- 2019Dec 03
Peace on earth.
Doesn't that sound nice? Can you imagine a world that is . . . peaceful?
At the core of our beings, this is what we all deeply long for. Wouldn't it be great of everyone everywhere could just find a way to live in peace with one another?
Yet, at least in this world, it is so unattainable. Just check your news feed to see evidence of that.
So how can the angels speak of 'peace on earth, good will to men' in a world that only seems to be getting more and more out of control?
In the midst of the American Civii War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lamented this lack of peace in his poem, Christmas Bells. In this poem, which has since been set to music and become a beloved song, Longfellow states that in spite of this beautiful promise of Scripture, there does not truly seem to be any peace on earth:
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
It doesn't take much to see that in this crazy world of ours, hate continues to be strong. Hate has found it's way into everything we do.Hate has even found a way into fighting each other over chicken restaurants.
Hate has found a way into our cars. We can't even drive to the grocery store without exchanging some amount of road rage hatred with someone we probably don't even know. Hate has found it's way into our homes, our jobs, our relationships. Hate is indeed strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth.
Yet, isn't that what Satan has always done? Hasn't he always worked to make a mockery of all that is good, all that is Godly, all that will bring peace?
Longfellow ends his poem on a different note:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
This is what we believe.
That we live as strangers on this earth.
That as believers, we are citizens of a Kingdom where there is nothing but peace, doing our best to live out that citizenship in a fallen chaotic world.
That the struggles of this life are not are that there is.
That through Christ, Creation will be restored.
That Peace and Good Will can once and for all triumph over evil, and that there will indeed be Peace on Earth.
- 2019Nov 18
For the last several years it has felt to me that Thanksgiving has become a bit of an afterthought to Christmas. And trust me, I love Christmas. My favorite movie is "It's a Wonderful Life", and I have been listening to Christmas music since....well...I never really stopped.
Here we are in Mid-November and Christmas movies are already on TV, Christmas music is already hitting the airwaves, Christmas lights adorn our neighborhoods and Christmas displays are up and buzzing in every store we visit. As a Christmas kinda guy, I love all that.
For as long as I can remember, Christmas and Thanksgiving have been bundled together, and that is a good thing! Any kid in school can explain why Thanksgiving means that the teachers lighten up just a bit, and Christmas break is all that much closer. But what I don't enjoy is when Thanksgiving simply gets lost in the Christmas hustle and bustle, becoming a mere gateway to "the Holiday Season".
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings we have been given in this turbulent world we call home, to give praise to God for all He has carried us through. It is a day to remember those who are less fortunate than we, and to consider ways to be light and a helping hand to those in need.
From the Pilgrims who first joined in peace, cooperation and celebration with Squanto and the Native Americans, to George Washington who appointed a day of thanks to "the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation",
to John Adams who asked that we give thanks and pray to God "that He would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion",
to Abraham Lincoln, who solidified the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens... and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to to heal the wounds of the nation..."
Thanksgiving is and should be a special and unique time to give thanks for what we are blessed with, confess our sins to a loving God who is faithful to forgive our sins, ask Him to heal the wounds of our nation, and ask His peace and favor to be upon us as we seek to do His will in the coming year.
Thanksgiving is a special time, and much much more than just pre-Christmas.
- 2019Nov 05
It's easy to say that this whole "Jesus is King" thing is not real, that this is somehow a publicity stunt, that Kanye isn't REALLY a believer. But there have been no reports of anything other than the Gospel being preached and lives being eternally changed.
I think of the Temple Pharisees, who hated the first followers of Christ because they weren't one of THEM, and weren't doing things THEIR way. Those religious leaders said that God's salvation could only come on THEIR terms and on THEIR timetable through THEIR traditions. No revival was going to happen unless THEY were leading it and THEY got the credit.
They they they...we we we...
Turns out they were wrong, and there is a lesson to be learned.
Many have been praying for revival in this nation. But when revival happens, it generally doesn't come from the places we might expect. Don't be caught complaining about people turning from darkness to light because it didn't happen the way you thought it should.
When God moves in the hearts of people, I will choose to be thankful for it and celebrate the salvation that can even save a wretch like me.