Friday, December 25, 2015

Peace on Earth

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Because the world was walking in darkness Isaiah shone a light on them like a brilliant sun downing suddenly at the break of day. The brightness of the light proclaims One shining on a people walking in darkness. This kind of light dispels shadows and brings insight that drives out fear and gives direction. Where in your life in these shortening days do you need more courage and clarity?

God knew that the darkness was moving across the landscape with poverty, despotism and tortured death to the believers. But the light was for all people. We know because the angels announced the good news to the shepherds on Christmas Eve bringing the glory of the Lord around them. But they were very afraid, remember they were societal outcastes. The angels proclaimed “ Good tidings of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today is the city of David a Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord. “On earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

They rushed to see the child born in a manger surrounded by animals and fodder, the lowly of the world. Mary treasured it all and the shepherds praised God, because clearly they had been told who this child was, is and will be.

The world is not at peace and it never has been. Today wars and rumors of wars are escalating. Famines and earthquakes are everywhere. Persecution has moved from the Middle East to our doorsteps. Christians are not just losing their heads in Syria and Iraq, Paris and London, California and Oregon. Yes the birth pains have begun I believe. This is not the tribulation but the preparation. We are on the last lap of this marathon. Who knows how much of it us Christians will experience before the Lord comes with a shout and takes us home to heaven?

Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for war and a time for peace. I don’t remember a time of peace. I guess there have been peace treaties made and broken through the centuries. You see Jesus has made clear that there will be no peace on earth, except through Him. He told the disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives I give unto you. Do not let you hearts be troubled, do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He goes on to tell us that in this world we will have tribulation, but take heart, He has overcome the world. That is His perfect promise for those who believe.

That is whey Paul can say, be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition make you requests to God, and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:8).  We must have Jesus as Lord and center of our lives no matter the trouble. There are no manmade solutions to this trouble. Isaiah also said, “He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on Him” (Isaiah 26:3).

Paul tells us as much as it depends on us, if it is at all possible, be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). Sometimes it is just not possible, as some people are impossible. They do not want relationship or peace. Being a peacemaker requires confrontation and truth, it requires seeking reconciliation.

However, Jesus has already said that He will have to return and take us with Him and then bring us back to rule and reign on a new heaven and earth for this one is passing away. He is starting over. So if you don’t know Him personally, it is almost too late. Pray for peace in your heart first and then in the hearts of others this Christmas Eve. AMEN

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