The Candle of Peace/Sunday-December 24, 2017

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 (NLT)

Peace. We all seek it, yet it so often eludes us. We desperately desire peace in the midst of life’s storms and the chaos that interrupts our stillness doesn’t even so much as give us a head’s up that we’re entering a battle zone! Even though our souls crave peace, there are many circles where busyness and stress have become badges of honor. Is peace the absence of chaos or do we need to reevaluate our definition?

I recently had a three-minute conversation with an old friend and walked away with such an epiphany that it has changed my approach to sharing the gospel and teaching God’s Word. My friend and I have had multiple conversations over the years about her struggle with the craziness in her life. She just couldn’t seem to find peace. My thought process was always something like, “You’ve got four boys and your husband works long hours; what do you expect! You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment if you even think peace is an option!” But her four kids and busy husband were never the dilemma.

She shared that she’d recently started studying Romans and one day it dawned on her that she would never have the calm peaceful life she was imagining. There will be busy schedules, unexpected illnesses, drama and set-backs but Jesus didn’t die to give us peace in life’s circumstances; He died to give us peace with God. But trust me, that eternal peace does have temporal benefits! I can’t imagine a day without the peace of God ruling and reigning.

He can calm the storms in our life but the greatest, most ominous and perilous storm has been eradicated. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. That, my friends, is peace that goes beyond all understanding! He has broken every barrier that would eternally separate us from God.

Living It Out – Jesus IS our peace. We were totally separated from God and He is the peace, the bridge, that brought us back into a right relationship with the One who created and sustains us. Praise Him today for that.

The Candle of Joy/Saturday-December 23, 2017

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)

Have you ever been totally overwhelmed by joy? You’re so blown away by who God is or by something He’s done that you can’t even speak or maybe all you can do is speak!

Peter’s commendation to the believers he referred to as “aliens scattered throughout” is a beautiful description of one who has embraced Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. The one who loves Jesus has been foreknown by God and is in the process of being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. He/she is also seeking to obey Jesus and is symbolically sprinkled by His blood.

This isn’t the first mention of being sprinkled by His blood. There is a sprinkling of blood on the altar and on the people when Moses presented the Israelites with God’s Law. The repeatedly exclaimed, “All that He has said, we will do;” however, they didn’t. They couldn’t. Apart from the righteousness of Christ being imputed to us by faith and our having the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, man has no hope of doing what God has said to do.

He has given us an inheritance that will not fade away but is reserved for us in heaven. It has your name on it! Even though various trials may be distressing and disturbing, our faith is demonstrated and proven when we hang in there and continue to believe God and obey His Word. In all of this we find our joy. `Apart from Jesus coming, living, dying and being resurrected exactly as He did, we would have no hope to be reconciled to God. So, precious one, even though we don’t see Jesus right now with our physical eyes, we can see Him with eyes of faith and know for absolute certainty that He will come again and receive us unto Himself. And that, dear one, is grounds for rejoicing greatly!

Living It Out -1 Peter 1:7 states that our faith is more precious than gold. Think through some things that your faith outweighs. Be honest and ask God to help you put every last thing in your life on the altar.