Tag Archives: peace

The Idolatry of Control

There’s only one God — and it’s not you!

Written by Dan Lee on 27/09/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Control, God, Sovereignty
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

Proverbs 16:9
We might not think of Control as an idol. Yet anything that we come to value more than God, is an idol. And as humans, we love to feel like we are in control of our own life, our destiny.

We believe we have control over our health, our job, our finances, and our relationships. However, that’s not the case. There is only one Sovereign, one Master of the Universe, and it is God, not us.

Here are just three important things that we cannot control ourselves, but God does:

1. How long we will live
We can take care of our bodies with proper diet and exercise. We’re told that this will allow us a long, healthy and full life.

But how long will we really live? That’s up to God. There are no guarantees no matter how hard we try.

Psalm 139:16 puts it plainly: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

An accident or attack can end our life at any moment regardless of how careful and healthy we are.

Because of this, we can’t trust ourselves with our lives. Rather, we must put our trust in God, for He has each moment planned.

2. Our Success
There are countless articles here on the internet that explain how to gain success from business, schooling, and changing your mindset. But, does that mean that success is guaranteed if only we just work hard? Not necessarily.

“Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:13-14

Just think… sometimes a business opportunity promises success. Though you might make a lot of money, you could also lose all of it. Or as this verse says, you might not even be alive tomorrow! (Also see Luke 12:16-21.)

3. Other People’s Decisions
Just as we believe we can control our own success, we believe we can control other people’s decisions and opinions. But, can we really?

“As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises” (Psalm 55:20).

Even if we are loving and kind, those closest to us can disappoint or even betray us. Marriages, can result in infidelity, friends can break promise, and children often go astray, even when we parent them the best we know how. Other people are simply not under our control.

So, what does this all mean? Should we stop trying to care for our bodies, stop trying to make plans, or to stop building good relationships? No, the Bible tells us that these are all important (1 Corinthians 6:19; Luke 14:29).

It does mean that we seek God’s will above our own, and remember every day that His plans are the ones that will never fail! The more we submit to His will and His plans, the more we will experience His peace and joy — even when things don’t turn out the way we planned.

Pray this week:
Lord, forgive me for thinking I am in control of my destiny. Thank You that my life is in your entirely capable hands. Help me seek first Your Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) and trust you with my life.

Does this make sense? Want to discuss it with someone? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God’s Words: Peace

Life-Transforming Words

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 08/08/2017
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: God, Jesus, Peace
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23
When someone mentions the word “peace” to you, what comes to your mind? Unfortunately, the absence of peace in our world is what may stand out to you. There is so much hatred, unrest, and so many unbelievable acts of evil against innocent people, that we wonder if it will ever end. It seems that the whole world is always talking about how to achieve peace, but the sad reality is that they never have any real peace no matter how much they talk about it. What the world fails to understand is that true peace can come only from God. So if we leave God out of our “peace equation,” then we can never attain it. Only God has the power to give peace to our lives. In fact, one of the great titles of God is “God of peace.” (Hebrews 13:20)

What do you think the word “peace” actually means?
The word “peace” pictures joining two things together that had become separated from one another. I remember seeing a true story about a family who had become completely separated in a tsunami while on vacation. They were all swept away by the huge waves, and each of them was hurt very badly. They just knew that their other family members had died in the disaster; they each felt helpless and alone. However, God miraculously reunited them as a family, and they were overwhelmed with peace and joy.

So what does God’s peace actually do for me?
The peace that God gives also includes the idea of having a kind of inner restfulness. For the believer, that rest is given to them because they are actually at peace with God. The Bible says that before we came to Christ, we were actually His “enemies” (Ephesians 2:14). However, Romans 5:8 reveals why we no longer have to be enemies with God. It says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (also see Romans 5:1)

When Jesus Christ died for our sins, His death enabled His enemies to actually become part of His family. That is so amazing! Now, we not only have peace with God, but God actually gives His peace to help when very difficult things happen to us. That is the peace that Paul is talking about in Galatians 5:22 — the actual “peace of God” that is working in our heart and mind — and especially when difficult things happen in our lives, over which we have no control.

Did Jesus ever talk to His disciples about God’s peace?
In John 14:27 Jesus was talking to His disciples because He knew that after He left that they would be facing some very strong trials in their life. He said this to them: “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.” (John 14:27)

So, what happens when I go through something very difficult?
Some people think that they will have peace when they no longer have any problems. However, the peace that Paul talks about is a supernatural calmness that God places in our heart, no matter the difficulty of our circumstances. Jesus says in this verse that when we lose our peace, we often become afraid. We do not know how a difficult trial may actually work out for us, so we are fearful — and in the process we lose our peace. So, when Jesus talks about His peace, He is not saying that we will never have troubles in our life. Rather, He’s saying that when we do suffer difficult things, we can know that He will be right there with us (also see John 16:33).

What should I do when I am afraid?
One of the great passages in the Bible about anxiety is Philippians 4:6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What a great promise for when we become afraid, nervous, or restless about something. As we pray and seek God’s wisdom and will for our life, He gives a supernatural peace that goes beyond our understanding. It is actually powerful enough to guard and protect our mind and our heart from worrying, so that the trials and difficulties no longer disturb us or make us afraid. We know that God is “guarding” us. So, the more we yield our life to Christ, the more His peace will help protect us from fear, from worry, and from thoughts that upset us.

Can I really experience God’s peace?
Paul encouraged the Thessalonian believers in 2 Thessalonians 3:16 with these words: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

This passage tells us that God really wants to experience his peace! What an amazing prayer for both us and these believers — peace at all times and in every way possible! That is what the God and Lord of peace wants to give to each and every believer.

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, would you please help me to yield my life to you so that I can enjoy your peace in my heart?

Do I truly believe that I can know the amazing peace of God when very difficult trials come into my life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Seven Ways You Can Find Peace

No matter what shakes our world, you can find peace.

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 22/01/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: HelpPeaceWisdom


Blessed is the man… his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

“I can’t’ believe you do that. That’s crazy!” a friend said when I told her I travel abroad by myself.

That’s crazy!

She might be right. Being blind, my traveling alone could be dangerous.  Without eyesight, I risk many mishaps—getting lost, losing my luggage, falling, running into objects or into people. Or even ending up in the wrong destination.

But the worry is gone because when I leave for a trip from my hometown of Orlando and head to South America, for example, I have a plan. In one hand I hold my white cane, and in my heart, I carry God’s Word. They’re verses from the Bible I memorized and silently repeat them in my mind throughout the day.

Good thing I developed that habit because not long ago when I visited Ecuador for the first time to address women’s conferences in various cities, God’s Word saved me from panic.

“Wake up, Janet!”

My friend whispered as she stood beside my bed “Don’t be afraid, but we had another earthquake last night.”

This was my first time in Ecuador, the surroundings were unfamiliar and the tremors that would soon follow added to the uneasiness of the moment.

My friend left as she had to attend to some urgent matters. I was alone. The only thing that accompanied me was my white cane and the fear I’d be unable to navigate to find the exit. My fate was that I would be crushed or trapped.

I tried to wipe away thoughts of the possible tragic ending. But, before I did, the furniture began to shake, the windows rattled and my heart beat fast.

I forced myself to take a deep breath. I needed supernatural help. But I had no one to read Bible passages to me. No cell connection to listen to God’s Word or even a radio to listen to Christian teachings. The only thing I had, stored deep in my heart and tucked in the crevices of my mind was God’s Word. I had written them with the pen of commitment ever since I met Jesus and began a sweet relationship with Him.

In the midst of the tremors, He whispered to me:

  • “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
  • “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
  • “fear not, for I am with you…” Isaiah 41:10
  • “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
  • “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
  • “The Lord is my light and my salvation;  whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1

The threatening terror turned to triumphant peace. I wasn’t alone, God was with me. The tremors stopped in my heart and in the room as well. Fresh reassurance, powerful confidence and profound calmness erased all fear.

No matter what shakes our world, God’s Word is available and through the Holy Spirit, it’s ready to leap from the page into our mind and heart. Here are seven steps to store them deep within:

  1. Ask God to speak to you through His Word
  2. Ask God to grant you spiritual wisdom to understand His message
  3. Choose a Bible verse
  4. Keep the verse short
  5. Ponder on its meaning
  6. Repeat it over and over again in your mind
  7. When going to bed, commit it to memory and repeat it the first thing in the morning

Once this verse flows easily in your mind and from your lips, choose another one and follow the same steps.

Storing Bible verses in the heart is like collecting gems. They will shine to dispel the darkness. They will enrich a heart that’s empty. They will grow in value. And they will add worth to our life.

Although we all face earthquakes that shake our life, God’s Word is the steady foundation that remains solid. His Word, learned and stored within, is the weapon that defeats the enemy, turns fear to faith, panic to peace and soothes the aching heart.


Pray this week:

Heavenly Father, you see the tremors that often shake my own life, I ask for Your wisdom to understand Your Word, for Your grace to keep me focused on You, and for diligence to store Your Word deep within me. Amen.


How has God’s Word stored in your heart helped you?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Darkness or the Light

Are you worshipping in the light?

Written by GodLife on 13/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChurchCultsReligionGodJesus


I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

John 12:46

The old saying, “All that glitters is not gold,” is truth. Just because something looks like gold and feels like gold does not mean it is gold. Have you ever heard of fool’s gold? It looks like the real thing, but it is worthless. Those who know the real thing well enough know the difference. 

On the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Paul (Acts 9) and told him he was to open the eyes of the Jews and the Gentiles to bring them out of the darkness into the light, from the power of Satan to the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin and have a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him. Where do you stand? Are you worshipping in darkness or in light? 

Only One God

There is only one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you are in a church that only focuses on one person of the Holy Trinity, it is not of the Light. Similarly, when a church’s doctrine adapts the Bible’s teachings to conform to a separate religion, it is not of the Light. There is only one way to the Father: it is through Jesus Christ, God the Son (John 14:6). There is only one Holy Spirit given to indwell and guide us, and He points us to the Savior of the World.  

“I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6

Sound churches go by many different names but share the same biblical doctrines. Those who are in Jesus have life because they receive these essential doctrines and have asked Him to save them. They have become a new creation. We are no longer a member of the darkness and must have nothing to do with the world’s pagan religions or practices. We are now in the Light, and we should behave as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

Demonic Practices

In some African and Latin American societies, Yoruba religion and other tribal practices with witchcraft, spiritism and demon guides have been blended with Catholicism or some other forms of Christianity. This practice has created new man-made religions such as Santería, Candomble and Voodoo with their demon spirit guides and curses. They are satanic in origin. These demons are disguised as Catholic saints and are worshiped. Animal and even human sacrifice may also be involved.  

Some in Hindu societies add Jesus Christ to the list of Hindu idols to be worshipped as one of their pagan gods. Hindi Christians sometimes find it difficult to come out of participating in pagan Hindu religious practices. As Christians we are to leave the darkness behind. To become a Christian is not to accept a foreign culture associated with Christianity, but to trade darkness for the Kingdom of God. 

“You shall not make for yourself any graven image of anything and bow down to it or serve it.” (Exodus 20:4-5)

Come out of the darkness and into the light. God is light, love and life. He brings joy and peace.

“…for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true…  try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:9–11)

Counterfeit Religion

Any other religion mixed with Christianity makes a separate religion. Chrislam is an example of this. Chrislam also began with the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, but has now spread around the world. Chrislam is an attempt to mix Islam and Christianity. Chrislam denies one of the essentials: the deity of Christ Jesus. It treats both the Quran and the Bible as Holy texts. Since the Bible contradicts the teachings of Islam, in Bangladesh a new translation of the Bible has been produced, which changes terms and names in order to refer to Jesus as only a prince or Master. 

In effect, in Chrislam all become Muslim because the full doctrine of Christ is denied. Christ is the Lord, God the Son and the only way to God. Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.” To deny this fact is not to not believe the whole doctrine of Christ. In addition, scripture clearly says if you do not have the Son, the Saviour of the World, you do not have the Father either.

“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you may not lose what we have worked for; but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” (2 John 7-10)  

Chrislam, Santería, Candomblé, Vodun and New Age Christianity are counterfeits. They are of the darkness because they deny the Trinity. We are saved only by our faith in the sacrifice of the Son of God and receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. Christianity is about Christ. Fear of persecution leads many into the delusion that a compromise religion would be better. But if we deny Christ, He will deny us. (Matthew 10:33) Christ did not come to give mankind a way to salvation. He said He was “the Way”, and that no one could come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

A child of God cannot worship Jesus in these man-made, false religions. It would be trying to walk with one foot in the light and one in the darkness. It is following a glittering deception: a false peace motivated by fear. Just because something includes Christian terms or practices does not mean it is the real thing. Many first-century Christians were persecuted or martyred when they did not compromise their faith. In peacefully obeying His call to take up their cross and follow Him, they turned the world upside down instead. (Acts 17:6)


Pray this week:

Lord, Please, I only want your Light. Please keep me in your Light in all of my ways.


God loves you. Are you in the darkness? Why not come into the Light? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God’s Solution to Fear and Anxiety

How to face our fear and anxiety is clearly laid out in scripture.

Written by Gary Fleetwood on 16/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: AnxietyFearWorry


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Everyone has fears, everyone becomes anxious, and everyone experiences very stressful moments in their life.  Just because someone is a Christian does not exempt them from the stressful events or from the effects that fear and anxiety can produce in their life.  For instance, medical science has been saying for a long time that stress, fear, and anxiety are very harmful to the body because they destroy a person’s immune system.  So, the more that someone worries about things that they often cannot change, the greater will be the negative effects on their life.  Stressful events are more than able to take a person’s focus off of God and to place it on their difficult circumstances.  So, what we want to do is to see what God’s Word says about how a believer can actually win their battle over fear and anxiety.

What does it really mean to be “anxious”?

The word “anxious”  means to become troubled, unsettled, and deeply concerned about something.  It means to constantly be worrying about something that most of the time that we cannot change.  It refers to the person who seems to worry about everything.  Something happens in their life and they begin to worry about it so much that it consumes their thought life.  They cannot rest for worrying about something.  It affects their sleep and their eating, and the fear of something negative that may happen begins to control their life.  

Several years ago my oldest son was working in a very dangerous part of the world. He had to travel every day on what was considered at that time as the most dangerous 10 miles of road in the world.  Obviously, it was something that made our family very anxious.  However, it was during that time that God began to teach me about Philippians 4:6-7 and it became one of my two life verses.  What I learned was how to handle that which made me anxious.  

So, what is God’s solution to fear and anxiety in our life?

God’s solution is simple.  It is to bring our concerns to Him in prayer and He will provide His peace in our life – which He did for me about my son’s daily safety.  These verses do not say that God will change our difficult and stressful circumstances, but rather that God will provide an inner and supernatural peace that will “guard” and protect our heart and mind so that our difficult circumstances will no longer consume our life.  Rather than always being anxious about my son’s safety, I simply began to pray each morning for God to protect him.  Rather than worrying about something that I could not change or control, I began committing my son into God’s care each day.  Once that happened, God’s supernatural peace began to deeply influence my heart and mind and helped me to rest in His control over all things.

What does it mean to “guard” our heart and mind?

The word “guard” means to keep someone safe with a military guard.  Everywhere that the President of the United States goes, he always has people guarding him.  That is the idea with the word “guard”.  It is knowing that God will always protect the believer’s heart and mind so that worrying and being afraid will not consume their life.  Some people seem to worry about everything in life.  Almost anything can make them anxious, and as soon as something goes wrong, they begin to worry.  What that anxiety does is to immediately take their heart and mind off of God.  In reality, God is always the believer’s solution to anxiety and fear.  Jesus provided a great encouragement in Matthew 6:25-26:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 

So, what God does when the believer comes to Him in prayer is to “guard” their heart, protect their heart, and shield their heart from things that He knows can hurt them.  He is always wanting us to trust Him in every difficult circumstance of our life.

Can fear or anxiety be a good thing?

It is important to understand that some level of fear and anxiety often can be a good thing because it forces us to be more careful and to be much more cautious.  I love to work with wood and have been making things for over 40 years. Several years ago I was working next to a wood machine, my hand too close to it  and part of my thumb was cut off.  Today, I am so respectful of that saw that I will never make that same mistake again.  In fact, I have made a guard and I use it every time I have to use the wood machine. So, in my case, having a healthy fear is a very good thing.  It is the fear of what the saw can do to me that actually keeps me safe.  So, what we want to see in this series is how God actually uses the things that make us afraid as His supernatural tools to strengthen our life to trust Him in every circumstance of our life.  Coming to God in the midst of troubling and stressful situations is always God’s solution to fear and anxiety.


Pray this week:

Father, will you please help me to see how you are able to use the stressful moments of my life to draw me closer into your supernatural peace?
 


Are you willing to make a list of all of the different things that you are constantly worrying about and then commit them each day to your heavenly Father with a grateful heart as to what He is doing through those stressful moments to draw you closer to Him?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Forgiving Others in the Church

How can I forgive someone who keeps hurting me?

Written by Ruth on 21/08/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church, Church And Community, Forgiveness, Reconciliation
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32
Is this true for you? – someone at the church you attend bothers you so much that sometimes you would just rather stay home from church! 

Does an “enemy” keep you away from church?
The day before He died, Jesus told His disciples that the most important command He was giving them was to love each other (John 15:12-17). During the whole final evening with them, He was preparing them for life after His death, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven (John 13-17). He had kept them together as His disciples for the past three years, and now they needed to know how they could remain together even though they would be spread to different parts of the world. Jesus’ answer was love for one another, which would unite them.

We also need help in loving each other, even when there are disagreements among us in the church. The disciples had missed Jesus’ point so often, argued with one another and hoped to gain advantage over one another. (Luke 22:24-30). Without Him walking with them, would selfishness and bitterness divide them? Not if they listened to what He said. He told His disciples they must always forgive each other, and this is what we, too, must do. We must not allow anger and bitterness to grow. When that happens, we become ineffective witnesses for Him.

How am I to forgive another Christian who hurts me?
Jesus was committing His disciples to one another as an eternal family. This means a few things:

First, it's pretty much impossible to avoid offending others in this life, so we should not pretend we're never offensive. Siblings don't always get along. But they never stop being family. What does it take to maintain peace? You have to go to someone who feels wronged—even if you don't know what you did wrong. Jesus even gave this priority over our worship in Matthew 5:23-24.

Second, because we know we've done things that give others reason to be offended, forgive others. They may not even know what they did wrong. Go to them. Be persistent and patient. (Matthew 18:15-22) Jesus never runs out of forgiveness for us; we have to be the same way.

Why should I forgive, even when they are not sorry?
One of my dear friends was the victim of a conspiracy in her family. Divorced and raising two children on her own had made life a struggle, but then her father and younger sister agreed to bypass her in the inheritance of some family property. It caused her to curse and forsake her family for years. She even emigrated to another country in order to make an irreversible break in her family relationships. 

But then, something happened to change her mind. She found Jesus. It was a few years before she reconciled with her family. They didn't recompense her for the lost property or years of hard work. But when God changed her life, He gave her first the desire, then later, the actual power, to forgive. Looking back, she now sees clearly how unforgiveness is really what hurt her and cost her the most. It really wasn't until she released her hold on it that she herself was free.

When Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 that we cannot be forgiven if we do not forgive others, He was telling us two things: 1) not forgiving someone is disobedience to Him, and 2) we cannot see our own need for forgiveness if we keep anger and bitterness in our hearts. In essence, forgiving someone is more about our relationship with Jesus than with that person. 

How do we forgive when we do not feel like doing so? Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. We must choose to obey. It may be that we must say to Jesus, “I do not want to forgive because that makes what they did right, and it was not right! But I want to be near You more than I want to keep this anger, so I choose to forgive. Help me, Lord Jesus!” Then, the next time you remember what they did or you see them at church or anywhere else, you can simply say to Jesus, “I have given this to You, I will not take it back.” It will not be long before you realize you are free from the slavery of what this person did. You are free from anger and bitterness. You are free to do or say whatever Jesus asks you to say to them with peace in your heart (Philippians 4:7, and Luke 12:11-12).

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, I have trouble forgiving ___ in my church. I choose to obey You because I need Your peace more than I need proof of being right or even worldly justice. I give this situation into Your hands; help me to leave it with You. Help me also to speak Your words to them so we may be reconciled to each other for the work of Your kingdom.
 

Who do you need to forgive and reconcile with?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member