Today is Monday, December 9, 2019. Peace be with you!
The second week of Advent
16 days until Christmas!!
Today is International Anti-Corruption Day. “Corruption could be one of the biggest tragedies of mankind for the simple reason that it is ongoing and extremely difficult to combat, forcing the poor into ever more hopeless conditions while the select few in power get ever richer and more powerful.”
We had a good time at the show, yesterday afternoon. However, if you’ve seen Miss Saigon, you know what I mean when I say it is a gut-wrenching tale of tragedy. As far as I could tell, being totally unfamiliar with the show, the performances were quite good, especially the actor who played the sleazy “Engineer.” He was very good at being sleazy. Our next show is not until January, when Hello, Dolly pulls into town.
But, alas, ’tis Monday, and back to work we must go. We feel like we over-did just a bit this weekend. We had fun, but we were exhausted yesterday evening. In fact, I think C was asleep by 8:00 PM!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Today I am grateful:
1. That C and I were able to do the things we did over the weekend.
2. That the Lord has put it in my heart to praise him.
3. That the Lord turns my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22.29)
4. For the peace that Jesus brings to us.
5. For Jesus as Mediator between God and man.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry.
And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
“Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
What is “peace?”
We tend to think of it in terms of the absence of war, or at least the absence of a “major war.”
But the Jewish word “Shalom,” which is typically the Biblical word for “peace,” means more than just “peace.” It can also mean “wholeness,” or “completeness.”
In Genesis 3, that wholeness or completeness, that peace, was broken between God and man, and between people.
When there is hostility between two parties, we often bring in a mediator, whose job is to “restore peace between the two, to bring flourishing back into their lives.” I’m sure you already see where this is going. In order for us to have peace with God (remember, we are talking about wholeness and completeness), we need a Mediator. In Isaiah 9.6, that Mediator was prophesied.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus used the word peace several times. In one of those, who used it negatively. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10.34) In this instant, I believe the word was truly speaking of peace as the absence of conflict.
However, there are at least three other times, in John, that Jesus promises peace to his disciples. Twice in John 14.27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Then again in John 16.33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus, of course, is the Mediator of whom we speak. He is “the one who would stand between God and mankind in order to restore peace, to reconcile our relationship with God.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5.17-21
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(The quotes and Scripture readings were taken from 121 Community Church’s Advent Bible reading plan)
Father, thank you for peace. Thank you for the wholeness and completeness and restoration that Jesus Christ brings as Mediator between you and us. Thank you that you did not leave us in our sin, but provided a way for us to escape. Help me to walk in that way today. And help me to be a channel of your peace today.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Grace and peace, friends.