Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peace in Your Heart

Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." 

Say the word "Peace". Go ahead, right where you are, as loud as you want to or as softly as you need to...slowly say the word  "Peace". Now just let it soak in; mediate on it for a moment. It has a calming affect doesn't it?

Often we think of or pray for peace, but our unspoken hope is that it will fall like dew on the world around us and change it. But really, that's not the purpose of the peace spoken of in Luke 2. Rather, God's peace is more like a salve that is to seep down into us, reaching our hearts to change us. See we want peace in the world, but the bible does not give us that expectation. In fact it teaches the opposite. In Jeremiah 6:14, it says that people will cry out "...Peace! Peace!, when there is no peace." In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, Paul writes "...they are saying 'Peace and Safety! Then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."  The truth is that the conditions of this sinful world filled with sinful people are not conducive to peace.

The peace we can expect is not peace without, but rather peace within. Through Christ Jesus, we can have peace in our hearts; peace in the midst of...peace in spite of...peace in the face of...this world we live in. The path of Jesus was from Heaven to the manger, to the Cross, to the grave, then back to Heaven, and then, if you are a your heart. Therefore, you have God's peace right within you.

Through Christ, you will not only know what he meant, but you can feel what he meant when Isaiah wrote the words..."For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is give; and the government shall be on his shoulders; and His name shall be Wonderful, Counselor, The Might God, The Everlasting Father...The Prince of Peace!"

Merry Christmas to you, and I pray you have that Peace in your heart!

-Rev. Eric

Monday, December 5, 2011

Raise up Your Flag - A Reprise

Isaiah 59:19 "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."

In April 2009, I published a post titled Raise Up Your Flag! I encourage you to take a few moments to read that. It was and still is helpful for me, particularly in times when it feels like the enemy is coming in like a flood, as described in Isaiah 59. 

Recently I have been feeling that way, and the Lord brought me back to that scripture passage. Through it He reminds me that because I am a child of God, the outcome is...
I WIN. I win because Jesus ALREADY WON! No matter how the battle looks right matter how, through my eyes, it looks like the enemy is gaining ground....the outcome has already been decided. 

In order to keep reeking havoc in our lives, the enemy relies on us forgetting that fact. Even though we are not defeated, he wants us to feel defeated. Even though our lives and everything good in it is not over, he wants us to believe that it is. 

The scripture here in Isaiah 59:19 says When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. A standard as referred to here is a flag that bares the mark or emblem of the kingdom which it represents. As I am sure you have seen in movies, during a battle, it is important to proclaim victory by taking the flag of that nation and posting it high on a hill for all to see. That lets the defeated nation know that what used to belong to them, belongs to them no more. It also lets any others who have desires to possess that land know who it is they will have to fight to get it. 

When you surrendered to Christ, and I hope you have, you became His conquered territory and forever part of His kingdom. That cross-shaped flag that now stands at the top of the highest hill of your soul lets everyone and everything that used to lay claim to you know that it doesn't any more. It lets every enemy know, whether a demon from hell or your flesh in which you still live, that to get you its going to have to fight for you. And Jesus is no push-over. Our God boldly proclaims "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." Isa. 54:17

So if you feel like it has been a struggle for you lately to raise your flag as I have, don't worry. Christ has already raised it for you. 

Try Jesus!