When we only emphasise certain aspects of Jesus’ teaching, we often find something he said that does not agree with the conclusions we have reached. We often tell people about the peace that Jesus came to bring – in fact, was it not announced at his birth? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” the angels proclaimed to the shepherds (Luke 2:14 NET). Jesus came to bring peace and he wants his people to be characterised by peace (James 3:13-18). But then we find something that doesn’t sound quite right. Continue reading “Loving Jesus”
Sought by Saul, David lived a life on the run. His enemies were powerful and determined to snuff out his life. But David had the only ally that matters. Looking back on the deliverance that God accomplished and the salvation that God won for David, the king of Israel praised the King of all creation.
“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3 ESV).
David describes Jehovah as “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” To David, God is a “shield” and a “stronghold.” We have no trouble visualizing those illustrations. We can envision God as a fortress built upon a high mountain. He is impenetrable. “None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22).
The phrase “the horn of my salvation” is more puzzling to us. Only twice is the phrase found in the Old Testament and both are the words of David (see 2 Samuel 22:3). What does David have in mind? Continue reading “The Horn of my salvation”
The writing of the prophet Isaiah has been referred to as the “fifth gospel” because of the many references and descriptions of the Messiah. His coming is described in this way: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isaiah 9:2 CSB). His kingdom is describes as one of peace and justice.
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Yesterday my wife and I spent most of the day driving in order to assist our college age son move back to our city before the mayor’s shelter-in-place order took effect. We are safe and hunkered down.
The ability to say and embrace, “I’m safe” evokes peace. However when the heart is fearful, these words don’t ring true and fear persists.
What can assist us in getting over the hump to experience a plane of peacefulness? A brief understanding about what makes us tick reveals why the suggestions listed below offer practical help. Continue reading “I’m Safe”
“And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. … He himself went on before him, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother” (Genesis 33:1, 3 ESV).
When we have been separated from someone for a long time, it is never certain what kind of reception we will confront when we are reunited. Jacob left Esau at a time of stress and enmity. His older brother had actually threatened to kill him. Jacob fled to the country of their ancestors. Continue reading “Reunions”
Do you ever have moments, hours, or even days when your mind is troubled? In an earlier part of my life my mind might race over inconsequential things. It was as if I could feel my mind moving inside but I could not slow it. I have not felt that in years, but now I feel something different.
These last two days my mind has been troubled, not as a roaring engine, but as an agitated body of water. This is not the first time I have felt this. When some friends walked away from Christ, and when others seemed to follow, my mind was troubled. Perhaps you have felt similarly. Continue reading “A quiet mind”
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men’” (Luke 12:13-14 NKJV).
No word is more descriptive of the ultimate impact of the coming of Jesus than the word “peace.” It was proclaimed in the announcement of his birth. It is part of one of his many divine and royal titles (i.e., “Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6). Through Jesus who “Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), we are reconciled with God and with other humans. Jesus “preached peace to you who were far off and to peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). Continue reading “Peace on earth”
The most desired of conditions, peace is by far the most elusive.
Peace – in its simplest definition – is the absence of conflict. But there has always been conflict. There was conflict among the angels of heaven. There was conflict in the Paradise of Eden. There has since been conflict between all clans.
We know and appreciate the concept of peace. We crave and long for it. We write and sing about it. We fight and die for it. We want it as much as anything, yet we have no earthly idea how to both obtain and keep it.
The human being is conflicted. He is conflicted with his world, and with his self. Life is a search to ease the stress, curtail the strain, scratch the itch of conflict. But the itch returns, the scratching ensues, and the cycle continues. Continue reading “The Wrong Battle; the Wrong Weapons”
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hears, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 ESV).
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. It is important to consume a healthy diet and exercise adequately. Those who are at higher risk may have a doctor examine them. Some tests examine the heart from a distance, while others can look right inside the heart while it pumps.
While our physical hearts are essential to our physical well-being, there is another heart that is essential to our spiritual well-being. Merriam-Webster defines this heart as “one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.” Imagine if you could look inside this heart while it pumps. What would you see? Continue reading “Let peace reign”
Peace is not merely an inner sensation, but an objective state of being. In the Bible it is, first of all, peace with God. This peace does not depend upon a person feeling that God is near or convincing himself that God is bringing him peace. A person can feel peaceful but in fact be in a state of rebellion against God and not be at peace with the Creator.
Such was the case in Jeremiah’s day. The prophet condemned the priests and false prophets who denied there was any danger, when in fact destruction and devastation was approaching. Continue reading “No peace but God’s peace”