Preserving Unity and Peace

January 6, 2023

Unity and peace among brethren must be cherished and preserved. One of the most important objectives for each of us is “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3 NAS95) Peace among brothers and sisters in the Lord must be nourished and protected. We need to make every effort to preserve the unity that the Spirit has created among us.

What are some things that promote unity and peace? Paul wrote in the previous verse, “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love…” (Ephesians 4:2 NAS95). Here are some of the qualities that make good relationships flourish. Humility builds peace and unity, while arrogance tears it down. Gentleness builds peace and unity, while harsh and rude words tear it down. Patience and tolerance for one another build peace and unity, while expressing irritability and annoyance at the shortcomings of others tears it down.

Preserving unity and peace amongst ourselves is so important that God has given some strong warnings in scripture about those who are intent on destroying it. Take, for example, this Proverb about things that the Lord hates: “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16–19 NAS95) Note that one who spreads strife among brothers is an abomination to the LORD. This is a strong warning! Or, as another example, think of Paul’s words to Titus: “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11 NAS95). A factious person is a division-maker—one who purposefully causes divisions in the body of Christ. Again, this is a very serious matter to the Lord.

We should all be very thankful for the unity and peace that exists among the church here in our congregation. It is a precious thing! It is pleasing to the Lord! May God continue to bless us with peace as we strive for peace.

—Scott Colvin


You of Little Faith

December 16, 2021

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus teaches us how to deal with anxiety.  He reminds us not to worry about our lives and says this: “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!(Matthew 6:30, NASB)

In Matthew chapter 8, we see Jesus and His disciples in a boat as a great storm arose on the sea.  The disciples were terrified and cried out to Jesus, “Save us, Lord!”  Jesus responded, “…Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea and it became perfectly calm.” (Matthew 8:26, NASB)

Some time later, the disciples were again on a boat, and once again, the wind and waves were battering them.  The disciples looked and saw Jesus walking toward them on the water.  At Jesus’ invitation, Peter got out of the boat and began to walk toward Him.  “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:31, NASB)

Like Jesus’ disciples, we sometimes struggle mightily with the terrible trio of worry, fear, and doubt.  These emotions can rule over our lives.  What is the root cause of chronic worry, fear, and doubt?  In each of the above passages, Jesus pinpoints the cause—lack of faith!  This can be hard to hear, but they are the words of Jesus.  “You of little faith!”  But by understanding the root cause, by God’s grace we can find help to overcome.  We need to be growing our faith. When “doubts arise and fears dismay” in life, we might ask ourselves 3 questions to refocus our faith:  1) Is God aware of my problems in life?  2) Does God care about me and have my best interest at heart? 3) Does God have the power to help?  The answer to each of these questions is a resounding yes! Having this assurance in our heart, we can come in renewed faith to search His word for answers and to lay our anxieties at His feet in prayer.  As we look to Him in faith, He will grant His divine help and comfort!  He will grant us His peace!  Lord, teach us to increase our faith!

— Scott Colvin


Peace Like a River

June 25, 2021

What are God’s requirements to be compared to? Is God like a cosmic-Simon-says who is attempting to trip us up? Or is God more like a parent setting limits for the protection of His children? Listen to this passage from Isaiah.

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.
Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea… (Isaiah 48:17–18 ESV)

Israel was going to pay for their stubbornness by Babylonian captivity. Judgment was coming against them, but it would not have been this way if they had listened. They could have had peace like a river. Righteousness could have characterized their life so that it was like the abundance of waves on the shore.

What about us? Do we stubbornly go our own way only to reap the consequences of our sinful decisions, or do we have peace like a river? Let us discover the blessings of a humble walk with God.

–Russ Holden


Peace Like a River

August 14, 2020

With what are God’s requirements to be compared? Is God like a cosmic-Simon-says who is attempting to trip us up? Or is God more like a parent setting limits for the protection of his children? Listen to the instruction of Moses in Deuteronomy.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (Deuteronomy 6:24 ESV)

God is not a killjoy. His commandments are for our good, for our benefit. I’ve witnessed too many times people who rebelliously go their own way making a train wreck of their lives. Even my own experience tells me that the instructions of scripture are good for me (even when temptations want to lead me another direction). Blessings come from the path of righteousness.

Moses had warned Israel of this, but despite this warning, Israel paid for their stubbornness with the Babylonian captivity. Judgment came against them. In the midst of prophesying judgment, Isaiah pictured God’s lament that it could have been very different if they had listened.

This is what the LORD says–your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17-18, NIV).

They could have had peace like a river. The land of Israel does not have many rivers. The land is semiarid with only marginal rainfall in many places. The land does have numerous wadis or dry riverbeds that flow with the runoff from the rains, but those are not constant. The image of a river is a picture of abundance. They could have had peace that was abundant and constant — peace like a river.

Righteousness could have characterized their lives so that it was like waves on the shore. Waves are rhythmical and repetitious. There is always a new wave coming to shore. Again, we see a picture of abundance. What is it like to live in a community where righteousness is the norm — a place where you expect it just like you do the next wave?

What about us? Do we stubbornly go our own way only to reap the consequences of our sinful decisions, or do we have peace like a river? Let us discover the blessings of a humble walk with God.

— Russ Holden


Peace LIke a River

July 5, 2013

With what are God’s requirements to be compared? Is God like a cosmic-Simon-says who is attempting to trip us up? Or is God more like a parent setting limits for the protection of his children? Listen to the instruction of Moses in Deuteronomy.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (Deuteronomy 6:24 ESV)

God is not a killjoy. His commandments are for our good, for our benefit. I’ve witnessed too many times people who rebelliously go their own way making a train wreck of their lives. Even my own experience tells me that the instructions of scripture are good for me (even when temptations want to lead me another direction). Blessings come from the path of righteousness.

Moses had warned Israel of this, but despite this warning, Israel paid for their stubbornness with the Babylonian captivity. Judgment came against them. In the midst of prophesying judgment, Isaiah pictured God’s lament that it could have been very different if they had listened.

This is what the LORD says–your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:17-18, NIV).

They could have had peace like a river. The land of Israel does not have many rivers. The land is semiarid with only marginal rainfall in many places. The land does have numerous wadis or dry riverbeds that flow with the runoff from the rains, but those are not constant. The image of a river is a picture of abundance. They could have had peace that was abundant and constant — peace like a river.

Righteousness could have characterized their lives so that it was like waves on the shore. Waves are rhythmical and repetitious. There is always a new wave coming to shore. Again, we see a picture of abundance. What is it like to live in a community where righteousness is the norm — a place where you expect it just like you do the next wave?

What about us? Do we stubbornly go our own way only to reap the consequences of our sinful decisions, or do we have peace like a river? Let us discover the blessings of a humble walk with God.