Increasing Happiness and Financial Satisfaction

9.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Journal of Religion and Health – Adults who are the most religious (spiritually matured and in good health), in terms of prayer with a positive focus, attendance at church services, home fellowships, Bible studies, and using their faith to deal with day-to-day problems in a positive way, are happier and more satisfied with their financial situation.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Luke 6:21 stated, “God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The hunger about which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke is a hunger based on poverty because of one’s lot in life or for taking a stand with Christ. The word hungry pictures an intense longing that needs to be satisfied; people who do not get food will eventually die of hunger. Jesus’ promise to those with this kind of hunger is “you will be satisfied.” Jesus will completely satisfy those with spiritual hunger.

Our Lord Jesus Christ promises that those who weep now . . . will laugh with joy. Scholars differ on the exact nature of this “weeping.” Jesus may have been referring to the nation of Israel weeping for its sins; others interpret this more personally, explaining that it refers to those who weep for their own sins or even for personal grief or oppression. Still other scholars see in the word “weeping” a picture of God’s people who suffer because of their faith in Him. Most likely it refers to people who are sensitive to the world’s sin and resultant suffering. While their pain is real, they can know the end of the story and laugh.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Reducing Genetic Risk for Depression

8.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: The American Journal of Psychiatry – Numerous other studies show that prayer and other religious practices reduce or alleviate depression, with or without genetic risk. Adults with the highest risk of depression, due to a family history of the condition, are one-tenth as likely to suffer from depression if religion is important in their lives and they frequently attend religious services.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Matthew 11:28-30 stated, “28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – While those wise and learned in their own eyes are blinded to the truth (Matthew 11:25-26), our Lord Jesus Christ invites those who are weary and carry heavy burdens. The “wise and learned” Pharisees had placed so many rules and regulations on the people that religion had become like “labor,” and a life of devotion to the Law had become a burden to carry (see Matthew 23:1-4). But Jesus invited the “little ones,” true disciples with eyes open to see the truth, to come to Him and find rest from these labors. Jesus was clearly admonishing them to abandon Pharisaic legalism and join Him. Those who follow Christ will find refreshment in their renewed relationship with Him, freedom from guilt over sin, deliverance from fear and despair, and the promise of continued help and guidance from the Holy Spirit. (See Hebrews 3–4 for more on the New Testament view of rest.)

A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of animals, such as oxen, that is attached to a piece of equipment that the animals are to pull. The law was a “yoke” that was considered hard to bear. Our Lord Jesus Christ used the familiar phrasing used of the law as an invitation to discipleship. “Take off the burdensome yoke of the Pharisee-styled law,” Jesus said, and “take my yoke upon you.” Following Jesus would not be a free ride; Jesus had already described the persecution and rejection His followers could expect (Matthew 10:17-42). They were not free from all constraints; they would carry a yoke, but it would be light. Again, this did not belittle the importance or difficulty of carrying out His mission; indeed, Jesus asked for more than mere obedience to the law. Discipleship requires extraordinary effort. These words focused on Jesus’ care and concern for His followers, His promise of guidance and presence (Matthew 28:20), and the ultimate future rewards.
Jesus said, “Let me teach you.” Jesus, their leader and example, was also the ultimate servant, humble and gentle. His path of humble service is the pattern for us to follow.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer


Reducing Financial Stress

7.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion – Older people found that faith and attendance at religious services/Home Fellowship Churches/Bible Study Groups offset the emotional toll of financial strain. Prayer increases gratitude which, in turn, reduces negative impact of financial difficulties.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Philippians 4:19 stated, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The same God who had taken care of Paul would also supply all their needs. The Philippian church was not wealthy. God had met Paul’s need through the generosity of the Philippian church. God would more than repay that generosity by supplying the need of the Philippian church. Not only would God supply all our needs, but He would do it from His glorious riches. Born-Again Christian believers cannot begin to comprehend God’s riches in glory – His riches are limitless, infinite. If it is from that storehouse that believers’ needs are met, then we as Born-Again Christian believers could rest assured that God would indeed meet every need, [not wants] no matter how large, desperate, or hopeless it seemed.


THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Recovering From Abusive Relationships

6.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Social Psychology Quarterly – Prayer helps victims of abusive relationships to recover a positive view of themselves and reduces emotional pain. In addition, people who are religious are less likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] after being victims of violence in a relationship.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 stated, “14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil*? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – After passionately appealing to the Corinthians to open their hearts to him, Paul exhorted them, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.” He urged them not to form binding relationships with nonbelievers because this might weaken their Christian commitment, integrity, or standards.
Earlier, Paul had explained that not associating with unbelievers did not mean isolation from nonbelievers (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-10). The Corinthians were even to remain with their unbelieving spouses (1 Corinthians 7:12-13). In order to witness to their neighbors, believers were to adopt some of the customs of the people to whom they were witnessing (1 Corinthians 9:2).

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Protecting Teens Against Drugs

5.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Psychology of Addictive Drugs – Teens who view religion as a meaningful part of their lives are half as likely to use drugs, compared to non-religious teens – especially during stressful times, (COVID-19 Stay-At-Home, unemployment, etc.) such as having an unemployed parent, and lockdown small businesses.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) 1 Corinthians 10:13 stated, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – Temptations come into every believer’s life – no one is exempt. Temptation is not sinful; the sin comes when the person gives in to temptation. Born-Again Christian believers must not be shocked or discouraged, or think that they are alone in their shortcomings. Instead, they should realize their weaknesses and turn to God to resist the temptation. Enduring temptation brings great rewards (James 1:12). But God does not leave His people to Satan’s whims. Instead, God is faithful. He will not always remove the temptation, because facing it and remaining strong can be a growing experience; however, God does promise to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. The secret to resisting temptation is to recognize the source of the temptation and then to recognize the source of strength in temptation.
Not only that, but God also promises to show you a way out so that you will not give in to the temptation and fall into sin. It will take self-discipline to look for that “way out” even in the middle of the temptation and then to take it when it is found. The way out is seldom easy and often requires support from others. One of the God-given ways of escape from temptation is common sense. If a believer knows that he will be tempted in certain situations, then he should stay away from them.

Another way out of temptation is through Christian friends. Instead of trying to deal with temptation alone, a believer can explain his/her dilemma to a close Christian friend and ask for support. This friend can pray, hold the person accountable, and give valuable insights and advice.

The truth is that God loves His people so much that He will protect them from unbearable temptation. And He will always give a way out. Temptation need never drive a wedge between believers and God. Instead, a believer ought to be able to say, “Thank you, God, for trusting me that much. You know I can handle this temptation. Now what do you want me to do?”

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER BY Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Coping Better With Breast Cancer

4.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: PscyhoOncology – Praying in an online support group helped breast cancer patients experience less stress, have lower levels of negative emotions, and experience greater well-being. In addition, belief in an afterlife reduced fear of death.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) John 11:25-26 stated, “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.* Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – To the woman at the well (John 4:25-26), our Lord Jesus identified Himself as the Messiah; to the blind man (John 9:35-37), He disclosed Himself as the Son of Man; but here He enlarged the picture by revealing Himself as the source of resurrection life.
To understand Jesus’ statement, we need to see it in two parts. First, Jesus explained the resurrection: “I am the resurrection . . . Those who believe in me, even though they die . . . will live again.” Then He explained the life: “I am . . . the life . . . They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.”
The believer will not experience eternal death. Lazarus had been a believer in Jesus; therefore, even though he died, he would live. Every Born-Again Christian believer who has died will yet live, and everyone who is still living and believing will die, but not eternally. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not promise the prevention of physical death; He guaranteed in Himself to give abundant life, including resurrection and eternity with Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not prevent Lazarus’s physical death (after being raised, Lazarus would eventually die again), but Lazarus had the guarantee of eternal life.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Living A Longer New Life To Eternal Life

3.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Health Psychology – More people found that in addition to private prayer, attending religious services/gathering in Home Fellowship Churches/Bible Study Groups, and being involved in other church/group activities predicted a longer and healthier lifespan.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 stated, “14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – Everything that Paul and his companions did was to honor God. Not only did fear of God motivate them (see 2 Corinthians 5:11), but Christ’s love controlled their actions. Out of His great love, our Lord Jesus Christ had given up His life for their sakes. He had not acted out of His own self-interest, selfishly holding on to the glory of heaven that He already possessed (Philippians 2:6). Instead, Jesus had willingly died for everyone. Those who believe that also believe that they have died to the old life. They should be willing to abandon their old, selfish ways in order to live a new life for Christ (Romans 6:6-14; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:20). Like Paul, we should no longer live to please ourselves. We should die to ourselves and live for our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive today and interceding with God on our behalf.

Romans 6:22 NLT says, “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.”

The benefits are immeasurable for those who are slaves of God and set free from the power of sin. Faith makes us righteous in God’s eyes and challenges us to realize that righteousness in practical living – doing those things that lead to holiness and eternal life. Holiness is gained as a process over our entire life wherein we become more Christlike and set apart for His service; eternal life begins at conversion and, despite the physical death we will inevitably face, continues beyond the grave.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Achieving Goals More Effectively

2.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source:   Psychological Bulletin – Prayer affects regions of the brain that improve self-control, and people who view their goals as sacred put more effort and energy into attaining them.

Spiritually:   The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) James 1:2-4 stated, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – How can a person consider trouble as an opportunity for joy? This is a remarkable command – we are to choose to be joyful in situations where joy would naturally be our last response. When certain circumstances make us angry and we want to blame the Lord, James directs us to the healthier alternative – joy. Those who trust in God ought to exhibit a dramatically different, positive response to the difficult events of life.

Our attitude is to be one of genuine rejoicing. This is not joyful anticipation for trials. Instead, it is joy during trials. The joy is based on confidence in the outcome of the trial. It is the startling realization that trials represent the possibility of growth. In contrast, most people are happy when they escape trials. But James encourages us to have pure joy in the very face of trials. James is not encouraging believers to pretend to be happy. Rejoicing goes beyond happiness. Happiness centers on earthly circumstances and how well things are going here. Joy centers on God and His presence in our experience.

The word whenever doesn’t allow much room for doubt. We are urged to be joyful not if we face trouble, but whenever. Trials, problems, situations can be joy robbers if we lack the proper attitude. Where does this trouble come from? The troubles and trials we face can be hardships from without or temptations from within. A trouble may be a hard situation that tests a person’s faith such as persecution, a difficult moral choice, or a tragedy. Life’s trail is marked with such trials. Enduring one trial is not enough. God’s purpose in allowing this process is to develop complete maturity in us.

Considering your troubles to be joy comes from seeing life with God’s perspective in mind. We may not be able to understand the specific reasons for God’s allowing certain experiences to crush us or wear us down, but we can be confident that His plan is for our good. What may look hopeless or impossible to us never looks that way to God!

It is not our nature to endure. When it comes to trials, we would rather escape, explain, or exit the difficulty. In fact, we will tend to do almost anything to avoid enduring a trial. Faithful endurance, however, generates whole people, recognized as strong in character, or mature. We will be seasoned, experienced, well-developed, fit for the tasks God sent us into the world to do. This strength is a quality developed by how much we have learned from the trials we have experienced. We are also ready for anything because we have been fully trained. The weaknesses and imperfections are being removed from our character; we are gaining victory over old sins; we are demonstrating a sense of competence about life. This completeness relates to the breadth of our experience.

Finally, we will go through this together against this pandemic – Chinese/Wuhan/Coronavirus/COVI-19. We will walk through this darkness through the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Words.

“Stay-At-Home” and follow the White House Federal guidelines. Hear in Texas, we are in Phase 1, and looking forward to Phase 2 & 3. The Light is at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, Fear not! Don’t be afraid, Be smart and courageous, vigilant against this pandemic, in Jesus name. Amen! Let’s rejoice!

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer


Becoming More Forgiving

1.  Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Psychological Science – In one study, people who prayed for a romantic partner/spouse harbored fewer vengeful thoughts and emotions and were ready to forgive and move on after a conflict.

Spiritually: The Bible, New Living Translation (NLT) Romans 5:13, stated, 13 “But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.”

In James 5:13-16 stated, “13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies God’s generous gift of forgiveness through Christ (justification) has a greater but opposite effect than the trespass of Adam and its consequences. Yet in each case, the act of one affected the lives of many. Because of Adam’s sin, death entered the human race, and since then all people have died (with the Bible’s exceptions of Enoch and Elijah). All people will die until the end of this age. Because of Jesus Christ, however, we can trade judgment for forgiveness. We can trade our sin for Jesus’ goodness. Our Lord Jesus Christ offers us the opportunity to be born into His spiritual family – the family line that begins with forgiveness and leads to eternal life. If we do nothing, we have death through Adam; but if we come to God by faith, we have an abundant life here on earth and eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever.

There are many responses to suffering. Some of us worry; some of us vow revenge against those who have caused the suffering; some of us let anger burn inside us. Some grumble. But James says the correct response to suffering is to keep on praying about it (see also Psalms 30; 50:15; 91:15). This is not necessarily a prayer for deliverance from the trouble, but for the patience and strength to endure it. If we are fortunate enough to be happy, we should thank God by singing praises to the Lord (see also 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Because our praise is directed to God, singing is another form of prayer.

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER BY Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer

Click the YouTube link for the 2 Hours of Hillsong Worship

Our Companionship With Our Lord JESUS CHRIST

Acts 26:9-18 (NLT)  says, 9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene. 10 Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
12 “One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. 13 About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
15 “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. 17 And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

While he was addressing the king singularly concerning their ancestral “hope” in Acts 6:7, Paul addressed his question to the whole audience, which was mostly Gentile. He asked them why it was so incredible (literally, “unbelievable”) to any of them that God can raise the dead.
Since so much of the Jewish hope was tied to a belief that God raises people to continued life beyond this one, why were the Jews arguing with Paul about resurrection? The reason, of course, was one well-documented case of a certain resurrection that had been confirmed by hundreds of eyewitnesses. This had become the lifework of those who had been closest to the scene of this resurrection. In addition, many had already given their very lives for the cause – a cause whose whole credibility rested on the veracity of the resurrection of this one whom Paul was about to name.

Paul named himself as one who theoretically believed in the resurrection of the dead as a solidly educated Pharisee but who vigorously opposed the movement that believed in the resurrection of Jesus. He not only refused to believe that Jesus of Nazareth had been resurrected, he also thought he should do everything he could to oppose the movement.

With the authorization of the leading priests, Paul had captured believers in Jerusalem and sent them to prison. He even went so far as to cast his vote against Christians when they were condemned to death. Much of Paul’s work was done through the synagogues, where Paul found most of the Christians in the early days of the movement. This would remind Agrippa that the Christian movement had Jewish roots. In the synagogues Paul would have believers whipped in order to try to force them to curse Christ. Paul was so passionate, so violently opposed to those who knew Christ, that he hounded them in distant cities of foreign lands. He took his campaign of terror on the road, headed to Damascus.

About noon, Paul saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, blazing around him and his traveling companions. The presence of this bright light from heaven is mentioned in all three accounts – in chapter 9 (the actual event), in chapter 22, and here. The voice from heaven is also central to all three accounts. The revealed word of the risen Christ to the apostle Paul is the centerpiece of the story. In Aramaic, Paul had been addressed and asked, “Why are you persecuting me?” Notice, as has been the case in every account, Jesus made it clear that Paul had not been persecuting heretics but, rather, Christ Himself .
One important addition to Christ’s words here is not included in either chapter 9 or 22. Paul added that Christ had said, “It is hard for you to fight against my will.” Paul’s passion and his conviction were commendable, but he was not headed in the direction that God wanted him to go.

Upon Paul’s inquiry as to the identity of the speaker, the voice answered: “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.” The information to follow is also unique to this particular recounting of the Damascus road experience. From his prostrate position, Paul was commissioned by Christ Himself. He was to be Christ’s servant (1 Corinthians 4:1) and Christ’s witness (the ongoing theme of Acts predicted in Christ’s words in 1:8). Paul would tell the world about not only this experience at Damascus but also about the other times that Christ would appear to him. Paul was to be the recipient of a great deal of God’s “light” to both Jews and Gentiles.

When Jesus said, “I will protect you,” inherent in this statement was the promise of danger from which Paul would need protection. The two sources of the danger would be his own people (the Jews) and the Gentiles, in whose court he stood. Christ’s words of commission to Paul sound like the work predicted of the Messiah in places like Isaiah 35:5; 42:7, 16; 61:1. Paul was to turn many people from darkness to light, which he did (see 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:18; 5:8; Colossians 1:12-13). Paul was to be God’s instrument of turning Gentiles from the power of Satan to God, inviting them to receive forgiveness for their sins, which he did (13:38; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Paul was also to offer Gentiles a place among God’s people (Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:12). Paul took every opportunity to remind his audience that the Gentiles had an equal share in God’s inheritance. This inheritance is the promise and blessing of the covenant that God made with Abraham (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

A monument should have risen in the desert. Saul of Tarsus, while on the road to Damascus, met the Christ he did not believe in. Not only was he changed, but the world itself also reeled under this desert encounter. Not only did Paul find peace for his life, but the world also benefited from the fervor and dedication of a man in love with God. Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road, and the world was never the same again – because Paul was forever changed. Paul had been a devout Jew, and there can be no question about his devotion to his religious tradition. But the question is: “How did the nature of his personal worship change after he met Jesus?” Before his conversion, Paul was undoubtedly committed to God, as well as to Judaism with all its attributes and traditions. He must have entered the temple with a deep love for God and fervor for all Jewish truths. So fervor was him, in fact, that he gave himself to the purpose of destroying Christianity. He believed God wanted Judaism to be unrivaled by any new “ism.” He must have surveyed the temple with pride, adored the Pentateuch, and kept the feasts and observances in utter sincerity. Then Paul met Jesus! Suddenly his adoration took on a very personal tone. From the beginning of his new life in Christ, he must have realized that he had finally discovered a way of worship that focused on truth, for truth resides in the person of Christ, the fountain of all truth. Now Paul began to worship in truth, and the result of that worship was a sweet peace that centered on Jesus. There can be no doubt that Christianity is a religion of relationships. Like Paul, we worship truth insofar as that truth adheres to the person of Christ and to his teaching. We were born again because we became related to Christ. We sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” not “What a Friend We Have in Doctrine.” We do not go to church to exalt the six rules of peace, the eight principles of grace, or even the Ten Commandments or meeting our friends and others. We are concerned with dogma only because Jesus has called us to God’s truth, to righteous living and to clear thinking. But our worship is reserved for God and God alone. When that attitude of worship is in place, we live and walk in an atmosphere of peace.

Luke 24:13-16, 30-35 (NLT) says, 13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus Himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing Him.

This event occurred on Sunday, the same day as the Resurrection. Two followers of Jesus were leaving Jerusalem and walking the seven miles to the village of Emmaus. Little is known of these disciples; one was named Cleopas (Luke 24:18), and the other was not one of the eleven disciples, as noted by Luke 4:33. During their walk, they were talking about everything that had happened.

The two men were deep in discussion as they walked along. Apparently a man walking in the same direction drew up beside them (they knew he had been in Jerusalem, Luke 24:18). This man was Jesus Himself, but they were kept from recognizing Him. In other appearances after the Resurrection, Jesus was also not recognized at first (John 20:14; 21:4). Here, God prevented these men from seeing Jesus until Jesus was ready to reveal himself to them (Luke 24:30-31). God’s divine sovereignty kept them from understanding until the full reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus could be understood.

In verses 30-35 says, “As they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it. Then He broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And at that moment He disappeared! 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33 And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” [Jesus Appears to the Disciples.] 35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as he was breaking the bread.”

Charles Spurgeon once said of the all-sufficiency of Christ, “Look to the Living One for life. Look to Jesus for all you need between the gate of hell and the gate of heaven,” In Jesus is the ultimate rule of peace.

In 1954, Oberlin College gave Theodore Steinway an honorary degree. At that time, Steinway Pianos had made and sold 342,000 pianos. If we multiply 342,000 (pianos) by 243 (strings in each instrument), and then multiply that number by 40,000 (the pounds of pressure exerted by the strings within each piano), we come to realize that the Steinway Piano Company was filling the world with tension. Yet Theodore Steinway was not given an honorary degree for creating tension in the world. He was given a degree of promoting harmony and beautiful music around the world. Theodore Steinway and his predecessors had created harmony and music out of tension.

            Our Lord Jesus Christ walked along the road to Emmaus with two people who were staggering beneath an immense load of grief. Their hearts were heavy. There was enough tension within each of them to make even a Steinway Piano feel unstressed. Yet their testimony, upon reflection, was, “Were not heart burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).

            When we discuss this passage, not much is made of the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ opened the Scriptures, yet how fundamental this is to our inner peace. If the resurrected Christ can bring Scripture into the life of the tormented, God’s Word might also serve as a part of our recipe of peace.

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