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Posts tagged ‘Peace With God’

The source of peace…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 
Romans 5:1-2

The love of God in you says this: It’s not what you do that makes you important, it’s not what you have that makes you important, and it’s not what people say about you that makes you important. It’s just the simple fact that you’re God’s beloved child. He says, “I love you and I’m well pleased in you. I take pleasure in you. All of this is for you, your brothers, and sisters, whom I love and adore.”

It seems too simple. I know God loves me. Well, I suppose he loves me…if I do this, if I accomplish that, or if I have this. He loves me if I’ve completed enough things on his love list.

But, it’s not like that, my friends. That’s what grace is – the unmerited love, pleasure, and favor of God on you, regardless of what you do, what people say about you, what you have, what you accomplish or don’t accomplish in your life.

Nothing brings peace like God’s grace-filled love in our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the love you have for me – unearned favor from you that has nothing to do with my accomplishments or my failures. I have peace through your grace-filled love in my life. Amen.

Devotion: Peace is mentioned in this devotion. What other feeling, thought, or emotion do you experience as you think about God’s love for you?

Do You Really Want God’s Will or Your Own?.


Do You Really Want God's Will or Your Own?

Not long ago, a friend of mine made a major decision that eventually led to the breakup of his family. I spoke with the friend about the wrong thinking that was controlling his actions. His reply was the common Christian retort: “Well, I’ve prayed, and I have peace about it.”

I was shocked by his response. I could not see how a mature believer could claim, that as an answer to prayers for wisdom needed in a tough situation, the Lord had supplied “peace” toward a course of action that was in contradiction to the Scriptures.

The Lord intends for believers to enjoy peace in many areas. Christ, through his death and resurrection, removes God’s enmity with us—we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). In Christ, the Lord destroyed barriers that limited fellowship between Jew and Gentiles—he provided peace—making believers of every race “one new man” in Christ (Eph. 2:14-15). Christ desires believers to minimize conflicts within a local assembly, sharing in one mind about the ministry—working together in peace (Phil. 4:2).

Also, our Lord offers to provide supernatural relief from anxieties to those who seek him in prayer: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7). But this promise is often wrongly used as a way to feel a sense of “peace” about what one has determined for himself to be the will of God.

Is it just me, or is it rare to meet believers who claim to have peace about decisions that would lead to enduring pain? Even fewer people seem to have peace about serving a poorly resourced ministry, or sharing one’s faith boldly at risk of social ostracism. I have served young adults who claimed “peace” about moving in with their parents when they are experiencing financial hardship. However, they do not have peace about getting a better job to offset the family’s budget expansion created by their return.

It would be a precious thing to meet the church leader, who, when asked to step down from leading, will return and say, “I have prayed, and I have peace about it. If someone else would be a better leader, then I will step down.” Instead, many tend to appeal to having peace about stepping down only when ministry hits a rough spot, and when leaving will insert a harmful discontinuity to the church. Could it be that the “peace” we claim from on the basis of Philippians 4:7 is merely us settling on the desires that are most agreeable with us?

We impose the notion of “God’s peace” on these desires (even when they contradict Scripture) because they will lead to the absence of pain. God’s will, in contrast, tends to involve harder paths that demand suffering and endurance.

I once asked a married couple to consider serving in the ministry to children. Within two days they returned to me with the “we-prayed-we-have-peace” mantra. When I explored their reasoning, they could not explain how they came to have such peace. They had the time, gifts, and abilities to serve. Ministry to the children, however, involved great sacrifice and yielded little prestige. Sadly, when asked by another person to serve in a position of church governance, this couple had peace, noting, “God would want us to lead others.” Aren’t children “others?”

Pastorally, allow me to recommend three ways to avoid confusion between our own desired outcomes and the will of God:

First, we should run our thoughts past the spiritual leaders responsible for our souls (cf. 1 Thess. 5:12Heb. 13:17). Those who are faithful in their stewardship of shepherding are able to bring a perspective we have not considered because the thought of pain hinders us. Godly shepherds, elders, teachers, and parents have a responsibility to speak into our lives everything that is right.

Second, related to the first, we should seek out the voices of mature friends rather than either of the voices of immature friends or unbelievers whose lives seem to be fairing better than ours. When a marriage struggles with intimacy, it is easy to envy the friend who left his marriage and appears to be happy in an adulterous relationship. This type of friend cannot be a measure for determining the will of God, because he is living in sin. Rather, the Christian friend enduring a less-than-perfect-marriage with joy is the one you should seek. We should go to such friends and share the depth of our suffering so that they can walk with us through our trials.

Third, remind yourself that whenever we are in pain, we want to be free from pain, and that desire affects how we “hear” the voice of God. Some of the essential things needed for the free-from-anxiety-peace of Philippians 4:7 are truthfulness, and the abilities to both commend the decision to others and offer praise to the Lord for the decision: “Whatever is true… whatever is commendable… if there is anything worthy of praise… and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). If we do not hold our decisions to these standards, we are not being honest about having peace.

Our Lord Jesus, with a full understanding of the wrath facing him at the Cross, came to a settled decision in prayer: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt. 26:42). By embracing suffering rather than letting it be the missing piece in determining God’s will, he was able to provide us the peace we need to endure our trials as the will of God.

Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond is Executive Pastoral Assistant and Bible Professor in Residence at New Canaan Baptist Church in Washington, DC. He blogs at “A Man from Issachar.” You can follow him on Twitter @ericcredmond.

Peace at Any Cost?.


Of all the Beatitudes given in Matthew 5, there is one most likely to meet with the approval of almost everyone: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). We all want peace in the world. Yet this is not a statement Jesus made to solely advocate working for global peace, although that is an honorable thing to do. I am all for peace, but not for peace at any cost.

The context of Jesus’ statement is not about working for peace in and of itself. It is speaking more about those who are bringing the message of the gospel because they want people to enter into a relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Romans 10:15 says, ” ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ ”

As people who have met God, as people who have experienced His mercy and have committed our lives to hungering and thirsting after Him, we will be true peacemakers. Romans 5:1 says, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, let me forewarn you that peacemakers are often troublemakers. As contradictory as it sounds, real peacemakers are troublemakers, because they recognize that as long as people are at war with God, they may have to make them sad before they can make them happy. In other words, they may have to confront them with the reality of their spiritual state before God, and as such, they will have to be aggressive, not passive.

Who was a greater peacemaker than Jesus himself, the Prince of Peace? And how did they treat Him? They crucified Him. So if you are a real peacemaker, then you will be persecuted.

Taken from “True Peacemakers” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

12 Ways To Preserve Christian Unity.


Satan hates God and therefore he hates God’s people, the church. His great plan for the church is to cause Christians—true believers who ought to be together in the gospel—to find ways of disagreeing among themselves, to divide, to be bitter and jealous, and ultimately to “bite and devour one another” (Gal. 5:15). Here are twelve ways that you can repulse Satan’s attacks.

#1. Spend more time considering evidences of grace in other Christians than you do pondering their sins and weaknesses. You, as a Christian, probably have a much greater ability to see weakness in other believers than to see strength. It is as if you use a magnifying glass when looking for weakness and a telescope when looking for grace. Brooks warns, “Sin is darkness, grace is light; sin is hell, grace is heaven; and what madness is it to look more at darkness than at light, more at hell than at heaven.” Indeed.

#2. Consider that spiritual safety comes through spiritual unity. Christians united together are difficult to separate, difficult to break, difficult to pick off and destroy. It is when you isolate yourself by disrupting or denying unity that you are most at risk.

#3. Meditate on God’s many commands demanding that we love one another. When you feel your heart begin to turn against another Christian, this is the time to turn to the many commands to love one another—commands found in places such as John 15:12, Romans 13:8, Hebrews 13:1, 1 John 4:7, 1 Peter 1:22, and so on. Allow God’s Word to convict you of love’s necessity.

#4. Spend more time considering areas of agreement than disagreement. The doctrines you share with other true believers are the foundational doctrines; the ones you do not share are necessarily less central to the faith. Acknowledging that you and those with whom you disagree will spend eternity together should encourage you to not allow peripheral doctrines to separate you here on earth.

#5. Consider your peaceful God. God is the God of peace, Christ is Prince of peace and the Spirit is the Spirit of peace. Having made peace with God, having bowed before Christ, having been indwelled by the Spirit whose fruit is love, joy, peace…, you now have the ability, and ought to have the desire, to be at true, deep and lasting peace with other Christians.

#6. Renew in your mind and heart what it means to be at peace with God. Preach the gospel to yourself, because as you consider who you are in light of God’s perfect goodness, holiness and peace, you must soften toward others.

#7. Meditate on the unique relationship between Christians. Psalm 133:1 proclaims the goodness and pleasantness of dwelling together in unity; there are some things in the world that are good but not pleasant and others that are pleasant but not good. But to live in peace is both pleasant and good. Consider what it means to be bound together in God’s family with fellow travellers who are on that same pilgrimage to that very same destination.

#8. Count the cost of disunity. When relationships break down, disagreement inevitably follows, and every disagreement between Christians is a triumph of Satan. If you descend into disunity, you hand Satan a victory. Maintain peace and deny him the triumph!

#9. Be the first to seek peace and reconciliation. You are a Christian today only because God was the first to seek peace with you. You are now called and equipped to be the first to seek after peace and to attempt to pursue and maintain unity. As you do this you have the high honor of acting as an imitator of God.

#10. Walk and work together with other Christians as far as possible, making the Word the only judge of your actions. It is God’s loss and your loss, and it is Satan’s gain, when you will not walk in love with other Christians, when you will not work arm-in-arm together, with those with whom you have so much in common. There is so much more of the Lord’s work we accomplish together than apart.

#11. Judge yourself more than you judge others. If you were to spend more time considering your own sin, and less time considering the sins of others, you would never be so quick to judge and to separate yourself from other true believers. Brooks says, “There are no souls in the world that are so fearful to judge others as those that do most judge themselves, nor so careful to make a righteous judgment of men or things as those that are most careful to judge themselves.”

#12. Pursue humility. Humility necessarily generates peace among Christians. Humility will prepare you to serve instead of be served, to overlook an offense, to pursue every kind of unity, to see others succeed where you fail, and to respond with joy and grace to every other possible source of disunity.

(These twelve points are based on chapter 5 of Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices.)

The Tweetable Puritan

  • Humility can weep over other men’s weaknesses, and joy and rejoice over their graces.
  • Humility makes a man richer than other men, and it makes a man judge himself the poorest among men.
  • There are no souls in the world that are so fearful to judge others as those that do most judge themselves.
  • It is not a base, low thing, but a God-like thing, though we are wrong by others, yet to be the first in seeking after peace.
  • The disagreement of Christians is the devil’s triumph; and what a sad thing is this, that Christians should give Satan cause to triumph.
  • Unity is the best bond of safety in every church.
  • It is sad to consider that saints should have many eyes to behold one another’s infirmities, and not one eye to see each other’s graces.
  • Sin is hell, grace is heaven; what madness it is to look more at hell than heaven.
  • There is nothing that speaks a man to be more empty and void of God, Christ, and grace, than self-seeking.

Next Week

Thanks for reading Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices with me. We have come to the end of the book proper, but I’m going to go through the appendices next week; they look amazing. You should join me!

The book is available in print (Westminster Books), Kindle (Amazon) and HTML.

Your Turn

The purpose of this series is to read the classics together. Do feel free to leave a comment below or to leave a link to your own blog if you have chosen to discuss this book there.

Tim Challies

Blessed Are the Ambassadors of Peace.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of GodMT 5:9

Was John Lennon blessed? After all, he was a peacemaker wasn’t he? He and Yoko and friends sat in a circle singing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” (Too bad you can’t hear me doing my imitation).

Actually the peace Jesus is talking about isn’t world peace, inner peace, or even peace between people (though this peace leads to peace between people). He’s talking about the peace with God he bought on the cross.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20

When we’re unreconciled with someone, there’s no peace in our relationship, only animosity, walls, and barbed wire fences between us. Our sins shattered our relationship with God. Our massive offenses barricaded his face from us. But Jesus reconciled us to God, making peace on the bloody tree.

So a peacemaker is one who has been reconciled to God, and now, as God’s ambassador appeals to others be reconciled and at peace with God:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

An ambassador promotes peace between his own country and another. We’re sojourners in this dark world. Our true home is heaven. While here we act as heaven’s ambassadors who try to get as many people as we can to be reconciled to God.

The BLESSING of being a peacemaker: “they shall be called sons of God.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (above) we see that God is the great peacemaker. He was reconciling the world to himself through Christ. He gives the message and ministry of reconciliation. And it is God himself who appeals to the lost through us.

So when we seek to reconcile others to God he calls us “sons of God” because we’re doing what he does – we’re acting like him. Like Father, like son. And in the end God will unveil our sonship to the creation:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.Romans 8:19

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43

What a “reveal” that will be! I can hear the angels crying, like the crowds in Extreme Home Makeover, “Father, MOVE THAT BUS!” And God will pull back the curtain and his sons and daughters will blaze with the glory of Christ, to the amazement of the creation. (You didn’t know there would be a huge bus in heaven did you?)

Why not take a few minutes to ask our Heavenly Father to use you as a peacemaker to help others be reconciled to God?.

Mark Altrogge

{ Day 356 }.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. —John 14:27

Peace. We have been given the authority to impart the blessing of peace to others in the name of Jesus. We should seek to lead others into the experience of being at peace with God, themselves, and others. We should seek to approach them with a peaceable spirit—a heart that is at rest in God‘s ability to work through us, weak though we are.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Your peace, dear Spirit, causes me to rest in You and trust You with my life. Allow my life to bring Your peace into this lost and chaotic world.

We should seek to lead others into the experience of being at peace with God, themselves, and others.

By MIKE BICKLE.

{ Day 356 }.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Peace.

We have been given the authority to impart the blessing of peace to others in the name of Jesus.

We should seek to lead others into the experience of being at peace with God, themselves, and others.

We should seek to approach them with a peaceable spirit—a heart that is at rest in God‘s ability to work through us, weak though we are.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Your peace, dear Spirit, causes me to rest in You and trust You with my life.

Allow my life to bring Your peace into this lost and chaotic world.

We should seek to lead others into the experience of being at peace with God, themselves, and others.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Where to Look When You’re in Trouble.


A shift has taken place in the Evangelical church with regard to the way we think about the gospel-and it’s far from simply an ivory tower conversation.

This shift effects us on the ground of everyday life.

In his book Paul: An Outline of His Theology , famed Dutch Theologian Herman Ridderbos (1909 – 2007) summarizes this shift which took place following Calvin and Luther.
It was a sizable but subtle shift which turned the focus of salvation from Christ‘s external accomplishment to our internal appropriation:

While in Calvin and Luther all the emphasis fell on the redemptive event that took place with Christ’s death and resurrection, later under the influence of pietism, mysticism and moralism, the emphasis shifted to the individual appropriation of the salvation given in Christ and to it’s mystical and moral effect in the life of the believer.

Accordingly, in the history of the interpretation of the epistles of Paul the center of gravity shifted more and more from the forensic to the pneumatic and ethical aspects of his preaching, and there arose an entirely different conception of the structures that lay at the foundation of Paul’s preaching.

Donald Bloesch made a similar observation when he wrote, “Among the Evangelicals, it is not the justification of the ungodly (which formed the basic motif in the Reformation) but the sanctification of  the righteous that is given the most attention.”

With this shift came a renewed focus on the internal life of the individual.

The subjective question, “How am I doing?” became a more dominant feature than the objective question, “What did Jesus do?”

As a result, generations of Christians were taught that Christianity was primarily a life-style; that the essence of our faith centered on “how to live”; that real Christianity was demonstrated in the moral change that took place inside those who had a “personal relationship with Jesus.”

Our ongoing performance for Jesus, therefore, not Jesus’ finished performance for us, became the focus of sermons, books, and conferences.

What I need to do and who I need to become, became the end game.

Believe it or not, this shift in focus from “the forensic to the pneumatic”, from the external to the internal, has enslaving practical consequences.

When you’re on the brink of despair-looking into the abyss of darkness, experiencing a dark-night of the soul-turning to the internal quality of your faith will bring you no hope, no rescue, no relief.

Every internal answer will collapse underneath you.

Turning to the external object of your faith, namely Christ and his finished work on your behalf, is the only place to find peace, re-orientation, and help.

The gospel always directs you to something, Someone, outsideyou instead of to something inside you for the assurance you crave and need in seasons of desperation and doubt.

The surety you long for when everything seems to be falling apart won’t come from discovering the dedicated “hero within” but only from the realization that no matter how you feel or what you’re going through, you’ve already been discovered by the “Hero without.”

As Sinclair Ferguson writes in his book The Christian Life :

True faith takes its character and quality from its object and not from itself.

Faith gets a man out of himself and into Christ.

Its strength therefore depends on the character of Christ.

Even those of us who have weak faith have the same strong Christ as others!

By his Spirit, Christ’s continuing subjective work in me consists of his constant, daily driving me back to his completed objective work for me.

Sanctification feeds on justification, not the other way around.

To be sure, both doctrine and devotion go hand in hand, but the gospel is the good news announcing Christ’s devotion to us, not our devotion to him.

The gospel is not a command to hang onto Jesus.

Rather, it’s a promise that no matter how weak your faith may be in seasons of spiritual depression, God is always holding on to you.

Martin Luther had a term for the debilitating danger that comes from locating our hope in anything inside us:monstrum incertitudinis (the monster of uncertainty).

It’s a danger that has always plagued Christians since the fall but especially Christians in our highly subjectivistic age.

And it’s a monster that can only be destroyed by the external promises of God in Jesus.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This is a  bonafide peace that’s built on a real change in status before God—from standing guilty before God the judge to standing righteous before God our Father.

This is the objective custody of even the weakest believer.

It’s a peace that rests squarely on the fact that we’ve already been “reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (v. 10), justified before God once and for all through faith in Christ’s finished work.

It will surely produce real feelings and robust action, but this peace with God that Paul describes rests securely on the work of Christ for us, outside us.

The truth is, that the more I look into my own heart for peace, the less I find.

On the other hand, the more I look to Christ and his promises for peace, the more I find.

So, when pressed in on every side, look up. In God’s economy, the only way out is always up, not in.

By Tullian Tchividjian.

Making Disciples, One Click at a Time.



bgea_peacewithgodBased on John 3:16,PeaceWithGod.net uses videos, testimonies and a simple gospel presentation to explain how a person can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

Although Sue was too depressed to leave her apartment, she mustered enough energy one day to go online and search for encouragement.

She found a page that helped her see other people struggle with depression and that Christ could heal the hurt in her heart.

Across the ocean, Emad, who lives in a country where Christianity is not embraced, searched for topics about eternity after his mother passed away.

He stumbled on a page explaining how Jesus is the only way to heaven, and how to begin a relationship with Him.

The pages that Sue and Emad found are part of PeaceWithGod.net, a ministry launched in late April by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Based on John 3:16, the site uses videos, testimonies and a simple gospel presentation to explain how a person can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Millions of people go online searching for answers to their questions—questions about things like having peace with God, personal pain, anxiety and dealing with stress,” said John Cass, director of the Internet Evangelism ministry.

“We know the ultimate answer is Jesus, but we also want to help them find practical, biblical solutions to their problems.

“This new website provides a clear presentation of the gospel that gives all who visit a chance to respond,” Cass explained.

“A person may not say ‘yes’ right then. But, we have had 300,000 people wandering around this site.

They’ve heard the gospel. God’s Word is not going to return void.”

Since its launch, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life have made decisions to follow Jesus.

Those who choose to provide personal information are then contacted by a volunteer who will help connect them with a local church or point them to Bible study resources.

“It’s like having a Crusade or Festival in your own home,” said Cass.

“And, since we are able to follow up with many of them, we can see how they are doing. This gives us the opportunity to encourage them to study the Bible and get involved in a local body of Christ.”

While the primary goal for the ministry is to change lives for eternity, PeaceWithGod.net also offers solutions for believers who need a reminder of God’s love, or clarity on a point of confusion.

Cass recalled doing a live chat with a man from St. Lucia who struggled after he presented the gospel to a friend.

He felt as though he didn’t do a thorough and clear job explaining the plan of salvation.

“I had the chance to remind him that God loves him and his responsibility is to care about others and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them,” Cass said.

“You never know, a lot of times, what people take away from conversations when we think we’ve failed.”

Soon, the PeaceWithGod.net team hopes to provide chat counselors around-the-clock and extend the languages available to Portuguese and Spanish.

A one-on-one online discipleship program is also in the works.

Used with permission from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

By Joy Allmond.

How Can I Have Peace of Mind?.


If you want peace of mind, the Scriptures are very clear on that: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

That’s a benefit that is yours if you can see that by faith you’re saved and that God by His grace has extended grace to you not because of merit, but because you have a need.

You can’t save yourself, and He’s agreed to do it.

Now, if you rest in Christ—believe Him—then you can have peace of mind.

But if you mean that you want to go through this world wrapped up in cellophane or packed in cotton, you’re just entirely wrong about that.

Because when you get on a plane, for instance, and you get in a storm and it begins to wobble up and down, you’d be a very strange individual if you don’t lose a little of your peace and become a little bit concerned about the situation.

But you can have that deep peace of mind only through Jesus Christ.

Taken from “How Can We Have Peace of Mind?” by Thru the Bible Ministries (used by permission).

By J. Vernon McGee.

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