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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

Every adult encounters hassles from critics somewhere along the way.

Often, it’s at the job when a particular co-worker doesn’t like you and you might even not know why.

What you do know is that any error is magnified in significance, either in how it is perceived or in how it is broadcast to others at work.

The same is sometimes true of stressed relationships with relatives, with classmates or even with others at church.

There are very few people who aren’t disliked by at least one person.

So how do we respond to people who don’t like us?

By not liking them back?

That’s not the mature approach, is it?

It’s certainly not the Christian approach.

Here is King Solomon’s advice in the matter:

“When people’s lives please the Lord,
even their enemies are at peace with them.” (Proverbs 16:7)

Let’s do what makes God happy. Let’s live the squeaky clean life that Jesus lived.

Let’s do the Philippians 4:8-9 thing and we’ll face less harrassment from other people.

And a harrassment-free life is definitely worth pursuing.

As always, I love you

Martin

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When my days on earth are over, a joy and contentment beyond description will be mine.

This fact compels me day after day to live a life more pleasing to God.

I’m not perfect, but I rejoice that God’s gracious power and patience continues stirring me — and steering me — toward that goal.

You see, no matter what disappointments I encounter in this life — and there have been many — they pale in comparison to the reward awaiting me in the next life.

This is the magnet of mercy that draws me with a power greater than the lies of the world.

Psalm 61:4 concisely states the desire of my heart:

“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!” (Psalm 61:4)

I pray that this is your desire as well.

Who knows? Perhaps we’ll be side by side under His wings.

I’d like that.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I love how the Bible isn’t complicated when it comes to knowing how we tap into God’s power and peace.

Yes, there are some passages that we won’t fully grasp until we’re standing in the glory of heaven. But all that we need for a solid faith and a fruitful life is placed on the bottom shelf, so to speak, so that we might please God without being a member of the Mensa Society.

The Apostle Paul gives us another reminder of how we can have a Rock-solid faith with a simple array of choices.

“Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Four decisions.

Not made by others.

Not determined by circumstances.

Choices of our will, not somebody else’s.

WE determine if we’ll live with joy. This is not about happiness, an emotion based on the proportion of our wants and needs being satisfied. Instead, joy is the celebration of a certain, better future and the contentment of knowing we’re better off than we could be or even deserve to be.

We have the promise of salvation and the provision of God’s merciful blessings. That’s enough to produce a harvest of joy.

We determine if we’ll grow to maturity. For it’s up to us to drink the Living Water of scripture and to stand in the Sonlight and to seek fertile soil of a good, Bible-teaching congregation and to be refreshed by the divine wind of God known as the Holy Spirit.

Others can’t grow for us. It’s a choice we make to do the things that produce growth.

We determine if we’ll be encouragers. We all have the flaw of being ego-centric, meaning we naturally think of ourselves first. WE want people to encourage us and maybe we’ll throw a tidbit or two of encouragement their way. But this isn’t God’s way.

Others first. That’s God’s way. Let’s make sure it’s our way, too. Let’s look for ways to encourage others in all sorts of ways at all sorts of times.

And the fourth thing we determine is to get along with others. Paul wouldn’t have told us to do this if it happens naturally. It doesn’t. At least not with everybody. You know it and I know it.

Some people are just difficult. At least toward us. We sometimes are clueless as to why and the truth is that others sometimes really test our faith because of their attitudes and actions toward us. But that’s no excuse for not living in harmony and peace.

When we’re tempted to take somebody to the woodshed, it’s time to take that name and situation to the prayer room, asking to see what changes need to happen in us.

There’s no other way to have the harmony and peace that God wants among all in His family.

I want to be part of a joy-filled congregation. I want to be part of a spiritually growing congregation. I want to be part of an encouragement-focused congregation. And I want to be part of a harmonious congregation.

The best thing that I can do to have such a church family is to practice these things myself.

As I do, others will see the value of doing so themselves.

And our Abba Father in heaven will find joy in seeing His kids experience what He so desires for them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When Christian parents are being tossed around by work or health storms, the kids can become filled with anxiety.

Why? Because the kids aren’t just worried about Mom or Dad or both, but they’re also unsure of what the future is going to be for them.

They don’t have the life experience to have seen people make it through tough times because of a tough faith.

That’s why it is so important that we not only talk about the value of faith with kids, but that we also display the value of faith in front of the kids.

For when they see us leaning on the Rock that will not be crushed, upon the Tower that will not fall, our kids know that they can lean on us and they won’t be crushed, they won’t fall.

How else will they learn of standing strong by standing close to the Lord?

They’re certainly not going to learn it from the world.

Here’s the verse from Proverbs that triggered this devotion:

Those who fear the Lord are secure; He will be a refuge for their children.” (Proverbs 14:26)

Show kids how to have spiritual and emotional security, even when the wheels are falling off the bus of your life.

Our kids — even the grown ones — want to know that they’ll be safe emotionally and spiritually when they’re with us.

And as you and I stay within the arms of our Lord, we’ll be able to pass the confident peace onto those whom we love.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?” (Proverbs 18:14)

I’ve known a number of people faced with a terminal illness yet who were more upbeat than others I’ve known who were facing job loss or shame because of a family member’s error or even a broken-down car.

It doesn’t make sense — in a purely logical evaluation — if the face of a person dying in three months is painted with more smiles than is the soon-to-be-laid-off person who has been given three months to find another career.

But we all know this scenario is not uncommon.

Many people are depressed over things far less worse than what the upbeat terminal cancer victim is facing.

Why is this so?

You and I have both thought about this on many occasions and have likely told ourselves that we’d be smiling, too, if we were on the bus to eternity that was about to pull into the train station to glory.

I pray that this is true for you and for me.

Making sure we’re right with God is the key, of course.

When we know we’re entering a new, eternal chapter in our lives, we’re not chained to depressing thoughts about what we’re losing or have lost.

We’re already anticipating a forever life without chains of any sort.

No wonder we’ll be smiling.

Listen, chains stink.

And a crushed spirit is one that feels enrobed in chains with no clue as to where the key is to unlock them.

You and I know people with crushed spirits.

Let’s love them, encourage them, provide blessings to them and share with them the Good News of God’s merciful love so that they might start considering what they can have waiting for them in glory rather than obsessing about what has been lost and cannot be reclaimed.

Let’s also do our best to show them a spirit that can endure any disappointment in this life without giving up on the faith that can assure an appointment with spiritual utopia in the next life.

As always, I love you

Martin

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Just about everybody has experienced “writer’s block,” that unwelcomed time when the sentiments of the heart can’t find life on paper or on the screen simply because the mind can’t think of the right words.

It stinks when that happens.

With many years of professional writing in my history, you can be sure that I’ve encountered writer’s block on a number of occasions.

God doesn’t want us to experience “believer’s block,” however, and promises that we can ALWAYS have fresh insights and inspirations to share with others.

Here are the famous words that Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman who needed a new hope and a new purpose for living.

“Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

We’ll never find lasting, inner peace from trusting the philosophies and stimulations of human origin. Like booze or narcotics or porn or even just gaining more wealth or public popularity, we’ll never be satisfied. Our flesh will always crave more and we’ll have to keep paying for it.

In more ways than one.

But digesting and demonstrating God’s Word is always a net gain.

Verses we memorize pay dividends year after year, touching life after life.

The Word we ingest becomes the Word we confess and that “everpresent help in times of trouble” is a vital part the faith fortress that protect s us from the Enemy.

Here’s the link to a sip from that bubbling spring — DRINK HERE.

Drink deeply today, my friend.

And then do the same tomorrow.

Join me in reading the One-Year Bible online by adding this link to your favorite websites/bookmarks tab.

As always, I love you
Martin

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As a new grandparent, I’ve seen a number of photos lately of sleeping babies.

I love it, of course.

It is a universal blessing to see a small child peacefully sleeping.

We adults yearn for that measure of unstressed rest, that time when the cares of the world are shut off by our eyelids and our assurance that somebody bigger is watching over us.

We live in a fallen world with many difficult moments and finding those restful moments is not as easy as when we were infants and toddlers. Yet, God’s heart still wants us to experience the moments of real rest in our souls even in the midst of real stress in our lives.

That’s why verses like Psalm 46:10 were woven into the Word according to the wisdom of the perfect Father in heaven.

“Be still, and know that I am God!”

You’ll recall that Jesus said His heart wanted the people of Jerusalem to gather in His arms as chicks gather under the wings of their mother hen.

You see, love always protects.

God’s desire is to protect you.

And when you and I run into His arms, spiritually and emotionally and mentally, we find that protection for our souls and hearts and minds, even if our bodies are struggling with illness or abuse or feebleness.

Listen, God promises that our trust in Him yields our protection by Him for those things that matter most — our souls, hearts and minds. We can’t always control the stillness that comes against our flesh, but we can control the stillness that abides within our inner person.

We simply have to invite God to be in control.

He’s never lost a battle and He’s never failed in protecting us from Satan’s full wrath.

And He’s not about to start failing now.

Let’s be still and know that He is God.

We’ll sleep like babies as we do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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