December 19, 2021
Prince of Peace
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Welcome: Today is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it!
We do not come to be somber, melancholy, or indifferent as we worship our Lord. We come to make a joyful sound and to lift up our praises to our King who is worthy of all praise. Who is worthy of our hearts adoring Him! And when we do this, we in turn are lifted in our spirits.
Did you come to worship the Lord today?
Psalm 100 proclaims:
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Let’s pray and let the Spirit move in our hearts today, drawing us close to the Father’s heart.
One of the Scriptures most often quoted around Christmas is from the prophet Isaiah as he foretells of the coming Messiah and paints a vivid picture of the greatness of who He and who He will be known as. One of the names revealed by God for Jesus, our Messiah, is stated in this prophecy, that Jesus will be known as Prince of Peace.
It’s quite fascinating that God chose to send His Son to enter our world in the flesh, not as the Mighty victorious King that He is, but as an infant child, in a completely helpless and vulnerable state. He did not come dressed in battle armor but entered the world naked and exposed. He did not come riding on a horse trained for battle with a whole army following close behind-he entered the world in a lowly manger out behind an inn, among the sheep, cattle, and donkey. Such a strange and marvelous way our God chose to make known His plans for His kingdom of righteousness, truth, peace, and love-through a baby. But what better way to show purity, love, and peace?
What this also shows us is God was not afraid of anything that would happen in this world. What could be more vulnerable than entering the world as a helpless baby dependent on those who needed the saving- to care for him and protect him? He was not afraid this baby would be killed but knew in all the events and trials this baby would face, He would live to fulfill His destiny. He would be the King of all kings and Lord of lords, Mighty God and this world would know Him as Prince of Peace, for even in His entry to the world, there was peace.
If God was at peace in His most vulnerable state, can’t we also remain in peace when we feel vulnerable and exposed, or uncertain of where our life is going? As we draw closer to Christmas and the celebration of Jesus’ birth let us ponder on a deeper level, why God chose to send Jesus as a newborn baby? What does He want us to see about who He is, about His kingdom, and about who we are with Christ in us?
Can we be vulnerable, exposed, helpless in some ways and still be at peace? Can we be in the midst of great trials and be filled with peace? Can we have a certainty that we have victory over every hardship even in the midst of our darkest days? Can we live in hope and joy amid unrest around us? Yes! Yes! Yes! And Yes! Because of this promise foretold hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ arrival through the prophet Isaiah. We are told of our coming Savior and exactly who He is. We can have peace at all times because Jesus is our peace.
If you are listening today and heavy burdened, weary, feeling anxious then take heart friend! Because there is good news that will cause great joy for all people! Let’s read.
Isaiah 9: 2-7 NASB
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.
3 You will multiply the nation, You will increase their joy; They will rejoice in Your presence As with the joy of harvest, As people rejoice when they divide the spoils. 4 For You will break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. 5 For every boot of the marching warrior in the roar of battle, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. 6 For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this..”
Powerful truths are revealed here. Imagine what this meant to the Israelites who heard this prophecy. They had not known Jesus but believed and trusted in this promise of His coming. Imagine the encouragement and strength it gave them to keep going because they heard, “God sees you and He’s at work to raise you up, to make you a great nation, and to free you from the oppression. He’s bringing about a kingdom that no one can overpower. He is sending His Son to usher in a kingdom of peace.”
Now you and I have the benefit of knowing of Jesus. We know God fulfilled this prophecy and a child did come, His Son was born, and Jesus did fulfill the purpose for which He came. Everything He did from the way He was born, to how He lived, to how He died, and how He appeared after He rose from the grave-was all done in peace.
Jesus is our Prince of Peace.
The question is, are you living in His peace He came to bring you?
Do you draw from His peace in all your situations, remembering who He is, remembering all authority belongs to Him? That He is sovereign in every way. That your greatest problems are absolutely no problem to our Mighty God? Remembering, that whatever we see now, there is already a certain victory in Christ-even if we can’t see or imagine how that can be-victory is already accomplished and is ours because we belong to Christ. We have been redeemed by Christ.
Do you believe and know these things? Do you live in this truth?
Because THIS is why Jesus came; this is why we celebrate His birth at Christmas-not just for the amazing miracle it was, but for the peace and assurance we have because of His birth!
I want to share a few truths to help us remember and tune to His peace more quickly in our days.
- Anticipate Blessing
If we want to remain in His peace, then we anticipate and expect His blessings to be upon us each day. As we tune to Him, follow His ways and let Him guide our hearts, then we can be assured divine blessings will flow. That doesn’t mean we’ll be on easy street and never have any trials; it means God will provide our every need, equip us for every good work He calls us to, shower us in His love and shelter us in His peace with all that comes against us.
John 7:38-39 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Rivers of living water-we are constantly being refreshed, every thirst will be quenched and we will thrive. Jesus spoke this from a prophecy spoken by Isaiah.
Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
This prophecy was talking about the coming Messiah and the Holy Spirit who would dwell in all believers. We are like a well-watered garden, a spring whose waters never fail.
That sure sounds like blessings to me! That sounds like all that I need and will need, as I remain faithful to God, will be supplied and I will be prosperous in my days. I believe this. I expect this every day. I expect God to bless me and the work I do, because He delights in blessing those He loves. It brings Him joy!
As I expect blessing and look for blessing in my days, His peace rises up in me because I know, whatever happens He is with me and He is for me. I don’t have to stress about whether things will work out, I expect if God has called me to do something, it will work out exactly as He has planned. And I release it having to be done my way because I know His way is always better. Less stress-greater peace.
I anticipate blessings in my days because I am beloved child of God and this is who He is. I seek to notice these blessings as they happen and I thank God for them. Bringing a grateful heart before God increases my peace, because I am trusting Him and His care for me. Thankfulness opens my heart to communicate with God and here is the real beauty- my thankfulness proclaimed to God, blocks any worry and complaining I might want to focus on.
Let me share a very simple and yet relevant example all parents will understand. When I pray for safety over my children-all are driving, Reese drives late at night, Riley is newer yet competent and even when Jonny served in the army- I don’t pray in fear and worry. I immediately release that to God and pray with thanksgiving that God IS keeping them safe and watching over them. I just thank Him-this delights God because I’m trusting Him and it has peace rise within me because I’m not stewing over it-I’m thanking God He is already managing it. This is the power of thanksgiving in our prayers.
When I make worshipping Christ first in my heart- over my circumstances, over my worry and fear and just acknowledge the greatness of who He is and thank Him, I am brought into His peace.
- Accept Difficulty
But life can be really hard at times. How can we have peace in those times? Well it might sound counter-productive, but God’s ways are not our ways we must remember. We cease striving, and we accept the difficulty we find ourselves in, praising God for where we are weak, He is strong.
It’s in our accepting and turning to His strength, we find peace. We never find peace in our striving in difficulty. It won’t happen. We find a lot of things-but never peace. This requires a humble surrender and setting aside our pride and our false sense of control. Our need to figure it all out, to do it ourselves and realize God might bring us to a place of difficulty to teach us this lesson right here- “quit striving and look to Me.” To show us our need for a Savior. If this is you, then heed this truth today and start to accept difficulties as they come as opportunities for God’s power to work through you. He deserves the glory! And you will begin to find peace.
For it’s in our surrender to accept the season of difficulty we find these promises and begin to learn just who God is. It’s in these difficulties we are pressed, molded, and refined into His glorious image more and more.
2 Corinthians 4: 7-9 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We must remember in our times of difficulty we are not alone.
Exodus 33:14 14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
When we can see this as a way for God to show up in our situations and be glorified, we can like the apostle Paul, delight in our difficulties and in doing so, we free ourselves from the pressure of trying to be perfect, trying to be independent, trying to be all things to all people, and peace arises within because we know whatever we don’t have, God does. This is so freeing when we can get to this level of understanding.
Any other way we operate is not of God, but of man-made expectations that come from relying on self-reason.
You are not a failure to admit you have weaknesses and you struggle. You are human designed by God to be filled by Him. In God’s eyes, you are wise to bring your difficulties and weaknesses to Him so His strength might flow through you. He tells us to “be still and KNOW I am God.”
This is what this means:
Philippians 4: 6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2. Receive Peace
This may sound obvious, but in order to be in Christ’s peace, we have to receive His peace. This means we have to receive Him in full, for He is our peace. We have to choose peace over chaos; peace over fear; peace over anxiousness; peace over unrest.
We have to choose Christ over self.
When I journaled Jesus said,
“When your minds are busy and over powering your heart, you miss the gift of My peace. My peace is manifested in your heart, not your mind. You must practice to slow your thoughts down, submit your thoughts and planning to Me, and then you will sense My peace beginning to bubble up and move through your being. You won’t experience this if you are fixed on worry and stewing on stressors in your life. You won’t experience this if you don’t make time to be still. When I walked the earth I woke up early to have quiet time with My Father so peace of God would fill every part of Me and guide Me throughout My day. You are created to do the same.
When you are on overwhelm you must practice reflecting on where you have involved Me and communed with Me. When you gaze upon Me, My peace rises within you. When you praise My name and speak My name, Peace rises. When you thank Me, trusting I am there at work for you good and acknowledge the blessings in your day, Peace rises. Abundant life is not about you having all the answers, keeping your life perfectly together or finding the fast track to success; it is simply learning to know Me and letting Me fill you with joy and peace always. THIS is abundant life! Will you choose to live out of your heart where My love, joy and peace are found, or will you keep living solely in your own reasoning where stress, fear and worry abound? I have given you a precious gift that is not of this world, receive it and live in My Peace.”
The enemy comes only to steal, kill and destroy. His target to destroy is our peace. Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full-we hold on to this as we remain in Him, who is our Peace.
His gift is eternal peace.
John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Colossians 3:15 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Let Peace fill you.
This truth spoken by King David is how we remain in His peace and stand firm in our faith no matter what we face.
Psalm 16:8 8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Conclusion: In our surrender, in our trust, and in our gratitude is where we discover Peace eternal, that is Christ Himself living in us, Let us come with open hearts before our Prince of Peace and let Him fill us each day for that is His gift to us.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father we thank You for the gift of eternal peace through Your Son Jesus. We thank You for imparting peace to us that is not of this world, that is unshakable and that will manifest every time we focus our gaze back to You. You did not create us to live in unrest, but to live in peace. Help us Lord to anticipate blessings in our day as we trust in You and release our cares to You to guide and handle. Help us believe You are for us and delight in doing good in our lives as we are faithful to You. Help us Father to accept difficulty we have and instead of seeing ourselves as a failure or disappointment, to understand this is how You designed us to be, so we would depend on You. For where we are weak, You Father are strong. It brings glory to Your name when we draw from Your strength and we in turn receive Your peace. Let us not resist Your precious gift, but help us receive it in full, this Christmas and always. Help us to receive Your love in full. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Final blessing: 2 Thessalonians 3:16 16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.