Prince of Peace

          

     Searching His Word, Seeking His Heart

We found last week that Matthew gives the lineage of Jesus from Abraham to the father of Joseph, “the husband of Mary.” (See Son of David

This week, we look at the lineage by Luke, given in reverse order, and all the way back to Adam. Likely Luke, a Gentile, would find identity in that Adam is the father of us all. But there is a discrepancy in this list. David back to Abraham, is the same in both accounts, but from Jesus to David, nothing is the same.

So what do we do with that? Luke states that Jesus was…

…the son, so it was thought, of Joseph. Luke 3:23

Many scholars believe that Luke gave the lineage from Mary’s side. It still goes back to David but through David’s son, Nathan, rather than Solomon. Either way, Jesus was the Son of David as was prophesied in the Old Testament.

In addition, he was born in the town of David—Bethlehem. It is interesting to think that those hills around Bethlehem, where David watched his sheep and spent time praying, were the very same hills where future shepherds would see an angel with the brilliant glory of the Lord shining around them. Remember, the angel said,

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths [swaddled up tight] and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Could it be any more thrilling to these lowly shepherds?

Oh, but there’s more! Suddenly the angel is joined by a whole host of heavenly angels. Imagine a sky full. That, my friends, is the great welcoming of the Savior. How glorious! They joyfully sing their text together.

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Two ideas—praise to God and peace for people, people who have found their way to God.

Fast forward to 2019. We’re still reading these glorious words. We’re still celebrating and rejoicing over His blessed coming. The world jumps on the band wagon with us but tries to dilute its impact with frivolous, mushy, secular influences, yet we cling to the heart of these powerful words.

We must praise God our Father and God His Son with all our hearts for therein we find our peace.

Peace, even with the extras at Christmas. For me personally, that means finding peace in the midst of selling a house, packing up, and moving to our new house. Yes, in the middle of December! With seven grandchildren and their parents coming. You have your set of distractions as well, but may we intentionally make time to be still, hear the angel voices, and give praise for the God-man’s birth.

… he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

~ Joyce ~

Staying Refreshed

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Staying refreshed. Yes, that’s my goal these days. I have felt such oppression of late to the point that I believe Satan is working overtime on me. Perhaps you’ve heard it in hints along the way in my writing.

I have felt overwhelmed with various deadlines and things that must be done, then mother’s hospitalization and move dropped in the middle of it all. I fretted over being so worried all the time. Worried about being worried. Is that like worried squared? Heavy laden, I guess the Scripture would say.

This morning when I woke up, I looked at the clock. Five minutes until the alarm goes off. I laid my head back on the pillow and whispered, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I hadn’t done that in a while. It felt good.

       

Other verses of praise came rolling out of my mind and I had a wonderful worship time before the alarm interrupted me.

Maybe this holy moment came because we were talking about the fourth commandment in Bible Study this week—Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. How He loves to have holy moments with us.

I found this passage from Philippians to spur me on.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let you gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5

When I meet a new person and they seem to fumble with my name, I say, “Joyce, as in rejoice, rejoice!” I love that verse. But where did that next sentence come from? I didn’t remember that. “Let you gentleness be evident.” Oh dear, I hope that’s true. Do I show gentleness? To all? Big order.

If you back up a few verses for the context, Paul is getting after two ladies in the fellowship who are not so much “in fellowship.” Paul is saying that our rejoicing needs to show in our gentle attitudes. “The Lord is near.” Hmm, does that mean God is looking over your shoulder? No, likely Paul meant the Lord is near to help you.

Then here it comes!

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Nothing new here, friends. He says it over and over in His word—pray. In those anxious times, pray. Along with your petition, give thanks. The results?

       

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Is that beautiful or what? Peace. The kind that transcends all understanding. Flow-all-over-you kind of peace. Peace that protects and guards your heart, your emotions. Peace that guards and protects your mind and thinking. That’s flow-through-the-inside-of-you kind of peace. After all, He’s the Prince of Peace.

How do you get there? Prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. May that be our goal for staying refreshed in Him.

~ Joyce ~

Wonderful Counselor

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

We think of a counselor as a good thing. Indeed, a competent counselor, especially one with a Christ-filled heart, is a transforming helper.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light… a light has dawned. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:2, 6 

But anything of value is often copied by Satan who puts his mark on it. 

I was reminded of this when I looked up “counselor” in Strong’s concordance. It predictably means “to give advice, to council, to purpose, plan, plot, conspire against.” What? Plot? Conspire against? That’s when I realized how Satan can take a good thing and twist it. Counsel positively, counsel negatively.

I have shared with you in recent months the trials I’ve had with my mother’s health and the grueling long days going to the hospital then rehab. My energy was zapped; my emotions on edge, my mind amuck. Then the mild stroke hit.

Since then, I have made medication changes and included a few rest times in my day. But frustrations with mother’s discontent at her new place has continued to plague me. 

I worried, held on to anxiety, woke in the night unable to get back to sleep, still trying to figure how to take control of things. The Lord revealed over and over, “Trust me.” We all know how hard it is to let go of things. Little by little, I have tried to release my clutched hands and take His hand.

“For I, the Lord, your God, will hold your right hand, saying unto you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13

He holds our hand, but we must first place our hand in his outstretched hand. 

Then He is able to be our counselor, revealing things we either didn’t know or have let slip by us. Unlike the deceiver, the plotter, the one who conspires against us, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He also brings a sense of peace into our lives as he holds our hand.

After all, He’s also the Prince of Peace!

May it be so for you in this celebration season.

~ Joyce ~