trinity-window

Isaiah 9
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.
And hope comes where it is complete…
It is God’s zeal that will bring lasting peace. It is his ways that will take hold. People will treat each other like they do already in any good home. With fairness, with graciousness, quick to forgive, slow to anger, and filled with laughter and gladness. If we can already live this way now when we are our best true selves, why do we think that this will not be a way of life for all people forever?

God won’t let his dreams fail. His destiny for us is that we will live with him as he lives in his fullness in the Trinity. We even get glimpses of this the words of Isaiah from even before the time of Jesus. Isaiah calls him a Mighty God, but listen to what else he calls Jesus and then consider the words of Jesus himself from the Gospel of John.

Wonderful Counselor…
John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
We are not alone in the world relying on our own strength and wisdom. We have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus who remains with us and teaches us everything. Way more powerful than Wikipedia or the whole internet itself, there is nothing The Holy Spirit cannot show us that will give us confidence in Jesus.

Eternal Father…

John 10:30

I and the Father are one.

You either trust that Jesus is God himself or you don’t. There isn’t anything that God the Father has that Jesus doesn’t have. And Jesus ruling from the heavens now is doing so as a human being. He is the first true human in God’s new creation and everything he has is available to us. We even get to experience the power of Jesus in glimpses now. Hope for the hopeless, strength, even in our weakness. God is for us and not against us.

Prince of Peace…

John 14:27

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.

Remember peace is not just the absence of violence or war. The world can give us laws and treaties and resolutions. Again, like our best true selves living in community, we don’t need any of this if we have his peace. His peace means everything is in harmony. Our life with God and others is in synch. We don’t have to be anxious, we don’t have to be fearful, the Prince of Peace has perfect love and perfect love casts out fear.

This is not only our hope, this is our destiny. No troubled hearts. No fear. The peace of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is true reality and it is available to anyone who wants it. Real peace is available to you.

ME

How does knowing God as community help in your understanding of what it means to live in community?

aircraft-77971_1280Isaiah 9
For all the sandals of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

And hope comes where it is most evident…
Here we see another kind of fire. A fire where the sandals of warriors and their blood soaked clothes are burned for good.
We talk a lot about a world without violence and war. When you don’t seek revenge and you work for the good of others, no matter who they are- That is a formula for working towards a world without violence and war.
In other words following Jesus. We move in a world of less violence when we raise children with this hope. From day one when children realize they are loved by us and we are glad to be with them, when children are encouraged that their lives will go well, this is possible as we follow Jesus.
Jesus never used hate as a motivator. Jesus never saw himself as a victim, though no one had more reason to see himself as treated unfairly than he. This is why following Jesus makes so much sense and why true hope can be a way of life. If you raise your children to hate or raise them to see themselves as victims their lives will not go well. The evidence of this is all around us if we have eyes to truly see.

ME
Where are you most peaceful?

 

harmonyPsalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

If you want to see shalom in action, think of this most loved passage in the whole Bible.

“The Lord is my shepherd…”

Or, God is my shepherd, I have everything I need. He gives me rest, surrounded by his blessing.”

Who would not be filled with gladness knowing God takes care of everything?

This is why we find joy and shalom in the Bible together as much as joy and shalom are connected in the brain. They work together, but they are not the same.

When we translate the word for shalom into English, we use the word “peace.” It is a good word, but the trouble today is peace has lost this “everything is going to be fine” meaning and has come to mean, “absence of violence.” But, shalom is so much more than that. As we know all too well, you can be in a truce without sharing joy with others.

The word “Harmony” works better for us today.  “Harmony” is what our brains prefer. A sense that everything is going to be alright. With harmony in our lives, this is shalom. Our relationships are right. Who we are makes sense. Our reactions to the world please us and please God. A modern technology term also gives us a deeper sense of what it means to experience shalom. Synchronization.

When we have harmony we are in synch with God. We are in synch with the world around us. When we have harmony we can experience the presence of God.

Without harmony, our world is chaotic and moving too fast. We find it hard to be in synch with God, and we so don’t experience God. Not that he is not there or he doesn’t want us to know he is there, it’s just that we can’t experience this when we are overwhelmed by our problems.

ME

When have you had problems synching something with your computer or smartphone? What were you feeling? Think about that experience in terms of life in general.

Wednesday March 9- Not by Force

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Mark 14:42-45

Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.

Everyone knows when you are going through awful times in life, you don’t want to be alone. But, what if awful times keep getting worse?

Everything changes. The mood shifts. We see the makings of a tragedy. Not just for Jesus. For Peter.

Jesus prays for rescue three times. Jesus puts himself in God’s hands.

OK, Abba, thy will be done.

Three times Peter, Jesus’ right-hand man, will deny that he even knows him.

Jesus hears, No, to his prayers. Shouldn’t surprise us if we sometimes hear that, too. But, Jesus goes on. He appears back in charge again.

Let’s go guys. It’s time for some betraying.

The high priest and the chief priests get someone else to do their dirty work. They aren’t in the garden with Judas, but, they send the brute squad. A mob. Swords and clubs.

Nice going, guys. It’s always great when you mix violence with faith. Works out really well doesn’t it? Whenever faith leaders get guys with swords and clubs, or guns and backpack bombs, for that matter, to do their dirty work, they have already lost. Not much of a God if that’s what it takes to get someone to trust in him.  Sorry, we humans are not built that way.

Human beings are no longer human when they have no freedom. To trust in God is about the head and the heart. To be forced to say you trust through threat of violence is not trust at all. It is avoiding punishment.

Every one of us needs to figure this out. Avoiding punishment is not faith. The thing we do best to avoid punishment is tell lies. The opposite of trust.

OK Judas, time for the kiss.

Me

The next time you get perturbed about something, ask yourself, “Where is my feeling about this situation really about me?”