Today’s Texts and Thoughts of Encouragement
“Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long, we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surprising victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond a doubt (I am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers. Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Verses of A Pilgrim
“I dare not be defeated
Since Christ, my conquering King,
Has called me to the battle
Which He did surely win.
Come, Lord, and give me courage,
The conquering Spirit give,
Make me an overcomer,
In power within me love.
I dare not be defeated,
Just at the set of sun,
When Jesus waits to whisper,
‘Well done, beloved, well done!’
Come, Lord, bend from Glory,
On me Thy Spirit cast,
Make me an overcomer,
A victor to the last.”
“The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to (us) then the ministry of thrones. Appropriate this truth: Face the forces of darkness today fearlessly!”
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Springs in the Valley
Today’s Study Text:
“Then He began again to teach by the seashore. And a crowd gathered around Him so great that He got into a boat and sat in it, a little way from the shore, while all the people were on the land close to the water. He taught them many lessons in figures, and said to them in the course of His teach, ‘Listen, A sower went out to sow.’”
The New Testamentby
Edgar J. Goodspeed
“The Prince of Peace” – Part 2
“He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, healing to the wounded, and whatever a soul can desire is found in Him.”
Christ Altogether Lovely
If I was asked, “what does Jesus Christ mean to me personally,” what would my answer be?
“Following Jesus simply means learning from Him how to arrange my life around activities that enable me to live in the fruit of the Spirit.”
The Life You’ve Always Wanted
When I read about Jesus’ life on earth, do I believe I would have become a “follower” of His had He called me to walk by His side?
“We should begin each day in fellowship with Jesus, walking with Him and listening to Him.”
Breakfast With Jesus
“They came at night, they touched Him as He walked down the street; they followed Him around the sea; they invited Him into their homes and placed their children at His feet. Why? Because He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit. He chose instead to be Jesus.”
God Came Near
This week as we continue to unwrap the many layers found in the ministry of Jesus – the “Prince of Peace” – to our hurting and hopeless planet earth, we find that inevitably our heavenly “Prince of Peace,” when He is invited to enter our lives and our world, He brings peace because it is always on His agenda. Whenever Jesus enters our hectic and chaotic world, His presence and His teaching brings us a gentle, calm and serene spirit, unlike anything the cheap and tawdry gifts of earth try to pass off as the “real deal!”
It is often in our search to find genuine peace that we come upon what matters most. Author and prayer poet Ann Weems so beautifully paints the heavenly picture of peace offered to humankind in a manger in her book Kneeling in Bethlehem. We also come as searchers and treasure hunters on the lookout for the gift of “peace” promised by the prophet Isaiah. The long awaited Messiah, we are told, will “guard him and keep her in perfect and constant peace whose mind and character are stayed on You; because she (he) commits herself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You” (Isaiah 26: 3, Amplified Bible). As Ann Weems summarizes:
“If there is no reconciliation,
we cannot call Christ ‘Prince of Peace.’
If there is no goodwill toward others,
it can all be packed away in boxes for another year.
If there is no forgiveness in us,
there is no cause for celebration.
If we cannot go now even unto Golgotha,
there is no Christmas in us.
If Christmas is not now,
if Christ is not born into the everyday present,
then what is all the noise about?”
This is why offering up the words “Prince of Peace” is a rather small and hollow statement if our acts don’t match our words.
Like the people who came to follow their Redeemer, their “Partner in Peace,” we too are coming to the feet of the “Teacher” whose message not only contained seeds of peace but also, who life’s example matched the words He spoke everyday. There on a hill that edged the Sea of Galilee, the “Prince of Peace” began to speak about His gift. A gift He would bequeath to His children down through time to this very day.
As this ordinary looking “Man,” who some called the carpenter from Nazareth, began to speak, He gazed upon the grassy hills and watched the “sowers” quietly scatter seed, planting a future harvest with just a handful of seed.
As Mark wrote about this common place scene: “A sower went out to sow.” But Christ didn’t stop until He finished bringing His audience along on His hillside lesson – inviting them to: ”’Let him (her) who has ears be sure to listen.’” And listen they did, for to miss any truth that fell from heaven’s Messenger would be disastrous. As author Goodspeed translates in his new testament: ”To you has been entrusted the secrets of the reign of God.” However, if we keep on reading the words Mark laid out about Jesus, lessons He gave on the hillside, we are informed that “with many such figures, He told them the message, as far as they were able to receive it. He said nothing to them except in figures (parables), but in private He explained everything to His own disciples.” (Mark 4)
Based on the concepts which could be comprehended by the vast multitude to whom He spoke, Jesus’ message was tailored to assist their limited understanding of the “Man” from heaven whose basic ability to taking His’ ministry to each individual described the individual Spirit which would, before long, be the message of faithful trust that would affix their souls to Jesus, especially in those trying times when their hearts grew faint with the trials and burdens they would be asked to carry.
And so it was in the context of what they knew and understood, that Jesus’ well-chosen words linked His mountain-side audience to the truths of His kingdom where a faith began to grow that would sustain them in the rough seas they would face in their immediate future. For hanging on to Jesus’ steady hand on that current day, heavenly peace would assist them when their struggle wasn’t peaceful. Indeed, Jesus’ promise to leave “peace” with His children wasn’t just a group of empty words for that particular day by Galilee. Christ’s words assist you and me as well in the 21st Century as we grasp the fact that time with Christ is indeed time well spent. Especially when we consider the challenges present every day in all our lives. In the prophetic words penned by the prophet Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He hath anointed me to
preach the gospel to the poor;
He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Christ of Everywhere
“’Christ of the Andes,’ Christ of Everywhere,
Great lover of the hills, the open air,
And patient lover of impatient men and women
Who blindly strive and sin and strive again,
Thou Living Word, larger than any creed,
Thou Love Divine, uttered in human deed,
Oh, teach the world, warring and wandering still,
Thy way of Peace, the footpath of Good Will!”
Henry Van Dyke
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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