Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peace on Earth is hard to find

Since I'm endeavoring to do a blog each day of Advent, you'd think that each day would be one step closer to peace, joy, and lots of warm fuzzies....you'd think.

Today was one of "those" days; you know the kind - mama said there'd be days like this... You do your best to help those around you, hold on to your peace and joy, and let's be honest - just make it through the day. Then along comes confrontation. I hate confrontation. It's just so...confrontational! I will go out of my way to keep peace in situations and my motto is, if I rub you the wrong way then I'll do whatever it takes to turn the cat around. Sometimes though, it seems like nothing works.

I sign on to facebook and it seems like half of the people are looking for an argument - on religion, politics, or just about anything will do. You go to work and on the way people are cutting you off in traffic, or riding your bumper. You get to work and....well, I don't need to go on. We've all been there.

Okay, so where's that whole "peace on Earth, goodwill toward men" thing that's such a big part of the Christmas season? The Message version puts it this way: "At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: 
   Glory to God in the heavenly heights, 
   Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
Wait a minute....what's with that last part? Peace to all men and women on earth who please him...? Who please him? What does that mean?

The NIV version says it this way: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
So how do I get to be one of those favored ones? 

I discovered a website with a lot of verses about finding God's favor - 
And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men. (1 Samuel 2:26)

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart. 
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
   in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 3:3-4

Oh, and we can't forget the connection of Favor to Wisdom found in Proverbs 8:34-36 
“Now then, my children, listen to me;
   blessed are those who keep my ways. 
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
   do not disregard it. 
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
   watching daily at my doors,
   waiting at my doorway. 
35 For those who find me find life
   and receive favor from the LORD. 
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
   all who hate me love death.”

So, in order to have peace, I need God's favor...in order to have God's favor, I need to grow in wisdom. So, how do I get wisdom? This is getting complicated!

Job 12:12 says, "Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old." Well, at least I'm working on this one.

 Proverbs 1: 7 - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
 but fools
 despise wisdom and instruction." (In the words of Mr. T - I pity the fool!)
Proverbs 19:20 - "Listen to advice and accept discipline and at the end you will be counted among the wise." 
Wow....this whole peace on Earth thing sounds hard! I've got to listen to advice, accept discipline, fear the Lord, get old, submit my ways to God, trust in God with all my heart, write love and faithfulness on my heart....the list goes on. All this for a little peace? I'm sitting here staring at the computer screen searching for something clever to say, but once again - "I got nothin'." 
One thing I do know - peace is something I want in my life. Not just the peace on the outside when everything is going good. I want that peace that passes understanding talked about in Philippians 4:7 - "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If it's peace that transcends understanding, it's a pretty good guess that means things on the outside could get a little crazy...Oh - so that's what today was all about! I get to find peace in Christ Jesus despite the chaos of the day!
So, I guess that's why peace on Earth is so hard to find. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but that would require relying on Christ Jesus - some people just aren't wise enough for that....and the journey to Advent continues, warm fuzzies or not.

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