This is the best sermon I have heard on the birth of Jesus Christ.
How blessed we would be if we could see in God’s Word a panoramic view of Him working from beginning to end —the Alpha and Omega— through it all to bring the first and the last scene together.
How blessed we are to be in the middle as God’s people—the body of Christ—to take it all in; turning from page to page to behold His glory, His kingdom, at work in His people; His strong arm upholding His sovereign will and authority over life and death, His hand holding and molding each heart and life taken out of the degradation of sin.
How blessed we are to be turned by the power of His own Holy Spirit to see Him greater than all the circumstances of the human will and the power of the enemy combined; triumph shared with His people for eternity.
This is a view that comes through a lifetime here on this earth. The view is so breathtaking that we cannot bear it except slowly and as God, the Father, in the wisdom He gives through the righteousness and atoning work of Jesus, His Son, prepares our hearts by His Holy Spirit to conceive of Divine reality—“enlightening our eyes” to see what He allows our ears to hear.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
The tour through His Word is conducted one-on-one so that we do not miss anything that He has for each of us. It is the preparation for that which will come in eternity ~ from glory to glory ~ so that we will share in His glory forever.
The glory of God is hidden in Christ and it will take an eternity for us to behold.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:19
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for all that you have prepared for us, what our physical eyes cannot now see; what our ears cannot yet hear; the glorious life for which we are being prepared. Continue to work by your Holy Spirit, in light of the truth of your Word, in our minds and hearts to look beyond this present world to the glory that awaits us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
We are blessed to have Jim, a brother-in-Christ and a fellow-blogger, offer this guest post in our series Words of Life. He writes from the knowledge and experience of being a servant of our King; a pastor and an ambassador to other countries. You can find his blog here. Thank you, Jim ~ the Lord bless you and your ministry for Him.
Did you realize that if you are a Christian you are called by God to be an ambassador of Christ? What does that mean and what does God require of you if you are called to be His ambassador?
First, we must ask this question: What do we think about when we hear the word “Ambassador?” For many of us, we picture a man or a woman dressed in a dignified manner in a prestigious overseas assignment as a representative of one’s own country. We picture him/her being welcomed and even honored by those to whom they are sent. But is that what the Scripture and God have in mind when we are to be ambassadors of Christ? Ultimately we want to know what the word “ambassador” means as it appears in the Scriptures?
The best-known passage that talks about being an ambassador for Christ is 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. This is what it says in the New American Standard Bible:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Greek word for ambassador is a first-person plural form of πρεσβεύω. The verb πρεσβεύω appears only in one other place in the Bible: Ephesians 6:20:
for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
We will focus on 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 to see four characteristics of an ambassador of Christ so that we will faithfully represent Christ to others. However, when we look at the fourth characteristic, Ephesians 6:20 will come into play.
Characteristic #1: An ambassador is one who knows God well.
The point here is that if we are going to be ambassadors, we need to know God and know Him well. Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” It is important to know what the leaders really want, otherwise, an ambassador might make a decision that is unfaithful and unwise for the country/state/leaders. Who do we represent as ambassadors? The passage says, “Christ.”
We must know Christ in various ways. Paul says that Christians are to know what the will of God is: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2). Specifically knowing God’s will involves knowing that “which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Notice here that knowing God will transform us. Where do we turn to know God’s will and also for that knowledge to transform us? The Bible!
We are not just to be familiar with rules of God but also to know Christ and what He has done: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10). Did we catch that? We are to know three things: “the power of His resurrection,” “the fellowship of His sufferings,” and “His death.” We also must get a taste of suffering if we are to have “the fellowship of His sufferings”
As an application: do we know God’s laws and rules? If not, how can we represent Him?
Ambassadors would read letters from the leader that sent him or her. Do we read regularly the Bible and vow to learn it more deeply so we know who we represent and what His will is for all circumstances?
A good ambassador who knows the will of the one who sent Him will also act with integrity so as not to undermine the character of the one who sent Him. How much more then, does our knowledge of God lead us to act in such a way that presents a good testimony to people around us?
Characteristic #2: An ambassador is someone who is sent for a purpose.
As an ambassador, we need to know our purpose. Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “as though God were making an appeal through us…” There’s a challenge here: An ambassador is not just living for himself; he lives for his king. As Christians, our purpose is to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!! 2 Corinthians 5:20 goes on to say “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Yet with the challenge, there is also encouragement: After identifying us as “ambassadors of Christ,” Paul speaks as if God is working through us when we make our appeal. God is working through us as His ambassadors! Let us be encouraged. He will help us if we rely on Him!
An ambassador might sometimes be in a country with which his own country does not get along. Dignity and honor might be shown to him from the other country. There may be temptations in that country to cause him to forget why he is there.
To drive the point home, we must ask ourselves these questions: Do we know our purpose in life? It is not enough just to know; are we living as representatives of God towards others? Do we desire a different purpose than what God has given us? If this is the case, we are in sin. We must realize every other purpose in life would disappoint if it is not centered on God. Is God working through us? When we are making an appeal to others to come to know God, do we realize it is God working in us? This should encourage us?
Characteristic #3: An ambassador is one who is faithful.
Let us look at this portion of 2 Corinthians 5:20-21: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” An ambassador’s message is not one that he creates. A good ambassador is measured by how faithful He is to the one who sent Him. What is our message? The passage states the purpose of our message: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20b). How we are reconciled with God is the Gospel! “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This message tells us that we are sinners. This message tells us about Christ; that Christ is our substitute.
An ambassador is to please the one who sent Him and not those to whom he is sent; can you imagine if the country is an enemy of His country and the ambassador decides to change his message to make the enemy like it? This ambassador is not faithful; in fact, he has betrayed his country. He is now an enemy by becoming friends of the enemies of his country.
Now, what about us? Are we faithful to the Bible’s message? Or do we try to remove the parts of the Bible we don’t like? Are we trying to be faithful or are we trying to be liked by others?
Characteristic #4: An ambassador is one who is willing to suffer.
As ambassadors, we must be willing to suffer. Remember Ephesians 6:20 states: “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” There is the real possibility of suffering as indicated by the mention of chains in the example of Paul’s life.
Some background information might be in order. There are two kinds of ambassadors. Here’s a summary:There are ambassadors (another Greek word is used here: Legati) sent from Rome to foreign nations and into the provinces.”There are also ambassadors (Legati) “who accompanied the Roman generals into the field or the proconsuls and praetors into the provinces.”
Here’s a description of the first kind of ambassador:
“Legati to foreign nations in the name of the Roman republic were always sent by the senate (Cic. c. Vatin. 15); and to be appointed to such a mission was considered a great honour which was conferred only on men of high rank or eminence; for a Roman ambassador, according to Dionysius, had the powers (ἐξουσία καὶ δύναμις) of a magistrate and the venerable character of a priest. If a Roman during the performance of his mission as ambassador died or was killed, his memory was honoured by the republic with a public sepulchre and a statue in the Rostra (Liv. IV.17; Cic. Philip. IX.2). The expenses during the journey of an ambassador were, of course, paid by the republic; and when he travelled through a province, the provincials had to supply him with
Here’s a description of the second type of ambassador:
“The persons appointed to this office were usually men of great military talents, and it was their duty to advise and assist their superior in all his undertakings, and to act in his stead both in civil and military affairs (Varro, de Ling. Lat. V.87, Müller). The legati were thus always men in whom the consul placed great confidence, and were frequently his friends or relations; but they had no power independent of the command of their general (Caes. de Bell. Civ. II.17, III.51; Appian, B. C. I.38). Their number varied according to the greatness or importance of the war,”
What kind of ambassador did Paul have in mind? ~ the second kind; those who are sent to dangerous places.
Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ,” based on his life filled with hardship, danger, and suffering. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 and 2 Corinthians 11, we see his suffering and trials. When Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ” he included all who would bear the same sufferings.
I think the closest analogy today to the kind of ambassadors Paul had in mind are military service members. I remember in Iraq working with a Marine officer who was in Civil Affairs. He’s a Marine still ~ and still armed. But he’s working with the people and the local leaders. He’s there in a spot too dangerous for civilians. We are that Marine, not the ambassador and staff in the luxury hotel of a safe capital socializing all night.
This changes the way we view our mission as ambassadors. Do we understand that we will suffer as a Christian, especially to the degree we represent him and share the Gospel? Are we presently suffering for the Lord in representing Him? We must search our hearts to see if we are compromising, fearing man, etc, and confess our sins to God. He will forgive us; and not only that, He will cleanse us in light of 1 John 1:9!
For any who may be suffering right now for the sake of our Lord, we pray that you find your comfort in Christ. Turn to Him and rest in Him! Abide in Him, commune with Him! Let Him comfort you!
(Gracious Father in heaven, we thank you for Jim, who serves you well as one of your ambassadors. We ask that you send your Holy Spirit to search our hearts. Convict, through the power of your Word, how and where we may be misrepresenting you. Show us your purpose for us as your children and your ambassadors. Open our eyes to see Christ and His sufferings on our behalf and move us to offer all that we are to know Him and to be where you want us to be. Thank you for sending your Son as your ambassador to a people held in bondage to sin to save us and bring us to yourself. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
On Mondays, I collect our garbage into plastic bags and place them in the provided receptacle (recycles go into a separate container) to be collected early on Tuesday mornings.
When we started this schedule years ago, Mondays became a special day for me. It represented more than uncluttering the house of waste, but a means for me to observe this day in more significant ways.
It follows the Lord’s Day by which we began a new week, receiving His Word and worshipping with His people; spending the day with Him in prayer and meditation. It is reasonable then to go into the new week by putting into practice what we learned and experienced the day before. As we are spending the remainder of this year in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews, we are continuing to carry the blessings that are ours through every phase of life, especially the difficult times.
Yesterday’s message was centered on how and why, “by Christ, we offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15
From the message each week, we move to the Lord’s Supper, reminded that we come to the Table of our Lord to renew all that we have in Christ. This was the prompting to share why I love Mondays. While remembering that we come down from the mountaintop of praise to the lowest place to start over in the valley with our Lord, from which we gather more praises for the next Lord’s Day.
I can only imagine what it must be like for ministers who have to start each week to bring the congregation together in the Spirit to the next Lord’s worship and His Word. I, like them, have to come personally to our Lord and Savior, to seek His guidance through the week; to pray and encourage others during the week, so that we come together of one mind and one spirit on the Lord’s Day. Worship leaders cannot do this. It is not a one-day-a-week experience.
I start the workday with a Moderator, the Spirit of Christ, who leads and challenges each day in prayer and His Word.
Each Monday is a day for Mobilization, Modification, and Mortification.
As I prepare and collect the physical waste during the day, I consider that I am always moving by the leading of His Word and Spirit, to empty the garbage of my thinking, speaking, and living.
I am continually reminded of the physical things that are no longer needed, so I gather them in a separate place for donation. Modification for my mind and heart means changing my thoughts and desires to what the Lord wants for me. As His people, His children, His family, we continue to move Onward and Upward to our new home with Him, so we gladly give up the things we don’t need, physically and spiritually. Over the years the Spirit of truth has removed former beliefs that were not true, displacing them with the truth of His Word. Working on the project Words of Life is helping tremendously with this endeavor ~ changing our vocabulary changes our lives.
Mortification is the process of seeing the sins that remain hidden, but week by week, His Word and Spirit uncover.
We see ~
We agree ~
We mortify the deeds of the flesh as He reveals them by His Word and His Spirit.
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Colossians 3:5
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13
Gracious Father, thank you for opening heaven to us through your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit so that the things of this world no longer hold our interest. Enable us to move forward, to modify our thoughts and lives, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh as you reveal them. So emblazon upon our minds and hearts the life and humility of Christ that we desire Him more and more to increase and that we decrease. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds by John Newton, composer of Amazing Grace
There are 4664 verses in which the word ALL is found in the Bible. We scrolled through these and prayed the Lord would point out the most important ones. This was not easy, but I felt I needed some insight into this word and how it is used. It is a little word packed with truths of our Lord through whom we live and move and have our being.
If there was one word that summed up the words of life it would be this one.
This is an extensive list and could serve as one Word of Life, so we suggest before you scroll through these references, ask the Holy Spirit to stop you where you need to read whole verses. We will publish a page on this blog for this list of Words of Life, so as to make it easier to reference in the future.
The Old Testament H3606
Strong’s defines ALL kol kōle, the whole, the whole of, any, each, every, anything, totality, everything.
In Sodom and Gomorrah, He destroyed “all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities” Genesis 19:25
Then we see some of those verses which relate to the Lord’s relationship with His people, from the Old Testament beginning with His promise to Abraham “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3;Genesis 28:14
He promised, if they obeyed and kept His covenant, “then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:” Exodus 19:5
He has “forgiven and covered all the sin of His people Psalm 85:2
“All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.” Psalm 75:10
We continue in the book of Psalms.
ALL in Relationship to His Name
“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” Psalm 8:1
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Psalm 103:1
All in His Works
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psalm 33:6
The psalmist praises with his whole heart and shews “forth all thy marvellous works.” Psalm 9:1
“The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalm 145:17
The following verses describe His relationship with “all the ends of the world and all the kindreds of the nations.” Psalm 22:27
“From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” Psalm 33:14
“The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” Psalm 103:19
The Lord In All Generations
“Our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1
“His mercy, his truth, his faithfulness endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:5; Psalm 119:90
“thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” Psalm 145:13: Psalm 146:10
“The Lord preserveth all them that love Him, but all the wicked will he destroy.” Psalm 145:20
New Testament G3956
Strong’s defines ALL, pas pä’s individually ~ each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything; and collectively ~ some of all types
All in Man
“He knew all men.” John 2:24
“For all have sinned” Romans 3:23
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man falleth away:” 1 Peter 1:24
“For all that is in the world is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
“All unrighteousness is sin:.” 1 John 5:17
“we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Romans 14:10
“judgment upon all, to convince all that are ungodly of all their ungodly deeds and of all their hard speeches” Jude 1:15
“all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Revelation 1:7
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
“All things were delivered to Him of His Father.” Matthew 11:27: Luke 10:22
“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“All things were made by Him.” John 1:3
“For by him were all things created,” Colossians 1:16
“created all things” Revelation 4:11
“God quickeneth all things,” 1 Timothy 6:13
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
“the Father had given all things into his hands” John 13:3
“All things were accomplished.” John 19:28
“He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” Acts 17:25
“In all these things we are more than conquerors.” Romans 8:37
“all things work together for His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“He delivered him up for us all… with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32
“Who shall subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:21
“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17
“in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18
“appointed heir of all things.” Hebrews 1:2
“upholding all things by the word of his power,”Hebrews 1:3
“for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,” Hebrews 2:10
“all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him.” Hebrews 4:13
“above all things have fervent charity among yourselves:” 1 Peter 4:8
“given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” 2 Peter 1:3
“all these things shall be dissolved… be in all holy conversation and godliness,” 2 Peter 3:11
“in Christ, all things are new.”2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:22; Revelation 21:5
“Prove all things.”1 Thessalonians 5:21
“every man temperate in all things.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” Philippians 2:14
“count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:” Philippians 3:8
All of God
Jesus came to “fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:15
“All power” was given unto Him.’ Matthew 28:18
“The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son.”John 5:22
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; ” John 6:37
“above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion.” Ephesians 1:21
“all things under his feet,..head over all things to the church.”Ephesians 1:22
“Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:23
“He is Lord of all.” Acts 10:36; to all that call upon Him.” Romans 10:12
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:6
“Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:11
“God worketh all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:6
“all the promises of God in him” 2 Corinthians 1:20
“the God of all comfort;” 2 Corinthians 1:3
“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 1:19
“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9
“All scripture by inspiration of God,” 2 Timothy 3:16
Paul declared “all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27
“high priest in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15“
Holiest of all;” Hebrews 9:3
“the Judge of all,” Hebrews 12:23
“the God of all grace,” 1 Peter 5:10
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17;
God Working All in Man
“offence of one judgment upon all men to condemnation; righteousness of one the free gift upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18
“The gospel preached to all the world.” Matthew 24:14
“redeem us from all iniquity,” Titus 2:14
“the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
“forgiven all trespasses;” Colossians 2:13
“But wisdom is justified of all her children.” Luke 7:35
“All that believe are justified.” Acts 13:39
“The Spirit of truth will guide into all truth.” John 16:13
“blessed with all spiritual blessings:” Ephesians 1:3
“all wisdom and prudence;” Ephesians 1:8
“strengthened with all might, unto all patience.” Colossians 1:11
“filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:19
“able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” Ephesians 3:20
“glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages” Ephesians 3:21
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesian 6:18
“peace which passeth all understanding,” Philippians 4:7
“I can do all things through Christ. Philippians 4:13
“God shall supply all your need.” Philippians 4:19
“thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:17
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17
“all baptized into one body, all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13
“That all may be one.” John 17:21
“all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
“sanctified are all of one:” Hebrews 2:11
“one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:17
“all of one mind,” 1 Peter 3:8
“all joy and peace in believing,” Romans 15:13
“count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” James 1:2|
“all the law is fulfilled in one word,..love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14
“abound in love one toward another, and toward all men,: 1 Thessalonians 3:12
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Ephesians 5:9
“Preach the word; with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2
“shewing all meekness unto all men.” Titus 3:2
“Casting all your care upon him.” 1 Peter 5:7
“giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” 2 Peter 1:5
“a crown of righteousness, unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21
Dear Father in heaven, how can we begin to understand all things about you and ourselves except you reveal and fulfill the promises you have made in and through Jesus, your dear Son. By your Holy Spirit use this post now and in the future to make your Words of Life known to us, your children. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Whether Therefore Ye Eat or Drink ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
Years ago, I gave each of our grandchildren treasure boxes. The first one was given to our oldest grandchild, Ansley, to keep letters I had written to her. The first letter was written soon after she was born, recording the anticipation of her birth, family, and friends who were present when she was born and other details. In addition, I wrote things that the Lord put in my heart for her to read later. Letters were written for each birthday for several years until three sisters were born. I kept each one from the time they were three months old until they began kindergarten and during the summer months two days a week while Lee worked as a physical therapist. I did not have time afterward to write letters to the other grandchildren, but they all have the treasure boxes for storing things we studied together.
In them are workbooks that we used for our Summer of Psalms used for studying God’s Word over a fourteen-year period, plus awards they received for memory work, a CD of the music we sang, and crafts we used for activities. (To our one grandson we gave a solid red box.) In the last two years, we have given them copies of some of our published books. We no longer study together, but they have these treasures to review and remember what they learned when they were younger; hopefully to share with their own children and grandchildren. Our books may be of more interest to them when they are older. Our youngest, Emma, will be sixteen in March.These boxes serve as a place for them to keep the sources from which they have learned of God and of heaven ~ those eternal things that never fade or pass away. And should they forget and wander from the paths of their childhood, they can return and rediscover the truths of life that point them in the right way, along with the study Bibles we gave them.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
I believe the idea for the boxes was a gift from God our heavenly Father and a replica of the new heart He gives us as His children. He has designed them as a place for His love, joy, and peace, His truth, wisdom, knowledge, and grace; for His songs and memories of growing up in Christ. Since the new heart belongs wholly to Him, He has the freedom to add whatever and whenever He wants. Unlike the earthly boxes I gave my grandchildren, He has the key to each of His. He opens and closes, reveals and adds His own heavenly treasures according to His heart and will.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
There have been times I wished I had had these treasures for my children, but I did not have the new heart to receive these blessings when they were young. Our heavenly Father has no grandchildren but gives His treasures to those He desired and sired for His own.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 1:2
Gracious Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own; that we belong to you both by Creation and Redemption. Continue to reveal your grace and glory, fill us continually with your Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom, and knowledge, as you are preparing us to live with you forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Related Poem: God’s Beloved Son
Who today, can write of peace and contentment, first-hand?
This post was meant for the series Contentment and was the most difficult of all, so it did not make it in that series. However, we thought it would fit well as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity. In seeking to share what I know, and what I have discovered from God’s Word, this may have been the one I needed the most. It is one thing to write what I have learned, second-hand, but quite different to share it from experience. I wanted to do more with this post. I do not do the subject of peace justice. Except I write a book, I cannot cover it all. So I pray the Lord’s blessings for what we offer here.
I know the peace that is “the fruit of the Spirit” of God (Galatians 5:22). I can share no other peace than what God has given me through His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It has been tried and I have many times been lacking; not because I do not have peace, but because it is not a natural trait. It will always be tested while we live in the midst of chaos.
Here, we will pose some questions and attempt to answer from the Word of the Lord.
How do peace and contentment relate to each other? There is no Biblical reference that combines these two. Since we have written many other posts on contentment, we will document what we know of peace, seeing that the two are similar, understanding that one compliments the other. If we have the peace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we will be content in His peace.
The Source of Peace
The question is not, “what” but “where and who is the source of peace?” Peace comes from the Lord, our God, who originally created all things for peace in His kingdom.
He is still the source and the giver of His peace.
“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:26
“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
We are “led forth with peace.” Isaiah 55:12
He has “made a covenant of peace, an everlasting covenant with His people.” Ezekiel 37:26
“He keeps in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on Him and trusts in Him.” Isaiah 26:3
“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. Isaiah 26:12
He promises His people a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; Isaiah 32:18
Peace is associated with His light. Isaiah 45:7
He creates “the fruit of the lips; ‘Peace.’” Isaiah 57:19
He extends peace to His people “like a river,” Isaiah 66:12
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
He reveals his “abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6
HE IS THE GOD OF PEACE
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33
He is “the God of hope that fills believers with joy and peace.” Romans 15:13
PEACE OF GOD
The peace of God “rules in our hearts,” Colossians 3:15
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
PEACE FROM GOD
Paul spoke of “grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ to the saints and brethren“ in Romans 1:7, Colossians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3.
John spoke of “grace, mercy, and peace, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3
PEACE WITH GOD
There is only one reference to peace with God, which comes by faith, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE
There are many references that associate peace with righteousness.
The most familiar may be Romans 14:17
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The Psalmist speaks of peace that comes by righteousness. Psalm 72:3
“Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10
“the righteous flourish; with abundance of peace.” Psalm 72:7
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17
And “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18
Hebrews 12:11 says that “chastening yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Paul instructs Timothy to “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
WISDOM AND PEACE
Peace is the result of wisdom.
“For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:2
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17
The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, James 3:17
GOD’S LAW AND PEACE
Those who love God’s law have “great peace: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165
Great peace comes from the Lord as we are taught by Him. Isaiah 54:13
Gracious Father of grace and peace, we thank you for giving us your Son that we may be brought to you in His peace; that we may live in peace with you and Him through the power of your Holy Spirit. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may live in this peace, content with whatever you have chosen for us as you prepare us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.