Posts tagged “Isaiah

Peace is Born

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NASB)

Cuba, Vietnam, Granada, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea – these are places in my life time that our country has either been at war with or at least been the threat of war. I am sure there are others that I did not mention but I think that you get the idea.

There is a lack of peace in the world however, that extends beyond the military battlefield. That battlefield is in the home and the work place and even the church where there is unrest and strife and worries and these things rip the peace out of our lives and cause terrible unrest.

Jesus said…

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world – John 16:33

God unveiled His plan for peace and sent us the Prince of Peace – Emmanuel.peace-on-earth2

Peace means much more than the absence of war. Peace paints a picture of harmony and completeness. It is a promise of peace; to make whole and restore. To have Peace or “Shalom” is to have a fulfilled life in every way. It is a state of safety where your life is put at ease by the Lord Jesus Christ – the One that we celebrate at Christmas. The One bringing this peace has the power to carry His plan of peace out.

With “Shalom” peace there is no fear; no worry, but instead a sense of harmony and oneness. Everything is exactly the way it should be. Things are in their proper order. This is “Shalom” – this is the peace that Jesus brings – Our Prince of Peace.

Jesus didn’t come so that we could give gifts on the 25th of Dec. He didn’t come that we could sing “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is coming to Town”. He came to give us peace with God and He came to give us peace within ourselves. How about you? Have you ever said yes to Him? He stands at the ready offering His peace and wants to be a part of your life.  Say YES to Him today. It’s the greatest gift you could ever receive.

Father, help us to discover the peace that came to the world, born in a feeding trough, lived a sinless life and offered Himself as a sacrifice for all the world. WHAT A GIFT! May we receive that gift as we repent and believe. Thank you.

In Jesus Name…Amen

 

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When God doesn’t make sense

  The birth of a child is supposed to be a happy time; a joyous to of celebration. Unfortunately that is not always the case. I will never forget the birth of Joshua and the emergency C-section due to his fading heart beat or the birth of Emma and the relief we felt when we saw 10 fingers and toes after the scare of possibly having Amniotic Band Syndrome. And while these 2 events in our life didn’t end in tragedy, for a belief time God didn’t make sense to us. I am certain that Job had similar feelings when he lost everything.

 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.   And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. – Job 1:20-22

 We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, where tragedy strikes and loss is felt as commonly as the breeze. Just watch the news – murder, rape, child molestation, poverty, death. During these times it is difficult to seek God face. Why, we ask: is suffering allowed, pain, poverty, war, hunger, abuse…the list goes on and on. The fact of the matter is that sometimes God just doesn’t make sense to us. What do we do in those times? The first thing that we should do when God doesn’t make sense is… 

  • Understand that we live in a fallen world

In Genesis 1-2, God created the heavens and the earth, the planets and stars, animals and every plant and everything and the scriptures says that it was good, pleasant, and desirable. Then God created man from the dust of the ground and when He saw that man needed a companion, He created woman from one of Adam’s ribs.

 Let me point out that the rib was not taken from man’s head so that he could rule over her or be her task master; not from his foot that he could trample her under his feet but from man’s side, close to his heart so that he might love her and cherish her; from under his arm that he might protect her. Then in Genesis 3 sin is introduced to the world and it spread like a cancer. The curse of sin! We now live in a fallen world that is NOT the way that God intended it to be.

 Newspapers report what are known as “Natural disasters” – the Christmas Tsunamis, Hurricane Katrina, tornadoes. Experts say they are caused by El Nino, global warming but I say to you that the earth is sick with the curse of sin. These disasters plague the earth as we see in the book of Job…

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” – Job 1:18-19

 Then we have 911 – Men hating men. The bible describes men with this kind of heart – “Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths.” – Is. 59:7. We need to understand that we live in a fallen world. When God doesn’t make sense we need to… 

  • Rely on our faith in God

Scripture says that Job was a perfect man – not sinless but that he was righteous. In spite of his righteousness, in spite of his godly perfection in an instant Job lost everything – everything that meant anything to him. Yet Job responded to God in trust. I’m not saying that it would be easy because it never is but we learn from Job that fully relying on God, depending on Him is of paramount importance because when everything is gone all we have left is our faith.

 God is sovereign! That means that He has absolute authority. He never has to ask my permission for things to happen. Sovereign means that God has complete and absolute authority and control. He does what He wills for the sole purpose of His glory; for a purpose that we may never know on this side of heaven. But make no mistake that the One Sovereign of the universe is not a president or even a king but The King of Kings.

 We read in Exodus, “And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” – Ex. 33:19

 3500 years later our Lord says in the Sermon on the Mount…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”

 Both the Old and the New Testament speak of our sovereign Lord. When bad things happen to good people and when good things happen to bad people we need to remember that God is sovereign; in control and to remain faithful like Job.

 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. – Job 1:21-22

 Job knew that God has a plan. When God doesn’t make sense we need to rely on our faith in God and… 

  • Exercise Godly character

We have to ask ourselves, “What kind of character did Job have?”

  1. He Feared God – reverenced God, respected and honored God, He stood in awe of God
  2. He Shunned evil – Turned away from evil; He rejected evil.

 Character helps to guide the believer; it acts as a moral compass. When no one is looking, when you are all alone in the privacy of your own home, your car, your bedroom and no one is looking – someone is watching, someone CAN see you. That someone is Jehovah God. Realizing this will be the difference between a person with character and no character, integrity and no integrity. It just may be the difference between someone who knows the Lord God and one who doesn’t.

We need to continue to obey God. We need to continue to listen TO God’s voice, to listen FOR God’s voice. And whatever we aspire to do or be in this world we need to exercise Godly character.

 So when ever God doesn’t make sense to us we need to…

  • Understand that we live in a fallen world
  •  Rely on our faith in God
  • Exercise Godly character and we need to…
  • Worship

 In Job chapter 1 we have seen that Job suffered incredible loss.

  • 7 sons – killed
  • 3 daughters – Killed
  • 7000 sheep – stolen
  • 3000 camels – stolen
  • 500 yoke of oxen – stolen
  • 500 – female donkey’s – stolen
  • Servants – killed – Job 1:2-3

 Let me just tell you what Job could have done…

  • He could have said, “The heck with God”
  • He could have went to bed and stayed there hoping that everything will be better if I just check out
  • He could have blamed God

 But he didn’t. Instead, “he got up”. As hard as it might have been “He got up”. He pulled himself together. I wonder if in all of heaven there was silence at this moment in time as they waited to see if Job would curse God, blame Him, turn his back on God. The heavens watched as Job tore his robe, shaved his head and falls to the ground….and worships God.

 In Job’s worship he truly shows the supremacy of the One True Living God by showing the Lord God’s worth; that God is worthy. And job says this…

 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”   22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong”

 Amazing isn’t it. He did not sin nor charge God with any wrong. Folks, Job understood something that most of us haven’t figured out yet. There is no darkness in God. There is no sin in God. There is no sin nature in God. He doesn’t sit up in heaven on His throne and fire away with His lightning bolts trying to wreck our lives.

 Sin and darkness is in us. In fact the book of Eph. 5:8 says this, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light.”

It doesn’t say that you were once IN darkness but that you WERE darkness. But in Christ all things are made NEW. In 1 Cor. 5:17 that “Any man that is in Christ is a new creation; old has gone, new has come”. The word new is where we get the word “Metamorphosis” Brand new, inside and out, a whole new thing not resembling the old in any way. The next time you look at a butterfly, remember this…it used to be a caterpillar and now it is a whole new creation.

This can only be experienced in Christ Jesus.

Lord, In a world that is filled with heart ache and struggles and our difficult attempts to weather each storm of life, I pray that You will strengthen us all; Give us courage and joy as we walk through the fire together. And when we get to the other side I pray that there will not even be a hint of smoke on us.

I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear
(Lyrics by Laurie Klein)