First keep peace with yourself, then you can also bring peace to others. –Thomas a Kempis
Scripture & Devotion: Scripture focus: 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.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day.
Their old, familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men.
We all know where some of these words came from. When Jesus was born angels sang to the shepherds of peace on earth and good will towards men. But the man who wrote the words to this song lived in a different time. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote these words during the American Civil War. This was not a time of peace. There are other verses to this song we don't often hear.
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said.
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of peace on earth, good will towards men."
We live in a similar time. Peace on earth is hard to find. Once again Americans are fighting against Americans. The promise of peace still seems to be mocked by the daily news. But the angels did not lie.
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." The peace that the world gives often comes when one side crushes the other but Jesus promises a different kind of peace. The peace that Jesus promised was to be from the Holy Spirit. Paul said the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We have been studying the book of Revelation. We know that in the end God wins and there will be peace, but there are a lot of battles between the first coming of Jesus and the second coming. Fortunately, the peace that Jesus promised does not have to wait until the end of time. When we are anxious, we are told, "In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." God offers a peace beyond understanding, beyond anything the world has to offer.
So with Thanksgiving fresh in our minds may we look ahead to Christmas and the birth of the one that gave us the most precious peace of all. The peace of God which is peace with God and it is the best peace there is.
Lord, we thank you for Your transcendent peace - peace that transcends all understanding, and peace that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you. In this season, keep our minds fixed completely and totally on You.