An Undeserved Peace

“He will proclaim peace to the nations”
Zechariah 9:10

“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.” John 14:27

 

Our Messiah seems to love paradoxes.

 

Old Testament prophets spoke of the coming Messiah as one who would proclaim peace to the nations. However, once our Savior arrived in Jerusalem no peace seemed to come to the Israelites. Or at least not the peace they had expected. They continued to live under the rule of other nations, enduring persecution throughout the centuries. Where was the peace that the Old Testament prophets had spoken of? Were they all lying to us? Was Jesus lying to us? After all, he didn’t depart to heaven leaving behind him an earth full of peaceful people.

 

I get disillusioned when I look around at the world and my own life—seeing plenty of areas that are fraught with things that look nothing like peace. I long for comfort, but then I realize that comfort doesn’t equal a deeper knowledge of the Savior and what He came to bring.

 

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

 

Only in heaven will we have true comfort and peace. As long as we are on this earth we will struggle against the powers of the devil and our flesh. However, these momentary struggles within our personal lives and the times of unrest in the world are meant to draw us to the Savior. He came to bear the weight of our sins in the most un-peaceful and uncomfortable way so that we might ultimately have peace. Peace in full measure. Peace completely undeserved.

“Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

~Alexa Siebring

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Joy in the Morning

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy…

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found…

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love…

It must be the long hours of darkness this time of year. The troubles of the world weigh more heavily on me. Violence and destruction in Ferguson. Christians beheaded by terrorists. And another school shooting – this one close to home. We live in a thorn-infested world, where sin and sorrows grow.

And it’s not new. We forget, with the sweet tenderness of the manger scene, the raging jealousy of Herod and the mass murder of innocent children that followed. Satan comes to steal and kill and destroy. Yet…

Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. And while Jesus came once in the form of a helpless baby, He won’t come back that way.

No, we serve a conquering King, who rules the world with truth and grace, with righteousness and love. He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found. So let us prepare Him room! And sing with heaven and nature!

Joy to the world!

The Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King!

 

~Julie Garrett

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mh14wR1Pso

 

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

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

 

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me….
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
Amen
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are people within our church body who are going through very dark times;
their hearts are troubled, they have fear for their health, their relationships, their very lives.

Jesus gives to us not as the world gives.  We are liberated from our fears and worries by the peace He brings.
~Emily Gibson

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Peace

“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.” – John 16:33

By coming to earth and paying for our sins, Jesus made peace between us and God.  Peace with God also makes possible peace within ourselves and with others.

Imagine believing we had to earn our way into heaven. We would rush around frantically working at the hopeless task of doing enough good works to fit ourselves for the kingdom, always with a gnawing anxiety in the back of or minds, “Am I good enough?” “Will I make it?”  Sins might leave us trembling in fear of judgment for the rest of our lives, and death would be the frightening deadline at which we are out of time to amass goodness.

We are not left to ourselves, though.

“Comfort, comfort ye my people saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry onto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. For she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

Our comfort and our peace are in  knowing our sins our covered for us, that we have a pardoning God.   “It is finished” –finished anxiously trying to wash away our sins ourselves.

”Though  your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let  him turn to the LORD, and he will have  mercy on him,  and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Of  course we still have trouble in the world, but His peace is shown to be heavenly, in that unlike the world’s transient peace, His peace lasts even through trouble.

I remember reading a story about a king who offered  a prize for whoever could paint the best picture of peace.  Many very peaceful looking sunsets and the like where submitted, but the painting  he chose surprised many.   At first glance it just looked like a storm in a forest.  Amid the wind and rain, though, a mother bird calmly sat on her nest in the crevice of a rock, safe.

While in the world we must still fight evil, but with the assurance the battle is won. Through all our trouble and sadness, when we fail miserably, and when we don’t know how things could turn out well, we have the peace of knowing our God, who knows what he is doing, is in control.  All sorrow will pass away and we will spend eternity with our Savior.

~Greta Suchy

Be Still

And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea “Peace!   Be still!”……….  And  they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?”
Mark 4: 39, 41 (35-41)

Storms of life batter us.  It’s NOT FAIR!

Even the disciples, walking daily with Him… and IN the boat with Him are battered by a storm.

Obviously being with Christ does NOT keep us out of the storm.

What does help us?  ….His WORD, His Breath.

Do we like Abraham, BELIEVE Him?

Do we HEAR Him say “Peace,   Be Still…… Know that I am GOD!”?

Do we BELIEVE HE IS Sovereign,  even over the storms of life?

~Pam Herbert

Accustomed to Darkness

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them
and they were sore afraid.  Luke 2:9

Brilliant light claimed a part of one Judean evening so many years ago. The men who saw it were not unlike us; they were familiar with darkness, wary of whatever might harm their livelihood and always on the watch for predators. More than us, they were always keen for the first glimpse of dawn on the horizon, glad for the peace daylight brings.

Light came to those men in a way they never expected. That evening, they became a part of the select few who had seen God’s glory barefaced and without warning. God chose to proclaim the first news of his light and his peace to men who were waiting for daylight to come. After so many years of silence, the Father revealed his glory, yet he did not leave them in fear; he proclaimed the news of his grace. When the sky darkened again, these men departed with unveiled faces to see for themselves this glory: the salvation of God.

We are not unlike them: we too are accustomed to darkness, familiar with fear, waiting for news of peace. We too have unveiled faces, and we wait in the hope of God’s promise: that we will become a part of that glory, that our faith shall become sight.

Don’t stop waiting. It may be as night, but the King has come, and he will come again.

~Breanna Siebring

“Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.” – C.S. Lewis