Today’s Legitimate Dose of Life’s Reality: When God is Excluded from our Life, All Our Things Are Vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 English Standard Version

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity[b] of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens[c] to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
It has been already
    in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,[d]
    nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[e] yet to be
    among those who come after.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen

When God is Excluded All of Our Things Are Vanity

From start to finish, the book of Ecclesiastes declares the utter futility and complete meaninglessness of life without God.

Whether it is referring to work or pleasure, or wisdom or wealth, power or prestige, entertainment or virility, life or death, ALL is considered futile and worthless whenever God is excluded from the equation.

It is Solomon who is credited with the authorship of Ecclesiastes.

He was chosen by God to succeed his father, King David as Israel’s anointed king, and when faced with the great responsibility of leading the nation, he humbly confessed that he was unable to do so without help from the Lord.

Despite his humble confession to God and his magnificent prayer at the dedication of the Temple, Solomon set out to discover the meaning of life using his own reasoning power and without the leading, guidance, direction of God.

The conclusion he was forced to reach was: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

At the end of his life, Solomon discovered his long search for fulfilment through his many accomplishments, was nothing more than just chasing after the wind.

Despite his great wisdom, power, fame, and fortune, his search for the meaning in life proved completely, ultimately profitless – because he had chosen to set out to explore the meaning of life, its significance, in his own human strength.

The entire book of Ecclesiastes amounts to Solomon’s discovery that when God is excluded from one’s existence, the benefits of wisdom and learning are futile.

Small achievements, great achievements, vast possessions, no possessions skillful work, also linguistic expertise, and various accomplishments prove to be ultimately profitless and quite futile when that is ALL that life has to offer.

Solomon recognized that death is the ultimate equalizer of both the king in his palace and the beggar at his gate.

He realized that competition between one person and another is profitless and life is very transitory, like the grass of the field which is here today but come a single moment of next tomorrow is almost immediately cast into the bonfires. 

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

In Romans, Paul reminds us that the whole of the creation was made subject to vanity because of sin and its consequences.

The whole premise of the Preacher of Ecclesiastes is true – for there is truly NOTHING that can be pursued or gained on earth that can provide everlasting fulfilment for a man’s soul.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes states his conclusion that “all is vanity,” at the very beginning of his dialogue and again at the end.

Were it not for a little verse tucked away in the middle of Ecclesiastes, his whole treaties could become very depressing for anyone who reads it, because without God, literally everything is vain and futile for this is the condition of every man.

Yet, there is one last verse that identifies well the meaning and purpose of life:

“When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter under consideration is: fear God and keep His commands, for this is the whole duty of all mankind.”  (12:13-14)

A Legitimate Dose of Reality Regarding Change

Twenty years ago when I was visiting an ancient abbey on the Isle of Iona in Scotland, I wandered upon an ancient graveyard with many Celtic Crosses.

As I walked among the tombstones, I observed a variety of ages chiseled into their surfaces.

As near as I could tell with many stones barely or nearly unreadable, some of the people appeared to had lived to be quite old, while others not live past 30.

Yet when all these ages were taken together, it seemed that the average life span was around 65-70—just as the Bible says:

“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty” (Psalm 90:10).

And more time than that had gone by since most of these people had passed.

This sobering reminder of life’s brevity returned me to a question that all of us ask at one point or another: Is this pursuit of all things in life all there is?

The book of Ecclesiastes addresses this deep question by giving us a solid dose of legitimate reality.

Truthfully, most of us don’t do well with reality; we prefer fantasy, mirage, and distraction.

Yet the author of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, begins his discourse by encouraging us to carefully, thoughtfully and completely reflect upon the absolutely mindless, utter meaninglessness of life, stating bluntly, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

Solomon seeks to prove his thesis by showing us life is marked by drudgery:

“What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:3-4).

Life, in other words, is just a perpetual series of clocking in and clocking out until we die.

No matter who you are—whether you are an executive, a schoolteacher, or a stay-at-home mom—life “under the sun” contains much toil, and then it ends.

Does this leave you thoroughly depressed?

It should—if you rule out the existence of God.

When God is taken out of the equation, life truly has no meaning.

There is a reason why some people desire to escape reality through a drug-induced stupor or through mindless indulgence in pleasure and entertainment.

What may seem like strange behavior to us may actually be the best considered response of the one who has gotten a heavy, albeit incomplete, dose of reality.

Studying the book of Ecclesiastes forces us to try and consider the deep, deeper, deepest implications, meanings of life without God, in view of inevitable death.

But such an image is seldom if ever given even the most minimal measure or degree of consideration because nowadays too many Christians discount God.

Not just discount God but openly state in a pulpit that “God is 100% nothing!”

Not just declare from a church pulpit on a regular Sunday morning worship service that “God is 100% nothing!” but God never existed or is “100% dead.”

But read the rest of the Bible and you will discover that you may receive eternal life by trusting in Him, Him being Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Only through God, the Father, God the Son, our Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit will we 100% discover life’s true meaning, find the reason why all is not vanity.

Only if you remember the undeniable reality of Christ’s Resurrection, there absolutely is life beyond the grave, will we be able to live with joy, meet with all the ups and downs of life with a healthy perspective, on this side of the grave.

Life Changing Dose of Legitimate Reality: Everything Absolutely Revolves Around Father God, Son, Spirit.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 New American Standard Bible
The Futility of All Endeavors

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Futility of futilities,” says the Preacher,
“Futility of futilities! All is futility.”

What advantage does a person have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?

And thus begins one of the more depressing books in all of the Bible, but I would submit depressing in a good way, and here’s the reason I would say that.

When we come to Ecclesiastes, we read in these words, in these dispassionate chapters, a picture of life lived apart and separate from belief God.

Of life apart, of life separate from the reality of who God is, and all that’s in His character, of His love, His forgiveness, His justice, His mercy, His power, of His incomparable presence and indomitable and unsearchable wisdom.

Apart from the wisdom, power, love, justice, mercy of God, indeed, all is vain.

Ecclesiastes 1:2–3 Teaches Us Our Life is Vain Apart from God

The author of Ecclesiastes says this five times in one verse.

“Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”

The point is clear, that all is in vain, everything lacks meaning apart from the reality of who God is.

The world revolves around God.

You take away the center around which the world revolves, and everything falls apart and so as you read through Ecclesiastes, as we likewise pray study and we pray through these different verses in Ecclesiastes, let’s all be reminded of the God-centeredness of the universe, and the need in each of our lives for God to be at the center of it all, knowing everything is meaningless apart from him.

The complete absence of God in our life is the Ultimate expression of Vanity!

Ecclesiastes 1:2–3 Reminds Us God is Our Rest

And so let’s pray based on Ecclesiastes 1:2–3.

Oh God, you are our everything, and we fix our eyes, our minds, our hearts on you today and we say that apart from you, everything is vain. You are our life, you are the author of our life, you are the Creator of our lives, you’re the sustainer of our lives, you’re the only one who can satisfy our lives. God, you are everything to us, oh God. You are our Creator, our Savior, our One and Only true King, our Ruler, our Lord.

You are literally everything and we are as nothing without you. And we pray that you would help us to live today with our intemperate minds and sin laden hearts and tiny attention span and fickle affections centered around you, as we do for you, oh God to infuse meaning and purpose into everything we do. And fulfillment in our hearts. Our hearts, as Saint Augustine said years ago, are restless until they find their rest in you.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Our Heavenly Father, thank You for this honest assessment and exploration of living life in this fallen world, without our ever living Savior Jesus Christ. I pray this day to please keep me from chasing after any of the inevitably vain things this world offers, knowing that there is nothing on earth that has lasting value except to know You. May I place You in the center of my life, knowing that the whole duty and delight of man is to worship and praise You for Your goodness, grace to all men. In Jesus’ name.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen

A Lesson about Wholly Refreshing Our Priorities: What is the significance to us to make, take time, with the Holy One? Mark 1:35-39

Mark 1:35-39 New International Version

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Amen.

What’s least important?

What’s most important?

What has no priority whatsoever?

We usually consider whatever is the most urgent to be the most important.

When we need to use the bathroom, for example, that particular need becomes both urgent and important, something that must for the moment take priority over everything else lest we risk great personal, perhaps public embarrassment.

For a Diabetic individual, monitoring their blood sugar levels throughout the day on a regular basis is quite important as is meal planning and Insulin shots.

Many things take a top priority spot in our lives.

Many things take a low priority spot in our lives.

Higher priority items might sometimes be a classic movie or television show we watched in our youths and now we’ve been waiting to see the reruns streamed.

It might be planning, a “bucket list” trip we want to take, or a special event we want to arrange – a wedding anniversary or attend – your child’s violin recital.

Sometimes it might be something we want to buy, maybe some new music, a pair of jeans, a computer, or have been saving a long time for: a car or a house.

The priority might be education, a relationship, a job, a job promotion, a fun long term project.

It might be recovery, rest and rehabilitation from an illness, an accident, a crime, tragedy or a difficult ordeal – a parent or spouse or child passed away.

Making Time, Taking Time, Giving Time Away

In the streaming series The Chosen, one episode depicts Jesus returning to a camp where he and his disciples are staying for the night.

It is late, and Jesus has spent the day healing crowds of people.

He stumbles into camp, exhausted from the day’s ministry.

The disciples can only watch him, surprised at how tired he is.

His teaching and healing work must have been exhausting.

Though he was fully God, Jesus was also fully human, so he still got tired and still needed his sleep to recover from the days busyness. (Mark 4:38; John 4:6).

A Lesson About Assessing Reassessing Our Priorities

Mark 1:35-39 New Living Translation

Jesus Preaches in Galilee

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

Prayer is a Priority

Prayer is the kind of priority that lies at the root of all the others — at the root of life itself.

It’s a lot like eating; if we rarely eat, our physical health will suffer.

We’ll be weak and sick.

It will affect our ability to carry on the activities of life.

In a similar way, if we rarely pray, our spiritual life will lack vitality.

We will approach the challenges and successes of life on our own, as though we are not totally dependent on God even for life itself.

Without prayer, we prioritize pride, begin to take credit for the good things in our lives, chalking them all up to our skill, knowledge, wisdom and hard work.

We begin to forget that all our skill, knowledge, wisdom and hard work are gifts of God—God alone gave us the mind, body and circumstances of life which have enabled us to have and develop those attributes.

On the other hand, without the discipline of prayer, we fall into fear, anxious worry and even despair at the failures, frustrations and bad events in our lives.

We become unsure of God’s love for us, unsure that God stands with us, God is always accessible and always available, always receptive in each our problems.

The length and breadth of God’s Word reminds us we will definitely feel alone and afraid, doubtful about our ability to cope with what life is heaping onto us.

The disciplined practice of Prayer is the grease, we might say, which keeps the gears and wheels of life well and sufficiently lubricated, in good working order.

Without prayer, we see ourselves as alone against the world, left to fend off the storms of life on our own wits and brawn.

It is in the course of bending our souls in prayer we learn to see the true state of things — that we are all creatures within God’s creation, creatures dependent on our Maker, on all of the other parts of the creation, and as such, never alone.

Hard to Find Time

It’s a crowded, hectic world for most people.

Opportunities for time alone, much less for prayer, are more and more limited.

Life already has its cascade of immediate demands, its already duly scheduled priorities lined up to overwhelm us and keep us forever playing catch-up—jobs, classes, homework, housework, yard work, kids, church, health problems, car repairs, home repairs, accidents, ants, traffic, crowds, lines, appointments and, oh yes, hopefully prayerfully enough time to experience that good quality sleep.

Of course, there might well also be a considerable amount of time that we could devote to prayer that we use on other things — things that don’t really have the kind or measure of priority that the discipline of prayer should should receive.

For example, most of us have our favorite television show, and that’s fine.

But how often do we find ourselves sitting in front of the television — watching shows we do not really care about, just “lazy television” — just because nobody had the proper measure of motivation to get up and turn the infernal thing off?

We make priorities out of things we care about.

It isn’t that we don’t care about the discipline of regular prayer, it’s just that it often seems like it just becomes one more chore on top of all the other chores we have to get done around the house, and since God does not cry or whine when God does not get his dinner or send collection agents out to repossess the washing machine, we’ll automatically put prayer farther down the priority list.

It might be helpful to see the discipline of prayer in a different light from that of one more chore to get done before supper (or after) turn off the light at night.

Time with God is different from all other time.

It defuses the stress, refreshes and rejuvenates the heart, spirit and the soul.

It relaxes the mind and body to release unto God our worries, our anger, fear and anxieties.

It’s a better antidote to frustration than nibbling on donuts or chocolate bars.

It sufficiently fills our need for intimacy better than affairs or pornography.

It’s a far more productive way to handle anger than exploding at our spouses and children. It lasts; those alternatives don’t.

Therapy, Not a Duty

It’s easy to view prayer as a duty, an obligation.

When we do that, prayer becomes hard, something to put off, a burden and pressure all by itself.

What a tragedy.

We would hardly consider talking to our best friends a duty.

We talk to them because we like them.

It’s a spiritual lift to talk to them.

It helps us feel better, reminds us we are actually not alone in this world, gives us strength to carry on.

It’s harder with God.

God’s invisible.

And God does verbally not say much.

Sometimes we wonder if God’s even there at all.

We have the Bible, but a book is not the actually same as an oral conversation.

Talking to God takes place, you could say, in our heads, by faith, not by sight, taste or touch or sound.

We cannot look God in the eye, smell him, shake his hand or pat his back.

Instead, we “sense” his presence in some spiritual, unseen way.

We believe.

We trust.

We have faith.

The Holy Spirit, also invisible, tasteless and odorless, communicates God’s reality to us on a level other than our five physical senses.

We do not understand it; we can only experience it.

Spending this quality time with God is great therapy.

Therapy is necessary remedial treatment of a bodily disorder, whether physical, emotional or psychological.

When we think of prayer as much needed therapy, rather than as “our Christian duty,” it puts prayer into a clearer perspective, I personally believe.

When we go through our daily, weekly, monthly routines without consciously acknowledging God as the root and core of our lives (which he is), our attitudes, emotions, psyche, even the bones in our bodies (Psalm 6:2, Psalms 31:10, 32:3, Psalm 42:10, Psalm 102:3) suffer the ill effects of trying to live as though we are self-existent — not dependent on God and his creation for our life and being.

To hand over our concerns to God, whether for ourselves or for others, reminds us that our present lives and the remaining future of our life are in God’s hands.

Even our past, with all its baggage of sin, selfishness and ignorance, is in God’s redemptive hands.

The act of acknowledging God as the loving, wise and powerful Being that he is is remedial treatment for fear, worry and frustration.

It’s like an expert massage, removing tension and stress from our muscles, only better.

Who would not appreciate a great massage from God’s own hands every day?

Prayer is the perfect therapy for our tense, knotted and stressed spirits, and the best thing about it … it’s absolutely free!

We can take a moment for a quick spiritual “rubdown” in the form of silent prayer just about any time we want during the day.

And we can set aside time for a good, long session at times that work with our schedules.

Think about it: if we had an unlimited valued gift certificate for a free full-body massage every day, we would likely find a way to work it into our schedules as regularly as possible — even if we had to get up set our alarms before everybody else and hightail it down to the gym or the spa before it opened up at 5:30 a.m.

We would do that because we know what good therapy it is and how good it makes us feel.

Not a Substitute For Action

There is another thing we can learn and appreciate from Jesus’ early morning hike to a solitary place for prayer.

When it’s time for action, it’s time for action.

When your child or your spouse needs your attention, it is not the time to go off and play a round of golf, but is an absolute time for us to stop, drop and to pray.

And the again, when you need to repair a faucet, or make a call, or to prepare a meal, it’s not the time make excuses and to disappear for an hour in a closet.

We can and should be able to pray any time, any place, while we go about our business – but we absolutely need to attend to the business of caring for home.

The time to go to a solitary place for extended prayer is a time when we don’t have other more pressing priorities, duties, responsibilities and obligations.

How did Jesus do it?

In the instance cited in this passage, he got up early, before the regular day’s activities began.

You might find that other times work better for you.

The point is, see prayer as a priority that will make all your other priorities more manageable and less stressful.

Let your prayer time be a time to relax, to let God’s love bathe and salve your frayed nerves, your taut emotions, your exhausted and frightened heart.

Let prayer time be your time to rest in God, to let him renew your strength, brighten your hope, sharpen your faith.

Has prayer slipped to the bottom of your “to do” list? Why not set aside some time today for an overdue therapy session with the Master Therapist?

For reflection:

  • Does prayer seem like a chore to you? Why or why not?
  • Do you have trouble thinking of things to pray about? Have you thought of sitting quietly with God as a valuable part of your prayer time?
  • What are some of the ways prayer has helped you?
  • How would you describe “answered prayer”?
  • What is your favorite place for prayer?

Take Time for the Holy One

Mark 1:35-37 New International Version
Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Our reading for today explains that after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus rose early in the morning to pray. Jesus needed time to connect with his Father in prayer, resting in his Father’s presence and focusing on his purpose.

He had come to do much more than heal people in Capernaum, even though that was clearly important while he was there.

When the disciples went out and found him, he said, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Jesus deliberately, intentionally, purposely moved off quietly, spent time alone in prayer with his Father in Heaven, and he remained focused upon his purpose.

If this was important to Jesus, it is certainly important for his followers too.

There is perhaps no better gage of a man’s spiritual maturity than his secret devotion to God in prayer.

You show me someone that is lax in private prayer, I will show you someone that is a spiritual infant.

I don’t care how long they have known Christ, if they have no secret devotion to God; they remain in a stage of immaturity.

Our public prayers will tend to be ritualistic; they will tend to be mechanical, often repetitious, and sometimes ostentatious.

We will have no appetite for the Word; we will have no burden for the lost.

We will be infatuated with the pleasures of this world.

People without a private prayer life will lack power in ministry.

The theme of Christ will seldom be prominent in their conversations because it’s not dominant in their heart.

In fact I have never met a person with a robust private prayer life who struggles with debilitating depression, addictions, or some life-dominating sin.

I have never heard a spouse complain about a husband or wife who is faithful in private prayer.

I’ve never heard a child weep because they have a father or mother that prays too much.

I would ask everyone, do they only prayer before meals or do they ever pray before dawn?

Most if they are honest, would say their prayer life is limited to before meals.

Or when some great crisis comes into their lives.

But frankly, most people are unfamiliar with the mercy seat.

They are strangers to the throne of grace.

Communing with the Savior of their souls is just not as high priority as it should be because it is not the first and foremost desire of their hearts.

And why is this?

Well partly because we are a very undisciplined people, but primarily also it’s because we prioritize love of other things more than we love the Lord our God.

I have learned that prayer is the drill that bores deep into the caverns of living water.

I have learned that prayer is what calls upon the Spirit to give fresh life to the spiritually dead and dissolve hardened hearts.

As a Lay Pastor, I have learned that it is prayer that ignites a preacher with holy zeal and transforms his clumsy long winded rhetoric into tongues of holy fire.

I have learned, beloved, that it is the personal exercise of prayer, disciplined, fervent, private, persistent prayer that transforms weak, shallow, cowardly Christians, and their “skin and bones” Christianity into mighty warriors of the Cross and that is what Christ wants, I want for you, that is what I want for me.

Dear Christian, secret prayer was our Savior’s habit, the question is, is it ours?

If not, why not?

If the Son of God who had no sin had such an indescribably intense desire to labor in private prayer, how much more should we being so prone to our sin?

Frankly most Christians are mere “spiritual loiterers”, they are not laborers in prayer, and yet this is not the example of the Lord.

As we look at verse 35, again, where we read, “In the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”

I believe there are 4 great lessons emerging from this text which I pray each of us will take some quality and quantity of time to focus carefully upon:

  1. Prayer reveals an intense longing to commune with God
  2. Prayer should be the first priority to prepare our day.
  3. Solitude is the Sanctuary of prayer.
  4. Prayer is as important in times of blessing as it is in times of distress.

So first, Prayer reveals an intense longing to commune with God.

Let’s look at this more closely.

Now any of us who have ever spent time teaching know it is an exhausting task especially when you are interacting with people as the Lord had done that day.

Then if we have ever experienced intense, powerful healing encounters, and certainly I have never experienced it like Jesus, we cannot appreciate tiredness.

My friends that is utterly exhausting.

Yet, we see here,

He doesn’t give up, He doesn’t stay in bed and sleep.

Instead, we see the incarnate Christ who was without sin, therefore without any need for confession, He had no pleading, no need for forgiveness of sin, and no need for restoration, instead He longs to be with His Father and the Holy Spirit.

Remember, Jesus knew that His source of strength (certainly the place where He would go to supplicate for all that the Father had given Him) was His Father.

But we see in this text from Mark’s narrative that His intense longing for intimate communion was motivated primarily by His perfect love and His intimate enjoyment of “taking time away” his sweet fellowship with Him.

Again, does this describe you?

Hopefully you’ve experienced this at some human level.

Just think of your husband or you wife, those of you that are married.

I know that the times that I have that I can spend with my dear wife is done not out of duty, but out of intense love and intense desire.

It’s motivated by my love for her and her love for me, which results in the true oneness of fellowship and the joy that flows from that.

How much more the soul satisfying perfections of the triune Godhead.

Now think about it very long and very deeply and very intently and purposely,

no man—save the God-man Jesus—has ever known the soul satisfying joy of perfect fellowship and communion with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

While every saint enjoys some level of faith, joy and fellowship, because of the varying places we are with respect to our walk with Christ, we still, even though our fellowship is imperfect, we still enjoy spending time with the Lord.

How much more so the Lord Jesus?

I think about the imperfect fellowship that we have right now.

Our communion is hampered because of remaining sin, because of our unredeemed bodies that await their final glorification.

That is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:9:

“we (only) know in part…but when the perfect comes (eternal state), the partial will be done away…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; (can you imagine what that will be like), now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

But folks even now in our state of unredeemed humanness, chronic sin, that sweetness, that ineffable joy of communing with the lover of our souls is the single greatest experience that we have available to us this side of heaven.

If that does not ring true of you, then you know nothing of a secret devotion to God in prayer.

All who have truly tasted of the Lord, who have experienced the inexpressible joy of being in His presence, have experienced His power, want more and more.

We are never satisfied – that is why David declared in Psalm 34:8. “O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

Be sure to spend personal time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each day.

Joyful Rest in a Frantic World

Psalm 4:6-8 English Standard Version

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

The great majority of humans are forever striving after the four winds.

We chase all sorts of things to satisfy our souls but keep ending up empty-handed.

We wonder, “Who will show us some good?”

Put differently, as Mark’s gospel narrative intimates; “Where can I find joy, meaning, and hope in the frenetic pace and frustrating pursuits of this life?”

Thankfully, the psalmist does not leave us to wonder about what we need most:

“Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD.”

The great need of David’s day—and our day, thousands of years later—is to embrace and be embraced by the living God.

So David points out just how the greatest pleasures pale in comparison to finding the one true, living God.

Abounding in life’s good gifts, be they grain or wine or anything else, is certainly no bad thing.

But knowing God through the discipline of prayer is infinitely, gloriously better.

How many people today live in the hope that the experience of tomorrow will bring the joy they seem to lack today?

“Just a little more money; then I can be happy. Just a little more of this or that, and then I will be satisfied.”

But it’s not the promise of a nicer car, a bigger house, a perfect spouse, or a better job that truly gives us lasting peace and rest.

There is only one way to be able to lie down and sleep in peace, content and secure.

What makes such rest possible?

“You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Only when we find all we need in studying scripture, knowing the Lord and know He is smiling at us will we be able to lie down without anxiety or regret.

As we lie down on our bed at night (as Jesus did) and reflect on the day (as Jesus did), or as all of tomorrow’s to-dos race through your mind (as Jesus did), how will we possibly hold it together (again as Jesus did) that very next morning?

What will give you the stability and security that every human being in the world longs for?

In the end, it won’t be the money in your account.

It won’t be the home-security system.

It won’t be enjoying admiration from your community.

It is the example of the disciplined practice of prayer set before us by the Lord Jesus alone, who leads all His beloved children to true peace, rest, and security.

In the arms of the Good Shepherd, you can dwell in safety and rest in peace.

Be sure, when you lie down tonight (as Jesus did) or when worries rear their heads today, to remember our Savior prays for you and is looking after you.

Jesus had a regular, disciplined time to be alone with his Father each day.

His quiet time with his Father was intentional; it was a priority he himself built into his day, and it required his fullest effort — effort to wake up early before everyone else, and effort to go out away from everyone else so he could talk with the Father by himself.

How intentional and how disciplined is your daily prayer time with the Father?

That is where our rest and peace are truly and faithfully, eternally to be found.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

O loving and tender Father, God Almighty who has the power to save, forgive me for those periods in my life when I have let my time with you suffer. I now confess that I let other things and the hectic pace of my life steal away my time with you. It is my prayer that you Empower, inspire, my resolve to fully and faithfully and finally place you first in my whole heart and hard set in my daily schedule. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

What Does it Mean for those who are Unsaved, Us as Christians that God Is Available and that God is Accessible? Psalm 90

Psalm 90 Amplified Bible

Book Four

God’s Eternity and Man’s Transitoriness.

A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

90 Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.

Before the mountains were born
Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.

You turn man back to dust,
And say, “Return [to the earth], O children of [mortal] men!”

For a [a]thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
Or as a watch in the night.

You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep [forgotten as soon as they are gone];
In the morning they are like grass which grows anew—

In the morning it flourishes and springs up;
In the evening it wilts and withers away.

For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been terrified.

You have placed our wickedness before you,
Our secret sins [which we tried to conceal, You have placed] in the [revealing] light of Your presence.

For all our days pass away in Your wrath;
We have finished our years like a whispered sigh.
The days of our life are [b]seventy years—
Or even, if because of strength, eighty years;
Yet their pride [in additional years] is only labor and sorrow,
For it is soon gone and we fly away.

Who understands the power of Your anger? [Who connects this brevity of life among us with Your judgment of sin?]

And Your wrath, [who connects it] with the [reverent] fear that is due You?
So teach us to number our days,
That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.

Turn, O Lord [from Your fierce anger]; how long will it be?
Be compassionate toward Your servants—revoke Your sentence.
O satisfy us with Your lovingkindness in the morning [now, before we grow older],
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Make us glad in proportion to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have suffered evil.
Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants
And Your [glorious] majesty to their children.
And let the [gracious] favor of the Lord our God be on us;
Confirm for us the work of our hands—
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

“So, Lord God, Teach Us to Number Our Days,”

Often in life we think we are heading in the general direction of our goal, our life is moving steadily along on cruise control, we finally get to that somewhere , we look around and survey the landscape of all the success, but we still end up lost.

Though we might start out well, we might achieve what we feel is the best, but we can quickly realize that the best was not in fact, the best, then lose interest in seriously considering everything but exactly the next actions we must take.

A sudden barrage of questions arise within – are we living up to our potential?

Are we being “all we can be?”

Are we being “all we can be” for those who need us to be their “all we can be?”

Living unto, into our full potential, Living up and into to a set of standards?

Have you ever felt like you are not living up to your God potential?

Ever felt like you ought to be closer to God than you are?

Or that you ought to know God better than you do?

We all get to a point in life when we have seen so much of life, where we have experienced so much of life, or where we have sinned against God and how we believe God wants us to live. 

We succeed and then we fail.

We glorify God when we succeed and when we think we have done too many wrong things, have failed one too many times for God to continue to bless us.

We conclude we have sinned too much.

We have been too disobedient and we have wandered too far.

We have grown too old and too set in our ways, too inflexible in our thoughts.

Therefore God is done with us – change and transformation are not possible.

God won’t use me anymore.

God can’t use me anymore.

God will not use me anymore

God is through with me, God is certainly going to be washing His hands of me.

God is no longer available to me because I am no longer usable, available to God.

Have you been there?

Are you there right now?

Have I been there?

Am I there right now?

Without Exception

Without Purpose of Evasion

– Resoundingly, Undeniably, Undoubtedly, Absolutely – YES! YES! YES!

Here is some good news.

God is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week God.

God is always available – ever vigilant, no slumber nor sleep, eyes always open!

God is always accessible!

The Kingdom of God is always going to be available.

The Kingdom of God is always going to be there.

The Kingdom of God is always going to be accessible.

The Question: will we ourselves always be available and accessible to God as God and the Kingdom of God is always and forever available, accessible to us?

Is our Prayer anything close to sounding like… (Psalm 90:12)

So teach us to number our days,
That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom

In order not to lose track of where we are going and why we are going there, the psalmist encourages us to “ask God to teach us to number our days.”

The writer is not talking about any exercise of basic, simple nor complex math—that being our counting the number of days that we might potentially live.

No one knows “the number of our days” but God himself.

Rather, the psalmist wants us to realize that nothing in this life except living for God should be our ultimate goal, or the ultimate treasure we have in mind.

Money, fame, possessions—none of that will last.

As a popular sayings go,

“When you die, you can’t take it with you.”

“Ain’t never seen any U-Haul trailers hauled behind no Hearses.”

“That We May Cultivate and Bring to You a Heart of Wisdom.”

God is not done with you.

One more time – God is not done with you.

God is not done with me.

God is not done with any of us. 

God has not quit on you.

God has not quit on me.

God has not given up on any of us. 

God is still available to you.

God is still available to me.

God is still at work.

God still speaks and God still wants to be known.

Four key insights into God’s availability from Moses’s encounter with God.

Key 1 – Avoid being so consumed with life that you miss what God is doing.

Let’s turn to the Scripture and pick up with Moses, who is still far from God.

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” Exodus 3:1-3

Moses wasn’t so consumed with his job that he didn’t notice the burning bush.

Now many of us might wonder what Moses has to be consumed with.

He was herding sheep, which is exhausting, mainly because they would have had some Rams in it.

Female sheep are called Ewes.

Male sheep are called Rams.

According to most farmers, the Rams are evil.

While ewes (the female sheep) are generally docile, non-aggressive animals, this is not usually the case with rams (the male sheep), especially during the breeding season.

Rams can be very aggressive and have been known to cause serious injuries, even the death of people.

Therefore, a ram should never be trusted, even if it is friendly or was raised as a pet.

It is essential always to know where the ram is and to never turn your back on him.

Moses sees this burning bush.

Common sense would tell a sheepherder to move the sheep away from the fire.

But Moses didn’t let the business of watching sheep keep him from noticing the God thing.

He did not turn away from the God thing.

Instead, he turned toward it, which leads to the following key.

Key 2 – Allow curiosity to lead you toward God – even when uncomfortable.

Our most significant victories and achievements rarely happen when we are comfortable.

Instead, they occur when we are willing to step outside our comfort zone.

They happen when we take what little faith we may have and trust God.

Moses noticed something was up.

He saw something out of place and unusual, a bush that wasn’t being consumed by the fire.

So he chose to move closer and find out what was going on.

The Scripture continues:

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. The Lord responded, “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:4-7,10

Moses had to be freaking out that God was speaking to Him.

But he is also leaning in.

So it seems to me that there are a set of God things happening around us today.

A spiritual awakening of sorts is happening on some college campuses, in micro-church and church planting movements.

Don’t run away.

Lean in. Check it out.

Key 3 – After you begin to investigate what God is doing, expect God to speak.

There is so much in this passage.

Let’s reread a piece of it.

So, we can take a closer look.

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. The Lord responded, “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:4-5

God did not speak to Moses until after Moses began to investigate.

Did you catch that?

God didn’t speak until AFTER Moses took a tangible step toward God. 

God often waits for us to move closer to Him before He reveals more of Himself to us.

Here is the challenge.

We can get lost in our routine.

One of my favorite sayings goes like this:

“The problem with life is that it is so daily.” 

Life in the wilderness as a shepherd would have been way routine.

First, take care of the sheep.

Next, find grass for the sheep.

Then, find water for the sheep.


A bush on fire would have been unusual.

But what made it way unusual?

What made it unique?

  • The bush is not being consumed – it is burning but not burning up.
  • There is a divine presence in the bush – it is holy ground.
  • God speaks from the bush. 

Moses could have run away fast and furious.

But he chose to move in instead.

He chose to move toward God.

What’s the result of his moving closer to the things of God?

That leads to the fourth and final key.

Key 4 – Assume that continually moving closer to God will help you and me discover God more fully.

Moses discovers his purpose for the next phase of his life.

Moses gets the next step of his life laid out because of this connection with God.

“Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10

God being near to us isn’t just an old testament concept.

We see it all throughout the New Testament as well.

As Paul was reasoning with a crowd of atheists and people of other religions, he explained that God put people in specific times and places during history.

Check out Paul’s words:

“His purpose is for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him — though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:27

James – the leader of the early church – said it this way:

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Here is what it means to me:

God is as available to you and me as you and I are to Him. 

Take advantage of that.

God is available to you as you are to Him. 

Check out the promise in the Old Testament that is repeated often:

“If you seek him, you will find him.” 1 Chronicles 28:9

Jesus says this as well:

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Don’t miss this:

We serve a God who wants to be found. 

We serve a God who wants to be known. 

We serve a God who wants to be discovered.

If you and I are far from God, it is because you and I have chosen to be far from God.

If you and I are not as close to God as you and I wish, that is all on you and me.

When we discipline ourselves to number each day with God as our main focus and guide and guardian, we gain deep wisdom for this life and the life to come.

Draw close to God, and God will draw near to you and close to me.

Take a step toward God, and God steps toward you.

Of course, I can’t and wont promise that if you and I do this, all our problems, hurts, and pains will be solved.

But I can promise you that if you move toward God, God will move toward you.

God will be with you and me as we journey through the ups and downs of life.

God is available.

God is accessible.

Are you?

Am I?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …..

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Almighty God, you are the source of all life. We know each day of our lives is a gift from your hand. Help us live each day in the light of your Word. Heavenly Father, thank You for each day of life and for the opportunities You have given me to live a life unto You. May each day of my life, from this day forward, be exercised in a way pleasing to You so that in all I say and do You may be glorified. In Jesus’ name I pray,

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Living the Risen Life: Sharing God, Caring For Our Neighbors, Because God’s Heart Does Not Stop With Us. Colossians 3:1-4

Colossians 3:1-4 New Living Translation

Living the New Life

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your[a] life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

In the miracle of conversion, a number of things happen.

Our sins are forgiven, we are adopted into God’s family, and we are given the status of sons and daughters.

Not only that, but we are also given a new location with Christ in the heavenly places.

There is for the Christian a radical change in our spiritual environment as a result of our union with the risen Christ—and it is our place in Christ that securely establishes our priorities.

It is because we have been “raised with Christ” that we are to “seek the things that are above.”

This reality was important for the new followers of the Colossian church to try to grasp.

As Paul was writing to them, they were being influenced by deceptive doctrine.

False teachers were imposing man-made rules upon them, saying, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (Colossians 2:21).

Yet these external rules, which were intended to improve their moral behavior, ironically were “of no value in stopping the indulgences of the flesh” (v 23).

The same remains true for us: even when we attempt to remove ourselves from sin, we will not ever be able to completely stop our own propensity towards that which is truly impure, unholy, and untrue.

This form of external religion was a bad virus that was threatening to embed itself within the Colossian church, combining doctrinal confusion with moral carelessness. (The two go hand in hand.)

So Paul addressed the issue by reminding his Colossian readers that the way to get to begin getting a grip with our behavior is by beginning to understand who and whose we are—what our lives have become through the Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christians, our lives are wrapped up in Jesus. We are in Him, and He is in us.

We have been raised to live outward with Christ, our lives are hidden in Him.

This fact alone is the only sure basis of our security—our confidence in the face of our own propensity to do wrong things.

Are are we trying to live the Christian life alone, the “shy Christian” the “best intentions Christian” by your own efforts and fight our sin in our own strength?

Are we seeking to be a better Christian and wondering why it is proving elusive—or, worse, are we beginning to wonder whether we are a Christian at all or whether it is worth the effort to share our Savior with another human being?

God’s Heart Does Not, Must Not, Ever Stop With Us

One of the greatest privileges as a child of God is that with our Savior Jesus Christ living in and within us, we all have the heart of our heavenly Father.

We do not have to wonder how God feels about us.

We do not have to wonder if God will guide us.

We do not have to question whether God loves us or God cares for, about, us.

Through the Holy Spirit we have continual, free access to the heart of God.

By sharing God, and caring for our neighbors our relationship with God will grow deeper, become freer as we learn how to have God’s heart in this life.

1 John 4:7-10 Easy-to-Read Version

Love Comes From God

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his only Son into the world to give us life through him. 10 True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent his Son as the way to take away our sins.

As wonderful and life-giving as it is to access the heart of God for ourselves, having God’s heart beating within, is not, was not ever meant to stop with us.

His heart is meant to fill us, empower us, and transform us, pour forth from us unto our neighbors, to surely live in such a way we are “light in the darkness”.

Matthew 5:14-16 Easy-to-Read Version

14 “You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. 15 People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

As a believer you and I can reveal the heart of God to others.

We’ve been given access to a deep, revelatory knowledge of God’s love that you might shine the light of God’s goodness to a world that only knows darkness.

You and I can reveal the heart of God through the very way you and I honor yours and mine neighbors rather than speaking ill intent of our neighbors.

You and I can represent the humility of Jesus by serving our neighbor rather than being self-seeking.

Lifting the basket off of ourselves, we can reveal the light of God’s grace in our lives by offering compassion when others treat you or your neighbor poorly.

And you can display the courage that comes from a true understanding of God’s unconditional love by living authentically rather than building up a false image.

You and I were made to share God’s heart.

You and I were made to reveal God’s heart.

You and I were made to co-labor with God, our Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit in seeing the truth of the gospel proclaimed and bear fruit in the lives of others. 

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” 

God has critically important work prepared for you and me today.

Look for opportunities to share what God, through Christ is doing in our life.

Look continuously, constantly for ways we can be that more genuine reflection of the aspects of God’s heart He is revealing to you and me every single day.

Do not let the love of God be hidden with us, contained within us like a super top classified “eyes only” secret, but “blow all whistled,” unveil it, share it freely, knowing His love never runs out, is what every human heart, is searching for.

Make a Friend, Be a Friend, Bring a Friend to Christ

Have you ever had the joy of sharing Christ with someone and actually seeing that person sit beside you and come to know the Lord as their personal Savior?

There is nothing quite the same in this world like it!

We know that resurrected Jesus said, ye shall be witnesses unto me(Acts 1:8).

How do we do what Jesus said?

Colossians 3:1-4 The Message

He Is Your Life

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

He is so much a complete part of my life, I need to constantly “pray it forward.”

I need to be constantly aware of that the basket over my life needs to be lifted.

I need to be living a life which is more “God forward” than it is “me behind.”

to just go ahead and unleash this thought and this prayer from within me …

Psalm 19:11-14 The Message

11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
    and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
    Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
    Keep me from stupid sins,
    from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
    scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
    these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
    on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
    God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

Getting to the Point of Asking: “Excuse Me, How is it With Your Soul?”

This is the sort of “self talk” which constantly runs through any too shy spirit:

“Everywhere I go people say to me, it is the old familiar story –

“I really want to bring someone to Christ, but I just don’t know where to start.”

I know it is true because I can confess my own guilty thoughts in this manner.

Please, Let me give you a few ideas that you may try to put into practice today…

  • Create a soul winning prayer list. Write down the names of those that you know need Christ and commit to pray for them every day. Ask the Lord to use you to personally reach them. Remember, we cannot pray if we are not willing to obey.
  • Commit gospel Scriptures to memory. We are to be ready always to give an explanation of the gospel (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Peter 3:15). The greatest thing you can give to others is God’s Word. Begin with John 3:16 and great salvation verses out of Romans. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Minister them to others.
  • Share your story. If you are a believer you have a story to tell! It is the story of how you came to know Christ and what He means to you. Next to the Scriptures it is the most powerful resource you have. Practice giving it to someone and prepare to give it to as many people as possible. Those who will never listen to a sermon will listen to your story.
  • Demonstrate the love of Christ. The gospel message begins with “For God so loved the world that He gave…” His love breaks down barriers and removes prejudices. Ask the Lord to help you show kindness to others. A little kindness may open a big door for the gospel.
  • Give gospel literature to others wherever you go. So many people I have met through the years were brought to Christ when reading a gospel tract. Never underestimate the power of the printed Word. As available, carry literature with you in a back pack. Accompany it with a personal word. God can use simple tools to accomplish His work.
  • Bring someone with you to a church service specifically to hear the gospel. Communicate to your pastor that you are prayerfully bringing someone with you who needs the Lord. Pray God will open their heart as they hear the truth.
  • Have a Bible study in your home or on the job. Starting, Inviting, Hosting an informal Bible study will give opportunities to get acquainted, discuss spiritual truths with neighbors and co-workers. Many people who would not “feel right” going to a church service or prayer meeting would come to a friend’s home.
  • Ask people to read the Gospel of John and to tell you what they think. I have had the greatest joy of seeing people come to faith in Christ through simply reading the Scriptures. At the very least, it opens the conversation about who Christ is. The Word of God for the Children of God is living, active, dynamic, powerful!
  • Pray daily, together as much as possible for divine appointments. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you both someone to talk to. That is a powerful prayer He will answer in His time! When answered, then the both of you live expectantly, looking everywhere for people that you can share the good news with.
  • Actually Begin. (Acts 2:37-47, Acts 3:1-10)No one becomes an effective witness by only reading about it. It is time to get off the pews, our couches, and get in the game! We all get nervous, but as we obey the Lord He has promised to help us.

Ask the Lord to prepare your heart and the the heart of some soul and give you a divine appointment today!

Some will respond positively.

Some will respond politely.

Some will respond politically.

Some will respond correctly.

Still more will respond out and out with vast amounts of negativity.

As we live, love and move and have our being in this world, don’t dwell upon your failures or look to your own performance as the basis of your security.

Be encouraged, keep trying as the Apostles did through out the Book of Acts.

Perhaps a study of the Book of Acts is the encouragement needed right now.

You have been raised with Christ.

He alone is your hope.

Make His glory, and not your own goodness, the focus of your days and you will find our behavior will certainly bear testimony to His life-transforming power.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit for as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be – risen lives, risen souls, worlds without end.

In the name of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of sharing God’s heart with the world. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to be a reflection of God’s heart.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

2. What aspect of God’s heart can you share with someone today? What part of God’s character can you reflect to the world around you?

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to put a person or group of people on your heart that he wants you to love well today. Ask him how he wants to use you to reveal the heart of God.

An important aspect of sharing God’s heart is trusting in faith, remembering that God will surely, certainly use your heart beat to inspire other heart beats.

When you choose to live a life co-laboring with your heavenly Father you get to experience the supernatural.

It’s miraculous when people choose to accept Jesus.

It’s astounding when our service, compassion, and love tears down walls around people’s hearts that they might be more open to God.

Don’t just live a normal life today.

Live a “I Am risen in Christ life today.”

Allow God to use you by sharing his heart.

May your day be filled with an abundance of miracles, signs and wonder and a ceaseless unrelenting awe at your heavenly Father who will unhesitatingly use you, me, us, in mighty and powerful ways – to build up His Kingdom on Earth.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

When and If Someone Should Ask You: “Okay, Why Should I or Anyone Believe in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ?” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

1 Corinthians 15:12-17 Easy-to-Read Version

We Will Be Raised From Death

12 We tell everyone that Christ was raised from death. So why do some of you say that people will not be raised from death? 13 If no one will ever be raised from death, then Christ has never been raised. 14 And if Christ has never been raised, then the message we tell is worth nothing. And your faith is worth nothing. 15  And we will also be guilty of lying about God, because we have told people about him, saying that he raised Christ from death. And if no one is raised from death, then God never raised Christ from death. 16 If those who have died are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised from death, then your faith is for nothing; you are still guilty of your sins.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Doubters Going to Doubt, Haters – Hate

We are at the closing words of Paul’s First Letter to the followers at Corinth.

Despite the Corinthian Christians being saved by grace through faith in Christ, Paul had some severe concerns about their ungodly conduct, their spiritual immaturity, their argumentative behavior, and their abuse of spiritual gifts.

When any church fellowship allows carnality to enter its gates and permits the philosophy of the world to infiltrate its ranks, it is not the least surprising that doubts, false doctrines begin to proliferate and false teachers enter the flock of God – knowingly, unknowingly muddying the crystal-clear message from God.

Sadly, this is what happened at the Church at Corinth to such a great extent… that the central, foundational facts of their faith in Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection became so distorted the saints had started to deny the likelihood of Christ’s actual resurrection and of their very own resurrection from the dead.

Although they did acknowledge that there was some form of life after death … they had started to suggest that there would be no bodily resurrection from the grave – they didn’t believe in the physical resurrection of the body through God.

These early 1st Century Christians, with their limited understanding, bought into the mistaken belief that there is no physical resurrection from the dead.

Though some may have yet believed in some type of spiritual afterlife – Paul found it necessary to cover this complex, growing misunderstanding, in great detail in 1st Corinthians 15 – which is often called the Resurrection Chapter.

In this closing part of his letter, step by step, Paul was guiding these confused Christians through the gospel message of grace – that Christ died for our sins according to the Words of available Scripture, and that he was buried, and was raised from the dead, according to the Scripture.

He made the substantial effort to remind them that following his death, Jesus appeared to James and the other apostles and that He ate and drank with them.

He further reminded them through the availability of many yet living witnesses who saw Him with their own eyes and touched Him with their very own hands.

These early believers in Corinth needed be bottle and spoon fed “spiritual milk” before given their forks “stab, dig into,” with gusto, to feast and feed on, fully ingest the “best spiritual meat and potatoes” of the most fulfilling, nourishing central tenets of their faith to understand that Christ was their very pattern –

and that all who believe on His name must follow in His footsteps… for He is the firstborn from the dead – the first of many who will be raised into life immortal.

To mature in their faith, know their old sin nature was put to death with Christ on the Cross, and they received a new nature, a new life being the life of Christ.

And just as they are identified with their new life, this new life hidden in Christ, with Christ’s resurrection, so they are identified with His bodily Resurrection.

Why We Can Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Easy-to-Read Version

The Good News About Jesus Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I told you. You received that Good News message, and you continue to base your life on it. That Good News, the message you heard from me, is God’s way to save you. But you must continue believing it. If you don’t, you believed for nothing.

I gave you the message that I received. I told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say; and that he appeared to Peter and then to the twelve apostles. After that Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died. Then he appeared to James and later to all the apostles. Last of all, he appeared to me. I was different, like a baby born before the normal time.

With these words, Apostle Paul pointed out believing on Christ’s Resurrection is foundational to the Corinthian follower’s faith – because He lives, we will also live, in newness of life – in newness of the abundant life only available in Christ.

Translating This Into Our 21st Century Context

Scripture teaches that we will one day receive a body like unto His glorious body… uncorrupted by sin – an immortal body of flesh and bone that will never die – for His life-blood was shed at Calvary so that we might receive His resurrected life in an incorruptible body, through the power of the Spirit.

Like Jesus, we are to be raised spirit, soul, and BODY.

If Christ had not been raised from the dead, then everything about the glorious gospel of grace, and our faith in the Lord Jesus would be false and worthless!!

“If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is worthless,” Paul wrote, “and you are still in your sins!” 1 Corinthians 15:17

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the emptiness of the Tomb, the immovable stone rolled away are the exact cornerstone of our Christian faith.

If Christ did not rise from the dead, your faith is in vain. But you can be assured that the good news is true. Jesus Christ “was buried [and] he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4).

Throughout the ages, countless skeptics have tried to disprove the Resurrection experience, but after two thousand some odd years, it stands to the test of time.

Scriptural Proofs of the Resurrection

2 Timothy 3:14-17 Easy-to-Read Version

14 But you should continue following the teaching you learned. You know it is true, because you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have known the Holy Scriptures[a] since you were a child. These Scriptures are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and for showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching the right way to live.  17  Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work.

Here are at least six proofs that reveal Savior Jesus actually rose from the dead:

First Proof— The Resurrection was foretold by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. —Matthew 16:21

Second Proof The Resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for His empty tomb.

Joseph brought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. —Mark 15:46

Third Proof The Resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for the appearance of Jesus Christ to his disciples.

He was buried…raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and…appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to…me also, as to one abnormally born. —1 Corinthians 15:4-8

Fourth Proof— The Resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for the beginning of the Christian Church.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise came from heaven. It sounded like a strong wind blowing. This noise filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like flames of fire. The flames were separated and stood over each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages. The Holy Spirit was giving them the power to do this. Acts 2:1-4

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. —Acts 2:23-24

Fifth Proof— The Resurrection is the only reasonable explanation for the transformation of the disciples.

The disciples went into hiding in an upper room “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19).

After seeing and talking with Jesus for approximately six weeks, they went out to “turn the world upside down” (see Acts 17:6), and fearlessly proclaiming Jesus Christ (also see Acts 3:12-26; 4:1-33; 8:4; 17:6).

Sixth Proof— The Damascus Road Experience: The witness of the apostle Paul and the transformation of his life, can be reasonably explained only because of the resurrection of Christ. Acts 9:1-22

“Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).

There are undoubtedly more “proofs” other far more educated people can bring to the forefront of a public debate, discussion on this critically important topic.

I am a laity person – I have no seminary nor any theological school background.

It is my prayerful intent and hope that by anyone reading this devotional, that a whole host of significant discussions will be forthcoming and undertaken in all manner of places and times amongst Christians everywhere this writing is read.

Quality time and effort is expended in diligent study of the Word of God for His Children, not just study but significant times spent fellowshipping and prayer.

There is a great many “1st Century Corinthian followers” among us even today.

There are many on the streets who will not hesitate to “in your face” directly confront our faith and our knowledge of the central tenets of the resurrection.

It absolutely matters to the Kingdom of God that we can make our sure defense.

Someone’s eternal soul hangs by the very barest and least visible of threads.

How prepared are any one us reading this devotional to walk up to any stranger

Ask the single most important question anyone, every one needs to hear:


Let us pray that soon and very soon we can all come together to console each other, to reconcile ourselves with God, study the truth of God’s Word and read and plumb the deepest depths of this amazing 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and let us discover and let us extract and let us each share the truest wonders of the bodily resurrection that is now ours in Christ.

All who have been saved by grace through faith in Him, have been promised their earthly, perishable body will be raised a heavenly, imperishable body.. and our mortal flesh will be changed into immortality in the twinkling of an eye.

How wonderful would it be for the Kingdom of God to know we can sing with all the saints: “Where exactly O death is your victory and Where O grave is your sting?”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing 15th chapter of Corinthians which goes into such specific detail about Christ’s victory over sin and death – on our account. I praise and thank You that because of His great sacrifice on the Cross and glorious, bodily Resurrection, we too are raised into newness of life in Christ – not only in this world but also into the eternal ages to come, where we will be clothed in our eternal, resurrected bodies – for when we see Him as He is we shall be like Him, for which I cannot, will not cease to praise Your holy name. Thank You, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Becoming More Like Christ; Comfort and Encourage: God Shows Through Our Experiences. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Amplified Bible

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [a]experience. And our [b]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Come! Listen! Let Me Tell You What My Savior Has Done For Me.
Psalm 66:16-20 The Message

16-20 All believers, come here and listen,
    let me tell you what God did for me.
I called out to him with my mouth,
    my tongue shaped the sounds of music.
If I had been cozy with evil,
    the Lord would never have listened.
But he most surely did listen,
    he came on the double when he heard my prayer.
Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear,
    he stayed with me, loyal in his love.

The writer of Psalm 66  wants to tell us his “GOD story” when he says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

The psalmist does not want to talk about his accomplishments or achievements.

The Psalmist wants to talk about what God has done for him throughout his life.

His life had not been easy.

He had been tested and refined like silver.

He had experienced many burdens.

But through it all God had been with him and by listening to his cries for help,

God had led him, guided him, directed him to “a place of abundance.”

Like the Psalmist, each and every one of us has a strikingly similar story to tell.

All of us can bear great witness to the weight of burdens we have had to carry.

All of us can testify to hardships in our lives—but also to the one irrefutable fact that God, and God alone, has always been there and always acted on our behalf.

We must make sure we tell our story.

We must make sure you tell about God’s presence in our life and about his amazing grace in the midst of our much diverse and various degrees of trials.

We must wake sure we tell, re-tell it to our children and our grandchildren.

Someone once said to me,

“If something were to ever happen to you, I am sure I would not know anything about any legitimate kind of relationship to God or His Son or the Holy Spirit.”

Don’t let that happen to you.

Start contemplating your story.

Start writing or telling your story today!

A story which begins with (Song by Bill & Gloria Gaither and Ladye Love Smith)

Days are filled with sorrow
Days are filled with sorrow and care
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Troubled soul, the Savior can see
Every heartache and tear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

and ends with ….

A repetition of this guided affirmation of faith in our Savior Jesus Christ ….

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Let Us Now Lift Up Our Hearts Unto Calvary Because Jesus is Very Near

I want us to imagine that we are each standing at the end of a long hallway.

The hallway represents the entirety of our life so far on earth.

To begin with, look down to your feet, where you are standing is todays date; all the way down at the far distant other end of the hallway is the day of your birth.

Now, just begin walking – please do not run, skip or jog or sprint or fast walk, Neither get on your skateboards, roller blades or roller skates or your bicycles.

Leave your car keys, your truck keys, your mini-van, your hybrid or EV car keys.

You are not driving anywhere – you are only and just walking with Savior Jesus.

Go outside of self and stretch your legs a bit, start working that heart muscle.

As you begin walking down the hallway heading back in your life, I want you to take notice of all of the notice various and diverse sizes of pictures on the wall.

These pictures are all of the “events” from your life; it’s like a photo album of your entire life which someone has taken the time to paint or print and hang.

Some are large framed pictures; they are the most significant experiences you have had so far.

Some are good; some are bad; some are happy; some are sad.

As you steadily walk down this hallway of your life, I want you to take a long and considered look at the content and context of all of these large pictures.

What significant events from your life do you see that stand out?

Is there a wedding?

The successful purchase of your first home?

The Birth of your first child?

Are there family vacations or sporting events pictured on the walls?

Is there an achievement like a high school or college diploma or an award?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – high professional achievements?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – your long awaited retirement?

Are there spiritual experiences like your coming to faith in Christ or a time God miraculously entered into your sub-conscience, especially touched your life?

Are there significantly painful experiences—a divorce, the death of someone you really loved, a failure, a betrayal, abuse, alcoholism, a difficult to care for child which leads to a hardcore challenging, difficult marriage, a significantly threatening health diagnosis, an over abundance of “no money,” an addiction?

Take some time now to walk beyond all of that, walk all the way to the end of this hallway of your, notice “self-portraits” in all these significant experiences in your life… contemplate, take notice of all the ones named “my aloneness.”


As I pray, for you like the Psalmist did, I plead with you to realize that all these experiences have actually shaped who you are today, whether you like it or not.

I pray for you to realize there is no time for self-blame, or blame God, He didn’t cause all of these hard things to happen, but did allow them to happen to you.

What GOD wants to do with us, within us, is to use all of these experiences–Good and Bad–to grow us spiritually and mold us into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus and to shape us for the unique purposes He has for our lives.

His intent is not to cause us any harm (1 John 4:7-12 The Message)

God Is Love

7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

By the unmeasurable enormity of this love He expressed through Calvary,

He does not intend nor want even one of our life experiences to be wasted.

With a very God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit specific long term intention:

Romans 8:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.  30 And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity].

God takes every single one of our life experiences—whether positive or painful, intentional or accidental, known or unknown, avoided or not, caused by you or by someone else, to shape all His Children for His unique calling in their lives.

Romans 8:28-30 may be, for some of us, the most personal verses in the Bible:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Your life experience and my own are one of the most overlooked ways that God uses to mold, shape, and transform us for the way He wants each of us to serve Him and others in this world, to edify, that is, to build up, His Kingdom alone.

The Bible says that God is working in every experience you have—our mistakes, our decisions, our successes and failures, our education or lack thereof, all of our different jobs, relationships, our lack of relationships, our unemployment, our disabilities, our marriages, our health issues, our finances—you name it.

God is working in every single thing in our lives—even in and through our own continued and continuous bent to our sins–to accomplish His purpose for you.

What Is The “God Specific” Purpose For Which God Is Even Now Working In Every Single Thing In Our life?

He is always working for the good in our lives.

Reverend Rick Warren puts it this way:

God can take the mess in our lives and bring a message out of it.

He can take the tests in our lives and create a testimony out of it.

He can take any crisis and show all of our Savior Jesus Christ through them.

GOD does not, never will, waste any experience any one of His Children have.

Moses murdered a man and had to flee into the wilderness between Egypt and Israel to save his life.

Some 40 years later God came to him in the vision of a burning bush and said, Moses, I have chosen you to go back down to Egypt to set my people free from slavery and guide and lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

Moses knew the wilderness; he had lived there, learned its ways for 40 years.

Likewise, as Moses did, that through God, not our wits, God wants to use the wildernesses of our lives to help guide others, to find God’s way for their lives.

Joseph, his father Jacob’s favorite, was conspired against, thrown down a well and eventually sold to merchants into slavery by his hyper jealous brothers.

He ended up a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but God gifted him and made a way for him to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and second only to the Pharaoh.

When famine threatened the very existence of God’s people, God used Joseph to plant, grow, harvest, store, manage the supply the grain that His people needed.

And when his brothers came to him starving, Joseph said to them: You intended to harm me, but God long intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the housing, settling and feeding, ultimately the saving of many lives.

But notice carefully God does not just do this for everybody.

God works His good for those who love Him and follow His plan.

The promise of Romans 8:28 is not for everybody.

God does not work His good in our lives when we don’t love Him or we turn our backs on Him.

It’s not that God turns His back on those who don’t follow His plan for their lives – God loves everybody, but He cannot help and use those who close their hearts, souls, minds, strengths and lives to Him and His plan for their lives.

One of the most common ways God uses our life experiences for good is to help others – to empathize, give comfort and encouragement while God works.

God can and does take each and everyone of our experiences, especially the painful ones, and turns them around, transforming them in a positive way.

Who better to help someone who is struggling than another person who has gone through the same struggle?

2 Corinthians 1:4 says, God, through Christ at Calvary, comforts and encourages us in all of our troubles so we can then, in turn, comfort and encourage others.

From Calvary then, when others are troubled, we will be able to reciprocate, to give them the same comfort and encouragement from Calvary God has given us.

Our troubles can become the very ministry God will use to help other people.

That uniquely painful experience in your life that you keep locked in the inner recesses of your soul could become your singularly unique, greatest ministry.

God has used the failures and hurtful experiences of my own life more than anything else to mold, shape and transform me exclusively for His purposes.

Those bad life experiences of my have helped me grow uniquely, spiritually.

Truthfully, in the good and happy times of my life, I have usually just coasted spiritually, taking God’s grace for granted that He will always, forever be there.

I have to see, from the long shadow extending outward from Calvary, and into eternity, God does not want me to allow my experiences to count for nothing.

I have to become the better person, through Christ, God needs me to become.

Now, it is my relationship with God which continues to keep me looking more forward versus more backwards, instead, a day at a time – Sweet Savior Jesus.

He was my Best Forever friend, much better than a brother I never had.

I was so “at ease, more comforted, more encouraged” with my Sweet Savior Jesus, stark comparison to the “disease of sin” I was struggling to recover from.

He truly brought wholeness to my life, an indescribable joy and immeasurable degrees of comfort that will always and forever be etched deep in my memory.

In His time on earth; Jesus had completed God’s mission for His life; and there is no doubt God touched uncountable many lives through him.

Through Calvary, by my walk to Calvary, My Sweet Savior Jesus helped me to see how life is supposed to be lived—in tune with my GOD and the Holy Spirit.

He helped me to find God and my family, the church to which my wife and I go.

On more than one occasion, the Bible says that God chooses to use weaker vessels to do His work so that He may get the glory.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul responds: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

God can help people more through their weakness than we can through our strengths.

That’s why we need each other; it’s why we need the supportive fellowship of the church.

You can learn from others who have gone or who are going through the same struggles you are.

Perfection, if we could achieve it, would help nobody.

What experiences have we had to confront in our own lives which GOD could use to help comfort and encourage others?

“I Thirst” and then “It is Finished”

John 19:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of [a]sour wine was placed there; so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a branch of] hyssop and held it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] [b]gave up His spirit.

At Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, At Calvary, the death of the perfect Son of God was the darkest moment in world history, but look back at the portraits in the length and breadth and width of your hallway at how God used Jesus’ death.

Jesus’ death atoned for every single one our sins and everybody else’s sins and made for each of us an unobstructed way back to God, into heaven when we die.

Out of Christ’s crucifixion, God brought to all mankind the ultimate comfort and encouragement – God brought salvation for all who trust and follow Jesus.

This is our hope in Jesus Christ!

On that first Easter Sunday two millennia ago, God brought life out of death.

Jesus Christ died, three days later he arose from the dead and is now a living presence among us right now— forgiving us, delivering us, shaping us, guiding us, loving us, living in and among us and wanting to use us for His purposes.

God can use all your life experiences, good and bad, to shape you for His unique calling in your life—if forego any resistance to any, all change, if we let Him.

Hebrews 3:12-16 Amplified Bible

The Peril of Unbelief

12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving [a]heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. 13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 14 For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today [while there is still opportunity] if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart, as when they provoked Me [in the rebellion in the desert at Meribah].”

16 For who were they who heard and yet provoked Him [with rebellious acts]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

“Today, while there is still opportunity, if we WILL hear His voice …”

“Do not harden your hearts again and again, with further acts of open rebellion …”

God’s Call and Invitation to each and everyone of us through Mount Calvary:

God has 3 callings in the lives of each and everyone of His Children:

(1) He calls you to salvation and a new life in Jesus Christ;

(2) He calls you to be an active part of His church;

(3) He calls you to serve Him and comfort and encourage others in the unique way He has gifted and shaped you.

Encouraging one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

Comforting one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

We live in a world corrupted by unbelief, sin, and, at times, persecution.

How can we stay firm in our faith?

Scripture gives us this recipe:

Comfort, Love, Encourage, and Daily Pray for one another.

In God’s grace, the Holy Spirit uses these acts of mutual and shared comfort, care and encouragement to guide us, see us, through the most trying of times.

When fellow believers are struggling, be quick to extend your helpful, sharing hand.

Be graceful and be generous.

Be gentle and be merciful as unto the Lord.

Be comforting and be encouraging.

Offer words of comfort and prayer, as well as tangible acts of help, encourage people around you, and be surprised by how much you are encouraged yourself!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Almighty God and my Everlasting Father, Lord of my life, I offer back my life to You. Everything I’ve been through, Lord, use it for Your glory. Jesus, I give You my all. In your name I pray and commit myself to Your continuing work in this world. Lead, Guide and Direct my Steps back towards Calvary from whence comes my Savior. That I may be a comfort as I was comforted, I may be an encourager as I was encouraged. For indeed, there is no other name under heaven through which mankind is saved.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

When We Feel Stuck, When We Are Not At All Convinced We Can Still Make a Difference With Our Life. John 21:15-19

John 21:15-19 Amplified Bible

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16  Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Our Times Are in His Hand

18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [c]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

(Psalm 144:4) Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a shadow that passes away.

Perhaps there exists something so natural to us we take it too much for granted.

Perhaps that something which so very natural to us is our time alive, our time allotted to us by God to simply breathing and moving and living on this earth.

Do we take the time to ponder exactly how Time is so precious — time with our families, children, parents, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ – With God?

How do we invest our time?

When do we invest our time?

Where do we invest our time?

With whom do we invest our time?

Why do we invest our time with whomever we invest our times?

You know, when it comes right down to it, getting back to the basics of life, our time with God and each other is really more valuable than the money we invest.

Once the present time and its opportunities are gone, they can’t be reclaimed.

So as we begin each day, as we look at the sunshine through the rain, perhaps contemplate “time management” “thought management,” ask God we will be able to “know His time,” to see it for what it is, to use it for its greatest good.

Irretrievably so, time – God’s Time” passes quickly, like the shadows of early evening, it’s not long before it is absorbed into the gathering darkness of night.

When We Feel “Forever Stuck” In The Moment?

From time to time, while in the process of drafting a new devotional, I find myself in a deep mental conundrum – my mind and my spirit seem to go blank.

The kind of blankness I so desperately want to escape, but as every cliched movie villain always says, “escape is futile, resistance to change is futile”

Sometimes the same conundrum affects me on an emotional level, even spiritually – what difference is anything I write about a particular subject I believe the Holy Spirit provides, going to make in anyone I truly care about?

I feel a certain way and don’t want to, but the villain tells me yet again, escape is futile – In other words, I’m feeling stuck in my moment- or so I tell myself.

The first kind of hindrance is writer’s block, something every author eventually faces during his or her artistic pursuits.

Then there’s the kind of barrier we can all relate to, where we’re looking for a change on an emotional or spiritual level, but find ourselves confused, maybe even miserable – we are longing for answers but find none – That’s a life block.

We encounter them in our relationship with God, with each other.

We find them on the job and at home and on vacations.

We find them in ourselves and of ourselves.

In other words, we contend with a seemingly insurmountable problem; but only to us, the problem is not seemingly, but definitely perceived as insurmountable.

We’re stuck in a moment of time, or in a memory, or so we will take great pains to try to sell it that way to ourselves.

Escape is futile, we keep talking to ourselves and therefore we come to believe.

Yet, the reality is, deep down, we know the movie villain is 100% exaggerating.

For the dramatic effect and for their audiences, they will always exaggerate.

There is a way through the barrier, a way to get unstuck, a way back to writing those stories, transforming perspectives, having the right perspective of God.

Though the frustration and confusion may be too deep, ceaseless, unrelenting, too aggravating, too anger provoking, the solution is simple and two-fold.

First, take a break; not in the sense of giving up, but in the sense of ending your striving.

There’s only so much we can control in our lives.

The sooner we realize this, the more peace we will find.

After you take a break, either wait or look for inspiration.

Sometimes finishing a devotional requires that I stop writing for ten minutes so that I can go for a walk or have a quick moment to wander around my home.

Sometimes finishing a devotional requires me to temporarily set it aside, to pray to God and then as God will’s it, come back after a day or longer.

That time off from the writing effort is useful for conjuring up, discerning new ideas, letting the Holy Spirit work and gaining insight from God or other people.

Creating distance from the problem at hand often helps with developing a more objective perspective.

The same applies when we’re navigating relational conflict, battling addiction, battling mental health issues, family issues or just trying to discern God’s will.

After we take a break from all the struggles of doing things our own way, we can find “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” inspiration for tackling our circumstances.

Proverbs 16:1-4 Amplified Bible

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

16 The plans and reflections of the heart belong to man,
But the [wise] answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions],
But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].

[a]Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him],
And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].

The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,

Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.

Inspiration comes only through our connection to God, sometimes through people, sometimes through nature, and sometimes through so much more.

Inspiration also finds us through God’s Word, the wisdom of the Cross, and a visit from Jesus helping us see with a perspective that doesn’t come naturally.

Stuck in His Guilt, Peter is Restored to Discipleship

John 21:18-19 Amplified Bible

Our Times Are in His Hand

18 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and walked wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and arms, and someone else will dress you, and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now He said this to indicate the [a]kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after saying this, He said to him, “Follow Me [walk the same path of life that I have walked]!”

On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had instantly revoked his discipleship.

Under threat of arrest and exposure and potential death sentence, by those in the courtyard he had denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus – each time he publicly proclaimed his denials more desperate than the previous one.

Luke 22:54-62 Amplified Bible

Peter’s Denials

54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [a]high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him,  “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

Again, to emphasis, the power of the moment, its deep significance, when he realized what he had done, he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75).

In that moment frozen forever in time, He was indescribably overwhelmed by incalculable shame and immeasurable guilt.

Luke 24:36-43 Amplified Bible

Other Appearances

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus Himself [suddenly] stood among them and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said, “Why are you troubled, and why are doubts rising in your hearts? 39 Look at [the marks in] My hands and My feet, [and see] that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see; a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” 40 After saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still did not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate it in front of them.

Even as Peter with the other disciples in the Upper Room, heard the words from the resurrected Jesus – “Peace be To You,” the question – “why are you troubled and why are doubts rising in your hearts,” having been offered the opportunity to look at the marks in His hands and feet, to even touch them for his own self,

We can say that Peter’s heart, despite all of the irrefutable evidence offered by the resurrected Jesus to the contrary, Peter kept significant doubts of himself.

He looked directly into his Messiah’s eyes when he betrayed Him and wept bitterly and inconsolably – only an exchange of words with eye to eye contact would make any significant and lasting difference which did not happen here.

Such a moment required utmost discretion couples with the utmost presence of God in Christ and the utmost intimacy and the utmost compassion, forgiveness.

Jesus comes to the lakeshore.

After breakfast, Jesus and Peter together, go much further down the beach.

Jesus quietly looked into Peter’s eyes and quietly asked Peter a few questions.

But the questions were not “What were you thinking?” “Why did you abandon me when I needed you?” or “Why didn’t you have the guts to stick up for me?”

It was simply “Do you love me?”

Jesus had died on the cross for Peter’s sins.

What Jesus wanted to know now was only whether or not Peter still loved him.

Peter’s sins were in the past; Peter’s expression of love would shape his future.

When Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,”

Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death and the Lord of life, graciously invited him to take up his discipleship again and forgiven, follow him into the future.

Doing the same with us, Jesus is astonishingly gracious.

He doesn’t bring up our past sins, betrayals, or infidelities.

He simply wants to know if we love him.

He simply wants to know, to hear He can still make a difference in Peter’s life.

He simply wants to hear Peter acknowledge he still believed in himself, in his ability to move through and beyond his transgressions, to make a difference in the lives he will come to engage with until his own death at some future point.

Did Peter believe, though still being stuck in the brutality of his mistakes, he could still make a significant difference, significant impact in God’s kingdom?

Forward through the Ages for Christ’s sake – for that makes all the difference.

Whatever horrendous mess you might be stuck in now, are you seeking Jesus?

Forward in His Forgiveness, Forward through the Ages,

Do you Still love Him as He still loves you?

Will you still serve Him as He first Served you (Mark 10:35-45, Luke 19:9-10)?

Micah 6:6-8 Amplified Bible

What God Requires of Man

With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]
And bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?

Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,
Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?

He invites us to go out and serve him today!

Steadfast and Immovable Gracious and Compassionate In Him.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Eternal God, please give me the wisdom to use the time given me today to do what is best, right, good, and profitable for Your Kingdom. I want to better invest my time in what is truly enduring and redemptive and transformative, living in and loving out from the depths of resurrection, from the depths of your mercy and forgiveness for all my sins. Please help me use my time to influence and bless all those with whom I may interact with so that they too are brought closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Remember The Root Command: We Are All Rooted in Christ, Unto Each Other: Abiding in Love into a Hurting World. Colossians 1:1-8, John 15:15-17

Colossians 1:1-8 The Message

1-2 I, Paul, have been sent on special assignment by Christ as part of God’s master plan. Together with my friend Timothy, I greet the Christians and stalwart followers of Christ who live in Colossae. May everything good from God our Father be yours!

Working in His Orchard

3-5 Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.

5-8 The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more. It’s as vigorous in you now as when you learned it from our friend and close associate Epaphras. He is one reliable worker for Christ! I could always depend on him. He’s the one who told us how thoroughly love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

It is wonderful when someone comes into the kingdom of God.

That person receives God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus, and they begin a new life of walking with the Holy Spirit.

The new believer realizes that their old life of selfish pursuits offers nothing that will ever satisfy.

They have turned their back on the darkness and are enjoying the light of the world, Jesus. Praise God for his love!

Paul is filled with thanks to hear that the people of Colossae have come to faith in Christ Jesus and are showing their love for all God’s people.

He even says, “We always thank God . . . when we pray for you . . .”

They have become wonderful examples of living by faith in Jesus.

They believe and trust, they love, and they hope in what God has already stored up in heaven for them.

Drawing all this together, we can witness and testify with Paul that the faith of the new Colossian believers was rooted in Jesus Christ.

But What of the Root Witness and Testimony of a More Mature Community of Faith Such as Today’s?

John 15:15-17 Amplified Bible

15 I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father. 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. 17 This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.

John 15:16-17 The Message

16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

The Bible is often referred to as a love letter or love story; an incomparable history of hearts laid bare, broken, hurting and taking great pains, believing.

Filled with incomparable songs of love, promises of love, and commands to love, God’s Word is clear – Love, rooted in Christ is our purpose, our mission.

I believe we embrace the Bible as a love story in no small part because the Bible shows us, testifies to us exactly and exactingly who, whose we are—sins and all.

It pulls us up by our roots, from the dirt and dust in Genesis through a far off cataclysm of warfare unto final victory through our Savior Christ in Revelation.

And yet, at the heart of it is still the refrain that God so loves the world, anyway.

It’s most interesting to note that although Jesus talks about loving God, your neighbor, enemies and more all throughout Scripture, he wraps his message of love in John 15 in that of abiding in him, even though the world may not love us.

He begins with the image of himself as the vine we draw sustenance from His roots and yet ends with the reality that the world will hate those who love him.

As he paints a picture of humanity stretching forth into the Kingdom of God, bearing fruit only by the power of the vine rooted securely in Christ, he says in John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

To be sure the importance of his command is felt, he says it again in John 15:17, with greater clarity:

This is my command: Love each other.

Or as the Message Bible states it:

“Remember the Root Command: Love One Another.

John 15:1-10 The Message

The Vine and the Branches

15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

Let’s note some general observations about how we each grow as Christians.

Let’s consider how our spiritual growth is gracious, gradual, and guaranteed.

One of the most important things we ought to notice about spiritual growth and wellness is that spiritual growth and wellness is the result of God’s work in us.

Though we each definitely have a critically important role to play, even our determination to flourish with the fruit of the Spirit is evidence of God’s grace.

The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers, inspires, stimulates our inner desire to grow in Christ, to stay rooted in Christ and to branch out from Christ alone.

Growth is gracious.

Growth is slow and steady and sometimes painful to watch and to experience.

As we watch the new sprouts emerge from the cold of winter into the spring, it takes a great deal of time and effort for that sprout to emerge from the branch.

But those new sprouts will emerge, will grow, will be nourished to full bloom only from the truest quality and quantity of the trees centralized root system.

We water the ground under the tree to give it a chance to grow deep and strong.

We fertilize the ground around the tree to provide additional growth nutrients.

Creator God does the rest underground where we cannot see, have any control.

Jesus is offering himself here, as he does for eternity, as our unseen root source of true, abundant life when our winterized lives requires us to re-emerge in the spring season, to choose to reach for the “Son-light”, choose love over death.

He is assuring us that we draw our ability to draw our nourishment, our love from Him—the only vine that makes our inept winterized branches bear fruit.

Without him, we wither and amount to nothing as he describes in verse 6.

The one who loves us so much that he gives his very lifeblood to reconcile us to our Creator knows…that as his followers, we’re up against a world of hatred.

So, he commands us: root ourselves to hatred or to love, to choose love anyway!


Remain in him.

Remember His words. And, as he says in John 15:10, “keep my commands.”

So, What Did This Look Like In That Upper Room?

Luke 24:36-43 New King James Version

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 [a]When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish [b]and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

What does this “Stay Rooted in the Vine” “Stay Rooted in Christ” look like for an imperfect human, a group of imperfect human beings, in a hurting world?

It often takes surrendering your perceptions of what being rooted in an agenda really means – rooted to the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of our enemy.

The resurrected Jesus Himself came and stood among His frightened disciples.

And the first words out of His mouth were: “Peace to You!”

Then to further settle the moment further: He asks, “Why are you troubled?”

The resurrected Jesus takes immediate command of the moment.

Immediately turns everyone’s eyes, ears, hearts spirits and souls to Him alone.

Away from their fear of everything external over which they have zero control.

40 [a]When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish [b]and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

For the disciples to respond, it definitely required a willingness to claim utter dependence on a love supply greater than any of them, and perfect in its plan.

It definitely required them to step away from themselves in moment of their gravest doubts and concerns over their futures – to consider sharing with their resurrected Messiah, a meal of fish and honeycomb, then to watch Him eat it!

We have to give our doubts and our fears and our brokenness permission to see the entrance of our resurrected Savior, hear His words of peace and of comfort over our paralyzing words of anxiety, our self-deprecating words of abject fear.

When Peace Like a River Attendeth our Ways and Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll, Welcome His Presence, Welcome His Words, Welcome His offer of a good meal.

Remaining Rooted in the Love of Christ, remembering to remain rooted in His Love involves our consciously seeking Him in our prayers when hatred prowls around, like a crouching lion seeking to rip away and to burn up our branches.

It means our crying, asking God for the wisdom to choose love, instead of hate.

It means overcoming, our seeing even those who hate us as needing love, too.

Does Jesus say to set those haters straight?

Does Jesus say to bear a grudge, go passive -aggressive, angry, rotten fruit?

Not at all. He later says in John 15:27 that in presence of hate, we testify.

By judging?

By dividing and conquering and failing at both?

By divisiveness?

By poking “sharp sticks” into each other’s eyes?

By casting stones and sometimes even boulders at each other?

Performing on a stage whose audience is waiting for the “last one standing?”

Well, In this passage, there’s only way – By remaining rooted in Christ’s loving.

Philippians 2:1-4 New King James Version

Unity Through Humility

2 Therefore if there is any [a]consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

So, rather than get our branches in a twist, and risk breaking off from the One strong enough to grow us, let’s not respond to the reality of hate with hate.

Let’s abide, by asking what the vine would have us do to show His love instead.

Friends, my prayer is we will have faith in Christ Jesus; my hope for us is, that in Jesus’ name we are loving others, giving ourselves up for them, and growing in hope in all that God has promised and Christ is storing up for us in heaven.

Remember the Root Command: Stay rooted in Christ,

Let’s abide, by asking what the vine would have us do to show His love instead.

Anticipating the reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 46 The Message

46 1-3 God is a safe place to hide,
    ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
    courageous in sea storm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
    the tremors that shift mountains.

    Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

4-6 River fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city,
    this sacred haunt of the Most High.
God lives here, the streets are safe,
    God at your service from crack of dawn.
Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten,
    but Earth does anything he says.

    Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

8-10 Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
    He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,
Bans war from pole to pole,
    breaks all the weapons across his knee.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,

    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.”

11     Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Will My God Ever Give Up On Me As I Have Given Up on Him? Luke 22:54-62

Luke 22:54-62 Amplified Bible

Peter’s Denials

54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [a]high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him,  “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

I remember a secular song popular many years ago called “River”.

To this day, lines from that rather somber Joni Mitchell song stick with me.

She sang, “I’m always hard to handle. I’m selfish and I’m sad. Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had.”

The words came to mind again this week while reading a post from a Christian who said, “I still struggle with being angry, ungrateful, and cranky.”

I added her words to what several people have written recently about Apostle Peter in today’s discourse from Luke 22.

As much effort as Peter made to assure and then reassure Jesus and the other disciples to never give up on Jesus – no matter the circumstances – He failed.

He failed in the worst way possible.

He failed himself.

He failed his friends and fellow disciples.

He failed his mother and his father

He failed to uphold every single thing he held to about his faith in God.

He failed his sworn and covenanted oath to God.

He failed his Messiah – denying him thrice times and very publicly.

When his Messiah needed and required him to be there for Him, as Messiah had predicted, before the cock crowed three times, Peter was nowhere declaring his his utmost confidence and faith in his Messiah nor his willingness to even die.

How much worse could it possibly get in that moment?

Then that fateful glance in the courtyard where Peter’s and Jesus’ eyes met after Peter thrice times emotionally, very publicly refuted his association with Jesus.

61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

They have preached this passage, taken a long look at this passage, been very self-introspective of this text as it was preached to them – and they CRIED TOO!

We can probably, without much effort, safely guess what emotions were going on in Peter’s much anguished heart and soul: “Will God Now Give Up On Me?!?”

They cried, proclaimed – “I was not there when my Savior needed me most!”

They cried and declared – “I got so very tired, so very much worn out by it all!”

The cried and declared – “I feel like I have simply given up on God, My Savior!”

They have likewise asked of themselves, “Will God ever give up on me?” 

Gravely worried because they think they have already and repeatedly done the one single thing that’s “finally too much for God to take,” they are feeling fear.

Many Will Worry About Keeping God’s Love

Now, their concerns aren’t just about their repeated failures toward conquering their anger, their fears, their broken promises, their ingratitude, or crankiness.

Some are worried about other things like unrelenting unswerving doubts, their waning and waxing faith, a fresh sin committed, or a repeated sin committed.

But, this lingering question comes rushing back to many people at different times, at too many inopportune times

Does God give up on us as we all too often give up on Him?

A significant question with what they believe has severe eternal implications.

I can safely confess here that despite what I staunchly believe is a steadfast and immovable faith – a “Superman Faith” if you will, I’ve certainly had that fear. 

Have you?

At times, I’ve wondered if I have let God down too much or too severely or made that “one too big a mistake” with the severest of eternal implications possible.

It hurts my spirit.

It puts a giant strain, an immovable millstone upon my heart and upon my soul.

I will simply never have the necessary knowledge nor the required wisdom nor any of the maximum allowable strength to even begin to move it or remove it.

Responding to the Lord’s “Once In a Lifetime” Look

Luke 22:61-62 Amplified Bible

61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

Two captivating stories are happening at the same time.

Inside the high priest’s court Jesus reveals his true identity as the Messiah.

Outside near the fire in the courtyard Peter denies his Lord three times.

Then the climax brings the two story lines crashing together.

Jesus’ eyes look directly at Peter’s eyes and quite literally changes everything.

Peter surrendered to the paralyzing fear of his faith’s ability at standing alone.

But fortunately Jesus enabled Peter to break out of the cage of conformity.

The rooster’s crow activated the alarm of Peter’s conscience.

Immediately he repented.

In extreme sorrow, Peter wept bitterly.

Do We Lose God When We Are Selfish and Sad?

As in Joni Mitchell’s sobering song, do we lose the best loved one we’ve ever had – our God and our Savior – when we are selfish and/or broken or sad? 


Absolutely Not!

It’s a guarantee that after we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we still won’t be perfect! 

And God knows that! 

Instead, we all have a lot of “cleaning up” to do even at that point. 

But, that is something only God can do in your life.

Yes, you and I must cooperate, we must be and remain willing participants.

The way we do that is to believe Him that He loves us and has changed us.

That He IS always and forever changing us.

And, in addition, you and I must learn, and re-learn, how to receive His love.

With regards to Peter and His coming to terms with his catastrophic failures;

Later in the Upper Room he reaffirmed his love for Jesus by being there and not running away, fleeing from His presence, when Jesus appeared to the disciples.

Still later, doubts intact, Peter is recommissioned as the Lord’s representative.

John 21:15-17 Amplified Bible

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16  Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

In John 21 we find that Jesus refused to let Peter cover up his unresolved past.

Three times the Resurrected Jesus asked Peter how much he loved his Lord.

And Peter asserted repeatedly, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus then empowered Peter, gave divine approval and permission, God’s own blessings, to just put his past behind him and walk confidently into his future.

Jesus’ aim is to come to us, bless us, reassure us, reconcile with and rehabilitate us whenever we feel the full weight of our millstones, when we fall from grace.

And our conscience can halt us before we yield to temptation.

But even when if we inevitably slip back into sin, God wants to restore us.

God does not stand behind home plate like an umpire at a baseball game with a great cloud of witnesses present waiting to signal and then shout, “You’re out!”

Instead, He comes to us on our lakeshores, draws us to Himself with kindness.

For us this means responding to the raucous alarm of our conscience, removing ourselves from the moment and place of temptation, repenting of our sin, give God permission to take our millstone, to reaffirming our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 13 The Message

13 1-2 Long enough, God—
    you’ve ignored me long enough.
I’ve looked at the back of your head
    long enough. Long enough
I’ve carried this ton of trouble,
    lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
    have looked down their noses at me.

3-4 Take a good look at me, God, my God;
    I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
    or laugh when I fall on my face.

5-6 I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
    I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
    I’m so full of answered prayers.

Psalm 139:23-24 The Message

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Lord, we read Your text from Luke’s Gospel and we know that your convicting look is filled with thy convincing, affirming grace. Thank you for your transforming power!

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Are The Disciples Asking Themselves: How Can We Know and Can We Trust God Will Keep Us in His Perfect Peace? John 20:19-23, Isaiah 26:1-4

John 20:19-23 Amplified Bible

Jesus among His Disciples

19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “[a]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

In those moments of the death and resurrection, behind those barred doors of the Upper Room, can we even begin to imagine those disciples’ state of mind?

Many of Jesus’ followers had scattered for fear of their lives, and his closest disciples were hiding behind closed doors in fear of the religious authorities.

Their much beloved Rabbi (“Teacher”) had been crucified and then buried.

They had walked with Him for three long years and witnessed much, they had believed in him as the Messiah (the “Anointed One”), their promised deliverer.

Now, “cast off” doubts came rushing in – had it all been “too good to be true”?

Sure, they had just heard Mary’s highly excited message that Jesus had risen.

Peter and John had run to see the now-empty tomb, but that wasn’t even close to being the same thing as what Mary had experienced – seeing “Jesus IS alive!”

Was Mary mistaken?

Was it all “wishful thinking?”

Standing at the tomb in the dark, in her indescribable, immeasurable grief, had she only imagined seeing Jesus, through tear stained eyes, in an empty garden?

Did she see only what her impossibly desperate state of mind needed, wanted, to see, that she might find the only means of coping with the unbelievability?

Had others taken the body?

And Mary could not “handle the gravity” nor implications of, that possibility?

Where was her Rabbi that believed in her when no one else had dared to believe?

Bad news can be so easily believable!

Good news can seem so easily unbelievable!

Crucified and buried men don’t roll away unmovable stones, walk out of graves!

Were they being asked to believe: “impossible” witness and testimony of Mary?

Jesus didn’t keep his disciples waiting long.

That evening, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”

He stood before them, and then He spoke these words to them.

He showed them his wounds.

He greeted them with a familiar blessing, “Peace Be With You.”

Jesus gave them the peace and presence they had been missing.

And they were overjoyed.

Things had not been the way they were supposed to be, but now they were!

Today we too celebrate that God is with us!

God’s Peace is With Us!

Christ has risen!

He is alive, and he lives in us! Hallelujah!

Peace is possible!

But, how can we know such a magnitude of God’s Peace through Christ is real?

I cannot claim any similar experience as those disciples in the Upper Room.

I do not know if anyone outside of those disciples in the Upper Room can claim the Resurrected Jesus just appeared to them in their homes or anywhere else?

So we read the post resurrection texts from the Gospels of Luke and John and because I believe in the Word of God for His Children, I “accept” their efforts.

But still, there are the questions being asked by everyone of this moment such a sequence of events are wholly, miraculously unique to the Christian experience.

How about our giving God, through Christ Jesus the benefits, prayers of doubts?

How about our confidence in the Word of God regarding “God’s Perfect Peace?”

How about our confidence in ourselves such a magnitude of Peace is achievable?

You know, actually believing more in the promises of God than the promises of our enemies rust laden promises which we grow fat on, we obsessively feed on?

How Can We Know God Will Keep Us in Perfect Peace?

Isaiah 26:1-4 Amplified Bible

Song of Trust in God’s Protection

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts.

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that [a]remains faithful and trustworthy.

“You will keep in [b]perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both [c]inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

“Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner],
For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

Peace is possible even in our stressful, troubled world.

In Isaiah 26:3, the Bible promises that God and God alone “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Here’s what it means to do that, so you can experience peace in any situation.

What Does ‘He Will Keep in Perfect Peace’ Mean?

Everyone who chooses to keep their minds steadfast because they trust in God can count on experiencing perfect peace while they do so, according to this verse.

That means you can enjoy a state of perfect peace as long as you focus your mind from beyond your circumstances to God, and trust him to help you no matter what.

As a result of choosing to trust God, you welcome God’s peace into your mind.

Some people chase after peace of mind from worldly achievements, such as through the wanton pursuit health and wealth and wellness.

Good circumstances may help you enjoy a temporary feeling of peace.

However, only God can actually provide complete and lasting peace.

God, who alone is perfect, is the only reliable source of peace.

Thankfully, God is willing to give that perfect peace to everyone who decides to trust him to provide it.

Trusting God involves being at peace with God through Jesus Christ since Jesus made it possible for all humanity to have relationships with God. 

Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: “For he himself is our peace” and Ephesians 2:17-18 points out that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

When we have that close connection to God, we can experience peace even during the most challenging circumstances, because “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

John Gills Commentary puts it this way:

“this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word “perfect” is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word “perfect” is not in the Hebrew text, it is there “peace, peace”; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day.”

What Is the Context and Background of Isaiah 26:3?

Isaiah 26:3 is part of a song of praise in which the biblical prophet Isaiah celebrates God’s trustworthiness to provide all that people need, including their ultimate need: salvation.

Isaiah sings about how Israel will be judged for their sins yet also restored by God, in his mercy. Isaiah predicts that God will save people from their sins.

Although people may sometimes be faithless toward God, God will always be faithful to his people, Isaiah emphasizes.

God is willing to redeem and restore, and his perfect peace enters the souls of all who decide they have worn out their trust in the world to just trust in Him.

So, Isaiah urges readers to trust in God.

He writes that it is “because they trust” in God that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast”.

The very next verse after Isaiah 26:3 emphasizes trust: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).

How Can We Be Sure That We Will Be Kept in Perfect Peace?

We can be sure that God will keep us in perfect peace.

The Holy Spirit will renew our minds whenever we ask for help doing what’s necessary to be at peace: focusing on God and trusting him. 

Romans 12:2 urges us all:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his pleasing and perfect will.”

The Spirit will help us access the perfect peace that God offers us.

Jesus promises in John 14:26-27:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Peace is one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, you can count on the Spirit’s help to do what Isaiah 26:3 calls you to do: trust in God with a steadfast mind.

A powerful way to pursue peace is to pursue wonder because experiencing wonder expands your awareness of God’s work in your life, and that gives you the assurance you need to trust God and be at peace.

And it can be a wonderful way for anyone to seek the perfect peace that only comes from God.

Here’s how it works:

Visualize Jesus on the cross, visualize the specific things that are troubling you.

Then see yourself walking toward Jesus and laying those things down at the foot of the cross for him to take care of for you.

Through a brief prayer, ask Jesus for help with every specific thing you’ve left there for him.

Entrust it all to his care.

See yourself walk away afterward, with your mind and heart open to receiving peace from Jesus.

Prayer ushers peace into your heart and mind,

according to Philippians 4:6-7, which says:

“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.”

Characteristics of God’s Perfect Peace

We can be confident that the perfect peace God gives us will last.

The temporary peace of mind we may find from good circumstances in our lives can relieve some stress and anxiety for a while.

However, the peace that God gives isn’t limited to certain times or tied to specific circumstances.

The perfect peace of God is much more than simply the absence of stress and anxiety; it’s a deep and abiding knowledge of being loved and cared for by God no matter what.

Although that peace is beyond our understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds, promises Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 139 describes how near God’s Spirit is to us at all times and in all places.

Verses 7-10 point out:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

We can be sure that we’re never out of the Holy Spirit’s reach.

So, we’re always able to access the perfect peace that God offers us through his Spirit.

After celebrating God’s sovereignty over all circumstances in life, the psalmist ends with a plea for God to renews his mind:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

That can be our prayer in any situation.

When we pray to experience God’s peace through a steadfast mind that is focused on him, we can count on that happening.

The Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith by renewing our minds, and peace will come to us as a result.

“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 explains.

When you follow the advice of Isaiah 26:3, you can be confident that you’ll experience perfect peace from God.

Simply pray and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind whenever you need help centering your focus on God.

The Spirit may direct your attention to a wondrous sign of God’s work in your life, or simply quiet your mind.

In the process, perfect peace will flow into your soul!

Perhaps that is why John added the words of John 20:22 to this narrative:

John 20:22 Amplified Bible

22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Words of Purpose!

The first words Jesus spoke to his frightened disciples after his resurrection were words of reassurance: “Peace be with you!”

Then he quickly gave them a renewed sense of purpose: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

With those words, Jesus was passing his mission on to his followers.

Perhaps you’ve seen a relay race in which one runner comes up behind the next and passes off the baton.

That’s what Jesus was doing here.

He was passing off the baton to his followers and saying, “Go! Finish the race!

Carry on the mission I began!

I ran the first leg; now you run the next.

Just as God the Father sent me into the world, now I am sending you into the world! Go!” (See John 17:18.)

18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned  and sent them (believers) into the world.

Later, Jesus would remind his disciples again of that mission:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

With whom can you and I share this good news of God’s Ultimate Peace today?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, Help me daily to remember you are indeed Lord of my life. You have the right to rule all that I think, believe and do. When I allow my mind to run to places that destroy my peace, remind me these are unauthorized thoughts. You do not want me to dwell on thoughts and emotions that contribute to unreasonable fears. I know my mind will remain in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on you; so Lord Jesus, let your peace rule in my heart. Remind me of the peace I have in the shadow of Your Cross and in your family, and I pray the Holy Spirit to teach me how to be thankful for those circumstances that cause me to run to you, focus on you, and abide in you. I never need to live with fearful, anxious thoughts. Truth is, you alone are in control!

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.