Today we will sing the song of putting away the old and putting on my new life of Christ ruling within, sanctification. Read Psalm 1. Yesterday we asked God for His cleansing of our sins. Once a person has been cleansed of that old way of living, the new life comes and it is a life of righteousness or doing life God’s way. This Psalm is the perfect beginning to all Psalms. It reminds us that God requires righteous living before Him. If we choose to live in that past sinful life and past ways of thinking, we simply cannot be happy in the Presence of God. We cannot grow in the counsel of Christ if we are walking in the counsel of wickedness. But when the Lord’s ways, (His law) becomes our meditation, we grow in peace and we bear fruit before God, planted in Him we flourish. Pray today that you will walk in God’s ways. That you will think about His word and plant it in your heart.
Blessed is the person
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the Law of the Lord,
And on His Law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
Today we sing the song of repentance and forgiveness, a song of salvation. Read Psalm 32. Repent to the Lord of any sin in your life that needs to be done away with and completely removed from you! Psalm 32 describes the agony of living with unresolved sin, but it triumphantly declares that when sin is confessed the Lord forgives, He cleanses and restores! Let today be a day of forgiveness and cleansing. Acknowledge your sin to God and ask Him to cleanse it from you. God gives us songs of deliverance. He hears your prayer and He is ready to deliver you! To lift you up and give you a song of gladness. Sing to the Lord today, your song of repentance and receive His salvation. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad!
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.[b]
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the
faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and
teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
DAY ONE- Prayer and Fast Week Blog
Today is our first day of prayer and fast week. As we start off this week let’s remember what we learned during worship yesterday from Psalm 33:3, “Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.” Today we sing a new song. Today’s new song is full of the promises of God, full of faith, new hope begins to immerge, new love will come forth from our lives to serve others… do you want to live today with that type of purpose? With intention? With effective impact for the Kingdom of God? I know I do! And I believe you would say a strong YES to each of those questions as well. We begin by asking for a new song. How do we get that new song in our heart? Psalm 40:3 says’ “He put (or gave) a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our All-Powerful God.” As we come to the Lord in prayer today, ask Him to put that new song in your mouth (your heart). Praise the Lord for who He is, tell Him how thankful you are that He is our Creator, our Savior, Emmanuel (God with us), the Lamb of God (He took our place on the cross) He is our Faithful Lord. Begin by thanking Him and then ask Him to fill you with a new song today.
1967 Martin Luther King said in a Christmas Eve message “we neither have peace within nor peace without”
God promised a peace that passes understanding, a perfect peace, and a peace above what the world can offer. Where is that peace for every man and woman?
It is in the Prince of Peace Himself, ruling and blessing us who find Him then follow Him. He gives us the enjoyment of peace like no other peace ever found on earth. John 14:27, “My peace I give to you…”
The letter E in the word peace stands for Enjoyment of God’s presence and rule brings peace.
God’s peace gives us a joy in what we do every day. His peace makes us create an environment of peace for others. We develop acceptance not rejection, forgiveness not injury or revenge, etc. Peace on earth is when we express God gracious favor to men, reconciliation and trust. Peace soaked in an unconditional love among men and women.
How did it come to us?
Read Luke 2:8-16
Shepherds were outside in the night air watching over their sheep. These men were not known for their great character or piety. Quite the contrary, they were known for being sneaky and dishonest. These sheep, some suggest were used for the upcoming sacrifices for the Passover feast in Jerusalem. But whole flocks of sheep could not wash away the stain of the sins of these unrighteous shepherds. They needed something much more effective than mere sheep. They had no peace between them and the villagers, or the people in the area, they had no peace between them and God. They were aware they had a bad reputation, and probably were cynical they would ever have a chance to be right with God.
The unidentified angel breaks the silence with earth- shattering news.
But before uttering a word, the mere sight of this angel threw the shepherds into an escalated mindset of terror. The black night was filled with a bright light and a divine being with great power and boldness declaring with heaven’s authority… and in response these small powerless men shuddered feeling the death threat all around them. They were all shaking with fear, and their bodies were showing the pressure they felt.
The angel assured them, “Do not be afraid.”
“I bring you great news of great joy for all the people…”
“Today”, it has finally come, the promises of God have finally become history ….
“There has been born for you a Savoir, who is the Christ, the Lord…”
Here is the proof, look for him , “the baby in the manger wrapped in cloths…”
Then suddenly the air is filled with other angels all praising God and shouting
“Glory to God in the highest” this day is a great day and showed the world the great glory of God. This day is one of the most famous days of human history. He is the highest and He shows us why!
“Peace on earth”… this is a greater miracle than creation.
With men with whom He is pleased…. Goodwill to men, God’s grace is in motion accomplishing this peace for all men to enjoy.
Peace in our home begins with peace in our hearts. Peace on earth is Christ on the throne of our lives. Christ within is Peace on earth. Peace on earth is the same peace in heaven.
Peace on earth is when you are reconciled with the Prince of peace who is the Judge of heaven.
Peace on earth begins with you. 2 Cor 5:18a cev “God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace with us all.”
Have you made Jesus your Prince of Peace, and have you submitted your life to Him? Is the war between you and God over? Is your war over?
We face the disturbing and disruptive chaos in life when everything looks out of control. We try our hardest to control people and circumstances, but we cannot achieve control. The good news is God is in control of all things, even in the chaos of life.
The letter C in the word Peace stands for Control of God’s Sovereignty brings peace.
The Prince of Peace has everything under His loving purpose. You are really right where He wants you. There are no accidents in life. Let His wise control be embraced and all will be well.
Read Luke 2:1-7
The royal couple, Joseph and Mary, had arrived in Bethlehem to be responsive to Rome’s decree to give account of their lives and pay the taxes required.
But once they arrived they found the city bustling with activity. Mary was in the final days and hours of her pregnancy. The hour was pressuring them to find a place to have the baby.
God called both Mary and Joseph to this moment and assignment. Mary was to give birth to the Savior of the world. Where were they do this?
The prophet Micah prophesied 700 years before it happened that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth over 100 miles north of Bethlehem. How does God control events, and whatnot, to bring His Son’s birth to Bethlehem? Ready for the answer? He moved Caesar of Rome to issue a decree for a tax to be collected and a register of families to be made! This was done in 4BC. This is history, and its God in control.
Is God really overseeing the lawmakers of our world to accomplish His divine plans?
The timing is perfect to mobilize the couple to travel, while pregnant, over 100 miles so that they are in Bethlehem exactly when the baby would be born. Seriously? What amazing control!
They arrived and it appeared that God forgot to reserve a room for the baby’s birth.
There was no room in the inn nor anywhere else. What were they to do? This is commonly called “panic”. They were frantically looking for a place, but none was present, nor was there anyone who would help them.
I can hear Joseph crying, “God where are we to have this baby? On the street? In the field? Is there anyone who will help us? Are we alone? Is any one else going to step forward and provide a small room for our child, Your son, the King of the Jews?” Baffled, impatient, frustrated, and awkward in every respect is Joseph who was willing and eager to be part of God’s plan.
Add to this moment of chaos Mary’s situation. She is feeling the pressure of birth, birth pangs, and contractions making it very clear they must find somewhere private and safe to have this son. Mary could rightly complain that this plan is crazy and poorly executed.
But once again God stepped in and provided a stable where the animals were kept, which had a manger or feeding trough carved into the rock where the boy could be laid in soft hay. Is this really God’s wise and loving control?
Here we see one of the most amazing choices ever made… God came from heaven where the streets are gold and doors are pearls and the foundations are jewels of every sort and set His Son in the poorest place a person could be born. Why did He do that?
We see the humility and love of God in His own decision to welcome all people to His arrival. Poorest of the poor and ignorant of the ignorant, the lowest of the low, and in every way excluding no class of people, Jesus is born there. This shouts God’s love for the world. Nothing will stop Him from coming to our world and then going to a cross to save the world from sin.
What happened when God was in control? He provided and protected His family.
Bethlehem is one of the most visited sites to this day, reminding us of His great desire and humility in His persistent love.
Jesus came for you!
What we see is not always what’s really happening. Many times we see inaccurately. God opens our eyes to see what He is really doing and what He is actually accomplishing.
The letter A in PEACE stands for the Accomplishments of God bring peace.
Read Matt 1:18-23
Joseph is anything but a man with peace in his heart. He was engaged to Mary and has found out that she was pregnant. I am sure Mary told him the real story we just learned about in Luke 1. But he cannot believe that story for many reasons. But the number one reason had to be it was a story that never could be credible, God put the baby inside of her body without any man involved? Impossible!
He was a righteous man meaning he lived before God and practiced the Law and he loved God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. He honored God and His law. It seemed to him that Mary had broken that law. He knew the penalty for that was very severe, death by stoning. As he was “considering this” or “revolving over and over in his mind” he was trying to figure out how to end the engagement without destroying her.
He was battling the reality of someone he held dear had broken God’s law. He could not ignore that Law, nor change the Law, or change her guilty plea to be something else, or negotiate her penalty, or hide her guilt (being pregnant is a condition we can all see), or somehow explain it all away. He was faced with guilt, Mary’s guilt.
God has sent His son into the world and it looks like Mary is under the Law’s condemnation. Joseph has reasoned every possibility… what can he do? He is afraid of every option and he’s stuck.
As Joseph slept, God sent an unnamed angel to him. The angel said;
“Joseph, son of David
Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.
For the child conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Things are very different than they appear. She looks like a lawbreaker, but she is the mother of our Savior, our Prince of Peace.
She will bear a son she brought the solution for sin.
And you will call His name Jesus
For He will save His people from their sins.”
This was the fulfillment of what the prophet Isaiah promised over 700 hundred years earlier. (Isaiah 7:14)
Jesus was God born of men and among men. He was “Immanuel” meaning “God with us”. He is our peace for the broken laws of all men and women. He would save His people from their sins which also carried with it the eternal death penalty.
His name would be “Jesus” or “Yahweh’s salvation”.
By faith that He could and would save us we receive “peace” (as it says in Rom 5:1 ‘Having been justified by faith we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord’) Jesus is willing to save you, and He is able to save you. Do you believe that?
That is why Jesus was born, to “save” us “from our sins”.
Our sins deserve death, judgment, and eternal doom. But God in love sent His Son to be the Prince of peace. The war can end when we let Jesus be our “Prince” or champion and rescuer. He alone can save us from the death sentence of sin. He alone will save you, if you will ask Him to do it for you.
He is none other than “God with us” Immanuel. He is God coming as a baby humbling Himself for our benefit. There is no other person born in history who can make that claim.
If you want perfect peace, He can give it to you. He later said just before being crucified, “MY peace I give to you, do not be afraid…” John 14:27
He will save you from the judgment of your sins and then He will give you His peace. All is resolved! All is made right. “There is now no condemnation for those who in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1 this is His Princely accomplishment and gift.
What God has accomplished is too good to be true! He has accomplished the very work we need and desire… forgiveness for sins and a new life to find then follow the Prince of Peace.
Will you receive it?
Where can we find peace? Is there really such a place where perfect peace exists? When we feel anxiety and worry coming on, where is there hope for peace?
The E in peace stands for the empowerment of God brings peace
E empowerment or the encouragement of God: when you have God’s call on your life and you feel anxiety or uncertainty that you can pull of what God has called you to do… that is the peace of God that rules your heart and life choices.
God calls us all to live a life of perfect obedience to His Law. None of us can do it. That creates stress and disturbing feelings. Guilt is felt and real for we have broken His law.
Mary was recruited to bring God’s gift of peace to our world. Read Luke 1:26-37
The angel Gabriel visited the young woman Mary in Nazareth. His presence strikes her with terror and concern. The power and majesty of heaven entered the room. Bright light and eerie sensations of divine power filled the scene with dread. Mary is a simple village maid. She is not prepared for this visit. It was unexpected, out of nowhere, and overwhelming.
Gabriel speaks to help her digest this surprise, saying, “Hello favored one, the Lord is with you.” She was in no way ready for these words. She was not praying or worshipping God. She was not doing some type of work that God asked her do, feeding the poor, giving help at the local synagogue, etc. she was just an ordinary maid busy with ordinary duties on an ordinary day. Suddenly this angel is bursting into her world telling her God is with her. Most likely her head was spinning in confusion. She might have asked herself, “Who is this? Who is he talking to and about? Why is he here? Why is he talking to me? I am nobody. How did he find me? What is going on?” Questions and confusion whirl in her mind.
Confusion turns into fear. Time was standing still. “She was very perplexed and kept pondering” what the angel said. She was not receiving this message with any sense of peace. We cannot say she was receiving this greeting calmly. On the contrary she was “perplexed” which means to agitate greatly, or trouble greatly, it is the intense form of being agitated and troubled. She was deeply anxious and emotionally rattled. Inwardly reflecting and discussing with herself in an intense self-aware moment.
Then Gabriel tried to settle her thoughts and calm her fears. ”Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God.” What a relief! The angel assures her she is not in trouble. No! not even remotely but rather she was treasured and esteemed by God. This message greatly calms the human heart.
“Do not be afraid” is the number one command in the Bible. 365 times we are encouraged to not fear. We are encouraged that God is with us. God’s messenger is bringing news of peace not judgment. Remember if God wanted to judge us it would already be over. God sends His message of peace because He loves us.
Gabriel continued, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will call him Jesus.” This was as shocking as the visit of Gabriel.
Mary must have thought, “I am having a baby? I am having a son? I am going to name him Jesus? What are you talking about? I am having a baby?”
Gabriel revealed that this baby was the long awaited Messiah. This baby was to fulfill the many prophecies of the OT over 300.
· He will be great
· He will be called the Son of the Most High
· The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.
· He will rule over the house of Jacob forever.
· His kingdom will have no end!
Mary now is in even greater consternation. “This baby is destined for greatness? He is going to be the lofty King of the Jews, the Messiah, the ruler of the whole world, He will be the exalted God in my belly?
She blurts out, “HOW CAN THIS BE?” here is anxiety and concern of the deepest level. We might say it this way, “Are you out of your mind?” no way is this possible. This sounds preposterous!
Why would she say that? “I am a virgin.” That would be a deal breaker in any other story. She has no possibility of having a baby since she is a virgin, right? To make this happen would take a miracle.
Gabriel brings news that greatly reduces the pressure for Mary.
· “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…
· The power of the Most High will overshadow you
· For that reason the child shall be called the Son of God”
Gabriel corroborated his message with additional proof.
“even now your relative Elizabeth has conceived in her old age and is pregnant for 6 months…”
This added encouragement to Mary’s worries. This was a word to fill her with peace.
Gabriel then concluded, “For nothing will be impossible with God”
Peace, heavenly peace sweeps into her heart. It is the peace of God! God will do in me what I could never do on my own. I am empowered by God, His promises, His Presence, His Spirit, and His Plan all combine to accomplish the impossible.
“Behold your servant, Let it be done to me according to your word.”
Her resolve and commitment is the expression of her peace-filled mind. Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast in mind you will keep with your perfect peace.” Those who fix their mind on God’s power, purpose, promise and presence are filled and sustained with Perfect Peace. Mary was filled with that divine peace.
How can we have the same peace Mary received?
God promised Mary she would have a child, who would be the King of all the earth. Do you believe that promise? Is Jesus that King? He fulfilled over 300 prophecies proving His claim. Will you believe Jesus is the King and surrender your life to Him like Mary did?
Pray what Mary prayed, “Behold I am your servant, let your will be done in my life. Be my King”.
A. I Admit I have not served you as King.
B. I Believe you are the King to whom I come.
C. I commit my life to following you today.