Grace and Peace is Multiplied to Us in the Knowledge of Him
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philemon 1:3)
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Pt. 1:2-4)
Most people pray to God to give them peace. Yes, grace and peace come from God (Philemon 1:3). But Peter linked our peace to the knowledge we have. When we are in communion with the Lord, the knowledge He imparts to us gives us a peace that seems unnatural to those who don’t have the benefit of God’s perspective. This peace isn’t automatic or without effort on our part. If we don’t take advantage of God’s knowledge, which comes primarily through His Word (2 Pt. 1:4), then this peace won’t manifest in our lives.
God's Word tells us that as we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the natural things that we need, will be simply added to us (Mt. 6:33). What is more, as we pursue a greater wisdom and a deeper revelation of the knowledge of God, grace and peace will be multiplied in our lives. It is in the knowledge of God that we receive all the things that pertain to life and godliness.
We cannot earn God's grace (Rom. 11:6) but the more we learn of His beauty, the more we position ourselves to receive a multiplication of God's grace and peace in our lives. As we learn of His beauty, the peace of God that always presides over our hearts from fear, stress, worry, and anxiety will be multiplied in all things that pertain to life and godliness. That includes our health, our provisions, our families and our jobs.
Grow in Grace and Knowledge
Notice that grace comes before peace. There isn't any peace if we don’t embrace grace.
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2 Pt. 3:18)
The Lord has already given us His grace and peace (Tit. 2:11; Jn, 1:16), but we can grow in our knowledge of it. Remember that all things that pertain unto life and godliness are given unto us through the knowledge of God (2 Pt. 1:2-4). We increase in our knowledge of Him as we seek His Word, His Kingdom and His righteousness. As we hear His Word and meditate on it, we allow the Holy Spirit to saturate our hearts and our minds, So that the Seed of His Word can be sown and begin to be fruitful and multiplied.
Faith in the Gospel of Peace
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1)
The word “therefore” means “for that reason; consequently." In context, Paul had just proven through the life of Abraham that justification came by faith. He then made the statement that these truths about Abraham were not written in Scripture for his sake alone but so that we could also be justified by faith (Rom. 4:23-24). So, having established justification by faith, here he moved on to some of the benefits of being justified by faith instead of works.
The first benefit of being justified by faith, instead of works, that Paul mentioned is PEACE. Peace can only come when we relate to God on the basis of faith in what He did for us instead of what we do for Him. Those of us who are thinking that we must perform up to some standard to be accepted by God will have no peace. That puts the burden of salvation on our shoulders, and we can’t bear that load.
We were incapable of living holy enough to please God before we were saved, and we are incapable of living holy enough to please God now that we are saved (Heb. 11:6). We were saved by faith, and we have to continue to walk with God by faith (Col. 2:6-7). Not understanding this has caused many Christians who love God not to enjoy the peace that was provided for them through faith in Jesus. The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of peace (Lk. 2:14; Rom. 10:15; Eph. 6:15).
We are not trying to obtain peace with God we already have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). As you get a deeper revelation of God you will see more of His grace and peace being released in and through your life.
Peace and Goodwill Towards Men
"'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” (Lk. 2:14)
The peace that the heavenly host was singing about was not peace among mankind, but a peace between God and mankind. This can be clearly seen by looking at Jesus’ statement in Matthew 10:34, which says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
Although the Gospel has changed people’s hearts and there are many instances where this change has caused peace between people, that was not what the angels were praising God for. They were rejoicing that the war between God and man was over.
As Isaiah prophesied, “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that HER WARFARE IS ACCOMPLISHED, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins” (Is. 40:2, KJV).
Jesus bore our punishment so that we could be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-21). This peace came through the Blood sacrifice Jesus made on the cross (Col. 1:20). God isn’t angry anymore. All our sin–past-, present-, and future-tense (Heb. 10:10, 14; and 12:23)–was placed on Jesus. Now God can justly love us. God isn’t mad; all of His judgment against our sin was placed on Jesus (Jn. 12:32). He’s not even in a bad mood. God is a good God, and we are to have our feet shod with the preparation of this Gospel of peace between God and mankind (Eph, 6:15).
We now have a COVENANT OF PEACE in which God will never be angry with us or rebuke us again (Is. 54:9-10). We are supposed to shod our feet with this Gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
Every single fear that we have is born out of a lie. Every fear is an untruth that we have partaken and believed. God is our Healer, our Provider, our Savior, our Deliverer, and our Redeemer. He is our Strong Tower, our Defender and our Righteousness. Our God is our Wisdom, our Rock, our Heavenly Father, our Beloved and our best friend. God is forever faithful and His love never fails!
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." (1 Jn. 4:18)
Beloved friends, when we receive a revelation of His perfect love towards you, this revelation of His love will cast out every fear, lie, anxiety, doubt, inadequacy and worry. The more revelation we have of God: Who is love and how He made you perfect in Him (1 Jn. 4:16-17). The more you will be free and the more His grace and peace will be multiplied to you. The knowledge of Him will cast out all fear enabling you to experience the fullness of God (Eph. 3:17-20).
His Covenant of Peace
"'For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has mercy on you." (Is. 54:10)
As believers we have a covenant of peace. Therefore, we can walk in a greater measure of His grace and peace by covenant as we increase in our knowledge of Him.
The mountains and hills will be removed before God removes His covenant of peace from us. What assurance! Until the mountains and hills are all gone, we can rest assured that God’s covenant of peace is still in effect. This is the peace that the angels proclaimed at the birth of Christ (Lk. 2:15).
Notice that the Lord swore that He would be kind unto us. That is not the way religion depicts God. They show Him as an angry God Who has a short fuse. That’s not our loving heavenly Father (Jn. 14:7-9), Who is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abounding in goodness and Truth (Ex. 34:6).
We have a covenant of peace, yet many of us Christians don’t experience peace. That’s because we have to keep our minds stayed on God to walk in this peace (Is. 26:3). Peace is multiplied unto us through the knowledge of God (2 Pt. 1:2), which comes through His Word (2 Pt. 1:3-4).
Bequeathed with His Shalom-Peace
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Is. 26:3)
The word Peace in Hebrew is "Shalom" and it means "completeness, safety, soundness (in body), welfare, health, prosperity, peace, quietness, tranquility, contentment, peace in relationships, peace with God, peace from war" Consequently, as we walk in God's grace and peace we will walk in greater blessings in every area of our lives by covenant.
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (Jn. 14:27)
The night before Jesus died, He gave His peace to His disciples. The moment you receive Jesus, every blessing that you will ever need pertaining to soundness and wholeness is already inside of you. The Kingdom of God, His righteousness, peace and joy is already inside of you.
But a troubled and fearful heart work like fingers clamped down on a water hose. The supply is flowing but little or nothing is coming out. God's abundant grace and everlasting peace is always flowing from His throne. But we cannot see it or experience it with a heart that is gripped with fear. We must release the water hose.
The word "leave" means "bequeath" the way a rich man bequeaths his estate. Jesus by covenant has bequeathed His Shalom-Peace to us. "...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (Jn. 14:27)
In other words, we do not have to labor and toil to experience these blessings. By covenant, through the grace of Christ, God has bequeathed us with His Shalom Peace. By covenant God has bequeathed us with His completeness. He has bequeathed us with His safety, His soundness, His welfare, His health and His prosperity. By covenant God has bequeathed us with His peace, His quietness, His tranquility and His contentment.
Our Good, Good Father
“'So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.'" (Mt. 6:28-33)
"Therefore take no thought, saying..." (Mt. 6:31, KJV)
Anxious thoughts will come. As Kenneth Hagin said, “We can’t keep a bird from flying overhead, but we can keep a bird from landing in our hair and making a nest there.” The way we keep these anxious thoughts from becoming our thoughts is that we never voice these fears. You take thoughts or make them your own by saying them.
The way we take or receive anxious thoughts is by speaking them. Doubtful thoughts will come, but it is not sin until we entertain them (Mt. 5:28). According to this verse, speaking forth these thoughts is one way of entertaining them. Therefore, don’t speak forth these negative thoughts (Prov. 6:2; 13:3; 18:20-21; Mt. 12:36-37).
Therefore, we do not need to worry about the things that we need. For our Heavenly Father knows that we need all of these things. He is a good, good Father.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.'" (Mt. 6:33)
"For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." (Rom. 14:17)
Paul tells us, the Kingdom of God that we are to seek first and foremost is righteousness, PEACE and joy in the Holy Spirit. Daily, we are to seek and be conscious of the righteousness we have in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). Daily we are to seek, Jesus our Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). Daily we are to seek the oil of joy instead of mourning (Is. 61:3). Daily we are to spend time with God and hear His Word.
Therefore as we are seeking first and foremost His Kingdom and His righteousness, growing in the knowledge of Him, His abundance of grace and Shalom-Peace will be multiplied to us. Adding all the things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pt. 1:2-3). What is more, the more we increase in the the knowledge of Him, we will be filled with His righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:27).
Jesus Bore Our Crown of Thorns
"And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3:17-19)
Work is not a curse. Adam worked before the Fall. But after the curse the ground began to produce thorns and thistles. In other words, man had to toil to eat bread.
"And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe." (Jn. 19:2)
The earth bringing forth thorns was part of the curse that God placed on the ground because of Adam and Eve's sin (Gen. 3:18). So, it was fitting that Jesus bore the curse upon His head (Gal. 3:13). Jesus wore the thorns for you on His head to show you that He has borne this curse for you and redeemed you from it. He wore the crown of thorns so that you can work stress-free and yet have the results as you increase in the knowledge of Him, multiplying His abundance of grace and PEACE.
Therefore, you do not have to be worried and stressed out day and night like the people of the world just to make ends meet or get ahead in life. Your Heavenly Father has provided they by His covenant of peace. Beloved friends, every curse that was supposed to fall on your head, Christ bore for you. Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you so that you can have His peace of mind. Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you so that you can wear instead His crown of glory and His robe of righteousness.
"You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God." (Is. 62:3)
We often tend to focus on all that’s wrong with the church. While there is plenty to focus on, for sure, this verse reveals how our Father sees us. We are made accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). He sees us through and in Jesus.
Beloved, do not labor and toil like the people of the world. Instead, expect to see the blessings of God come into your life without your own blood, sweat and tears because Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you, sweating His Own Blood on your behalf.
The Spirit of Stress
"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." (3 Jn. 1:2)
The number one killer is stress. Not the adrenaline of stress that comes through a crisis. But the linger of stress everyday. Studies have shown that there are more heart attacks on Monday morning than any other day of the week or time of day. Stress and worry, the spirit of fear can produce all kinds of imbalances in your body. Stress kills! And most illnesses are psychosomatic in nature and are caused by psychological problems.
Studies have also shown that while in therapy, patients have been able to think peaceful thoughts and imagine peaceful circumstances that allow their blood pressure to drop dramatically. Unfortunately, these are only therapy sessions. People cannot live in a natural realm of therapy throughout their day.
Beloved friends, stress is not from God. He is our Prince of Peace! Worry and stress are curses from the Fall of man where sin and death reigned through Adam's offense. But how much more shall you reign in life through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness you receive through the One Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:17, 21)
The spirit of fear, worry and stress cannot lengthen your days. They will actually kill, steal, destroy and shorten them. God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). The Kingdom of God that is in you is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
God did not design and create our bodies to have the capacity to cope with daily stress, only the adrenaline of stress needed in critical moments. He did not create us to toil and sweat in order to meet our needs. He created and designed us to need Him, to trust and rely on Him, as we cleave to Him our Daily Bread, the Tree of Life.
When you are worrying in fear you are actually having more faith in the devil to make inroads in your life than you have in God's peace to protect you. You have more faith in the devil to harm you and the cares of this world to overtake you than you have faith in God to protect and provide for your every need.
But when you are worry-free you are refusing to worry and are determined to trust God. When you refuse to worry you choose to rest in His Goodness, that He will take care of everything. As you grow in the knowledge of Him, grace and peace will be multiplied to you and you will receive everything that pertains to life and godliness.
You cannot succeed in life, whether it be in your marriage, your ministry, your career or your family crippled by a spirit of fear. Fear is a paralytic. Some people are paralyzed in life over a fear of failure, a fear of success, or other people's opinions and accusations.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7)
Having a sin consciousness is a spirit of fear. It is the same spirit of fear that caused Adam to hide from God in the garden after he sinned. It is in the knowledge of God that we receive a fresh revelation of His covenant of Shalom-Peace, whereby we are reconciled to God. In the knowledge of His grace, we understand that through Jesus, the war between man and God is over. God is now at peace with man and has reconciled the to Himself (2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 Jn. 2:1-2).
Jesus has bequeathed us with His Shalom-Peace. So don't let your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid. Be forever conscious of His Kingdom and His righteousness. Listen to good teaching. Come to His Table of Remembrance often so that your heart can be established in His peace. The next time something troubles you don't focus on correcting the problem. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Not out of sense of duty. But from a heart of worship that is fully dependent on Him. Rest in His Goodness and He will take care of everything.
Peace is not the absence of troubles. His Shalom-Peace will allow you to be in the greatest crisis of your life and still experience His Covenant of Peace. This is the kind of peace Jesus has bequeathed you with. The world defines peace and tranquility based on what is happening in the natural realm. Shalom-Peace is an Everlasting Peace. Even if your exterior environment appears peaceful your external surroundings cannot permanently influence the turmoil you feel internally. Only the abiding peace of Christ on the inside can truly establish your heart from the inside out. Despite what is happening externally.
How the Peace of God Works
"Jesus said to them, 'Have you understood all these things?' They said to Him, 'Yes, Lord.'” (Mt. 13:51)
In Matthew 13, Jesus had just finished sharing several parables on the Kingdom of God. Jesus said in Matthew 13:19 that if we don’t understand God’s Word, the devil has total access to us to steal that Word away. Jesus wanted to make sure they understood.
Then according to Robert Thomas and Stanley Gundry in their book A Harmony of the Gospels in the chronological order of events, Mark 4:35-41 comes next.
"On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side.' Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?' And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, 'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'” (Mk. 4:35-41)
The same day as what? The same day that He had been teaching them about the power of God’s Word. Jesus had gone to great lengths to instruct them about God’s Word being like a Seed and to protect and act on that Word. Then He gave them a test to see if they had learned anything. He gave them a Word, a Seed, to see if they would be moved by His Word or by their senses and circumstances.
He told them to pass over the sea to the other side. He didn’t tell them to drown halfway across. The Creator of the sea told them to go to the other side. If they had understood what He had been teaching them, they could have put faith in His Word and have gotten to the other side by their faith in His Word. They didn’t need to awaken Him.
Jesus was going to test their faith to see if they truly understood what He was teaching them. To see if their hearts were established by faith in His Word and not just their minds. This is how the peace of God works. You can be in the midst of the most dreadful storm of your life. Yet by the peace of God you can be at rest, sleeping in the stern of the ship.
But like the disciples perhaps you think, God is unaware of the storm you are facing right now. What is more, perhaps you feel He is fast asleep and does not care about your situation.
Jesus simply rebuked the storm, commanding Shalom-Peace. It was only after Jesus established His peace that He questioned why their hearts were troubled. God cares about what you are going through. In an instant all He has to do is speak to the storm and establish His peace.
As believers God has already established His peace in you (Rom. 14:17). It is our Father's pleasure to give you His Kingdom (Lk. 12:32) and His Kingdom is within you (Lk. 17:21). Christ Who is in you (Gal. 2:20) has given you the authority to speak to the storms as you are established in Him by faith.
"So Jesus answered and said to them, 'Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.'" (Mk. 11:22-24)
"But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, 'Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" ' (that is, to bring Christ down from above)" (Rom. 10:6).
Jesus has anointed us with the very words that we speak because of the finished work of the cross. Jesus' Word will not return void (Is. 55:11). Jesus upholds all things by the power of His Word, when He Himself purged our sins (Heb. 1:3). Our faith -filled words are powerful!
God does not want us to worry in the same way He did not wan t Israel to murmur and complain in the wilderness (Ex. 16:2, 7-9, 12). Worry is a spirit of fear, not the Spirit of God that is in you. Instead God wants to add things in your life that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pt. 1:2-3; Mt. 6:33). Because your heart is established in the knowledge of Him.
The Blessed Man
We think we have to stress and sweat in order to achieve His Promises. Scripture distinguishes the difference between a blessed man and a cursed man.
"Thus saith the Lord; 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.'" (Jer. 17:5-8, KJV)
There are essentially two ways to live life. Depending on the Lord or depending on the flesh (self and/or others). The main difference between the blessed man and the cursed man is who are they trusting in? Is their heart established in God?
One who is confidently established in God, His grace, His righteousness and His peace is the one who places His confidence in God instead of His own efforts. "Making flesh His strength" (Jer. 17:5). We in ourselves can never bring about good success from depending on our own efforts.
What is more, God never gives us good success as the expense of our marriage, families, health and sanity.
"The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." (Prov. 10:22)
Many successful people are under the constant slavery of the god of mammon. Striving after success they are using up their health to chase after wealth. Only to use their wealth out of strife to hopefully restore their health. Stress will kill you. It will destroy everything (Jn. 10:10).
Please also notice in the King James Version of Jeremiah 17 that both men have a blind spot. The cursed man does not see the good when it comes whereas the blessed man does not see the heat when it comes. So in reality the cursed man is blessed with the goodness of God too. But He does not see it. When problems arise in his marriage, finances, health or a personal weakness, the cursed man is determined to trust in himself. The cursed man becomes arrogant, frustrated as he murmurs and complains.
"Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—" (Rev. 3:17)
In the Book of Revelation, as Jesus ministers to the church in its worse condition, their arrogant response reveals the blindness of their hearts, not realizing that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. In their hearts they are convinced that they do not need anything.
On the other hand, those who are living life established in the knowledge of God, trusting Him, His grace and peace, their lives are flourishing despite the circumstances around them. The heat, drought and famine is there just the same as it is with the cursed man, but he does not see it, Why? He is not focused on the circumstances, his trust is in the Lord. Therefore he is forever appreciating, praising and glorifying God. His heart is full of gratitude to receive from God despite the circumstances. They are established in His Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The blessed man does not fear when the heat comes and he is not anxious in the year of drought. When you are blessed because your trust is in the Lord, your life will flourish with the fullness of life in all seasons. Grace and peace will be multiplied to you, giving you all things that pertain to life and godliness, in the knowledge of Him.
In other words, your life does not flourish because of your knowledge of the heat, the circumstances, the doctor's report, your bank account, etc. Even during the drought the blessed man was unaffected, not ceasing to yield fruit (Jer. 17:8).
Dwelling Under the Shadow of the Almighty
"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.' Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His Truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you." (Ps, 91:1-7)
"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make m*y refuge, until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me; he reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth His mercy and His Truth." (Ps. 57:1-3, AMP)
"'For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has mercy on you...'In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you...No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the Lord." (Is. 54:10, 14, 17)
God never promised that weapons would not be formed against us. He did promise that they would not prosper, when we are established in His covenant of peace.
His Table of Remembrance
Many people begin and end their days with the news of the world instead of the knowledge of God. God instructed Joshua:
"'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.'" (Josh. 1:9)
Joshua was acting under God’s direction and could therefore expect God’s protection and blessing. He was told to do two things (“be strong and of a good courage”) and not to do two things (“be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed”). Being strong is the opposite of fear, and having good courage is the opposite of being dismayed. This is exactly what the Lord had already spoken to Joshua through Moses (Deut. 31:7-8).
The reason Joshua could be strong and of a good courage was because God was with him wherever he went. The same is even truer of us. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). A True revelation of God’s Presence and love for us will always cast out all fear (1 Jn. 4:18).
"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My Body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My Blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes." (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
Unlike the world's daily diet of news, there are those who partake of the Lord's table three times a day. Not as religious ritual. But as a constant reminder. Even in Old Testament times they were instructed to present a burnt offering twice a day (Ex. 29:38-42; Num. 28:1-8). Beloved friends, we need the constant reminder. We need to daily renew our minds that get clogged with the cares of this world.
The Bread of Sorrows
"Give us this day our daily bread." (Mt. 6:11)
Today's bread is not for tomorrow and tomorrow's bread is not for today. Every day He gives us sufficient grace and peace for today. Tomorrow He will do the same. Every day He wants you to cast your cares on Him and enjoy His covenant of grace and peace being multiplied to you (1 Pt. 5:7).
"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep." (Ps. 127:2)
Quality sleep is a gift from God. The good success that Joshua speaks of (Josh. 1:9) does not prevent you from enjoying good rest. Those who seek the Lord, His Kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost are not restless in their sleep. Grace and peace are multiplied to us in the knowledge of God. However, when we feed ourselves only on the bread of the world, the bread of sorrows, we will be depleted and drained every time. Only Jesus is the Bread of Life (Mt. 6:11). When we feed on Him daily we will be properly nourished.
"Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, for you do not know what evil will be on the earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree falls to the south or the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good." (Ecc. 11:1-6)
We must cast our bread on the baptismal waters of Jesus, not our own efforts. Jesus Alone is our Bread of Life Who died for us. Every day we need a fresh Word, a fresh revelation and a fresh remembrance of Him.
Keep Your Heart With All Diligence
"My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." (Prov. 4:20-23)
Just as a horse or donkey pricks up its ears to listen, so are we to prick up our ears at the word of the Lord (Prov. 4:1). And to incline our ears unto God’s Word isn’t speaking about the angle of our heads; it is speaking of tuning our hearing to what the Lord has to say.
God made us with the ability to tune the ear of our hearts to hear things and to turn a deaf ear to things. This is essential, since there are so many things in life that we shouldn’t hear. But the problem is that most of us have become sensitive to hearing the wrong things and are, by default, insensitive to hearing the right things. We can’t effectively do both at the same time. (Mt. 11:15).
God’s Words are not to depart from our eyes. I’m sure this is speaking of the eyes of our hearts, or the focus of our thoughts. But we can’t do that if we don’t also keep the Word of God physically in front of our eyes. We can’t meditate on what we don’t know. We have to constantly study the Word of God and then meditate on what we’ve learned from God’s Word day and night (Josh. 1:8).
I believe the heart is the combination of the soul and spirit. Originally, God created the physical body of Adam, but he wasn’t alive until God breathed into him the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). That is when God imparted His Spirit into man and he became a living soul. That is to say that Adam received a life-giving spirit from God (1 Cor. 15:45), and the soul came into existence as a buffer between the spirit and body. The soul and spirit together comprise the innermost part of man and is what is being referred to here.
People in the Old Testament didn’t have born-again spirits (Jn. 3:3). So, their spirits, or fallen natures, were always at odds with God and had to be ruled over (Prov. 25:28). But in the New Testament, Christians have new spirits (2 Cor. 5:17) that are supposed to dominate the soul, which includes the emotions, will, and thoughts. The born-again spirit has the mind of Christ (1 Cor, 2:16) and knows all things (1 Jn. 2:20). It is always believing God and is exactly as Christ is (1 Jn. 4:17). The victory in our Christian lives comes when we believe with all our heart (Acts 8:37). As Christians, our born-again spirits are always believing, so we have to get our souls, or our minds and emotions, in agreement with our spirits.
The Amplified Bible and New International Version translations of Proverbs 4:23 refer to our heart as the “springs” (AMP) and “wellspring” (NIV) of life. The Message translated this verse as “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” The Living Bible says, “Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life.” Therefore, don’t let your heart be troubled (Jn. 14:1). Only you have the ability to guard your heart and not allow it to be troubled.
Abounding in Faith
"Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things" (Phi. 4:6-8)
The Greek word “merimnao," which was translated “careful” here, literally means “to be anxious about” (Strong’s Concordance). The New International Version translates it as “anxious.” The word “anxious” means “uneasy and apprehensive about an uncertain event or matter; worried.” This is a command for us not to be anxious about anything. How do we do that? Paul goes on to explain that we are supposed to take our needs and problems to the Lord in prayer. Anxious people are people who haven’t thrown their problems over on the Lord in prayer.
Notice that all our supplications are supposed to be made with thanksgiving. That’s very important. Sometimes people just tell the Lord all their problems and call that prayer. That’s complaining. But when we voice our needs to the Lord and wrap them in thanksgiving, that moves us over into the realm of faith. If there isn’t thanksgiving in every prayer we pray, then we aren’t abounding in faith (Col. 2:7).
Paul said we were to give thanks when we make our requests to God. A request is something asked for but not yet received. We wouldn’t request something to happen that has already happened. So we are supposed to thank the Lord for doing things before He does them. That’s what the Bible calls faith.
Notice we are supposed to use prayer and supplication. Many people only think of prayer as supplication; i.e., asking for something. But the Greek word “proseuche,” translated “prayer” here, means “prayer (worship).” This is saying we need to be praising the Lord, which moves us into faith, and then make our supplication to the Lord.
Today we think of “careful” as meaning to be cautious, but nearly 400 years ago, when the King James Version was translated, it meant "to be full of cares or anxiety." Paul was admonishing these Philippian believers, who had been worried about his imprisonment (Phi. 1:12) and Epaphroditus being sick (Phi. 2:25-26), to cast all their cares upon the Lord. There is no better way to do this than to rejoice in the Lord all the time. Rejoicing makes us focus our attention on the Lord and His Promises instead of on our negative circumstances.
Most believers realize that anxiety and worry are not good and try to avoid them, but most believers do not believe that it is possible to live a life totally free of care. Paul commanded us to be careful for nothing. That means there is nothing that we should be worried about. There are no limits to the peace of God.
The way we keep from being careful is to take our needs to the Lord in prayer and give thanks by faith that God has answered. Those who are still burdened have not totally cast their care over on to the Lord.
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Pt. 5:7, KJV)
"For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield." (Ps. 5:12)
When we are faced with a crisis our tendency is to get all anxious. But God does not want us to react this way. Instead He wants us to go to Him in prayer. It is is His peace that surpasses all understanding. It is His peace that guards our hearts through Christ Jesus. Therefore, if your heart is troubled go to Jesus.
The Hardness of Heart
"Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, 'Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.' Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened." (Mk. 6:45-52)
Being shocked to see a miracle when Jesus walked on the water is a sign of a hardened heart. We should always be blessed by the miraculous power of God. But we should never be surprised or shocked. That means we have been meditating on the things of the world more than the things of God. When we are in faith, all things are possible.
What we consider, our hearts become sensitive to. What we fail to consider, our hearts become hardened to. This is just the way the Lord made us. We have to cooperate with God's law and focus on the things of God to keep our hearts soft.
These disciples hadn't been in sin. They had simply been occupied with the natural events of obeying Jesus and trying to save their lives in the process. The preoccupation with everyday life will harden our hearts to the Lord. We have to make a deliberate effort to look beyond our daily responsibilities and keep our minds and hearts focused on the things of the Lord. We must walk in faith and not sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
"But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, 'Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?'" (Mk. 8:17)
Just a few days before this instance, hardened hearts had made the disciples amazed when Jesus had walked on the water to them. Here in Mark 8:17, Jesus' statements reveal some of the characteristics of someone who has a hardened heart.
(1) Hard hearts keeps us from PERCEIVING spiritual Truths
This is why everyone in a church service will hear exactly the same Message, but some will receive while others will not. The Word is not the variable. But rather the condition of the hearts. Hard hearts stop spiritual perception.
(2) Hard hearts keep us from UNDERSTANDING spiritual Truths
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14)
When we don't understand God's Word Satan finds no resistance when he comes to steal it away (Mt. 13:19; Lk. 8:12).
(3) Hard hearts keep us from REMEMBERING
This isn't to say that we can't recall facts or Scriptures. In context (Mark 8:19-20), these disciples remembered the facts of the two miraculous feedings. But they had forgotten any spiritual lessons they may have learned. Likewise, some of us can quote Scripture or remember what the sermon was about. But we cannot perceive the spiritual life in them or retain what we did perceive. Because of hardened hearts.