Week 2 Reading Plan: Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 32, Psalm 34: 14, Ephesians 3:18-19
PEACE. Its one of the gifts of the Christian walk as we worship and pursue the Prince of PEACE. But what is a biblical understanding of peace available to us this Advent and Christmas season; and always as a follower of Christ? We are so honoured to invite you to take a seat around the table, take a deep breath and usher in the presence of Jesus as we explore a greater understanding to walking in the PEACE of God.
Peace is a grace gift of the Father. Something that Jesus came to usher in as he came to earth to bridge the great divide. It is one of the hallmarks of his identity and character as prophecised in Isaiah 9:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Peace = Shalom = wholeness brought about by restoration & intimacy with God's spirit
As Brian Simmons (translator of The Passion bible) writes: The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. The word itself means more than just peace, it means wholeness, , wellness, well-being, safety, happiness, favour, completeness, contentment, traquility and rest. The pictorial symbols for shalom stand for 'destroying the authority that binds us to chaos'.
And isnt that what our Saviour does? He has destroyed the curse of sin and death, and restored order to a broken & hurting world, and to us individually - and personally. It is only the presence of Jesus that awakens a right-spirit within us. And only when we know just & right authority, can things be rightly ordered in our hearts and lives.
Brian Simmons shares further: The noun 'shalom' means to restore in the sense of replacing and providing what is needed to make someone else whole or complete. Sister, perhaps you need to hear those words right now - In Jesus, you have the key to your healing, your wholeness, your everything. You are enough exactly as you are in His presence. He is the one who makes you enough. Exactly as you are.
2. Peace = clean hands and a pure heart
Biblical peace is also the peace that takes place within our internal and soul realm (conscious) as truth is rightly aligned in our lives, and our inner person is washed clean in the truth of the personhood of Jesus and His righteousness that allows for the only true forgiveness of sins. As David writes in Psalms 32 and 51 - only Jesus can erase all our guilt through His saving grace, and create a new, right heart within us.
Sister - as we close out another year, where do you need to forgive and let the light in?
Maybe this is an act of forgiveness of someone else, or an act of forgiving yourself, in order to be ushered into the wide open spaces and freedom of His love. Forgiveness is what sets the captives free, and often these captives are ourselves, held captive by things outside of Gods will and perfect design for our lives. Sister, as you take your steps on journey of forgiveness and other acts of courage know that you don't walk alone. Your Saviour Jesus - He who on the cross declared across his tormentors and broken humanity, Forgive them Father they know not what they have done - is walking the road right there beside you. Can you feel the warmth and love of His presence, and there is no condemnation in His eyes.
3. Peace = eternal love, the gift of God's presence
As we follow in Jesus confessing to be His disciples we walk the road of love. A love that Paul so passionately fought and claimed for:
May have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
While we worship a God who is O Ancient of days, we also worship a God who is active, living, present, relevant and current to this post modern 21st century world. Whatever you are facing, we find every solution at the foot of the cross. And it is only love that truly changes people. A love that cannot be measured. A love that cannot be earned. A love that bankrupted heaven to reach you.
Sister, as we seek and pursue 'peace' this advent season lets pursue real peace in our spiritual walk - peace of intimacy with Jesus, peace of doing the work of forgiveness and peace of love marking the pursuit towards our eternal destination and home.
Father God, as we look to you this season drench our hearts in your peace. Your word promises that as we draw near to you, you draw near to us and I ask for the woman reading this a greater outpouring of the Shalom-peace of your presence. In Jesus most beautiful name