Peace in Our Time

 

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

Present your requests to God. And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds. Philippians 4:6–7

A husband arrived home from work and found the washing machine spewing out suds, the refrigerator on the fritz, and crushed cereal nuggets scattered in every room. His three-year-old had the chicken pox, his eight- and ten-year-old boys complained of upset stomachs, and the baby was covered head to toe with melted chocolate chips. In the middle of this disaster scene was his wife, who managed a weary smile and muttered, “Welcome home.

There’s no question that life can be chaotic. Sometimes we’re so busy, tired, and stressed that we feel we don’t have time to pray. Yet these are the days we need to be talking with the Lord most of all. When you pray—for yourselves and others in need—you can’t help feeling a sense of God’s love for you and your family. You’re reminded of His awesome power and how capable He is of handling your situation. You begin to feel the joy, hope, and peace that are always available in the Lord.

The apostle Paul urged that “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1–2). When a tornado of unexpected circumstances strikes your home, why not gather for a brief time of family prayer? The chaos may not instantly vanish, but we promise that you’ll be able to deal with it better.

Before you say good night…

Do you feel too busy to pray? If so, how can you change this?

Are you showing your kids how to turn to God in times of stress?

Almighty God, only You can bring peace and order to our chaotic existence. When the problems of this world seem too overwhelming, gently draw us near so that we may discover anew Your calming touch. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from Growing a Spiritually Strong Family by Dennis and Barbara Rainey with Bruce Nygren (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2002).

January 20: While You Are Waiting

Genesis 32–33; Matthew 24:29–25:13; Ecclesiastes 7:22–29

Jesus’ instructions to His disciples about His return have inspired many to incorrectly predict His second coming. But if we read His parables, we find that they’re not so focused on the future. Jesus prepares His disciples for His absence, and for the end times, because He wants them to be hopeful, expecting His return. He wants them to be ready and watchful. But He wants them to do all of these things by being fully engaged in the present, readying His kingdom.
Jesus’ parable of the Wise and Wicked Servants demonstrates this attitude. While the faithful and wise servant provides for the master’s household during his absence, the wicked servant uses the time flippantly: carousing and beating his fellow servants. When the master returns, the faithful servant is promoted for his service, and the wicked servant is punished. The parable presses the disciples to use their time wisely during Jesus’ absence by doing the work they were called to do.
The same exhortation goes out to us. Will we act like lone Christians—content to live life disconnected from God’s kingdom? Instead, we should be filled with hope, expectation, and overflowing with the good news. We should be willing to build up those around us, and attract those who have no hope.
As easy as it is to forget the eternal in our everyday lives, we can just as easily forget what God’s work right now means for eternity. Being actively engaged in the present means spreading the good news, and being involved in His work—using our gifts to nurture His coming kingdom.

Are you busy and active in God’s kingdom now? If not, what is keeping you from becoming so?

REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

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  January 19, 2020
Thoughts of the Heart
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)

These two verses, describing the incurable wickedness of the antediluvian world that finally brought on the global Flood, contain the first two of over a thousand occurrences of the word “heart” in the Bible. Note the contrast: man’s heart was evil; God’s heart was grieved.

Both the Hebrew and Greek languages treated the heart as the center of a person’s being, the seat of all feelings and thoughts, and we do the same in English. The writers knew that the heart was a physical organ, with its function of circulating the blood as basic to physical life. Leviticus 17:11, among other Scriptures, notes that “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” but only rarely was the word used thus in Scripture. Nearly always the word is used symbolically in reference to the deep essence of a person’s being. It is also used occasionally to refer to the innermost part of physical objects (e.g., “the heart of the earth,” as in Matthew 12:40).

In this first occurrence, it refers to the “thoughts” of the heart. Somehow, before one thinks with his mind, he thinks with his heart, and these deep, unspoken thoughts will determine the way he reasons with his brain. Jesus confirmed this in Mark 7:21: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts.”

How important it is, then, to maintain a heart that is pure. In fact, in sharp contrast to the first occurrence of “heart” in the Old Testament referring to man’s evil thoughts, the first occurrence in the New Testament is in the gracious promise of Christ: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). HMM