The Wonderful Love of God

“O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love.”  Psalm 48:9

Today is Christmas Eve, and this marks the end of the Advent season.  This is also the last in this Advent devotional series, and I pray that you have been blessed, enriched and encouraged by focusing on God’s gifts of hope, peace, joy and love.  It has been my delight and privilege to share the Word of God and my own thoughts with you through these devotionals.

As our key verse says, today we are going to “meditate on [God’s] unfailing love.”  Yesterday we looked at the permanent and eternal aspect of God’s love.  Today we are going to consider exactly how we can recognize God’s love to us.  Of course, as we noted on the first day of this Advent week of Love, Jesus Christ is the ultimate evidence, the cross the ultimate symbol of God’s love.

One of the best passages for understanding God’s love is Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter.”  It is a great reminder of how we can show love to others, but I like to look at it as a powerful expression of God’s love to me and you.  May I ask you to take a few minutes to read 1 Corinthians 13 before we proceed?

The first thing that I see is that God is the perfect expression of love.  He speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit, He is omniscient, which means He has perfect knowledge; and as for faith, well He knows who He is and what He can do.  He gave everything to His poor and helpless creation, including the life of His Son – but all of these He did out of His great love for us.

God’s love is patient and kind- Romans 2:4 tells us that “the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience…leads you toward repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9 says “He is patient…not wanting anyone to perish to everyone to come to repentance.”  God so greatly desires to bring every person to Himself, and He give us chance after chance after chance to do so.

God’s love is not boastful or proud, but is best shown in the humility of Christ – Philippians 2:7 & 8 says “He made Himself nothing…He humbled Himself and became obedient to death on a cross.” Christ humbled Himself, allowing Himself to be humiliated for your sake and mine, and for the sake soldiers who held the hammer and nails-because of His love.

God’s love is gracious (being not rude), and certainly not self-seeking, as Christ sought to save you and me at the cost of His own life.

God’s love is not easily angered, as He declared to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

Oh how glad I am that God “keeps no record of wrong.” The blood of Jesus wipes away our sins and we stand before God cleared, declared innocent – forgiven.

God is perfect holiness and there is no evil in Him, and so we know that we can trust Him to always act from His loving and good nature.

God is truth, and Hebrews 6:18 tells us “it is impossible for God to lie.”  This tells me that when the Bible says God loves me, I can know without a shadow of doubt that it is the truth, no matter what my feelings or the world may say.  God’s love is always true.

God’s love protects us – after all He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), and we are His sheep; and the shepherd’s first priority is the safety and security of His flock.

God’s love for us means we can trust Him, we can relax our anxious hearts and minds knowing that He is always for us, always working for good in our lives, always aware of every need and situation we face, and always prepared with the best solution.

God’s love gives us hope, an anticipation and expectation that He will fulfill every promise He has ever made.

God’s love perseveres with us, which circles back around to His patience. Yet, while He is patient with us to come to repentance, He perseveres with us as we grow in wisdom and understanding and maturity.  He doesn’t give us on His children when we repeatedly fail.  His love means He will pick us up, tend the wounds we caused to ourselves, draw us into His strong embrace and encourage us to try again. And again. And again.  I am so grateful that God has never given up on me, and never will.

And finally, God’s love will never fail.  Because God will never fail.  His love is powerful, stronger than our sin, stronger than our doubts, stronger than everything Satan and this world can throw at us.  God’s love has already won.  His love has defeated death and has brought life and light and hope, peace, and joy to all who will believe and receive Jesus Christ.

Today, on this Christmas Eve, meditate on God’s wonderful, all-consuming and perfect love for you, His child.  Allow His love to wrap around you like a warm embrace.  Let His love quiet your mind and fill your heart this Christmas – and carry it with you into the new year.

God bless you my friends – and Merry Christmas.

God of Love, words fail me when I ponder how very much You love me.  Your love is perfect, and is perfectly expressed in the birth of Your Son Jesus, the ultimate Christmas gift.   Such love – such wonderful, amazing love.  Amen.

Never-ending Love

“His love endures forever.” Psalm 136

Has someone professed their love to you then turned away and said “I don’t love you anymore”?  That is one of the worst pains a human heart will ever experience.  While some beautiful marriages last beyond the “golden” anniversary, far too many end up in divorce.   When you give your heart to someone, you don’t expect to get it back in pieces. Perhaps you are grieving the loss of a loved one this Christmas, and though you hold their love dear in your heart, you feel a gaping hole where their physical presence used to be.  As we look at this final week of Advent, we are focusing on love, specifically God’s love – a love that lasts forever.

I made a quick look through my Bible concordance and found at least 99 references to God’s enduring, eternal, everlasting love. In Psalm 136, the phrase in our key verse appears 26 times.  Please stop for a moment and read this Psalm, out loud if possible.  I’ll wait here for you.

This Psalm is part of a refrain used in Jewish worship, called “The Great Hallel” (praise), and it gives a remembrance of the “great wonders” (v. 4) that God has done in creation and in the history of the Hebrew nation.  It is a rich and beautiful offering of thanks and praise, as well as reminder that everything God does is born out of His great love.  After the priest recites an action, the people respond with “His love endures forever.”  Other translations of the Bible give us words such as “continues forever,” “never fails,” “steadfast,” “eternal,” “everlasting,” “never quits,” and “to the age.”  God’s love is eternal and everlasting and enduring because love is His very nature, and since God never fails, never quits, and is to the age, so then, is His love.

His love means he is forever loyal and faithful to you and me.  Forever means never ending, never failing.  God never quits on His children.  He will never walk away from you.  God will never die.

If your heart is hurting this Christmas because someone has walked away, or passed away, hear this and take it to heart: “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Merciful, loving God –You loved me before the world began; You love me today, You will love me tomorrow, and for all eternity.  Thank you for Your everlasting, eternal, faithful, never-ending, love. Amen.

Love Came Down at Christmas

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What means “love” to you?  Dr. Gary Chapman created the “Five Love Languages,” which is designed to help husbands and wives identify the way their spouse feels “loved.”  For some, it is in gifts, others find love in touch, or words or time, or acts of service.  Every person expresses and receives love in their own unique way.  However, there is one kind of love that is universally needed, but can only be given by one Person – it is the merciful love of God.

God created man for relationship, for intimate fellowship and communion; but sin broke that intimacy and strained the relationship – we are always God’s beloved creation, but now we are a distant from God, for His holiness cannot reside with sin.  This would never do, for God is love just as He is holy.  He continues to love His creation, but it is a love that sees man as the piteous creatures we are, lost and unaware of this great love that we have forfeited.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8-emphasis added).  You see God, our Creator, loves us, even when we are at our worst.  He does not ask us to clean up our act and then come to Him, but He reaches out His hand to us in the pit of our sin and offers to cleanse us and set us free.

In his writings, Paul lists the sinful behaviors that marks the unregenerate man, and all people are sinful, as Romans 3:23 says: “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (emphasis added). But hear with your heart the blessed words of Titus 3:4-5 “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us…according to His mercy.”

Mercy is the truest evidence of God’s great love. His love could not leave us in our sinful state, destined for eternal death and separation from Him.  His holiness demanded justice for the offense of our sin, but His love – – His love necessitated mercy.  And the two most prevalent forces of His nature – holiness and love – came together in Jesus Christ.

“Love covers over all sins” ( Proverbs 10:12 NKJV).

Holy, loving, merciful Father in heaven, when Jesus came as a baby, Your love was encased in tiny fingers and toes.  Thank You for giving Your love so freely.  I pray I will be a conduit of Your love at Christmas, and every day of my life.  Amen

The Joy of Salvation

“In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’” Isaiah 25:9

What was the best Christmas gift you ever received?  A favorite toy? A special doll or musical instrument? A treasured book?  A picture, tickets to a sporting event or concert? Of course, every parent has that hand-made gift from their child that delights their heart. For me, it was a “walking Betsey doll” as a child, and the Christmas my husband purchased every color of embroidery floss that DMC made for my cross-stitch “addiction.”  As we wrap up this Advent week, I want to bring our hearts and minds to focus on the most important reason we have for JOY – the salvation of God – the greatest gift ever given.

Sometimes the best gift is something that we need and cannot get for ourselves.  This is the heart of God’s gift of salvation.  We needed to be saved from the punishment due to us for our sinful nature.  We cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try to be “good enough,” no matter how much we work, no matter how much we give – we are helpless to secure our own salvation.  Mary’s beautiful song, called The Magnificat, expresses this thought: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant” (Luke 1:46-47).

A popular theology says that God saw His creation falling away from Him, into the clutches of sin and Satan, and He sent His Son in response.  But God’s salvation through Jesus Christ was His plan for the ages, from before the creation of man or the earth (ref. 1 Peter 1:20). Before God said “let there be light,” His Son was destined for the cross.  Why would God sentence His Son to die for you and me?  David answered in Psalm 22:20 – “He rescued me because he delighted in me.”  It’s that simple – God delights in you – He loves you, and He rescued you from the penalty of sin and the power of death because He delights in and loves His children.  God’s gift of salvation is available to every person, no one is exempt, no one is left out.  But the choice to receive or reject God’s gift is ours and ours alone.

What joy is ours when we choose this gift, when we accept this great salvation afforded to us by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Hear the words of Isaiah as he proclaims, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).  Do you hear the delight and rejoicing?  God takes away our filthy garments of sin and shame and condemnation and exchanges them for royal garments of salvation and drapes our shoulders with the robe of righteousness – His righteousness.  Oh if that’s not a reason to rejoice, I don’t know what is!

Though He came as a baby, Jesus came to die for your sins and mine. This Christmas, open your heart to receive the greatest gift ever given, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  If you have accepted this gift, rejoice my friend in Christ, REJOICE!

God of heaven, my greatest joy is in Your salvation.  Thank you for giving me this gift that I could never afford on my own. “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).  Amen

Childlike Joy

“Their children will see it and be joyful; theirs hearts will rejoice in the Lord.”  Zechariah 10:7

There is no better combination than children and Christmas.  Their sweet smiles, joyous laughter and excitement are contagious.  A child’s heart is wide open, and his wonder and delight will warm even the coldest Scrooge’s heart.  Children have an enormous capacity for joy, a trait that we tend to lose as we “mature” into adults. Sure, it’s fine for children to be giddy over the sights and sounds of Christmas, but we are grown-ups and must behave in a more dignified manner.  Oh yeah – who says?

When was the last time you were so overcome with joy and delight that you thought your heart would nearly explode?  How did you react to that exuberance?  When my son was small, and he would get excited, he would do what I called his “seal clap of joy,” clapping his little hands together in fast repetitions.  It always made me laugh, not just his clapping, but the excitement and delight that bubbled out of him.  This week, someone did a very simple and kind favor for me, and it made me so joyful I did my own a seal clap of joy.  Me – at my age!  But I have decided that I’m done being so “adult” all the time – and when joy and delight wash over me, I’m going to let it have its way.

Some of the greats of the Bible didn’t hide their joy in the Lord.  David was king over the nation of Israel, a leader and the country’s sovereign, but he gave himself over to moments of great joy.  In 2 Samuel 6, David is leading a processional that is bringing the Ark of the Lord back to its rightful place in Jerusalem, after it had been captured by Israel’s enemy.  The Ark was the symbol of God’s presence with His people, and it stayed in the most Holy place in the Tabernacle, where only the High Priest could enter, and only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people.   But the Israelites faced a mighty enemy, and so they brought the Ark to the battle, believing they were bringing the presence and power of the Lord to insure their victory.  But in this battle, the Israelites fell and the Ark was captured, because of the sin of their present king, Saul.  Now the Ark was being returned to the Israelites.  Verse 14 describes David’s reaction as the ark made its way back into the city of Jerusalem.  “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”  This great dignified king danced with joy down the streets of the city.  David found great joy and delight in the return of the presence of God among His people.  And rather than appearing childish and immature to the people, his exuberant dance of joy to the Lord endeared him all the more to his subjects.  Except for one person, his wife Michal who thought him “vulgar” and undignified.  David did not accept her chiding, because he knew that he danced before the Lord.

David leaves us two important lessons about joy: first, don’t try to squelch those joyful feelings, but give in to them.  Dance, sing, jump, rejoice – let joy fill you to the brim and overflow onto everyone around you. Secondly, there will always be people who don’t appreciate your joy – there will always be Scrooges and Grinches who will “bah humbug” over your delight.  Be joyful anyway – maybe it will bring a smile to their faces as well.

Let this Christmas bring a childlike joy to your heart – a joy that shows on your face and spreads out all around.  Share some Christmas joy this season, it’s a gift you can give to others that always gives back to you.

Holy Father, fill my heart with the joy that comes only from, let if overflow and spill out on everyone I meet today.  I want to be a joy-giver, and let the world know the joy I’ve found in You. Amen.

Giving Joyful Thanks

“Joyfully giving thanks to the Father…”  Colossians 1:12

We are looking at JOY this week in the Advent season, and the many sources of joy that God has given to us.  In our culture, depression and anxiety seem to be the most significant issue of the day.  We look around our world, even around our own community, and find so much pain, anger, sadness and despair.  Of course there are medical causes for depression, but how much is a reflection of the darkness of this world.

What is one of the best ways to experience joy?  Give thanks!  A grateful heart is a joyful heart, and the more we focus on the blessings of God, the greater our joy grows.  An “attitude of gratitude” lifts our hearts to see how good our gracious our God is.

What can we joyfully give thanks for?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.  I am joyfully grateful for the love of God that enabled Him to sacrifice His beloved Son that I can have eternal life.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” Luke 24:5.  I am joyfully grateful for the empty tomb, and a living Savior who has promised that I will live forever with Him.

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12.  I am joyfully grateful for the light of Jesus Christ in this dark world, and for His light that shines in my heart when darkness and fear and discouragement take hold of me.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…and I lay down my life the sheep.” John 10:14-15. I am joyfully grateful for my Shepherd who leads this not-so-bright sheep to good pasture and living water and places to rest, who protects me, finds me when I wander, and died that I might live.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” 2 Peter 1:3. I am joyfully grateful that God has given me His Word and His Spirit to live a godly and fruitful life in Him.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6. I am joyfully grateful that God will never, ever give up on me, but will continue to mold me and shape me until He sees the reflection of His Son in me.

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is truth” John 17:17.  I am joyfully grateful for the Word of God, which is completely and fully truth.  I am grateful for its power to convict me of my sins, to reveal the truth of the Gospel of Christ to me, and to sanctify and transform me into His child.

I am joyfully grateful for God’s Holy Spirit, for His redemption, grace, mercy, sovereignty, providence, provision, protection, kindness, promise…there is no end to the list of blessings that God pours out on those who love Him – and even those who reject Him.

Take some time today to express your joyful thanks to God who has been so good to you.

Holy Father, there is no end to the blessings You have given to me.  Even if I start today, I could never express in a thousand years my gratitude for all you have done for me.  I’m so glad that I will have all eternity to bow before You in joyful thanks and praise.  Amen.

Where Do I Find Joy?

“I have told you this that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  John 15:11

It is a running joke between me and my best friend, that I am not an outwardly, exuberantly joyful person; therefore she has made it her mission in life to help me find joy – as she says “whether you like it or not!”  She gives me coffee mugs, ornaments, towels and anything else she can find with “JOY” written on it.  She often sends me pictures and sayings about joy.  I love her for it, and just by her friendship, she has infused my life with much joy.

She has also taught me a valuable lesson: Joy is wherever you look for it.

Our society has convinced us that joy is only found in the trappings of stuff, or the successes of life, or in comfort and ease.  Joy is sold at the mall.  Joy is tucked away in a corner office.  Joy is having perfect children and an adoring spouse, all while surrounded by the best things money can buy.  I had the opportunity to be part of a team that traveled to Haiti to minister to the Haitians with home repairs, building desks for schools, and painting rooms to a new addition at an orphanage.  The people we met, worked beside, ate with and worshipped with had little to nothing – except joy.  They were joyful, maybe because they didn’t have all the trappings of living in a culture of excess.  They were grateful for their meager possessions, but it wasn’t their stuff that made them joyful – nor did the lack of possessions diminish their joy.  They were joyful because they were alive.  Especially in a place that had seen so much devastation caused by a massive earthquake and powerful hurricane in the recent past, they were joyful for each day they were given.  I never heard shouts of anger, never saw any selfishness – in fact they shared their little with us, and did so – you guessed it – joyfully.

I have met people who “had it all” who were miserable, and I have met people who had nothing and were filled with a grateful, joyful heart. (Which, by the way, will be the focus of tomorrow’s Advent devotional.) Joy is yours when you are intentional about finding it.

Jesus understood this, as we read in Hebrews 12:2: “Jesus…for the joy set before Him endured the cross…”(emphasis added).  Jesus, from before His birth, was a man condemned to die a cruel death, and this verse tells us that he endured His suffering with JOY.  What was the reason for His joy? You and me.  The “joy set before Him” was the knowledge that His suffering and death would give us freedom and life.  As He agonized on that cross, He looked down through history and saw your face and my face and the faces of every person who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.  That was the joy that allowed Him to endure, not only physical pain and death, but the ultimate pain of separation from His Father because of our sins.  Jesus knew that joy is wherever you look for it, and He looked for it in the eyes and hearts of all who would trust in Him and be saved.

Where are you looking for joy this Christmas?  In the brightly wrapped packages under the tree, or stockings hanging on the mantel?  In your successes and leisure?  In pulling off “the perfect Christmas” It’s not there my friend.  Joy is found in Jesus Christ alone, and nothing else will fill your empty heart but Him.

Father, give me eyes to see the joy of knowing and trusting in Jesus Christ; for He is the beginning of every joyful heart.  Amen

The Joy of Emmanuel

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel* – which means, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23 NIV

Who doesn’t love a good reunion?  It gives us great joy to see loved ones who have been away: college students, military servicemen and women, missionaries, your brother who moved across the country, a granddaughter who lives abroad.  The best television commercials show a family member embraced loved one as he returns home. We all love the videos that show service personnel coming home to surprise their joyful families after being deployed far from away.  I remember running through the airport to welcome my own Dad back home after a tour of duty in Vietnam.

The Bible tells us that God finds great joy in reunions too.  In fact, that is the point of the Christmas story.  God wanted to be reunited with His beloved creation-mankind – you and me.  God created us for relationship, not that we might service His needs, and not to use us in some cosmic chess game.  But so that he could lavish His love on us, and we would respond with love back to Him.  The Bible shows us that God has continually drawn near to man.  In the garden, He had close and personal fellowship with Adam and Eve, walking through the Garden with them in the cool of the evening.  But sin broke that intimate fellowship, and a barrier was placed between God and man.  God commanded the Israelites to make a Tabernacle that He might come and dwell among His people, and He did for hundreds of years, until again, the sin of the nation of Israel became so great that God withdrew from the Temple.  The Old Testament records many visitations of God to Abraham, Jacob, Daniel and others who were devoted to Him.  But these were brief occasions, to impart a message or empower His servant for a specific act.  God desired a deeper communion with man.  And God had a plan.

Galatians 4:4 tells us “When the time had fully come, God sent His Son,” His Son whose is called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”  Jesus came as a baby, all of the fullness and deity of God wrapped in flesh and lying in a rough manger because God loves the joy of being with His beloved creation.   Jesus, the God-man, walked among His creation, though they did not recognize Him.  Jesus brought God near to us, a joyous reunion indeed.  “God with us” means you and I are never alone, if we are trusting in Him as our Savior and Lord.  We have the joy of His presence with us continually in the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Immanuel is with us in storms and darkness and trial and suffering.  He is with us in our times of doubt and fear and loneliness and emptiness.  The joy of Immanuel is knowing that there is no place we can go and no circumstance of life we will face that God is not with us.  Jesus made Himself on of us that we might know the joy of His presence now and for eternity.

I pray that the joy of Immanuel is with you this Advent season.

“Oh, Emmanuel*, Emmanuel, Your name is called Emmanuel God with us Revealed in us, Your name is called Emmanuel.”  Amen

* Some translations spell this word differently, the NIV uses Immanuel, the KJV uses Emmanuel – either way God is with us.

JOY to the World!

“And the angel said unto the, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11 KJV

As we enter into this third week of the Advent season, we focus our thoughts and hearts on JOY.  Who doesn’t delight to see the joy on the faces of children this time of year?  We greet one another with a joyful “Merry Christmas!” the word “merry” being a joyous greeting that repeats the message in our key verse – one of “great joy at the birth of Christ”.  (Maybe that’s why there is such a PC battle over the traditional greeting.) We sing the Christmas hymn, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”  Christmas is truly a time for joy.

But is our joy merely in the lights and gifts and festive activities at this time of year?  Do we truly understand the reason for the joy of the Christmas season?

The angels brought the good news of the birth of Jesus with a proclamation of joy, and the fulfillment of a promise from God that the Jews had clung to centuries, the promise of the Messiah.  God had promised to send a King who would rule in righteousness and justice, who would save His people and restore to them all that God had given to them.  And they were right about the coming Messiah – yet they were also wrong.  The Jews lived for hundreds of years under the oppression of enemy nations; the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks, and, at the time of Jesus birth, the Romans.  Their beloved Jerusalem had been taken hostage by this sometimes cruel and evil nations, Rome being the worst.  The Jews expected a Messiah who would break the Roman rule and restore Jerusalem back to its former glory in the days of David and Solomon.

But the true enemy of the Jews was the same enemy you and I have today.  Our own sinfulness. Sin is what kept the Jews in bondage, and it is what keeps man in bondage still today.   The Messiah of God came, not to break the back of an enemy nation, but to break the bonds of sin that keep mankind imprisoned.  Jesus came as an infant, not to give us a reason to party, but to bring freedom from the bonds of sin.  And that is the true JOY of Christmas.  The baby Jesus in the manger is the Savior Jesus on the Cross, and the Risen Jesus who has “proclaimed freedom for the prisoners, release for the oppressed” and the JOY of “the Lord’s favor.”

Don’t let your Christmas JOY stop at the tree.  Look beyond the tinsel and wrappings and see the Messiah in the manger, the Savior on the Cross and the Risen Christ who has come to set you free.  JOY to the world, indeed!

Holy Jesus, Messiah, Savior, and risen King, fill my heart with the true JOY of this Advent season.  Let me ring the freedom bells of Christmas and proclaim – JOY to the world, the LORD has come, let earth receive Her KING!”  Amen.

Peace that Never Ends

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16

On this, our last day in the Advent week of peace, let’s recall for a moment the many ways the Lord of peace has given us His peace.  We have considered how Jesus Christ became the way to peace with God.  We have seen how the peace of God can calm our fearful and anxious hearts, and how it can bring peace to our relationships.  God offers peace in our “dark night of the soul,” bringing His light to the night that surrounds us.  We have also seen that a life focused on peace brings fruit such as unity, rest, life, strength and hope.  These are all available to us today, when we choose Jesus Christ, the true Prince of Peace.

But there is a peace we have not yet considered, a peace that we will not know in this life for it is an eternal peace.  In the beloved Christmas hymn, “Silent Night” we sing, “Sleep in heavenly peace.” This is “heavenly peace.”

We live in a world that is fraught with the threat of war, terrorism, and never knowing when another unhinged person will open fire in a killing spree.  Every day the news is filled with reports of abuse, hatred, oppression, and violence.  National, world and local leaders are corrupt.  Children live and die in fear, hunger, disease and war.  Will it ever come to an end?

Yes, and it will be a spectacular end indeed.  One day, and I think not so very far away, Jesus Christ will return, and bring with Him the fulfillment of God’s promise of peace. He will come, not as the baby in the manger, but as the victorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He will come with power and authority.  He will bring an end to evil and wickedness.  He will bring punishment to those who love evil and hatred and corruption – to all who rejected Him in this life.

But to those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ He will bring peace.  No more war. No more disease. No more violence. No more hatred.  No one will harm another person.  No one will ever again be hungry or fearful or lonely or sad. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).  We will never be separated from God.  We will live forever in perfect peace.

Do you long for this peace? Do you, like me, ache to see an end to evil and hatred and corruption and violence?  Do you know the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, as your Savior and Lord?  This helpless baby in the manger can bring you everlasting peace if you will believe and trust in Him.  Let today be the day that you make your peace secure.

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, I want this peace that will never end. Today I turn from sin and turn to You.  By faith I receive you as my Savior and surrender my life to You as Lord.  I receive Your promise of everlasting peace.  Amen.