The Best Is Yet To Come

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Introduction

Background

Holman Bible Dictionary

When Cyrus took over Babylon in 538 B.C. and established the kingdom of Persia, the Hebrews came under a Persian governor. Permission was given for the exiles to return and restore their temples. After the death of Cyrus, and of his son Cambyses, Darius became ruler and continued the benevolent policies of Cyrus. Then Darius appointed Zerubbabel as governor with the specific responsibility of resuming work on the Temple, begun earlier by Shesh-bazzar.

Apparently the adjustments required of the returning exiles were so difficult that rebuilding their own homes and the Temple at the same time put a strain on their resources. They despaired of ever restoring the Temple to its former glory. Work on the Temple ceased. Haggai, along with Zechariah, helped Zerubbabel gain the support and help he needed from the returning exiles to carry out his assigned task.

Haggai’s answer was that if it was right for them to rebuild their own houses, it was also right for them to rebuild the Temple. Haggai noted that in rebuilding their own houses they had done well, but they were still not happy. His diagnosis was that they had neglected their spiritual lives. He said the way to correct their neglect was to rebuild the Temple.

  • Haggai directed his exhortation and prophecy to everyone at all levels
    • Who
      • Zerubbabel (Civil Leadership)
        • Son of Shealtiel
        • Descended from the royal line of David
        • Friend of Darius
          • Successfully competed before him in contest to determine the strongest thing in the world: wine, kings, women, or truth
            • Demonstrated truth was the mightiest of all
            • Became known as the king’s “cousin”
            • Granted permission to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple after the exile (537 BC)
          • Appointed Governor of Judah
          • Also served as Tax Collector
      • Joshua (Spiritual Leadership)
        • Son of Josedech
        • High priest
        • Returned from exile with Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (537 BC)
          • Head of Levitical house which had oversight of the workmen in the temple
          • Led in rebuilding the altar
          • Led in restoring sacrifice
      • Lay People
        • Remnant
        • Those who would return/come
    • Action
      • Actively participate
        • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
          19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
      • Actively seek the participation of others
        • Active Believers
          • Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB)
            6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, andoverflowing with gratitude.
        • Inactive Believers
          • 1 John 2:3-6 (NASB)
            3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
        • Unbelievers
          • Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)
            18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
          • Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NASB)
            7 “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

Questions

  • Do you find yourself dwelling on and trying to recapture past glories?
  • Are you tired and discouraged?

Good News

  • God Is with You
  • The Best Is Yet to Come

Scripture

Haggai 2:1-9 (NASB)
1 On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? 4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ 6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, all good things come from You. Through this sermon, please make plain to us how the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Be strong, work, and fear not for God is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

Probing Question

What should we do when we are tired and discouraged?

Transitional Sentence

When tired and discouraged, we should…

Main Points

1. Be Strong

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Be(come) Strong
      • Strengthen
      • Prevail
      • Harden
      • Be Courageous
    • Connotation
      • Prevail
      • Be Courageous
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • The Lion’s Tail (Source Unknown)
      Adrian Rogers tells about the man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone had already done that.”
    • Courage is … (Eddie Rickenbacker, Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, p. 12)
      Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
    • “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
    • “True heroism is remarkably sober, very un-dramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.” – Tennis Star Arthur Ashe
  • How?
    • Have faith
      • Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
        5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
      • Philippians 4:13 (NASB)
        13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

2. Work

Haggai 2:4a (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work…

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Do
      • Fashion
      • Accomplish
      • Make
    • Connotation
      • Do
      • Make
      • Used with a sense of ethical obligation
        • Covenant people frequently commanded to “do” all that God commanded
        • Goes beyond mere mental abstraction and translates into obedience evidenced in a demonstrable act
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts.
  • Illustrations
    • “Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience.  Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.” – Thomas A. Kempis
    • “One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it.” – Oswald Chambers (Our Daily Bread, March 4, 1993)
    • “The cost of obedience is nothing compared with the cost of disobedience.” – Anonymous
    • “It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it.” = Dr. B. J. Miller (MBI’s Today In The Word, November, 1989, p.11)
  • How?
    • Demonstrate your faith in God through obedience to Him
      • James 2:14-26 (NASB)
        14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without thespirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

3. Fear Not

Haggai 2:4-5 (NASB)
4 ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’

  • What?
    • Meanings
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Revere
    • Connotation
      • Fear
      • Be Afraid
      • Emotion of fear
      • Intellectual anticipation of evil without emphasis upon the emotional reaction
  • Why?
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • Illustrations
    • Fear of Ridicule (Today in the Word, October 17, 1993)
      Anytime we are engaged in a work for God, we are likely to encounter the poison-tipped arrows of ridicule. A barrage of truth mingled with lies, innuendo, malicious gossip and implied threats is the normal experience of leaders. Malice arises from fear. And fear is a common response to someone else’s success. So expect to have your faults thrown in your face, your folly mocked and your real progress belittled. When this happens, by all means allow yourself to be cut down to size, but do not let yourself be dismayed or intimidated. Remember that the chorus of contempt has a diabolical conductor whose aim is to make your knees buckle. He likes tongue-tied, ineffective Christians and plays on your secret fears and inferiorities to make you one of them.
    • “I am full of fears and chasms of inferiority. Whenever I have listened to the enemy pointing them out I have stopped working for the kingdom. Yet in those moments when I have refused to listen to him and have feebly walked in obedience, I have been astonished at what God has done with my feeble performance.” – John White
  • How?
    • Persevere in your obedience to God through trust in Him
      • 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
        7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
      • Matthew 10:28 (NASB)
        28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
      • Hebrews 13:6 (NASB)
        6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
      • Romans 8:31 (NASB)
        31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who isagainst us?

Conclusion

God encourages people to be strong, work, and fear not for He is with us and the greater glory is yet to come.

When we are tired and discouraged we should:

  • Be Strong
  • Work
  • Fear Not

Because:

  • God is with us
    • Haggai 2:4b-5a (NASB)
      4 …for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 5 ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst…
  • The best is yet to come
    • Haggai 2:6-9 (NASB)
      6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. 8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, almighty God, thank You for Your promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Because of Your presence and watchcare over us, we can be strong, serve You, and not be afraid. Thank You for Your promise to give us life and life more abundantly. Thank You that the best is yet to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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The Peace of God

Supernatural peace is available to all who place their faith completely in the Lord.

Illustration

Encarta World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © 2005

PEACE

  • Freedom from War:
    freedom from war or the time when a war or conflict ends
  • Tranquility:
    a calm and quiet state, free from disturbances or noise
  • Mental Calm:
    a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety
  • Harmony:
    freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people

Holman Bible Dictionary © 1991

PEACE

  • Spiritual:
    sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence
  • Old Testament:
    wholeness or well-being
  • New Testament:
    well-being, restoration, reconciliation with God, and salvation

Scripture

Philippians 4:4-7 (KJV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

or…

Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)
4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, the peace of this world cannot compare to the peace that comes from You. Lord, help us to experience your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Lead, guide, and direct us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Proposition

Supernatural peace is available to all who place their faith completely in the Lord.

Probing Question

What is the “Peace of God,” which surpasses all understanding?

Transitional Sentence

The “Peace of God” is…

Main Points

1. The Gift of God

Psalms 29:11 (NASB)
11 The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

2. Equated with Salvation

Its presence can be equated with salvation

Isaiah 52:7 (NASB)
7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, Andsays to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Its absence can be equated with judgment

Jeremiah 12:12 (NASB)
12 “On all the bare heights in the wilderness Destroyers have come, For a sword of the Lord is devouring From one end of the land even to the other; There is no peace for anyone.

3. Available to All Who Will Trust in God and Love/Obey His Law

Trust in God

Isaiah 26:3 (NASB)
3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.

Love/Obey His Law

Psalms 119:165 (NASB)
165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.

4. Identified with a Righteous Life

Peace is clearly identified with a righteous life

Isaiah 32:17 (NASB)
17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

Isaiah 57:1-2 (NASB)
1 The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, 2 He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each onewho walked in his upright way.

Apart from righteousness, no one is able to find true peace

Isaiah 48:22 (NASB)
22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.

5. Recognized in Jesus Christ, Who Is “Our Peace”

We are justified through Him

Romans 5:1 (NASB)
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Reconciled through the blood of His cross

Colossians 1:19-20 (NASB)
19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say,whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Made one in Him

Ephesians 2:14 (NASB)
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups intoone and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

In Him we discover that ultimate peace which only God can give

John 14:27 (NASB)
27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

6. Experienced as an Inner Spiritual Peace by the Individual Believer

Inner spiritual peace

Romans 15:13 (NASB)
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Associated with…

  • Receptiveness to God’s salvation

Matthew 10:12-13 (NASB)
12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing ofpeace.

  • Freedom from distress and fear

John 16:33 (NASB)
33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

  • Security

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (NASB)
9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

  • Mercy

Galatians 6:16 (NASB)
16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy beupon them, and upon the Israel of God.

  • Joy

Romans 14:17 (NASB)
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

  • Grace

Philippians 1:2 (NASB)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Love

2 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)
11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

  • Life

Romans 8:6 (NASB)
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

  • Righteousness

James 3:18 (NASB)
18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

7. A “Fruit of the Spirit”

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23a (NASB)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; …

Forms part of the “whole armor of God”, enabling Christians to withstand the attacks of the forces of evil

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

Conclusion

True peace, the peace of God, is not the absence of danger; it is the presence of God.

  • Man was made to have a relationship with God
  • Unbelievers are unable to experience peace unless they reconcile with God
  • Believers are able to rejoice knowing it doesn’t depend upon their temporary circumstances, but on God’s eternal presence and faithfulness

Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Illustration

When John was an 11 year old boy, his father trained him in the art of being a master Captain of a trade ship.  When the British Navy drafted him – he could have done well as the Captain of the Royal Navy ship, but he lacked self discipline, and got in with the wrong crew – John was arrested for desertion, publicly flogged and demoted to common sailor.  At 21, John hopped on board an outbound ship from the African coast, and continued in the depravity of his teens, getting involved with the lowest of crew members.  He ridiculed the seamen in his company, ridiculed the ships’ Captain, and even ridiculed a book he had found on board, entitled “The Imitation of Christ”.

One night the ship sailed into a violent storm and John awakened with a cabin filled with seawater.  The ship’s side had caved in and ordinarily such damage would send a ship to the bottom within a few minutes.  The buoyant cargo, however, bought a few hours of precious time.

After nine hours at the pumps, John overheard a desperate remark form one of the crew; they were all goners.  For the first time in his life he prayed, “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us.”

Miraculously the ship did not go down.  Did John’s forget his prayer?  No, it was remembered with prayer and fasting, every year on its anniversary as the most significant incident in his life.

John Newton retired from the sea to become a minister.  He wrote these words to a popular hymn we sing:

“Amazing grace.  How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”

John Newton had found that night at sea that peace with God, in Christ Jesus, that passeth all understanding.

Illustration

Danny Simpson, a 24 year old Canadian, went to jail for robbing a bank, in Ottawa.  He was arrested for robbing a bank of $6,000 and then sent to jail for six years.  His gun went to a museum.

He had used a .45 caliber Colt semi-automatic, which turned out to be an antique made by the Ross Rifle Company,Quebec City, in 1918.  The pistol is worth up to $100,000.  If Danny Simpson had just known what he carried in his hand, he wouldn’t have robbed the bank.  In other words, Danny already had what he needed.

There are so many Christian in the world today who are searching for peace, not knowing they already have what they need in their heart, what they need in their hands.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NASB)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Illustration

One of the great hymns of faith we sing was written by a man who was a successful attorney in Chicago.  The Father of five children, and active member of a Presbyterian church, his successful life suddenly turned to disaster.

Without warning his only son died.  Then in the Chicago fire he lost all his real estate investments.  He decided to take his family to Europe to lift their spirits and assist Dwight L. Moody in his evangelistic campaign.  He sent his wife and four daughters ahead by ship.

Halfway across the Atlantic their ship was struck by an English ship and sank in 12 minutes. Tanetta, Maggie, Annie, and Bessie drowned in the watery grave.  Miraculously Mrs. Spafford was saved.

When Horactio was standing on the ship carrying him to rejoin his sorrowing wife in Wales, the ship passed the approximate place where his precious daughters had drowned.  Overwhelmed in his grief, he took out a legal pad and wrote:

“When sorrows like sea billows roll,
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

That is a peace within that passeth all understanding.  Only God can give it to sustain us, to keep us in the midst of the storm.

Closing Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, peace, true peace, only comes from You. The world’s peace is hollow and fleeting; but, Your peace is complete and everlasting. For those who do not have a relationship with You, I pray that You will prick their hearts through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that they would feel that irresistible call to surrender their life to You. Your peace is only accessible through a close, personal relationship with You, made possible only through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Draw all of us closer to You that we may feel the warmth of Your love, the safety of Your strength, and the peace of reconcilliation to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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Continuing to Live Life During Troubled Times

How can Christians continue living life during troubled times?

Scripture

Jeremiah 29:4-11 (NASB)
4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ 8 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, creator of all that exists, fountain of everlasting truth, knowledge, and wisdom, please open our eyes to your word. Give us discernment and understanding. Reveal to us its application to our daily lives. May we be transformed for your honor and glory. Protect us from any distractions. We humbly ask these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

How can Christians continue living life during troubled times?

Transitional Sentence

Christians can continue living life during troubled times by…

Main Points

1) Continuing daily routine

Life does not stop, nor should we.

Jeremiah 29:5-6 (NASB)
5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 ‘Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.

2) Praying for peace

Jeremiah 29:7 (NASB)
7 ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB)
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3) Ignoring ungodly counsel

Jeremiah 29:8-9 (NASB)
8 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. 9 ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NASB)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

4) Trusting in God

Jeremiah 29:10-11 (NASB)
10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Psalms 40:5 (NASB)
5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.

Romans 8:24-28 (NASB)
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Lamentations 3:24-26 (NASB)
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. 26 It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the Lord.

Conclusion

Christians can continue living life during troubled times by

  • Continuing daily routine
  • Praying for peace
  • Ignoring ungodly counsel
  • Trusting in God

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, help us to continue living life during troubled times based upon these truths You have shared with us. Help us to remember that despite our circumstances, You are still, and always have been, in control. Strengthen our confidence with the knowledge that no matter our current dilemma, all things work together for good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose. May we have peace knowing that your plans for us are good and not evil, to give us a future and a hope. We pray this in the precious name of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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