My mom, who was visiting this weekend, commented that Brian has a very clear voice to listen to–but he also had a very clear message last Sunday! The theme of course, for Advent 2, was Peace.
As Brian pointed out, it’s ironic that Christmas seems to go against peace–with all the parties, shopping, decorating, so-many-things-to-do (part of our sacrifice, to link in my own theme :P), and so many things to worry about! But worry needs: not a vacuum, but a Person; because peace is not an absence, of conflict or worry, but a presence: the Prince of Peace.
Isa. 9:6-7 talks about the government under that Prince, about its increase. “Increase” meaning, it starts small–in our hearts, for example, where we call him “Lord”. Because don’t forget that “government” and “prince” means that someone rules, which infers [my thoughts]: obedience. So I put to you that we often lack peace because we don’t obey. Remember, if you don’t bow the knee to Jesus now, you will at a future day–so bow now, or bow later! (Phil. 2:9-10) Jesus wins our obedience because of his own obedience, when he payed the price of peace: death on a cross.
The Practise of Peace involves three things.
- Establish peace with God, by simply accepting his gift of forgiveness.
- Experience peace by getting into it, and letting it get into you, through prayer. [In other words, develop that relationship with God through conversation=prayer.] Pray about everything. For example, every time you think about something that worries you, pray about it. And don’t forget the worship and praise aspect of prayer.
- Express peace by bringing it into your relationships with others. Respond to others with unconditional love [“God-love”].
Note that #3 is not possible without #1 AND #2.
“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.” (Romans 5:6)