Tag Archives: peace



In modern America, we don’t usually think much about birthrights or inherited blessings.  The vast majority of us do not expect to inherit from our relatives anything of significant value.  Occasionally one of us will inherit an item of sentimental value, important to the beneficiary but usually a trinket or tool or book of little value to anyone else.  We don’t think about an inheritance that we can use as leverage or exchange for something else of value to us.

Genesis tells us about Jacob and Esau, and Esau’s infamous barter of his birthright for a bowl of stew.

“…and Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’  Therefore his name was called Edom.  But Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’  Esau said, ‘Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?’  And Jacob said, ‘First swear to me’; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.”                  Genesis 25:30-33

The Hebrew birthright in the Patriarchal age was a right of tremendous importance.  Usually given to the firstborn son, the birthright consisted of a double portion of the father’s personal property; designation as head of the family entailing responsibility for all common family property and for all remaining members of the household such as widows, younger brothers and unmarried sisters; and, authority over extended family members.  The birthright also included receiving the blessing which put the beneficiary in close covenant relationship with Yahweh Himself.

This makes me wonder what my birthright in Christ is.  I received the blessing of covenant relationship with God Himself when I was baptized into the body of Christ.  I was born again of the Spirit and such a birth brings me a birthright.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us, richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Titus 3:5-7

“…we would be made heirs…”  My right of birth into God’s family is to be an heir to eternal life.  I don’t have to stand in line for it, I don’t have to wait for an older sibling to die to acquire it, I cannot buy it.  It was conferred on me when I was born of the Spirit.  My birthright.

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ ”  John 3:5

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  …And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”  Galatians 3:26, 27, 29

If I am an heir to the riches of heaven, what does that mean to me here and now?  Are the only benefits of being a child of God relegated to the spiritual realm I will live in after I leave behind the bag of bones I currently carry around?

Only in Christ, I have this birthright today and forever:

Peace with God–I am reconciled to Him.  My debt to Him is paid in full by the blood of His Son.  I stand as a citizen of Heaven, now, today.  Ephesians 2:13-16

Justification before God–On my record, there is no mark of deficiency.  In God’s eyes this day, He sees me as His child of promise.  I pass the test.  I win the race. Today.  Romans 5:18, 19

Complete and enduring forgiveness–There is no record of my wrongs.  No sin can be attributed to me.  Once forgiven, He has no memory of my offenses.  Ever.  No matter what.  Ephesians 1:7-9

Acceptance into God’s family–I am His child, sister to the Son of God.  I am no more AND NO LESS important than any of my siblings.  No matter where I come from, where I have been or what I have done.  Complete and total acceptance through Jesus’ cleansing blood.  Ephesians 2:19-22

Freedom from the slavery to sin and self—No longer my will, but only His will.  I am no longer driven by a lifestyle that leads only to destruction.  I know the futility of living life without promise, of trying to see what is real through a haze of distractions.  In Christ I hold ownership to blessed outcomes and a meaningful journey.  By the end, He will make everything right, nothing will be wasted.  Romans 6:11

Resurrection–Yes, resurrection when Jesus returns, but also resurrection every day.  Each day is a new day.  Forgiveness through His grace allows me to start over, again and again, as many times as I need, cleansed and whole, each and every time.  God’s forgiveness is limited only by my repentance.  God’s supply of forgiveness is limitless.  Whatever I need, no matter how much I need.  I get to start over, always, until this life ends.  Romans 6:1-7

Direct access to God–God is MY Father.  I pray to Him.  I serve Him.  His Spirit indwells ME.  His begotten Son pleads MY case before Him.  MY relationship to Him is personal, intimate and priceless.  Ephesians 2:17, 18

Genesis 25:34 says that Esau despised his birthright, counted it as nothing of importance, when he sold it to Jacob for a meal.

Do I ever despise my birthright?  Do I ever trade it for what makes me feel happy, excited, loved, satiated, or proud in any given moment?  Do I ever treat my inheritance in Christ as if it were of no importance to me?  Do I listen to Satan’s whispers that tell me God didn’t really mean what He said when He said I would surely die?  When he tells me God doesn’t really love me?  Do I trade God’s truth that brings me blessings now and forever for lies that only rob me of what is rightfully mine in Christ?

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18


All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.


It’s another snowy day in New Hampshire.  We’ve had a lot of these days this winter.  And lots of unusually cold air to go with them.  I am going through my wood pile that I use to supplement my central heat really fast.  I will probably run out of wood before I run out of winter.

Even so, I love winter.  Here, it is beautiful and exciting and challenging.  I get a forecast of when the wintry weather is coming, about how much is coming, what form it will come in, how long it will last.  Usually, the local forecasts are fairly reliable, and I can plan ahead for the inconveniences the snow causes.  I have tools and a plan to take care of the demands.  Not like a tornado or an earthquake.  No dashing for shelter in a split second of panic.  No unexpected moments of terror when the walls and floor start to shake and roll.

The snow and cold are inconvenient, though.  Occasionally, I am unable to make it to church services because I can’t get out of my driveway.  The mere decision to walk out my door requires five minutes of donning layers of coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots.  Clearing snow, even with the best of machines, is time consuming and energy draining.  And, there are always places that have to be shoveled because I can’t reach them with the snow blower.  Even when the storm is over, going anywhere requires more time because of potential hazards on the roads.

The bane of winter is ice, especially when it is two inches thick on my driveway.  Or falling from the sky as sleet.  Or freezing on contact when it falls as rain on a sub-freezing day.  Chopping ice is my least favorite winter activity.  It is hard work, and it is sometimes very dissatisfying work.  I could order a load of sand-salt mix and have it spread on my driveway to make quicker work of eliminating the ice.  One time my neighbor offered to share the sand-salt mix he had picked up from our town supply, but I declined.  Once the ice melts, the mess of the sand is left behind.  I’d rather chop.

Recently, when I was chopping ice on my driveway, I thought of how my heart can become encased in metaphorical ‘ice’ so that I can’t feel or hurt, and how the process of chopping away the ice on my driveway compares to the heavy work of chopping ‘ice’ away from my heart.  Ice on my driveway becomes laminated after a few days of thawing and freezing.  Laminated ice is difficult to remove becomes is comes off in layers.  Snow that has been rained on and then freezes or slush that refreezes become the toughest ice to remove.  Sometimes my handy chopper will glance off of the uneven surface.  It seems like something so solid should crack like glass when struck with a heavy metal edge, but it often doesn’t.

Life is full of cold winter days–days of heartache, days of unearned pain, days of injustice, days of loss.  I cannot escape them, but enduring them is often incomprehensible.  So, I cover my heart with the nearest available insulator, the ice of indifference.  I tell myself, “If I don’t care, then I won’t hurt.”  Or, the ice of distraction–if I don’t think about it, then I won’t hurt.  Or the ice of blame where my suffering is the the fault of someone else, anyone else, and I place all of my hurt at their doorstep, as if doing so makes a difference in how much I hurt.

“I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears.  My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries.”  Psalm 6:6, 7

Each layer of ice I apply to my heart to insulate me from my hurts adds only burden to the one tool I have for surviving my suffering.  Every attempt I make to keep from feeling my hurts constricts my heart from its normal function.  It is only a healthy heart which can save me from myself and all of my hurt.  If I feel and endure, my heart becomes stronger, more agile, better equipped to deal with living in a fallen world.  I must use my heart to process my hurts and put them in their proper, Godly perspective to be able to thrive beyond my hurts.

Feel and endure, a messy situation, illogical at times, beyond my control at other times.  I don’t like this process.

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”  Psalm 55:22

The ice on my driveway that is easiest to chop is the ice on top of asphalt that has been warmed with sunlight.  Any exposed asphalt absorbs the radiant energy of the sun and warms up even under the ice.  The ice sitting on the asphalt begins to melt underneath while what is on top may stay frozen solid.  Even if what is on top refreezes, that process of refreezing for the underneath melting ice takes longer because the asphalt stores unused heat and the ice on top insulates the bottom layer from more cold.  The ice is loosened from the pavement, and, when I chop, it comes apart in large, satisfying chunks.

“The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord.”  Proverbs 19:3

And so I think about my heart.  About the events in life that create an atmosphere where it can easily freeze over.  About the many kinds of hurt that cause me to add layer after layer of ice to my heart to protect it.  About my sometimes defiant attitudes which only add more layers of ice.  Then I think of Jesus and the sunshine His love for me brings, the warmth that my frigid and dying heart soaks up like black asphalt.  I think about His word, how I may use it to chop at ice from the surface, breaking away layers of indifference, distraction and blame.  I remember that my repentance of my arrogant and selfish ways is the only thing that will obliterate the hardest ice.

When my heart breaks free from the layers of ice, it relaxes.  The tension is gone.  It beats to the rhythm of God’s eternal grace.  It feels God’s warmth easily.  It beats freely in the light of renewal, strengthening itself with each exercise of muscle.  My heart fills with God’s love and grace.  I am at peace with God and at peace with myself.

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:12, 13

All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s Classic Reference Bible, New American Standard Bible–Updated Edition copyright 1999 by Zondervan

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.