Saturday, December 20, 2014

P-E-A-C-E

To those struggling and maybe even more at this time of the year, I paraphrase Aaron Rodgers with my own little twist -- P-E-A-C-E.  Just be at peace. Really?-- because it's a nice little catch phrase at this time of the year? No, because the Word of God is full of encouragement about being filled with peace. I guess God knew what we would struggle with, right?

It was basically the message God gave to Mary; to Joseph-twice; and to the shepherds.  Peace in a world full of turmoil? Really? Who knew? God's people hated their president (er: rulers, I mean) and wanted them out. With new leadership, they would finally be at peace. Right? Ah, no.

I've always loved the scripture quoted often at Christmas from Isaiah 9:6-7:   "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end."  (NLT)

So why hasn't it happened yet. Where is the Prince of Peace promised to a troubled world - then and now? Oh, it will happen in a literal sense and probably sooner than most think. Even many Christians are weary of thinking of Christ coming again. Don't be friends. It will happen. The Bible guarantees it. But what about now you say. If we get the right President and the right government leaders in Washington, that will bring about what is really needed in our world. If all the enemies of the United States were eliminated, then we would have the peace we so desperately need. Right? Wrong!

The truth is you can have the peace that God's Word promises and you can have it right now. If Christmas tells us anything, it tells us that Jesus wants to come into your life even more deeply than He is now. He said, "My peace I give to you, not the peace that this world thinks it can give. Don't let your hearts be troubled; Believe and believe deeply."  JBV

Friends, listen to Up North Wisdom. It tells you that God wants you, yes you, to be His instrument of peace. Let others see Godly peace in your hearts, lives, families, circumstances and when they wonder how can it be, you tell them the answer for that peace, comfort, and joy.  To paraphrase a very old Christmas hymn:  God give you rest, merry men and women, and let nothing bring you to dismay and discouragement. REMEMBER CHRIST THE SAVIOR was born on Christmas day. To save us all from Satan's power (to bring fear, doubt and unbelief which leads to lack of peace) when we went astray (and didn't believe God's Word). O Wow, these are words of great comfort and joy and are meant to free all those who trust in Him  from the power of sin and fear.

I love it, don't you? And remember-yes, you know don't you? -- The Best Is Yet To Come! That is what Isaiah 9 is all about. Believe it. And a very Merry Christmas to all of you!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

R-E-L-A-X

I bought a T-shirt three weeks ago that had the logo that featured Aaron Rodger's now famous statement to fans after the Packers started the season at 1-2. He said on his radio show to anxious fans: "R-E-L-A-X. Just relax fans." And by the way, the Packers have been undefeated since I started wearing that t-shirt. So no washing and every Sunday wearing for now. Just saying.  :)

My wife Jeanne and I were in the car doing some shopping this morning and I couldn't help but notice the hurrying and scurrying around and the anger so many drivers seem to be displaying these days. I laughingly keep saying to these drivers: "R-E-L-A-X. Just relax."  You know what, I think that is a good saying not just to football fans but to people everywhere this holiday season and especially to Christians, too many of whom struggle with worry, anxiety, and fear.

Philippians 4 gives us all good words not just for the holiday season but all year long. And not just to the very troubled but to all Christians who just can't seem to get to that place in their lives where peace reigns even in troubled circumstances. " Don't worry or be anxious about so much. Instead learn to pray more and talk to the one who can really help you - God. Tell Him how you feel and ask for His help. Then thank Him even before you start to feel the great peace He will give you that will be like a guard around your troubled heart and mind.  And begin to make the change in the things you think about which bring you down. Think instead, with God's help, about things that are good and worthy of praise; things that are honorable and right and pure, beautiful and respected. When you do this more and more, God's peace will fill your mind and heart."   (Pastor Jerry's Version)

Jesus came that very first Christmas to bring peace into a troubled world. He still wants to do it but people must submit to the Word that says Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life --  the only way to the Father and eternal life!  Jesus said "My peace I give you; not the phony peace you hear about so much in the world today; Don't let your hearts be troubled or discouraged." (again the PJV)  So simple but we can make it so difficult. Christian husbands and wives - parents- workers - all of us. How will our children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, co-workers and brothers and sisters ever get this awesome truth if we don't live it?

Up North Wisdom says be the example, be the one who takes the lead. Let others see and feel the peace of God in us. It can be catchy you know. Those around us really need it and we can be the hands of Jesus in being instruments of peace. Not possible in your circumstances at this time you say? Well, I have told God so many things that are not possible in my life and things that I just can't do. And amazingly and humorously, He agrees with me.  :)  Folks listen, either His Word is true or not. "I can, you can, we can, do all things (that lead to peace) through Christ who gives you and me the strength to do so."

So in this holiday season and all the year long:    R-E-L-A-X!! Thanks, Aaron!  And remember what one older and maybe a little wiser pastor has said maybe too many times - The Best Is Yet To Come!  And have a great CHRISTMAS season. When a store worker says "happy holidays",  you smile a very loving smile and say, "Merry Christmas and God bless you!"