Advent – Peace

Advent: Peace

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
— Psalm 119:165, ESV

O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
— Psalm 83:1, ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
— John 16:33, ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1-5, ESV

What is peace? It is something that we all long for but do we really know what it is?

Absence of war? Yes, but that’s an incomplete definition.

Stillness and silence? “Speak now or forever hold your peace”. Yes, but it is still incomplete.

Tranquility and favor? More of the meaning of peace but still not complete in itself.

The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom. It embodies the concept of wholeness and completeness, stillness and silence, tranquility and favor  as does the New Testament Greek work is eirene How are we made complete?

Psalm 119:165 gives us an answer; we obtain great peace when we love God’s law. In loving God’s law and placing ourselves in His care, we long for Him to speak into our lives; like the psalmist, we ask Him not to keep His peace Deafness was associated with being mute, so if God doesn’t speak to us, by association, He also does not hear our cries.

In this season, probably more than ever, we need peace. But like our view of hope, we need to shift from an object to a person – the Prince of Peace. Jesus is our Peace and makes us complete by re-establishing our relationship with God the Father by the grace granted us in His death and resurrection. He speaks on our behalf before Father God and our cries are heard. Through good times and bad, we can trust that we may have Peace because He overcame. Let us like the angels at His birth sing, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men”. Worship Him and share Peace this season.

Steve Pierce

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Songs of Thanksgiving

Songs of ThanksgivingPraise the Lord!
For He has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust Him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. — Psalm 28:6-7, NLT

It is almost trite to ask what are you thankful for in this season. And I do believe that gratefulness is an attitude and discipline that we need to practice all year long; and it’s something that believers should be doing:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, ESV

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. — Colossians 3:15

But if you are like me there are a lot of sad memories in this season. November is the month that my Papa passed away over 50 years ago, my uncle Jerry passed away 11 years ago and just one year ago, my cousin Scott committed suicide. The good thing is that as I look back, I can see so many more good memories in this season – and much of my life – and for that I am truly thankful. I can and do choose to overcome the obstacle of sadness by thanking God for the good memories that by His grace and mercy fill my heart and mind.

The life of a Christian is not guaranteed to be smooth and painless; actually quite the opposite. And if the last two years have shown us anythihg, it’s that we all are not really good with dealing with life when things go awry. The real problem at hand is that God is left out of the picture; even His children seem to be chasing other sources of help, instead of crying for His mercy. We are too independent and think that we have got this (life) and we will make it through just fine but the first time we stub our toe on one of the stumbling blocks in life’s road – major illness, financial loss, soured relationships, you name it – we are lost and seem to enjoy finding someone to blame or making others miserable. Our tendency to take life (and God) for granted and our tendency toward ingratitude wreck our peace.

I think the solution is clear – maybe not easy, but clear nonetheless. We do what God designed us for – praise of our Creator and Savior (1 Peter 2:9). We praise Him and we pray. He hears and in His presence we are able to rejoice and with the Psalmist burst out in songs of thanksgiving. My late friend, Enoch, believed this with all of his heart and lived it (and I believe is STILL living it in heaven). So many more verses of scripture back this up also.

So, as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner – with family and friends or alone – remember to give heartfelt thanks to the One who hears your cry, who is your strength and shield. Let Him help you and let your heart be filled with joy. Let your songs of thanksgiving burst forth.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
— Psalm 7:17, ESV

Steve Pierce

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