This Advent as we focus on celebrating the arrival of the Messiah, let’s walk through this series of devotional thoughts together!
Each week there will be 5 devotional thoughts that will focus on a different facet of the topic of the week- Hope, Joy, Love and Peace. There will be scriptures, personal sharing, journaling questions, posting challenges and more. And there’s a playlist for each week.
Do the 5 devos however you like - weekday mornings or evenings, a couple here or there, or even in one lump sum on the weekend or your day off.
However you do them, our hope is that you will:
- experience Hope, Joy, Love and Peace in new ways
- feel connected with others in our Worship Center family
- be prompted in practical ways to live out your faith in real life
Enjoy the journey!
THE GOOD NEWS OF CHRISTMAS IS PEACE
PEACE - DAY 1
Peace that passes understanding
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philipians 4:7).
Peace when things are calm is not really unusual. But that is not the kind of peace Jesus brings. His peace goes way beyond our circumstances. He said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Did you catch that? His peace is different from what the world sees as peace. The world gives peace only when all circumstances are resolved. God’s peace supersedes that, but it also comes with a catch – did you see that too? We have to participate in peace. We have to “not let our hearts be troubled”. But how can we do that? There's just so much stuff screaming for our attention…
For me, I hear the call of:
- The overwhelm of world issues
- Worry for the well being of loved ones
- Concern that I am not doing enough
- The frenzy of life
And then I still my soul and listen.
He IS there – offering that beautiful peace. Peace can cover it all, like snow covers the earth.
I find, when I can still my demands, He is there.
“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content” (Psalm 131:2).
An unweaned child is demanding. It wants what it wants, when it wants it. A weaned child is calmed and quieted.
Close your eyes and still your soul. Listen to our Worship Center song Path to Peace and let Him minister to your heart.
What do you want to offer Him as you still your soul?
When you feel overwhelmed, just close your eyes. His peace is there.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Open the gift!
PEACE - DAY 2
Prince of Peace
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Take a moment and think about it. What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Prince of Peace?
Let’s take a closer look at this familiar Christmas prophecy.
Which of the descriptors means something special to you right now? Who do you want Jesus to be to you in this season? (Circle the name you want to claim).
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
What makes that your choice?
The Old Testament has a lot of requirements regarding peace offerings.
“If you present a peace offering to the Lord from the herd or the flock, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, you must offer a perfect animal. It may have no defect of any kind” (Leviticus 22:21).
The peace offering was a sacrificial offering made in order to assure right standing with God.
Jesus was not only the Prince of Peace, but He was, and is, the perfect peace offering. He offers peace with God through the sacrifice He made with His own life.
Amazing! Isn’t He wonderful?
Ask Him to show Himself to you today.Rest in who He is!
Rest in who He is!
Prayer: Write out your own prayer of gratitude for His peace.
Connect: Post the name you chose and what makes that valuable for you in this season.
Here’s my post: Today, I’m grateful for Jesus as my Wonderful Counselor. He gets it all! He gets me and he gets whatever I am facing. He knows what I need and I ask for and embrace his wise counsel! I’m so grateful for who he is – especially in this season!
PEACE - DAY 3
Peace with others
There’s an awful lot of unrest in our world today. Even if you aren’t a big newsy, you know that there are many issues dividing the world, our country, and even the church at large.
That’s why it is such a big deal when we can be at peace with each other.
Ephesians 4:3-4 says, Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
As believers, we may have differences of opinion about a variety of things, but we have so much more in common.
We may focus on and prioritize different things, but we can respect each other rather than try to convince each other.
Jesus prayed this for us:
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21).
What if? What if the love we had for each other was more important than our personal preferences? What if we made peace a priority so the world would believe Jesus was sent from God?
Who do you know that needs to believe in Jesus and see his peace? Write their names here:
In the famous beatitudes Jesus calls us to peace.
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Or in other versions it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers...”
What does it take to be a peacemaker?
What it doesn’t mean is absolute agreement. That is not likely on this earth, but peace, true peace in our hearts, is possible.
“Peace be with you” is the number one thing Jesus said to those he appeared to after His resurrection (Luke 24:36, John 20:19, 21 and 26).
For me, embracing that peace has become more valuable than shoring up my opinion about things. It’s a discipline to decide what I will give my attention to and what discussions I will fuel, but I choose peace. I choose relationships. I choose you, Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, we welcome Your peace. If we are honest we haven’t been really good at living this way as a whole. Can You forgive us and help us to be a beacon of light to those who need you? We don’t want to push them away by not being any different than they are. Show us what it means to be one with each other and live in peace.
What is He asking us to do? What is He showing you personally?
Jesus, I choose to live in peace by:
Help me recognize the enemies of peace for what they are and to dismiss them when they lie to me about their importance. Bring peace and truth to the forefront of my mind, heart, and life!
Want more? Read Psalm 23 in a few different versions. Ask God to lead you to the still waters.
PEACE - DAY 4
The Grace and Peace combo
“Grace and Peace” was the go-to greeting/prayer Paul had for the churches he wrote to in the epistles (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:13, 2 Corinthian 1:2, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4).
Peter and John also echoed this prayer (1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, 2 John 1:3). Even Jude gets in on the action (Jude 1:2).
Seems like this was a regular prayer/greeting for the early Church and an important combo – grace and peace. Of course grace is at the root of our salvation itself, but what about grace in everyday life?
I’ve seen grace defined as the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call or as the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call.
The implication is that we need divine empowerment to live our lives in the way that God wants and we need it to be coupled with peace.
To me, that means He knows. He knows I can’t live in peace without His Spirit empowering me. He knows I’m likely to need grace alongside peace to walk out my journey.
- I need Him to help me be laser focused on kindness, not getting across my opinions.
- I need Him to help me put others above myself.
- I need Him to release my anxieties and embrace His offer of peace.
James 3:18 says, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
“And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
Prayer: Oh God, we long for quietness and confidence. Thank you for your grace that couples with your peace. Empower us. We celebrate the Good News of Christmas - your peace!
Where is God giving you grace and peace this season? How is he meeting you with quietness and confidence?
How can you share this grace and peace with others?
PEACE - DAY 5
The Peace of God
Acts 10:36 says, “This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
In this season of remembering The Good News of Christmas – Jesus’ birth, let’s take a moment and remember the “why”. This verse says it all:
Without Jesus, we could not easily have peace with God. We would need sacrifices in order to be right with God – to pay for our sins. Scripture clearly states, “the wages of sin is death.” There needs to be a payment for sin and Jesus chose to become the ultimate sacrifice. He chose to give up his life willingly for us to have access to the Father and the Holy Spirit to indwell us.
In fact, if we really think about it, without Jesus most of us wouldn’t know anything about the Jewish God, as we would be considered Gentiles.
Ephesians 2:14 tells us, “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.”
Jesus not only made a way for us to be at peace with God, but also with each other.
“Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Prayer: Father, as we move closer and closer to Christmas day help us to get a little glimpse of what our lives would be like without Jesus and to see how blessed we truly are because of His birth!
Take a moment and think of what your life would have been like without Jesus - maybe without his coming to earth and maybe before you knew him.
What do you have now in your life because of Jesus?
This season we looked at The Good News of Christmas - Hope, Joy, Love and Peace!
Which one meant the most to you personally?
What are a couple takeaway thoughts you want to keep in your heart in this season?
Thank you for journeying together this Advent season as we welcomed the arrival of the Promise in our real lives!
Have a truly Merry Christmas!
Please gather with us this season for our Christmas Eve services! You can join in person or online. For service details click here.
We also invite you to our Dec 26 Online Only Service the Sunday after Christmas at 9 and 11 am. We’ll see you there!