When I returned from Kenya, I came home with a prayer for peace for that country. Tribal warring had rocked the country. I had never been closer to such rivalry than when it erupted on the street while I attended chapel on the 8th floor of African Nazarene University’s Nairobi campus. While I was grateful to learn the guns were shooting blanks, it still revealed the human fall in all its ugliness and missed design. Man fighting man for his own way. It is the wayward struggle responsible for so many painful, stories of war and conflict and brokenness. Someone or some group fights for self-interest under the camouflage of betterment for the greater good. I think I am coming to recognize that at the heart of our peace-less lives, political as well as personal, is a push for rights and control God never intended we have.
A time for peace is not a time of passivism or neutrality or any other philosophy or mindset that simply rejects war at all costs. A time for peace, especially as we enter Advent, is a time to embrace God’s will over man’s will in every heart and senate and courtroom and council. God created us for peace. A strong peace. A redemptive peace. A transforming peace. Such peace settles in a heart turned toward God in all His power and truth.
Consider this as we begin this special season. God has been trying to send His peace message to us through the ages. We have a horrible track record of silencing the prophets he raised to communicate his message. So he tried to come in through the back door of our wayward world. He sent himself as the only Peace Ambassador we would ever need. He came as a baby, warm and wiggly. And shepherds and Magi, the simple and the studied ones, came to see for themselves. They worshiped him, not their preferences or rights or power or control. They left united in a deeper way than any political agreement can produce. They left with new knowledge about the meaning of peace and the way to live it.
We are missing this message if we look for peace anywhere else but in God. He draws us to Him. He helps us remove the self-destructive push to have our own way, be our own person, prove our independence, or whatever self-pushing fight we have been a part of. There in the mangered simplicity of God coming in his harmless innocence to woo us back to His original purpose, we must leave our self-centered ways and arguments and divisive push. We must be so filled with the God who came seeking us that any self-push is peace-disturbing. We must so fully give ourselves to His ways that we abhor what perverts His plan in us. We have no peace to share if we don’t.
Will you join me this December to pray the prayers that bring peace to our hearts, our families, our churches, our world? To help us accomplish that goal, I am offering four weeks of daily devotionals based on the prayers of Zechariah, Mary, Simeon, and John. Download this week’s offering by clicking the link in your e-mail that sent you this blog.
I will pray for your peace. Will you pray for mine? There’s never any better time to start than now.
Don't forget to download Week One.Use the links on the e-mail that sent you this blog or sign up to join my mailing list here.