The Advent of Peace

John 14:25-27, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 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.”

I was talking to someone who went to the doctor for tests because of shooting pains down his leg. He found out it was from a mass sitting on a nerve bundle on his pelvis. He struggled with thoughts like this isn’t fair, I am a good person. What did I do wrong? Why is God punishing me?

I was listening to the testimony from a relief field worker helping people devastated by last year’s hurricane. And there was a man whose roof had been blown off by the storm. The relief worker was there to help, it was night, and he remembers the man saying while they both were standing in the living room, looking, and the man said something profound: “you know,” he said looking up, “sometimes you must lose the roof to see the stars.

My experience has taught me that often, two people can go through almost identical losses. But one sees God with them, rescuing them, while the other believes God is punishing them. I have talked with believers and non-believers, and I have noted that, for the most part, most people in the church who LOVE and KNOW the Lord can find peace. One of the BIG DIFFERENCES is that they KNOW WHO THE LORD IS, and THEY HAVE THE FACTS ABOUT JESUS. I hope and pray that we can SEE THE STARS in our nighttime moments, the harder moments of our lives, and know His peace.

Will we ever achieve real peace? It feels as if we take a couple of steps toward peace and then a step back. Our roads are full of violence, and it is hard to feel peaceful during a pandemic. We face illnesses, financial struggles, and many other stresses. We are uncertain because we lack good, accurate information. It is hard to know PEACE when we lack information or knowledge about what is in front of us. We can feel anxious, sad, scared, and angry, and it can feel like we are on an emotional roller coaster.

Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus is the Prince of Peace who brings peace, and he is our SHALOM. THE PEACE OF GOD is not a psychological peace, but we are made complete and whole in the Messiah, finding our purpose, being fulfilled, and having a sense of well-being and confidence because of what we know. One of the ways peace comes to us is because we have accurate, real information about JESUS through the Scriptures and Holy Spirit.

A commercial airline pilot who flies Boeing 767 noted that the #1 anxiety in flying is turbulence. It seems dangerous, but turbulence is a mere blip from the pilot’s perspective. A plane cannot be flipped upside-down, or be thrown into a tailspin, or flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust or air pocket. Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane will not crash because of turbulence. It is a nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it is normal. From a pilot’s perspective, it is considered an inconvenience, not a safety issue.

When a flight changes altitude in search of smoother conditions, this is, by and large, in the interest of comfort. The pilots aren’t worried about the wings falling off; they’re trying to keep their customers relaxed and everybody’s coffee where it belongs. In the worst of it, you probably imagine the pilots sweating: the captain barking orders, hands tight on the wheel as the ship lists from one side to another. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the passengers fret about the turbulence, the pilots casually talk about their morning orange juice.

God’s Shalom comes into our hearts and minds because we are confident in our spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being BECAUSE OF WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT WHO JESUS IS IN US, WITH US, AND FOR US.

Peace is our confidence and the completeness in our hearts because we TRUST God and KNOW God. Peace is a GIFT from God. Shalom can be WHOLENESS in our souls, bringing HOLINESS and SPIRITUAL HEALTHINESS.

Isaiah 11:6-10, “In that day, the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all.”

In His Peace! Merry Christmas!
Pastor Steve

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