Fear is as old as humanity. If I asked you today, “Of what are you afraid?” the answers would be many and varied; aging, poverty, sickness, war, disease, and death – to name of the more common. All of us would admit that fear finds us at least some days. Any thinking person who considers the state of our world experiences some anxiety over the future. We may disagree about what is wrong but most all of us would agree that we are in a precarious place – rather like a car driven by a drunken individual careening down a highway, an accident waiting to happen!
Christian, one of the promises of God to His children is a ‘peace that which passes all understanding.’ This second week of Advent we note the theme of PEACE, but unless we learn the why and how of the peace of God it will remain just a sentiment, an idea that is unattainable for the majority of us. In thousands of churches yesterday this text was read – “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”” (Luke 2:13-14, NIV) I hope you hear those words with faith, with a breathed prayer to know the fullness of the promise of peace in your life and thus to become a peace-maker in your world.
Luke tells us that those rough men who were shepherds living with their sheep heard the angelic announcement and that they responded with faith. They ‘hurried off to find Mary and Joseph.’ Those few words inspire me. How easily they might have looked at one another and said, “What a strange sight,” and settled down again for the night. But, they wanted to see, to know, to experience what God promised, so they went seeking. Did they understand Who is was that they found newly born among the animals out back of the inn? Probably not, but they felt the wonder and spread the word.
The One they saw that night was the Prince of Peace, born to show us the heart of God, which is filled with love. The enemy of our soul, the instigator of fear, would like to us to think that God is either cruel or remote, that He does not care for us, nor take note of us. But, the Baby of Bethlehem was a divine letter of love to us. John teaches us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” He walked with us, entering our lives, and in the end dying for us – reconciling us to our Father.
Love makes peace possible. John was inspired to write to us that “love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:17-18, NIV)
If you would know peace today, receive the love of Christ. No matter what you have done, who has told you that you are worthless, or what your current status – you can receive the grace and love of God, by faith, and experience peace. Copy the example of those shepherds who heard, chose faith, and went to find the Savior.
David, in a time of distress, penned the words we read in the 70th Psalm. How I love them for their authenticity. As I read them this morning, they were my prayer. You may want to make them yours.
If you are where you can read aloud, speak these words with faith:
“Hasten, O God, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me.
May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“Let God be exalted!”
Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay.” (Psalm 70:1-5, NIV)
Isn’t that a wonderful prayer for peace? And, it is not just a wishful thought!! We are addressing a loving Father, One Who stands with arms outstretched, welcoming us – just as we are – to Himself. Oh yes, You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD. I receive Your peace today in this turbulent world. I pray to be a messenger of peace, knowing Your healing and wholeness, so that I will bring Your peace to others.
The word from the Word is a reminder that ours is not a religion but a relationship. Hear the truth. Live in the promise of peace. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” (Romans 14:17-18, NIV) Amen.
(Video of this blog at this link)
A storm cloud’s raging deep within
The Prince of Peace
Came bursting through the wind
The violent sky
Held its breath
And in Your light I found rest
Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of Peace met me there
You heard my prayer
Hope like the sunlight
Piercing through the dark
The Prince of Peace
Came and broke into my heart
The violent cross
The empty grave
And in Your light I found grace
You’re always there
And You hear my prayer
(And my soul will know) Your love surrounds me
When my thoughts wage war
When night screams terror
There Your voice will roar
Come death or shadow
God I know Your light will meet me there
(And my soul will know)
When fear comes knocking
There You’ll be my guard
When day breeds trouble
There You’ll hold my heart
Come storm or battle
God I know Your peace will meet me there (again)
Oh be still my heart
And know that You are God
Oh fear no evil
For I know You are here
Oh be still my heart
And my soul will ever know that You are God
And You heard my prayer
Dylan Thomas | Joel Houston | Matt Crocker
© 2015 Hillsong MP Melodies (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055