Monday, March 17, 2014

Prince of Peace


Isaiah 9:6-7 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. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.


In a time of great darkness, God promised to send a light who would shine on everyone living in the shadow of death. He is both "Wonderful Counselor" and "Mighty God." This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of his eternal Kingdom. He came to deliver all people from their slavery to sin.
This child, who would become their deliverer, is the Messiah, Jesus. Matthew quotes these verses in describing Christ's ministry (Matthew 4:15-16). The territories of Zebulun and Naphtali represent the northern kingdom as a whole. These were also the territories where Jesus grew up and often ministered; this is why they would see "a great light."


Ira Sankey provided the music for D. L. Moody's evangelistic meetings. One night after singing a solo called "The Shepherd's Song" a stranger asked him, "Did you serve in the Union Army?" When he said he had, the man asked, "Were you on picket duty one bright moonlit night in1860?" When Sankey said yes, the man continued: "Me too. But I was in the Confederate Army, and when I saw you I decided to kill you. Then you started singing that song, so I took my finger off the trigger, thinking, 'I'll let him sing then I'll shoot him." But you stirred up so many childhood memories of my Godly mother that it was impossible for me to follow through. That night when I thought of the God who saved you from certain death, my arm went limp."

Such stories aren't unusual. One Christmas during WW1 as Americans and Germans were in their bunkers, somebody started singing, "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Immediately men who'd been shooting at each another started singing in German and English, "O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas Angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord, Emmanuel." Jesus is "The Prince of Peace," (Isaiah 9:6), and the Bible says, "Of… his government and peace there will be no end." Where Christ rules, there's peace. Whether it's a sniper preparing to pick off a sentry, or a spouse planning to explode in anger, Jesus can change hearts and bring peace - if you let Him!

Worry is something you permit; peace is something you pursue. Jesus said, "Do not permit yourselves to be fearful." That means you can take control of what goes on in your mind. How? By doing two things:

(1) By filling it with God's Word. Not just the Word you read casually, but the Word you process mentally, apply to each circumstance, and stand on in times of crisis.
(2) By placing each situation into God's hands, and leaving it there with confidence. Here's a prayer to help you do just that:


"Lord, everything's in a panic! Everybody wants a piece of me. There's far too much to do and never enough hours to do it. My head is clogged with all kinds of junk and my heart is ready to break. Lord, where are You? I feel like the disciples when the storm came up and the winds and waves rocked their boat. My cry is the same as theirs, 'Somebody go get Jesus - I'm about to drown out here!' The storms of my life have all but sunk my boat - I can't take much more. Prince of Peace I need You. Father, who never slumbers nor sleeps, take charge. I need the comfort and courage that comes from Your Spirit. Speak Lord, for the wind still remembers the sound of Your voice. Let me find in You a quiet place, a place where I can pillow my head on Your chest, hear Your heartbeat, and feel secure. In Jesus' name, Amen."