VIDEO Peace, Be Still

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

One of the ironies of the naming of hurricanes and tropical storms is the fact that some are named Irene. There were tropical storms named Irene in 1947 and 1959, and hurricanes named Irene in 1971, 1981, 1999, 2005, and 2011. The irony? Irene comes from the Greek word eirene—the word for “peace.”

Jesus showed His disciples it is possible to experience peace in the face of a storm. When a squall came up as He and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus “arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). Storms and squalls of all kinds arise in our world. Jesus told His disciples that they would experience trouble in this world but assured them He had “overcome the world” (John 16:33). He tells us the same.

We can have peace and calm in this world knowing that Jesus gives us His peace and He has overcome the world.

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

Supernatural Peace (John 14:27)

Operating with Prayer

Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 20:3

When my son needed orthopedic surgery, I was grateful for the doctor who performed the operation. The doctor, who was nearing retirement, assured us he’d helped thousands of people with the same problem. Even so, before the procedure, he prayed and asked God to provide a good outcome. And I’m so grateful He did.

Jehoshaphat, an experienced national leader, prayed too during a crisis. Three nations had united against him, and they were coming to attack his people. Although he had more than two decades of experience, he decided to ask God what to do. He prayed, “[We] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us” (2 Chronicles 20:9). He also asked for guidance, saying, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12).

Jehoshaphat’s humble approach to the challenge opened his heart to God’s involvement, which came in the form of encouragement and divine intervention (vv. 15–17, 22). No matter how much experience we have in certain areas, praying for help develops a holy reliance on God. It reminds us that He knows more than we do, and He’s ultimately in control. It puts us in a humble place—a place where He’s pleased to respond and support us, no matter what the outcome may be.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How has prayer helped you? What current challenge in your life might benefit from prayer?

Dear God, thank You for listening and responding to prayer. I worship You as the all-knowing, all-powerful God. Please help me in each challenge I face today.

Learn how to pray effectively.

A New Creation in Christ

Upon salvation, a person becomes a new creation, holy and blameless in God’s sight Ephesians 4:17-24

Some people think they can receive salvation and go on living as they did before. But 2 Corinthians 5:17 is clear: “If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” It’s important to realize that this new creation is not an addition to the old you but, rather, a completely new self.

A person in Christ is a person forever changed. According to today’s passage, this new self is “created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (v. 24 NLT). Not only will sin lose its attraction for the believer, but there will also be an appreciation for God’s Word and a desire to reflect His righteousness more and more. If we don’t see evidence of these things in our life, what does that say about the state of our heart? 

Jesus promises that salvation cannot be lost (John 10:28)—once a child of God, always a child of God. But it is possible to become apathetic about our identity in Christ. Does your lifestyle demonstrate that you are a “new creation”? What is your attitude toward sin and the pursuit of righteousness? Though none of us will live perfectly, the desire of our heart should be to move in the direction of our new self, which has been created in Christ’s likeness. 

The Strength of the Lord

“I will go in the strength of the LORD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” (Psalm 71:16)

Since God the Creator is omnipotent, if we can go in His strength, there would seem to be no limit to what could be accomplished. The book of Psalms, in particular, over and over again testifies that God indeed is our strength. For example, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:1-2).

But how do we appropriate God’s strength, and how is it manifested in our own lives? The answer is not what most would expect. “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:10-11). “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Our text itself indicates that going in the strength of the Lord is essentially to “make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Speaking of God’s righteousness (not ours) in the fear of the Lord and the leading of the Spirit, hoping only in His mercy, manifests the strength of the Lord.

Furthermore, “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). And, finally, the apostle Paul, who surely exhibited the strength of God in his life as much as anyone ever did, testified that “he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). His grace and His joy, shining through our own weakness, enable the man “whose strength is in thee” to “go from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:5, 7) in His service. HMM

Ministering To Others

In “ministering” to others, whose needs are being met? Theirs? Or yours?

How much of our efforts in “ministry“are veiled, or even subconscious attempts to meet our needs to be stroked or recognized? Could it be that often our primary concern with those under our charge is that they show up, conform, perform, and… well… basically make us look and feel good?

In the business world, “glitz,” bigness, “movement,” image, and pandering to people’s whimsical needs is standard operating procedure. Is it possible that in our push to “succeed” in our ministries, we have often transferred carnal and pride-driven methods and values from the “world” into the church? If that is the case:

  • Our ministry has, sadly, become “market-driven.
  • Feeling better has become more important to us than finding God.

You will not find Jesus debasing His ministry to this level. Nor should we.

It is axiomatic that whenever a person is maturing toward full-stature in Christ (Ephesians 4:13), there is a death to self in the life of the discipler. Notice the cost to Jesus on our behalf:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.“(2 Corinthians 8:9)

Or Paul’s sacrifice:

I am again in labor until Christ is formed in youI die dailyand die to selfI endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen… “(Galatians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 15:31b [Amplified]; 2 Timothy 2:10a)

So here is the question you and I must ask ourselves: “What is our motivation with the sheep entrusted to our care: Their maturity, or the meeting of our needs?

The degree of sacrifice which you and I are willing to expend on their behalf to bring them to spiritual maturity makes the answer to the question self-evident.

Few people will take notice of our sacrifice in ministering to others. But what difference should that make? Are we not committed first and foremost to His glory over ours?

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.“(Galatians 6:14)

“I have exalted one chosen out of the People.”

Numbers 17:1-13

To settle for ever the vexed question as to the priesthood, the Lord arranged a solemn ordeal to which none could object, and which all would admit to be decisive.

Numbers 17:2

Rods were the ensigns of government, the sceptres of the rulers. To submit the sceptre of each tribe to the Lord was a symbolical presentation of all their claims to him. All the rods were alike dead and dry, and it remained with the Lord to choose which he pleased, and quicken it into life and verdure.

Numbers 17:3

Owing to the destruction of Korah, the Levites were not divided as to who should be their claimant for office, but unanimous that Aaron should stand for them.

Numbers 17:5

God has a right to choose his own servants, and he will do so whether we will agree therewith or not. He gives life and fruitfulness to his chosen servants, and either silences the jealousies and fault-findings of the people, or else visits the murmurers for their offence.

Numbers 17:8

A miracle indeed! Here was not only life, but an instant and perfect fruitfulness, not caused by the season, but suddenly brought forth by the divine power! Surely this is the best proof of a divine call to the Lord’s work. Naturally barren, as men are, the grace of God makes his ministers fruitful unto God, through abiding in his secret presence, and thus they are known among the Lords people as the ordained servants of the Lord.

Numbers 17:10

This miraculous proof was meant to prevent future disputes, lest they should provoke God beyond all bearing.

Numbers 17:11

Moses was a wise man, but he did not follow his own opinion. His wisdom lay in complete obedience to God.

Numbers 17:12, 13

Not long could they be without some wicked complaint or another. This time they make light of their sin, and cry out against the severity with which their insolence had been repressed. It was time they had found fault with themselves rather than with the just judgments of God; but, indeed, it is very hard to bring Israel, or any of us, to true repentance.

From this whole passage let us learn that Jesus, our great High Priest, has life in himself, and brings forth soul-saving fruit, which neither the law nor the prophets could do—hence he is proved to be the true priest of God. If we also would have life and fruit, we must be vitally united to him, for apart from him we are withered branches only fit for the fire.

Jesus, we own thee priest alone,

Thou only canst for sin atone;

Thy sacred rod ends all the strife

Thou only hast eternal life.

Nor life nor fruit elsewhere is found,

Death sways his barren sceptre round;

But thou hast come new life to give,

And, joined to thee, our spirits live.

Let Nothing Keep Us from Communion with God

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

We being what we are and all things else being what they are, the most important and profitable study any of us can engage in is without question the study of theology.

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates, rather, that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up!

They sense their deep alienation from God and only manage to live at peace with themselves by forgetting that they are not at peace with God.

It is precisely because God IS, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny.

To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly!

Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to me. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. The secret of life is theological and the key to heaven, as well!