Posts Tagged ‘peace’

A Full Life

November 2, 2016

This past week I was reading the second epistle of John and I was struck by the third verse.

II John v3

 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I.  Grace

Grace may be defined as receiving good things from God that we do not deserve, that we have not earned.  They are a gift.  I am reminded of Ephesians 2:8 which tells us that “By grace you are saved…”  God has reached out to us.  If we were left to ourselves, we would be lost in our sins.

I am also reminded of II Corinthians 12:9.

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Whatever situation we face, whatever need we might have, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

II.  Mercy

Mercy may be defined as not receiving the punishment that we do deserve.  There are many verses on the mercy of God.  We recognize that we have all sinned and that the wages of sin is death.  However, God is merciful.

Psalms 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

On our part, we too, are to be merciful to others.  To not repay evil for evil.  To forgive those who have wronged us.  Even as we have received mercy, we should grant mercy.

III.  Peace

God offers to us a peace that is not dependent on the absence of external conflict.  The peace of God comes from the knowledge that God loves us, cares about us and is able to help us in our times of need.

John 14:27

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

IV.  Truth

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I am reminded of when Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  I am also reminded of John 14:6 “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we are seeking truth, and if we are open to it, we  will eventually find God.  Ultimate Truth is found in God.

V.  Love

I John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As believers we can expect to have lives that are filled with the love of God.  Love that comes from God, and love that is expressed through the people of God.  Of course we are also expected to love God and others in return.

So in this one verse we are reminded that as Christians we should have lives that are filled with grace, mercy, peace, truth and love.  That makes for a full life indeed!

These are the notes from the sermon preached 10/30/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Love and Peace

March 24, 2016

I am greatly disturbed when I hear people talk about God hating people, or Christians who spew hateful things.  The Christian message is not based on hatred and fear, but on love and peace.

I.  The Goodness of God:  Romans 2:1-4

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

A.  Sin is sin.  All sin is wrong.  It is wrong for us to judge the sin of others, while ignoring the sin in our own life.

B.  God is good to us.  He is patient with us.  The work of sanctification is an ongoing process in our lives.  The longer we walk with God, the closer we grow to God, the more sin-free our lives will be.

C.  It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.  We are drawn to God because of his goodness.  We desire to be more like Him, so we turn away from our sin and seek to imitate the goodness of God.

II.  Justified By Faith:  Romans 1-5

 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

A.  We have peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  We still seek to be good, because we want to please God, but we are forgiven, so the pressure is off.  We are not perfect, we are forgiven.  We are not worried.  We are at peace.

B.  Now that we are at peace within ourselves, we can face trouble in a different way.  We recognize that problems are opportunities for personal growth.  We place our trust in God, and draw close to Him in time of trouble.

C.  It is the love of God which truly changes us.  God loves us with a love that is beyond human comprehension.  The Holy Spirit assures us of that love as we grow in our relationship with God.

God loves us.  He has reached out to us through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit confirms that truth to our hearts.  We respond to God’s love by drawing closer to Him.  As we draw closer to Him we turn away from sin and become more like Him.  We are not perfect, but we are perfectly loved and so we are at peace.

Great Peace

May 28, 2015

One of our greatest assets as Christians is the peace of God that brings us through the turmoil of life.

I.  Psalms 119:165

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

The peace that God has for His people is something that this world cannot given, nor understand, nor take away.  It is not an absence of external turmoil or conflict.  It is an inner peace that allows us to face the storms of life unruffled.

This peace comes from time spent in the Word of God.  The Word of God, together with the Spirit of God, transform the people of God.  We should read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and above all, be obedient to it.

To stumble is to trip up, to almost fall.  People who are grounded in the Word will live stable Christian lives.

The King James version of the Bible says “And nothing will offend them.” for the second portion of verse 165.  Christians who are solidly grounded in the Word will not be offended by the actions of others.  We will have compassion on them, even when they are doing offensive things.

II.  John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This verse has been one of my favorites since my teenage years.  It has given me a peace within that comes from a confidence in what God can do in our lives.

We will have tribulation.  We will have problems, tests, and trials.  We can be confident that God will see us through those problems.  We can trust that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.  We are not alone.  God is with us.  It may be that we must look at our situations from an eternal perspective, because sometimes things don’t work out for us in this life.  That doesn’t meant that we are defeated.

We have the Spirit of Christ as our source of strength.  Jesus overcame the world.  Now, we too, are more than conquerors.

III.  II Timothy 3:1-5

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Whenever I read this portion of scripture I am amazed at how many of these traits are in evidence in the world today.  I believe that perilous times have come and we should guard our hearts against the corruption that is in the world.

In all of this, we may be at peace.  As our world descends into chaos, we can know that God is still on the throne.  We should continue to seek to do what is right in the eyes of God.  We should work to solve problems and to make the world in which we now live a better place, but we must realize that our true home is not in this world.

IV.  Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We cannot be at peace and be worried at the same time.  We should not worry.  Anything that we are anxious about we can bring to God and leave in His hands.  He loves us, hears us, and is able to help us.

We can be at peace in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 5/24/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them. 

Open My Eyes

February 20, 2014

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to build the people of God.

I.  Open My Eyes:  Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

I read somewhere that one of the early Greek philosophers made the claim that “philosophical contemplation brings the greatest joy”.  They  are wrong.  Having our eyes opened to the truth of the Word of God, easily surpasses philosophy.  It is a wonderful thing to have our eyes opened to God’s truth.  This is something that does not come about by human wisdom, but by the revelation of the Spirit.

II.  Teach Me and I Will:  Psalms 119:33-35

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

God will do His part.  He will open the eyes of our heart so that we may understand.  His Spirit will convict us of truth and righteousness.  Then we must do our part.  We must exercise our will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and do what is right.  Living for God is not a moment in time, but a lifetime of walking in obedience.

III.  A Lamp to My Feet:  Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

I remember my first night on shore in Beirut, Lebanon back in 1982.  I was serving in a tank unit in the USMC.  We were there on a peacekeeping mission, but it was considered hostile territory.  Another marine and myself were brought out to a sentry post by the sergeant of the guard.  We were told not to use our flashlights.  It was so dark that I literally could not see my hand in front of my face.  It was a very long night…from midnight until six in the morning.  Every sound was startling and  suspicious.  I really was glad to see daylight arrive.

God’s Word provides a light in the darkness.  God’s Word provides a means by which we can know the right direction.  If we follow the light of  God’s Word, we won’t be fumbling around in the darkness.

IV.  Revive and Strengthen: Psalms 119: 25-28

My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
28 My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

At times we grow weary from the struggle.  Right now, there is a popular song by Tenth Ave North called “Worn”.  I am sure that it is popular because so many people can relate to the feeling of being worn out.  Spending time in God’s Word can be a means that God uses to restore our strength.

V.  Great Peace:  Psalms 119:165

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

I cannot preach from Psalms 119 without referencing this verse.  It is one of Gloria’s all time favorite verses.  As we grow in our knowledge of the Word of God we are stabilized.  We can have a peace that is maintained by a confidence that does not rest on our own abilities, but by a solid trust in God.

VI.  Rejoice:  Psalms 118:21-24

I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

It is the Word of God that leads us to the Son of God.  Our salvation is in Jesus, the chief cornerstone.  This is marvelous and a reason to rejoice.

May God continue to open our eyes to the truth of His Word.  May His Spirit continue to use His Word to transform us into the people of God that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 2/9/14.  Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.

The Spirit Within

February 13, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from February 12.

Introduction:  Even as the special mentioned, it is wonderful to know that we can call on Jesus: that He is always present and able to help those who are in need.

I.  John 13:34-35 Love One Another

Is this what people see in us?  Sometimes church people can be mean to each other, and cold to outsiders.  I wonder if people would say that our love for one another is obvious.  Do we extend the love of God to those who visit?  How do we love people who are different, boring, or obnoxious?

II.  John 14:15-17  The Spirit as Teacher

We are to keep the commandments of Christ, including the one to love one another.  We can do this because God gives us the Holy Spirit.  He will help us to live, and to love as we should.  This sets us apart from the world.  The Spirit will dwell within our hearts.

Verses 23-24:  Again there is a reference to God dwelling with us.  We can rest assured that God is with us in whatever trial we face.  We are not alone.

Verses 25-27:  The Spirit will be our teacher.  We will learn to do what is right.  We can be at peace.

III.  John 15:9-11  That Your Joy Might Be Full

The love of God is freely given to us.  The presence of the Holy Spirit changes us.  We are able to keep the commandments of Christ because of the Spirit within us.  As we walk with God our joy will be full.

If you are walking in willful disobedience to the commands of God, do not be surprised if your joy is diminished, and your peace is disturbed.

IV.  John 16:33: Power to Overcome

We can anticipate that we will have tests and trials in this life, but we can be at peace because Christ has overcome the world.  Our joy and our peace are not dependent on external circumstances, but on the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Conclusion:  The Holy Spirit dwells within us.   It is the Spirit that fills us with the love of God.  The Spirit enables us to love one another, and to keep the commandments.  The Spirit guides us into truth, helps us to know how we should live, and brings love, joy, and peace into our lives.   God freely gives us His Holy Spirit to be our ever-present Helper.

Come Be With Us

September 1, 2011

When I was in the Marine Corps, going through training to be a tank crewman,  at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, we had one weekend of liberty.  I remember that I went off by myself and got a hotel room.  I did a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of listening to music on my Sony Walkman.  I also wrote a song that, strangely enough was accompanied with bongos.  I am a drummer and percussionist.  The only instrument that I had brought with me was a set of bongos.  Anyway, the song came into my mind the other day while I was out for a run and I thought that I would share the words.  You will have to use your own imagination, for the sound of the tune, rhythm and accompaniment.   It has occasionally be done in church, so some of you have heard it.

 

Holy Spirit come be with us

come and fill our hearts today.

Holy Spirit come be with us                                    ( chorus)

come and fill our lives we pray.

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us love.

For you loved us so much

that you gave your only son,                                (verse one)

to die for us on Calvary

and wash our sins away.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us joy,

and we know that we need you                             (verse two)

we need the strength that your joy brings

to face our world today

we need the strength that your joy brings.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above,

in a world of trouble and pain

you give to us a peace,                                          (verse three)

a peace not of this world,

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

Oh Lord God above                                     (bridge)

come and fill us with your joy.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace.

 

chorus

 

I remember singing this song in my hotel room and having a sense of the presence of God.  It was meaningful to me at the time, and so I thought I would share it with you today.

The Common Good

August 23, 2010

Disasters often draw people together.  Survival and recovery are two goals that people facing a natural disaster have in common.  People of diverse backgrounds and beliefs can be drawn to work together once a common goal is recognized.

There are goals that should be able to unite us.  For example,  I would like to think that most people desire to be able to live in peace.  Force should be used only to restrain those who would perpetrate harmful acts.  Disagreements should be settled by other means than appealing to force.

I suspect also that helping people to avoid starvation is another goal that all but the most callous could agree to work towards together.  Whatever the political or religious beliefs of an individual, no one deserves to starve.   I believe that the world is capable of producing enough to sustain the people of the world.  It is the details of storage and distribution that hinder an ending of world hunger.

If the people of the world could focus their efforts in these two areas, it would be a different world.

We can start by changing the way that we talk with each other.  Instead of using rhetoric that divides people, and  inflames passions; that may result in  people acting motivated by anger instead of compassion: perhaps we can try to discuss our differences in a way that will promote peaceful resolution, rather than armed conflict.

The Goal of War

April 7, 2010

Sitting next to our computer is a brass casing from a 105mm tank round.  No, I did not steal it.  I served in the USMC back in the eighties as a tank crewman and one day we were given instructions to use up the remaining brass rounds that were on hand.  Our company commander then authorized us each to keep one of the casings as a souvenir.  That was many years ago, but I still have one in my possesion.

It is visually contradictory, because we have a bouquet of artificial flowers stuffed into the top. 

I read a great quote the other day, “The goal of war is a just peace.”  and I suppose that my unusual flower stand could be used as a symbol of that statement.  The round is spent. It is no longer a threat or a danger, yet it is a reminder of a past reality.  The flowers that are supported by it currently, are a present beauty.

My hope, and prayer for our returning troops, and for the countries now in conflict, is that a time of peace will come, and that beauty may be restored, both to individual lives, and to whole countries.

Looking for the Silver Lining

August 13, 2009

As a child when I was feeling disappointed I would be told “Every cloud has a silver lining.”  As a Christian adult I hold onto Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJ)

Sometimes we are able to see how things work together, and other times that “silver lining” is pretty ellusive. 

I like to be able to understand, to be able to connect the dots and see the picture of what is going on, but when I cannot see, I can still believe.

God loves me. 

I love God.

God is good.

All things work together for good. 

I do not have to understand.  I only have to believe, to have faith in God.

In faith, we can find peace, a peace that passes understanding; a peace that is not of this world, and that this world cannot take away.

Divine Guidance and Inner Peace

September 24, 2008

I believe that God is able to provide guidance for us in our lives.  There is a simple process that I follow, and recommend,  when making important decisions.

1.  Pray that God will direct you in your decision making.

2.  Search the Bible for direction.  Do not do things that go contrary to biblical commands or principles.

3.  Research the issue.  Utilize all means at your disposal for gathering information and advice.  Do not be hasty.  Select the best option.

4.  Pray again, asking God to give you a peace about the decision that you have made.  If you do not have a sense of peace in your decision, repeat the process.  Be willing to consider unconventional options. 

When you have a peace about your decision, then proceed in faith that God has directed you. 

This method is not foolproof.  Occasionally we will make mistakes.  Be humble and recognize that our ability to discern divine guidance is a skill that is developed over time.  Do not blame God for your mistakes, and do not be quick to declare “God told me to do this!”.  Do the best that you can to make good decisions, and be at peace in yourselves.