There was a gospel tract that was (and is) very popular, it was printed and distributed by the Billy Graham Association. In fact, that little gospel tract has turned into a website, it's titled
This is the 2nd week of advent and we are going to spend a bit of time meditating on this beautiful word. Consider using this devotion with your family or group of friends as you celebrate the season of advent this year.
Invite family members to define peace.
After everyone has had an opportunity share what peace means to them, share this definition--
Invite someone to read Isaiah 9:6,
"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."
Share this: When Jesus came to earth, He brought 2 kinds of peace for us to experience.
The first is peace with God, the 2nd is the peace of God.
Too many people have only 1 kind of peace that God offers. They have peace with God but they don't experience the peace of God.
Having just one of the 2 kinds of peace God offers is like having a ticket to get on a cruise ship, and not realizing that everything is included in that cruise. Instead of enjoying the amenities, the food and the shows, you simply watch everyone else take full advantage of all the ship offers while you sunbathe by the pool and sip on water with lemon because you spent all that you had to get onboard. You think you can’t afford the amazing food, drinks and entertainment–you don’t know that it was included in the ticket that got you on the boat!
Both peace with God and the peace of God are ours in Jesus who is the prince of peace! Let's talk about each of these.
"Peace with God is an objective peace. It doesn’t come from within ourselves. It’s not something we obtain. It is something we are freely given. It is a gift from God — a gift given to us by Jesus.
Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross and, when we repent and trust in Him, He is faithful to forgive our sins and save us. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God that should have been ours. He made peace WITH God for us and He gives us that peace with God in our salvation.
This peace is a fact, not a feeling. It is finished and it never changes or diminishes."
(content taken from Reasons for Hope Jesus)
Share: Prior to Jesus’ death, we were at odds with God. We were separated from Him by our own choice–our relationship with Him was dead. But when Jesus came He bridged the gap that separated us from God and offered us a way to connect with God.
What do we do to deserve to be saved? (NOTHING!)
We can't buy peace with God. We can't work for peace with God. The only way we can experience peace with God is to humbly accept His generous gift of grace. God gives us what we don't deserve, and He is honored when we fully receive His grace gift.
Now let's consider the other kind of peace:
"Peace of God is a subjective peace. We have it when we experience the peace that comes through trusting Jesus. This peace is also given to us by God, and it produces in us a feeling of well-being. Having peace WITH God, we know that we have the Holy Spirit and that Jesus’ grace is sufficient in all things. Therefore, when we keep our eyes on Jesus and we rightly remember Who He is, what He has done for us, and who we are in Him, we experience the calm, and peace, of resting in Him. That is how we receive the peace OF God. Sadly, when we allow anxiety and fear to set in, our peace dwindles and our joy is diminished."
(content taken from Reasons for Hope Jesus)
There's a story in the Bible that shows us what it looks like to have peace with God, but not peace of God.
Invite someone to read Mark 4:36-41.
And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the boat was already filling [with water]. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a certain calm. He said to the, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Ask: What would you have thought if you'd been in the boat with Jesus in that storm?
Why do you think Jesus rebuked His disciples? Was He mad because they woke Him up? Or sad because they were worrying when they didn't need to?
What could Jesus' disciples' have done instead of being afraid?
Have someone read Isaiah 26:3
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You."
When we trust in God, He gives us peace.
Want to know what trusting in God looks like? Check out Proverbs 3:5-6 for step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
Step 2: And lean not on your own understanding.
Step 3: In all your ways acknowledge Him...
Results: And He will make your path straight.
There you have it!
God has given us 2 kinds of peace:
Peace WITH God and the peace OF God.
Let's enjoy both.
Pray: Lord, thank You for sending Jesus so that we could have peace with You. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for our sins so that we could have peace with God. We love You, and we worship You this Christmas as we remember that You came to us as a baby so that You could live in our world and experience life the way we experience it. Then, You died for our sins so that we could one day live in your world and experience life the way You experience it forever.
Thank You also for giving us the kind of peace that keeps our heads level and our hearts secure. Thank You for letting us know that no matter what happens in our lives, we can put our trust in You. And when we put our trust in You, You will show us the way to go--we want to go Your way every time.
We love You Jesus. Amen.