During Advent we will be focusing on the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that Jesus brings when He “arrives” in our life. Each week we will have a devotion from someone in our church body to help encourage you along the way. This week’s devotion is written by Ericka Fulghum. You can find the devotions on the blog on our website, in the newsletter, and on our Facebook page.
“Peace I leave with you; 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
If you’re like me, your list of praises to the Lord this year is endless. There isn’t adequate thanks we could express for who God is, and the wonders He’s pieced together on our behalf. Thank you, Father. Can we also acknowledge, for a moment, that this year took some effort on all our part to make it through? That it wasn’t entirely void of spiritual, mental, and physical work? What things did the ‘world give’ you this year? What obstacles and struggles presented themselves at your door?
Our family experienced health issues, loss, fear of loss, uncertainty, disrupted rhythm, busier schedules than anticipated, and unexpected bills – to name a few. We can all easily look to the world and see brokenness. We can easily look at our own circumstances and experience it first hand. To top it off, we are intricate human beings made of body, mind and spirit; the facets of which we process it all. It’s no wonder that our peace is challenged on a daily basis. No wonder I successfully iron the kinks in one area of life, only to have another disrupted. The world is literally incapable of providing and sustaining the stability we’re looking for.
What God is teaching me this season is the art of practicing sinking into His presence within this place. “In the midst of.” To take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5)…To fix our eyes on heavenly things not earthly things (Col 3:2 & 2 Cor 4:18)…To remember our identity positioned next to Christ (Eph 2:6)…To know we never have to be away from His presence again (Deut 31:6 & Rom 8:31-39)…and that He strengthens our inner being from His glorious riches (Eph. 3:16). Indeed, we worship a God who does not give as the world gives. He is the most powerful, the most protective, the most knowledgeable, the most influential, and the most loving. As sons and daughters of the Most High God, we have the ability to experience this life from the security of our Heavenly Father’s arms. And we don’t have to wait for the storm to calm to do so (Matt 8:24). Praise the Lord that peace isn’t in a rainbow, it’s not a destination where my task-oriented self can arrive. His presence is undeservedly, wholly, available for us to accept in the right here and right now no matter what our circumstances may be. Thank you, Jesus.
My prayer for us as we prepare for Christmas is that we would worship the true Source of Peace: Jesus, Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6) and that He would empower us to receive the peace He came to give us. (John 14:27) Peace be with you.