Peace In Babylon

Dear Ones:

An old hymn declares:  “…stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed.  Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”  In Isaiah 26:3, we read:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Was it possible for Daniel, and those believers in Babylon, to know the reality of “perfect peace?”  I dare say it was, and it can be our experience today, if we follow the well-worn trail given to us by those who have gone before.

We have already dealt with the necessity of rejoicing in the Lord always, praying without ceasing, and giving of thanks in all circumstances.  These are prerequisites for Paul’s declaration:  “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  From Isaiah’s writings in the eighth century, through Daniel’s exile experience in the sixth, up through Paul’s prison epistles, we find that the reality of the pervasive, and “guarding” peace of God is indeed a constant river running deep, and available to every believer.  But how are we to know this peace?  Let’s look at Daniel’s path.

When Daniel was faced with lions in the 6th chapter of Daniel, we find him to be an older man, perhaps very old.  The lessons he had learned along the way, in the context of Babylon, first under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, then his godless son, followed by Darius the Mede, are essential to our faith.   Primary is his personal, individual devotion to Christ, which he maintained by worship and prayer.  Even though confronted by the possibility of his death, he would not be kept from 1. kneeling before God three times a day, 2.  Praying, and offering his supplications, and 3. Giving thanks unto God.  The discipline of devotions prepared his heart and mind for all else.  He would keep the Lord before him, the Eternal King, before whom he would bow, and submit the entirety of his existence.  Then he would pray, believing, seeking the Lord’s face.   In chapter 9 we read, “…I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes…”(v.3)  But then, he would always remember that every good and perfect gift, even life itself, comes “…from the Father of lights with whom there is no shadow cast by turning,” the God who is perpetually good.  Therefore, this man is kept in his heart and mind.  And when Darius comes to the lion’s den, with the lamentable question of whether Daniel’s God has been able to save, him, Daniel will answer:  “O king, live forever…my God hath sent His angel.” (6:22)

Today, let us set ourselves by His grace, to rejoice in Christ, pray without ceasing (remain in an attitude and disposition of prayer…), giving thanks in all things.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, setting Him ever before us, to trust in Him wholly.  Then we too shall not be moved, and know His peace, the peace that is Christ’s perfect peace, the unexplainable and indescribable peace of the God of peace.

Love, Dad

If You Love Me, Love One Another

Dear Ones:

The Apostle Paul wrote several tremendous prayers in his epistles, one of which is found in Philippians 1:9-11.  It is very interesting to note the parallels in Jesus’ instructions on prayer, and those found in Paul’s, are very similar.  Both men are facing the possibility of death, Christ facing his crucifixion, and Paul being the prisoner of Nero. There is therefore an urgency, and importance of “last words” to those they are addressing.  There is a common theme in these “last words,” and it has to do with loving one another.  For Christ, the command is clear:  “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13:34)  Paul puts the imperative in the form of a prayer, a prayer for the Philippians, but also a pattern that the Philippians can use in praying for themselves and others.

The first aspect of this marvelous prayer of the Apostle concerns the quantity of love, “…and this I pray, that your love may ABOUND…in knowledge and in all judgment.”(Phil. 1:9) What does he mean by this?  Just as we HAVE the mind of Christ, being in union with Christ, we have also the love of Christ.  But this love is multidimensional.  Not only is it powerful, gracious, gentle, and self-effacing, but it is intelligent, and morally/spiritually astute.  In every situation, concerning every person, the opportunity presents itself to love, but with a love that is applicable, and effective for the moment.  For this we need “knowledge” and “in all judgment.”  Our motives may be right in facing a certain need, or ministering to certain people.  But our “knowledge” may be wrong.  True love knows and discerns HOW to love others.

Look closely at the Lord Jesus to see how He loved.  It is true that the ultimate expression of His love for us was His willingness to suffer and die on the cross.  However, He loved all during His ministry.  That love was “explained” by His different words addressing every individual, and circumstance.  To the paralytic, He would declare that he should take up his bed and walk.  And yet, the first issue that was needing to be dealt with was the forgiveness of sin.  To the woman with the issue of blood, and who just wanted to touch the hem of His garment  to be healed, the word was, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made the whole.”  To Jairus, whose daughter had died, came the words, “Fear not, only believe.”  In all of these circumstances the love of Christ for men, women, and children is expressed, but in a very intelligent and appropriate way, howbeit, sometimes very different.

Just as God does not make photocopies of us, but only masterpieces, the love of God and its multiple applications, cannot be mimicked, or photocopied.  Every opportunity is a call to trust the Spirit of God for the abundance of knowledge and this in all judgement, and decision-making.  The Lord thus enables us to “…approve things that are excellent.”

So, today, may we love one another…but appealing to God for the knowledge and wisdom to discern the highest and best for all.  It is as we pray, and trust God for this ABOUNDING knowledge and wisdom, that it will be given.  Then, we too will be able to love with the love of Christ in an appropriate manner that will meet the needs of those around us, and this, “…unto the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:11)

Love, Dad

 

Between Now and Eternity

Dear Ones:

It has been likened unto a race, and a fight.  It has also been described as a walk and a state of mind and heart.  It is that period of time between the present moment and the moment when we will be ushered into the presence of God, and time will be no more.  And to a certain extent the opportunity that we have on earth to glorify God will be over.  I say, “…to a certain extent,” because we do not know the effect of our present existence.  With regard to Enoch, though he had died, yet his life, works, and manner of life speaks still.  I have often marveled that the woman who poured precious oil on the Lord’s head prior to His crucifixion, would receive this commendation of the Lord:  “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial to her.” (Matt. 26:13)  The disciples were indignant at what she had done, for their “value system” was not that of the Lord Jesus.  So, we come again to our opportunity, this time for which we have been put on this earth.  How shall it lived, spent, used, …and according to what standards?  Shall it be in accordance to the value system of Christ?

Paul tells us that the race that he was running was a “certain” one, and one in which he did not “beat the air, ” or just fight in an indiscriminate way.  It was purposeful, and disciplined.  He was focused upon it, and the issues at hand, were very clear.  Hence, he is running this race “to obtain,” or to win.  What?  It was to hear those wonderful words from Christ’s lips, “well done, ” and “welcome home.”  He was looking down the corridor of time, his time, at that moment when he would enter forever into the unfettered presence of His Life and King.

Another aspect of this “opportunity of time, ” is that of looking through the eyes of the soldier.  Here is a man who is not tangled up in the affairs of this life.  He is free in mind and heart to love Christ.  He has risen up, and as the hymn puts it, “…put his armor on, standing in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son.”  So, to sum up, the race has been engaged in, and the battle embraced…all weights have been cast aside, all entanglements have been shed.  The purposeful opportunity is grasped, and the heart leans forward towards the objective.

Question:  Was the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ head in a race, in a battle?   She was indeed, for though we do not see a “powerful” individual accomplishing “greath things” to be noticed, she overcomes the opinions of the other disciples in order to worship Christ, and to demonstrate her thankfulness and love to Him.  What does it mean to run the race and to fight the fight?  It means that love for Christ is paramount, not only as the means to reach the objective, but it is that reward of heaven to the soul.  This is what counts for eternity.

“Love through me, Love of God,  There is no love in me, O Fire of love, light Thou the love, That burns perpetually.”

Love, Dad

 

Love, Cold or Hot?

Dear Ones:

In speaking of the last days, the Lord Jesus makes a statement that is very sobering:  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12)  If there is one thing that is absolutely central to the Divine Purpose and Will, it is that the love of God be revealed, proclaimed, lived, and given.  He (God) loved first, He loves all, His love is everlasting…and the greatest evidence, and highest revelation, of the character of God is the love of God.  So, how is it that we come to the last days with such a declaration concerning love growing cold?  The answer has to do with the nature and capacity of true love.

The Apostle John tells us that “God IS love.”  This love of God gave all in the giving of His Son.  This is an undiminished, unchanging, everlasting love…there is NO variation or shadow cast by turning…the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Then WHY will love grow cold in the last days?

In the book of the Revelation, the first letter that the Lord sends to the seven churches is addressed to the Ephesian church.  It is a church that is impeccable in doctrine, and zeal.  But there is a single, and most significant flaw…the Lord declares:  “You have left your FIRST love..”  The consequence, “…remember…whence thou art fallen, and repent, and to the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5)  The point is simple:  Our highest duty, privilege, and charge, is to attend to the worship, and communion with Christ, because from Him alone comes the blessing, even Life.  His way is first and foremost in the sanctuary, in cultivating this love for Him.  It is ONLY out of such a love relationship with Christ, that HIS love is known in and through us.

Scripture declares that in the last days, “…iniquity shall abound.”  All we need to do to short-circuit our fellowship and love of Christ, is to allow sin to creep in.  Often this is due simply to the neglect of aloneness with Christ.  Worship, according to the truth of His word, and utter reliance upon the Spirit, is essential if we would love Him as we ought.

In recognizing that God’s love requires a love of its kind, and that it is only BY the Spirit, let us take heart to realize and grasp that the knowledge, experience, and overcoming power of the love of God, can be known in the smallest and grandest manner, by first loving Christ, walking with Him, communing with Him.  “Coldness” may surround us, but it does not need to overcome us.  Let us tend to the essential of first love of Christ, then we shall know His overcoming love in life and service.

Love, Dad

Salient Features

Dear Ones:

There are “sign posts” in Scripture, but then there are “salient features.”  These salient features are those most significant and strategic points on a battle field, which are essential to the success of the campaign.   In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he states what these features are, and then summarizes them in the simplest manner in his letter to the Thessalonians.  For every believer and disciple for whom these words were destined, there is no substitute for their implementation in the life.  Indeed, if there is to be an experience of the victorious life, then there must be the adherence to these words.

He begins in Philippians 4:4 by giving us the command, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  Immediately we see that this is not an option.  And secondly, it is to be a perpetual pursuit.  What is he saying?  When Jesus said that no man could take his joy from Him, and that there was a joy set before Him, He was speaking of the same thing…His joy was His Father.  With eternal reason He declares this, since all the beauty and riches of God’s holiness is in the Father for Him, and it is a “Joy” that never ceases, since the character of God never diminishes in its qualities and extensiveness.  The man who is learning to rejoice in the Lord, to delight himself in who and what the Lord Jesus IS, is the man who rises above the needs within and without, to begin to experience the reality of the goodness and graciousness of God.  Stability of mind and heart begin to reveal themselves as a result.

The second salient feature is, “Be careful (worried) for NOTHING.”  How can this be, and is it possible?  If the believer has surrendered all to Christ, and believes in the sovereignty of God, he or she KNOWS that every need is an opportunity for seeking God “…by prayer and supplication,” and thus, proving His presence, provision, and power.  The temptation to “worry” or “care” is the call to communion with the Eternal Son of God.

The third salient feature flows from the former…”…Pray without ceasing…”  If we know that in us dwells no good thing, and that without Christ we can do nothing…then we believe also that He is “waiting to be wanted.”  Every need, without and within, is that call to go to the door and let “the King of Glory” come in, giving Him access to the need, to meet that need in answer to prayer and faith.  The promise:  “…I will come into him and sup with him and he with Me.”

The fourth salient feature is that of thanksgiving, giving thanks in all things.  I remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom, when with other women incarcerated in an interment camp during World War II, were besieged by fleas in their barracks.  They gave thanks for the fleas!!  It was learned afterwards that the fleas kept the guards away so that the women could study the Bible together, giving them hope and strength.  This would not have been possible otherwise.  If we believe that “all things work together for good to them that love the Lord…,” then we need to give thanks in all things.

Who lives a life of rejoicing in the Lord, being anxious for nothing, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks at all times?  Only those who see these salient features as imperative, and then,  humbly rely wholly on the Lord for the grace and enablement to do it.  It has been said that “God’s commandments are God’s enablement.”

At the end of the parallel passage to Philippians 4, and this in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, we read:  “Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.”  Every day God is committed to providing all in Christ according to His calling to each of us.  The wonderful reality is:  “…who also WILL do it.”  Do we believe it? Have we made these salient features our own by faith, and obedience?

Love, Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Behold I Thought

Dear Ones:

The spectrum of visible light to our eyes is very minimal.  The limitations of understanding what we see are very real.  So that, when it comes to believing God to lead us, we are entrusting to Him the knowledge (enormous and trued…) of all that we cannot see, understand, or perceive.  This is why in Proverbs 3:5-6 we are admonished to “…not lean unto our own understanding.”

When Namaan, the captain of the host of Syria learned that he was a leper, the king of Syria sent him to Israel for healing.  Upon his arrival in front of Elisha the prophet’s dwelling, he would be told by Elisha’s messenger that he was to go and wash seven times in the Jordan river, with the promise that he would be healed of his leprosy.  It was at this point that he almost missed the blessing because he said, “Behold, I thought…”  He had a concept of what things “should” be, but which were not to be.  Like the rich young ruler, he would almost walk away from the blessing.  Namaan’s problem was his pride, which led him to lean to his own understanding.

In another scenario in the life of Elisha, illustrating the point in a different way, we find Elisha and his servant surrounded at Dothan by a great military host that had surrounded the city during the night.  Elisha’s servant was very fearful, and this because of his limited vision of reality.  Elisha would put to rest those fears by asking the Lord, “I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” (2 Kings 6:17)  It was then that the greater invisible reality was perceived:  “…the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”  The point is clear.  When we lean to our own understanding, we so very often do NOT perceive the greater reality of the kingdom and power of God.

Soon after Saul of Tarsus had his vision of Christ, he was visited by Ananias, who was instructed by the Lord to put his hands on him, and declare:  “…Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17)  The greater reality here that Saul has not grasped is the power and presence of Jesus Christ.  And though Saul would receive his physical sight, his spiritual sight of the greater reality would change his spiritual perception forever.

We read these stories and are apt to think that they only apply to the great men of old.  We forget that in the book of the Revelation, in addressing the Laodicean church, the Lord declares her to be blind. (3:17)  But then He says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried by fire…and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”  What is He saying here?  It is that we can so easily drift into a life of leaning unto our own, and be blinded by the “normal” ways and means of perception, that we lose sight of the greater realities of our existence.  We lose sight of the fact that God is God, sovereign, and faithful.  For the promise is that for the one who trusts the Lord with all his heart, and leans not unto his own understanding, but who acknowledges the Lord in all his ways (gives Him access by prayer and faith…), HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.”

So, let us prove Him to be true today, and accept the limitations of sight and understanding.  It is a wise thing to take Christ as our Counselor, this all-knowing God, who sees all things, even into the depths of our hearts.  And let us believe Him, as He is also true and faithful.  He proved himself to be true for Naaman, Elisha and his servant, Saul, and the Laodicean church.  Will He not do the same for us today?

Love, Dad

Will of Steel, Feet of Clay

Dear Ones:

There is perhaps no more interesting figure in the Bible beside Christ, than Elijah.  We know little to nothing about him before he comes on the scene as a prophet, at a time of great spiritual darkness, and wickedness in high places.  He was a very striking figure, in appearance, but also in demeanor.  “He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” (2 Kings 1:8)  John the Baptist is said to have come “…in the spirit and power of Elijah.”  So, we gather from the glimpses of Elijah, that he was a powerful man, very strong in his will, with the anointing of God upon him, and yet, a man with feet of clay.  Why would we consider him?  Because we need to see that God blesses imperfect men, and even the greatest of men, have their limits and can know moments of great weakness and solitude.

There were two successive events in the life of Elijah which reveal what a great man of faith he was.  The first was his victory over the prophets of Baal, with the fire of God coming down from heaven.  The vacillating people of Israel would fall down before God on that day, returning to Him as the only true and living God.  Then there would be his intercession on Mt. Carmel, which would result in the end of three years without rain, a judgement on the kingdom of Ahab.  In spite of these two monumental events, there would come a day, when Elijah would find himself in a cave on Mt. Horeb, alone with God.  Then would come a question to him from the Lord, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Dominated by fear for his own life, Elijah has fled as far from Jezebel as possible.  And in his solitude, he has come to believe several things that are not true.  The first is that he is the only prophet left, the only one who has not bent the knee to Baal.  The second is that he is no better than his fathers who were unfaithful to God, and this demonstrated, by his flight for safety.  The last thing that he has embraced, is that there is no hope in going forward for him…what’s the use?  To what end have his efforts availed?  And thus, the question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I wonder at times if this is not God’s question to us?  “What are you doing here?”  What ARE we doing here?  Have we embraced the same arguments as Elijah, and this, because of the difficulty of circumstances or opposition?  What is the remedy to this need?  It is the same as for Elijah…hearing the word of the Lord:  “Go, return on the way to the wilderness of Damascus…anoint Hazael…anoint Jehu…anoint Elisha.”  God’s economy marches on.  The issue is always that of responding to His word to our hearts, and going forward.  The Lord would also, in his declaration to Elijah, clarify the truth of the situation in Israel, “I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal…”

What is the lesson that we must grasp?  Even though we might have a specific, and great calling, we still have feet of clay, and can so easily become prey to going beyond our limits, to becoming persuaded that we are alone, and finally, that we are worse than those faithful ones who have gone before.  The remedy for us all is the present response to the revealed will of God.   And just as the Lord called Elijah by his name, He does so with us…and then leads us forth.  This is the issue, not “success” or “great works.”

“The work is Thine and Thine alone; my work to rest in Thee.”

Love, Dad

The Heat of Battle

Dear Ones:

In this spiritual warfare in which we find ourselves, there are victories and there are casualties.  It can be a vicious struggle at times, as our enemy is a ruthless foe.  However, in every consideration of this conflict, we always begin with our Captain, the victorious Christ.  He has defeated all of our foes, both visible and invisible.  As we mentioned in a previous meditation, “…And (He) having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15)  We always begin with our Captain, and the work that He accomplished over our foes.

Christ taught us to pray, “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (lit. “the evil one.”)  James writes, “… submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Ja. 4:7) These verses deal with temptation and confrontation of our enemy as we proceed in the path of following the Lord.  But what about the enemy’s tactics, and how to overcome him?

In Revelation 12:11, we read, “…And they overcame him (the accuser of the brethren…the enemy called ‘that old serpent, the Devil, and Satan…’), by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  One of the great, and most effective tactics of the enemy is “accusations” and “condemnation.”  When we look at Joshua the high priest before the Angel of the Lord (Zech 3), there is Satan accusing him, resisting him.  Now, we must confess that Joshua is covered with dirty garments, representing unconfessed, and thus, uncleansed sin.  The resulting fact is that Joshua is totally neutralized by the accusatory condemnation by the enemy.  It is only when the basis for the accusation is removed, that with a good conscience and right heart, Joshua can go forward.  It is the same for us today.  The Christian must come to grips with the fact that positionally speaking, he is “justified by the blood” of Christ.  He has been redeemed by the blood, and nothing can change that.  But the disciple needs the daily,  moment by moment cleansing from sin as he walks this earth…otherwise, the “accuser of the brethren, ” who accuses him/her night and day, will neutralize them.  For they cannot serve God unless they have a good conscience before God.

Secondly, if we are to overcome our enemy, we must hold to the “word of their (our) testimony.”  We must take the stand that, not only are we committed fully to believe God and follow wholly the Lord Jesus Christ, but that He is fully, and totally committed to us, to meet every need.  We take Him to be our only Captain, and Shepherd.  Lastly, we do not “love their (our) lives unto the death.”  The surrendered, committed disciple, is one who can say with the Apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  To be Christ’s for life and death is to be free to follow the Captain, and overcome the enemy of our souls where we live, and that, in the will of God.

So, today, let us overcome, reign in life, “do valiantly,” believing in the victory of our Captain, who has become our victory.  May we be what we ARE, victorious in Him.  What a wonderful reality that Christ has conquered ALL our foes, even death, and that now, “…nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ.”

Love, Dad

The Warfare

Dear Ones:

The call to follow Christ is a call to communion with God.  But it is also a call to follow the Captain into conflict…a very real invisible war.  From the Garden of Eden, to the contesting of Job, to the resisting by Satan in accusing Joshua the High Priest, to the temptation of Christ…we see that there is a very real action on the part of the enemy to destroy the testimony of God, of Christ and His church. When we get to the epistles of Paul, the veil is drawn back to reveal that Christ, by His accomplished work on the cross, and the resurrection, has “…spoiled principalities, and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15)  But though these “principalities and powers” be conquered, they are still here, seeking always to usurp authority and power over the hearts and minds of men, women, boys and girls. One day, we shall be free of the influence of the enemy, but until then, we must come to grips with the fact that “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)  Paul goes on to say, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not WAR after (according to…) the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds…” (2 Cor. 10:5)  So then, our enemy is a spiritual one…he has not changed in his tactics since he first appeared on the scene in the Garden.  And he has but one purpose, “…to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (Jn. 10:10)

The question then follows, “What is the context of this conflict?  And where is the war waged?”  Again, as it was in Eden, so it is today.  Paul says, (referring to the actual conflict…”), “… casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)  He is declaring that the battle is in the mind, and it is a conflict that centers in the truth.  Why?  Because Christ IS the truth, and there is no discrepancy between the Christ, and the objective truth of His word.  God can never bless a lie, so if the enemy, by one means or another, can persuade us to believe a lie, then we will not know the power of the Spirit.  And without the power of the Spirit, nothing is possible in this life of victory to which we have been called.

One last word concerning our present day, embedded in the “last days.”  Paul says to Timothy that in the last days, “difficult times will come.”  What does he mean?  What did Christ mean when we said, “And when the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith on the earth?” Without the strict pursuit and maintenance of the truth, in mind and heart, faith will not have its basis in the life.  The writer to the Hebrews said this:  “…Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1)  “How shall we escape if we NEGLECT so great salvation?” (v.3)

Since Pentecost, the history of the church reveals the spiritual conflict centered on the issue of truth.  The battle rages on today.  So that it is fitting that we should make the Word of God our centerpiece of consideration and study, first of all to believe and obey, but then, to have in our hearts that we might be able to give an answer for the hope that is within us.  To us at this time, has been entrusted the great truths of Scripture.  Let us be good stewards of the treasure and task, and let us take up the weapons of our warfare, to fight the good fight.  “Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall set you free…If the SON shall set you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:32,36)

Love, Dad

Peace In My House

Dear Ones:

Scripture tells us that our God is a God of peace.  By “peace,” we do not mean passivity.  But we do mean that God gives a blessed calmness of spirit, soul, and body, which is beyond our understanding, and capacity to produce in and of ourselves.  Let’s go back and look at the stanza on peace in Marston’s great hymn, “I Thank Thee, Lord,:  “I take Thee for my peace, O Lord, my heart to keep and fill, Thine own great calm, amid earth’s storms shall keep me always still.  And as Thy kingdom doth increase, so shall Thine ever-deepening peace.”

The first thing that is striking about this hymn is that the peace of God which is a gift, is also a Person.  Christ Himself is our peace…just like He is our Shepherd, our love, our strength…so He is our peace.  By virtue of this union that we have IN CHRIST, we have His peace.  But the question must be asked, “Do we experience His peace ‘…amid earth’s storms?'”

In Paul’s different letters, he often speaks of “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  In Colossians 3:12, he declares:  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering…”  All of these traits of character are Christ’s, not something that we fabricate.  We are to called to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, with regard to all the traits of His character.  And so it is with peace…we put on Christ, the Christ of peace, that we might know and experience HIS peace.

Now, this peace is more than just being in harmony with God with regard to His will, purposes, and person.  It is a deep calmness of spirit, a quiet and powerful assurance of God’s presence and power.  When Jesus was asleep in the ship during the storm, the disciples came to Him fearful that they could lose their lives.  When He stood up and rebuked the wind, the sea became very calm.  The peace of God is a profound calm that God gives in the storm, but also in green pastures.  And it is for all believers who will trust Him for it.

One last thought.  Peace in my house is determined by peace in the individual hearts that live in that house.  What a blessed experience it is when brethren dwell together in unity, and that peace reigns throughout.  There and then is the condition for blessing, and the assurance that it will be so.

“Let the peace of God RULE in your hearts…”

Love, Dad