Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Leviticus, Be Holy - Session 1 Introduction

The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is beginning an exahaustive study of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. The key to the book of Leviticus is found in verses 45 and 46 a of chapter 11.

Leviticus 11:44‭-‬45 NIV I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

The book of Leviticus was written for the priests and Levites in ancient Israel however the lessons in Leviticus aren’t limited to the Jews in ancient Israel. The spiritual principles in this book apply to Christians in the church today. 

The book of Leviticus explains five basic themes that relate to the life of holiness: a holy God, a holy priesthood, a holy people, a holy land, and a holy Savior.

These are the notes to session 1 of our study which is an introduction to the book of Leviticus.

Click the YouTube link at the end of the notes for an audio recording of the session.

Be Holy because I am holy was a command and a command that was not only for the Israelites in the wilderness but for us today.  That means that we should be striving to obey God’s command to be holy.  


The word Moses, who is believed to be the author of the book, used for “holy” in Leviticus means “to be set apart.”


The similar word sanctify comes from the Latin sanctus which means “consecrated, sacred, blameless.” We use the word sanctification to describe the process of growing to become more like Christ, and holy to describe the result of that process.


The Sabbath was holy because God set it apart for His people.


Exodus 16:23 NIV He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’ ”



The priests were holy because they were set apart to minister to the Lord.


Leviticus 21:7‭-‬8 NIV “ ‘They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands, because priests are holy to their God. Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your God. Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy.



Their garments were holy and could not be duplicated for common use.


Exodus 28:2 NIV Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor.


The tithe that the people brought was holy.


Leviticus 27:30 NIV “ ‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.


Anything that God said was holy had to be treated differently from the common things of life in the Hebrew camp. In fact, the camp of Israel was holy, because the Lord dwelt there with His people.


Deuteronomy 23:14 NIV For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.



Happiness, not holiness, is the chief pursuit of most people today, including many professed Christians. They want Jesus to solve their problems and carry their burdens, but they don’t want Him to control their lives and change their character. It doesn’t disturb them that eight times in the Bible God said to His people, “Be holy, for I am holy,” and He means it.


In God’s kingdom, holiness isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. 


Hebrews 12:14 NIV Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.


God wants His children to be happy, but true happiness begins with holiness. 


Matthew 5:6 NIV Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.


The word holy is used 93 times in Leviticus, and words connected with cleansing are used 71 times. References to uncleanness number 128.


The book of Leviticus was written for the priests and Levites in ancient Israel however the lessons in Leviticus aren’t limited to the Jews in ancient Israel. The spiritual principles in this book apply to Christians in the church today. 


1 Peter 1:13‭-‬16 NIV Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”


The book of Leviticus itself is quoted or referred to over 100 times in the New Testament.


The book of Leviticus explains five basic themes that relate to the life of holiness: a holy God, a holy priesthood, a holy people, a holy land, and a holy Savior.


A Holy God


God’s holiness isn’t simply the absence of defilement, a negative thing. The holiness of God is positive and active. It’s God’s perfect nature at work in accomplishing God’s perfect will.  God wanted His people to be different from the other nations, in particular the nations of Cannan the Promised Land.  They were holiness? The religion of the nations in Canaan was notoriously immoral and involved worshipping idols and consorting with temple prostitutes, both male and female. For this reason, God commanded His people to stay away from their altars and shrines and to refuse to learn their ways. God made it clear to His people that He was a holy God.


To begin with, He gave them a holy law that contained both promises and penalties, of which the Ten Commandments are the essence (Ex. 20:1–17). God’s statutes and ordinances governed the daily life of the people and told them what was right and wrong, what was clean and unclean, and what the penalties were for those who deliberately disobeyed.


At Sinai, God revealed His holy presence.


Exodus 20:18 NIV When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance.  When you get some time read Exodus 19:14–25). 


He also revealed His holy power and presence when He judged the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12), when He opened the Red Sea and destroyed the Egyptian army (Exodus 14:13—15:21), and when He did miraculous works for Israel in the wilderness.


His glory dwelt in the Holy of Holies in both the tabernacle.


Exodus 40:34‭-‬38 NIV Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.


and the temple.


1 Kings 8:10‭-‬11 NIV  When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.


In fact, the very structure of the tabernacle declared the holiness of God: the fence around the tent, the brazen altar where the blood was shed, the laver where the priests washed their hands and feet, and the veil that kept everybody but the high priest out of the Holy of Holies. Jehovah made it clear to the people of Israel that He is a holy God, righteous in all His works and just in all His judgments. 





Leviticus shows a Holy God and a Holy Priesthood 


The Jewish priesthood belonged only to the tribe of Levi. Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah and the father of Kohath, (Genesis 46:11). Kohath’s son Amram was the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam.  Aaron, Moses, and Miriam belonged to the tribe of Levi.


Numbers 26:58‭-‬59 NIV These also were Levite clans: the Libnite clan, the Hebronite clan, the Mahlite clan, the Mushite clan, the Korahite clan. (Kohath was the forefather of Amram; the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam.


Aaron was the first high priest and his male descendants became priests, with the firstborn son in each generation inheriting the high priesthood. (Every priest was a Levite, but not every Levite was a priest.) The rest of the men in the tribe of Levi (the “Levites”) were assigned to serve as assistants to the priests. The Levites were the substitutes for the firstborn males in Israel, all of whom had to be dedicated to the Lord.


Numbers 3:12‭-‬13 NIV “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”


The name Leviticus comes from Levi and means “pertaining to the Levites.”  The regulations in Leviticus pertain primarily to the priests or descendents of Aaron not all the descendents of Levi although the rest of the men in the tribe of Levi (the “Levites”) were assigned to serve as assistants to the priests.


God insisted that the priests be holy men, set apart for His service alone. Not only must they come from the tribe of Levi, but also they must not have any physical defects or marry women whom God disapproved (Leviticus chaps. 21—22). They were set apart in an elaborate ceremony that involved their being bathed in water and marked by oil and blood (Leviticus chap. 8). The high priest was anointed with special oil. The priests wore special garments, and special laws that didn’t apply to the common people governed their lives. In every way, the priests demonstrated the fact that they were set apart and therefore holy to the Lord.


Only a holy priesthood could approach God’s altar and be acceptable to serve God. If the priests weren’t dressed properly (Ex. 28:39–43), if they didn’t wash properly (Leviticus 20–21), or if they tried to serve while unclean (Lev. 22:9), they were in danger of death. If the other Levites were careless with the tabernacle furnishings, they too might die (Num. 4:15, 20). The high priest wore a golden plate at the front of his turban on which was the inscription, “Holiness to the Lord” (Ex. 28:36), and he dared not do anything that would violate that inscription. He could be serving in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and still be in danger of death.


Leviticus 16:2 NIV The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.


Every true believer in Jesus Christ is a priest of God, with the privilege of offering spiritual sacrifices through Jesus Christ.


1 Peter 2:5‭, ‬9 NIV  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


In the Old Testament, God’s people had a priesthood, but in the New Testament, God’s people are a priesthood. Through faith in Christ, we’ve been washed (1 Cor. 6:9–11), clothed in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), anointed by the Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27), and given access to His presence.


Hebrews 10:19‭-‬22 NIV Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.


Then there's the theme of a Holy People 


God’s purpose for Israel was that the nation be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”


Exodus 19:5‭-‬6 NIV Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”


Everything in the life of the Old Testament Jew was either “holy” (set apart for God’s exclusive use) or “common,” and the “common” things were either “clean” (the people could use them) or “unclean” (it was forbidden to use them). The Jews had to be careful to avoid what was unclean; otherwise, they would find themselves “cut off from the people” until they had gone through the proper ceremony to be made clean again.


The laws governing marriage, birth, diets, personal cleanliness, the quarantine of diseased persons, and the burial of the dead, while they certainly involved hygienic benefits to the nation, were all reminders that God’s people couldn’t live any way they pleased. Because they were God’s chosen people, the Jews had to learn to put a difference “between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean”.  They must not live like the godless nations around them.


Leviticus 10:8‭-‬11 NIV Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”


When we get to Leviticus 11—17, you will see how the Jewish people were distinguished by their diet, their treatment of newborn babies (and the mothers) and of dead bodies, and their handling of people with diseases and sores. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the nation was reminded that Jehovah was a holy God and that the shed blood was the only way of cleansing the people. (Leviticus chap. 16)

The church is supposed to be “a holy nation” in this present evil world. 


1 Peter 2:9 NIV But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


The Greek word translated “declare” means “to tell out, to advertise.” The holy nation of Israel in Canaan, with its holy priesthood, revealed to the pagan nations around them the glories and excellencies of Jehovah, the true and living God. The church in today’s world has the same privilege and responsibility. When Israel started to live like the pagans, they robbed God of His glory, and the Lord had to chasten them.


He was Leading the People into A Holy Land




The people belonged to the Lord, because He had redeemed them from Egypt to be His very own, and the land belonged to the Lord, and He gave it to Israel with the stipulation that they do nothing to defile it. A holy God wanted His holy people to live in a holy land.


In Leviticus 18—27, the word land is used sixty-eight times. In these chapters, Moses named the sins that defile the land and invite divine judgment: immorality (Lev.chap. 18); idolatry (Lev chap. 19); capital crimes (Lev chap. 20); blasphemy (Lev chap. 22); and refusing to give the land its rest (Lev chap. 25). Unfortunately, the Jewish people committed all these sins and more, and God had to chasten them by allowing Babylon to destroy Jerusalem and take the people captive later after they were in the land. 


God even gave His people an annual calendar to follow to help them appreciate His gifts and use them for His glory.  (Lev. 23). Until after the Babylonian captivity, the Jews were primarily an agricultural people, and the calendar of feasts was tied directly to the annual harvests. In Lev 25 the sabbatical years and the Year of Jubilee not only helped conserve the land, but they also helped regulate the economy of the nation. The ungodly nations could just look at the land of Israel and see that Jehovah was blessing His people and caring for them!


And Finally, There’s the Theme of a Holy Savior


To study the Bible and not see Jesus Christ is to miss the major theme of the book. The law was “a shadow of good things to come”.


Hebrews 10:1 NIV The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.


Especially in the Levitical sacrifices and the priestly ministry do we see the person and work of Jesus Christ vividly portrayed. No amount of good works or religious efforts can make a sinner holy. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sins, and only the risen glorified Savior can intercede for us at the throne of God as our Advocate and High Priest. What the Old Testament Jews saw only in shadows, believers today see in the bright light of Jesus Christ.


Just as the nation of Israel had to beware of that which was unclean and defiling, so must believers today “cleanse [themselves] from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”


2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.


God wants us to be a “holy priesthood”.


Eight times in His Word, the Lord says, “Be holy, for I am holy!” Are we listening?


Bible Study Audio



Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anxious for Nothing - Session 9 - Remain C.A.L.M



The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now going through and studying the book "Anxious for Nothing:  Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" by Max Lucado.  In this book Max reminds us that we can trust God in all things.  He is good, he does good, and he is working all things together for your good and His Glory.

The answer to being anxious for nothing is to remain C.A.L.M.  


Celebrate God’s Goodness
Ask God for Help
Leave Your Concerns with God
Meditate on Good Things

To get a copy of the book click this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the notes for the session

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NLT Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


Rick Warren Devotion 


Jesus says in Luke 8:7, “Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants” (CEV).


In this story Jesus tells, seeds are planted and begin to grow—but the seeds are in weed-infested soil. So, as the plant grows, the weeds grow up around it. The weeds choke out the life of the plant, and it never bears fruit.


Here’s what Jesus says is the meaning of Luke 8:7: “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature” (Luke 8:14 NIV).


Three things can choke spiritual growth in your life and keep you from hearing God:


Worry. Worries are weeds. When you’re preoccupied with the problems and pressures of daily living, it’s harder to hear God.


Riches. Are you so busy making a living that you don’t make a life? Working to pay bills for things you don’t need, to get out of unnecessary debt, or to make more money than you actually need can stunt your spiritual growth.


Pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure, but be careful that you don’t become so busy pursuing fun that you miss God and his plans for your life.


Do you know what’s always true of weeds? You don’t have to cultivate them. They grow automatically. In fact, weeds are a sign of neglect. If you see weeds in your yard or garden, it means you’re not tending it. 


It’s the same with your spiritual life. The weeds in your spiritual life show that you’re neglecting time with God. 


Spend time each day tending to your spiritual garden. Pluck out the weeds as soon as they appear so they don’t take over the good work God wants to do in you.


The answer to being anxious for nothing is to remain C.A.L.M.  


Celebrate God’s Goodness 

Ask God for Help 

Leave Your Concerns with God 

Meditate on Good Things


Being anxious does not mean you are not a Christian.


Christians battle anxiety. Jesus battled anxiety, for heaven’s sake! In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed three times that he wouldn’t have to drink of the cup (Matt.26:36–44). His heart pumped with such ferocity that capillaries broke, and rivulets of crimson streaked down his face (Luke 22:44). He was anxious.


But he didn’t stay anxious. He entrusted his fears to his heavenly Father and completed his earthly mission with faith. 


What we need to do is confront the chaos around us, pandemic, injustice, homelessness, crime, etc., by choosing what Max calls the tranquili-tree, over the anxie-tree.





Celebrate God’s goodness. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Turn your attention away from the problem, and for a few minutes celebrate God. It does you no good to obsess yourself with your trouble. The more you stare at it, the bigger it grows. Yet the more you look to God, the quicker the problem is reduced to its proper size. This was the strategy of the psalmist.


Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 NLT I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!


Do not meditate on the mess. You gain nothing by setting your eyes on the problem. You gain everything by setting your eyes on the Lord.


Matthew 14:28‭-‬30 NLT Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.


As long as Peter focused on the face of Christ, he did the impossible. Yet when he shifted his gaze to the force of the storm, he sank like a stone. If you are sinking, it is because you are looking in the wrong As long as Peter focused on the face of Christ, he did the impossible. Yet when he shifted his gaze to the force of the storm, he sank like a stone. If you are sinking,

it is because you are looking in the wrong direction.

         

Is God sovereign over your circumstances? Is he mightier than your problem? Does he have answers to your questions? According to the Bible the answer is yes, yes, and yes! 

         

 If he sustains all and controls all, do you think he has authority over this situation you face?

         

What about his mercy? Is God’s grace great enough to cover your sin? Again, yes! “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 NIV).

         

Rejoice in the Lord. 


This is the day that the Lord has made.

This is step one. Do not hurry past it. Face God before you face your problem. Then you will be ready to…


Ask God for help


This is the “A” in C.A.L.M.


“Let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). Fear triggers either despair or prayer. Choose wisely.

         

God said, “Call on me in the day of trouble” (Ps. 50:15 NIV).

         

Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). There is no uncertainty in that promise. No “might,” “perhaps,” or “possibly will.” Jesus states unflinchingly that when you ask, he listens.

         

 So ask! 


Engage in specific prayer. And engage in promise-based prayer. Stand on the firm foundation of God’s covenant. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16 NIV).


Then Leave your concerns with God. The “L” in C.A.L.M.


Let him take charge. Let God do what he is so willing to do: 


“Guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).


Leave it with him to fix it. Leave your problem with him. 


“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12).

         

God does not need our help, counsel, or assistance. When he is ready for us to reengage, he will let us know.

         

Until then, replace anxious thoughts with grateful ones. God takes thanksgiving seriously. Because gratitude keeps us focused on the present.

 

The Bible’s most common word for worry is the Greek term merimnate. The origin is merimnaƍ. This is a compound of a verb and a noun. The verb is divide. The noun is mind. To be anxious, then, is to divide the mind. 

         

We worry about the past. We worry about the future. Anxiety takes our attention from the right now and directs it “back then” or “out there.”


Meditate on good things. 


The “M”.


“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,

whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Phil. 4:8). 

Don’t let anxious, negative thoughts take over your mind. You cannot control the circumstances, but you can always control what you think of them.


Page 152


Today, I will live today.

            

            Yesterday has passed.

            

            Tomorrow is not yet.

            

            I’m left with today.

            

            So, today, I will live today.

            

            Relive yesterday? No.

            

            I will learn from it.

            

            I will seek mercy for it.

            

            I will take joy in it.

            

            But I won’t live in it.


           The sun has set on yesterday.

            

            The sun has yet to rise on tomorrow.

            

            Worry about the future? To what gain?

            

            It deserves a glance, nothing more.

            

            I can’t change tomorrow until tomorrow.

            

            Today, I will live today.

            

            I will face today’s challenges with today’s strength.

            

            I will dance today’s waltz with today’s music.

            

            I will celebrate today’s opportunities with today’s hope.

            

            Today.

        

         

May I laugh, listen, learn, and love. And tomorrow, if it comes, may I do so again.

help.         


A new day awaits you, my friend. A new season in which you will worry less and trust more. A season with reduced fear and enhanced faith. Can you imagine a life in which you are anxious for nothing? God can. And, with his help, you will experience it.


Bible Study Audio

                

        


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Anxious for Nothing Session 8 - Cling to Christ





The Christ Church Wednesday Bible Study Group is now going through and studying the book "Anxious for Nothing:  Finding Calm in a Chaotic World" by Max Lucado.  In this book Max reminds us that we can trust God in all things.  He is good, he does good, and he is working all things together for your good and His Glory.

When we cling to Christ we abide in Him, which means is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him.  

The secret to being anxious for nothing is in bearing the fruit from abiding in the vine, in Jesus.  When you abide in Jesus you are at peace because you have also been given the fruit of the Spirit because you abide in the one that give that fruit, and part of that fruit is peace.

And the peace of God enables you to control your thinking so that you can.

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

To get a copy of the book click this LINK or the image of the book at the end of the notes for the session

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The last two weeks we talked about gratitude or thanksgiving ushering in the Peace of God and His Peace is our peace.  That covered chapters 7 through 9.  Just a little review.

Philippians 4:7 NIV And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This peace is a constant in our lives if we pray with gratitude as we walk through decisions, relationships, or daily tasks. But how many times do we stop to accept it?

He bestows upon us the peace of God. Remember,  and this is important, this is not a peace from God, it is Our Father gives the very peace of God.The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it. We should be worried, but we aren’t. We should be upset, but we are comforted. 

Sometimes we have situations where it seems that every bad thing happens at once.  We get sick or a loved one gets sick, and at the same time something unexpected happens, our car breaks down, we get laid off, we have a relationship problem of some kind, a friend or relative has a need, all happening at once, and this causes some anxiety.  

Max calls it the “perfect storm”  like the time that Paul was being taken to Rome to appear before Ceasor and the ship he was on rain into a perfect storm where all the weather patterns converge.  The whole thing in Acts 27.  The storm caused great anxiety to those on the ship so much so that they didn’t eat for many days, the scripture says at 

Acts 27:20 NIV 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

There are three promises that can give us peace in the middle of a perfect storm that come out of this experience as recorded in Acts 27.

Acts 27:21‭-‬26 NIV After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

We talked about them last week.

Heaven has helpers to help you. 

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

In this instance the help came as an angel.

 So continue praying and continue trusting in God and His promises.

Isaiah 40:30‭-‬31 NIV Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

God said that He would not forsake us so He will send the appropriate help at the appropriate time.  It may be an angel, it may be a relative or friend, or it may be a stranger, but help is on the way.

Heaven has a place for you. 

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

Your place even during the perfect storm is with God as one of His children.  Your place is with God because you belong to Him. 

Galatians 4:7 NIV So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

You can have peace in the midst of the storm because you are not alone, you belong to God, and the third promise,

You are in the Lord’s service.

Acts 27:23 NIV Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me

We all have an assignment, a purpose. 

If God has work for you to do, he will keep you alive to do it.

Psalms 139:16 NIV Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 No life is too short or too long. You will live your prescribed number of days. You might change the quality of your days but not the quantity.

 Philippians 1:6 “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -

Do you ever feel like you are just so far off course that you will never reach your goal?

The journey of your life was predetermined long before you were born. Your Father knew that you would venture off the path. He knew you’d mess up. He knew you’d slip up. He knew you’d falter. And He certainly knew you’d delay. But the Word says that He never stops carrying out the work He started in you, praise His name! He never gives up on you. He will ensure that His plan is carried on to completion. No matter what you do or how badly you attempt to derail His plan, He will continue to carry on His good work until completion.

This is as true today as it was when Paul wrote it to the church in Philippi. Paul made sure to add in this verse, the key phrase “until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 Until Jesus comes back to Earth, our Father will continue to see that His plans are carried out. He will continue to ensure that His plans are completed. He knew we would mess up and delay and attempt to derail; but the good news is, He accounted for our humanity when He called us in the first place. There is nothing we can do to “screw it up.” So long as we believe in His son Jesus and the sacrifice that was made on our behalf, our Father will diligently and lovingly continue to redirect our course to ensure we are on the path towards His predetermined destination.

There will be days in which you are tempted to worry or become anxious.  I’m not saying you will have no more problems in your future. Quite the contrary.  God has never promised a life with no storms. But he has promised to be there when we face them.

John 16:33 NIV “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.”

When you are faced with the perfect storm meaning every terrible thing you can think of comes at one time do what king Jehoshaphat did. 

The entire account is in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.

Here’s the background of his anxiety.

2 Chronicles 20:1‭-‬2 NIV 1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).

He went to God in prayer and praise and his prayer can be an example of how we can pray when facing our perfect storm.

First, remind yourself of God's greatness. 

2 Chronicles 20:3‭-‬6 NIV Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.

Next, remind yourself of God’s unlimited power.

2 Chronicles 20:7 NIV Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

When you realize that God has all the power in the world, you can just trust him. As you pray, think of all the ways God has helped you, other people, and people in the Bible.

Hebrews 13:6 NIV So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Then, remind God of his promises.

2 Chronicles 20:9 NIV ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

Jehoshaphat reminded God he promised Israel that the land would be theirs forever. The reminder is not for God it is for us.  God has made promises to you too. In fact, there are thousands of promises for you in the Bible. When your kids remind you of the promises you’ve made to them, it can be frustrating. But God loves to have his Word quoted back to him.

Finally, ask God for a breakthrough.

2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Don't just ask God to bless your life. Focus on him and then tell him the specific thing you need for your breakthrough. 

Then think about what you think about.

Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 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.

You have no control over most things but the one thing that you do control is what or where you place your thoughts.  You choose what to think about.  People can try to influence your thinking but the choice of what to think about is yours.

When we make the choice to do what it says in 

Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And Jesus said before His crucifixion that He would live us with His peace. 

John 14:27‭-‬29 NIV Peace 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. “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.



All of this lead up to the fact that in order to overcome anxiety we should Cling to Christ which just happens to be the title of chapter 10.

When we cling to Christ, we can channel our thoughts to those things we just read that will give us peace even at and during those times that we are anxious, during our perfect storms.

When we cling to Christ we abide in Him, which means is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is to live in Him or remain in Him. When a person is saved, he or she is described as being “in Christ”

Romans 8:1 NIV 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We are secure in a permanent relationship.

John 10:28‭-‬29 NIV 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

So, abiding in Christ is not a special level of Christian experience, available only to a few; rather, it is the position of all true believers.

John 15:4‭-‬10 NIV 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

So I say again when we abide in Christ we are able to think clearly about what to think about 

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Like Max says, Is he not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise?

Let’s look at Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches.  The vine is the root and trunk of the plant. It is what takes nutrients from the soil to the branches. If anything, good comes into our lives, he is the conduit for that good.

The secret to being anxious for nothing is in bearing the fruit from abiding in the vine, in Jesus.  When you abide in Jesus you are at peace because you have also been given the fruit of the Spirit because you abide in the one that give that fruit, and part of that fruit is peace

Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 NIV 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

And the peace of God enables you to control your thinking so that you can.

Philippians 4:8 NIV 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Our aim our only aim is to abide in Christ which is where we get all our strength to deal with anxiety.  As I said before to abide is to live with to be at home with.  

To be at home is to feel safe. The residence is a place of refuge and security.           

To be at home is to be comfortable. You can pad around wearing slippers and a robe.            

To be at home is to be familiar.  You know where everything is you don’t have to figure is out.

Look at page 136 in our book and read    

Our aim—our only aim—is to be at home in Christ. He is not a roadside park or hotel room. He is our permanent mailing address. Christ is our home. He is our place of refuge and security. 

Psalms 46:1‭-‬3 NIV 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

We are comfortable in his presence, free to be our authentic selves. We know our way around in him. We know his heart and his ways.

We rest in him, find our nourishment in him. His roof of grace protects us from storms of guilt. His walls of providence secure us from destructive winds. His fireplace warms us during the lonely winters of life. We linger in the abode of Christ and never leave.       

The branch never releases the vine. Ever! Does a branch show up on Sundays for itsonce-a-week meal? Only at the risk of death. The healthy branch never releases the vine, because there it receives nutrients twenty-four hours a day.

Our goal is not to know every detail of the future. Our goal is to abide in the vine the One who does and never, ever let go.

How do we disarm anxiety? Stockpile our minds with God thoughts.  Philippians 4:8-9

Draw the logical implication: if birds and flowers fall under the category of God’s care, won’t he care for us as well? 

Matthew 6:25‭-‬34 NIV 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturate your heart with the goodness of God.

James 1:17 NIV17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).         

How might you do this?

Is there a block of time you can claim for God?