When God calls you to stay at home.

A friend and a sister ( in more ways than one) Vanessa A Harris., asked me to contribute a post for her newsletter awhile ago. While I can’t post or link directly to that article, I have her permission to post my original. If you want to connect with her or receive her newsletters head on over to her blog, Vine Life Faith and subscribe 😉 Vanessa asked me to write about a God-moment/ situation in my life and I decided to share that with you this week as well. The style of writing for this post may be different from my usual ones because I’m trying out different ones. If it doesn’t work I’ll go back to the way I normally write 🙂

 

I’ve been married for 8 years. I’ve stayed home all that time while my husband worked crazy long hours. So what’s new now? Why do I say God’s called me to stay home? In the last couple of years, God had been working on me , to be content, to be joyful where He’s asked me to be.

That He’s made very clear to me and to others for me, is to be home. To raise my children. To realise my sphere of ministry is limited to 3 people. And I’m to be content with that.

In my natural state, I hate it! I’m an extrovert. I am re -charged being among people. I like to be involved in something that shows results. I want to be known. I want people to notice me. I want people to miss me. I want to be valued and cherished and needed by people.

But God. But My God.

He’s a Jealous One, He is. He wants to be my only Lover. He wants all of me. He wants me to find myself in Him. He wants me to realise that the Only Person whose approval I should be seeking is Him. And He deserves it. All of that and more. Because He gave me more than I could imagine or ask for. He loves me with a passion that has no end.

So how did He tell me?

Last June we moved to this city for my husband’s job ( he’s a specialist doctor with the resulting long hours, also we’ve moved every 3 years for his job). To make friends and meet new people , I went to a ladies lunch at a local church. Our table was full, and out of the 8 people there that day, Monica and Karen impacted my life in a “God-has-done-this” way. Only God . He make sure He got my attention, and I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence.

Monica told me at the Holy Spirit’s prompting that she felt very strongly, that this year I should NOT get involved in any ministry at church. ( The 6 years prior, that we had lived in 2 different states and attended 2 different churches, I was actively involved in the Children’s and the Women’s Ministries. I attended as many Bible studies as I could and I served in Sunday School as often as they wanted me. That to me was my validation and my identity). What Monica had to say to me, I did not like! But I did listen and I am very grateful I did. Right now Monica is a very dear mentor and we meet as frequently as we can, in my home around my chaotic schedule, to learn the Bible and to mature together.

You know our younger son was diagnosed with Autism 2 years ago now, and last year we needed to re-start his ABA therapy after dis-continuing it because of the move. My husband and I decided to give priority to his therapy for at least 2 years. Because I stayed home, and wasn’t committed anywhere on a daily or weekly basis, I could easily accommodate re-scheduled sessions for my son. ( We’re up to 30 hours of therapy/ week for my son, so that’s 30+ hours/ week that I need to stay home.)

In December of last year, nearly 6-8 months after being joyfully – content in my role as a SAHM, I saw incredible results in my son. He made more eye contact, he was affectionate and asked us for affection, he could make some wants known, he followed some directions, he had lesser (and easier to handle) meltdowns, and one Sunday at church I was overwhelmed with His Goodness and His Faithfulness. He had never left my side ( or my family’s) and He loved ( and still does) my son more than my husband and I ever will.

After meeting Karen last June, we texted occasionally and sought to meet, but things did not work out until April of this year. She had moved to a different state (her husband is an army Chaplin), they had come back for a short time as he had training and she had come to visit her family since she was 5 months pregnant with their first child. We met one Sunday at church, when my husband was on call, and hers was at the training camp. I debated telling her about my son, and then something inside me made me tell her about the Autism. Turns out she worked as the same kind of behavioral therapist that works with my son. She told me that children who had their parent/s stay with them during sessions made more progress and quickly too compared to those who didn’t. This was a healing balm to me, and just the edifying encouragement I needed at that time. Karen since has gone back with her husband and her baby is due any day now.

I did not expect to still be at home raising my kids 8 years into our marriage. I expected that once my husband’s hours were less chaotic, I would go back into the work force. I thought that would have happened 3 years ago. But God has other plans for me. He is teaching me to wholly depend on Him to be my identity, my validation, my reason for being. He’s teaching me to love my husband passionately, to be patient with my children, to kindly discipline them and to be present in the daily minutiae with my family. He’s seeing everything I do, even when I don’t feel like what I do has any value.

I want to encourage you to be faithful to Him. Whatever He has called you to do. Whatever He shows you. Leave it in His Hands and watch the wonder as He leads you down the path that only you can travel. What’s been asked of me may not ( probably will not ) be asked of you.

  • You may need to stay at home.
  • You may need to be a worker and a bread winner.
  • You may need to be single.
  • You may be married.
  • You may need to stay in a marriage to Honour Him.
  • You may need to leave a marriage and be a single parent.
  • You may need to take part in active ministry.
  • You may need to be faithful in the background.
  • You may be called to be known and famous.
  • You may be seen only by Him.

Wherever you are placed, you are known, you are loved, you are wanted, you are cherished. By The One who made you and knows you intimately. By The One who loved you so much He died for you, and rose again. If you are known by and know This Father, I look forward to seeing you, my friend, in Heaven. If you don’t know Him, please come to Him before it’s too late. He’s waiting for you with arms opened wide.

Colossians 1:1-2  (You are a special messenger , personally chosen to represent Christ. No one else can do what you are called to do.)

Paul, an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed) by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the [a]saints and faithful [b]believers in Christ [who are] at Colossae: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father.

Ephesians 2: 8-10 (Everything we have and are given is given to us by grace not because of merit, to do what God has prepared in advance to do.)
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9not by works, so that no-one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

 

See you next week,

Vanessa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The LORD our provider…. so give Him your Isaac.

Jehovah Jireh, another older post. I hope to post a new one soon. 

Jehovah Jireh, or Yahweh Jireh , or YHWH Jireh ( see YHWH in Adonai, Master and Yahweh, LORD. ), is again, a name that many christians are familiar with. It’s been made into catchy songs and always , almost always , used by TV evangelicals ( or pastors, preachers and others not on TV) to raise funds for the program or the church. While I’ve been fascinated by His names for several years, this name until recently, was something I din’t care too much for. It was something that I had become familiar with, and so I din’t chew much on this. Recently though, I heard a bible study , that made me listen, to remember, to know , really know, that He is our Provider. That He gives me everything I need, when I need it, He knows what I need.

Again, talking about “the law of first mentions” in the bible, we see this name first in Genesis 22. Appropriately enough, it starts with the words “Abraham tested” Genesis 22: 1-19 Abraham tested
22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. 2 Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you.’ 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’ 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ 8 Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together. 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. 12 ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’ 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ 15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.’ 19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

 

When you read the passage, a few things come to mind immediately.

  • God tested Abraham.
  • He called him by name, “Abraham”
  • Abraham responded, willingly, “Here I am”
  • God tells Abraham to take “his son, his only son, whom he loved ( overkill anybody?) and sacrifice him on a mountain that He would show him” (Isaac at this time isn’t Abraham’s only son, Ishmael was alive as well, and likely Abraham loved both of them, even if he had sent Hagar and Ishmael away, but Isaac is the only son of promise)
  • Abraham obeyed immediately, he left early the next morning, with a couple of servants and Isaac ( many commentators believe he didn’t tell Sarah).
  • Abraham cuts enough wood for the offering before he leaves for the place that God told him about.
  • It takes them 3 days to reach an area, where Abraham looks up and sees the mountain in the distance.
  • He tells the servants to wait, and with faith declares, that both he and the boy will worship and both will come back.
  • He lays the wood on Isaac ( so he’s most likely a teenager-young adult at this time, it’s unlikely he’s a young boy), and Abraham carries the fire and the knife.
  • Isaac asks about the lamb for the offering, to which, Abraham, in faith replies, God will provide.
  • When they reach the place, Abraham arranges the wood, and binds Isaac up ( note he’s a teenager-young adult , apparently physically strong while Abraham is an old man, he was already  100 years when Isaac was born, but still Isaac doesn’t resist his father) .
  • Abraham reaches out for his knife!
  • The angel of the Lord calls out, again personally, “Abraham, Abraham”.
  • Abraham responds with “Here I am “again.
  • God tells him not to harm the boy, and also reiterates with, “He knows Abraham really loves Him, because he didn’t hold back his son”
  • Then Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns, and he takes that one and sacrifices it instead. (God doesn’t open his eyes to it before, only when he was ready to sacrifice Isaac)
  • Then Abraham called that place The Lord will provide .
  • It’s interesting to note, that next it says, “On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided “, some commentators believe that this looks forward, to when Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, He provided the atonement needed for our sins, so that we could have access to the Father.
  • The angel of the Lord called out a second time, and reminded Abraham of the promise He had made to him , several years earlier, because Abraham had obeyed God.
  • Abraham returned to his servants as he had promised.

Because of this incident, Abraham , several times in the new testament, is referred to as “the father of faith ” and this is credited to him as “righteousness” , that Abraham believed that God would either save Isaac or raise him again, either way Abraham knew God would keep His promises, to make his descendants as numerous as the sand or the stars in the sky.

Romans 4:3 What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness

Romans 4:9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Romans 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

Galatians 3:6 So also Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’

Galatians 3:7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

Galatians 3:8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’

Galatians 3:9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.

So what I want to ask you is, what or who is your Isaac? Is it your spouse? Your child/ren? Your job? Your reputation? Your home maybe? Your ministry in the church? What was it that you fought hard for? that you worked hard for? that you prayed fervently for?

If you did and received it from the Lord, and you rejoiced and laughed and were filled with joy, then God tested you. He asked you to sacrifice it, to give it away, to walk from it. Would you be able to do it? Give your life for Him. Be parted from your children in order to take His word to others. Not marry because your spouse is not part of His will. Be slandered because you did what He told you to, but the world didn’t like it. Walk away from a legacy that you built, because He wanted you to.

I must confess thinking about my Isaacs ( my husband, my children, our reputation, our finances) , I’m very hesitant to even think of giving them up, knowing all the while, that God can raise it back again or give it back to me. But hearing that study convicted me to hold them loosely, to be willing to say ” Here I am” and be willing to follow through immediately. While I’m still holding those things and people dear to me, I’m praying , that I will be made malleable, that God will soften my heart, will give me peace to entrust to Him, what is His to begin with. I’m praying, and very slowly. I’m learning to give it all to Him. Will you join me? Give back to Him, what He’s asking you for. Because He is Jehovah Jireh. The Lord our Provider. He can and does and will provide for me and for you. What we need. When we need. But it may look different from what we want though.

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Luke part 5: Jesus’ words will never pass away.

This is the last and final post on the Gospel of Luke. Whew!! Who would have thought that a summary of just 4-5 chapters would consist of 1500-1800 words per post and there have been 4 already. That’s nearly 6000-7000 words and I still have the last few chapters left! The featured image above is the poster made by The Bible Project team , the ones who have made the visual videos that I add to these posts. Some other places that provide summaries of the chapters/books of the Bible are @BibleSummary  on Twitter , Insights into the Bible by Chuck Swindoll and Books of the Bible in a few sentences by Jeffery Kranz. There are definitely others but these are the ones I’ve used. If you’ve missed previous posts on the Gospel of Luke , you an read them here by clicking on the links, Luke part 1 : Jesus is willing., Luke part 2 : Jesus the healer.,Luke part 3 : Jesus the Teacher. and Luke part 4 : With Jesus nothing is impossible.

In chapter 21: Jesus commends a poor widow’s offering. When the disciples look in awe at the Temple, Jesus tells them that the Temple will be torn down. He also warns them to be on their guard against the end times’ false messiahs. Jesus also warns His disciples ( and us), that we will be betrayed and punished and persecuted, but not to worry, because He will give us words and the wisdom that our adversaries cannot contradict. Jesus tells us that when the end times’ signs take place we are to stand and lift up our hands for our redemption is near. He tells to be alert for the day and to always pray. His words will never pass away unfulfilled. Each day Jesus taught in the Temple and every night He went to pray to the Father.

In chapter 22 : This is a sad but very human chapter ( all the people in this chapter with the exception of Jesus are fearful, angry, frightened, guilty, argumentative, bewildered, impulsive, weary, mocking and scornful.) Judas decides to betray Jesus. Jesus institutes what is now known as Communion at the Passover Festival. The disciples argue about who is the greatest among themselves. Jesus tells His disciples to equip themselves with everything they have when they set out to tell others about Jesus. Jesus prays at the garden of Gethsamane and is so anguished His sweat turns to blood. He is strengthened by an angel. Jesus submits Himself to the Father’s will.  His disciples are weary and fall asleep instead of watching and praying. Jesus is betrayed by Judas. One of the disciples cuts off someone’s ear. Jesus heals the man. Jesus is brought to the High priest for trial and in the courtyard Peter denies Jesus thrice. Jesus is mocked and insulted by the guards and then taken before the Council of the Synagogue ( the chief priests and the teachers of the law). Jesus declares that He ( the Son of Man and the Son of God) will sit at the right hand of the Mighty God.

In chapter 23: Jesus is taken before Pilate and the Jewish leaders instigated the people to ask for Jesus’ death. When Pilate hears that Jesus is a Galilean, he sends Him to Herod (who had jurisdiction over Galilee and was in Jerusalem at that time probably for the Feast). Herod is intrigued by Jesus but finds no fault worthy of death and sends Him back to Pilate. Pilate releases a murderer named Barabbas and allows the Jews to crucify Jesus. While the soldiers lead Jesus and 2 other condemned criminals to the place called Skull ( Golgotha) ,they seize a man named Simon (of Cyrene) and force him to carry Jesus’ cross.  A large number of people follow Jesus’ path even women who mourned for Him. He tells them to weep for themselves not Him. Jesus forgives His tormentors. Jesus offers paradise to one criminal who asks for it. From noon till 3 in the afternoon darkness covers the land. Jesus breathes His last and gives His Spirit to the Father. The curtain in the Temple is torn in half. A ( Roman) centurion praises God and calls Him a righteous man. Joseph ( of Arimathea), a good man of the Council of the Synagogue who had not consented to having Jesus killed, asks Pilate fro Jesus’ body and wrapping it in linen cloth places it in a new tomb ( his own). The women{1} who followed Jesus see where He’s laid and go home to prepare spices and perfumes, and rest on the Sabbath, in obedience to the scriptures.

In chapter 24: On the first day of the week after the Sabbath, the women with the prepared spices , went to the tomb. They found the stone ( blocking the tomb) rolled away, and when they went in, they found an empty tomb. They were wondering about the missing body of Jesus , when they saw 2 men in clothes that gleamed like lightning that frightened them. The women bowed to the strangers when they asked the women why they were searching for the Living among the dead. They reminded the women of the Lord’s words when He said He must be handed over to sinners and then will be raised again on the third day.  The women went back and told the eleven disciples. The disciples thought these events were nonsense, but Peter ran to the tomb ,and bending in saw the linen strips lying there and went away. On the same day 2 disciples {3} were on the road to Emmaus {2} and were sorrowful about Jesus’ death. They met a Stranger who walked with them to Emmaus talking about the Scriptures ( beginning with Moses and the Prophets) and showed them that Jesus needed to die first, to redeem the people. When they reached Emmaus, they persuaded the Stranger to dine with them. He went in and took the bread and gave thanks to God. Their eyes were opened and they realized the Stranger was the Risen Jesus. He disappeared from their midst. They left immediately to Jerusalem and told the disciples. While they were discussing this, Jesus appears among them and blessed them with Peace. They were frightened. Jesus calms their fears by showing them His wounded hands and feet and then eating a piece of fish to show that He is real. Jesus opened their minds to the scriptures of Moses and the prophets and the psalms, so that they can understand what was written about Him. Jesus tells all of them ( and us) that they were witnesses for Him and he will go to the Father, but they must stay in the city to be clothed with power from on high ( The Holy Spirit). When Jesus led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He blessed them, and ascended up to Heaven. The disciples returned to Jerusalem with rejoicing and stayed in the Temple praising God.

{1} The women mentioned here are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James ( possibly Mary the mother of Jesus) and there were other women with them.

{2} Emmaus a town, was about 7 miles from Jerusalem and was a Sabbath’s day walk (The distance allowed to the Israelites to be traversed if needed on the Sabbath day).

{3} One of the disciples on the road to Emmaus was named Cleophas.

Well that’s it. The Gospel of Luke in five parts. After this I’ll go back to the Old Testament to Numbers. See you next week,

Vanessa

 

 

Guest Post by Lance Price.

Featured image is of the Christian band “Disciple” taken from the web.

I came across posts by Lance when they passed through my reader.  I was intrigued and went back to some of his older posts. While I’ve not yet met Lance, he and I have similar stories in that our respective parents divorced when we were teenagers. But God. God pursued me ( and He does with you as well ) and my brother and we came back to the Lord, mostly because of the church ( and the pastors) that we worshipped in. Lance has a similar testimony, (click on the link and read it, it’s worth the time). In this post Lance writes about what worship means to him. I hope to show you that worship is a daily experience. One that you choose to praise Him. To love Him. To honour Him. To turn your eyes to Him and watch the miracles happen when you put Him first.

 

Lance is a 30-year-old

2017_07_20_18_15_08_567_Beautified
Lance Price

 Christian writer who resides in southern California. He enjoys reading and weight-lifting during his leisure time, but he flourishes the most with the support and brotherhood of his closest friends at his church

When he feels God moving him to write, Lance is excited to share with others what God is teaching him about life, and is impassioned to share his faith experiences with the world through his blog Lance Price Blog 2017.

You can connect with Lance at Instagram – lpblog2017 or https://www.instagram.com/lpblog2017/  

Pinterest – Lance Price Blog 2017 or https://www.pinterest.com/LPBlog2017/ Twitter – @LPBlog2017 or https://www.pinterest.com/LPBlog2017/

Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017 or https://www.facebook.com/lancepriceblog/

A lifestyle of worship.

First, I just want to send a very gracious thank you to Vanessa for having me guest post on her blog. This is truly a privilege and an exciting experience to share with a different crowd and to write about something new. Thank you, Vanessa, for having me here!

RELIGION, RITUALS, AND A DISTANT GOD

Worship had no meaning or place in my life until I was 28 turning 29, when I had a more firm understanding of the importance of surrendering myself to praising the God of my faith. But let’s backtrack to gain context.

In the Catholic church I was raised in, worship meant singing along to sonorous organ music following the lead singer on a podium in the front with a microphone. The song lyrics held no meaning for me; I didn’t understand the significance of the words being sung since no one ever spoke about faith. Growing up, I was deeply exposed to the strictured vernacular of religion, meaning, I was brought up having the emphasis of repentance, shame, and the lifestyle of rituals and performance thrown on me—instead of the radical message of hope, rebirth, and the challenging but prolifically joyful news of the Gospels. Because of this, my understanding of worship (rather than obligatory sing-alongs) was poorly educated, spiritually-speaking. Needless to say, I was not drawn into the atmosphere of worship and it did not bring me closer to a distant God who apparently wanted nothing more from me than my guilt.

By the time I reached middle school, I had no understanding of Jesus beyond the “thees” and “thous” of the Bible being used at my school. More importantly, I had absolutely no interest in learning, since my middle school years directly followed the trauma of my parents’ divorce in the fall of 1999, and my grandparents’ death a month later (a few weeks before Christmas)—both of which transpired at the end of my elementary school experience.

RED & KORN

During the 7-8 year interstice of blunt atheism and agnosticism which immediately ensued, I drove myself as far away from worship, church, the Bible, and Jesus as I could. At 16, I discovered the Nu Metal Rock band called Korn, and around that same time, Red—two rock bands; one very dark and heavy, the other heavy and yet Christian.

Red’s first album, “Innocence and Instinct,” caught my attention instantly, before I even knew they were Christian. I found their songs to be emotionally fitting for my place in life, and a few years later, when I discovered their Christian background, I realized how their music had been a form of worship all along. Years later in 2015, on their most recent album, “Of Beauty and Rage,” their song “Take Me Over” is one of my favorite worship songs. Exposing myself to the heavier and more raw nature of such artists as Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Lamb of God (before finding Christ) opened me to connecting with heavier Christian music. For this reason, even current day, I worship less with artists like Chris Tomlin and Jeremy Camps, and more so with artists such as Red, Fireflight, and Love & Death (with Brian Welch from Korn); who are heavier in sound but Christian in message. However, I do love songs such as Elevation Worship’s “Come to the Altar,” Jeremy Camp’s “Jesus Saves,” Hillsong’s “Forever Reign,” and Chris Tomlin’s “Our God.” God speaks to me with strength, joy, hope, courage, and deep love with these songs.

THE ACT OF WORSHIP

What remains inarguable is the way God works uniquely in each of our lives. While God used Korn and Red with me, He might not use them with someone else. He may use classical music or rap, or He may not even use music at all. I don’t believe Christians are restricted to only listen to Christian and Gospel in order to have an open, receptive, praising spirit; however, I would warn against believers listening to rock (or any music) with the intent of worshipping the art of music rather than the art of God. The difference is in separating the worship of God’s love through these artistic conduits of expression rather than worshipping the people who create it.

To use music as a means of bringing praise to Jesus, we remain in a posture of worship. But the moment we feel we must turn on music for the purpose of reminding us of God, it is then that not only have we changed the nature of our actions from worship to ritual, we have also supplanted our faith in Christ with the belief that only music can bring us close to God’s presence. This lie destroys the blessing of worship by indicting our souls with a lack of trust in God. In other words, to “need” music in order to worship changes the message we send to God from that of praise to that of fear. We are afraid if we must use an instrument in order to find God’s presence, when His presence is within us already. If we ritualize music in order to sing God our praises, then we are no longer worshipping God; rather, we are using a powerless tool within the subtext of a spiritual-less routine, lacking the merit for glory.

WORSHIP AS A LIFESTYLE

Worship as a lifestyle is not at all like worship as an event. Attending Sunday service to be “revved up” is basically the equivalent of attending a Christian rave party: Church becomes the meth served through the expectation that mere attendance will inflate our spirits with holiness. While spiritual music is meant to complement the posture of humility and surrender in praising God, it cannot be the sole reason we attend church each week. When this happens, worship becomes a ritual or routine instead of a mentality. The difference is how a ritual doesn’t involve giving praise to God, but rather, placating our repetitious need for continuity. To live in worship of Jesus means committing ourselves to His command to love others (even strangers) by speaking truth and acting in reverence of Him through the love, forgiveness, and compassion of our words, time, and generosity.

I will admit this is hard for me to do, so I empathize with those of you who can admit to finding this a harder reality to encompass. For many of us, going out of our way for a stranger as an extension of our love for Jesus is sometimes like having our parents ask for something in need at the worst possible moment: While we are willing, we are also hesitant to follow through on-command. However, Jesus calls us to be obedient and authentic, and I believe even taking the time to slow down and become in touch with our hesitant spirits is better than saying no and walking away to avoid the inner conflict altogether. I believe Jesus recognizes the stuttering and stammering heart of the individual before it acquiesces and that He gives mercy to the final surrender; whereas I believe He does not give mercy to the individual who blindly denies His call out of stubborn disobedience.

To reiterate, worship as only sing-along songs during a once-per-week service is not worship, but an act of the extracurricular and the religious. In other words, if we leave worship in the church building, we express ourselves to be as secular as an unbeliever who ignores church altogether. If we are not treating worship as both a communal expression of our thankfulness for God’s goodness in our lives and the lives of others—as well as a daily habit of loving others in reflection of our love for Christ—then we are abusing the purpose of worship and undermining the meaning of giving Him praise for our lives.

MOVING FORWARD WITH PURPOSEFUL DISCERNMENT

I hope that by reading this, we are able to understand more clearly the role music plays in the life of a Christ-follower, as well as the intention behind our actions. We are not banned from enjoying other types of music (non-Christian), but the intention of our heart behind the pleasure received from music is what divides the end result between worship and ritualistic action. Our past also does play a part in the way we view and receive how music influences our spirits, but this doesn’t change the intention behind the way we treat music when we are intending to give ourselves to Jesus. In other words, there are no excuses; either music helps bring us closer to God, or it deters us from extolling His sovereignty, provision, and goodness. When we can accept this blunt-edge truth, we can finally see the line drawn between an act of selfish repetition (ritual) and a selfless act derived from the desire to please the One who gives us all that we have. Truly, there is much to be thankful for, and worship is our extension of acknowledgment to God, saying: “Thank you, and praise you God, for you are always good and you always love me! Thank you for all that you are, and all that you’ll always be. I praise you for your glory and your provisions, and I ask for the humility to never forget that all I am comes from you. Thank you, Jesus! Be glorified!” To Jesus be the glory and honor and praise forever and ever!

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Again, I would like to express my gratitude to Vanessa for having me guest post on her blog! I was very humbled when she asked me if I would do this, and I hope by writing this, I have helped others see worship in a new light which before had not yet been realized. May we all be blessed as we praise God for His goodness through His son, Jesus Christ! May we carefully discern our reason and purpose for the music we listen to, as well as the actions we take when we move into the world—where our faith is tested and challenged by those who have yet to receive God’s grace and thank Him for the gift of open eyes and softened heart. This truly is a blessing of its own worth praising Jesus for all eternity. Be lifted up, readers, in Jesus name!

I really hope you were blessed by Lance’s post. I have to admit that I’ve never heard of these Christian heavy metal bands!! Not my style, but they may be quite a few of you that do like this music. Lance sent me a suggestion and I’m going to add that song to this post. It’s called “Radical” by a group named “Disciple”. See you next week,

Vanessa.

 

Jehovah Shalom…..Peace be with us.

I’m re posting an older post again to give me some time to continue working on the gospel of Luke. A new post is on it’s way. 

Peace. It seems non-existent nowadays. There’s another shooting, a car full of teenagers killed by a car going in the wrong direction. Hate and rubbish flying around in the craziest election to date. Actual war in several places. Earthquakes and hurricanes.  Anger in homes. Bitterness that leads to revenge. Divorces and the terrible fallout from that, especially for the children. Social injustice and unrighteousness.  Moral laws bypassed.

So again I ask what is Peace? Is it a thing, a feeling, or something that happens to other people? Are you anxious and twisted up inside with thoughts of everything going wrong? Are you worried over what you can’t control? Are you up at all hours of the night because your heart is heavy?

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Or?

Do you sleep like a baby? Your heart is calm and serene? You have worries , yes, but you turn them over to the One who can do something about them? Are you sure that , even though, you don’t know what’s going to happen, the One you trust does?

I love the above picture for what it signifies. In the midst of a turbulent time, you and I can be still , because of the One who is our Peace. He holds the times in His hands. He knows the future. He knows what troubles we go through, and are going through. He calms our hearts. He can give us peace, if we ask Him for it. Sometimes we need to ask Him again and again. He is Our Peace. He gives us peace that the world cannot understand or comprehend. He guards our hearts with peace. He gives us peace from our enemies. He allows us to live a long and peaceful life, with our children and theirs.

Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace) 

The “law of first mentions” in the Bible, shows that this name Jehovah Shalom , is mentioned only once in Judges 6:24 ( So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.)

It’s interesting to note that the Israelites were in the midst of a war with the Midianites. It wasn’t an all out war, with active fighting on both sides. The Midianites were very much in control. They ravaged the cities and crops and took all the livestock (presumably the women as well), so the Israelites made their homes in caves and hid in the mountains and let them get away with it. It’s also a time in history where everyone did as they saw fit. The Israelites had turned away from their One True God. They worshipped the gods of the other nations.

So, at this time, God reveals himself to Gideon. He first asks Gideon to destroy the altar built to baal and astheroth and build a new one to the One Living God, out of new, pure and undefiled stone. He promised Gideon that He would provide the deliverance for the Israelites. It is at this time that Gideon calls Him Jehovah Shalom, The Lord our Peace. 

Jehovah is actually YHWH (see Adonai, Master and Yahweh, LORD.) and means Lord and Master. It is the promised and proper name of God. Shalom means peace, absence of strife, complete, or sound. Used together Jehovah Shalom means The Lord Is Peace. When it seems like the whole world is against you or that you  are completely unable to deal with whatever problem is in front of you, turn to the God of peace to find comfort and strength.

Recently, a friend and mentor Monica, told me that if we have Christ in us, His Peace should go before us. People should see Him in us, wherever we go . When she and her husband visited their grown, married children and grandchildren earlier in the year, they asked them to prolong their visit, because in the words of their daughter, “They brought the Peace of God with them, the homes were so peaceful during their visit”. Another chance acquaintance said that in her line of work as a counsellor, her patients, among them  a millionaire and a 9-year-old child, said that when they come to her, they feel so peaceful in her office that they don’t want to leave.

Can that be said of you or me? That we are so filled with peace in our lives, that others come to us in the midst of their chaos ? That we carry God with us, and show His grace to those around us? That we can be still and rest in His goodness and trust He has plans for us, that all will work out for the good, for His glory?

There are several hundred mentions of peace in the Bible, some of them for a blessing, some for living life, some of them as attributes of God, some of them as pertaining to the Peace that God fills our hearts and minds with. Look through these verses and mediate on the ones that touch you. Shalom to you, dear friend. May He fill your heart, soul, mind and body with Peace. May you live in the shadow of His wings, protected, provided for and at peace with everything. Shalom.

Peace as a blessing/ or a greeting.

  • Genesis 15:15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.
  • Genesis 26:29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.’
  • Leviticus 26:6 ‘“I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.
  • Numbers 25:12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him.
  • Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 2:10 but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
  • Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Romans 15:33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
  • Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11 [ Final greetings ] Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
  • Galatians 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 6:23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Philippians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
  • Colossians 1:2 To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
  • Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
  • Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16 [ Final greetings ] Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
  • 1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
  • 2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
  • Titus 3:2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle towards everyone.
  • Philemon 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Hebrews 13:20 [ Benediction and final greetings ] Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,
  • 1 Peter 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
  • 1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
  • 2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
  • 2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
  • 2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
  • 3 John 1:14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.
  • Jude 1:2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
  • Revelation 1:4 [ Greetings and doxology ] John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,

 

Peace for a king ( and his kingdom) who followed God.

  • Judges 3:11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.
  • Judges 3:30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.
  • Judges 5:31 ‘So may all your enemies perish, O Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.’ Then the land had peace for forty years.
  • Judges 8:28 [ Gideon’s death ] Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace for forty years.
  • 1 Samuel 7:14 The towns from Ekron to Gath that the Philistines had captured from Israel were restored to Israel, and Israel delivered the neighbouring territory from the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
  • 2 Samuel 10:19 When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with the Israelites and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites any more.
  • 1 Kings 4:24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the River Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides.
  • 1 Kings 5:12 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
  • 1 Kings 22:44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel
  • 1 Chronicles 19:19 When the vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been routed by Israel, they made peace with David and became subject to him. So the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites any more
  • 2 Chronicles 14:1 And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. Asa his son succeeded him as king, and in his days the country was at peace for ten years.
  • 2 Chronicles 14:5 He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him.
  • 2 Chronicles 14:6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.
  • 2 Chronicles 20:30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

 

Peace as a promise from God. 

  • Judges 6:23 But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’
  • Judges 6:24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites
  • 1 Samuel 1:17 Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.’
  • 2 Samuel 15:9 The king said to him, ‘Go in peace.’ So he went to Hebron.
  • 2 Kings 22:20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.”’ So they took her answer back to the king.
  • 1 Chronicles 22:9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.
  • 2 Chronicles 34:28 Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.”’ So they took her answer back to the king.
  • Job 3:13 For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest
  • Job 5:23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
  • Job 21:13 They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.
  • Job 22:21 ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.
  • Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
  • Psalm 37:11 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • Psalm 37:37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.
  • Psalm 85:8 I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants – but let them not turn to folly
  • Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.
  • Psalm 122:7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’
  • Psalm 122:8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
  • Psalm 128:6 May you live to see your children’s children – peace be on Israel.
  • Psalm 147:14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat
  • Proverbs 3:2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
  • Proverbs 3:17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
  • Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.
  • Proverbs 16:7 When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
  • Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
  • Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Isaiah 9:7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
  • Isaiah 14:7 All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing
  • Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you
  • Isaiah 26:12 Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
  • Isaiah 27:5 Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.’
  • Isaiah 32:18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling-places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
  • Isaiah 33:20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken.
  • Isaiah 48:18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea
  • Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
  • Isaiah 54:13 All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.
  • Isaiah 55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
  • Isaiah 57:2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
  • Isaiah 57:19 creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will heal them.’
  • Isaiah 60:17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler.
  • Isaiah 66:12 For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will feed and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
  • Jeremiah 28:9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognised as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.’
  • Jeremiah 29:7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’
  • Jeremiah 30:10 ‘“So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” declares the Lord. “I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
  • Jeremiah 33:6 ‘“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security
  • Jeremiah 33:9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honour before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.”
  • Jeremiah 34:5 you will die peacefully. As people made a funeral fire in honour of your predecessors, the kings who ruled before you, so they will make a fire in your honour and lament, ‘Alas, master!’ I myself make this promise, declares the Lord.”’
  • Jeremiah 46:27 ‘Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
  • Ezekiel 34:25 ‘“I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety.
  • Ezekiel 37:26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them for ever.
  • Nahum 1:15 Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, Judah, and fulfil your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
  • Haggai 2:9 “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty.’
  • Zechariah 8:19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
  • Zechariah 9:10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
  • Malachi 2:5 ‘My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name
  • Galatians 6:16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule – to the Israel of God.
  • 1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness

 

Peace as an attribute of God, a characteristic of God, what we as His people need to display.

  • Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
  • Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
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  • Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.
  • Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
  • Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
  • Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence for ever.
  • Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
  • Daniel 10:19 ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘Peace! Be strong now; be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.’
  • Micah 5:5 And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders,
  • Malachi 2:6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
  • Acts 9:31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
  • Acts 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
  • Romans 5:1 [ Peace and hope ] Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
  • Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
  • Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
  • Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
  • Romans 15:33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
  • Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
  • Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  • Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
    Ephesians 2:15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,
  • Ephesians 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
  • Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • Ephesians 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
  • Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  • Titus 3:2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle towards everyone.
  • Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
  • Hebrews 12:14 [ Warning and encouragement ] Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
  • James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
  • James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
  • 1 Peter 3:11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it

 

What Jesus said about peace

  • Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  • Matthew 10:34 ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. ( I’ll talk about this in a later post
  • Mark 5:34 He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
  • Mark 9:50 ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.’
  • Luke 1:79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.’
  • Luke 2:14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’ ( said by the angels at the time of Jesus’ birth)
  • Luke 2:29 ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. ( said by Simeon to the Lord, when Jesus was probably 8 days old)
  • Luke 7:50 Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
  • Luke 8:48 Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’
  • Luke 10:5 ‘When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.”
  • Luke 10:6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
  • Luke 19:38 ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ (said by the people at Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just a week before His crucifixion)
  • Luke 19:42 and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.
  • Luke 24:36 [ Jesus appears to the disciples ] While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ ( after His resurrection.
  • John 14:27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ( just before His ascension. This verse helped me when Adam was in the NICU for a few days. )
  • John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
  • John 20:19 [ Jesus appears to his disciples ] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’
  • John 20:21 Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’
  • John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’
  • 1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. ( This was Paul’s message, but one he received from the Lord)
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Shalom to you, dear friend. May He fill your heart, soul, mind and body with Peace. May you live in the shadow of His wings, protected, provided for and at peace with everything. Shalom.

Jehovah Raah…the Lord is my Shepherd.

As common as it sounds, The Lord being our shepherd is actually very comforting, when we consider the cultural and social implications, when David and others wrote it.

It seems the Israelites always had someone who was a shepherd. Abel kept watch over the flocks. Abraham, Lot, Isaac and Jacob kept sheep. When Joseph went down to Eygpt as a slave, and then found favour with Pharoh, his family came down with the famine, he asked them to say that they were shepherds, ( they were), and so had Goshen assigned to them, away from the Eygptians. Moses was a prince for 40 years, a shepherd for 40 years ( where he found his wife, Zipporah and heard God from a burning bush), and a leader for the next 40 years. David was a shepherd, whom the family don’t think much of, before he killed Goliath and later became a king. Jeremiah and Ezekial warned about false shepherds, and also gave the Israelites hope about the coming of a true Shepherd, who would never abandon His sheep. When Jesus spoke to the people, He called Himself the Good Shepherd on multiple occasions. He said His sheep would recognize His voice. He had other sheep that He needed to reach, who would be part of the fold.

There’s the famous psalm, 23, that most people know and have heard. While I was reading up on this psalm, I found several commentaries, so I’m going to write down a little from the one I really liked, with bits and pieces from others.

Jehovah Raah is derived from Ro’eh ( which means Shepherd). Jehovah Raah can mean The Lord is my Shepherd or the The Lord Shepherds me. It can even mean The Lord is my friend or The Lord my companion. It means that He is near. He is very close. He watches over me. He hears me when I call. He listens to me and understands me. He is my caregiver. He provides for me. He cares for me.

Let me let you about sheep, though. They are dumb. They follow each other, with no thought, they’ve been known to jump off a cliff following the herd. They need protection, they don’t have claws, or hooves or powerful jaws to fend off predators. They are generally frightened of everything, they can’t or won’t drink from running water, shepherds have to dam up the water, to get them to drink from still, calm water. Sheep are basically helpless creatures who cannot survive long without a shepherd, upon whose care they are totally dependent.

Now , comparing ourselves to sheep, and God to the Good Shepherd, we are dumb ( we really are!), we fall into the same trap of sin and sinning , over and over again. We follow the crowd, and want to fit in ( peer pressure anyone?). We can’t defend ourselves against the powers of darkness and the evil one. We need the Lord of angel armies, His angels , and the shepherds He’s placed over us to fight for us and with us to win the war that we’re in, the war for our souls. Sometimes we (I ) are frightened over everything. The rushing waters ( our storms, our troubles, our valleys of sorrow)  that we need The Shepherd to dam up the waters for us ( give us a way out of our temptations, bring us to a mountain , fight off our accuser ). We are basically helpless, needing to be dependent completely on Him.

Him, on the other hand, is the Good Shepherd, the True Shepherd. He watches over us intently. He leads us lovingly and gently. His voice is one we can trust.  When one of us strays, He chases after us to bring us back to safety, His fold. He fights off predators, and destroys the enemy. He places shepherds over us ( pastors, preachers, teachers, mentors) who are true to Him. He gives us food to eat (His Word), and refreshes us in His Spirit. He has sheep all over the world. He gave His life for the sheep.

So I’m going to break down Psalm 23. Please go back to His Word, and discover what The Shepherd/ this Friend and Companion means to you personally. This is just a guide.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, (Relationship…. I am His daughter)  I lack nothing. (Supply…He provides for me, materially, relationally, spiritually)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, (Rest….In the midst of a weary life, He makes me calm and peaceful)
he leads me beside quiet waters, (Refreshment…In the midst of the same things happening over and over, He makes me new and gives me new joy)

3 he refreshes my soul. (Healing…There’s nothing that affects me or my loved ones that He can’t or won’t cure, either in this world or in Heaven)
He guides me along the right paths (Guidance….He shows me what to do, when I am confused)
for his name’s sake. (Purpose…I’m called to glorify Him, I’m meant to praise Him)

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a] (Testing….to refine me and strengthen me, to use me for His glory)
I will fear no evil, (Protection…I’m not alone, He’s always by my side)
for you are with me; (Faithfulness…He can be trusted, all His promises are true) 
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Discipline…to bring me back to the path of life, when I stray )

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.  (Hope…He lifts me up, even with my shame, He gives me honour)
You anoint my head with oil; (Consecration…He makes me holy , like Him)
my cup overflows. (Abundance…I can’t contain or count His many blessings, I don’t mean material blessings) 

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, (Blessing…He cares for me enough to give me a personal blessing)
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Security…I have a place where I belong)
for ever. (Eternity… and I will never move from there or be asked to leave).

 

These are just a few verses that I found that talk about the Shepherd, and the shepherds that He has placed over us.

1 Chronicles 21:17 David said to God, ‘Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.’

Psalm 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 78:71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.

Psalm 78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skilful hands he led them.

Psalm 80:1 [ Psalm 80 ] [ For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Lilies of the Covenant’. Of Asaph. A psalm. ] Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 44:28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’”

Isaiah 61:5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

Jeremiah 17:16 I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.

Jeremiah 23:4  I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 31:10 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”

Jeremiah 33:12 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In this place, desolate and without people or animals – in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.

Jeremiah 34:1 [ The Lord will be Israel’s shepherd ] The word of the Lord came to me:

Ezekiel 34:7 ‘“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:

Micah 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:16The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

John 10:11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

Hebrews 13:20 [ Benediction and final greetings ] Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

Finally, the shepherd cares for the sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd. As we’ve seen in Psalm 23, the analogy of the Lord as the Good Shepherd was also applied by Jesus in John chapter 10. In declaring that He is the shepherd of the sheep, Jesus is confirming that He is God. The Eternal God is our Shepherd. And we would not want it any other way.

Righteousness, in Him, because of Him.

Righteousness isn’t something that would have bothered me some time ago. And as much as it bothers me now, it’s more that it unsettles me. I know and believe that I am a sinner, have been, always will be, it’s my nature. I know and believe that ONLY GOD is righteous, holy, pure, blameless, without sin, in whom there cannot be any sin, there never will be, it’s His nature. I also know and believe that He cannot abide unrighteousness in His presence, and so to make me clean, He sent His Son, who was without sin, to take on bodily form and my sin upon Him. I know this. I believe it. I’ve gladly accepted His sacrifice. I’m relieved sometimes, knowing He paid it for me. I’m saddened sometimes , by the hefty price demanded of Him, which He gave willingly. I’m sorrowful, that so many people won’t or can’t or don’t want to accept this for themselves. But I’m unsettled too. I keep trying to “do” things right, or the say the right things, trying, in vain, to become “more” righteous, knowing all the while, that “I” can’t do it. So why am I unsettled? I’m not sure. Sometimes I’m in awe of the work that He has done for me, and how easy it was to accept Him , ( though the life after hasn’t been easy all the time, but always been filled with His peace and His comfort), but also I’m trying desperately to remember that it wasn’t “me”, it’s all Him.

Anyway, that’s me. I wanted to continue on God’s names. That’s a topic/subject/study that has been with me for the better part of several years. I first heard sermons on it while I was a teenager, in India. I’ve heard pastors talk on many of His names, through the years, and right now I’m listening to two different bible studies on them. It doesn’t get boring. It’s becoming more and more real, more and more personal, and I’m finding that as much as I want to share what I learned with you, I don’t have all the words!

So…. I’ve been looking at different articles on the web, wondering if any would give me the start that I need. I want to tell you, at the start, that most of this article isn’t my voice. Others have studied, have written and made concise what’s been floating around in my head, so I’ve copied that/those articles here.

One of the few things that I wanted to mention about Jehovah ( Yahweh/YHWH) Tsidkenu , was something called “the law of first mentions” in the Bible. The first instance is in Jeremiah 23:6 (NIV)6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior., referring to the Saviour and the second is in            Jeremiah 33:16 (NIV)16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it[a] will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’, where it refers to the city of Jerusalem.

Jehovah is actually YHWH ( see Yahweh in Adonai, Master and Yahweh, LORD..) and means Lord and Master. It is the promised and proper name of God. Tsidkenu means justice, rightness, righteousness, deliverance, victory, and prosperity. Used together Jehovah Tsidkenu means The Lord Who Is Our Righteousness. God himself stands for us and provides us with His righteousness and justice when we don’t have any in ourselves. He is the one who provides victory and our prosperity.

Jeremiah prophesied at a time of rampant wickedness and evil in the land. The king Zedekiah ( meaning “Jehovah is righteousness”) whose name had been changed from Mattaniah (“gift of God”) by Nebuchadnezzar, but who failed to live up to his new name. Jeremiah let the people know ( on God’s command, since he was a true prophet), that God himself would be the Righteousness of the people, of the nation, of the world. These two instances were meant to bring peace and comfort to those who heard it. It probably did, to those few who trusted in His word, and opened their hearts to Him, and now I pray it brings peace to you, if you are looking for it.

This is one of those articles that I loved.http://donotdepart.com/jehovah-tsidkenu-the-lord-our-righteousness#comment-50494

Jesus, Pilate and Job all presented questions in Scripture that every heart must answer:

And he ( Jesus) asked them,”But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)

Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  (Matthew 27:22)

“How then can man be righteous before God?” (Job 25:4)

Today, while we will concentrate on Job’s question, we will consider all three. 

Just on the heels of dealing with the sin of the unfaithful priest, in Jeremiah 23:6 Jehovah introduced Himself by a brand new name…Jehovah-Tsidkenu. It’s only used one other time in Scripture and is also tucked in the pages of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 33:16).  It is a name God gives Himself and a name He gives His children

Jeremiah was speaking to a nation whose king was wicked. His name was Zedekiah, which means Jehovah is Righteous. His original name was Mattaniah (Gift of God) but when Nebuchadnezzar,  made him king, he changed his name to Zedekiah.

It was a familiar story. God had blessed His people but it didn’t take long before they had turned their backs on Him and began to sin.

God’s eyes were not blind to Zedekiah’s wickedness and He told him through Jeremiah the prophet, “I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong-arm, in anger and in fury and in great wrath.” (Jeremiah 21:5)

God’s eyes were not blind to His children’s sin either and in Jeremiah 32:30, God declares, “For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. “

In both Scripture references where God uses the name, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, He gives us an astounding parallel. He is our merciful God who delights in His people and chooses to bring redemption, restoration and righteousness to His wayward children.

  • In the first mention (Jeremiah 23:6) God promises to exchange the one who should have lived up to his name as a righteous king who trusted Jehovah (Zedekiah) with THE LORD WHO IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who the Bible states – is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9). Jesus is the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament name, Jehovah-Tsidkenu – In contrast to Zedekiah (the unrighteous king), Jesus is the Righteous King who is also our righteousness.
  • The second mention (Jeremiah 33:16) is to change the whole nation from wayward and wicked hearts and give them a new heart as well as a new name, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Because of Christ, we can become just as righteous as He is. Just as the nation was named Jehovah-Tsidkenu, He names us the same.
Isaiah 64:6 tells us…
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
But because Jesus has become our righteousness, when we receive Him, we become as righteous as He is in our Heavenly Father’s site. We put on His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and when the Living God looks at us, He sees us just as perfect and just as pure as He sees His Son (Romans 5:21).
Knowing that God is our righteousness is not only good news for the unbeliever who turns from their sin and turns to God through faith in Christ, but it is also good news for the believer, who like the children of Israel, sometimes find themselves wandering far from the One they love. Jehovah-Tsidkenu remains our righteousness – even when we aren’t behaving so righteously.
Who He is in us establishes us positionally though practically we may be acting otherwise. We remain righteous in His sight, even when we behave badly. Yet because He is in us, He changes the desires of our hearts to be righteous in deed, knowing that our righteousness came at oh-so great a cost and stems from oh-so great a love.
  • Job’s question has been answered by The LORD Our Righteousness. Only Jehovah-Tsidkenu can make a man righteous. But we must each personally answer the eternity-deciding questions posed by Jesus and Pilate.
  • Jesus asked…”But who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) (Is He the Son of God – the Righteous One with Healing on His wings – the Christ?)
  • Pilate replied… “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”  (Matthew 27:22) (Have you let Him be your Righteousness? If not, will you?)

Have you answered those questions yet? How does knowing Jesus is our righteousness affect your day-to-day actions?

 

the-lord-is-our-righteousness

There are over 200 mentions of righteousness in the bible, these are just a few that are meaningful to me. Righteousness as related to people/kings/nations almost always relates to ruling in righteousness ( and justice and mercy), or living a righteous life because He is righteous. In essence, we/they/I are/am called to be different. To the right thing, even when it’s not popular or easy or convenient. To follow Him, to do His bidding, to fight off the carnal flesh, even when it takes everything we have. But….. again, we need to realise that “we ” can’t do it, but He can. He fills us with His righteousness and His goodness. He makes us clean. He makes us right with Him. He makes us as new.

Yes, He is The Lord our Righteousness .

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: “When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,

1 Kings 10:9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.’
2 Chronicles 9:8 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them for ever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.’
Psalm 35:24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me.
Isaiah 61:10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
 
Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’
 
Romans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished
 

Romans 4:24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
 

Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
 

Romans 6:13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
 

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
 

1 Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
 

2-cor-5-21-him-who-did-not-know-sin-he-made-sin-on-our-behalf-that-we-might-become-the-righteousness-of-god-in-him02
 

2 Corinthians 6:7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
 

Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
 

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,