Monday, November 30, 2009

The Overcomer

25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:25-33, New King James Version)

The Overcomer

There is a common teaching that when one becomes a Christian he will live the abundant life and will be happy all of the time. Have you found this to be true in your own Christian life? If you are like me, you were not be a Christian long when you discovered that it is not true! As a matter of fact, the tribulation that comes to us often causes discouragement among believers and doubts as to whether their salvation is genuine.

Just look at the words that Christ spoke to his disciples.

In the world you will have tribulation.

Did Christ tell his disciples that they would have an abundant, joy-filled life because they were believers? No! He told them that they will have tribulation! Why, then, would anyone want to become a Christian? There are two answers to that question. Just because we have tribulation, it does not mean that we will not have peace. Look at what Jesus said.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Christ is the Overcomer, and we are overcomers with Him. Secondly, this world is not our home. Our home is in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ where we will live forever! I will take forever, over the temporary time we are here on earth, won't you? I will also take the peace that comes with the tribulation. What person in this world does not go through some form of tribulation in this world? Imagine going through it with no comfort and no peace.

As you go about the duties of this day, look around you. This is the world that Christ has overcome! Are you with Christ as an overcomer? Do you have peace and joy no matter what happens in life. That does not mean that you will not be sad or miss those who have passed away, but you will have a great peace that passes all understanding!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Peace I Give


23
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
(John 14:23-27, New King James Version)

My Peace I Give

I have read this Bible passage from John 14 many times, but I noticed something that I have not thought about before. Look at verse 23.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

God makes His home with us! How amazing is that! God grants us peace, not the peace of the world, but His peace, and he comes and makes His home with us. As Christians, not only are we never alone, but we are never apart from God. Also, we are never in a position where we have to run to Him and get more peace because our circumstances become difficult. The peace of God is always with us!

We Christians often spend ourselves to the point of exertion just trying to fit in with this world. How futile! The things of this world are only temporal, and will not give us peace or happiness. Oh, it is nice to have things, and it is nice to be able to enjoy this life, but the things of this world are not the source of peace.

Do we live as though God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are living with us? Is our religion just a Sunday, look good in the eyes of the pastor, type of religion, or is it a moment by moment relationship with Christ, seeking, by His grace, to please Him in everything we do, no matter where we are?

These are good questions for us to ponder. We must all ask, when God says, "My peace I give you;" is He talking about me?

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 28, 2009

But There Shall Be None!

24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,
And they will possess their houses;
I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,
And their holy places shall be defiled.
25 Destruction comes;
They will seek peace, but there shall be none.
26 Disaster will come upon disaster,
And rumor will be upon rumor.
Then they will seek a vision from a prophet;
But the law will perish from the priest,
And counsel from the elders.
(Ezekiel 7:24-26, New King James Version)

But There Shall Be None!

They will seek peace, but there shall be none.

We, as Christians, I fear have become incredibly apathetic in our relationship with Christ. We have the tendency to presume upon His love and goodwill toward all men. Walking through the Old Testament helps us to see and understand our God who is both a God of love and a God of justice. We like Him to be a God of love, but we would rather He be a God of justice to others, but not to us.

Does God have limits to his long suffering? Can we overstep his grace and mercy through our apathetic attitudes toward both our service to Him and our own sins?

Even though they were warned through the prophets that God would not tolerate their sin, the children of Israel certainly gave evidence of constantly provoking God through their sin and disobedience. Do you think they thought the time would ever come when God would forsake them? After all, they were His chosen people!

God is the author of peace, and as such, can certainly take that peace away. He desires a holy and dedicated life from His children, and will not tolerate their sin and indifference forever! When judgment comes, God often uses the enemies of God who do not even make a pretense of believing in Him, to discipline his wayward children.

Ezekiel 7 is a good reminder to us that the time can come when God will say of His own children, "Destruction comes; they will seek peace, but there shall be none."

Let us take some time today and ponder our relationship with Christ. What a precious Lord and Savior we have, and how precious is the peace He grants to His sheep even in times of trouble and great distress. May He never say of us, "They will seek peace, but there shall be none."

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessing!


3
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
(Psalm 100:3-5, New King James Version)

Thanksgiving Blessing!

God has granted a very special blessing to our family this Thanksgiving. At 1:38 AM, my grandson, Orion Liam, was born. Mother and baby are doing fine, and of course he is the most beautiful baby in the whole world. Unfortunately they live on the west coast and I live in the Midwest, so do not know when I will actually get to hold him.

As is sometimes the case, the news was very welcome during a troubling time, as my mother-in-law is in intensive care with an infection that may very well take her life. As I pondered these different sets of circumstances, I thought about the reality of life and death. Both are such normal parts of life, but neither seem the least bit normal when they are happening to us.

I was really comforted by Psalm 100, where we are encouraged to enter into the gates of the Lord with thankfulness, and into His courts with praise. It is so wonderfully comforting to know that God has ordained the day of our birth and the day of our death before time began. We can not add one day or take away one day from the lifetime God has ordained for us.

What a comfort to rest all of our cares in the glorious hands of our loving Heavenly Father. I trust as you are counting your blessings this Thanksgiving weekend, that you will keep in mind the words of David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel.

For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 20, 2009

Perfect Peace

2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
(Isaiah 26:2-4, King James Version)

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26:3 is perhaps one of the most familiar verses in the Bible when we think of the word "peace." Often Old Testament passages have more than one application. In verse 2, Isaiah is talking about the nation of Israel, however he is also speaking of the righteous nation made up of believers from the beginning to the end of time. They are the only ones who will be allowed to enter into the new heavens and the new earth.

What characteristic is present in all Christians? Perfect Peace! Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. There is a qualification besides being a believer, however, that we need to exercise while still in our earthly bodies: our minds must be stayed upon Christ! We can never know perfect peace while still on this earth, but we will have perfect peace when Christ comes back again. Does that mean that we should not strive for peace? Of course not. Isaiah is telling us that the only way to peace is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, look at verse 4.

Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

Not only can we have perfect peace through the Lord Jesus Christ, we also receive everlasting strength from Him as well.

You know, often I read through these verses without much thought of the depth of their meaning. In reality, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot perceive the glories that await us in heaven. We really do not understand perfect peace and everlasting strength, as neither is possible for us in life as we know it.

That reminds me of the first verse from the hymn, "Jerusalem the Golden".

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed.

I know not, O I know not,
What joys await us there;
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare.

Carry this thought with you as you go about the duties of this day:

Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee. KJV

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prince of Peace


6
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7, New King James Version)

Prince of Peace

Whenever I read this passage, I immediately hear in my mind Handel's Messiah. What a blessing to have such an amazing work of music taken right out of the Scriptures. One can understand why the Jews thought that the Messiah, when he came, would return as their earthly king. They did not realize that the Lord Jesus Christ, the child that was born, and the Son that was given, came to this earth to set up a permanent kingdom in heaven and in the new earth to come.

Indeed, He rules the hearts and lives of His people today, and is gathering in His people who will live with Him and over whom He will rule forever and ever! Look around you this day. Where is peace? It is certainly not in the hearts and minds of the rulers of this earth! Peace will only come through our Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace!

How will all of this come to pass?

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

As the holiday season approaches, praise God for Christmas. It is not just a winter holiday filled with presents, cookies, and a time to gather with friends and families. May we gather together this year as children of God who fall before the Lord Jesus Christ in awe and humility. This Jesus came to this earth with only one purpose in mind. He came to save a people for Himself?

What is our purpose for being here? Central to everything we, as Christians, do, say, and even think, should be our service for the Lord Jesus Christ with hearts devoted to Him.

Go to Christ, our Prince of Peace, this day and thank and praise Him for all He has done and is doing in the hearts of men. Now that should put a spring into your step and a song into your heart!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Peace

165 Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
166 LORD, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments.
167 My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.
(Psalm 119:165-168, New King James Version)

Great Peace

Having written devotions on all of the Psalms, which appear on my Devotional Reflections from the Bible website, I have gained a much greater appreciation for David. God called David, "A man after my own heart." It would be a good thing for Christians to study the Psalms, especially the Psalms of David, because they paint a clear picture the relationship between God and His children, as well as displaying the heart that all Christians should have before God.

In verse 165, David tells us, Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

What does it mean to love God's law? Look at verses 166-168 shown above. How did David show His love for the law? Look at the things he listed.

*LORD, I hope for your salvation.
*I do your commandments.
*My soul keeps Your testimonies.
*I love them exceedingly.
*I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies.

Now that is a lifelong goal worth pursuing! David was not just looking at his outward observance of the law, he sought obedience to the Lord from the depths of his soul. None of these things were done by David so that he looked good to others. He sought obedience to God because he knew that all of his ways, his thoughts, words, and actions, were displayed before the Lord.

Who do we desire to please? My husband and I just had a discussion on this very topic. How foolish for us to try to seek the approval of the world, or even of other Christians. There is only One we need to please. What freedom there is in that! No one who ever lived or will ever live will be loved by everyone; even Christ, the perfect Son of Man and Son of God was hated in this world. As a matter of fact, He promises that the world will hate us as well!

Remember, Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

Pray for the grace of God today to love and be obedient to the law of God, even when that causes you to live contrary to our political correct society!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Future is Peace


37
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
For the future of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together;
The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
(Psalm 37:37-40, New King James Version)

Future is Peace

We are back in Psalm 37 for today's devotional, but this time at the end of the Psalm. There are two things to note from verses 37 and 38.

*The future of the upright and blameless man is peace.
*The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

However, we cannot properly apply these two verses without considering the rest of the Psalm. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (NKJV)
How then, can anyone be upright and blameless? Does that mean that every person who ever lived or will ever live on this earth, except for the Lord Jesus Christ, is going to be cut off?

I do not think it can be more clear from these two verses that salvation is all of Christ. Does anyone deserve it? No! Can anyone save themselves? No!

But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.

Yes, Christians are the upright and blameless spoken of here in Psalm 37, and their future is peace. But, there is no room for arrogance or boasting. The righteousness we experience is the righteousness of Christ! When God looks down upon His children, He does not see their sin; He sees the righteousness of Christ!

Does that mean that we can live any way we please? If one's heart has been changed by Christ, they will no longer desire to sin; instead, their sin will be a great grief to them. If one thinks of this as a blanket for their sin, they should seriously consider the nature of their heart!

What an amazing God we have! He could have left us in our sin, but He chose, rather, to save a people for Himself through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, their future is peace!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 16, 2009

Abundance of Peace

7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
(Psalm 37:7-11, New King James Version)

Abundance of Peace

Psalm 37 is one of most beautiful Psalms of David; it is so encouraging for Christians. Look at the advise and blessins given in just these few verses.

*Rest in the Lord.
*Wait patiently for Him.
*Do not fret over the prosperous.
*Cease from anger.
*Forsake wrath.
*Evil doers shall be cut off.
*Those who wait on the Lord will inherit the earth.
*The meek shall inherit the earth.
*The meek shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are troubling times, and yet no matter how things may look, God never loses control. Every plan He has for this earth will come to pass.

What an encouragement for us; at a time when Satan continues to bring false delusions to the forefront, and false accusations against the people of God, pray that we Christians will remain faithful to our God and King. How important that we keep our lives continually focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He who saved us, it is He who keeps us, and it is He who will give us an abundance of peace.

As the world becomes more and more restless and strays farther and farther away from real peace, the children of God become more and more secure in the peace of God which passes all understanding.

What a blessing to all saints of God! May you be filled this day with an abundance of peace.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Enemies

19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
20 For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.
21 They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.

22 This You have seen, O LORD;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
(Psalm 35:19-22, New King James Version)

My Enemies

For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.

I have noticed a trend that I find very disturbing, one that I would not have believed possible in my country in the 1950's and 60's when I grew up. In the march toward world peace, who is being sacrificed as the dangerous rebels in the land?

As I read news articles and read current novels written by non-Christians, I am seeing the trend of Christians being lumped in with the religious zealots of the land. That is not a good thing, as the religious zealots are becoming mistrusted and feared. But, are we Christians who are the quiet ones in the land, to be feared?

Every place we look helps us to know that we are coming closer and closer to the end of time. In the end, the entire world will join forces against the Christians. Do not be surprised, then, to see a new generation of those who hate and fear believers.

Is God absent from all of this? Does He not see what is going on? Oh yes, He sees and hears; He is never far from His faithful servants.

What should our response to these things be? By the grace of God, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ who will come again, and who will triumph over the wicked in the last battle on earth. The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 35:28.

And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.

As we see the events of our world begin to change, and an attitude of hatred and distrust develop against Christians, let us rejoice for we know that our redemption draws near!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Seek Peace!

11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
(Psalm 34:11-15, New King James Version)

Seek Peace!

How are peace and the fear of the Lord related? Understanding this helps us to understand what is involved in fearing the Lord. God does not mean that we should live in terror of Him when He calls us to fear Him. So then, what does He mean? The Psalmist answers that question in Psalm 34.

Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit
.

It is evident that the fear spoken by God is the fear of respect, but it also entails an understanding of who God is. We know that God is righteous and holy, completely without sin. As such He hates sin in His people. Also, because He is omniscient and omnipresent (all knowing and all present), nothing we do, say or even think, is hidden from God. The more we fear and understand God, the more we desire to be obedient to Him.

Only God can work the miraculous changes in the lives of Christians which causes them to love and fear Him and to hate their own sins! As Christians grow in Christ, their lives will change.

We need to take commands such as those shown above very seriously. It is not natural for us to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit. But a fruit of our life in Christ is a desire to change from the person we were to a person seeking obedience even in the area of our thoughts and our spoken words.


Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

Have you ever equated departing from evil as a means to experiencing true peace? The Christian is to seek and pursue peace, giving us the sense that we need to actively go after it. Based on verses 13 and 14, one way to actively pursue peace is to depart from the sins which so easily beset us.

That is our challenge today. Seek peace and pursue it. Fall before Christ this day and pray for help in putting to death the sins that so easily haunt your own life. That is a prayer that Christ will answer.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lie Down in Peace

3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
(Psalm 4:3, New King James Version)


7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
(Psalm 4:7-8, New King James Version)

Lie Down in Peace

I know I have written a devotion on this passage when I was going through the Psalms, but the Bible is a living book. I am sure that if you read that devotion, you will find it quite different than this one. As a living book, each time we read through a Bible passage, God will impress different ideas upon our hearts that are concurrent with our present circumstances. What an amazing God we have!

I think it is very helpful to include verse 3 with verses 7 and 8, because verse 3 gives us background information. As Christians, we must never forget that God has set apart His people for Himself. That does not mean that we are better than non-Christians, but it does mean that we have a God-given purpose which should lead us in the way we should go.

There are two things to note regarding this. First of all, because we are set apart, God will hear when we call to Him. Learn to develop a conversation between God and you throughout the day; He does not stay at home when you go to the office! Second, the peace of God is like nothing else we can experience in this life. This peace grants us unsurpassed joy, as well as a complete trust in God regarding our safety. Remember, the child of God will not live one day longer or one day less that what God has ordained before time began.

I find this especially helpful. My husband has a heart condition that could take him away from me at any time. Yet, I live in peace knowing that his life has been ordained by God before time began. Death to the Christian is a time of new beginnings. The things of this world have passed away and we begin a new life with Christ, forever!

Think of it! This is our God! He alone can bring peace on earth and goodwill to men.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Answer of Peace


14
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”
16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
(Genesis 41:14-16, New King James Version)

Answer of Peace

Pharaoh was not at peace! After two disturbing dreams, he could not help but know that the meaning of these dreams was not going to be good. Even worse, he could not find anyone in his kingdom who could interpret the dreams for him. It was then that Pharaoh's cup bearer remembered a dream that he had while in prison.

Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. (Genesis 41:12, NKJV)

Joseph had been tucked away in this prison for years, probably wondering if God had forgotten him. But that was all going to change.

Pharaoh called for Joseph, saying “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”

Joseph could have used this time to promote himself; after all of these years in prison, here was an opportunity to look good in the eyes of none other than Pharaoh himself! But, that is not what Joseph did.

So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Joseph acknowledged to Pharaoh that only God could give Pharaoh an answer of peace. We would do well to remember that! We search so many places for peace, joy, and happiness, but none will be found apart from the Lord our God. Pharaoh wisely heeded the advice of Joseph and God blessed him abundantly.

What happened to Joseph? He presented God and not himself as the Source of Peace to Pharaoh; in response Pharaoh made him the second highest in the kingdom!

This same God is our God! He is living and active in the lives of His people today and is the only source of real peace. He alone can grant peace on earth and goodwill to men. Go to Him today!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Lord is with You


23
Then he went up from there to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” 25 So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army. 27 And Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?”
28 But they said, “We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.’”
30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
(Genesis 26:23-31, New King James Version)

The Lord is with You

And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”

Previously in Genesis we note a conflict between Abimelech and Isaac, which was exacerbated when disputing occurred over the ownership of wells dug by Isaac. You can imagine Isaac's uneasiness, then, when Abimelech rode into Isaac's camp with the commander of his army.

And Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?”

He was certainly not expecting the answer he received!

But they said, “We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.’”

We know that God promised to bless Isaac just as He blessed his father, Abraham. The interesting thing to note is that the blessing of God upon Isaac was plainly evident to his enemies. In fact, it was so evident that they could hardly get to Isaac fast enough with terms for a covenant of peace.

The true heart of the Christian life is, by the grace of God, living every moment of every day for the Lord. As God takes complete control of our lives, His blessings upon us are plainly evident to those around us. Unfortunately, many Christians are content with a quasi-Christian life. They are content to claim the promises of God without seeking a change in their own personal lives.

How does God respond to this? We know from our Old Testament readings that God does not think kindly of sin in any form, especially the sins of His own people. Though He was certainly long suffering with the children of Israel, a time of severe judgment did come upon them.

We must pray for a desire to be more and more like Christ. That will necessarily bring great changes in our attitudes, our outlooks on life, and our goals for the future. Like Isaac, as God brings peace into our hearts and lives, the changes will be evident to those around us.

Peace and goodwill to all men begins in the hearts of Christians!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Peace!


As we continue our study, "What is in a Word," I thought we would continue with the word, "peace." As we are nearing the holiday season, we will often hear the words, "Peace on earth, goodwill to men." What does that really mean? Perhaps viewing the word "peace" in the Bible will give us a better understanding of God's definition of peace.


12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
(Genesis 15:12-16, New King James Version)

Peace!

Genesis 15:15 is the first Bible verse that uses the word, "peace." In this passage, God is making a covenant with Abram. He reveals the future to Abram regarding the descendants of Abram, and then states the following in verse 15.

Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.

This is a rather interesting phrase, and one that occurs several times in the Scriptures. Do we think of the time of death as a time of peace? As a Christian, is death something we should fear?

We may fear the process of death, but for the Christian, there is no room for the fear of death. Death for the Christian ushers in an eternal time of peace. That must surely have been a great comfort for Abram to hear these words spoken to him by God. It is also a great peace to the Christian when standing over the grave of a Christian friend or relative.

What about the non-Christian? Unbelievers, indeed, should certainly fear death. Death brings to them a time of eternal punishment! It is not uncommon to hear people laugh about hell, and about meeting their friends there. Do you think they will even care who else is there? Will their own misery allow them to think of anyone else?

This is a rather sobering thought, but it is good for us to realize that God is the Author of Peace. Apart from God, there is no peace!

As we enter into this holiday season, let us think about the true meaning of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ruth and Boaz


13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
(Ruth 4:13-17, New King James Version)

Ruth and Boaz

As we come to the end of the book of Ruth, we learn that Ruth and Boaz were married and were blessed with a son whom they named Obed. Look at the blessing that the women of the village spoke to Naomi.

“Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”

Did that blessing come true? Yes, in more ways than they ever thought possible! Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David, making Naomi King David's great-great-grandmother. Through this same David, the Christ child would come, who would truly be the restorer of life everlasting.

The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful story showing us the way that God works among His children in the normal circumstances of life. There was nothing in this story that was unusual for the culture of that time. Yet, every single detail was ordered by God, who preserved the bloodline of Christ who would be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary, a descendant of David.

Sometimes we tend to take the work of the Lord for granted. Maybe we are expecting a big display to show forth the greatness of God. Perhaps that is why is was so difficult for the Jews to understand that Jesus was (and is) the Messiah. He did not come in great splendor, but rather he came to live in the humble home of a carpenter and his wife.

Do not despise the work of the Lord in your own life. Do not think that what you do is unimportant or less worthy because you are not showered with public attention. God does His work in the lives of His people who are living out their ordinary, day-to-day lives.

As we think of the story of Ruth and Boaz, let us pray that God will be gracious to us and that we will be faithful in all of the little tasks He gives us to do.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 05, 2009

At the City Gate


1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech. 4 And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’”
And he said, “I will redeem it.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”
6 And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.
7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” So he took off his sandal. 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”
(Ruth 4:1-10, New King James Version)

At the City Gate

Boaz was true to his word; early in the morning he went to the city gate and waited for the close relative, of whom he had spoken, to walk by. Gathering 10 elders from the city as well as his close relative, he presented his case. At first the relative agreed to purchase the land Naomi was selling, but when he heard it included taking Ruth as his wife, he declined.

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.”

And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.

As was the custom, the close relative took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz to confirm his denial.

And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”

Imagine how much money we could save if that was all it took to purchase land and a marriage license? Boaz became the kinsman redeemer of Ruth so that he could perpetuate the name of Elimelech and Mahlon.

Before we become to concerned that he bought a wife, we must remember that he bought the land which included the widow of the dead. Think about it for a minute, because that is exactly what Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer, did for us. As children of the Father, we are the bride of Christ whom He bought with His own blood.

Could there not have been an easier way for Christ to redeem us? No! Only Christ, the perfect, sinless man could fully keep God's commandments and redeem us with His blood. By one man, Adam, all were cursed, and by one man, Christ, redemption was purchased for all of God's children by His shed blood.

Amazing love,
How can it be,
That Thou my God (Christ),
has died for me!

God Bless You,
Linda