Peace

Captive

IMG_7503

~Colossians 1:15-20~

Jesus: Our Source of Peace

Before we knew Jesus Christ, our life was full of godlessness and wickedness – we had self-seeking ways and stubborn, unrepentant hearts (Romans 1:18; 2:5, 8).  Like our strife-filled world, we clamored for peace and tried to find it, but our efforts failed.

When we came to faith in the Savior, all of that changed.  We were rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13).  Every one of our sins – past, present, and future – was forgiven.  Divine justice was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice, and God’s wrath upon us (because of sin) was removed.  We became a new creation, washed clean by Jesus’ blood (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Now that sin’s power over us has been broken, we can become members of God’s family rather than His enemies (Romans 5:10).  He sent His Holy Spirit to be our personal guide in this new life, helping each of us experience Christ’s peace (8:6).  We also can look forward to an eternity spent in heaven, where righteousness, tranquility, and joy abound (14:17).

The story of the Prodigal Son’s return is a picture of our reconciliation with the Lord (Luke 15:11-32).  The young man had chosen to leave his father, living instead to please himself.  Repentant, the son eventually returned home; his father joyfully greeted and forgave him, and there was harmony between them.  God has done all this for us.

Our unity with the heavenly Father came at a great price – the sacrifice of His only Son.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, November 30, 2017.

Advertisements

How to Bloom

IMG_5377

The pathway of faith has divine purpose, and we’re to obey the Lord, no matter what.  But even when God’s direction is perplexing, we can count on the fact that He is good.

Walking obediently with Christ doesn’t guarantee an easy life, which is obvious when we consider Paul.  He encountered all kinds of hardships, including shipwreck, persecution, and beatings (2 Cor. 11:23-27).  Keep in mind, though, that nothing can touch a child of God without the Father’s loving permission.  He uses difficulty to strengthen and correct believers – and eventually as a tool in achieving His plan.  Also remember that the Lord protects His followers in their suffering, just as He kept the apostle safe in situations that seemed impossible to overcome.

Adversity can tempt us to ignore the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  But we will ultimately regret such a decision, as God doesn’t spare us from the consequences of our sin.  However, He never lets go of His children, whom He will continue to protect and guide throughout life.

Walking in obedience and trust is the only way to true peace.  As Paul sat in an uncomfortable Roman prison where his life was in danger, he encouraged believers not to worry but to trust the Lord and pray with gratitude (Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:6).  Doing so leads to experiencing His perfect peace.

The only wise way to live is to believe in almighty God and follow wherever He leads.  That is the road to contentment, fulfillment, protection, and peace.  Are you journeying on the pathway of faith?  Or is something holding you back from all God intended for our life?

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, July 28, 2017.

The Reason

She gave birth to a son,

a male child,

who will rule all the nations

with an iron scepter.

And her child was snatched up to God

and to His throne.

Revelation 12:5

20161219_210142

Many people go through the motions of the holidays, buying gifts, baking cookies, and sending Christmas cards; but after it is all said and done, they are left with a longing in their heart, a vast emptiness that was not filled by all the merriment of the season.  December becomes a month in which credit cards and stress levels are maxed out.  And though precious memories are made on Christmas morning, there is no lasting meaning for the celebration.

For Christians however, Christmas is a time to celebrate and rejoice that Jesus came down in the form of a baby and brought salvation to an undeserving world.  Today, focus your thoughts on the only true and lasting meaning of Christmas, that Christ came down from heaven to bring us gifts that remain even after the day is over: hope, peace, and love.

Wishing each of you the merriest Christmas this year!

 

Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, December 25.

Unknowing

-On the narrow road-

img_0796

Is it possible that followers of Christ will never face persecution?  Is it possible that things will just remain quiet and calm, for all?  It actually is not quiet and calm for followers of Christ, and we have been told that it would not be so.  In the United States, our level of peacefulness is directly related to the order kept in check by government in general, together with the principles that our nation is founded upon.  We only have ‘lasting’ peace because it has been in the best interest of all.  While this system that we use here works, it is as susceptible to corruption and upset as any system.  Pray that the peace of God remain in this land, by remaining in the hearts of men and women.

However

resized_20160409_172232

-On the narrow path-

Psalm 112 explains how God blesses those who praise Him, fear Him, and  delight in His commands (verse 1).  Our children will be blessed by our faithfulness (verse 2), our needs will be met (verse 3), we’ll become more gracious, compassionate, and righteous (verse 4), and more generous and discreet (verse 5).  Best of all, we’ll be secure in our hearts, unafraid of bad news (verses 6-8).

However, this isn’t a promise that bad news will never come.  We see all the disorder around us, every day.  But faith turns the bad news into items of prayer and opportunities for trust-we know God works all things together for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  Because of God’s sovereignty and Christ’s resurrection, we have a peace the world can never understand.  Our hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah Pathways Devotional, October 16.

Photo credit: T. Vickrey

Thursday Doors

IMG_0667

This is the front entrance of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL, “where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was Pastor from 1954-1960, and began his quest for civil rights.”  (Quoted from the website for the church, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.)    Boldness in standing up in the face of opposition and oppression is difficult, but to fight for peace with peace, is even more difficult.  Dr. King gave everything for his peaceful war.  He tried to change hateful thinking, and he did that…..in the most honorable way possible, peacefully.  Dr. King fought this battle not on his own terms, but in God’s way-the most honorable way possible.

Bliss

In taking the Developing Your Eye course that WordPress offers, I am looking for new techniques or tips that I can learn, since I’m still learning about photography.  The assignment for today is Bliss.  I can say that the bliss that I have in life is based on the joy and peace that Jesus gives.  I couldn’t quite figure out how to capture that in a photo 🙂  So, the other subject I thought about was how peaceful babies and pets look when they sleep deeply, peacefully.  I actually don’t have a baby that lives here with me, so I wasn’t going to get that particular shot, but I do have pets.  This is Muffin, sleeping soundly.  I think this is the most prized part of each day for Muffin and also for my two dogs.  The fact that they can sleep so soundly, as active as they all are, amazes me.  I’m sure it is bliss!