Peace.

Today's message at church was about peace during the holidays. Why is it so hard to find peace during the Christmas season? Each year we make efforts to get our shopping done in advance, find ways to overcome family encounters and make sure everything goes according to plan. But then life gets in the way. We scramble around to do last minute shopping, find our family is not all on the same page about coming together or get caught up by other distractions.

It's easy to see how these circumstances can prevent us from enjoying a peaceful Christmas experience. Isaiah told us that with the arrival of this new King, also known as the Prince of Peace, a new lifetime of peace would enter the world.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! - Isaiah 9:6-7
Now the headlines around the world tell a different story. Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, political tensions, hate crimes. The list goes on. Jesus warned us against the troubles of this world.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. - John 14:27
John MacArthur said it best in his sermon The Gift of Peace, "The peace Jesus is speaking of enables believers to remain calm in the most wildly fearful circumstances. The peace He gives has to be received and applied in our lives. If we lay hold of the promise of the very peace of Christ, we will have calm, untroubled hearts, regardless of external circumstances."

Pastor Mondy gave an example of why we often don’t find peace in our hearts. He pulled up a stool and stared at it. "Sure this looks like a strong stool. I believe this stool will hold me if I sit on it" It's easy find peace in joyful times but how do we hold on to this promise of eternal peace when we are given the bad news, mourn over the loss of a loved one or have trouble making ends meet. It's during those moments like that God's peace transcends all circumstances. We must sit on the stool. Whether it holds us or we fall, the peace of God remains the same. 

I can go on and on about today’s message of peace but I must catch some sleep. I strongly encourage you to read/listen to John MacArthur's The Gift of Peace[LINK HERE]

I hope you all find shalom (which I learned today means peace in Hebrew ) during the holidays. If you become anxious and need to calm your heart, read Matthew 6:25-34, one of my favorite passages. Have a good night! 

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