Advent Day 24: The Gift of Strength

December 20

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

The flood referenced in verse ten is most likely the great flood that Noah and his family survived. The Lord had complete control over that earth-changing, humanity-altering event. The Lord who sat enthroned over that flood is also the Lord who sits enthroned over our lives.

He’s the same Lord who came to earth as an infant.

Consider that for a moment.

The Lord, powerful enough to create the universe and everything in it, then flood the entire planet, came to earth in the form of a baby so that we can be reborn. The King enthroned forever laid, swaddled in plain linen, in the young arms of Mary. The same awe-inspiring power that orchestrated and controlled a cataclysmic flood, was contained in the body of a newborn.

In the midst of our own floods, we can experience peace as a result of the strength given to us by the Lord.

For Today: Ask the Lord in prayer today to flood your heart with the peace only he can provide.

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Advent Day 23: The Gift of Peacemakers

December 19

Blessed are the peacemakers.
Matthew 5:9a (NIV)

Being a peacemaker is not an easy assignment. It’s a complete absence of pride. It means we have to apologize, smooth things over, and make amends — even if the other person or people involved in a conflict are unapologetic.

Jesus was the perfect example of a peacemaker. He calmed Martha when she was angry at her sister Mary. He defused a volatile scene when a woman accused of adultery was going to be stoned. Countless times Jesus acted as peacemaker when he or his apostles angered the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Being a peacemaker isn’t always about being the first to apologize when we’re part of a conflict. Sometimes a peacemaker isn’t part of a conflict at all; they’re just able to speak peace into a complicated situation.

Like all characteristics of a life lived for Christ, peace comes as a result of Christ’s birth and existence. Experiencing the gift of peace, and sharing that gift with others by being a peacemaker, is a direct reflection of the salvation Jesus came to bring.

For Today: Is there someone you should make peace with? If so, think of ways you can do that and commit to being a peacemaker.

Advent Day 22: The Gift of Peace

December 18

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.
John 14:27 (NIV)

The holiday season can evoke anxiety, and even fear. The world tells us we need to exceed expectations – throw the best dinner parties, have the most elegantly decorated homes, give the best gifts – and it causes stress. Rarely if ever during Christmastime does society encourage us to stop and be still.

Stillness and rest draw us closer to Jesus, and from him we receive the gift of peace. It isn’t peace brought on by fleeting things, rather it’s a peace that comes from knowing we’re preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It’s a peace in knowing that nothing compares to the Utmost Gift given so many centuries ago. No gathering of people, in a home filled with gifts and wrapped in twinkling lights can compare to the heavenly hosts that stood beneath the brightest of stars to raise their voices and proclaim the Savior’s birth.

We’ve been given the gift of peace; it doesn’t go on sale and can’t be wrapped. It was delivered to us by the Father in the form of his Son.

For Today: Think of someone you know who might need encouragement today. Write them a note, send them an email, or give them a call. Above all, pray today and ask God to bless them with some time to stop and rest.