Hope & Peace for 2013

As come into 2013 I have been thinking about what my focus needs to be in the beginning months of this new year.  As I have reflected upon this I believe that there are two words that are to be my focal point, as well as the focal point for my church, Journey Church.  These two words are Hope and Peace.

 To be brutally honest, I haven’t had a lot of hope for the last couple of years.  My life has been in a very hard wilderness that has had me questioning a lot of things.  Now, I have grown tremendously in the last couple of years because of the things that I have experienced.  But to get to where I am now has required a lot of travelling and a lot of questioning.  There have been times when I have lost my peace and I have not had much hope.  If it were not for some really good friends that have encouraged me along the way I am not sure I would be where I am at today. 

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Now I know that pastors are not supposed to talk like this.  We are supposed to have all the answers and be an encouragement to others.  However, pastors are just as human as everyone else and we do get discouraged and downtrodden at times.  I used to feel bad about this, like I was somehow inferior to those “super-spiritual” people that never have a bad day.  But I don’t feel bad about it because I realize that life is messy, I am a human being that is still learning about God’s wonderful grace and yes I do have some bad days. So, these two words are my focal point, but since I lead a church they will be hearing about these words as well.  Onward we go…..

 Hope

  1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
  2. a person or thing in which expectations are centered.
  3. to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

 Hope

We all need it.  Without it, life is meaningless and empty.

The Israelites hoped for the coming of the Messiah, the birth of their Savior.

They hoped for a release from Roman tyranny.

They hoped for redemption from their sins – A Savior, the Messiah.

For centuries they awaited the promise of God for a coming King, the promised son born to a virgin whose government and rule would have no end.

Their hope, for centuries unfulfilled and yet they believed, they waited, they prayed in faith trusting in the goodness and mercy of God.

 Isaiah prophesied the coming of this Son:

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.  (Isa. 9:6-7)

Hope

All of the Israelites knew of the promises, the prophecies. They waited and anticipated the coming day.

What would it look like?  How would they know?  Would freedom come miraculously as it did in Egypt with Moses going against Pharaoh?

Would Israel become a leading nation again?  Would God establish the kingdom of Israel again with the promised King?

They hoped.

Their hope, our hope,  was fulfilled in a baby lying in a manager who grew into a man who died for the sins of the world!

 We, like the Israelites, have waited for many things hoping Father God would intervene.  Sometimes our faith has sustained us and we kept our hope.  Others times, we have lost hope.  But for this new year, I shall choose to focus on Jesus, Immanuel (God with us), because of Him I can, and do, have hope.

 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 15:13)

 When a person has hope, then they can live in peace.  No hope, no peace!  I must admit that there have been times in 2012 that I lost my peace.  I allowed circumstances and people to cause me to give up the peace of the Lord that we are to walk in.  My focus for 2013 will be to live in His peace because He does take good care of us.

 Peace

  1. a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations
  2. a state of tranquility or serenity
  3. to become reconciled with

 Peace

Life without it is miserable. Life with it is, well, peaceful.

The Israelites wanted peace – peace with God, peace with man.

They, like us, simply wanted to live in peace.  No wars, no fighting, just people getting along with one another.

On the night Jesus was born an angel made a proclamation of peace.

 Peace on earth, goodwill to men. (Luke 2:14)

 The Messiah would be called The Prince of Peace.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)

The Prince would bring peace to those who would receive it.

The Prince would declare blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

Peace

Because God wanted peace with men, He sent His ambassador of Peace.

Peace would come. Peace would be attainable. 

Peace promised, peace delivered, peace restored.

Peace

Life is full of trouble and has many sorrows, yet we can have peace through the promised Deliverer.

The peace child takes our place, our sorrows, and our troubles and brings forth God’s unmerited favor and grace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7).

My prayer for 2013 is that God will fill us with His hope and His peace!

Do you need hope and peace?  Has there ever been a time in your relationship with Jesus that you lost your hope and peace?

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