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Sunday, August 7, 2022 - August 7th Peace Be Unto You

(John 20:19) “Peace be with you”
As Christians we look forward to the return of Jesus Christ, knowing that we will be reunited with our Saviour, Lord, and King.
While we wait for that, we endeavour to hold onto and obey His last words that He said before He ascended into Heaven to go back to “the right hand” of God the Father.
The Gospels record several visits that Jesus made to many people after the Resurrection, including one to His disciples gathered together in secluded room.
At that visit He said many things to them, including the phrase, “Peace be with you.”
It was a common greeting among the Hebrew people during that period of history, but it also had significance when Jesus said it after the Resurrection.
He was both greeting His friends, and encouraging them that God’s peace would be with them at all times.
The word for peace that Jesus used in this meeting with His disciples comes from the Hebrew word by eiréné. 
It was a feminine noun generally used to mean, “peace”, as in “peace of mind”; or an “invocation” of peace, which was a common Jewish farewell, in the sense of blessing, or wishing continued good health and or welfare upon an individual.
The modern Hebrew word that is commonly used for this greeting, and is still used today, is “shalom”.
John chapter 20 recounts the resurrection of Jesus Christ after He died on the cross for the sins of the world, and several of His “appearances” to His followers.
The phrase “peace be un to you”, is found three times as Jesus makes Himself known to His disciples.
He issued it both as a greeting, but as an assurance to them as well.
During His first encounter, (John 20:19) says “On the evening of the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were gathered for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’”
To show them He was Himself, and probably to calm them down, He showed them His nail-pierced hands and side, and the scars He still bore from the whipping he had endured at the trial before the cross.
The second time He said it, was when He instituted “the Great Commission” saying “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, He breathed upon them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”
When Jesus said “Peace be with you” that second time, He more than likely was indicating that “the Father’s peace” was going to be with them in a more permanent and sustainable way after He ascended.
At that moment, He gives them “the Holy Spirit”, and begins the process of instituting the church.
And at that same moment, He “empowered” those there to begin to do miraculous works acting in His name.
The Holy Spirit is also called “the Comforter” in many translations of the Bible, because it is God’s permanent presence with in the believer, bringing peace that passes all understanding.
Not all of the remaining eleven disciples were present that day when Jesus appeared in the room with the locked doors.
Thomas was not present, and did not believe the others when they told Him about the incredible moment, and the miraculous resurrection of Jesus.
So later, when Jesus appeared before them with Thomas in the room, He once again repeated the greeting.
(John 20:26-28) “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 
Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side.
Do not disbelieve, but believe’; Thomas answered him saying, ‘My Lord and my God!’”
Here, again, this phrase most likely served as a common greeting, as well as an extension of God’s peace for Thomas to hold onto, despite the troubled times he was going to face.
(John 14:27) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” 
Even before His crucifixion, Jesus was letting His disciples know that He would be sending them an “ever-present” peace in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
He assured them of a complete peace, one that would come from Heaven and be with them regardless of what was going on in life or in the world.
While many Christians today, especially those from gentile, non-Jewish backgrounds do not use “shalom” as a greeting anymore, Jesus’ use of it, can still be an assurance for all of us.
When Jesus speaks of peace, He speaks of eternal salvation, of God’s love, and the assurance of His love.
The Holy Spirit brings peace because of these things, assuring and guaranteeing the believer of their relationship with God in Christ.
For anyone who does not have this peace, but wishes to have it, there is only one way to receive it.
The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
People are separated from God and lack His peace because they are sinful, and cannot perform any works “good enough” to erase the wickedness from their own hearts.
(Ephesians 2:8) says “for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast”.
Romans 3:10 says “there is none righteous no not one”
Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and after living a sinless life, he died as a sacrifice, to pay the price for our sins.
His death and shed blood is what bought our redemption and deliverance from the judgment and the reproach or penalty of sin.
Anyone who repents of sin, and accepts and confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord; and that His death and resurrection has provided salvation, freedom and deliverance from the penalty of sin; can have eternal life and a relationship with God, knowing His peace forever.
Good day!
Saturday, August 6, 2022 - August 6th 2022 Living Examples

(Ephesians 4:29) "Don't use...abusive language."

The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live”. (Ephesians 4: 29-30).

Remember what was said to Peter the night Jesus was being tried? (Matthew 26:73) “Your speech betrays you”

I wonder how many people around us realize or know that we are Christians or followers of Christ because our speech betrays us.

I'm talking about our speech, our lifestyle, our interests, what we allow our selves to watch or be found engaged in.

The bible tells us we are known and judged by our deeds or personal lifestyle. (Romans 2:6-11)

When you lash out in anger, you not only hurt other people, you grieve the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever considered that, as followers of Christ, we are called to be "peacemakers", trying to understand what other people around us need, and then try to fulfill those needs as best as we can.

That means not bringing up previous offenses, dragging in other people, or using wisecracks about someone’s weight, color, IQ, or physical, mental, or emotional limitations.

When we bring up things in the lives of other people that "cloud the issue", it keeps us from “finding solutions” to issues causing grievances.

God made us with a capacity for emotions like anger, because when handled right anger can be a passion or the fuel needed to bring positive change and medicine that heals.

So when you are found in a heated dialogue or discussion, here are some points to help you bring about "resolution" rather than a war of words.
(1) Seek a solution, not a “victory.”
Name calling and “diagnosing” others just makes things worse. Your focus shouldn’t be on what they did, but what you can do together to resolve it.
(2) Acknowledge your flaws and ask for forgiveness.
Admitting your imperfections makes it easier for the other person to admit theirs.

(3) For every difficulty you address, give a sincere compliment. Instead of criticizing, try saying, “I’m sure this wasn’t easy for you to hear. Thanks for listening to me so graciously.”
The scripture says in (John 13:35) that as believers “we will be known by our love for one another”.
Jesus said “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love for one another” (John 13:34)

Being "solution focused" instead of "blame focused" gives people something to live up to, not down to.

And gives your "Christian witness" power, rather than irritation.
So let me throw the challenge out today, what betrays your witness today love or foul abusive sarcastic speech?
Good Day!

Friday, August 5, 2022 - August 5th 2022 Personal Ethics

(Matthew 7:12) "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.’
We all know this text as the "Golden Rule", but I wonder just how much
effort do we put into practicing it.
Lets face it, it’s not easy going the extra mile for others, especially if they
are abusive, or continual takers.
Try to describe yourself based on one of these statements:
(a) I’m always ethical. (b) I’m mostly ethical. (c) I’m somewhat ethical.
(d) I’m seldom ethical. (e) I’m never ethical.
Which statement describes you?
If we are truthful, most of us would likely put ourselves in slot (b).
Why? Because of "personal convenience”,  
Think about it.
Paying the price for success is inconvenient.
Putting others first is inconvenient.
Practicing personal discipline is inconvenient, and risking confrontation is inconvenient.
In fact there isn't much in life that is convenient when it comes to fulfilling
the Golden Rule.
Most of us think being ethical is fine - unless we’re on the losing end of somebody else’s ethical lapse.
But if you’re serious about establishing an ethical standard to live by, you need look no further than the Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:12)
There are some very worthwhile reasons why we should practice ethical
living and sacrificial living.
1) It brings peace and self-worth.
When all is said and done, you need to be able to live with yourself!
Because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
If the only way you can win is by cheating, you lose self-respect, fear being exposed, lack confidence in approaching God, and your successes feels hollow.
2) It results in a win-win.
Are you the kind of person who thinks that in order for you to win, somebody else must lose?
Believe it or not, that philosophy doesn’t work.
When you treat other people the way you want to be treated, they win; and when they reciprocate, you win. There are no losers.
3) It’s easy to understand.
You simply put yourself in the other person’s shoes. That’s it!
There are no complicated rules and no loopholes.
The bible has an underlying philosophy that permeates the lives of those whom really read it and heed it.
That philosophy is "others first, me second".
The simple fact of the matter is, God has placed you on this planet and right where you are at for one reason and one reason alone.
So that you could be a glimpse to others of Gods great love for them!
That’s why "ethics" matter so much
Good Day!
Thursday, August 4, 2022 - August 4th 2022 Whats In Your View

(Luke 12:15) "Life is not measured by how much you own."

An old fable is told that one day a man found an old antiquated looking lamp.

As he began to wipe the dirt and grime away suddenly a genie popped out of the lamp.

The genie said, "O thank you for freeing me from the lamp; because you freed me from my prison I'll give you one wish, what can I do for you?”

The man said, “Show me the Wall Street Journal one year from today this way, I’ll know where to invest my money and become a multimillionaire".

So the angel snapped his fingers and out came a Wall Street Journal dated one year in the future.

The man flipped the pages of the newspaper, studying the listings and observing which stocks 
would be high and which ones would be low.

But in the midst of his joy, tears began to roll down his cheeks.


Because when he looked over the obituary column, there was his name and face.

Listen folks, God is not opposed to you acquiring and achieving things in life.

But He wants you to know that this life can only offer so much, and unless you live each day in the light of eternity, you’re going to waste your time on the wrong things.

It’s okay to enjoy “temporal things”, as long as your main focus is on “eternal things”.

Paul said, “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the "Good News" about the wonderful grace of God” 
(Acts 20:24).

I'm told that if you live to be one hundred years old, you can receive a “congratulation letter "from Buckingham Palace, signed by the Queen of England herself.

But friend even that doesn’t compare to the “well done”, you’ll receive from God for fulfilling the assignment He has given you here on earth.

The lyrics to an old song called "Only One Life" say these words.

"Only one life soon will pass, just what’s done for Christ will last, don't let Satan steal your time".

What about you today!

What and where is "your focus"?

Paul said, "for me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).

I take that to mean that for Paul there was only one reason to keep pursuing life.

And that pursuit was summed up in the Kingdom of God and its fulfillment in his life.

(Philippians 3:14) "Brothers, (and sisters) I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus”.

All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view”.

What about you, what’s in your view today?

Good Day! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - August 3rd 2022 You Are Gods Chosen Possession

(Isaiah 43:1) "Fear not, for I have redeemed you...You are Mine."

When God redeems you, He owns you; and what He owns, He protects!

Before you leave this devotion/blog this morning, I challenge you to open Psalm 91and read it in its entirety before you continue the rest of your day or even the rest of this devotional for that matter.

You need to know and understand how much God loves you and how valuable you are in His sight.

This is illustrated in the story of Belshazzar.

The Bible says, “King Belshazzar held a great feast for his one thousand nobles…heady with the wine, he (Belshazzar) ordered that the gold and silver chalices his father Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from God’s Temple in Jerusalem be brought in, so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines, could drink from them” (Daniel 5:1-2).

Now, if they’d just drank from these sacred vessels, it might not have angered God so much and it might not have mattered, and history would be different but God valued these sacred vessels too 
much to let them be mishandled by praising and honouring the heathen gods of this world.
Let me explain something here before I continue.

Belshazzar was not removed from this world because he drank from or abused the holy vessels of God.
He was removed from this life because of his "arrogance" and his worship of the gods of this world, (Daniel 5:23) "you praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand”.
“But you did not honour the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways".
So out of the invisible sleeve of the night, the finger of God wrote the fate of Belshazzar on his palace walls. "You've been weighed in the balance and found wanting"
And that night (Daniel 5:30-31). “That same night…Belshazzar was murdered…and Darius the 
Mede succeeded him”.
Belshazzar knew the truth, but thumbed his nose at God!
God will not tolerate that.
Jesus said in (Matthew 12:31-32) "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven 
men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
"Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the 
Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.…"
There are men and women on this earth, (thank God not many) who have been and will be, touched 
by the hand of Gods wrath for their "arrogance and pride".
But you and I, as redeemed children of God, have the promise of an unchanging principle we can 
stand on;
(1st Chronicles 16:21-22) says "He (God ) permitted no man to do them wrong…saying, ‘Do not 
touch My anointed ones’”!
Listen my friend, You may have to fight on foreign soil, work at home in a difficult situation, or 
endure hardship because of your faith in God.

But you can be sure of one thing—God has too much invested in you to let you be destroyed.
And any time Satan tries, God will interrupt his party and say, “This vessel is off limits—it took 
Me too long to teach this woman to pray…I’ve invested too many years training this man how to overcome…They’ve endured too much for My name’s sake for Me to let you harm them".
"Take your hands off them; they’re Mine!"
Now I know that some of you out there right away will say, "but what about the millions of "Martyrs" that have been killed in the name of Christianity?"

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to that question that will satisfy your challenge, but I do know that there are those whom God has specifically created and “called unto martyrdom” to show His glory.
When we read the “Book of Acts” of the Bible, we see the Christian Church being persecuted mercilessly.
Several accounts are given of those who stood in the defence of the gospel.
When Jesus says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39),
He is not calling for people to make an attempt to lose their live rather, He is calling us to be willing to lose our lives for His sake.
As the old saying goes, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
God’s purpose in martyrdom is the glorification of His name and the building up of His church.
(Isaiah 43:7) says that God created us for His glory.

In context with the other verses, it can be said that man “glorifies” God, because through man, 
God’s glory can be seen in things such as love, music, heroism and so forth—things belonging to 
God that we are carrying “in jars of clay” (2nd Corinthians 4:7) even through martyrdom!
We are the vessels which “contain” His glory!
All the things we are able to do, and to be, find their source in Him.
But we are not talking about them, we are talking about you and me.
And God wants us to know that living here in the western hemisphere, He has called you out, He 
has blessed you, He has sanctified you and He has trained you for His purpose, so that you can be 
His voice and His witness in this world we live in.

A witness of the great love and goodness God has for you and the rest of the world as well.

You are not Job and you are not a martyr!

You are a child of God!
And like a good father, He protects his children.
(Luke 11:13) "If you then, though you are evil... know how to give good gifts to your children, ...”
You are Gods child, so live like it today.
He has great favour for you!
You are the ‘apple of His eye”
(Psalm 17:8) Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings”.
(Zechariah 2:8) For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations 
which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye”.
(Isaiah 43:1) "Fear not, for I have redeemed you...You are Mine”
So lets start living like it”.
Good Day!
Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - August 2nd 2022 Making Plans and Decisions

(Habakkuk 2:2) "Write the vision and make it plain."

The bible says with out a vision, the people perish! (Proverbs 29:18)

I take this to mean that with out a plan goals and a direction, you will not get any where in life.
You'll just keep bouncing round like a pinball being bumped in every direction.

Only when you’re clear about your personal goals can you measure your personal growth.

(Proverbs 16:9) also says "the mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord shows him what to do."

It’s true that we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

Following are some principles that will help you to establish the right
goals for your life:

(1) Begin with prayer. Otherwise the ladder you’re climbing may be leaning against the wrong wall. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but…the Lord’s purpose…prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

(2) Think on paper. God told Habakkuk, “Write the vision and make it
plain.” Writing your goals down gives them a sense of permanency, plus
it energizes you and gives you a starting point.

(3) Set deadlines. “The vision is yet for an appointed time” (Habakkuk 2:3). Without a definite beginning and ending, it’s easy to procrastinate and get nowhere.

(4) List the steps you need to take. Then keep the list before you at all
times; it will show you the path to follow.

(5) Prioritize the steps in order of importance. What do you need to do first? What can you 
do later?  An organized plan is always better than trying to carry stuff around in your head.

(6) Take action—now. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise
 but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
 (7) Do something each day to move you forward.
For example, read systematically through the bible in a year…call a specific number of clients 
every week…engage in some form of physical activity every day.

(8) Have goals you’re willing to devote your life to.

The Psalmist said, (Psalm 90:12) “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a 
heart of wisdom”.

Standing at the brink of life-changing decision, we all wrestle with the pros and cons of our  subsequent actions.

How will we sift the relevant factors from the irrelevant?

What role will our integrity play in our final evaluation?

Are we prepared to tackle life-changing decisions on our own?
I for one am not, I need the wisdom of the Lord, so do you!

So your facing some decisions and needing direction?
 Then write them down, then in prayer submit them one by one to God, and let Him speak to 
your heart about the direction in which way to go.
And when He does, then write it down so that you don’t forget!
He says (James 1:5) "But if any man among you is without wisdom, let him make his request to 
God, who gives freely to all without an unkind word, and it will be given to him.

Come on, get up, write it down, give it to God, and enjoy His presence and leading as you walk 
hand in hand with Him with renewed purpose.

Good Day!

Monday, August 1, 2022 - August 1st 2022 Whats in Your Heart

(Luke 6:45) "Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

What you store on your computer’s hard drive can be recalled by
touching a single key.

Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…the evil 
man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart, for out of the overflow of his heart 
his mouth speaks.”

And when you download old resentments, you grow bitter.

When you’re angry, deal with it quickly; don’t walk around on a “slow boil.”
And don’t sit around hoping the other person will see the light and
apologize to you.

What if they never do?
Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go to him and try to make things right” (Matthew 18:15).

What do you value most—your point of view or the relationship?

When you “stuff” your anger and refuse to deal with the issue in a healthy way, you add another skeleton to your emotional closet.
Can you imagine what that does to you storing up all those old resentments and bitterness?
Doctors say resentment and bitterness eats at your stomach lining, attacks your immune system, and predisposes you to heart problems, cancers, and other physical, social, and emotional disorders.

And that’s not all!

Resentment and bitterness preoccupies your mind, drains your energy,
and cripples your creativity.

It will ultimately strain your fellowship with God, your family, and friends, and it denies your offender an opportunity to clear their conscience andmake things right with God and with you.

Until you deal with the issue, you’ll drag it around like a ball and chain.

And believe it or not, your anger, your resentment and your pain, is caused from your own selfishness to have it your way.
No one forces you to carry resentment or bitterness, you do that on your
own, it’s your choice!

Refuse to live that way!
Ask God for the humility and courage to deal with the issue—today.

Good Day!

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