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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

There is a verse in today’s Bible reading with which we all struggle on occasion.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” (Romans 8:35)

We love the idea of unending love.

We don’t love the idea of trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, destitution, danger and threats of death.

If we have one idea, does that mean we won’t have the other?

Paul’s life and the lives of millions today proves that both can exist at the same time in the same life.

Christ’s love carries us through the trials, not simply to the trials.

As a child, when I was injured or emotionally wounded, did that mean my parents didn’t love me? Of course not.

In fact, they were often the ones helping me to find comfort and healing and understanding.

Faith is not a matter of living in a cocoon.

Instead, it is a matter of living in fellowship with the Father. It is a matter of living with an empowered, instructed, encouraged state of purpose that keeps putting one foot in front of another until one’s arrival in glory.

God’s love for us abides.

Let’s keep moving forward in serving Him with an abiding determination to build His kingdom until we move to the place with no more trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, destitution, danger and threats of death.

A place where only love abides forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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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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I should have been doing this for all my years of parenting, but I’ve dropped the ball.

I wonder what blessings and wisdom I and my children have missed out on because I haven’t done what Job did every morning he was a parent.

I need to do better and I am grateful that the Lord is giving me more time to do for my children what Job did for his.

I’m talking about devoting specific moments of prayer for my children at the start of each day.

Some people think Job’s character was defined by his refusal to renounce God when his life fell apart.

That’s essential, of course, to any intensely faithful life.

But it’s the faith shown in the everyday, behind-the-scenes choices that helps to form the solid foundation to endure the worst that life can throw at us.

This passage humbled me and stirred me to become a better parent and a stronger Christian.

Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice.” (Job 1:4-5)

My kids are grown. But so were Job’s.

All 10 of them.

Yet, he dedicated 10 separate intercessory prayer and sacrifices in their behalf every morning.

He wanted the peace of knowing each child had peace with God.

What a great example!

Some of you reading this have adult children who might not think much about God’s desires to be worshipped by your kids.

Let’s all start praying more for our kids in hopes that they become more focused on pleasing God.

As we do so, we’ll be pleasing God.

I really need to do this.

I pray that you will feel the same, whether your prayers are for your own children or for children belonging to others but with whom you have very close relationships.

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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I have a tight schedule today so this Morning Devotion will be brief.

But it will still be potent because of the power of God’s perfect Word.

This greatly encouraging passage painted a smile on my face and empowered the vigor needed for my faith.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15;13 NLT)

The more that I trust God, the more room I reserve in my heart, mind and soul for being filled with joy and peace. That provides the soil for bear the fruit of hopefulness as the seeds of God’s love and Word germinate and grow through the gardening intercession of the Holy Spirit.

“Thank you, God, for this reminder. I’m much encouraged.”

Dear friend, I pray that this verse encourages you, too.

As always, I love you
Martin

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