The Lord of Peace

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.— II Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

Paul began his letter by giving thanks to the LORD for the Thessalonians (II Thessalonians 1:3) and he closes the letter with the blessing “The Lord be with you all.”

Today, may the LORD of peace grant you peace at all times and in every way, and may He be with you wherever you go and in whatever you do.

Power From The Holy Spirit

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.— Acts 1:8 NLT

Power from the Holy Spirit is not limited to strength beyond the ordinary—that power also involves courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. The disciples would need all these gifts to fulfill their mission. We need this power to fulfill our mission of making disciples throughout the world.

If you believe in Jesus Christ, you can experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you have yet to invite Jesus Christ into your life and heart, today is the day to take advantage of His awesome gift of salvation and have the Holy Spirit empower your life.

God Cares About The Small Things Too

“How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the way of the Lord.”—Psalm 119:1

Yesterday I had breakfast with a good friend. During breakfast he mentioned that he would be teaching Sunday School this weekend. At first I didn’t think anything about it but then later realized that the date didn’t sound right. After getting home I checked my schedule and it appeared my friend was wrong. The long and short of it was I was wrong. I thought I was supposed to teach on the 15th but actually I am scheduled to teach on the 8th.

This sequence of events showed me just how much God loves me and cares about even the small things in my life. It was my friend who suggested we have breakfast and if he hadn’t done so I would not have discovered the error of my date to teach. God knew all of this long before I did and orchestrated events to ensure I was teaching on the correct Sunday. This may not seem like much to talk about but to me it just shows me God at work in my life.

I praise God for His love and mercy. The very first verse in Psalm 119 says, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the way of the Lord.”

All I can say is “Thank you Lord. I give you all the praise, glory and honor. I pray your Holy Spirit will guide me in my walk today.”

Submission To God—The Way To Blessings

“You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness”—Romans 6:16

If professing believers were really honest, many would say their lives bear little resemblance to the Christian life described in Scripture. They struggle repeatedly with the same sins, feel that God rarely answers prayers, and wonder why He hasn’t given them the desires of their heart. How is this possible?

The problem may be a lack of submission to Jesus Christ. People often want the forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven but are not willing to place themselves under the lordship of Christ. Therefore, they are disconnected from what He wants to do in their life. In refusing to submit, they forfeit the blessings that come to those who know Christ as Savior and Lord.

As today’s passage states, “You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (v. 16). Although we strongly dislike the concept of slavery, that is the reality for every person who enters the world: We are all born as slaves of sin. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the final word. Anyone who turns to Christ in repentance and faith is set free. However, this is not freedom to simply do whatever we want. In fact, doing so would naturally head us back to our old slave master of sin.

Avoiding submission to God results in wasted years of chasing after His blessings through our own cunning. True freedom and blessing are found only in being a slave to God, who is always good, wise, and loving. In obedience to His will, we find freedom from sin, answers to prayer, and new desires that come from a changed heart.

(Presented with permission | Charles Stanley | In Touch)

Experiencing Pain And Suffering With Jesus

When you experience pain or suffering, what’s your first reaction? Is it something like, “Why me Lord?” or is it more like, “Thank you Father for this experience allowing me to draw closer to you.” If you’re like most people the first reaction is probably the one you have.

We all will have our trials and troubles because we live in a fallen world. As Paul says in Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” So when we have a problem we won’t necessarily experience death but we should be reminded that something we said or did might be the cause of our situation. Sometimes it is God working in us.

Let Christ sanctify you when you have pain and trouble instead of hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness. The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow.

Contentment Is An Illusive Animal

6But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Contentment is an illusive animal. You can search for it all day long but if you are looking in the wrong places, you will not find it. Some will search in the piles of money they have or in and around their big mansion on the lake. They might even look for it in the trunk of their very fancy and expensive car. But, their searching is to no avail. Why?

When you search for contentment you must have the proper equipment, which includes God’s word, a repentant heart and a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. These tools will prevent you from falling into temptation or harmful desires created by Satan.

As Paul says in verse 10 above, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. If you pursue it too long you will wander away from the faith and be pierced by many griefs.” If you believe God’s word to be true, then you will also find it to be your greatest source of contentment. God makes many promises to his children (that’s us) stating He will take care of every need we have.

All the devil has to offer is empty promises, deceit and lies.

The next time you find yourself pursuing that promotion to the exclusion of all else, or spending the last bit of your paycheck to buy lottery tickets in hopes of winning the big one, then you may find you’ve fallen into the devil’s trap. He makes all of this look great but in the end, you will find yourself miserable and wishing you’d made the right choice of finding contentment with Jesus.

A final thought so supremely captured in verse 7 above says, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” Trust in God to be happy until He calls you home to the supreme contentment of your life, in heaven.

The Believer’s Confession

One of the concerns often heard from believers is the fear that God has not forgiven them. Despite having confessed their sins, they’re still uncertain of their cleansing and wonder if they didn’t feel sorry enough. Instead of rising from their knees purified and restored, they feel as if a cloud of God’s disapproval and disappointment is covering them.

This kind of thinking is based on feelings, not truth. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and His death as payment for our sins. The moment we believe, God declares us righteous in His eyes, and all our sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven. Romans 8:1 reassures us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It’s not our confession of wrongdoing but the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Another reason some doubt God’s forgiveness is the erroneous belief that confession maintains our salvation. If we think any unconfessed sin leaves us open to the Lord’s condemnation, we’ll continually wonder if we’ve forgotten some transgression or haven’t confessed quickly enough.

Both of these misconceptions are caused by a faulty understanding of what confession is. Confession means agreeing with God that what we have done is sinful and doesn’t fit who we are in Christ. As the Holy Spirit brings conviction, we begin to feel inner discomfort and guilt. Although we are still God’s children, our disobedience disrupts our fellowship with Him. The solution is to go to our heavenly Father and confess our wrong so we can be cleansed and restored to the peace and joy of our relationship with Him.