Peace, Be Still

IMG_2894[1]In the stillness of night a thin blanket of snow covered the frozen ground and hugged the naked tree limbs. Its voice whispered, “Be still, rest. All may look bleak but my covering is your protection. Rest in my peace. What appears dead will soon burst forth with new life.”

Isaiah spoke of this peace that brings new life – hope out of darkness.

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:

they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,

upon them hath the light shined…

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given …

The Prince of Peace.”

(9:2,6)

Before we can be covered in the peace of God we must know the Prince who bought our peace with God.

  • “But now in Christ Jesus
  • ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
  • For he is our peace,
  • who hath made both one …
  • that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross …
  • And came and preached peace to you which were afar off,
  • and to them that were nigh.
  • For through him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (From Ephesians 2:13-18.

Unless you know the Prince of Peace who has bought our peace with God the Father through his death and resurrection, you cannot know peace in the circumstances of life. Jesus Christ is the way to peace with the Father and He is the giver of peace in a world filled with chaos.

Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you,

my peace I give unto you:

not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled,

neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27

Jesus calmed the storm threatening the fearful disciples with three words,

“Peace, be still.”

Mark 4:39.

The Lord speaks the same words to us when fear and uncertainty slither in to steal our peace.

  • “Stand in awe, and sin not:
  • commune with your own heart upon your bed,
  • and be still …

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:

for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:4,8

  • “Be still,
  • and know that I am God:
  • I will be exalted among the heathen,
  • I will be exalted in the earth.
  • The LORD of hosts is with us;
  • the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” Psalm 46:10,11

When circumstances steal our peace it is time to stop looking at our circumstances and look to our God. Remember He is –

“The LORD sitteth upon the flood,

yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

The LORD will give strength unto his people;

the LORD will bless his people with peace.”

Psalm 29:10,11

When worry and anxiety creep in return to the Prince of Peace and –

  • “Be careful for nothing;
  • but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God,

which passeth all understanding,

shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6,7.

As the snow blankets the earth, the Prince of Peace blankets those who will trust him. He is the reason the angels could say,

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace,

good will toward men.”

Luke 2:14

As I wondered at the stillness of the gentle snow in the early morning a song I haven’t heard for a long while filled my heart, “Wonderful Peace.”  I’ve included the lyrics here for you.* May you know the Prince of Peace now and forever.

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*It is under public domain, written by William G. Cooper/Warren D. Cornell in 1889. I found it at library.timelesstruths.org. The Gaithers also have it on a video. Google the title to listen.

 

 

Do You Want to Live in Peace?

Nehemiah was a Jew living in a foreign land, the cup bearer to the king of Persia. This meant he faced death every time a drink was brought to the king. Upon returning to Jerusalem, he was appointed Governor of Judah. Above all this, Nehemiah was patriotic, persistent, positive, persevering, pure in motive, and prayerful.

His example as a leader is what we all hope for when we go to the polls and vote. Our hopes are rarely met but we can learn much from Nehemiah in how to pray for the leaders of our nations.

blogflag-186476__340Nehemiah the Patriot:

His heart longed for his homeland and those who had escaped captivity.

“That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah: and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

And it came to pass, when I heard these words,

that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days,

and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven…” Neh. 1:2-4.

His heart broke for his fellow Jews and the city of God. He did not complain or wring his hands. He took his pain to the One who could make a difference.

Nehemiah owned up to the sin of his people.

“…I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee…

blogchristian-1281948__340For Us:

Hatred and division, corruption in the highest levels, sanctioning of sin through the laws of our land, refusing God’s word as the final authority on what is right and wrong and doing what is right in our own sight, how can we hope to stand unless we first fall to our knees. It is time to…

“Repent;

or else I will come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Rev. 2:16.

“If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1John 1:9,10.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep:

let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” James 4:8-11a.

Our prayer for the nations:

Our Father in heaven, Almighty God who reigns forever and ever, your word is true and right.

We as a country have sinned against you in forsaking your law, your standard of right and wrong. We have followed after the gods of power, money, and perversion of every sort. We have called evil good and good evil. May we as one see ourselves as you see us and repent of the evil we have called our god, the pride that fills our hearts with self. Forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

May our hearts be pure before you and our minds renewed in your word.

May our hearts break for the sin that breaks us in two.

May we return to you as our true Leader to follow you in all your ways.

You will judge the nations.

May we humble ourselves now that we may stand in the end.

All is asked in the name of Jesus Christ our coming King and for your glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

Will you join me for your nation as I pray for our nation? Nehemiah is all about reformation. As God brought it to pass in Nehemiah’s day, He can and will if we humble ourselves today. Do you want peace in your land? Pray.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 2Tim. 2:1-4.

 

 

Do You Like Storms?

pexels-photo-355288.jpeg“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39.

“Father, may the children know you are with us, here in this place.”

For several years the Lord kept any sign of a rain cloud away from us during the week of Day Camp. Being our afternoons are spent outside, good weather kept the children from disappointment. All anticipated swimming in the lake. But the last few years a change has taken place. More days than not storm clouds threaten our game time and swim time. We’ve learned to praise God for the clouds.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still…God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God…Ps. 62:11; He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still…Ps. 107:29;

“…And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm…I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety…Ps. 4:8; The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace…Ps. 29:11; Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” Isa. 26:3.

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Our Father in heaven heard my prayer and the prayer of the children. They saw God among us each day the clouds threatened to steal their joy, aka-fun in the lake! Without the storms raging around us, they would not have seen the Lord’s power worked on their behalf. The storms around us opened our eyes to God’s goodness among us as the clouds passed around in the distance.

Don’t get me wrong. We prayed each morning with the children for the Lord to take the clouds, but determined whether He did or didn’t we would still praise Him.  The Lord showed Himself strong on our behalf to encourage our growing faith. This is why we can praise Him in the storm. He will show himself strong either way.IMG_0620

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” 2Chr. 16:9.

So often in times of peace we forget how precious is the gift. Even as in our strength we forget how sufficient is His grace.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus… 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.” (Phil. 4:7; 2Cor. 12:9.)

How do you find peace when the storms threaten?

Have You Heard the Bells?

With Christmas at our house every other year we get to enjoy all our kids and grandkids coming home. Most of what I am posting are blogs from the past, so I can prepare and spend more time with my family. I do hope you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

christmas-1759091__340One of my favorite Christmas hymns is *“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  As they ring, they toll out peace on earth, good will to men. Wars, rumors of war, where is peace to be found? This world holds peace talks that are broken cisterns. Peace trickles in through empty promises and flows out through the cracks. This world delivers only tribulation, unrest and disappointment. Only One brings peace. He is the son given to us, He is Jesus Christ…

“…and his name shall be called…The Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6

He is the author of peace. He not only wrote the book on peace…”All scripture is given by inspiration of God…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” He is the book…”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (2Tim. 3:16; 2Pet. 1:21; John 1:14). At His birth peace was born…”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Lu.2:14.

“…The Prince of Peace…” “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins..” Acts 5:31.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace…Having abolished in his flesh the enmity…

for to take in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby;

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them there were nigh.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Eph. 2:13-18.

Before peace can exist throughout the earth, it must first reside in the hearts of mankind with God. This peace comes only through receiving Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom. 5:1,2.

“And having made peace through the blood of his cross…you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight…”(Col. 1:20-22).

Jesus took our hostility toward God upon himself as He hung on the cross, making peace between mankind and God possible. His death and resurrection fulfilled the promise of peace announced at His birth, removing man’s hostility toward God and replacing it with the peace God provided between man and Himself in the garden of Eden thousands of years ago. Now, those who trust in Christ are…

“Justified by faith…have access by faith into this grace…rejoice in hope…have access by one Spirit unto the Father…made nigh by the blood of Christ…to be presented…holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

In a world wrought with chaos, God offers us peace with Him that brings peace in us through his indwelling Holy Spirit.

“…we have a great high priest…Jesus the Son of God…Let us therefor come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Heb. 4:14,16; Phil. 4:6,7,9).

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2Cor. 13:11.

Praying…”Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” 2Thess. 3:16.

 

* “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

One day it will not only be realized in the hearts of those who trust in Christ but also on the whole earth when He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

 

A Safe Place

As the summer brings camps, a mission trip, and busier schedule, I thought this appropriate to repost. Please keep us in prayer during this time.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” 

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Rev. 22: 14-15

“I wish we could just stay here.” The teen echoed a sentiment heard each year as camp ended. After being surrounded for a week with friends and adults sharing their lives and the love of God with one another, the world outside this safe place threatens the peace the teens found in discovering who they are, their deepest need, and the God who accepts them as they are and fills that need. They experienced the love of God poured into them and the freedom to express His love in worship. They understand the world beyond the camp driveway will try to steal their new-found peace. Here it is safe to believe the truth as revealed by the light of Christ and not be confused by the world’s dark version of truth. Here there is no fear.

We do not live in a safe world, but we do not have to allow fear to steal our peace. We live in the world but are not of it. Jesus speaks His peace into the world by placing it in our hearts. He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27.

The peace Jesus gives calms our fear of a world seeking to inflict terror and unrest through the violence of sin-sick individuals. But Jesus tells us not to fear the one who can kill only the body but the One who can kill both body and soul. This fear is a reverent trust in the power, ability, and love of our God to keep us in His care, to be our safe place, our refuge.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust…Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;” Psalm 91: 1-2,5.

This doesn’t mean we will never face the terror of the night but it does mean we don’t have to live in fear of it. For God is our refuge, our safe place, our Deliverer. We can walk in the confidence of our faithful, loving heavenly Father as we follow where He leads us.
DSCF4721When you need peace or a safe place where do find it?