Praise the God of Peace

Praise the God of Peace

When I asked my grandmother what she wanted for Christmas or her birthday (same day!), she would always say: “Peace and quiet and a few kind words.” As a child that drove me nuts.

Really, though, nearly all of us would say we wanted peace.

Peace only comes from the God of peace. Peace is an attribute of God; He is always peaceful, never troubled.  

Peace with God

To have peace, first we must have peace with God, which comes through saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1

Peace of God

Once we have peace with God, we can have the peace of God.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!   (2 Thessalonians 3:16

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.  (John 14:27

Our Responsibility to Have His peace

The God of Peace gives us responsibility to have His peace.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.   (Colossians 3:15–16

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3

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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6–7

Our Responsibility to be Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  (Matthew 5:9

We are to be messengers of the God of peace.

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God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—I praise You. You are peace, eternal peace. I praise You that You have made it possible to have peace with You. I praise You that You have shown us how to have Your peace in our lives, in calm or troubled times. I praise You that one day You will take Your own to be with You in perfect peace for eternity. Please help us be peacemakers, glorifying You.

Today We Sailed On

Today We Sailed On

Day after day after day, Christopher Columbus’ ship’s log notes: “Today we sailed on.”

Day after day after day, they sailed through an open ocean, no land in sight. 

Life is often like that, requiring us to sail day after day after day, without knowing how far there is to go.

We know our goal: to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

The word gives us instructions about how to sail, summed up in the exhortation to please God.

God’s promises comfort us. We believe God’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Matthew 28:20); that the Holy Spirit dwells in us (Ephesians 1:13). And so very many more promises.

In sailing on day after day after day, we have the responsibility consistently to endure. We are to stay the course, to stay on the course, to sail courageously, to sail patiently.

It seems overwhelming, but remember, Jesus is praying for us (See Jesus is Praying for You). The Holy Spirit is praying for us (See The Holy Spirit is Praying for You).

We must keep our eyes on Jesus and sail on.

I Don’t Understand

I don’t understand.

We recently had a water leak requiring us to shut off the water. My husband (again) showed me how, and explained the four different shut-off levers and how the system worked. I did not grasp all this! He ended up writing on the wall with an arrow: “Shut Off.”

I’m sure I could learn it, if I spent the time and mental energy. But mechanical issues are not “natural” for me. 

God’s word tells us that spiritual things are appraised only by those who are spiritual. Those who are not spiritual cannot understand. 

They cannot understand even if they work at it. 

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. (1 Corinthians 2:14–15

We all know folks who don’t believe. Do they know the truth but have rejected Christ? Have they not heard the gospel? Are they unable to understand?

What to do. What to do.

Pray that God will open their eyes, hearts, and minds.

The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4

Closely follow the Lord. Your life is a witness.

Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  (Philippians 1:27

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35

Be ready to explain

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15

Be Christ’s witness

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those whobring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14–15

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Father, we want to obey Your Son in telling the world about Him. Please help us understand what to say to whom and when. Please give us gentle boldness in our witness. I especially pray that you open ears, hearts, and minds in [names]. 

Answered Prayer: My Eyes

Several years ago, I suddenly could not see well. We were 1200 miles from my regular doctors, so I saw an unfamiliar optometrist and then a retinal specialist. I had two macular holes and needed retinal surgery. 

I sent the records to my doctors in Colorado, and we began watching the weather to be able to get home.

There were many, many answers to prayer during this time. The biggest was that the Lord brought me to trust Him for my eye problem, to trust His sovereignty over my sight, and to trust His love. I came to realize that if I lost my sight, He would be with me and He would have blessings for me. I, of course, prayed He’d heal my eyes, but it was awesome to know either way He would have a purpose for me.

One of the answers to prayer was whether to have cataract surgery before retinal surgery or afterwards. The Texas advice was to have retinal surgery first because cataract surgery would further open the hole. The Colorado advice was that I would have better outcomes if I had cataract surgery first. It seemed like a very big decision and I prayed about it for the weeks it took to get home. 

At my first Colorado visit with an ophthalmologist, she discovered I had drainage problems in both eyes, which had to be correctly prior to retinal surgery. 

Guess what the procedure was to correct the drainage problem.

Cataract surgery!

I had to laugh. What a crystal-clear answer to prayer!

Thank You, Lord!

And thank You for my restored sight!

What an awesome God we serve.

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If you want some history and more detail on my journey through my eye problem, see

Practical Exam

Your Will be Done

Humble Faith

 Start what Must be finished

Interruption or Opportunity?

 Making it Worse to Make it Better

 The Shepherd and Eye Surgery #6

Pressing on Together

This is the 5-year anniversary of Pressing On Together. Today is the 259th post.

My goal was—and is—to help us press on in our Christian walk, more and more walking in a manner worthy of Him.

My “Welcome!” post said: “This website is dedicated to pressing on: finding hope ahead, forgetting past sins and victories, overcoming barriers, handling trials, learning how. And moving forward together.”  

Through this blog I want to honor God and help others. I want it to be an encouragement to you.

God has helped me through my own blog (!). I am blessed as I research and write each post. I schedule the posts ahead of time, and I am amazed how often my own post helps me!

I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:12–14) 

Let’s press on!

Praise the One God

One God

There is one God. One. The One and only God.

Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that there is One God.

Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. (Isaiah 43:10

I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.  (Isaiah 44:6

I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. (Isaiah 45:5

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  (1 Timothy 1:17

Jesus: “The foremost [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel!The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29–30

In a world with multiple traditions with multiple gods, we rest on the fact that our God is One and that He is the only.

One God! Such clarity. We know Who to worship; there is no confusion about Who is in charge. 

The Trinity

Our one God is revealed in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is taught in both Old and New Testaments, although with more clarity in the New. 

Jesus, the Son of God, eternal God, taught there is One God. No conflict there! Jesus taught us to pray to God the Father. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ. 

Both Jesus, our great High Priest, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us intercede for us with the Father. 

We pray to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Response

There is One God. We are not alone. We are watched over, cared for, guaranteed eternal life There is no one else to believe in. There is salvation in no one else. There is no one else to give ourselves to. There is no one else to rely on. 

This truth makes it easier (we don’t have to be confused about which god to appeal to). This truth is also overwhelming. There is only one God who is in charge of everything, who created us, who saves, who judges, who condemns. There is only one God to whom we are accountable (and who knows everything and has all power).

We better get it straight. 

We are called to love the One God, our Lord, with everything we are. We are called to love Him—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. (See HOW to Love God with All Your Mind.) We are to love with all our capacity. 

God, help us worship You in spirit and in truth.

You are Always on His Mind

You Are Always on His Mind

Christian, you are not forgotten. You are always on His mind.

You may feel alone. But you aren’t. 

He promises He will never forget you. No matter who else forgets, He does not and will not forget.

Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. (Isaiah 49:15–16

The Lordis the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8

These were spoken in the Old Testament and applied to Christians in the New:

He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor willI ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5–6

And Jesus promised: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20

Keep in mind that you are always on God’s mind. 

When you feel alone, remember Him. 

When you feel forsaken, recognize that as a lie from the devil, and remember that you are always ALWAYS on His mind.

Thank You!

The Examined Life

We–Christians, believers in Christ, Christ-followers—are to live examined lives. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.  (Psalm 139:23–24

Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.   (Lamentations 3:40

We are to ask God to search us. God, of course, knows everything already. But we don’t. I am very, very capable of fooling myself.

When we pray for God to search us, He will show us. 

Pleasing God

Examination isn’t only to learn what we need to confess. When God searches us and shows us, He will also show us what we’re doing well and what we need to strengthen. We are learning to please God.

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1

Identifying Sin

Examination also shows us areas of sin that we need to confess, repent, and change with His help. 

After we have been saved, saved from the penalty of sin, we still sin, alas. But we are learning how to walk in the newness of life, and being made into the image of Christ.

Until God takes us home when we will be saved from the presence of sin, we will sin. Examination shows us the areas God wants us to confess and work on. 

The result is a more godly life and deeper fellowship with God. What an enormous blessing.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Examine Yourself

Set aside some focused time and give it a try.

Blessings will result.

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Father, search me and show me where I sin and what I need to strengthen. Help me be sensitive to anything I think, say or do that does not please You. Help me confess my sins, and, with Your help, eradicate it, substituting thoughts, words, and deeds that please You. Help me understand Your word and Your will for me, and help me make my life glorify You. Thank You that You encourage as well as reprimand. Thank You that You are leading and guiding me. Thank You that You are making me into the image of Your Son. Thank You that You will bring me home. 

Self-Righteous Lives

Do you know anyone who doesn’t think he or she sins?

Christians are sinners who have recognized their sins, repented, and believe in Christ for salvation. Christians still sin, but when we confess our sins, God forgives (1 John 1:9).

Non-Christian sinners are everyone else. Some are those who rely on their behavior, believing their external adherence to God’s law or their ethical/moral standing makes them righteous and guarantees them a place in heaven. The Pharisees are a prime example, although there are many today, including within the organized church.

For the self-righteous, they have convinced themselves their standard is the one that counts with God. They are relying on external behavior. They are whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27).

Other non-Christian sinners do not believe they sin. They don’t believe in God, perhaps.  They may believe only their opinion is right and cannot listen to alternative points of view. They may think whatever they do is right. Some claim they are perfect just as they are. 

I saw a well-known athlete repeat a mantra: “I am perfect. I am strong. I am enough.”

Oh my. 

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8) 

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.(Galatians 6:3)

Is it possible for either group ever to believe they are sinners in need of a savior?

The gospel contains both bad news and good news. The bad news is that we are all sinners and that sinners face a righteous, just God who hates sin. The good news is that God provided a Savior who died in our place IF we repent, believe, and trust in Jesus Christ, receiving Him as Lord and Savior.

I know nothing is impossible for God, and that He can bring anyone to confession, repentance, and belief.  BUT….

Let’s pray!

God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—thank You that nothing is impossible for You. Please make us sensitive to the needs and opportunities of those who do not know You, who don’t think they need You. Please guide us.

Praise the Nazarene

Nazareth Village Synagogue–holylandtour.bju.edu

Jesus, eternal God, became a man. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). 

Breathtaking!

Jesus Was Fully Man

Jesus was fully man. He was born of a virgin. He was a descendent of David according to the flesh, through both His mother, Mary, and her husband Joseph. He was circumcised as any Jewish boy. He was born under the Law. He was raised in Nazareth, in subjection to His mother and Joseph. He grew in wisdom and stature. He attended synagogue.  He was tempted in everything as we are but was without sin. He was laughed at, mocked, insulted, slandered. He suffered. He hungered and grew thirsty. He traveled. He tired.  He was touched. He was distressed. He agonized. He prayed. He was beaten and scourged. He bled. He was crucified. He died. He was buried.

He was man.

Praise the Nazarene.

Spiritual Implications

Because He became a man and lived a perfect life, He:

Went through what we are going through, was tempted as we are, yet without sin, and is able to come to our aid;

Learned obedience from the things He suffered, and understands our weaknesses, infirmities, and trials;

Was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, and became God’s perfect sacrifice, saving believers from our sins.

Became our sympathetic high priest who sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us.

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:14–18) 

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Lord Jesus Christ—eternal God—I praise You for becoming a man. I am so grateful You humbled Yourself, being made in likeness of man and being obedient to death, even death on the cross. I praise You for perfectly living a life on this world, being tempted as we are, but without sin. I praise You for suffering enormous pain for our sakes. I praise You that You are our great High Priest, able to sympathize with us since You also endured this life. I praise You for coming to our aid.