OUT OF THIS WORLD PEACE


“If I just didn’t have all these trials and tribulations in my life I could have peace.”

I have either thought or said something very much like this have you? I mean, how do you have peace of mind when things aren’t going well? Around some breakfast table a conversation goes like this.

Dad says,“They have told me at work we might have a lay off, or we will all have to take a reduced salary if we keep our jobs.” And mom says, “The dentist bill came for Jill’s braces it was $800.00! And the transmission in my car is doing funny stuff, the mortgage company called again…and…what on earth are we gonna do?”

Is it even remotely possible to have troubles like this and peace at the same time. Many people this week will leave a doctor’s office after having heard the words, “You have 3 to 6 months with treatment..”. What about that person? The answer is an emphatic YES! God’s brand of peace doesn’t depend one tiny bit on circumstances. People, places, and things are in a different category altogether.

You and I, as faith followers of Jesus, can have his peace right in the middle of the darkest night of our difficulty and the face of every disappointment people, places, and things send our way.

In the Bible in John 16 Jesus had been telling his followers that they should expect hatred from the world they will minister in. He then spoke to them about the Comforter who would come to walk along side them to comfort and guide. And he spoke of the time when their sorrow would be turned to joy at His return. Then at the end of this teaching He said these simple words.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

A simple, but powerful promise for those who are in Christ. Take a look at what He promised.

  1. In” the world you will have tribulation. About this there is no debate. Christians and non-Christians alike share in all sorts of difficulties as long as we are on this planet alive. No person, no matter how good, how kind, how generous, is immune to problems. The sooner we accept this fact of life the better we will function.
  2. In” Jesus you may have peace. There is no lasting peace outside of Jesus. Outside of Him circumstances rule the day and you are at the mercy of the fickle hand of fate. When people, places and things are good, you are good. And when they are not, you are not. However, when you are “in Jesus” circumstances and the adverse effects of people, places, and things can’t touch you in a peace stealing way. Why?
  3. Jesus has overcome the world! Satan is described in the Bible as the “god” of this world. Our war as Christians is against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. But, Jesus has overcome all of that! Remember when Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples? He began by saying “I have all power in heaven and in earth, therefore go…” There is no safer place to be than in the earth and “in” Jesus. Being in Him is the place of calm and peace.

Jesus said this two chapters earlier in John 14. As in the 16th chapter, after teaching about the coming of the Holy Spirit and describing the Spirit’s ministry he said these words.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Real, divine peace is a grace gift from Jesus to those who are His faith followers. It is not dependent on anything but His sure promise.

Next time, when things seem to be falling apart, when a loved one is dying, when business has failed, when people at church are fighting, find a solitary place and read these wonderful promises and by simple faith make them yours. Just take God at His word. To simple? Yes simple, but not to simple.

God gives you and I the right to say to a world that seems to be imploding, “Do what you will, I have chosen peace!” Jesus has overcome the world!

Agape’

Royce

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The Enemy Is You…


“We have found the enemy, and it is us”, Pogo.

A religion or belief system that does not save me from myself is not worth very much. Each of us came into the world with a built in “ME” complex that is never completely overcome. Some of a baby’s first words are usually “mine” or “me”. We never have to be taught to be selfish, it comes with the package.

The human ego, or the “self” part of each of us, is our greatest obstacle on our journey toward Christian maturity. The reason the gospel is offensive and a scandal to many is because it leaves absolutely no room for the human ego. Those who are dead in their sins and then are made alive have nothing to boast about. (Romans 3:26, 27; Ephesians 2:8-10)

It is clear that as long as I have confidence in my ability to live a life worthy of God’s ideal of sinless perfection, I will not fully embrace God’s provision for sin offered in the gospel. God doesn’t need my help or yours to make us righteous in regard to salvation. The exact opposite is true.(Romans 5:18-20) Only when we come to the end of ourselves and believe God’s record that our best behavior, on our best day, is far short of God’s righteous demands (Romans 3:9-20) are we willing to throw ourselves upon His mercy offered in the gospel of Jesus.

People who think they can enter heaven based even partially upon the basis of their good works on earth are either arrogant or ignorant. They are either so arrogant they think they deserve what God says they don’t, or so ignorant they don’t understand the absolute moral bankruptcy of the unsaved. The Apostle Paul said of himself that nothing good was in him, as to his flesh. (Romans 7:18)

Each of us on earth inhabits a body that is God’s natural enemy. That doesn’t cease to be true once we are born again. There is the constant tension within the Christian of the flesh against the Spirit.(Romans 7; Galatians 5) The two are at war for control of our thoughts and intentions and we must cooperate with what the Spirit desires to the defeat of the ego.(Romans 6:12-14)

Every religion, other than Christianity, appeals to the human ego. Each of them has the adherent doing some act, some ritual, some sacrifice to entice god into looking favorably upon him or her. This appeals to the ego in that one can take credit for what he or she has accomplished, and in most cases what has been done is observable by others. Only in Christianity is a believer received wholly upon the merit of another, namely Jesus Christ. Christians understand that while they were in fact God’s enemies He loved them, died for their sins, and rose from the dead to allow them to share in His eternal life. Becoming a Christian is in contrast to what the ego demands because the believer has absolutely nothing of worth to offer God, and even more scandalous, nothing more needs to be done. The penalty of transgressions against God has been paid in full and the believer is fully acquitted of all charges (Colossians 2:14) against him and becomes a child of God.

The loving, faith response to this lavish love is to say no to an unrighteous lifestyle (Titus 2:11, 12) and to do the good works God designed each believer to do (Ephesians 2:10). The idea that a sinner can obtain eternal life, or keep it, based upon putting in a good enough performance flies in the face of the weight of Scripture which teaches the opposite.

In the letter to the Romans Paul made it very, very clear by saying about the righteousness of God which is by faith,

“21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:21-28)

To the struggling Christian, forsake your ego and its desires and trust Christ alone for your security. God’s truth will set you free if you will only believe His record. I hope you will.

For Him,
Royce

How should we then live?


obama

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior”
(1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV)

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.”(Romans 13:1-5 ESV)

It is striking that those inspired words from the hand of Paul the Apostle, both in 1 Timothy and Romans, were written during the reign of Nero, the Roman Emperor. Nero was not a nice guy. Early writers, from the first century through the fourth, recorded that Apostles Paul and Peter were finally executed under Nero’s reign. Although there is no evidence the executions were at his command, they were in his tradition, having executed his own mother and adopted brother.

Paul, writing from Corinth to the saints at Rome instructs as to how they should live in relationship to the emperor and his government. Paul’s letter to Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus instructed the young preacher to pray “for kings and all those in high positions”.

President Obama was not my choice for President. And, I am not fond of some of his people and policies, but he is no Nero. My sense is that he is a decent man. A man who loves his wife and two daughters, and his country. And, according to his words, he claims Jesus as Lord.

So, as I write this post on inauguration evening I ask myself and you, will we follow Paul’s inspired instructions? As a follower of Jesus I have no choice “if” I want to be the citizen God expects me to be. As an American citizen my duty demands that I respect not only the office of the United States presidency, but the man who holds the office. If we don’t, how shall we then live?

My God bless President Obama and may God bless America.

Peace to you,
Royce

Wishing you a fine ’09


Except for the noise of sporadic fireworks in the neighborhood back yards 2008, (my 63rd), quietly slipped into history. My wife and I ordered pizza, watched America’s Funniest Home Videos, some Fox News and the dawn of a New Year was upon us.

Even in the midst of a failing economic climate ’08 was a very good year for the Ogle’s. We were blessed in so many ways I can’t list even most of them. Our greatest blessings are the wonderful people we have met and know. Carol has recruited even more gals for her chapter of Sweet Adeline’s and through her work with WFR Relief has made many wonderful friends and acquaintances. Our Grief Share ministry has allowed us not only to meet some dear folks but to be a part of their healing as well. And, I began two weekly meetings with groups of believing men who have been an enormous blessing and a joy to my life. God has been very, very kind to us indeed.

At almost 63 1/2 we are both is very good health with a few annoyances due mostly to very high mileage. We are both full of optimism and greet 2009 with enthusiasm. We have nothing to fear and much to look forward to. Our grand children are growing up very quickly and we cherish our time with them. And, we like their mamma’s and daddy’s too. 🙂

We are excited about ministry opportunities, travel, a garden, bluebonnets blooming, singing competitions, fishing, NASCAR, and a host of other things in no particular order. Life is good and sharing some of it with you, my readers, is a joy. My sincere hope is that something I post here will guide someone to Christ, encourage someone to follow Him more closely, to love Him more deeply, and to love those He loves in more tangible ways.

So I am happy to welcome a new year but my hope is in the One who lives outside the time/space continuum and knew my future before I had my beginning. In good times or in bad He is with me. No man can ask for more.

Wishing you all the best,
Royce