Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post-Christmas Peace

   In the days leading up to Christmas we read scripture and sing about "peace on earth, goodwill to men", but does all of that seem to fade away when we take down the tree?  The peace of Christmas doesn't have to be packed away with the family decorations until next year. Jesus Christ, the "Prince of Peace" whose birth was prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 didn't come to just give us a fleeting feeling of peace that is based on our own emotions or circumstances.  He came to give a lasting peace to all who place their trust in Him.  He said, 

"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, NLT)

You might say, "That sounds great, Jesus, but how are you going to give me that kind of peace?"  Well, first you have to trust Him.  You have to believe He is who He says He is--the Son of God, the one who came to forgive your sins and make peace between God and man.  Next, you have to try Him out when you don't feel peaceful or have peace in your life.  When you're worried, afraid, stressed, or anxious, take the prescription for peace given by the apostle Paul:

"Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  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."  (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Come on, you've tried to worry and come up with a plan on your own to fix things, why not try praying about it?  You've probably heard the saying, "Let go and let God."  What do you have to lose?  Try it!  Ask Him to give you His peace in exchange for your problems.  The last step to receiving God's peace is to take Him at His word.  You can't say you've "turned everything over to the Lord", but then take it all back into your own hands if He doesn't show you an answer in the next 5 minutes!  Waiting is an integral part of the faith journey.  One of the best love bible passages is:

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."  (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)  

If you truly want to experience peace in the days following Christmas and throughout the coming year, trust Jesus, try the Prince of Peace, and take Him at His word to begin to work all things together for your good and His glory.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deep and Wide - Part I

How deep is God's love? The Old Testament makes it clear that God's throne is one founded on righteousness and justice and He can have no fellowship with sin. Yet God reached all the way down to sinful people by sending Christ to reconcile us to Himself.

"God put on Him (Christ) the wrong, who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God." (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we approach the time that marks Jesus' final days on earth, contemplate the cross and it's significance. Think of the vertical beam as standing for the depth of God's love reaching down to you through Christ. Offer God your humble praise today.

Prayer Focus:

People who feel separated from God

Sunday school teachers and bible study leaders

Homeless shelter

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Power of Encouragement

"Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands." (Exodus 17:12, NLT)

Not long after the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt by a series of miracles, they found themselves traveling for many days in the desert as they journeyed to the Promised Land. Throughout this journey, the people had tested Moses' leadership by complaining about the food and the water supply. Don't you think Moses got discouraged at times, leading such an ungrateful group? Now, in Exodus 17:8-16, Moses finds himself leading them against the army of an enemy--the Amalekites. During the course of the battle, it turns out that as long as Moses held up his hands with the rod of God in them, the Israelites would win the fight. However, when Moses put his hands holding the rod down, the enemy would win. As the battle continued, Moses' arms became tired.

Enter our encouragers, Aaron and Hur, who got a large rock for Moses to sit on, and then got on either side of him and held up his hands. Scripture recounts that they continued to keep his hands steady until the sun went down and Israel was victorious. Moses was no doubt an amazing leader called by God to do a big job at a critical time. But, where would Moses have been without a faithful group of encouragers like Aaron and Hur who were able to identify his need for help and quickly respond through action that was both appropriate and uplifting?

Spend some time in prayer today asking God to reveal the answers to two questions:

1) Who has "held up my hands" when I was ready to give up?

2) Whose hands can I hold up today through my prayers, my words, and my actions?


Spaghetti dinner funds raised for UM Children's Home in Macon

New programs for children & families

Prison Ministry


Ministry Team Leaders

Disciple Now 2/16-19