Gospel Meditations for Christmas is hot off the press, as part of the 31-day devotional series from the Christ-centered writers at Church Works Media. Here’s the endorsement that I wrote for this new advent resource:
“Rich, warm, beautiful! This book overflows with Scripture-saturated thoughts that will rivet your attention to the good news of Jesus Christ—the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Let these brief meditations move your heart to worship and adore the Savior.”
To give you a taste, here’s the reading for Day 1, He Is Our Peace.
Peace is a word that can describe relatively insignificant experiences such as a nice morning commute or a quiet moment in the living room after the little ones have been tucked in bed. Peace can also describe experiences that change your life, such as what occurs when a husband and wife are reconciled after unfaithfulness. Or peace can describe events that change world history such as the Paris Peace Treaties that brought a formal end to the Second World War. When Micah prophesied that the Lord would send a King Who would bring peace to His people, what kind of peace was he talking about? The New Testament reveals that Jesus was this long awaited Savior Who brings rich, multi-faceted peace to all who follow Him.
First, the Bethlehem-born King makes possible our peace with God. – Humanity’s fundamental problem is that God’s just judgment is against us because of our disobedience. Our Creator gave us laws to live by. He said, “You must never love anything more than you love Me, never disrespect your parents, never lie, never flippantly speak My name, never desire things I haven’t given you.” Yet all of us disobey Him in these ways. So, God is at war with us because rebellion characterizes our lives. But God graciously sent His Bethlehem-born King to be our peace. Jesus came to make a way for us to be reconciled to God. He lived in perfect obedience to God the Father, then died as the God-appointed Substitute for all who would turn from their rebellion and trust in His sacrifice. Paul wrote that disobedient sinners who trust Jesus are declared “not guilty” in God’s sight, and all who are “justified by faith . . . have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Experiencing this peace with God is the fountainhead of every other kind peace we can experience.
Second, the Bethlehem-born King gives us peace with others. – To make peace among people in a dog-eat-dog, look-out-for-number-one culture requires a Leader Who can transform individual hearts from being driven by self-centered ambition to being controlled by unselfish love. Jesus can bring such relational peace (Ephesians 2:14), and every blood-bought local church should be a little (albeit imperfect) demonstration of Jesus’ ability to do so (Colossians 3:15).
Third, the Bethlehem-born King gives us peace through trials. – While Christians live in a cursed, tumultuous world, knowing Jesus gives us “peace that surpasses all human comprehension” (Philippians 4:7). Jesus “guards our hearts and minds” with many “soldiers” of peace. One soldier is Jesus’ sovereignty: We know that Jesus is in control and coming soon to set things right, so we can “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). Another soldier is Jesus’ assuring presence: Through every tribulation Jesus is with us by His indwelling Spirit to assure us that we are God’s children (Romans 8:15–23); He is with us in experiential empathy (Hebrews 4:14–16); He is with us in mystical union (Acts 9:4–5). Further, the soldier of Jesus’ likeness guards our peace of mind: We know that every ounce of hardship we endure is ordained by God to make us more like Christ in our character.
Finally, the Bethlehem-born King will soon bring complete peace on earth. – Micah prophesied: “He shall be great to the ends of the earth” (5:4). Jesus’ government will eventually rule over every individual and every square inch of real estate on planet Earth. On that day He will end selfishness, discord, and war. And on that day we will proclaim that the Bethlehem-born King is our Peace in every sense of the word—spiritually, relationally, circumstantially, and internationally.
Let the gospel of peace “guard your heart and mind” with peace today.
To order this new booklet, visit the Church Works Media site.