Tag Archives: Peace

Sleepless Nights Can Become Restful Ones

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Are You Afraid? Get Encouraged

A number of folks are finding their way through a fearful season right now, and the Bible offers encouragement for handling our fears. In this episode, we'll take a look at a Biblically suggested response to fear. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://getencouraged.blog/2021/01/14/are-you-afraid/ — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/chris-miller046/message
  1. Are You Afraid?
  2. 3 Keys to Remember Amid Suffering
  3. Personal Guidance
  4. Sleepless Nights Can Become Restful Ones
  5. 4 Reasons the Tomb is Empty

Sleepless nights; you’re lying there, tossing and turning. Your mind is focused on the problems of the day; they are certainly enough to keep you awake at night. From the financial struggles of a pandemic to the decision about a new job, it seems the world’s troubles are prowling outside your window just waiting for an opportune time to pounce. Fear and insecurity are the dominant feelings of the evening, but Solomon reminds us they need not be.

He writes in Proverbs 3:

“You can go to bed without fear;
    you will lie down and sleep soundly.
 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
 for the Lord is your security.
    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.”

Our trust in the Lord can bring us security. It can bring confidence of knowing he has everything under control. Just look at how he’s handled problems in the past.

  • The people of Israel were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, so the Lord’s solution was to part the sea, giving the Israelites a dry way across.
  • When Israel was in the desert with no food or water, God solved the problem by dropping Manna from Heaven and providing water from a rock.
  • The Lord sent ravens to feed Elijah, Naaman to the muddy waters of a river, …

And a baby to a manger to solve the biggest problem mankind has ever experienced. Mankind separated from God because of sin was the problem, and God’s solution was his son, Jesus. The Bible says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” The Lord has been a master at problem-solving.

Each problem has been met with confidence, security, and compassion. Each one solved in a way only God could. The same God who took care of these problems is watching over us. He is handling our troubles with as much attention and detail. From the smallest of troubles to the biggest of problems, God solves each one in a way only he can. We only need to trust him.

As the Psalmist says in Psalm 91:

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

Troubles and problems are almost a guarantee. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced these types of seasons in life. If we trust him, the Lord’s security is also a guarantee. He will put his master problem-solving skills to work, and those sleepless nights can become restful ones. Psalm 4:8 concludes, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”

Peace in Uncertain Times

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They were afraid. The last hours and days have been anything but restful. Some in the group narrowly escaped fighting and arrest a few nights ago as an angry mob arrested their leader Jesus. They watched as the mob had him tortured and executed. They know his tomb is empty, but they are unsure of how or why. Thoughts of peace are replaced with a constant wondering about the next happening and how to get away from those who are against them. They do not know who is the next to be arrested or even worse, so they are gathered behind locked doors in a secret location plotting a path forward.

The disciples are consumed by fear and anxiety, but Jesus does not leave them alone. John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

As the disciples are sitting in an anxious and fear-filled room, Jesus shows up to bring peace. The peace Jesus brings to the disciples is for the past, present, and future. They are surrounded by uncertainty, yet Jesus says they can have peace. And, the peace Jesus brings on this night is the same peace he offers to us.

We live in uncertain times. Some folks struggle with letting go of past mistakes, while others are fearful of the future. To all though, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus offers peace with God. Through his work on the cross, Jesus bridged the gulf between man and God.  Scripture helps us understand.

  • “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us,” points out Paul in Ephesians 2:18.
  • He writes in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
  • And Romans 8:1 proclaims, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Because of Christ, we can have peace with God. Yesterday’s mistakes are forgiven and forgotten, so we don’t need to feel guilty any longer. Just look at what he did for Peter.

Peter boldly stated he would never deny Jesus; he would follow him to the very end, but when pressure mounted, Peter crumbled. He denied Jesus not once but three times, and after the third time, Mark says, “Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.” Peter knew he made a mistake. The Lord also knew Peter made a mistake, yet Jesus brought Peter peace. He was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples, and the Gospel writers tell us Jesus appeared to Peter earlier in the day, restoring their relationship. Peter did not have the power to make peace with God, so Jesus did it for him.

To spite his failures and all that Peter had done wrong, Jesus brings him peace with God. Can you imagine the relief Peter must have felt?

What about you? You know you’ve made mistakes; perhaps you remind yourself of it daily. The Lord also knows you’ve made mistakes, yet Jesus comes bearing the greeting, “Peace be with you.” You and I did not have the power to make peace with God, so Jesus did it for us. To spite the failures and mistakes of the past, Jesus gives us peace with God, and he freely gives it to us. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you a gift,” and that gift is peace with God.

It is in knowing the Lord is walking with us that we find peace for the future. Again, Scripture helps us understand.

  • “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” writes Paul in Philippians 4:7.
  • Notice again Jesus’ words in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Because of an empty tomb, you and I can have peace even if it is a turbulent time. The world may be swirling around us, but no matter what happens, the victory is ours through Christ. Remember the promise of Romans 8:37, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Jesus isn’t leaving us alone to struggle. He is coming along side us and saying, “Peace be with you!”

a long-awaited promise

A promise was made for many years. The promise was made through such people as Nathan, Isaiah, and David. God himself made the promise in the Garden of Eden, and when its fulfillment was close, the angel Gabriel was given the task of announcing its arrival. The promise is a Savior. Someone to help us in our time of need. We can celebrate because the long-awaited promise was delivered on Christmas.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways through our ancestors the prophets, and now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in Heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Jesus is the one for whom many generations waited. He is the one they knew would be coming, and for us, we can say he has come. Jesus is God with us to save us. In his coming, Jesus brings life, help, peace, forgiveness, and hope to us.

Life

  • “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full,” Jesus says in John 10:10.
  • Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Because God’s children are human beings, made of flesh and blood, the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”

Help

  • Hebrews 2:16 says, “We also know that the Son did not come to help angels. He came to help the descendants of Abraham.”
  • Hebrews 2:18 says, “Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing he is able to help us when we are being tested.”

Peace

  • Philippians 4 encourages us to allow the peace of God, which goes beyond our understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Forgiveness

  • Hebrews 2:17-18 says, “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.
  • 2 Corinthians 5 reminds us that God made him with no sin to be our sin so that we could be made new in him.

Hope

  • Jesus reminds us in John 14 he is going to prepare a place for us. When it is ready, he will come back to take us with him.
  • 2 Corinthians 4 says our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that will far outweigh them all.

The long-awaited promise has been fulfilled. God gave us Jesus for Christmas. Take a moment to thank God for his gift today. Take a moment to thank him for his goodness.

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baby brings comfort and peace

New parents learn of the impact their child will have on the world.

Just a week ago, these parents found rest in a stable as there was no room in the inn. Today, their son turned eight-days-old, so it was time for his circumcision. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to fulfill the law, and while there, Simeon came up and scooped the baby from Mary’s arms. He took the child in his arms and praised God.

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon grabs Jesus from Mary’s arms and begins praising God for good reason. From their perspective, things were not exactly going well for Israel. They hadn’t heard from God for about 400 years and were living under Roman rule. They had lost their political independence and were living under the rule of the capable, crafty, crazy, and cruel king Herod. Many were waiting and wondering if the Messiah would ever come.

Moved by the spirit that day, Simeon went to the temple to see the Messiah. Simeon understood this baby in his arms was the Comforter. The need to be comforted is a universal human need. We all struggle with emptiness, loneliness, insecurity, and desperation. It seems depression spikes this time of year, but here’s the comforter. This young baby in Simeon’s arms. Simeon sees the one who has come to make it alright. The one who has come to bring comfort to the world.

Simeon sees the one who has come to bring peace. Life is always in an uproar. Circumstances are always arising in an attempt to steal our peace, yet this baby brings peace. Paul asserts this peace transcends all understanding. Christ, Christmas, brings peace.

Can you relate to Simeon? Are you hurting and uneasy? 2020 has been filled with much hurt and great anxiety, but Christ can provide comfort and peace. Take a moment to find and reflect on the comfort and peace you have in Jesus Christ.

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don’t miss christmas

A father and son enjoyed collecting art. They enjoyed attending art auctions together, and the two had amassed a stunning collection. Paintings by famous artists lined the walls of their living room, and the two spent much time pursuing their hobby.

One day the son received word he had been drafted, and he was to report to basic training before heading overseas. A few months later, early December to be exact, the father received news his son had been killed.

Still absorbing the shock, the father decided to spend Christmas day alone, but as he was sitting in his easy chair, there was a knock at the door.

The man opened the door to find a tall, young man standing there with a package under his arm. “Good morning sir,” the young man said, “may I come in?”

The father invited the young man into the house, and the young man began to explain, “I knew your son. I’m actually the one he was saving when he was shot. I know you like art as I do, so I wanted to give this to you.”

He unwrapped the package to reveal a portrait of the father’s son. “It is not the fanciest painting. I did it myself, and I thought you would enjoy having it.”

The father quickly jumped up to rearrange his collection giving the portrait of his son a prominent place. He placed it above his fireplace directly across from his easy chair. The father could gaze upon his son every time he sat in the chair. The father and soldier spent Christmas day together talking and laughing before parting ways.

Years later, the father passed away, and he left instructions in his will to have his art collection auctioned on Christmas day. Many collectors from around the country arrived to bid on the collection.

The crowd was upset when they realized the first painting on the block was the portrait of the father’s son. The auctioneer tried to move the painting for several minutes before a neighbor finally bid $10.

“I knew the boy, so I’d like to have the painting,” the woman said.

“Going once. Going twice. Sold,” came the auctioneer’s voice as the crowd cheered wildly.

“Now we can get on with the good stuff,” they snorted, but they were shocked when the auctioneer slammed his gavel declaring the auction over.

“How is it over,” the crowd demanded. “We didn’t even have a chance to bid on the good paintings.”

The auctioneer explained the father’s instructions were to give the whole collection to the person who bought the portrait of his son.

God’s Christmas Gift

Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own son, but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Don’t miss the true gift of Christmas.

People search for peace and hope in many places. Shiny packages of all kinds contain promises of peace and hope, but they are empty or fall short. True peace and hope are found in God’s Christmas gift. “Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you,” the angel told the shepherds. He is Jesus.

As you hustle and bustle this year, take a moment to find and reflect on the true gift of Christmas. Whoever gets the son, according to God, gets everything else.

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Peace and Strength

Out of his power, God grants peace and strength.

Peace and strength are always in demand, especially right now. We need peace as we navigate everchanging surroundings. We need strength to walk toward the unknowns of the future. The Bible tells us the Lord will give us both.

Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”

This is the same Lord described in Psalm 29 as powerful and majestic. He spoke creation into existence; everything came from nothing simply by his voice. He calms storms; nature acts as his symphony. His power and majesty are greater than any other, and he grants you and me peace and strength.

Take a moment today to reflect on the Lord’s power and majesty. Allow the Lord to give you strength and bless you with peace today.

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Confidence, Peace, & Promise

Psalm 91 offers encouragement in uncertain times.

Life is uncertain. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Thankfully, we are not alone. Psalm 91 offers confidence, peace and a promise.

Confidence

Verses 1-3 encourage, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge. My place of safety. He is my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from any trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

Our confidence comes in trusting the Lord. He has our back, and he is going to protect us. Our confidence can give us peace.

Peace

Verses 5-6 say, “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”

Along with having confidence in the Lord, we can find peace in him. The Lord will help us through whatever life throws at us.

These verses do not mention specific adversities. As Christians, we can insert the difficulty which we are experiencing. Lost jobs, financial struggles, a struggling economy, and any other adversity can be inserted. The Lord will help us through it. You and I can find peace in the Lord’s promise.

Promise

“The Lord says,” records verses 14-16, “I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

The Lord’s promise is to anyone who trusts him.

As we face the uncertainty of today and the unknown of tomorrow, we can have confidence and peace because of the Lord’s promise.

 

 

3 Reasons God is Our Refuge

Psalm 46 confidently proclaims the Lord is our refuge.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Here are 3 reasons God is our refuge.

1. God is our salvation.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ, our Lord, has done for us.”

2. God is our safety net.

Romans 8:35 asks, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened with death?”

Verses 37-39 answers, “No, to spite all these things overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And, I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God has our back. When everything else around us crumbles and falls, God stands strong and keeps us safe. Financial markets may crash, retirement funds may plummet, illnesses may come, but the Lord holds us safely in his refuge.

3. God is our strength.

Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

It doesn’t matter where we are; whether we have plenty or are lacking, The Lord gives us strength to get through the situation.

“Be still and know that I am God,” the Lord says in Psalm 46, “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’ The Lord of heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.”

With God as our refuge, we can have peace. This is a peace which transcends human understanding.

Philippians 4:7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

As things shift and move around us today, we can enjoy the peace given to us by being in the Lord’s refuge.

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