The Peace of God

JESUS SPEAKING

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The thoughts and emotions of the unregenerate (unsaved) human being fluctuate wildly; rising and falling based upon their shifting circumstances, carnal appetites, and mental preoccupations. Thus the tranquility that the world offers is fleeting, momentary, and unstable. However, the peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ is permanent, steadfast, and unwavering. When an individual chooses to become a believer, they must then receive the Holy Spirit; which becomes a source of lasting joy that transcends every unstable circumstance, difficult trial, and present tribulation. Only through God can we know peace in the presence of our troubles.

As the story goes, Lady Hosie of England, on a visit to China, visited the leper hospital at Hangchow. She had photographed a group of lepers, when down the stairs was helped an elderly woman in a most pitiable condition; her sightless eyes, without their lids, were covered by a woolen mutch. A cry was raised that Chang Ma had missed having her picture taken, so the visitor prepared to take another with her in the midst. As she was focusing her camera, that worst leper of all started to sing, “There is a Happy Land,” and suddenly instead of poor lepers the visitor was seeing them as “saints in glory […] bright, bright as day.” She was taken to see one who was dying, and wondered what she could say to him. Steadying her voice, she called to him with politeness […] “Elder Brother, art thou at peace?” And from that frame, almost unrecognizable as human, with an affected tongue and from a lipless mouth, came a voice, cracked and yet steadfast, “Yes, at peace, at peace. And I shall soon see my Lord.”

Like those lepers, anyone can choose to know “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4: 7) Those who seek God’s peace must first be reborn; an act which includes sacrificing their old sinful lives for the new existence God has planned for them. Having placed their faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will enter them and renew and transform their hearts and minds. Only then can they know genuine peace; only then can they experience the true joy which isn’t circumstantial, but is rather the product of a regenerated relationship with the Living God. Through faith in Jesus Christ, accompanied by repentance, anyone who wishes can receive God’s Holy Spirit.

Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know Your peace; an everlasting tranquility that does’t change or fluctuate with our circumstances. Give us more of Your Holy Spirit, that we might have joy, even in the midst of our trials and tribulations. May others observe Your steadying presence in us and be drawn to You for the salvation of their souls. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ name we pray. Amen. God bless all of you!

Divorce is Devastating

JESUS SPEAKING

Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 5: 31 – 32)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, many of the more liberal Jews believed that a man could divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus corrected that malicious belief; reaffirming the sanctity and permanence of marriage. According to God’s divine will, divorce is only permissible when one of the married individuals has committed some act of sexual immorality; such as adultery. And yet even then, God desires repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation whenever possible. Like many horrific sins, divorce devestates entire families; creating insecurity, instability, and spiritual decay. It is therefore to be avoided at all costs.

Let’s take a moment to look at some of the consequences of divorce. In only 10 percent of divorces did both parents feel they had achieved happier lives. Children of divorce may have lower scores on self-concept and social relationship tests. Girls whose fathers left home before they were five years old were eight times more likely to become pregnant as adolescents than girls from intact families. As adults, the female children of divorced parents experience less trust and satisfaction in emotional relationships. Boys who have experienced divorce, become sexually active at an earlier age and are more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. Children of divorce are also less likely to view marriage as permanent and less likely to view it as a lifelong commitment. Kids from divorced households demonstrate lower grade point averages. Children growing up in single parent households are almost 200 percent more likely to be physically abused or neglected. Children of single parents are nearly twice as likely to have emotional and behavioral problems.

Jesus condemns divorce because it creates suffering in the lives of all those who experience it. Marriage is an institution created by God, which unites one man and one woman together as one; for an entire lifetime. Divorce tears two individuals apart; which damages them, their children, and society as a whole. May we always respect the unity and permanence of holy matrimony. May we continue to strengthen our marriages by loving and serving one another. May we not look to the left nor to the right, but always stay focused upon, and be satisfied with, whomever the Lord had given us.

Heavenly Father, we recognize the permanence of marriage. Help us to love our wives, our husbands, and our children with a passion. May we care for them as we would any possession you have relinquished into our custody. May we serve them; may we love them; and may be gracious toward them. Take away those things that divide us and draw us ever closer together in unity and affection. We love you Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. God bless all of you!

Inspiring Conversions

JESUS SPEAKING

    “While I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me, saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by their faith in me.’” (Acts 26: 12-18)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    There once lived an angry young man named Saul, who hated Christians with a passion. He journeyed from synagogue to synagogue, beating, harassing, and perhaps even killing those Jews who openly professed a faith in Jesus Christ. One day however, while traveling to Damascus, God intervened in Saul’s life. Jesus appeared to him and said, ‘it is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ [Note: Oxen were trained to pull heavy plows; an untrained ox would often try to kick itself free. In turn, farmers attached sharp pieces of metal to the plow (known as ‘goads.’) When the ox kicked the plow, it would stab itself in the leg; the harder the kick, the more painful the sensation. After a short time, the animal would learn to accept it’s position.] Like an untrained beast, Saul had been struggling against God’s calling. After his visitation, Saul finally quit fighting and accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior. He also changed his name to Paul and went on to write many of the New Testament letters. Throughout history, some of the greatest Christian leaders have often been those who were once devout enemies of God.
    Sir William Ramsay was one of the most influential scientific minds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He taught at Oxford and is credited with discovering several new elements; he also received numerous scientific awards and honors. Ramsay’s parents were atheists who raised him as a nonbeliever (a disposition he clung to for most of his life.) Obviously he harbored little respect for Christianity; in fact, he claimed that the bible was nothing more than “a book of fables.” He eventually began to study archaeology and traveled to the Middle East in hopes of disproving the historical accuracy of the bible. After 25 years of travel and research, he was forced to concede that even the most minuscule details of the New Testament were indeed accurate. Instead of writing a book disproving the validity of scripture, Ramsay wrote a book entitled “St. Paul, the Traveler and Roman Citizen.” In it, he presented his findings; all of which supported the reliability of the bible. Convinced by the evidence, Ramsay shocked his colleagues and fellow intellectuals by announcing that he had converted to Christianity.
    Like Paul, and like Sir William Ramsay, there are many today who are kicking “against the goads.” God however is still actively reaching out to atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers the world around. If we too have been raging against the call of God, we must stop struggling and give up, and give in. Let the Lord into your heart and He will replace your pain with peace; your hatred as well will turn to love. Surrender to Him and you will know pure joy, genuine freedom, and everlasting life.
   “Lord Heavenly Father, may Your perfect will be done in our lives. We pray for those who might be “kicking against the goads.” Soften their hearts and open their eyes, that they may come to believe in Your Son, and in the redemption offered through His sacrifice upon the cross. May they embrace and receive Your free gift of salvation through faith. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.” God bless all of you!


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