. There were characteristics that Job would come to realize only through adversity. So the Lord allowed Satan to test Job through suffering.

Although Job lost everything he had, even his seven children, Job discovered that God was still with him. Though he faced the most difficult and bewildering tribulations imaginable, Job came to understand that God was infinitely wiser than he (Job 42:1–4). As Job endured the insensitivity of his friends, he learned that God is the only One who is absolutely trustworthy. Job learned much about God through his anguish. Finally, he confessed that at first he had only heard about God, but now, through his suffering, he had come to see God (Job 42:5).

When you are in the midst of your trials, your Lord will reveal His character to you in ways you never knew. You will experience His strong and comforting presence. Like Job, you will learn that your Lord will remain, even when everyone else abandons you. You will see God more clearly as He takes you through the dark times. Then you will experience God in ways you had previously only heard about from others.