Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Real Peace

I started this post on the 23rd and time just got away from me.... and although Christmas Day is over it's message doesn't end.

This past Sunday at church my pastor preached a message out of Luke 2 and since then, I've been thinking about all that he shared in his message. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the birth story of Christ. We all know the songs about baby Jesus being born in a manger. So, even if you've never read the birth story from the Bible, you know the jest of how He was born. If you've never taken the time to read it out of Luke, take the time now. (Luke 2:1-21) What an amazing story it is.

Luke 2 begins with Mary and Joseph making their trek to Bethlehem. Joseph was of the lineage of David (Is 16:5) so they had to travel to Bethlehem to register. And we all know that while in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor and Jesus was born in a stable. Have you ever thought why God chose to have Jesus brought in the world this way? What an inconvenient way for Him to be born! Right in the middle of a census.. having to travel so far on a donkey! And finding no room in the inn, they were left to birth God Himself in a stable... But aren't God's plans often inconvenient? Don't get me wrong.. His plan is perfect. But often God makes our lives inconvenient to get our attention. I can tell you that over the past year there have been some inconveniences. And although in the beginning it all was very unclear, I am beginning to make a little sense of what He wants me to learn.

Then there are the shepherds who are attending their flocks. What an amazing gift to be granted the news of the birth of the Savior! And not only that, they were lead to Him by that glorious star. It's a mystery as to why they were chosen to welcome Christ. I see it as a glimpse of the goodness and grace of God.

If we back track just a little we see that when they met the angel who came to them in their fields, they had great fear. And rightly so.. I don't have time to go into the wrong ideas that most have about angels. Just FYI, they don't look like precious moments figurines. Anyway, after the angels had given the shepherds their instructions on where to find Jesus, there with the angels was a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

This might strike you as a little different than how you've heard this verse before. Most have heard quoted "peace and goodwill toward men." But a more correct translation of that verse is "peace among those with whom he is pleased".

The reason I share this is because not everyone is at peace with God. I was thinking about this driving home Christmas Eve. The Hubs and I were talking and tears just welled up in my eyes thinking about all of the family and friends I know who aren't true believers. So many of them had a fantastic Christmas. They had great food and great fellowship with friends and family. There was such excitement as their kids and grand kids opened presents. Maybe they even felt warm and fuzzy inside when they thought of baby Jesus lying in a manger or heard Silent Night playing on the radio. I'm sure some looked back on the past few days and smiled because they felt such happiness and joy and peace. So, why does my heart break? Because without Christ, all of those things are just temporal. They are a mere vapor. And when they die or Christ returns, Hell is their eternity. I know that seems like such a harsh statement, but it is reality. I'd rather share the truth in the chance that God uses it in some one's life than just pretend all is well.

So, how do we have peace with God? Through His son. That is what Christmas is about! Christ has come!!! How do we know we have peace with God? Through repentance, faith and belief in Christ. We treasure Him as Mary did. We hold on to Christ tightly with one hand and the other we hold open with everything else, our spouse.. our children.. success.. friends... money.. our very life, willing to give it up to keep Him. He must be our treasure above all else.

Is Christ your treasure?

1 John 1:5-10
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

1 John 2:15-17; 28-29
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him."

1 John 3:4-10
"Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother."

1 John 5:12 "Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."


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