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Peace

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Peace for the Disciples

“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:25-33, NRSV)

Oh for the day Jesus doesn’t talk in parables. But this is it really, this passage seems pretty straightforward. And now that they all believe they will be scattered. And all of them will abandon Jesus. But Jesus is not alone in this. And neither are we. When it seems that the world has left us behind and no one is there, God is still there.

God knows our hurts, our pain. He sees everything we go through. And in that, we can have peace that surpasses all understanding. For even if we think Jesus has left us He hasn’t. He is always with us. And He has conquered the world. So take heart and know you are not alone.

 

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A Promise of Help and Healing

It shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not continually accuse, nor will I always be angry; for then the spirits would grow faint before me, even the souls that I have made. Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry; I struck them, I hid and was angry; but they kept turning back to their own ways. I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss up mire and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked. (Isaiah 57:14-21, NRSV)

There is no peace for the wicked… I did an internet search on the last sentence in the above reading and this quote came up, “My mother always used to say, ‘there is no path to peace. Peace is the path.'”

Wow. isn’t that really what the passage from Isaiah is saying?

If you are contrite and humble you will seek after God and God will open your heart and answer your prayers. God will show you love and give you love for others.

But if you are covetous and wicked and self-focused, God will hide His face from you.

If you are seeking after God, God will heal you and fill you. If you are seeking after your own desires there will be no peace.

Because there is no path to peace. Peace is the path.

Follow after God and walk the path of peace!

 

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The Vision of the New Temple

Then he measured the gate of the outer court that faced north—its depth and width. Its recesses, three on either side, and its pilasters and its vestibule were of the same size as those of the first gate; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its windows, its vestibule, and its palm trees were of the same size as those of the gate that faced toward the east. Seven steps led up to it; and its vestibule was on the inside. Opposite the gate on the north, as on the east, was a gate to the inner court; he measured from gate to gate, one hundred cubits. Then he led me toward the south, and there was a gate on the south; and he measured its pilasters and its vestibule; they had the same dimensions as the others. There were windows all around in it and in its vestibule, like the windows of the others; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. There were seven steps leading up to it; its vestibule was on the inside. It had palm trees on its pilasters, one on either side. There was a gate on the south of the inner court; and he measured from gate to gate toward the south, one hundred cubits. Then he brought me to the inner court by the south gate, and he measured the south gate; it was of the same dimensions as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others; and there were windows all around in it and in its vestibule; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. There were vestibules all around, twenty-five cubits deep and five cubits wide. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and palm trees were on its pilasters, and its stairway had eight steps. Then he brought me to the inner court on the east side, and he measured the gate; it was of the same size as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same dimensions as the others; and there were windows all around in it and in its vestibule; its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its pilasters, on either side; and its stairway had eight steps. Then he brought me to the north gate, and he measured it; it had the same dimensions as the others. Its recesses, its pilasters, and its vestibule were of the same size as the others; and it had windows all around. Its depth was fifty cubits, and its width twenty-five cubits. Its vestibule faced the outer court, and it had palm trees on its pilasters, on either side; and its stairway had eight steps. (Ezekiel 40:20-37, NRSV)

The temple of God is very symmetrical. Things in God’s Kingdom line up and are equal. Unlike our world, where things get messy and are not always equal.

How is God calling you to help make things equal in our world?

How can God work through your life to bring equality to the world you live in?

Are you open to the coming baby in the manger to use your life to show His peace, mercy, and grace to the world in which you live?

 

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Daniel Interprets the Dream

“This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.” (Daniel 2:36-45, NRSV)

God’s kingdom will come to destroy earthly kingdoms and reign forever.

The Coming Lord, whom we await, will be the one to set up God’s Kingdom. He will destroy all earthly kingdoms by bringing His reign of peace.

This will happen.

Are we ready for the coming Kingdom of God?

 

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Jeremiah’s Letter to Exiles

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord. For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (Jeremiah 29:1-14, NRSV)

Live your life as you would in the land I gave you in the land where you find yourself.

Build houses, plant gardens, eat what you produce, take wives, find wives for your sons and give your daughters away in marriage. Do not let yourselves go to waste in this new land while in exile, but multiply and increase your numbers.

Seek after the welfare of the place you are and do not seek to destroy it.

Live there in peace as you would here.

I will bring you back, live as my chosen people and know that I will never forsake you!

 

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The Peace of God’s Reign

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. The forest will disappear completely, and the city will be utterly laid low.Happy will you be who sow beside every stream, who let the ox and the donkey range freely. (Isaiah 32:16-20, NRSV)

There is a story about a king and a peaceful picture, called The Real Meaning of Peace.

The story goes like this:

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. There were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful, towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize?

The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”   — Author Unknown

We will all live in God’s Peaceful kingdom.

 

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