He Ordained Peace

 

 

O LORD, you will ordain peace for us; you have done for us all our works. Isaiah 26:12

Peace.

I doubt whether there is anything so sought after or valued in this world. Peacemakers are commended, both in Scripture and by society.

Why, then, is there not peace? War and conflict spread overwhelmingly and unceasingly around the world, which begs the question, “Is complete peace possible?”

And yet, God promised peace in Isaiah. Even more than that, the Sovereign Lord decreed, commanded, ordained that it should be so. Peace for us.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14

Around 700 years after Isaiah told of God’s promised peace, angels descended on the hills of Bethlehem to declare that peace had come to those of God’s favor.  What peace was this? This peace was Jesus, the Christ, who did our works for us. The Messiah who was our righteousness, became our sin, took our judgment, and delivered us from death.

And he ordained for us peace. Peace with God the Father through forgiveness. Peace because Christ has overcome this world — including sin and death. Peace that guards our hearts and minds. He is the Prince of Peace. Since it is his sovereignty that has ordained peace, peace must, therefore, be ours.

That must also mean, then, that wars and sin struggles are not the end. Senseless violence will not endure.

God has ordained peace.  By His Spirit we have peace with our God that our hearts can feel even in this war-torn world. By His perfect peace and strength may we persevere as peacemakers even as we await the fulfillment of time when the people at peace with God will live in a world of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you; because he trusts in you.

Trust in the LORD forever, for the the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

 

 

Saturday Song: Glorious Impossible

“How will this be,” she asked.

“Who then can be saved?”

Impossible…That’s what we would say.  Impossible that a virgin should give birth to a son. Impossible that God would take on human flesh and come to walk on the earth He created. Impossible for the dead to live again.

“With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.”

Even today, God makes the impossible a reality.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” So, it is by grace we are saved, through faith, which is a gift of God and not our own doing.

Glorious impossible made possible with God.

Glorious Impossible:

See the virgin is delivered / In a cold and crowded stall / Mirror of the Father’s glory / Lies beside her in the straw

He is mercy’s incarnation / Marvel at this miracle / For the virgin gently holds the / Glorious impossible

Love has come to walk on water / Turn the water into wine / Touch the leper, bless the children / Love both human and divine

Praise the wisdom of the Father / Who has spoken through His Son / Speaking still, He calls us to the / Glorious impossible

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah / Glorious impossible Glorious impossible

He was bruised for our transgressions / And He bears eternal scars / He was raised for our salvation / And His righteousness is ours

Praise, oh, praise Him, praise the glory / Of this lavish grace so full / Lift your souls now and receive the / Glorious impossible

Prayers for My Home

A couple weeks ago I was going through some prayers a wonderful sister in Christ from my church wrote up for my house blessing when I bought my house.  They were good reminders of the purpose of my home and how it is to be used to glorify God and refresh both believers and unbelievers. As I thought of these Scriptures and prayers my friend wrote, I thought of more.  Hopefully, they are encouraging starter points for thinking about any single woman’s home, whether it’s a house, an apartment, or a dorm room.

Front Door: Leaving for Work. May she commit her plans and long hours to the LORD. May the strength of her work come from the LORD.

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established. Prov. 16:3

Front Door: Pray that she will be a Gospel light in her neighborhood

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Front Door: Pray that she would leave the house each day in assurance of the Lord’s Sovereignty in all things.

The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD. Prov. 16:33

Front Door: For God’s protection over the house and those that live there, that they would be kept from danger.

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. Isaiah 12:2

Living Room: For strength and wisdom as she exercises hospitality.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:8-11

Living Room: That she would rest in the sufficiency of Christ to meet her guests’ needs — both spiritual and physical

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Living Room: That it will be a place where others are encouraged and built up. Pray that she would be encouraged and edified through her company. Pray that God’s name would be glorified.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. Hebrews 3:12-14

Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord as forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

Living Room: That it will be filled with joy and laughter.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.     James 5:13

Dining Room: For likeminded friends to share life

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2:42

…so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Romans 15:32

Dining Room: For this to be a place laughter and good company

This also, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:25

Kitchen: To be a place of service and joy in the LORD

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh. 8:10

You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound. Psalm 4:7

Kitchen: For God’s provision of food

These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. Psalm 104:27-28

Kitchen: To be a place of service strengthened with joy. That she would see the results of her labor and that those she serves will be blessed.

And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9-10

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.  Hebrews 13:16

 

Renter’s Room: Mutual Encouragement

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Prov. 16:24

 

Master Bed Room: For her time in prayer and Scripture reading to refresh and strengthen her relationship with God

… my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help… Psalm 63:5-6

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

 

Master Bed Room: For protection during sleep. That she would retire without anxiety.

Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4

Yours is the day, yours also the night… Psalm 74:16

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm56:3

 

Master Bed Room: That she would have rest and refreshment

Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116:7

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

 

Master Bed Room: That she would wake in the morning with hope and strength.

She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong. Prov. 31:17

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come. Prov. 31:25

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-25

 

Master Bed Room: As she gets ready each day to remember that God looks at the inward appearance. That she would remember that while beauty and youth are fleeting, that there is an imperishable beauty in a heart that trusts in the Lord.

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3

 

Office Area: As she works from home that she would do so with the right perspective

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Col. 3:22-24

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! Ps. 90:17

 

Office Area : Planning lessons, planning schedules, and making financial decisions.  That she would have wisdom and discernment for the choices she must make.

… but those who plan peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness… Matthew 6:33

 

 Guest & Media Room: For her heart to be glad to accept guests

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  Romans 12:13

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. Luke 10:38

 

Guest & Media Room: As she rests and relaxes, that the entertainment would be uplifting and encouraging to her heart and mind.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

A Toy Piano and the Promise of Eternal Life

 

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Triggers can be unusual, capricious things.  At least for me, they are almost always unwelcome. Last Wednesday, my trigger was a small, worn-out, Little Tikes piano. A toy piano like the one I started playing almost from the time I could sit up by myself. A toy piano like the one my grandpa tried to teach me to play  by ear — even though I didn’t understand why this was necessary since I had perfectly good, color-coded music. Wasn’t it easier to just use that? Years later, I learned to appreciate that lesson from my first piano teacher. But it was too late. My suspender-wearing, organ-playing, book-reading, pocket-knife-carrying, even-tempered, loving grandpa with a wood shop in his basement was gone. Last Wednesday, that little, out-of-tune piano in the church nursery brought back what little I can remember of my grandpa’s voice… and it reminded me how much I could miss a man who has been dead almost 25 years.

Then, with a goodness and comfort that passes all understanding, the Holy Spirit stopped me from lingering alone in that hurt. He prompted me to also remember that there will come a day when I won’t miss my grandpa anymore. In my future, there is a day when both the pain of missing Grandpa and the joy of being reunited with him in heaven will be consumed by the unimaginably perfect joy of living in Christ’s presence.  And no one will be able to take that joy away from me. (John 16:22)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Lord, tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait- the sky, not the grave is our goal. Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed rest, blessed hope of my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, a song in the night, o my soul!

– Horatio G. Spafford, It Is Well

If Christ can be trusted with such a future, then He is to be trusted with my present and my past, whatever the joy, pain, or memories… even the ones triggered by little toy pianos.

Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Desperate

Lord,

We are a desperate people. We are desperate for safety and security.  We are desperate for health and material things. We are desperate for comfort. We are desperate for the wrong things.

We snub and we rob. We demean. We grasp after our wants greedily and selfishly.

Then we look outward and hear news. Black men are shot. Police officers are shot. Men, who lived, laughed, loved and were loved, are gone. Men, who knew joy and sadness, anger and fear, died at the hands of other men.

And we grow more desperate.

We hear more news. Children are missing and abandoned; women are raped; terrorists take slaves and blow up families.

And we grow more desperate.

We are desperate for peace.  We are desperate for love and unity.  We are desperate for healing. This time, we are desperate for higher things.

But we fight among ourselves. We take sides.  We look sideways at our neighbors in fear and distrust.  We blame; we pass judgement. We contribute to the noise by shouting and typing out our opinions and flawless arguments.

Yes, in our brokenness, we become desperate for the right things, but we do not pursue them rightly because we are not just desperate, we are a lost people.

We are desperate and lost… and without hope.

Yes, we are without hope… apart from you.

So, please, look on our brokenness and show us mercy.  Show us that we are alienated from each other because we do not abide in you.  Remind us that while we were your enemies, you died to save us.

In our brokenness, may we beg your forgiveness. Setting aside our entitlements, may we submit to your authority.  May we be desperate for your grace and mercy. In you may we find eternal life.

Remind us that love is patient and kind.  Just as you were patient and kind with us, may we be patient and show kindness to others.  Remind us to seek the good of others and show honor. Remind us to discard our records of wrongs against us.  Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

May we delight in truth and justice, and not evil.  May we hold on to our hope in you, as you faithfully hold on to us. May we persevere to the end.

And, please, keep us desperate. Keep us desperate for you, so that we may continue to seek you.  For you alone are the way, the truth, and the life. For you alone have shown us what it means to live justly and show mercy.

And, please, Lord Jesus, come soon.