Category Archives: Peace / Rest

He Who Loves Money Will Not Be Satisfied With Money

Riches and wealth by themselves have no lasting significance. This seems contrary to what our culture today testifies and covets. However, really it changes when you stop thinking only about this world and start thinking about eternity. We can take none of this wealth with us.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

The Folly of Riches

     10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.

      13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

      18Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

For those who love money and seek to be satisfied by it, there will never be enough. There is always more to pursue.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Leadership Qualifications for the Church

Paul provides some timeless guidance on how carefully we should choose leaders within our church body. They high standards and appropriately so. Someone not only needs to meet these standards to lead in the church but also to remain in leadership within the church. If they fall, even if they repent, one must still consider very carefully if they are “beyond reproach” and if it is appropriate for them to retake a leadership position again. The emphasis is really about helping those they lead to grow closer to YHWH and it is not about maintaining the career interest of the leader.

1 Timothy 3

Overseers and Deacons

     1It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

      8Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

      14I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

16By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

I think this is an valuable standard to consider for all of us who wish to lead lives pleasing to YHWH, whether or not we take a formal position in the church. Prayerfully reflect and ask the Spirit to show you, without bias and defensiveness, how you and your household stack up to this standard. Ask him help to lead you in change as needed or continued growth in these areas. Pray for one another in this regard, that we would grow toward this standard.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Prayer of Jabez

Almost buried in a section of historical family lineage in 1 Chronicles is a brief excerpt, limited to two verses, about a man named Jabez for whom God answered his prayer. Like so many parts of scripture, it is waiting for us to find it and explore the depths of God’s word, like buried treasure.

It is worthwhile to pause and reflect on these verses.

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The prayer of Jabez was an honorable prayer. He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with Him and he was honorable in his life.

Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to him and building relationship with him. You can not and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling him to give you the outcomes you want. As you build relationship with him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that his hand would be with us.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Is Real

The most basic rule of warfare is perhaps that if you don’t realize or accept there is an enemy moving against you, you will most probably lose. If you don’t fight back with an effective strategy, you will lose even if you take on the enemy. If you don’t properly identify your enemy, you will develop the wrong strategy.

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare.  Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. If we do not recognize the true enemy, we will struggle to win against him.

Ephesians 6:10-18

      10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

      18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Consider the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves. Pray for those preach the gospel that they would preach boldly!

Let’s explore what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something.  Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and seek help from the Holy Spirit to keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons due that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our  lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Remember to heed Paul’s warning and guidance for prayer. The battle is not ours alone, but the Lord’s!

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Peace Be With You, Even In Trying Times

After the death of Yeshua, his disciples were fearing the Jews and meeting behind closed doors. They were not at peace. Yeshua came to them with a message of peace in their moment of trial and difficulty. He did not say that he would make it easy for them and thus not to be afraid. Rather he said simply for peace to be with them and that “as the Father has sent me, I also send you”. We can find peace in Christ, even as we face difficult situations.

John 20:19-29

Jesus among His Disciples

     19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

      24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

      26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

We do not all get the opportunity to meet face to face with a resurrected, physical Christ as the disciples did. Yeshua realizes that this makes it tougher. He even indicates blessing for those who did not see and yet believe. He knows it is hard for us at times. He still calls for us to believe in him and to follow after him. Faith is required to live in true peace.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Experience Peace, Hope, and Joy In Knowing Our Lord Has Risen!

Let us not miss the emotional rush we, as followers of Christ, should get as we realize that he is indeed Messiah and Savior. He died for our sins, but he overcame death! He ascended to heaven, but he lives still! May we never take this for granted, but remain uplifted as we reflect on it. May we continually experience peace, hope, and joy in our Lord.

John 20:1-18

The Empty Tomb

     1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

      11But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

He Rested On The Seventh Day

The Sabbath is an important sign of our covenant with the Father. It should be holy to us.

Exodus 31:12-14

   12The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 13“But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. 14‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you.

In fact, the Sabbath was so important, even YHWH rested after creating all things, just to show us the example.

Exodus 31:16-17

16‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17“It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”

We see the importance again of Sabbath to YHWH’s people in that they wanted to be able to take down those that were crucified so that the bodies could be properly taken care of before the Sabbath began. It was so important, they requested breaking their legs to help them die faster.

It was not something that was obsolete for those who followed Yeshua. His followers also were still observing Sabbath, as Yeshua had demonstrated through his example and teaching.

John 19:31-42

Care of the Body of Jesus

     31Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” 37And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”

      38After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Sabbath was made for us. It is a sign of our covenant with YHWH and a reminder that it is YHWH who makes us holy, or sanctifies us. It is a day of rest for us in a busy, fast paced life.

Mark 2:27

27Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

We need not get distracted by those who want to argue about what is “required”. We are saved by grace through faith by the death of Yeshua. However, let us instead focus on simply what is pleasing to the Lord and consistent with his written word and the teaching of Yeshua. Sabbath was made for man. YHWH set the example following it in creation. Yeshua observed and taught Sabbath. YHWH even provided Yeshua’s death during crucifixion ahead of the Sabbath so even that would not be impact a Sabbath. Let us take heed to his instruction and example. Seek to observe the Sabbath as part of our covenant with the Father.

On a personal note, I can testify that I grew up basically ignoring Sabbath. Now, as an adult, I celebrate with my wife and children every week. I have found it wonderful in bringing family together to spend time with one another and a good break from a busy pace of life that always has an excuse to be doing something. The primary command associated with Sabbath is simply, to rest and do no work. Once you reach this point, then you are ready to have a fascinating discovery seeking the truth in scripture and in prayer how to live that out, as there are many interpretations and opinions on application. However, do not be dismayed by the many interpretations. Get started celebrating Sabbath by resting.

Genesis 2:2

2By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

120,000 children killed every day

Brothers and sisters, come with me before God in prayer and repentance for our nations. Every day worldwide more than 120,000 unborn children are being killed by someone performing an abortion. That is an astonishing rate of 45 million children being killed this way each year. God put them in their mother’s wombs to grow so they could be safe and yet that is the leading cause of death in the world.

Pray too for those who have been involved in abortions already, either in performing, encouraging or forcing someone to participate, or the mother having an abortion. Theirs is a terrible grief and sadness. Pray they would come before God with repentant heart and be healed and forgiven. Pray they would forgive themselves too.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Prayer for Peace and Prosperity

Psalm 122

Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.

A Song of Ascents, of David.

     1I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

      2Our feet are standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem,

      3Jerusalem, that is built
As a city that is compact together;

      4To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the LORD
An ordinance for Israel—
To give thanks to the name of the LORD.

      5For there thrones were set for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

      6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.

      7“May peace be within your walls,
And prosperity within your palaces.”

      8For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, “May peace be within you.”

      9For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.

May His Face Shine Upon You

What a beautiful blessing we find in Numbers 6, intended for the audience of Aaron and his sons. I pray this now for myself, those close to me, and also for pastors and leaders who follow Christ with a genuine heart. I pray it for those reading through the scriptures with me daily… and I sure appreciate if / when you pray for me as well.

Numbers 6:22-27

      22Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

      24The LORD bless you, and keep you;

      25The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

      26The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

Another translation captures verse 24-26 slightly differently… “may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you”. I certainly want to have that relationship with Him and please Him in that way. I want other brothers and sisters in Christ to do so as well.

Numbers 6:24-26 Living Bible (TLB)

24-26 ‘May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show you his favor, and give you his peace.’

Take some time this morning and pray for yourself, your family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and for whomever else you feel led to pray for today.

May the grace and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.