Romans 10:15 NIV And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Bold mine)
When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome when he said
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”. He was quoting from;
Isaiah 52:7-10 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the LORD brings back Zion.9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed jerusalem.10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. (Bold mine)
What's This Good News?
This is one of the earliest usages of “Good news,” or as we would say today “the gospel.”
The word "gospel" comes from the Greek word evangelion (translated in Old English as "good news" or "good spell"). The term implies and includes salvation - literally meaning, the message that saves us.
So what is the good news being proclaimed by Isaiah? Isaiah is talking about a time when Jerusalem is desolate. Its ruination was no accident—it was God’s punishment for Judah’s long disobedience. Before Jerusalem’s destruction, God tried to call his people back to himself. He was patient beyond all reasonable bounds. He tried to win them with kindness. He tried to warn them with discipline. But they would not listen.
Isaiah 6:10 (NKJV)10 "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."
Finally, He sent Babylon to deliver His punishment and destroy Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV)30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!
He even abandoned his Temple
In the first chapter of Ezekiel the prophet saw a vision of the glory of God while he was among the exiles in Babylon. In that vision God showed Him that He was abandoning the temple. Which was the place of God’s presence. It indicated that He had had it with Israel’s disobedience.
Ezekiel 10:3-4 (NKJV)3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court.4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory.
Ezekiel 10:18-19 (NKJV)18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
It seemed as though human rebellion finally overwhelmed God’s gracious plan to bless the nations and restore creation. But then Isaiah announces, “Good news!” What is the news? “Your God reigns!” God has not given up on Israel, so there is hope for the world. God promises a day when he will establish his reign on earth and bring about his great restoration.
Isaiah 52:7 (NKJV)7 How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
The figure who accomplishes this is an unlikely hero: a suffering servant.
Isaiah 52:13-14 (NKJV)13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;
This servant ransoms and cleanses God’s people with his own blood.
Isaiah 53:5-9 (NKJV)5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Kings and rulers mocked him at his death
Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Afterward they realized that his apparent defeat was actually His victory
Isaiah 53:12 (NKJV)12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
So they exalt him as king of kings and lord of lords.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That good news is that Jesus, the suffering servant, reigns! Jesus brought about his rule by defeating, cleansing and ransoming a people for God. Isaiah spoke of this messenger to Israel before he ever arrived. We must hear his message and trust it before it is totally fulfilled at the return of Jesus. Your God reigns. That's good news!
In my sermon and Bible Studies on depression I say that we have unrealistic expectations or others. “We should stop asking God to change the other person, because He won’t in most cases, but ask Him to change us and our attitude”. If we are always concerned about the way others interact with us, always maintain a victim mentality, and always blaming others we will never walk in the victory that Jesus promises (read my post “Do You Have A Victim Mentality”).
This is for a very dear friend of mine.
A Prayer For Healthy Boundaries
By Debbie McDaniel
Life is precious. Yet all too often, we may find that much of our time is spent around negative, toxic people, draining the life right out of us. Sometimes they’re co-workers, friends, or sadly, even family members.
God never intends for us to spin our wheels, waste our days, trying to make others happy who can never be happy. Because in reality, it doesn’t depend on us. It’s not up to you. They may want you to think it does, as if you possess the power to improve the value of their existence, but that’s not a burden meant for you to carry.
God’s greatest desire is to set us free. And sometimes what propels that change is for some brave soul to be willing to say, “Stop, no more.” One who will choose what is better, and learn to set boundaries that will protect and limit the control an unhealthy person might be placing on another’s life.
Sadly, when we look deep into the mirror of our souls, we may realize that we are the ones who have some unhealthy tendencies that God wants to change. Today’s a good day to stop wasting time in toxic patterns of living. For he has better in store for us.
He can accomplish great things through your prayers. He can move mountains. He can change hearts. Anything is possible through his great power. Understand that though it is never up to you to make someone different, he’s set you in their lives for a purpose, for a reason.
He loves you, he cares for you, and he has good in store for your future.
“So If The Son Sets You Free, You Will Be Free Indeed” (John 8:36).
Lord, Protect Me From The Abuse And Harm Of Toxic People. I Know You Desire To Set Me Free—Free From The Hurt Of Others, But Also Free From My Own Sin And Bondage In That Sin. Help Me Have Eyes To See Toxic Behavior Around Me And In Me… And Give Me The Strength, Courage And Resilience To Break Free From That Toxicity And Choose The Path Of Life. Thank You For Always Protecting And Guiding Me Lord. Thank You For Always Being Good, Gracious, Kind And Loving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Psalms 98:1-9 NRSV O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord , all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord . Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord , for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
Praise For What?
Praise to the Lord because of mighty deeds in the past, praise to the Lord the ruling King in the present, and a call to nature also to praise the Lord who will come in the future to set things right in the world.
The writer invites the gathered people of Israel to sing a new song because the Lord “has done marvelous things.” God has been acting through major events in the lives of His people, like the exodus, the wandering in the wilderness and the conquest of Canaan. The Hebrew word yeshuah translated “victory” comes up three times in this first section. It can have the sense as “rescue, salvation” as well as “victory.” It appears that this victory was of such significance that the whole world knew about it. !The word yeshuah can also be used as the basis for a proper name. The Old Testament name “Joshua” and the New Testament name “Jesus” are both derived from yeshuah.
This section of the psalm also contains another Hebrew word, hesed translated “steadfast love” referring to God’s unmerited and faithful love for His people. Psalm 136 repeats the word as a refrain some 26 times, one in each verse of the Psalm. That’s the word that comes up in the New Testament as grace, or in Greek, agape.
A Planet Full of Praisers!
The next section indicates who is to praise the Lord for the His marvelous deeds. The psalmist thinks big. He calls for praises to go out -- from the entire earth! Stringed instruments (the lyre) as well as wind instruments (trumpets, horns) are to be used. Not only all the people to praise God, but all creation is to praise the Lord because He coming to judge the world and He will judge it with righteousness and equity. Sin and its effects will not be utterly done away, till the Lord come to judge the world in righteousness.
Lyrics by Walter Hawkins
I will sing your praise
For you've done such a marvelous thing
For someone so wretched
Yet my soul you have redeemed
No one else could do it
No one could care half as much
Yet you thought my soul was worth it
So you gave your only son
You gave that I might live
You gave that I might be set free
Exchanged your life for mine
What a marvelous thing you've done
Some folks see my faults
Lord you see my accomplishments
Even the good work you have begun in me
You also see my finish
No not half done
Every battle already won
I can't help but praise you lord
For the marvelous things you've done
What a wonderful thing
What a glorious thing
What a marvelous things
Yes! it's marvelous
Oh! so marvelous
What a wonderful thing
What a glorious thing
What a marvelous thing
Luke 10:38-42 NLT As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
One of the major reasons of burnout is busyness. We put too much pressure on ourselves. We believe that we have to get everything done today, and that it has to be done our way. When we put that kind of pressure on ourselves and we can't get it things done then we stress out. Too much stress and then we burn out.
Busyness is today’s badge of success. We even carry this over to ministry, thinking the busier we are for God, the more He must be blessing our church, our business, or our ministry. But God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him.
Rest doesn’t come naturally to us. In order for us to truly rest we have to trust that God will take care of things for us. That includes all the ministry things that we do. We often use the fact that we are, in our words, “doing the work of the Kingdom” or we say “Satan never takes a day off so why should I?”
Yes, we are to work hard when we work
Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT2)23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
The Bible calls those who will not work lazy, Proverbs is full of sayings about being lazy and the circumstances from it.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. Proverbs 10:4-5 NIV
Proverbs 19:15 (NLT2) Lazy people sleep soundly, but idleness leaves them hungry.
But the Bible also calls those who will not rest disobedient.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NLT2)12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do.15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
We’re a culture that glorifies busy. It’s a mantle we wear with pride. When someone asks us how we’re doing, we respond with a “I’m good, but crazy busy.”
We seem to derive our value from asserting that we’re just so much busier than the next person. Our over packed, overwhelmed schedules actually give us a sense of pride, even a sense of identity.
When the fast food chain Chick Fil A decided that it would stay closed on Sundays, everyone was shocked. Sunday was the day that fast food restaurants made the most money. Today, the company generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast-food chain in the US, and it's only open six days a week.
God honors us when we honor Him with our time.
If you and I are too busy for prayer, then we are simply too busy. If we are too busy to read the Bible, then we are simply too busy.
Maybe you and I should reorder our priorities so we make time for the things that are important and not merely what’s urgent.
Gracious God, I marvel at the fact that You’re never too busy for me. Scripture says that Your ear is inclined toward me. Help me realize that being too busy to spend time with You actually depletes me and drains me of life and energy. Help me, Father, to always prioritize time with you. Amen
- From “Finding Rest In A Busy World” Reading Plan by Susan Narjala
Those of you that follow me on Facebook, Google+ or this blog know that over the past several months I’ve been writing about burnout. Whenever I see or find something that I believe the Holy Spirit wants me to share with you I published it in my blog..
In one of my first posts on burnout I gave you five signs that you may be headed for burnout;
We stress when we hide our hearts and go into survival mode, going through our checklists and ignoring what we need most: love.
Today I want to give you some more things to look out for to keep you from falling into the burnout pit. The eleven warning signs are excerpts, edited by me.
Some of you might be really alarmed right now because you’re registering eight out of eleven symptoms—or maybe all eleven. Some of you might be concerned for your spouse or a best friend because you recognize the symptoms in him or her. So what do you do?
If you show any signs of burnout, Get help. The best help will come from a combination of the care of a medical doctor and an excellent, trained Christian counselor (if you can't find a trained Christian counselor find a counselor anyway). Your medical doctor will help you figure out how serious your symptoms are, and a skilled counselor will help you identify the reasons and conditions that caused you to burn out. If you’re in a state of burnout or nearing it, I can guarantee that you have issues.
Get help! If you don't you’ll not only hurt yourself but those you love and those who love you.
Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!
You may be praying for something that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s for you, a friend, or family member to be healed of an illness, maybe it’s for a financial blessing, maybe it’s for a new job, maybe it’s for a spouse, whatever it is hasn’t happened and you are wondering if it will ever happen. Yes, you have faith in God and His promises but it’s so hard to wait.
Waiting doesn't mean just sitting around and doing nothing but waiting on God is active as we exercise faith in Him. While we wait never forget that God is with us as we wait.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
While we wait God may be working to put things in place for the perfect time. Waiting teaches us patience which will end in perfection.
James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
I am learning to wait patiently on God’s timing. I’m not there yet but I’m getting better.
What does waiting on God involve?
Waiting Means Resting
Resting in the Lord requires patience. That doesn’t mean doing nothing because patience is active. Patience requires an act of your will. You determine that you will wait on the Lord.
Psalm 37:7 (NKJV)7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
This is the psalm that we Christians like to quote
Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Part of the delighting ourselves in the Lord is waiting on His timing.
Waiting Means Listening
Actively listening for further instructions instead of running headlong toward our idea of a solution. We listen by reading and studying God’s word, talking to other believers, listening to the Holy Spirit during our quiet times with God. When we get further instructions then we follow them even if the instructions are to continue waiting.
Psalm 143:8 (NLT)8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
Waiting Means Accepting
When we wait we must accept what God is doing in our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Waiting Means Surrendering
Some of us may have to give up what seems like an immediate need and then resist the temptation to set our own timeline. Surrender the timing to God.
Ecclesiastes 8:6 (NLT) for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble.
Waiting Means Anticipating
Our waiting is purposeful anticipation that God will accomplish His purposes for our lives.
Isaiah 55:10-11(NLT)10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.m11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
How to Keep “Waiting Time” from Being “Wasted Time”
* Dr. Robert Jeffress
** Bold Emphasis mine
“In life, God will always work sovereignly, strangely, and slowly,” pastor and author Steve Farrar says. “He will take time, but He will not waste time.”
In this culture of ours, we have become accustomed to things happening quickly. Fast food. Online check-ins. Call ahead seating. One-hour photo processing. And while these cultural conveniences are minor in the grand scheme of things, they certainly haven’t helped us learn how to wait on the big things.
We’ve been praying for a new job. For healing from a dreadful disease. For God’s direction, His supernatural wisdom and discernment, a display of His power in and provision for our lives. We don’t understand why it’s taking so long for Him to answer. We don’t understand why we are having to wait.
But those who desire to experience an extraordinary life will learn the value of waiting on God’s timing.
Waiting time does not have to be wasted time. God often calls on us to take a time-out, because waiting has always been a part of God’s plan for those He uses in a powerful way. God’s most extraordinary servants have had to learn that significance is developed not on the playground of activity, but during the quiet recesses.
Elijah was one of these extraordinary servants. After Elijah’s initial confrontation with Ahab, God told the prophet to leave Samaria and go to the wilderness. “The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan’” (1 Kings 17:2–3).
Why would God send the one man in all of Israel willing to stand up to the godlessness that had gripped the nation to sit beside a small creek in the desert? I do not think it was for Elijah’s protection. God was more than capable of ensuring that no harm came to His prophet without hiding him in the desert.
Instead, God reassigned Elijah to the wilderness for two other reasons. First, Elijah’s withdrawal from the national scene was itself a judgment against the nation of Israel. Additionally, God would also use this parenthesis in Elijah’s ministry to prepare him for a great future mission. By isolating him in that uncomfortable place, God was teaching Elijah to trust Him in ways he had never trusted before. This deepening of Elijah’s faith was not optional, but essential for the future assignment God had in mind for His prophet.
Perhaps you are in a similar place in your life in which you feel cut off from others and even from God. Your Cherith may be the result of:
- the loss of a significant relationship due to death or desertion of another person,
- a moral failure in your life that continues to produce painful consequences,
- a poor decision in your finances or your career that has separated you from your dreams, or
fulfilling the mundane—and often unrewarded—responsibilities of caring for your family.
Although your present circumstances make you feel cut off from the life you dreamed of, God is using this experience to cut down your reliance on anything or anyone other than Him so you might learn to trust God completely. Learning to depend upon God fully is vital for anyone who wants to experience an extraordinary life.
During Elijah’s boot camp experience, God taught his servant three vital skills necessary for spiritual success—skills we must develop as well if we want to experience a significant life. These three skills are what we need to keep our “waiting time” from becoming “wasted time.”
1. Walk with God Daily
The path God calls us to walk is one of faith and obedience, not sight and independence. Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers with this truth: “we walk by faith, not by sight”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.
God is not in the habit of revealing His entire plan for our life all at once. If He did, we would race forward without ever feeling the need to slow down, listen to His voice, and wait on His direction. While God does not unravel His entire blueprint for our lives, He can always be trusted to reveal to us the next thing we need to do. Every Christian who wants to experience an extraordinary life needs to answer the question, “What is the next thing God wants me to do?”
For Elijah, God’s answer came through a simple command:
“Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan” (1 Kings 17:2–3). God did not reveal to Elijah what every day would be like at Cherith, the next phase of his training at Zarephath, or the daunting contest that awaited him on Mount Carmel. The Lord simply revealed to His servant what he was to do next.
What was true in Elijah’s life is true in yours. Usually, God only reveals as much of His plan for your life as you need today. Do not worry about what He has in store for you in the next year, the next month, or even the next day. “Tomorrow will care for itself,” Jesus said. “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt. 6:34).
2. Obey God Completely
When God recalled Elijah from the palace and redeployed him to the wilderness, he did not balk. Elijah did not dig in his heels and remind the Lord that He was the one who had dispatched him to Samaria on this risky mission in the first place. Nor did Elijah protest the unreasonableness of going into hiding when his influence was making such a difference in the culture. Instead, when the Lord told Elijah to pack his backpack for a camping trip, he obeyed instantly: “So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan” (1 Kings 17:5).
I think about the honest confession of my friend and mentor Dr. Howard Hendricks, who said, “The Lord and I have a running argument. I constantly attempt to impress him with how much I know. He constantly seeks to impress me with how little I have obeyed.” If a godly leader like Howard Hendricks struggled with obedience, then why should you or I be surprised by our difficulty in obeying God immediately and completely?
However, Elijah not only preached God’s Word to others but also practiced God’s Word himself. When God spoke, Elijah listened and obeyed. God’s prophet in hiding was a living illustration of what the New Testament writer James had in mind when he exhorted Christians to be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
3. Trust God Absolutely
God promised that He would take care of Elijah at Cherith. Though the means of God’s provision seemed unusual, Elijah trusted God without reservation. The Lord said to Elijah, “It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there” (1 Kings 17:4).
After Elijah found a spot to set up camp, the Lord dispatched ravens to feed His hungry prophet. Twice a day, morning and evening, those big black birds brought Elijah bread and meat, and he drank from the clear, clean water of Cherith.
1 Kings 17:6 (NKJV) The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
Every day Elijah experienced the truth one of Israel’s kings had written years earlier:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5–6)
If Elijah had chosen to “lean on his own understanding,” then he would not have retreated to Cherith after his initial successful encounter with Ahab. Instead, he would have embarked on a speaking tour throughout Israel! He would have called the people back to faithfulness, cajoling the nation to repent from its idolatry. He probably would have immediately challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel. After all, Elijah was a hot commodity in Israel. Everyone was talking about this up-and-coming unknown prophet who had the courage to confront the most powerful person in the nation.
But that was the very thing God did not want Elijah to do—not at that time, anyway. God wanted His prophet to regroup, rethink, and renew his soul. And in Elijah’s process of waiting for his next assignment and trusting the Lord to provide for his needs, God would refine and strengthen his faith.
Cherith seems like an odd place for a successful prophet to wait, but it was exactly the place where God wanted Elijah.
What about you? Are you where God wants you to be right now—even if it is in the waiting place? If so, He will provide. Not necessarily all at once, but day by day. Learn the lesson Elijah learned: trust the Giver of gifts more than the gifts themselves. Your waiting time will not be wasted.
** Dr. Robert Jeffress is senior pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, a Fox News contributor, and a member of the executive committee of the White House Faith Initiative. He is the author of the new book Choosing the Extraordinary Life, available now. Jeffress’ daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, is heard on more than 930 stations nationwide, and his weekly television program is seen on thousands of cable systems and stations in the US and in nearly 200 countries around the world.
Think about this for a minute. Those of us whose ancestors went through the degradation of slavery, the beatings, the separation of families, the total loss a personal and familial identity, ancestry and heritage we have a tiny idea of what it was like for Jesus when on the cross. He was beaten, and killed, not for anything that He had done but for all of the sins committed by all those before He came to earth, those committed during the time that He was on earth, and every sin that will be committed until He returns to the earth. Think about that and then think about this; God commanded that no Israelite be punished to the extent that he or she was degraded.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 ESV "If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty, then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense. Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.
Yet He allowed His Son, Jesus, to be beaten to a pulp and then hung on a cross with a crown of thorns to mock the fact that He was a king. God the Father allowed His Son to be degraded, to be treated or regarded with contempt or disrespect for you!
This is something that we as humans can’t understand. All that we can do is praise and worship the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit for His love, grace, and mercy.
After reading “A Prayer of Praise for the Cross” written by Mark Altrogge, I have an even greater appreciation of what really happened on the cross.
A Prayer of Praise for the Cross
By Mark Altrogge
“If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty, then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense. Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.” (Deuteronomy 25:1-3)
How merciful God was in dealing with Israel. A convicted man was to be whipped in the presence of the judge. But he was only to be given a number of strokes in proportion to his crime. The maximum he could receive was 40 stripes, so that he would not be degraded in the sight of his brother. Some crimes might have deserved more than 40 strokes, but God in his kindness did not want to see anyone humiliated in front of his brothers.
But he did not show the same mercy toward his Son.
Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (MT 27:26)
The ESV footnote for the word “scourged? says: “A Roman judicial penalty, consisting of a severe beating with a multi-lashed whip containing imbedded pieces of bone and metal.” These cruel whips would literally shred the skin of one’s back and sides.
God, who would spare a guilty man from excessive whipping so he would not be humiliated in front of his brother, did not spare Jesus from degradation. How dehumanizing it was when the Roman soldiers mercilessly whipped him, crowned him with thorns, draped a purple robe over his shoulders, placed a reed in his hands for a scepter, then bowed before him paying him mock homage. How degrading as they struck him and spit in his face. How degrading it was when they stripped him in front of everyone than crucified him like a criminal. How humiliating it was for Jesus to hang there gasping for air, while the crowd mocked and laughed at him in his suffering.
Jesus endured the ultimate degradation of becoming so identified with our sin that his own Father poured out his wrath upon him.
He did all that for us – guilty sinners – we deserved to be degraded and humiliated in the ultimate sense. To perish in hell for eternity. But when we believe in Jesus and call upon him to save us, instead of receiving the degradation we deserve, he clothes us with his righteousness, adopts us as his own children, crowns us with glory. What an incredible, amazing God we serve!
O Lord Jesus, you were scourged and humiliated and degraded for me that I might be lifted up, adopted as a child of God, and share in your inheritance. All glory, honor and praise to you.
Philippians 4:7 ESV And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Peace isn’t a given Today there is the fear of terrorist attacks and civil disorder. Fear created by those running for political office that pits races, religions, and those with different sexual orientations against against each anxiety over the economy, health scares over new diseases or old one for which there is no cure, fear of being alone, on and on.
Even though we Christians live in a world with all this fear around us and who go through the same issues or situations or circumstances as the world and who yes do become afraid, have been from God and that gift is peace. At those times I become anxious because I don’t think I’ll have enough money to pay my bills, eat, or deal with emergencies I pray and acknowledge my anxiety, but I also remember that at similar times I had the same anxiety and God was faithful to do what He said that he would do and I was no longer anxious. I had been given the gift of peace. The young man who leads a bible study at my church often reminds us that when we pray God may not answer right away or He may no answer in the way we envisioned or would like but we can be sure that He will always give us peace.Peace is a gift from God. It’s nothing we can earn. We can strive for it, pray for it, work for it but in the final analysis it’s a gift. If we accept it as a gift then and serve Christ knowing that then God is pleased and because we have become peacemakers through the Holy Spirit, people will be pleased with us also. For our part we should work to have the gift of peace work through me in the church and if others do the same we will all be built up.
Top 20 Bible Verses for Finding Peace
Written by: Brannon Deibert
Published: August 23, 2018
Peace is often sought but not always found in this chaotic world we inhabit today. In order to live peacefully, both internally and externally, we need a foundation of faith and appreciation. Throughout history, Christians have turned to the Word of God as providing this foundation of faith. Scripture reminds us what we have to be thankful for and what truly matters, as we frequently forget. In gratitude of this, here we have gathered 20 Bible verses for finding peace.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.
John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Philippians 4:6 ESV Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Isaiah 26:3 ESV You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Matthew 5:9 ESV "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
1 Peter 5:7 ESV Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Romans 12:18 ESV If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
1 Peter 3:11 ESV Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Romans 15:13 ESV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Hebrews 12:14 ESV Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 4:8 ESV In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Isaiah 12:2 ESV "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."
1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
Proverbs 12:20 ESV Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.
Galatians 5:22 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
1 Peter 3:9-11 ESV Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Proverbs 16:7 ESV When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Colossians 3:15 ESV And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Romans 8:6 ESV For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Psalm 46:1-11 (NKJV)1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth.9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
A Mighty Fortress
God is our refuge and strength - God is a place to which we may flee for safety; a source of strength to us in danger. The word, "refuge," is from nāṣāʾ a verb meaning to "flee," and then "to flee to" - or to take shelter in, a place to which one would flee in time of danger -like a wall; a high tower; a fort; a fortress.
Psalm 18:2 (NKJV) The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
The idea here is, that the people of God, in time of danger, may find Him to be what such a place of refuge would be.
Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
The word "strength" implies that God is the source of strength to those who are weak and defenseless; or that we may rely on his strength "as if" it were our own; or that we may feel as safe in his strength as though we had that strength ourselves. We may make it the basis of our confidence as really as though the strength was our own.
A very present help - The word "help" here means aid, assistance. The word "trouble" would cover all that can come upon us which would give us anxiety or sorrow. The word rendered "present" māṣāʾmeans, "is found," or "has been found;" that is, he has "proved" Himself to be a help in trouble. The word "present," as if he were near to us, or close by us, does not accurately express the idea, which is rather, that "he has been found" to be present, or that he has always "proved" himself to be such a help, and that, because of that we can trust Him. The word "very," or "exceedingly," is added to qualify the whole proposition, meaning that this is "emphatically true." God had always been found to be such a helper, and, "therefore," there was nothing to fear.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Lyrics by Martin Luther
A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.
Martin Luther wrote the words and composed the melody sometime between 1527 and 1529. It has been translated into English at least seventy times and also into many other languages. The words are a paraphrase of Psalm 46.
I’ve often wondered where I would be financially, spiritually, or emotionally if I had allowed the Holy Spirit to direct me. If I had heeded what it says in Proverbs;
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
When I look back I realize that I was either rebelling against what my grandmother thought I should do (she wanted me to be a preacher), or trying to be like someone that I thought was successful. I also took up some of the not so good things that I saw my father do. Still today I see the success
of many of my high school and college classmates and wonder why I was not as successful.
After reading the chorus of a song called “I Can Just Be Me” written by
Laura Story, I realized that I had just preached a sermon “God’s Masterpiece”, that had a real message that I didn't see until I read those words.
In that sermon, although I never said that you shouldn't compare yourself with anybody else, it’s obvious to me today that was one of, if not the major point of that message.
Here is some of what I said in that sermon;
What would you say is the greatest of His masterpieces?
You could give many different answers to that question. Many would say that God’s greatest masterpiece is the sunset that paints the evening sky or the millions of stars that twinkle so beautifully each night. Others might point to the majestic mountain ranges or the mighty, rushing rivers. And some might say the flowers that bloom in the spring or the many amazing creatures that populate our planet. All of those masterpieces are impressive, but none of them are the greatest that God has created.
If you are a Christian you probably saw one of these works of art already today . . . that is, if you looked in a mirror. Yes, YOU are the greatest of God’s masterpieces.
Each one of us is completely unique – there will never be anyone just like you. God knows all of us personally with all our strengths and weaknesses.
David said in
Psalms 139:13-14 NASB For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
God has a plan for us, even before we are conceived
Jeremiah 1:5 NASB "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations"
According to Scripture, there is a unique and custom-designed plan that God has in store just for those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ.
A masterpiece, when talking about a poem or work of art indicates that it is perfect.When I look at my life, I guarantee you that I don’t see perfection. When we see ourselves, we tend to see our flaws. We see so many things that need to change.Yet God says, that you are His workmanship. “You are my work of art. You are my poem. You are my masterwork.”
Ephesians 2:10 ESV For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God is not like a doting father who’s oblivious to his child’s faults. Rather, He is your all-knowing, yet all-powerful Father in heaven who can see what you will be when it is all said and done. God can look at you and can see what you will become before you have actually become it. We look at ourselves and say, “I don’t get it. This doesn’t look like a perfect person. This doesn’t look like a work of beauty.” , but God sees you through the lens of Jesus’ work on the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NASB Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
That's how God sees you. He sees you as the righteousness of God through Christ.
You are a masterpiece that is a work in progress. It is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It is going to take all of your life on Earth. It won’t be completely finished until you get to heaven.
Then you will see that you indeed are a perfect work of art — God’s masterpiece. God has created you to be a masterpiece so that He could show you off! He has a plan and purpose for you. He wants you to be that showpiece everyone talks about. The next time you look in the mirror say it out loud for your brain to capture. “I am God’s masterpiece!”
Lyrics to “I Can Just Be Me”
I've been doing all that I can
To hold it all together
Piece by piece.
I've been feeling like a failure,
Trying to be braver
Than I could ever be.
It's just not me.
So be my healer, be my comfort, be my peace.
Cause I can be broken, I can be needy,
Lord I need You now to be,
Be my God, so I can just be me.
I've been living like an orphan,
Trying to belong here,
But it's just not my home.
I've been holding on so tightly,
To all the things that I think
Could satisfy my soul.
But I'm letting go
So be my father, my mighty warrior, be my king.
Cause I can be scattered, frail and shattered,
Lord I need You now to be,
Be my God, so I can just be me.
Cause I was lost in this dark world
Until I was finally found in You
So now I'm needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord, be all to me
And be my savior, be my lifeline, won't You be my everything.
Cause I'm so tired of trying to be someone
I was never meant to be
Be my God
Please be my God
Be my God
So I can just be me
So I can just be me
I can just be me.
Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Laura Story
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.