Peace

Ekg Electrocardiogram Anatomy Aorta Biology Blood

False Peace

Selling Peace

If you’ve spent time on Facebook, you know from their ADs that many companies are trying to sell you “peace.” From spas and Eastern meditation to counselors and clinics, business is booming for the peace merchants. However, true peace isn’t the same as being dead inside.

False Peace

For the vast majority of people, they will never be saved. They will never know what true peace feels like. They are eternally estranged from God. They are like babies that are never touched or coddled. They will enter their graves having never felt the presence of God, the warmth of the Holy Spirit, or the comfort from Christ.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (English Standard Version)

Right now, you may want to take up stones to stone me; I guess the modern thing to do is cancel me. But, before you do, consider these words from Jesus:

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Matthew 7:14

Few find it. An equivalent statement is, “most people never find life, so they die in their sins.” Therefore, as a Christian, you are the exception; you are graced by God and kept from the eternal punishment awaiting most people. God chose you! So consider the following verses in this light:

Rebekah… gave birth to twins [Esau and Jacob]. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.)” – Romans 9:10–12 (New Living Translation)

True Peace

I’m sorry if this is confusing to you. But how can God be God unless “He does whatever pleases him.” (Psalm 115:3) This verse makes perfect sense. God is the highest moral authority. Therefore, what pleases God is of the highest morality. He saved you for a purpose. He chose you, much like adopting parents used to choose their baby. He didn’t consider the good or bad things you had done. He didn’t consider whether your parents were saved or wicked. What pleased God was for you to be saved from eternal punishment.

You are in a very exclusive group of people. The Holy Spirit of God gives you an understanding of spiritual things. He opens God’s Word so that you can understand what His verses mean. You have Jesus, your Savior, that mediates between you and the Father. The very God of all is alive within you. God has given you promises, answered prayers, and healed your wounded heart. You are special to Him.

Good News

Love as God has commanded you. And rejoice, for you are special in His sight.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay


You may like:Willing to Yield to Others

Delivery Food Restaurant Pizza Fresh Pizzeria

God’s Benefits Package

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

What an unusual world in which we live! Science is advancing at a blistering pace, technology is evolving so rapidly that new products are obsolete by the time they are available in the market. Once isolated viruses are advancing at unimaginable speeds, and new medical procedures are available to you and me which would have been called magic five years ago.

Truly, the world we called home five years ago is nothing but a memory; it bears little resemblance to the one we live in today. Mercurial social definitions, strange weather patterns, and the unraveling of the delicate balance among geo-political powers stagger our minds. Just the thought that vehicle manufacturing would grind to a halt because of the lack of $2.00 integrated circuits.

Speaking of grinding to a halt, church attendance has significantly contracted. This pulling away is affecting Christians, Jews, and Muslims! According to a Gallup Poll:

  • In 2020, 47% of U.S. adults belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque
  • Down more than 20 points from the turn of the century
  • Change primarily due to rise in Americans with no religious preference

It would seem justifiable for people to throw up their arms and say, “Enough, already!” But, if you are a true Christian, all of these changes and fearful cries can’t move us. We walk in joy because our obedience to Jesus promises joy. (John 15:11) We walk in peace because Jesus promised us peace. (John 14:27). We walk in love because this is Christ’s command. (John 13:34)

How can we be moved by the world? God lives in us. (John 17:20-21) So, here we stand, as guideposts, pointing to the world the way to salvation and all of its benefits. We are ambassadors for Jesus, representing Him in the affairs of humanity. We are love, not lustful love, but the love that comes from God. We are confident, we are bold, we are humble, we are knowledgable, self-controlled, steadfast, and godly. We show brotherly affection and love. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

We have the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in us. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Google; paupers. Facebook; wannabes. Amazon; amateurs. We have the most comprehensive benefits package that has ever existed. So, let’s consider today’s verse.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

There is no circumstance or situation that we are in bondage to – except that which we bound ourselves to. In a moment, a mere heartbeat, we can find God when we seek Him with all of our hearts. How can life be better than to be known by the creator of everything? He knows us by name. He knows how many hairs are on our heads. He goes beyond knowing us; He loves us. And I’ve not touched on being saved from God’s coming wrath and the promise of eternal life with Jesus. Let’s celebrate and shout for joy for what God does for us!

Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay


You may like: Love In Communities

check list

Jesus’ Check List

[✔︎] Descend from heaven. John 3:13
[✔︎] Be born of a virgin. Luke 1:26–38
[✔︎] Go to people of my natural nationality. John 1:11
[✔︎] Do these miracles: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
[✔︎] Tell people how vital it is for them to put their faith in Me. John 12:44
[✔︎] Help people understand that My Father, I, and the Holy Spirit are One God. 1 Timothy 2:5, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 3:16–17
[✔︎] Communicate that the first step towards forgiveness is repentance. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Preach the kingdom of God. Matthew 4:17
[✔︎] Build a team that will become a community and grows to be My Bride. Matthew 4:18–22Acts 2:1–4Revelation 19:7
[✔︎] Teach people that love is never optional. Luke 10:25–37
[✔︎] Let people know that I often give second chances. John 21:15–25
[✔︎] Make it clear that my actions are fulfilling all of the prophecies about Me. Luke 13:32
[✔︎] Tell people that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Matthew 7:13–14Matthew 10:28
[✔︎] Reveal to people that believers have a home waiting for them in heaven. John 14:2
[✔︎] Teach people that this life is full of troubles. John 16:33
[✔︎] Help people know the value of differed gratification – Luke 14:33
[✔︎] Ask My Father to send the Holy Spirit so my believers will not be left as orphans. John 14:16, John 14:26, John 14:18
[✔︎] Be humiliated, cursed, spit upon, nailed to a cross, receive the wrath of My Father, be separated from My Father for the first time in all eternity, become sin so My Father cannot even look upon Me, and die as a sacrifice to provide the way for sinners to be forgiven and reconciled to God. Matthew 27:32–56
[✔︎] Rise up from death to become the resurrection for my followers. Luke 24
[✔︎] Ascend back to heaven. Acts 1:9
[ ] Return a second time to gather my people. John 14:3


Image by Tumisu, please consider ☕ Thank you! 🤗 from Pixabay

You may like: Peaceful Flux

Castle Fortress Architecture Clouds Alcazar Segovia

Peace is Found in Trusting Jesus

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Medieval Europe

I recently watched a documentary about life in Europe during the centuries after the turn of the first millennia (1000 AD – 1500AD). I was fascinated by the “Millennials.” 😉 The old guard had their fears and concerns about the younger generation’s ideas. Millennials seemed to be striving for more individual freedoms, yet, the old order wasn’t sure if it wanted society to change. The Millennials wished to keep the benefits provided by the status quo, but they also wanted more liberty to participate in commerce.

During this time, the ideas of personal property and personal commerce began to be birthed – crazy Millennial ideas, right!? Make no mistake; royalty owned the people of their estate. A person couldn’t leave the lord’s estate without permission, and even a tree could not be cut down without approval and payment to their master.

Medieval Loyalty

Nevertheless, it served the lord’s needs for his people to be self-sustaining and loyal. Loyalty was essential because his people were his army. He only maintained a small standing army, but every man had to join the fight when trouble came. The lord didn’t provide any weapons. Each man had to use his own pitchfork, wooden hammer, and scythes as weapons. However, if a man proved to be exceptional in battle, his lord would reward him with a sword.

One aspect of the Middle Ages (Dark Ages) that never was clear to me was the selfless loyalty that many people gave to their king or master. A man called El Cid continued to give significant payments to Alfonso VI, the king of Castile and León, in medieval Spain, long after Alfonso VI had banished Ei Cid from his kingdom. You would think El Cid would have turned his back on Alfonso VI. Instead, El Cid never stopped calling Alfonso VI his king. In this historical account, I gained an insight into Jesus Christ, my Lord.

Peace is Found in Trust

We know that we each owe Jesus our total and complete loyalty 1. However, we may take for granted the comfort and peace of mind that we gain when we absolutely trust Jesus2. Even though our peace is found in our trust in Jesus, the truth is that we may not always know how to trust Jesus3. With that in mind, find a place where you can commune with Jesus and ask Him to help you with your doubts. You can pray, “Jesus, thank You for saving me. I give You my total loyalty; lead me in the life you want me to live.”

Jesus is the only one that can bring true peace and comfort into our lives4. If we are saved, we have the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, living in us.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

John 15:26

Jesus is an endless source of love and mercy5, but we may not recognize this because we are too busy worrying about the troubles in our lives and around us6.

We are His, the sheep of His pasture7. Can we trust Jesus when we receive devastating news? Yes, He is our Lord8. Can we trust Jesus when politicians and scoundrels vandalize our nation? Yes, Jesus is our King9. Can we trust Jesus when the life we’ve loved is pillaged and ransacked? Yes, Jesus is God10.

By placing total trust in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, we can know that in Jesus, all things do work together for good11. Living each day with Jesus is how we can receive the comfort we need12.

Image by ELG21 from Pixabay


Matthew 10:33
Isaiah 12:2
Mark 9:24
Romans 14:17
Lamentations 3:22–23
Philippians 4:6–7
Psalm 100:3
Romans 10:9–13
Revelation 19:16
10 John 1:1
11 Romans 8:28
12 Matthew 6:34


You may like: The Spirit of the LORD Rushed

Fear

Worry and Fear

A Fish Story

I once was fishing with another guy when his hook snagged me while casting. It stuck right in me, and pain exploded when he dropped his pole to “help” me. As I face today, I have some needs and many desires. All of these have snagged me like fishing hooks.

Worry About Worry and Fear about Fear

When I pray, do I allow thoughts and feelings that deny God’s provisions? Fear that our government will fail. Fear that my income will become worth-less due to inflation. Worry about a church that God laid on my heart. Worry about a former pastor that fell into sin. Worry about how much longer my car will last. Worry about worry, and fear about fear. How can I be this way!?

You see, in a much less important way, I am acting like the Apostle Peter when he got out of the boat and walked on water. But, seeing the storm, he began to sink. My condition is not life or death, but my concerns are: Can I just rest in Jesus? Can I write more? Am I being redundant? Am I a good teacher:

He [Jesus] said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.

Matthew 13:52

Good News

Jesus is my friend that sticks closer than a brother. He mediates for me to Father God. And my Father gave me the Spirit of God to live in me. Jesus has made sure that I am fully equipped and have an open line to Almighty God. I have access to anything I need to do the will of God. It’s all at my disposal. And by faith, I can receive it. Therefore, I lack nothing.

I know my concerns are foolish. My good news is that the Spirit of God is helping me. He adds to my groanings and delivers to God articulate, faith-filled prayers from me. I know because my mind is being transformed and less cluttered, and my faith is being rejuvenated. This old man is still strong in my spirit; my faith in God has not wavered. And, guess what, the same is available to you!

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay


You may like: The Seasons of God

Rusty old car in the woods

Rust

My grandpa was a carpenter for the North East Oklahoma railroad. Their inside joke was that they worked for NEO (any old) railroad.

Since he was a carpenter he had carpenter stuff in his garage. I once found a bucket full of rusty old nails in there. They were probably new when he put them there. But when I found them he had been retired for quite awhile and any time he had he spent fishing so the nails no doubt stayed in that bucket until he passed and someone else cleaned out his garage.

Nails forged from iron will remain iron for as long as this world exists, if they are protected. But exposure to corrosive elements and iron transforms into rust which is corrupted iron; iron which has no strength and cannot be used for the nail’s intended purpose.  

Evil Can’t Exist Without Good

Evil can be compared to rust on an iron nail. Just as iron rust can’t exist without iron so the corruption of evil can’t exist without good. We find in Genesis 1:31 (ESV), “God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good….“. Only when God’s good came could evil come forth and cause corruption.

As I mentioned previously, a rusty iron has no strength. Similarly, evil in a person steals their moral strength, making them weak and unable to do what is right. Also, a rusty nail can’t be used for its designed purpose. So, too, a person corrupted by evil is unable to fulfill God’s purpose for them. 

No Fear of Rust

Yes, corruption is active all around us but as Christians we are as protected iron for we have this promise in Galatians 1:3-5 (ESV): “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Jesus has immersed us in grace and peace, sealing us with the Holy Spirit. While we live in this corrosive world we need not be afraid of its rust.

Photo by Brandon Molitwenik on Unsplash

You may like:
https://rockexcavationservice.org/2019/08/09/asymmetrical-living-in-a-lopsided-world/

Old men playing chess

My Stress

There is good and bad stress. Today I’m writing about bad stress.

“Stress alters your body. More than 75% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.” (WebMD) “Stress has both physical and emotional effects on our bodies. It can raise our blood pressure, increase our breathing rate and heart rate, and cause muscle tension. These things are hard on the body.” (MedLine Plus)

Nerve cells and dendrites. Source: Pixabay free

Dr. Cheryl Conrad, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, believes that chronic stress can have significant negative consequences on brain plasticity and resilience and may be a factor in depression, anxiety, PTSD and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Jesus Speaks Peace

I believe the reason Jesus’ first response to people often was “peace” because lack of peace alters the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. (This is your brain on stress)

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with stress. The “why” is not germane but I will say it is perhaps the most difficult issue I’ve faced. Through this time I can testify that Jesus has given me peace in my spirit.

An interesting side-effect of this spiritual battle I find myself in – yes, the root of bad stress is often spiritual – is that my hair has turned white almost overnight; not all of it, but nearly so. That’s fine. As an adopted child, grafted into the lineage of Jacob, I am resting on Isaiah 46:3-4 (ESV)

Isaiah 46:3-4

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
    carried from the womb;

even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.

I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”

I assume white hair qualifies for “gray” :).  This passage is for everyone that has received Jesus, even if you don’t have grey hair! Receive the peace that God speaks to us through this passage in Isaiah. Be at peace.

Photo by Vlad Sargu on Unsplash

You may like:
https://rockexcavationservice.org/2019/06/10/see-measure-repeat/

peace

Peaceful Flux

No, today’s devotional is not about reflux or about a Back to the Future Flux Capacitor. Today, I want us to look at what the Bible tells us about living during divisive times.

In 1986, millions of Filipinos took to the streets of Manila in peaceful protest and prayer in the People Power movement. The Marcos regime folded on the fourth day.

In 2003, the people of Georgia ousted Eduard Shevardnadze through the bloodless Rose Revolution, in which protestors stormed the parliament building holding the flowers in their hands.http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world

“Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change. Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.” – David Robson, 5/14/2019

This 3.5% rule is well known. A statistical study discovered this 3.5% number. That study used a definition of “peaceful” so stringent that Mahatma Gandhi’s India Independence movement was rejected as not sufficiently peaceful to be included. So, when the study states peaceful, it means peaceful.

Some conditions demand an extraordinary change in governments. Just imagine the difference in history if the Soviet people had achieved a 3.5% peaceful protest against Stalin or the Germans against Hitler or Argentina against Juan Perón.

For us as Christians, we carry dual citizenship. First we are citizens of the kingdom of God. Secondly, we may be citizens of a nation. However, even if we are citizens of a country, we are told that we are exiles.

1 Peter 2:11 states, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles…” We can and should exercise our rights, which are granted to us within the nations in which we sojourn. But where evil exists, we should go into that moral infection and bring healing and renewal. We do this not through violence but by love, for we are to be known by our love. (John 13:35)

How then should Christians behave as sojourners in America? We see in 1 Peter 2:16-17 (ESV), “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

Fear God. Honor the emperor” was most likely written by the Apostle Peter when Nero was Rome’s emperor. This same emperor most likely crucified Peter. That phrase can be challenging for us, as Christians. 

Here’s my point: Our priority is to live for Jesus. Our vocation includes working to ease physical and emotional pain, but most importantly, to communicate the good news of Jesus.

We are to lead all who chose Jesus into salvation and, if possible, to establish them in a Christian community. As Christians, it is acceptable for us to debate and peacefully protest ideas and policies. But mocking leaders or their families or anyone sets us against the will of God. 

Now, you may say, Jesus and Paul both accused the Jewish leadership of being whitewashed graves. Yes, and they both spoke what was true; they did not mock.

Let us be bold, be strong, honor God, honor our nation, honor our leaders, and respect all people. If Godly morality calls for an extraordinary action – an action beyond existing means – then our action should contribute to the building of a cohesive 3.5% of the population committed to a peaceful movement to affect change. Let us be recognized as Christians by our love.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

You may like:
https://rockexcavationservice.org/2019/01/17/heart-ease/

Observations

Observations

After recently visiting New York, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, as well as other States, I’ve collected some scattered observations which I’d like to share with you.

  • Most drivers think turn-signals are warning lights.
  • Most drivers don’t text while they drive; they drive while texting.
  • I’ve concluded that more Christians bring their pets to work than bring Jesus to work.
  • While on my trip, I received more help from niche-culture groups than any other discernible group. More often, they seem to act on their concern for others. Ouch!

Paraphrasing a Christian musician that’s gone on to Glory:

If you become a Christian in Pakistan, your parents will stone you.
If you become a Christian in India, your parents will disown you.
If you become a Christian in China, everyone says they’ve never known you.
If you become a Christian in America, telemarketers will phone you.

Survey Says!

From a national survey, the percentage of Americans that identified themselves as Christian:

  • 86% in 1990
  • 81.6% in 2001
  • 78%  in 2012
  • ??? in 2020

From what I saw, heard, read, and observed, we have allowed society to cast Christians as either a bunch of wealthy executives paying unfair wages while supporting anti-social legislation or poor illiterates that just don’t know any better. With 2+ billion people in the world that claim to be Christian, I’m sure there are many Christians between those two extremes.

Each day of our vacation, I let the problems of that day wash past me like the waves in the Atlantic that washed past my son while he stood on the Rhode Island shore. Every wave was unique in its depth, duration, and pattern. Yet, each was easily discernible as a wave.

Problems are like waves. Countless problems have come before my son stood on that shore and countless more will come after he leaves. So, as Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34 ESV)

I have tried to teach my kids that worry is worthless. Deal with the problems you’re facing today, but don’t wish what might have been and don’t leave Jesus out of what will be. God is the “I AM”. As He is, so then should we be.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You may also like:
https://rockexcavationservice.org/wandering/

Help!

I’m old enough that I watched the Beatles debut on the “Ed Sullivan Show”. My older sister actually lost her mind. She was on the phone with her best friend and they were crazy people. However, it was then that I became a fan of the Beatles’ music; not necessarily of the individuals. Nevertheless, their music gave a voice to good things and the problems young people were facing. For me, this was especially true with John Lennon’s self-referencing song “Help!”. 

The opening stanza says:

Help! I need somebody.
Help! Not just anybody.
Help! You know I need someone. Help!

We’ve all felt that way at one time or another. I fact, you may be feeling that right now. No doubt the prophet Jeremiah wanted to yell for help when he realized what God was asking of him. So, God said to him, “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” (Jeremiah 1:19)

Now that we are on the other side of the Cross, the good news is that Jesus didn’t leave us as orphans in this world. (John 14:18). We’re not down and out like B.B. King sang, “Even the air I breathe is used.” 

For Christians, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to help us. (John 14:15-18) So, when we cry out, “Help! You know I need someone.”, God is right there with us but we do need to ask. We need to pray continually.

We are not orphans in this world. (John 14:18) and Jesus is our mediator with God (1 Timothy 2:5). He intercedes on our behalf to God the Father, and we have God the Father, “Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.”(Nicene Creed) caring for us. This is why, instead of yelling, “help! I need someone,” we can sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God, Almighty
Early in the morning, our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, Holy, Holy, merciful and mighty
God in three persons,blessed Trinity

God Almighty is our hope and our Deliverer. So, today, I pray:
Father God, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, in the name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus, my Lord, and my Redeemer, I thank you that your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and I am not without help “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Ephesians 4:7). Therefore, I ask now, that you would extend your mercies and grace to the people and their families that join me in these devotionals as we take time to learn from You and to be changed, advanced in our relationship with you, our God. Amen.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: