Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Peace I Give You

I have said these things to you so that in me you might have peace. In the world there is affliction, but have courage.  I have conquered the world.  -- John 16:33 (Lexham)
It's extremely simple to get worked up about the afflictions and dangers in the world.  News networks gain all of their viewers from the voyeuristic tendency of humans to be magnetically drawn to tragedies and afflictions of others.  Terrorist attacks, shooters in public venues, car wrecks, plane crashes.... The news media gives us round-the-clock coverage 24 hours a day from around the world.  Afflictions abound.  The source of peace though is not to be found in ending affliction, if such a thing were possible.  It is not in waiting for some End-time rapture by and by,   Peace is achieved and accessible now in and through Jesus Christ.

Christ has conquered the world.  Standing alongside Christ we step outside attachment to this life with its afflictions and worries.  A new dimension exists where there is no impact to us personally from the afflictions we experience.  Our eternity is secure.  The present world's afflictions might come over us and even take our life but our sure footing is in the conquered realm that exists beyond this one. So have courage.  Turn away from despairing over the news, pray, and work for bringing ever present reminders of the Peace Source to all you can.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How easily do you pull yourself away from news of tragic circumstances?
  2. What kind of reminders can you provide to others when they are stressed by news events?
  3. Where do you find peace?

God of Peace, we ask your peace to settle upon us in times of affliction.  Inspire us to be peace to others around us, and remind all of Christ's ever-present love.  Through Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Letting Go of Lostness

"And I will lead the blind into the way which they know not; and in the paths which they were ignorant of I will make them walk..." -- Isaiah 42:16
Floundering or "feeling one's way along" is a fairly common human experience.  The Jewish people had landed in Babylon and suddenly were no longer sure of who they were.  It is a difficult thing to hold onto one's identity when everything familiar is stripped away.  For a time nobody knew where to turn.  They looked for guidance, but there was nobody to be found who they could respect or trust.  The Prophet Isaiah comes on the scene and tells them that God does know you are here.  God knows how you got yourselves into this pickle.  You've walked very arrogantly without God, and now you are in a tough spot.  But God is keeping up the Promise and is sending one who will bring light, and straighten out this mess.

Many of the verses in the 42nd chapter of Isaiah strike Christians as foretelling of the Advent of Jesus the Messiah.  Without the Messiah, being struck blind on the crooked path of life is almost a certainty.  Jesus comes to us and shows us a new, straighter way.  The shackles of sinful failure are cut loose.  The gift and grace of forgiveness lifts the scales from our dismal view of ourselves.  Hope comes into bloom again.  God has not forsaken us at all.

No matter how bruised and beaten up in life you are, no matter how lost or struggling you might feel, God hears and sends the help meant for you in particular.  It's hard to believe it at times, yes, but certainly God's enduring presence is the promise given from scripture.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How well are you able to keep a positive self-esteem?
  2. What obstacles or assistance do you find in keeping true to yourself and your faith?
  3. How has Jesus' coming into the world changed who you are?

Dear Lord, no matter what our circumstances are, be with us.  Lift the low places in our road, smooth out the rough places, and carry us safely into sacred space with You daily.  In Christ's name.  Amen.

This is the reading from Day 3 of Advent Meditations: Isaiah the Prophet by Mark Fredericksen, M.Div., N.D.  It is available at  Click on the book cover in the right column to order paperback or Kindle.