Category: Peace


October l5, 2012

I’d Be Happy If…
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers (and sisters). Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16, 17 NIV)

Friend to Friend
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world. All their needs were cared for. They had perfect communion with God and each other. They were “naked and unashamed.” The only restriction placed on them was that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil located in the middle of the Garden. God warned them, “If you eat of it, you will surely die.”

As they basked in the light of God’s love, darkness slithered into the Garden with his plan to kill, steal and destroy the image bearers. And how did he do it? He did it with the most powerful weapon of all…lies.

“Now the serpent…” The great deceiver clothed himself as a serpent and slithered up to Eve with a game plan to destroy God’s prized possession. He didn’t come with a sword, or a gun, or even a knife for his attack. He simply wielded lies.

The serpent knew Adam and Eve would not buy into a radical flamboyant denial of God, so he slithered into the garden with a twist and a turn of the truth. He began by causing Eve to doubt… “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).

Satan knew exactly what God had said. He was simply trying to confuse Eve. Perhaps he was evaluating just how well she knew the truth. He found out.

“We may eat fruit from the tress in the garden,” Eve replied, “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die” (Genesis 3:3).

Bingo. She didn’t know the truth that well after all. God never mentioned not touching the fruit. That seems like a pretty good idea, but it was not what God said.

Second he denied God and lied about the consequences of disobedience. Satan said, “You will not surely die.” (3:4). He didn’t even try to disguise the deception. He told a flat-out lie.

And finally, he told her she could be like God: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). In other words, “God doesn’t know what He’s talking about. He’s holding out on you. You don’t need Him. You can be your own god.”

Eve rejected the truth and believed the lie. She believed that she could be like god…in control of her own life. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her.”

And as she sunk her teeth into the forbidden fruit of deception and the lie slid down her delicate throat, the temptation settled in her soul and fermented into shame and condemnation. Her husband, who chose the woman over God, also felt the sickening rot of sin settle in his very soul. Suddenly shame and fear entered the world, and Adam and Eve hid from God like wayward children.

All temptation is an attempt to get us to live our lives independent of God. Satan is not very creative, but he is very affective. And he has been lying to us ever since. Why? Because it works.

Every one of his lies springs from the idea that happiness is just a decision away. Satan wants you to believe God is holding out on you. You can be like God. You can be your own god.

Rather than being thankful for what we do have, he points out what we don’t have. Think about it. Eve had at her disposal every tree in the garden except one. Every one! That is a smorgasbord of goodness! But rather than being thankful, she bought the lie that the one thing she couldn’t have was the one thing that would make her happy. I would be happy if… Is any of this sounding familiar to you? It should. Satan uses the same tactics with us that he used with Eve. Ingratitude is the infection of Eden, and it is cured with praise.

Eve believed the enemy’s lie over God’s truth. His plan worked. But what the serpent did not know was that God’s amazing plan of forgiveness and grace was about to unfold. Satan did not win the battle for man’s soul in the garden. Jesus Christ won the war on Calvary’s Cross. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” and then breathed his last, He made a way for all mankind to regain all that Adam and Eve had lost.

In Everything

April 14

In Everything

“In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4:6).

No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

“In everything,” that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grave, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things — everything — living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.

“By prayer and supplication,” taking the place of beggars, with earnestness, with perseverance, going on and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.

“With thanksgiving.” We should at all times lay a good foundation with thanksgiving. If everything else were wanting, this is always present, that He has saved us from hell. Then, that He has given us His Holy Word — His Son, His choicest gift — and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we have abundant reason for thanksgiving. O let us aim at this!

“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” And this is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done.
–George Mueller, in Life of Trust

***

Twice or thrice a day, look to see if your heart is not disquieted about something; and if you find that it is, take care forthwith to restore it to calm.
–Francis De Sales

http://rickwallaceministries.bbnow.org

http://rickwallaceministries.com 

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:4-9, NASB)

This is, without question, one of my favorite passages of scripture in the entire Bible. I don’t make that statement lightly. My vocation as a minister and my love for the Word calls for me to spend substantial time studying scripture and the Bible is a powerhouse knowledge. So, when I say that Philippians 4:4-9 is one of my most favorite passages, it is saying a lot. Every scripture is of immense relevance to the believer, but based on each person’s background and personal experiences, certain scriptures will have more impact than others. My life has centered me in a place in which I have a yearning for a peace that is unshakable and this passage speaks to my innermost yearning.

What I would like to focus on predominately is verses 6 and 7. We are told not to be anxious for nothing; other translations rendered it “Don’t worry about anything”. This is not a suggestion, this is a command. This is something that is required of the believer. Why are we commanded not to be anxious about anything? The simple answer here is that anxiety is the result of a failure in the area of faith. Anxiety is an illness that kills, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically. Faith is the predominate requisite in living the Christian lifestyle. Anxiety and faith cannot co-exist.

I know that many of you are saying that it is much easier said than done. Trust me; I know how hard it is not to acknowledge the grim circumstances that lie before us at times. There are times when the implacable forces that move against us are so tumultuous that we become overwhelmed by them. This feeling of being overwhelmed by the moment is what opens the door to anxiety. The key is not to ignore the circumstance; it is in understanding that your circumstances are not the determining factor of your life’s destiny; God is. God has already written your life’s story in which you have obtained the victory. This is where faith comes in. Faith enables us to look beyond the moment and see the outcome even though the outcome has not yet physically manifested itself.

This is what is great about God, he does not simply provide a demand; he supplies the means and the knowledge to execute the command. Right after telling us to never be anxious Paul immediately follows with the formula for carrying out the command.

“but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (verse 6b)

Paul says “in everything” (leaving no room for exceptions) by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, your problem is not your problem it belongs to God. We are to submit our concerns to God and allow Him to work them out to our benefit. This calls for trust. Paul tells us that when we are able to have a heart of thanksgiving that is centered in a life of prayer, there will be a peace that comes over us that is beyond our limited perspicacity. This peace bends all rationale and defies all reason. This peace acknowledges the circumstances, but thrives despite them. Paul reveals that it is this peace that will guard our hearts and minds (the essence of our soul) in Christ Jesus.

It is easy in the English translation to lose the word “guard” in the mix of all the information surrounding it. It seems almost inconsequential in the weight of the entire verse; however, when you examine the passage carefully, “guard’ is the responsive action word in the passage. When we take the appropriate action (thankfully pray) God’s peace responds with its own action equal to the faith revealed in our action. So then the word translated “guard” has great significance in this passage because it is God’s response to our faith in a matter of need. Let’s take a look at this verb more carefully.

The Greek word that is translated “guard” is;

φρουρέω

phroureō

froo-reh’-o

From a compound of G4253 and G3708; to be a watcher in advance, that is, to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively to hem in, protect: – keep (with a garrison). Compare G5083.

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries  G5432

Phroureo  is a compound of  G4253 “pro” a primary preposition; “fore”, i.e. “front of”, “prior” (figuratively superior) “to” in compounds it retains the same meaning  and G3708 “horao”; properly to stare at, i.e. (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally); by extension to attend to; by Hebrew influence, to experience; in the passive, to appear; to be a watcher in advance, i.e. to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at the gate); figuratively, to hem in and protect; to garrison; (Phil. 4:7; Gal.. 3:23; 1 Pet. 1:5) (This is a military term in the Greek)

 

So then, you can see that this word “guard” is quite essential in this passage. It is the guarding of the heart and mind that guarantees the perpetuation of this peace. Allow me to elucidate; when you pray and trust God for what you pray for, God’s peace enters in and stands guard against the very things that come in and attempt to rob you of your peace and sanity. Paul’s use of this military term points to the fact that the mind is a battlefield and must be guarded and protected from invasion.

There are 10 things I would like to bring into focus here.

  1. Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Christ.
  2. Renounce all worry and by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving submit your request unto God. (v. 6; Jas. 4:7)
  3. Carry the right thoughts (v. 8; 2 Tim. 2:15-17)
  4. Keep your mind fixed on God (Isa. 26:3)
  5. Use the weapons of warfare that are available to you as a Christian warrior. (2 Cor. 10-3-6)
  6. Put on the whole armor of God. (Eph. 6:10-18)
  7. Have faith in God. (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mk. 11:22-24)
  8. Live and walk in the spirit. (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13)
  9. Do not cast away you confidence. (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-13, 35-39)
  10. Cast all care upon God. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Paul continues by pointing to the fact that the centrality of focus here is the mind.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4;8-9 NIV)

Paul provides 6 things to center our minds on in order to maintain this transcendent peace:

  1. True things – all that is in harmony with eternal truth in creation and revelation. (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).
  2. Honest things – all that is decent, honorable, and Christian. Greek “semnos”.
  3. Just things – all that is in harmony with justice and righteousness (Rom. 3:24-31; 8:4; 2 Pet. 1:4-10)
  4. Pure things – all that is chaste and holy for body and soul. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:16-17;)
  5. Lovely things – all that is pleasing and tends to bless others. (1 Cor. 13:4-8; Gal. 5:22-23)
  6. Things of good report – all that is in harmony with the best public good; virtuous and praiseworthy. (Rom. 13:1-10;2 Pet. 1:4-10)

So, we are told not to allow anxiety and worry to rule our lives and then given a specific formula that will allow and empower us to carry out this command. I encourage you to offer up your concerns to God. Peter tells us that we should cast our cares upon Him because he cares for us. When we cast our care upon Him in faith His peace consumes and stands guard over us so that the thoughts that produce anxiety are repelled.

Whatever you are facing right now put it in God’s hands. Let God do what only He can do in your situation. He is offering you peace in the midst of the storm. Notice I said peace in the midst of the storm, not circumvention of the storm. Your blessing and break through is wrought out in the storm. Your promotion and elevation process is carried out in the storm. Your deepest and most powerful connection to God is experienced in the storm. Notice in the story in which the disciples woke Jesus because of the storm; the moment when Jesus spoke to the winds and the waves and said “peace be still”; that Jesus was at peace during the storm, in fact, He was asleep. Jesus arose and rebuked the storm and then he rebuked the disciples:

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,“Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples,“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mk.4:39-40)

Why did he rebuke them? He rebuked them because their faith should have produced a transcendent peace; not in the absence of the storm, but despite of it. Don’t look to circumvent life’s trials, instead learn to thrive in the midst of them. Trials and tribulations provide the greatest canvas for God to paint His masterpieces of power and promotion in the life of the believer.

 

May you be bless,

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

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