Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
This Sunday our boys and girls are sharing a Christmas presentation with us in church. It is a wonderful opportunity to invite family and friends. We are also celebrating Advent and this second Sunday, the importance of the coming of Christ is peace.
The angels proclaimed, “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14) to the shepherds when the Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Today, however, we wonder if that is possible as we listen to the news or face a situation in our lives. God was speaking about a more wonderful peace. Not just end of strife or disturbances. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27) His peace is both an inner peace and a peace in our relationships with others. He tells us what to do to find that peace.
Peace within ourselves
Peace within ourselves begins with a relationship to God and continues as we trust Him and walk by faith. We can draw from His strength as we walk in obedience to Him. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) Now personalize this verse by putting your own name in it: “You keep me in perfect peace as my mind is stayed on you, because I trust in you.” Inner peace comes from our trust in God.
Inner peace can elude us when our focus is on the things of this world and its values. Choose to rather trust in the Lord. Put your hand in His and draw from Christ, the Prince of Peace. He will guide you in His wisdom and give you grace to face the challenges that life brings. To have peace within yourself is a choice.
Peace with others
Peace with others begins as we follow Christ’s instructions to be peacemakers in our world. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Is there somewhere in your world that you can be a peacemaker to this Christmas? Is there someone that you need to reach out to in order to heal a broken relationship? Is there an apology to be made or a barrier which needs to be broken? Don’t miss the blessing God promises in your life as you respond to the call to be a peacemaker in your own world, family, and church.
Join me in praying the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Grace and peace be with you,
Bruce, Interim Pastor/Elder