Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Peace’

Constant Joy

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

  ~~  Psalm 100 (KJV)

This is one of my favorite psalms. In the first place it says “make a joyful noise” not “sing sweetly on key.” The criteria for our singing is joy, not musical ability.

But no one can be joyful all the time, can they? That depends on where your joy lies. If the joy of the Lord is your strength, then you can be joyful all the time. God is always with you. If he is the source of your joy, nothing can change it.

When things seem blackest, we can praise the Lord for who and what he is. He inhabits the praises of his people. No matter what circumstances surround us, he is unchanging and always sure. If your security is in him, nothing can shake it.

This truth allows us to be grateful to God for who and what he is, no matter what happens around us or to us.

So at all times and in all seasons, we can bring a sacrifice of praise to him. Blessing his name for who he is.

That sacrifice of praise will hold you together in the roughest of times. It draws you closer to him and reminds you of all his power and righteousness.

In a time when I thought I would drown in grief, the old hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, came bubbling up out of my middle. While the grief was still there, I had an assurance that it would not overwhelm me, that with God’s help I could get through it.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

For that I was and am mightily grateful.

Father, God,

Thank you for being our peace and our strength. Remind us at all times to come to you with praise and thanksgiving so that we may always be blessed of you.

In Jesus’ most precious name.



For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  ~~  Jeremiah 29:11   (KJV)

God thinks about you and me. Just as you think about the people in your life, your children, your parents, your friends, your extended family. But God doesn’t wonder what you are up to. He knows. He sees.

God has plans for us, not just humankind in general, but for each and every one of us in particular. He has a vision for our lives – how we will live, what we will do, how it will all turn out.

If we can catch that vision and cooperate with it, our lives will be the best they can possibly be. Seeing God’s vision for our lives can help us to cooperate with his plans and keep us from spending time and energy questing blindly among what seem to be endless options.

It’s easy to say “catch the vision”. But exactly how do we do this?

  • Spend time with Him, quiet time. Listen as much as you talk.
  • Read the Word, letting it sink into your heart and mind.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what He would have you know.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment.

The more you hear His voice, the easier it will be to distinguish it from all the other voices in your life and in your head.

Father, God,

Help us to catch your vision for our lives. Grant that we may listen carefully for the promptings of your Holy Spirit and move in obedience to those promptings.

In Jesus’ most precious name.


Searching for Peace?

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil;

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
~~  Psalm 23  (KJV)

David’s psalms are beautiful, but this is probably the most familiar. It teaches you a lot of theology by describing God as a shepherd.

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Notice that He is MY shepherd. He is personal to me. This is a one on one relationship.

“I shall not want.” He is able and willing to fulfill my every need.

Green pastures are areas of abundance and peace. Still waters allow the sheep to drink without the possibility of drowning. Restoration of the soul gives one the ability to rejoice anew.

Heeding and obeying His commandments will keep us from doing evil. No matter where we are, His constant presence reassures us that He is sovereign. When all the world seems to be against us, He provides whatever we need. He adopts us as His children, children of the King.

His presence in our lives is our abundance and provision. Now and always. We are His forever. That is the essence of our peace – not who we are, but whose we are.

Father, God,

Thank you for being our peace, our total provision at all times and in all circumstances. Grant that we, like sheep, may hear and follow only the Shepherd’s voice.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Who Feeds You?

And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,  ~~  Genesis 48:15  [emphasis mine]

The “he” in the verse above is Jacob, otherwise known as Israel, and the word “Raah” as a descriptor of God means tending like a shepherd.  We find a perfect description of what that means in Psalm 23.

Our churches today seem to have a problem. Waning attendance, disagreement in policies, preaching a social gospel and focusing on programs beleaguer many of us.

Perhaps we ought to rethink why we attend church. Do we go to be fed?  Can we eat only one meal a week and thrive?

One of my precious friends was struggling with her church. She did not agree with many of the tenets taught in that denomination. But it was her husband’s church, so she went faithfully – she and all her children.  She was a woman of God, loved God with all her heart. She studied and sang and read and prayed. But church was a disappointment to her every week.

Eventually, she came to a peace about things. When I questioned how she came to that peace, she replied “I finally realized that I do not go to church to be fed. I go to worship the One Who Feeds Me.”

Why do we go to church?  Do we go to be seen by the “right” people? Is it to show off our finery? Are we looking for ways to criticize the pastor? Do we want to feel superior to someone else?


We go to worship the One Who Feeds Us. No other reason is valid. Everything else is an excuse or rationalization.

Father, God,

Help us to follow You daily. Keep us faithful in reading Your Word. Make us ever mindful that You are the one who feeds us. Let us never swallow the half-truths of the enemy. Grant that we may faithfully worship You and You alone.

In Jesus’ most precious name.



Psalm 23   (KJV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:for thou art with me;thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:  thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~~ Philippians 4:6-7  (KJV)

The Message makes it even more clear.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. ~~ Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

This has been a worrisome six weeks in our household. Friend-husband had a minor heart episode on December 7th. We went to the ER, where they ruled out a full blown heart attack. The next day, we saw his general practitioner. The GP lectured me about making sure we get him to ER with any symptoms because of his heart history and his elevated cardiac risk. He told us to take every incident of angina (what we evidently had experienced) very seriously.

Ten days later, we saw the cardiologist who recommended that we do a heart catheterization (angiogram), which we scheduled for just after the first of the year.  During that procedure, the cardiologist discovered two major blockages and immediately ballooned them out and inserted two stents.

Had we not had the angina episode on December 7th, these blockages might have gone unrecognized until they caused real damage. In other words, we dodged a bullet. We could have lost him.

Now I don’t believe it is just lucky that he had the angina attack on December 7th. I believe that God orchestrated it. God knows the inside of my husband’s blood vessels. He also knows my shortcomings.

For months, friend-husband had been experiencing extreme fatigue. Now I know – have known for years – that extreme fatigue is a cardiac symptom. I lost a precious friend a number of years ago simply because no one recognized her extreme fatigue as a cardiac problem. It was her only symptom.

God allowed me enough time to recognize the fatigue, and when I didn’t, He acted. God has my best interests at heart. He also has friend-husband’s best interests at heart. He trusted me with His much loved son, and I failed to take proper care of him. But God didn’t scold me. He stepped in and provided for my shortcomings – my failure to recognize.

The one thing I have done correctly is to pray for friend-husband. And when the episode occurred, I requested additional prayer from a coterie of praying friends. God answers prayer. He doesn’t hear worrying, stewing, and fretting.

I have a small sign in my office that reads “Worry is praying to the wrong God.”  When we worry, when we speak our worries aloud, we give the enemy ammunition to keep us from our appointed roles in God’s creation. Life is a battle. We cannot afford to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

When we have concerns, we need to take them to the Lord in prayer. He is in charge. We can trust Him.

Father, God,

Help us to learn that You are our watchful care giver, that You have our best interests at heart. Teach us to trust You with everything, large and small. Keep us from fretting over things we can do nothing about by calling us into Your presence to pray.

In Jesus’ most precious name,




Ripened Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)

These fruits seem to me to fall into three categories as they relate to our relationships.  For example, love, joy and peace are truly interior to us. They are part of who we are. Despite any circumstance, we can choose to be loving, joyful and peaceable. These attitudes determine our outward actions at all times.

The next three, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, seem to be our actions toward others. Being patient, gentle and good to others are the mark of the mature Christian. There is no room here for loud voices, argument, and violence.

The last three, faith, meekness, temperance, seem to stem from our relationship with God. Faith is a gift of God’s grace. Meekness, also known as humility, stems from our understanding of our worth in the eyes of God.  Temperance is the result of our knowing that God is in control of circumstances and that we are not in control, therefore excessive responses are not only unnecessary, but also counter productive.

With this picture as our goal, we can only grow in faith and grace.

Father, God,

Help us to grow in these areas. Grant that we may always be loving, joyful and peaceable. Help us to be longsuffering, gentle and good.  Give us a measure of faith, meekness and temperance.

In Jesus’ most precious name.