The Road To Bethlehem – II

…the Lord has dealt with me…

Luke 1:24, 25; 42-45; 60

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias and the mother of John the Baptist. John was a miracle baby because, as Luke 1:7 tells us, “…they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were well advanced in years.But God had other plans! Gabriel, the messenger angel, appeared unexpectedly to Zacharias as he burned the incense in the temple, Gabriel told him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:13).

In the last Gem, we explored the age of this elderly couple. Most likely, they were well into their sixties! But there is nothing definitely recorded concerning their ages. In Luke 1:18 Zacharias, in disbelief, said to Gabriel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” But apparently, Elizabeth didn’t have any trouble believing the message delivered by the angel Gabriel!

We don’t know a lot about Elizabeth. We only ‘hear’ her speak in six verses in Luke chapter 1.

Luke 1:24 and 25 – “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.’

  • …my reproach among men…,” what did she mean? A couple without a child, especially a male child, was looked upon as out of favor with God!
  ✡  Deuteronomy 7:13 and 14 describes 
     the LORD’s promise for obedient 
     Israelites: “...He will love you 
     and bless you and multiply you. He 
     will also bless the fruit of your 
     womb and the fruit of your land....
     there shall not be a male or female 
     barren among you....” 

  ✡  So, the thinking was, if a couple 
     was barren, they must be disobedi-
     ent before God and under His curse!
  • Being childless was especially devastating for Zacharias and Elizabeth! According to Luke 1:5…
Zacharias was ...a...priest...of 
     the division of Abijah.” 

  ✡  Elizabeth ...was of the daughters 
     of Aaron....” 

  ✡  Both of them were of priestly line-
     age! And it says in Luke 1:6, “...
     they were both righteous before God, 
     walking in all the commandments and 
     ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Luke 1:42 through 45:

  Then [Elizabeth]...spoke out with a loud 
  voice and said, “Blessed are you among 
  women, and blessed is the fruit of your 
  womb! But why is this granted to me, that 
  the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
  For indeed, as soon as the voice of your 
  greeting sounded in my ears, the babe 
  leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she 
  who believed, for there will be a ful-
  fillment of those things which were told 
  her from the Lord.”
  • Mary had just arrived at the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth. She entered and greeted her aged relative. (The Bible does not specify exactly how Mary and Elizabeth were related).
  • At Mary’s greeting Elizabeth joyfully told her, “…the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44).
  ✡  According to Luke 1:36, the angel 
     Gabriel told Mary concerning Eliza-
     beth, “...this is now the sixth 
     month for her who was called barren.” 
     (Luke 1:36). So John the Baptist was 
     about six months older than Jesus!

  ✡  Apparently, John the Baptist in 
     utero leaped for joy!

• God had Elizabeth give forth her greeting with the same words that Gabriel had spoken to Mary: “Blessed are you among women…” (Luke 1:42 – compare Luke 1:28).

  ✡  I think the Lord did this to put to 
     rest any doubts Mary might have had 
     concerning the content of the angel’s 

  ✡  But Elizabeth didn’t stop there. She 
     continued, “...and blessed is the 
     fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).
  • Then the elderly woman asked an interesting question: “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43).
She was referring to the yet-to-be-
     born Jesus as her Lord! 

  ✡  The Greek word here for Lord is 
     κύριος (pronounced koo’-ree-os) 
     and meaning (according to Strong’s
     Greek Dictionary) “...supreme in 
     authority, that is (as noun) con-
     troller; by implication Mr. (as a 
     respectful title)....” 

    ➔  κύριος is found in the New Testa-
        ment 748 times, 667 times which 
        refer to God the Father and/or to 
        Jesus Christ.

    ➔  For instance, in Philippians 2:10 
        and 11, Paul uses  κύριος in de-
        scribing Jesus’ full deity: “...
        that at the name of Jesus every 
        knee should heaven and 
        on earth and under the earth, and 
        every tongue should confess that 
        Jesus Christ is Lord [κύριος], to 
        the glory of God the Father.”

  ✡  Mary was carrying in her womb the in-
     carnate God of all!
  • The last part of Elizabeth’s greeting was both a blessing and a challenge: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45).
  ✡  All that had happened to Mary, to 
     Zacharias, to Elizabeth...

    ➔  ...came from God!...would be fulfilled!

  ✡  Mary did believe! And in believing, 
     she would be blessed! But she would 
     also be challenged!

    ➔  She was pregnant and unmarried 
        – a situation that was not just 
        gossip fodder, but was to be 
        punished by death! (see Leviti-
        cus 20:10).

    ➔  As the mother of Jesus she would 
        experience much heartache! As 
        Simeon prophesied in Luke 2:34 
        and 35, “Behold, this Child is 
        destined for the fall and rising 
        of many in Israel, and for a sign 
        which will be spoken against....
        Yes, [directed to Mary] a sword 
        will pierce through your own soul 

    ➔  The challenge would be for Mary 
        to stand fast in God’s word, and 
        continue believing in Jehovah 
        God’s plan and purpose!

The last of Elizabeth’s recorded words are found in Luke 1:60. When her son was eight days old, it was the custom to officially name the baby at his circumcision ceremony. Those participating were ready to call “…him by the name of his father, Zacharias.” (Luke 1:59). That was the obvious name according to tradition. But “…his mother answered and said, ‘No; he shall be called John.’

  • Remember, Zacharias was stricken dumb for more than the nine months of his wife’s entire pregnancy because of his unbelief (see Luke 1:18-20).
  • The guests at the circumcision and naming of the baby asked for his input on the matter.
  ✡  “And he asked for a writing tablet, 
     and wrote, saying, ‘His name is 
     John.’” (Luke 1:63). 

  ✡  “Immediately his mouth was opened 
     and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, 
     praising God.” (Luke 1:64).

  ✡  “And all those who heard [about all 
     that happened]...kept...these sayings their hearts...[and said,] 
     ‘What kind of child will this be?’” 
     (Luke 1:66).
  • What kind of a person was John the Baptist?
He was the forerunner of Jesus, the 
     Messiah! (see Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 
     3:1; 4:5).

  ✡  Jesus, in Luke 7:28, even said of 
     him, “...I say to you, among those 
     born of women there is not a greater 
     prophet than John the Baptist.; but 
     he who is least in the kingdom of 
     God is greater than he.” 

  ✡  John was God-ordained to be the 
     greatest prophet who would prepare 
     the way for Jesus Christ! But his 
     upbringing by his godly father and 
     mother certainly helped mold him 
     for his great ministry!

Elizabeth was a devout woman of the Lord!
And she was blessed by Him because of her faith!
Let her faithful example inspire us!

The Road To Bethlehem – I

“I can’t believe it!”

Luke 1:11-13, 18

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The shock on the face of this old man leads us into our featured Scripture, Luke 1:11 through 13, and verse 18:

  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to 
  [Zacharias]...standing on the right side 
  of the altar of incense. And when Zachar-
  ias saw him, he was troubled, and fear 
  fell upon him. But the angel said to him, 
  “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your 
  prayer is heard; and your wife Elzabeth 
  will bear you a son, and you shall call 
  his name John.” ...And Zacharias said to 
  the angel, “How shall I know this? For 
  I am an old man, and my wife is well 
  advanced in years.”

How old was Zacharias when he received this angelic message? The Bible does not say. But there are some hints:

  • According to the middle-eastern cult belief of the Mandaeans, John the Baptist and not Jesus is the true teacher, and Elizabeth is more important than Mary. In the Mandaean apocryphal book, Gospel of John the Baptizer, John is quoted as saying, “My father was ninety and nine and my mother eighty and eight years old…” at his birth.
  • However, a number of commentators say Zacharias could not have been more than 49 years old, according to Numbers 8:24 and 25: “This is what pertains to the Levites: From twenty-five years old and above one may enter to perform service in the tabernacle…and at the age of fifty years they must cease performing the work….
  • But Grace Notes – Online Training in Bible Teaching (my research has shown they are a reliable source of Bible teaching) at, tells a different story:
  ...Zacharias...was more than 60 years 
  old. He had never been chosen to per-
  form the incense ritual, yet he was 
  well-known in the Temple. Each course 
  of priests was on duty twice a year, 
  and priests were not retired by age, 
  as were the Levites, but only by 

While we don’t know the exact age of Zacharias and Elizabeth when the angel Gabriel announced, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:13). Yet it seemed impossible (at least to Zacharias) that at their age God would give them a baby boy!

  • Be aware that in the Israelite culture in Bible times, to be childless was a sign of the curse of God!
  ✡  And yet we are told in Luke 1:6, 
     “...they were both righteous be-
     fore God, walking in all the com-
     mandments and ordinances of the 
     Lord blameless.”

  ✡  In the minds and on the lips of 
     some gossipy neighbors, their 
     childlessness was proof that 
     something wicked was going on!Cursed! This was especially true 
     if a couple didn’t have a male 
     heir to protect and uphold the 
     family name and traditions, and 
     to care for others in the family, 
     including aged parents!

  ✡  I imagine that through the years 
     Zacharias and Elizabeth had tried 
     to produce an heir. But ...Eliz-
     abeth was barren...! (Luke 1:7).
  • In astonishment and doubt, Zacharias replied to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18). We know the old priest doubted because Gabriel told him, “…behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:20).
  • Comparing Zacharias’ unbelief to what is recorded in Luke 1:26 through 38 – Mary’s reaction when Gabriel announced her miraculous conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, she said, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). She did not doubt the message, but was confused about how this could be possible!

Gabriel’s prophesy to Zacharias was fulfilled! He did not utter a word for just over nine months, until the day his impossibleson John was circumcised and named! (see Luke 1:59-66).

Let’s apply the subtitle of this Gem: I can’t believe it!to our situations! Is there something about the promises of the Lord that you have trouble believing?

I remember ‘Pappy.’ That’s what we used to call Kenny, my dear friend John’s father. John and I became fast friends in the Air Force where we served together for over two years at the Saratoga Springs Radar Site. John’s family had a dairy farm on the other side of New York State, south of Buffalo. We made the trip out to the family farm so often I became another son to Mother and Pappy! I would even show up when John couldn’t get free.

Some years later Pappy was admitted to the hospital after an automobile accident, the injuries of which eventually proved to be terminal. My wife Hope and I at that time lived about two hours south of the farm near Erie, Pennsylvania. So I bought Pappy a modern English New Testament and visited him in the hospital. The main reason for our visit was to share with him concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and how He died and rose again to save sinners. Both Mother, who died in the car accident, and Pappy were not Christians.

Though it was more than fifty years ago, I still remember Pappy’s response after I told him how Jesus made the way to forgive our sins: He looked at me and said, “Oh, Chip, you don’t know what I’ve done, how many sins I’ve committed!He felt he was beyond the forgiveness of God! I hope in his heart before he died that he realized the truth of redemption through the cross and put his faith in the Savior!

Beyond believing God for salvation, as a pastor I have dealt with a number of Christians who just cannot believe that Jesus will supply their life’s needs! Somehow they have missed the plain truths of the Bible:

  • Psalm 23:1 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  • Matthew 6:31 through 33 – Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount: 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 righteous-
  ness, and all these things shall be 
  added to you.
  • II Corinthians 9:8 – “…God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
  • Philippians 4:19 –“…God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Zacharias lost his ability to speak through unbelief!
What are you losing through unbelief?


I Thessalonians 5:13-18

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In Ephesians 5:12 through 22, the Apostle Paul gives the Christians of Thessalonica instructions for holy living. Here is a sampling in verses 13 through 18:

  Be at peace among yourselves. Now we 
  exhort you, brethren, warn those who 
  are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, 
  uphold the weak, be patient with all. 
  See that no one renders evil for evil 
  to anyone, but always pursue what is 
  good both for yourselves and for all. 
  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 
  in everything give thanks; for this 
  is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
  for you.

A lot is said in these few verses. But what stands out, especially at this time of year, is in verse 18: “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

  • The Greek word translated “…give thanks…” is εὐχαριστειτε. It is the Present Active Imperative form of the verb εὐχάριστἐw (pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh’-o).
  ➔  According to Thayer’s Greek Def-
      initions, εὐχάριστἐw means “...
      to be grateful, feel thankful...
      give thanks....”   

  ➔  In the  Present Active Imperative 
      form “...[such] verbs give commands. 
      These commands have an imperfective 
      aspect. In other words, they command 
      for an action to happen continuously 
      or repeatedly.”  (From the website,  
  • Applying this to what Paul wrote in verse 18, “…give thanks…,” it becomes clear that the apostle is telling the Thessalonian believers to develop the habit to continually “…give thanks…in everything…!

Although the time of the apostle’s correspondence to Thessalonica was perhaps the first of his epistles, barely twenty years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and years before the Roman persecutions began under Emperor Nero in 64 AD, Paul knew what was coming – struggles and hard times for the followers of Jesus Christ – as he himself both instigated and experienced!

  • As Saul of Tarsus, he led the early Jewish persecution of believers…
  ✞  ...the martyrdom of Stephen (see 
     Acts 7:57-60).

  ...Acts 9:1 and 2 – “...Saul...
     breathing threats and murder a-
     gainst the disciples of the Lord
     ...if he found any of the Way, 
     whether men or women, he [desired 
     to]...bring them bound to Jerusa-
     lem....he later testified before King 
     Herod Agrippa in Acts 26:9-11:

      Indeed, I myself thought I must do 
      many things contrary to the name of 
      Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did 
      in Jerusalem, and many of the saints 
      I shut up in prison, having received 
      authority from the chief priests; 
      and when they were put to death, I 
      cast my vote against them. And I 
      punished them often in every syna-
      gogue and compelled them to blas-
      pheme; and being exceedingly enraged 
      against them, I persecuted them even 
      to foreign cities.
  • As the Lord’s missionary to the Gentiles, Paul traveled over much of the Roman Empire spreading the gospel. And he suffered for it! He lists some of his tribulations in II Corinthians 11:23 through 27: labors more abundant, in stripes 
  above measure, in prisons more frequent-
  ly, in deaths often. From the Jews five 
  times I received forty stripes minus 
  one. Three times I was beaten with rods; 
  once I was stoned; three times I was 
  shipwrecked; a night and a day I have 
  been in the deep; in journeys often, in 
  perils of waters, in perils of robbers,
  in perils of my own countrymen, in perils 
  of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, 
  in perils in the wilderness, in perils in 
  the sea, in perils among false brethren; 
  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness 
  often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings 
  often, in cold and nakedness....

But he learned the secret of contentment and thanksgiving in all of his life’s experiences! In the midst of receiving persecution and opposition for living out his faith in Jesus Christ, Paul wrote this in Philippians 4:11 through 13:

  ...I have learned in whatever state I 
  am, to be content: I know how to be a-
  based, and I know how to abound. Every-
  where and in all things I have learned 
  both to be full and to be hungry, both 
  to abound and to suffer need. I can do 
  all things through Christ who strength-
  ens me.

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  • I am aware of a qualifying argument pertaining to “…in everything give thanks….” The reasoning is that Paul did not say “[for] everything give thanks…,” but “in everything give thanks….
  ➔  There are some things that touch 
      our lives, so the argument goes, 
      that we don’t have to thank God 
      for them!

  ➔  But we can always thank our Hea-
      venly Father for helping us get 
      through the miserable times!
  • However, there is Ephesians 5:20! I will include verse 17 also: “…understand what the will of the Lord is….giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.
  • …for all things…[and] in everything…we are to be thanking and praising our God!
  ✞  Why? Because it is as Jeremiah 
     wrote in Lamentations 3:21 through 
     26 in the midst of terrible nation-
     al and personal sufferings:

      This I recall to my mind, Therefore 
      I have hope. Through the Lord's mer-
      cies we are not consumed, Because 
      His compassions fail not. They are 
      new every morning; Great is Your 
      faithfulness. “The Lord is my por-
      tion,” says my soul, “Therefore I 
      hope in Him!” The Lord is good to 
      those who wait for Him, To the soul 
      who seeks Him. It is good that one 
      should hope and wait quietly For 
      the salvation of the Lord.

  ✞  God’s presence, mercies, care, com-
     fort, even miracles are present with 
     His children in the midst of their 
     trials, even their most severe trials!

Thanking and praising God even in the midst of our most severe trials…

This is ThanksLiving!

Thursday, November 23rd we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays.

  • The first Thanksgiving is traced back in popular thinking to the Pilgrims who, in the late fall of 1620, began to establish a village at Plymouth in what is now the state of Massachusetts.
  ➔  In the months following, after a bru-
      tal winter which claimed the life of 
      about half of those who had arrived 
      from England on the Mayflower, and 
      with help from Native Americans, the 
      colonists reaped a bountiful harvest.

  ➔  Governor William Bradford organized 
      a celebratory feast in November of 
      1621, inviting their Native American 
      allies to join them.
  • To express gratitude for the American Revolution and the ratification of the US Constitution, in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government.
  • Seventy-four years later, at the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln in 1863 proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving, and to ask God to “…commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife [and to] heal the wounds of the nation.
  • Since Lincoln’s proclamation, but for two years under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the final Thursday of November. Roosevelt made it official in 1941 by presidential proclamation.

But just one day a year set aside for concentrated thanksgiving?

  • We, God’s children, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are to be thanking and praising Him… everything...” (I Thessalonians 
     5:18), and...

  ...for all things...” (Ephesians 
  • And we should be doing this 365 days in a year (and next year an extra day because 2024 is a Leap Year!)

Let us practice ThanksLiving!

The Ruth Factor

Ruth 1:11-17

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Pictured above is a scene from the book of Ruth in the Old Testament, chapter 1 and verses 14 through 17. Here is some background from Ruth 1:1 through 7:

  • During a severe famine in Israel, Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion left their home in Bethlehem of Judah and fled to Moab (a country east of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea). The famine did not so severely affect the country of Moab.
  • In the years they resided in Moab, Elimelech died, their sons married two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth, and then Mahlon and Chilion died!
  • Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem accompanied by her two daughters-in-law. But they hadn’t gotten far when…

…we come to our featured Scripture:

  • Ruth 1:11 through 14:
  ...Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; 
  why will you go with me? Are there still 
  sons in my womb, that they may be your 
  husbands? ...If ...I should have a hus-
  band tonight and should also bear sons, 
  would you wait for them till they were 
  grown? ...No, my daughters...the hand of 
  the Lord has gone out against me!” Then 
  they lifted up their voices and wept 
  again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-
  law, but Ruth clung to her.
  • Ruth 1:16 and 17:
  [Ruth pleaded with her mother-in-law]: 
  “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn 
  back from following after you; for wher-
  ever you go, I will go; and wherever you 
  lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be 
  my people, and your God, my God. Where 
  you die, I will die, and there will I be 
  buried. The Lord do so to me, and more 
  also, if anything but death parts you 
  and me.”

Why is this Scripture important? Consider what is written in Deuteronomy 23:3: “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever…” (see also Nehemiah 13:1). Why weren’t they allowed to “…enter the assembly of the Lord forever…? The answer is what Moses said in Deuteronomy 23:4; “…because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against [Israel]…Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you…” (see Numbers chapters 22 through 24).

How is it that Ruth was welcomed into the Israelite nation in her first generation? And according to the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:1 through 16, She is named as an ancestress of Jesus. (see Matthew 1:5). Ruth is one of only four women listed in this genealogy compared to forty-one men!

It was by faith in Jehovah God that Ruth the Moabite was accepted into Israel! Consider again Ruth’s plea to Naomi in Ruth 1:16: “…wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

  • Naomi was an Israelite. She believed in Israel’s God, and refers to Him by two different names or titles:
  ✡   Ruth 1:8 – “And Naomi said to her 
      two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return 
      each to her mother’s house. The 
      LORD deal kindly with you as you 
      have dealt with the dead and with 
      me.” (see also Ruth 1:6, 9, 13, 
      21; 2:20).

    ➔   “LORD” – Hebrew: יְהֹוָה (pronounced 
         yeh-ho-vaw’) meaning, “self-Exis-
         tent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish 
         national name of God...” (Strong’s 
         Hebrew Dictionary).
    ➔   This is the name by which God or-
         dered Moses to introduce Him to 
         the Israelites in Exodus 3:15: 
         “The LORD God [Jehovah elohim] of 
         your fathers, the God of Abraham
         ...Isaac, and...Jacob, has sent 
         me to you. This is My name for-

  ✡   Ruth 1:19 and 20 – Naomi and Ruth...came to Bethlehem....and the 
      women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ So she 
      said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; 
      call me Mara, for the Almighty has 
      dealt very bitterly with me.

    ➔   “Almighty” – Hebrew: שַÑדַּי )(pro-
         nounced sha-dah’ee meaning, 
         “the Almighty...”(Ibid.)

    ➔   In Genesis 17:1 and 2, “...the 
         LORD appeared to Abram and said 
         to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk 
         before Me and be blameless. And 
         I will make My covenant between 
         Me and you....’The...Almighty revealed as the covenant 

• When Ruth exclaimed, “…your God…shall be…my God…,she was proclaiming her faith in the One True God, the LORD God of Israel! This is why she was welcomed into Israel, a Moabite of the first generation! Ruth was saved by faith in the One True God!

‘The Ruth Factor…’ Faith can overcome even the general pronouncement of God!

We are saved today by that same kind of faith!

  • All people are eternally lost, estranged from God, and destined for never-ending suffering in the perpetual fires of hell! But for one thing…
  • Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, God the Son, revealed in Luke 19:10 the reason why He came from heaven to earth: …for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
  • Paul tells us in Romans 10:9 and 13, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus” and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved….For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
  • John wrote this in I John 5:20: Speaking of Jesus, …the Son of God….This is the true God and eternal life.
  • Jesus said in John 5:24: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Join those of faith who like Ruth overcame the curse of God to find salvation in Him!

Five Kinds of Peace! – V

Leviticus 26:3-6

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

All five books of the Pentateuch record the history of the Israelites in Egypt and as they wandered in the Sinai desert before they entered the land of Canaan! Our featured Scripture, Leviticus 26:3 through 6, is part of God’s instructions concerning the actions and attitudes of the Israelites once they were settled in the Promised Land! These four verses describe some of the LORD’s blessings bestowed upon them when they were obedient:

“If you walk in My statutes and keep My 
commandments...then I will give you rain 
in its season, the land shall yield its 
produce, and the trees of the field shall 
yield their fruit. Your threshing shall 
last till the time of vintage, and your 
vintage shall last till the time of sow-
ing; you shall eat your bread to the 
full, and dwell in your land safely. I 
will give peace in the land, and you 
shall lie down, and none will make you 

II Chronicles 7:14 gives a similar call to the LORD’s people. He admonished them in our featured Scripture. I published a Gem concerning this verse on August 28th, 2021 entitled “If…” This Scripture is part of God’s answer to King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the newly completed temple in Jerusalem: “…if My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

  • This directly applied to Israel in Solomon’s time about 950 BC! As in Leviticus 26:3-6, God’s blessing was predicated upon their obedience to Him!
  • So it is with Christians in America today – both Leviticus 26 and II Chronicles 7:14 – the principles of both Scriptures apply!

By the way, the majority of content in Leviticus 26 (verses 14 through 39) describe the curses God will allow to come upon the Israelites if they do not obey Him!

I want to highlight one more verse, Proverbs 16:7. At first, this verse does not seem to speak to this final installment of the five-part series entitled Five Kinds of Peace!

  • It is because this final Gem of the series concerns a treaty between two or more nations that results in peace!
  • But Proverbs 16:7 tells us, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

However, in studying the national experience of Israel in the Old Testament and into the New Testament, the truth of this proverb could be applied this way: When a [nation’s]…ways please the LORD, He makes even its enemies to be at peace with…[that nation].

  • When Israel was following God and His laws, that nation…
...had peace within its borders!...experienced peace with the sur-
      rounding nations!
  • This is exactly what God said in Leviticus 26:3, 5, and 6 (part of our featured Scripture): “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments…then…you shall…dwell in your land safely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid.”

Now, if we apply this interpretation of Proverbs 16:7 and the truth of II Chronicles 7:14 to America, its citizens…

  • …will have peace within its borders!
  • …will experience peace with other nations!

It all depends on God’s people,
if they will carefully follow Him
according to His Word!

Five Kinds of Peace! – IV

Acts 5:27-40

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Pictured above is the respected Rabbi Gamaliel, a Pharisee, instructing the Jewish Sanhedrin concerning the apostles who were arrested for preaching Jesus. Here is the incident described in Acts 5:33 through 40 (shortened to conserve space).

  • Acts 5:27 and 28 – “…before the council…the high priest asked them, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to preach in this name [of Jesus]?’
  • Acts 5:29 – “Then Peter and the other apostles answered…‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’
  • Acts 5:33 – “When they heard this, they were furious, and took counsel to kill them.
  • Acts 5:34 through 39 – “Then…Gamaliel…commanded them to put the apostles outside….And he said to them [the members of the Sanhedrin]: ‘Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.’
✡   He then gave two examples of attempted 
    uprisings that failed:

   ❏  Acts 5:36 – “...Theudas rose up 
       claiming to be somebody....about 
       four hundred... men...joined him. 
       He was slain, and all who obeyed 
       him were scattered and came to 

   ❏  Acts 5:37 – “After this...Judas 
       of Galilee rose up...and drew 
       away many people after him. He 
       also perished, and all who obeyed 
       him were scattered.”

✡   Acts 5:38 and 39 – Gamaliel concluded, 
    “And now I say to you, keep away from 
    these men, and let them alone; for if is of men, it will come to 
    nothing; but if it is of God, you can-
    not overthrow it — lest you even be 
    found to fight against God.
  • Acts 5:40 – “And they [of the council] agreed with him….

Why did I pick this particular Scripture? Because it shows that two factions of government can come together in unity, when an intelligent alternate plan is presented!

By the way, after this incident…

  • …the apostles still preached Jesus!
  • …the thousands of early Christians still practiced what is written in Acts 2:42 (Easy-to-Read Version): “The believers spent their time listening to the teaching of the apostles. They shared everything with each other. They ate together and prayed together.
  • …the gospel spread like wildfire!
  • …the Jewish leaders still continued to oppose, harass, arrest, and persecute believers in Jesus!

Now, let’s apply this to politics today! In almost six decades of my government awareness, I cannot remember such a factious and turbulent political time as today!

  • The Speaker of the House:
➔  It took 15 rounds of voting for Kevin 
    McCarthy to become Speaker of the 
    House. But just nine months later, he 
    was ousted on October 3 of this year. 

➔  Mike Johnson, the fourth candidate for 
    the position of Speaker, was elected 
    22 days later on October 25. 

➔  The government was basically shut down 
    for those 22 days! 
  • The Senate – the upper chamber of the country’s legislative body:
Democrats control the House with 48 
    seats and three Independents who cau-
    cus with them. Also, the Democratic 
    vice president can cast a tie-breaking 

➔  Republicans occupy 49 seats, and so 
    they are in the minority.

…and it too often seems, “…never the twain shall meet!”

  • The open borders:
➔  According to a report by the House 
    Judiciary Committee... least 3.8 million illegal 
     aliens have either been released 
     into the nation’s interior or 
     successfully evaded the Border 
     Patrol...since President Biden 
     took office....The same report
     ...reveals that the number of 
     illegal is greater 
     than the population of ...22 
     states [and Washington DC]....

➔  According to, in the 
    fiscal year ending September 30, 
    2023, 736 known or suspected ter-
    rorists have been apprehended at 
    the northern and southwest borders, 
    more than in any other fiscal year 
    in recorded history! 

➔  Among these 736 illegals, according 
    to, “In fiscal year 
    2023, border agents encountered 172 
    individuals on the FBI's terrorist 
    watch list attempting to enter the 
    United States.”

➔  The open borders have facilitated the 
    importation of dangerous illegal drugs, 
    especially fentanyl!

   ❏  This synthetic opioid is “...up 
       to 50 times stronger than heroin 
       and 100 times stronger than mor-
       phine...,” according to the Cen-
       ters for Disease Control.

   ❏  About 70,000 people died of fen-
       tanyl overdoses in 2021 and 2022! 

   ❏  According to U.S. Customs and Border 
       Protection, so far in 2023 27,022.85 
       pounds of fentanyl were seized. This 
       amounts to a lethal dose for over 4 
       billion people, more than half of 
       the population of the entire world!
  • The rift between the two sides of both the abortion and gender issues tear at the fabric of unity in our nation!
  • And It seems like too many politicians are more interested in grandstandingto keep their positions than to serve those whom they represent!

There is much more that can be said concerning politics in America, but let’s wrap this Gem up:

  • The Apostle Paul wrote in I Timothy 2:2 and 3 (Contemporary English Version): “Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God. This kind of prayer is good, and it pleases God our Savior.
The first epistle to Timothy was 
    written in 62 or 63 AD when Nero 
    was emperor of the Roman Empire 
    (54 to 68 AD). 

   ❏  He was an unscrupulous tyrant who 
       ordered the execution of his mo-
       ther, his step-brother, and his 
       first wife!His extravagant spending on building 
       projects impoverished much of Rome!The great fire of Rome, beginning 
       on the night of July 18th, 64 AD, 
       burned for over ten days, and des-
       troyed three of Rome's 14 districts 
       and severely damaged seven more! 
       Nero was suspected of starting the 
       fire himself to clear the city for 
       his lavish building projects. Ac-
       cording to the historian Tacitus, 
       to divert suspicion the emperor 
       blamed Christians for the confla-
       gration and began an intense per-
       secution that saw many believers 
       brutally executed! Paul was beheaded (c. 67 AD) during 
       Nero’s persecution of Christians!

✞   I Timothy was written when Nero insane-
    ly ruled!
  • The Apostle Peter wrote his first epistle in 65 AD (according to The New Scofield Reference Bible). This was during the time of Nero’s terrible persecution of Christians!
 Yet here is what Peter emphasized 
    in I Peter 2:17 (English Standard 
    Version): “Honor everyone. Love the 
    brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the 
    emperor.” (emphasis mine).

 The year of his death is somewhere 
    around 67 AD. Tradition has it that 
    he was crucified upside-down under 
    Nero’s reign of terror!

All this to say, what kind of political landscape would this country have if Christians faithfully followed the injunctions of Paul and Peter, and regularly and fervently prayed for our leaders?

Pray for the president, senators, members of Congress, judges,
political appointees, state and local politicians!

We would then have a much more peaceful
political landscape in America!

Five Kinds of Peace! – III

I Chronicles 19:17-19

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The third kind of peace involves…

  • …a strong military and arsenal that will keep other combatants at bay!
  • …decisive victories in battle with that strong military and arsenal!

Here is an example during King David’s reign, from I Chronicles 19:17 through 19:

...when David had set up in battle array 
against the Syrians, they fought against 
him. Then the Syrians fled before Israel; 
and David killed seven thousand charioteers 
and forty thousand foot soldiers of the 
Syrians, and killed Shophach the commander 
of the army. And when the servants of Ha-
dadezer [king of Zobah, an influential 
Syrian kingdom] saw that they were defeat-
ed by Israel, they made peace with David 
and became his servants. So the Syrians 
were not willing to help the people of 
Ammon [a kingdom a hundred miles to the 
south of Zobah] anymore.

War is hell! …so the saying goes, and the atrocities in both Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Hamas invasion of Israel testify to that! But sometimes war is necessary!

  • I have quite a few copies of Reader’s Digest from the mid-1930’s through about 1942. We found them in a dresser drawer of a cottage we purchased in an old Methodist camp meeting. The five-acre camp meeting consists of 110 cottages still standing, many built before 1900.
  • These old Reader’s Digests make for interesting reading! Many articles were written at the time of…
Adolf Hitler’s powerful hold over 
     Germany, which started with his 
     rise in the leadership of National 
     Socialist German Workers' Party, 
     commonly known as the Nazi Party. 
     By 1922, his control over the 
     party was unchallenged!

➔   In January 1933 Hitler was ap-
     pointed by the German president 
     Paul von Hindenburg to be Germany’s 
     new Chancellor! In August of 1934, 
     after President von Hindenburg 
     died, Hitler combined the offices 
     of president and chancellor, and 
     became Fuhrer, the sole leader of 

➔   By expanding the power of Germany’s 
     military, Hitler’s design was to 
     become the most powerful nation in 
     Europe! Hitler invaded Poland on 
     September 1st 1939, the recognized 
     date of the beginning of World War 
     2! Two days later England and France 
     declared war on Germany!

➔   “The first full year of the war saw 
     Germany invading its European neigh-
     bors: Belgium, the Netherlands, 
     France, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, 
     and Romania, and the bombing of Bri-
     tain lasted for months.” (www.thought-
  • The RD articles are written from the standpoint of…
➔   ...“What will the world look like 
     if Hitler (and the Axis powers of 
     Germany, Italy, and Japan) is suc-
     cessful in conquering the rest of 
     the world?”

➔   ...“What will become of America if 
     Germany wins?

Of course, this didn’t happen! The United States joined the Allies after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiin island of Oahu on December 7th, 1941. Four days later the US officially entered the war!

Some of the costs and the results of the Allied victory over the Axis powers are as follows:

  • The costs (estimates vary):
➔   More than 65 million people died as a 
     result of the war – about 3% of the 
     world’s population!25 million were military per-
        sonnel!Well over 40 million were ci-

➔   One estimate (given in several 
     sources) is that 25 million com-
     batants were wounded!

➔   Adjusted for inflation to today’s 
     dollars, World War 2 cost a total 
     of well over four trillion dollars! 
  • The results:
➔   from:

         math-of-world-war-ii.htm World War II had major political, 
     economic, and social consequences 
     for the world. Some of the results 
     of WW2 include:The extension of the Soviet 
         Union’s power to eastern 
         Europe and China.The shift of global power 
         from Western Europe to the 
         United States and the Soviet 
         Union.The end of colonialism and 
         imperialism in many regions.The end of dictatorship in 
         Germany and Italy.The division of Germany and 
         Berlin into four zones of 
         occupation.The payment of reparations by 
         the Axis powers to the Allies.The establishment of the United 
         Nations to promote international 
         cooperation and peace.

What would humanity be like if the Allies had not fought the bloodiest war in history to stop the Axis powers from dominating the world?

  • It would be an entirely different existence for all mankind!
  • And it would not be near as pleasant an existance, with not near the life-potentials we have now, especially in the Western world!

There are challenges to procure a measure of peace in today’s world, especially concerning the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and Hamas and Israel. But we must do three things:

  • As David “…was a man after…[God’s] own heart…,” (Acts 13:22), seeking the LORD’s will, and determining to follow that will, so must we seek and follow God Almighty!
  • We must heed what the Bible tells us concerning our involvement in the struggles and conflicts among nations and peoples:
✡   Psalm 20:7 – “Some trust in chariots, 
    and some in horses [guns, tanks, and 
    bombs]; but we will remember the name 
    of the LORD our God.”

✡   Psalm 44:6 through 8 – “...I will not 
    trust in my bow, nor shall my sword 
    save me. But You have saved me from 
    my enemies, and have put to shame 
    those who hated us. In God we boast 
    all day long, and praise Your name 

✡   Psalm 56:11 – “In God I have put my 
    trust; I will not be afraid, what 
    can man do to me?”

✡   Psalm 115:9 (Good News Bible) – 
    “Trust in the LORD, all you that 
    worship Him. He helps you and pro-
    tects you.”

✡   Psalm 118:8 and 9 (Easy-to-Read 
    Version) – “It is better to trust 
    in the LORD than to trust in peo-
    ple. It is better to trust in the 
    LORD than to trust in great lead-

✡   Psalm 122:6 – “Pray for the peace 
    of Jerusalem: may they prosper who 
    love you.
  • We must be prepared for war, to enter the battle for God and good! As the days of David drew to a close, he desired to know the size of his military. So General Joab was sent out to conduct a military census.
✡   These numbers he reported to David: 
    “...there were in Israel eight hun-
    dred thousand valiant men who drew 
    the sword, and the men of Judah were 
    five hundred thousand.” (II Samuel 

✡   The total army of Israel was one 
    million, three hundred thousand 
    fighting men! That was a huge army in 
         those days!Israel was a force to be 
         reckoned with!

Today, let us take King David’s example!
Let us build and maintain a strong military!
Let us decisively use it when necessary!

Five Kinds of Peace! – II

Colossians 3:12-15

(Contemporary English Version)

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The above photo depicts a multigenerational family enjoying a happy and peaceful meal together. Does this represent your family? It doesn’t represent mine? Sometimes, but not all the time! I chose Colossians 3:12 through 15 for the featured Scripture concerning peace because Paul penned this letter as it relates to…

  • …the Church family: We, as children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, are a family of brothers and sisters in Him!
In the church at Colosse, the family 
   of God was made up of people who came 
   from different backgrounds, social, 
   economic, and religious. Although the 
   Apostle Paul did not establish the 
   Colossian church, he was concerned 
   that the Gospel of free grace was 
   being infiltrated and diminished by 
   false teachings! False teachers were 
   trying to mix in...

   ➔  ...that the Jewish laws must 
       still be observed! (see Colos-
       sians 2:11, 16). 

   ➔  ...that the human body must 
       be denied basic needs and 
       even be treated harshly! 
       (see Colossians 2:21-23).

   ➔  ...that believers should wor-
       ship angels! (see Colossians 

By trying to add these teachings to 
   the Gospel, the false teachers were 
   saying that Jesus Christ was insuf-
   ficient for salvation and the Chris-
   tian life!
  • …the nuclear family:
❏  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary 
    defines nuclear family as “a 
    family group that consists only 
    of parents and children.Paul’s emphasis in Colossians 
    3:18 through 21 shifts from the 
    church to individual nuclear 
    families: “...wives...husbands
    ...children...parents...” (Good 
    News Bible).

Here is Colossians 3:12 through 15 (Contemporary English Version):

God loves you and has chosen you as his 
own special people. So be gentle, kind, 
humble, meek, and patient. Put up with 
each other, and forgive anyone who does 
you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven 
you. Love is more important than any-
thing else. It is what ties everything 
completely together. Each one of you is 
part of the body of Christ, and you were 
chosen to live together in peace. So let 
the peace that comes from Christ control 
your thoughts. And be grateful.

Twice in verse 15 Paul mentions peace:…you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts.” In the last Gem, I wrote that Jesus gives the Lord’s peace within the individual! Does it work at the family level also?

  • But one might say, “Didn’t Jesus say He would split families apart in Matthew 10:34-36?Yes, He did!
Do not think that I came to bring peace 
on earth. I did not come to bring peace 
but a sword. For I have come to set a 
man against his father, a daughter a-
gainst her mother, and daughter-in-law 
against her mother-in-law. And a man's 
foes will be those of his own household.                                                                                           
  • It is because when one family member is focused on living for Jesus Christ, it can cause division with those whose intent is on living according to the ways of this sinful world!

Yes, God’s peace does work within the family level…when those of the nuclear and/or extended family are together intent on following the Lord’s will! (see Colossians 3:1-3).

Let me share with you an example from my own family. As far as I could determine, I was the first Christian in generations of our nuclear family, and both my father’s and mother’s families!

  • I found the Lord Jesus (or should I say, He found me!) when I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in 1965. I knew very little about the Bible and I couldn’t explain (as I can now) what happened that night I prayed in the bay room of the barracks.
I only knew three things:Jesus was real!He was alive! And...

   ➔  He loved me!

✞   And I fell head over heelsin 
    love with Him! I count that as 
    my salvation experience.
  • I tried to share the Lord several time with my eldest brother. But he finally told me, “Don’t share Jesus with me anymore. I have my own religion, and I am not going to become a Christian! It will only ruin our relationship.
I agreed, but...

✞   I continued to pray for him 
    every day for many years!

In his late 70’s, my brother was diagnosed with cancer. I felt led to write him a letter telling him (again) of how…

  • …Jesus died for our sins! (see Romans 5:8, I Peter 2:24).
  • …He rose again from the dead! (see I Corinthians 15:4).
  • …He now lives forever to receive those who believe! (see Hebrews 7:25).
  • …as Paul tells us in Romans 10:9 and 13, “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved….For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.

My brother called me about a week later. He told me, “Well, I made a decision. I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior!

Where before there was family friction, now we are very close, and often tell each other, I love you…!

The second kind of peace is
God’s peace within the family…
Both the church family…
And the nuclear family!

Five Kinds of Peace! – I

John 14:1, 27

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘peace?

  • Is it something you seek within, where turmoil in our hearts and minds too often seems to be manifested?
  • Is it a peaceful meal with the family sitting down together instead of shouting matches, rivalries, or at best family members tolerating one another?
  • Is it a strong military and arsenal that will keep others at bay? Or perhaps a decisive victory in battle with that strong military and arsenal?
  • Is it cooperation between opposing political parties? Or among elected or appointed officials with different ideologies?
  • Is it a treaty between two or more combatant nations?

I suppose it all depends on what you are experiencing at the time.

  • I have in mind a person who most of the time seems to live in a constant state of crisis. And most of the crises that plague his life are from within his own mind, not from external circumstances that touch him without! He says he would give just about anything to have peace within!
  • Then there is the brother or sister who is so tired of others in the family fighting, arguing, and despising one another. This person desires a real-life glimpse of his or her own family living in peace – family members loving one another enough to work out differences amicably!
  • Differences of what laws should be passed or what action should be taken can lead to infighting between those of different political parties! Effective government can only happen when there is political peace between those elected and appointed to fill positions of leadership!
  • What about the mother who has lost a son or daughter fighting in a conflict on the other side of the world? Would not her concept of peace include the cessation of that war (and all wars) so that other mothers would not have to grieve for their dead or wounded child?

God’s Word promises that peace can be experienced in all these areas! Here is what Jesus told His followers in John 14:1 and 27, our featured Scripture:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you be-
lieve in God, believe also in Me....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.”

Let’s consider four kinds of peace that we need in our lives!

First, there is peace that a person needs within!

  • In Galatians 5:19-21 is listed seventeen characteristics called “…the works of the flesh…” in the King James Version. The New International Version calls this list “…the acts of the sinful nature…” and gives them as follows: “…sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
  • These are the very characteristics manifested in the nature of Satan! Notice the last words of verse 21, “…and the like.” The seventeen descriptive terms that Paul wrote here do not describe all that comes out of our sinful nature! There are more evil characteristics that nature can and does produce! And any one of them can tear us apart from the inside out! This is the natural state of every mother’s child born into this world (see Romans 3:10, 23). Is it any wonder that something drastic needs to be done?

What needs to be done has already been accomplished by Jesus Christ!

  • He died on the cross bearing our sins!
   We are told in II Corinthians 5:21 
      that the Father...made Him [the 
      Son] who knew no sin to be sin for 
      us that we might be made the right-
      eousness of God in Him.✞  Jesus actually became the sinner 
      before God! And the Father poured 
      out His wrath upon that One......who took our place and 
           was loaded down with our 
           iniquities! ...who bore the punishment 
           we deserved!
  • Then three days after Jesus died and was buried, He rose again, conquering death, hell, and the devil himself!

Because of that sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, God offers us something absolutely amazing!

  • In place of the seventeen “…works of the flesh…” enumerated above in Galatians 5:19 through 21…
   ...we are offered what is found 
      in next two verses, Galatians 
      5:22 and 23 (New International 
      Version): “But the fruit of the 
      Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
      patience, kindness, goodness, 
      faithfulness, gentleness and 
      self-control....When we open ourselves to Jesus 
      Christ and invite Him into our 
      innermost being, He comes in to 
      reside in our hearts and lives 
      by His Holy Spirit (see Revela-
      tion 3:20), bringing with Him 
      these nine characteristics of 
      His own perfect nature!  
  • Just consider the first three, “…love, joy and peace….If you had just these three manifested in your life, deep within you and flowing up and out to encompass everything you thought, said, or did; would it then really matter what circumstances would be affecting your life? Even if others might fall apart under the pressure, with “…love, joy, [and] peace…,a believer could make it through any challenging circumstance, flying above the fray, and not crawling under the weight of life’s burdens! (see Isaiah 40:28-31).

But there is still an ongoing struggle between the two opposing natures within each Christian – one sinful and the other from the Lord!

  • …the works of the flesh…” (American Standard Version), “…the acts of the sinful nature…” (New International Version), “…the old man with his deeds…” (Jubilee Bible), or “The wrong things the sinful self does…” (Easy-to-Read Version) – Whatever you might call it, that sinful self says Yes!to the temptations of the devil!
  • …the new Godly nature called “…the new man…” (Ephesians 4:24 – King James Version), or “…a new creation…” (II Corinthians 5:17 – Literal Interpretation of the Holy Bible) want to follow Jesus and obey His leading!
  • As it says in Galatians 5:17 (English Standard Version), “…the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other….


  • …we are told to constantly feed…the new man…! As it says in Colossians 3:10, “…the new man…is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.This renewal comes…
   ✞  ...through the increasing know-
      ledge of the Word of God, and... 

   ✞  ...our obedience to that Word! 
      (see Deuteronomy 11:18, 19; 
      Psalm 1:1, 2; Colossians 3:16; 
      II Peter 1:3, 4).
  • At the same time we are feeding “…the new man…,we are to count …the old man with his deeds…” (Colossians 3:9) starved, crucified, and dead! (see Romans 6:6-14).

Through this spiritual feeding of “…the new man…,” and by our counting “…the old man with his deeds…starved, crucified, and dead; Jesus will manifest His peace in and through our lives!

We still have the old nature with its satanic characteristics of the…works of the flesh…,” but we also have “…the new nature…” (see II Corinthians 5:17) with the Lord’s characteristics of …the fruit of the Spirit…!

Take seriously this challenge:

  • Through feeding that new nature and making it strong by letting …the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16)…
  • By counting …the old man with his deeds…starved, crucified, and dead…
  • By submitting in obedience to His Word…

God will grow the “…fruit of the Spirit…
in your life, and you will experience
peace within instead of turmoil!

We have only covered the first of Four Kinds of Peace! We will continue this study in our next Gem.

Don’t Forget Your Undergarment!

Ephesians 6:10-12

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Christians who are into the Word and are serious about living out the Christ-life know they are engaged in an ongoing spiritual battle! St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-12,

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the 
Lord, and in the power of His might. Put 
on the whole armor of God, that you may 
be able to stand against the wiles of 
the devil. For we do not wrestle against 
flesh and blood, but against principal-
ities, against powers, against the rul-
ers of the darkness of this age, against 
spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The wrestling is intense, not just a game of sport! It is the description of combatants locked in hand-to-hand fighting, trying to throw the opponent to the ground in utter defeat! The needed outcome of this wrestling is plainly seen if we look at our opponent’s personality and ultimate goal:

  • The devil’s goal – he seeks to be equal with God, replace God, and rule in His place!
   ✡  Isaiah 14:12 through 14 (at the be-

       How you are fallen from heaven, 
       O Lucifer, son of the morning! 
       How you are cut down to the 
       ground, You who weakened the 
       nations! For you have said in 
       your heart: “I will ascend into 
       heaven, I will exalt my throne 
       above the stars of God; I will 
       also sit on the mount of the 
       congregation on the farthest 
       sides of the north; I will as-
       cend above the heights of the 
       clouds, I will be like the Most 

   II Thessalonians 2:3 and 4 (at the 
      end, referring to the antichrist, 
      the incarnation of the devil in hu-
      man flesh): “...the man of sin...
      the son of perdition...opposes and 
      exalts himself above all that is 
      called God or that is worshiped, 
      so that he sits as God in the tem-
      ple of God, showing himself that 
      he is God.
  • The devil’s personality – totally evil!
   In John 8:44, Jesus told the Phari-

       “You are of your father the devil, 
       and the desires of your father you 
       want to do. He was a murderer from 
       the beginning, and does not stand 
       in the truth. When he speaks a lie, 
       he speaks from his own resources, 
       for he is a liar and the father of 

   In speaking of the devil, He further 
      said, “The thief comes only to steal 
      and kill and destroy...” (John 10:10 
      – New International Version).   

   Peter wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; 
      because your adversary the devil 
      walks about like a roaring lion, 
      seeking whom he may devour...” 
      (I Peter 5:8). 

Just as Satan seeks to steal from, kill, destroy and devour God’s children, so our goal must be to have this kind of incapacitating victory in this spiritual war over him and all his minions!

Who are the devil’s minions? They are described in Ephesians 6:12 as, “…principalities… powers…the rulers of the darkness of this world…spiritual wickedness in high places.” This passage shows that demons are a well-organized army, with row on row of wicked spiritual beings bent on opposing God and thwarting His redemptive purpose!

Although Satan is a formidable adversary, he is already totally defeated by Jesus at the cross, and by the resurrection! This does not mean he will not continue to do all within his power to oppose God and wreak havoc in the lives of Christians!

But God gives us spiritual armor, both defensive and offensive, to engage the enemy of our souls in this battle. Paul describes this armor in Ephesians 6:14-18:

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist 
about with truth, having put on the breast-
plate of righteousness, and having shod 
your feet with the preparation of the gos-
pel of peace; above all, taking the shield 
of faith, with which you will be able to 
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked 
one.  And take the helmet of salvation, 
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the 
word of God; praying always with all prayer 
and supplication in the Spirit, being watch-
ful to this end with all perseverance and 
supplication for all the saints...”

Most commentators include only one offensive weapon – “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Ephesians 6:17). I see one more weapon in verse 18, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….Prayer is extremely necessary when engaged in spiritual battle!

It is said that Paul, being imprisoned in Rome at the time he wrote Ephesians, had only to look at the Roman soldier assigned to guard him in order to write a vivid description of…the whole armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:11, 13). As a soldier’s armor was effective in the warfare of that day, so we are provided with the necessary protection and weapons not only to fight our enemy, but that we…may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13).

But,” you might ask, “…what about the undergarment mentioned above?

  • As I was meditating on this Ephesians 6 passage one day, I thought about the Christian, called to be a soldier, donning the armor and getting ready to engage the enemy in battle! And it occurred to me that a Roman soldier would never put on his armor over his bare skin! If he tried to fight with no undergarment, the armor would quickly rub his skin raw and inhibit or incapacitate him. I knew that there were undergarments the soldier donned first, but what is the undergarment of the Christian? As I thought about this, some things came to my mind:
  • We “…are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13), and we need a covering to be acceptable to God! By our own efforts, we try to cover ourselves, but our self-produced garments leave much to be desired. There are at least three descriptions of our self-made clothes, none of which are substantial or acceptable before God!
   ✡  “...tree leaves...” (see Genesis 

   ✡  “...filthy rags...” (see Isaiah 

   ✡  “...spider’s webs...” (see Isaiah 
      59:5, 6).
  • But God provides us with a garment to cover our spiritual nakedness! It is “…the robe of righteousness…
   ✡  ...pictured in Zechariah 3:1-5, 
      “...the robe of righteousness...” 
      given to Joshua the high priest 
      in place of the filthy rags he 
      was wearing, the rags of his own 

   ✡  ...poetically described in Isaiah 

       I will greatly rejoice in the 
       LORD, my soul shall be joyful 
       in my God; for He hath clothed 
       me with the garments of salva-
       tion, He hath covered me with 
       the robe of righteousness, as 
       a bridegroom decks himself with 
       ornaments, and as a bride adorns 
       herself with her jewels. 

This undergarment, “…the robe of righteousness…,” is the other half of the transaction which Jesus wrought on the cross, as recorded by Paul in II Corinthians 5:21: “For He [the Father] made Him [the Son, Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” We often talk about how the Lord took our sins upon Himself on the cross and, becoming the sinner before God, died in our place. But we don’t hear very often about the second half of the transaction, how He provided for us His own righteousness to wear as a garment as we stand before our holy God. This …robe of righteousness…is the only thing that makes us …accepted in the Beloved…! (Ephesians 1:6). This is the first garment a believer in Jesus Christ wears, being dressed by God Himself!

There is another garment, closely related to the first, so closely that it may be part of it. It is the linen garment the bride of Christ is wearing in Revelation 19:8, described as, “…fine linen, clean and bright: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.Our righteous acts as believers can only happen after we are declared righteous in Christ! As a matter of fact, from what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-40, the saints are, for the most part, unaware of their righteous acts. Those acts are just everyday things that proceed out of the life of a true follower of Jesus Christ!

It is the garment of righteousness that is donned first, before the armor of the Spirit is ever picked up and buckled on! It is this undergarment, if you will, that makes the armor available and effective! We dare not try to war with Satan and his troops in our own power, for in ourselves we are no match for him!

  • As Jesus said, “…without me, you can do nothing…” (John 15:5).
  • But Paul shows the flip side of the Lord’s statement when he exclaimed, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

We stand in Jesus Christ, in His power, in His person! And we can enter the spiritual battle of Ephesians 6 knowing…

…we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.
” (Romans 8:37)


…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
” (I Corinthians 15:47)

Don’t forget to don your undergarment first!