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Summary: Finding Peace in a Stressed Out World

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Sermon Series: God’s Promises for YOU at Christmas

Today’s Message: How To Find Peace In A Stressed Out World

Text: Isaiah 9:6; John 14:25-27; Colossians 3:15

Dr. Ken Squires, Jr. December 31, 2006

Edited by Dale Weaver

(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 (Isaiah 9 - NIV)

(25) All this I have spoken while still with you. (26) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (27) Peace I leave with you; my 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 – NIV)

(15a) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Colossians 3 – NIV)

At the time of this writing, the story dominating the national news involves the execution of former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. On December 30, 2006 the gun-toting dictator, who ruled Iraq with an iron fist for 24 years, was taken to the gallows. This 69-year-old despot, who ruled in modernity one of the most noted geographies of the Bible, was hanged in Baghdad.

President Bush called Hussein’s execution “the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.” While the number of Hussein’s victims may never be known, he was certainly responsible for the horrific deaths of many thousands of people.

On the day he was convicted and sentenced to death, Hussein wrote a letter to the Iraqi people, according to his lawyers. In the document, he asked Iraqis not to hate the foreign people who invaded their country, just their leaders, because hatred “will blind your vision and close all doors of thinking.” “I say goodbye to you, but will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in Him, and God won’t disappoint any honest believer,” the letter said. (1)

Take notice of Hussein’s statement and how he was seemingly, even at this late date, trying to find Peace with his God. Concerning the same event, some of his former countrymen were trying to find peace within. 26-year-old Jassim Al Buhaleg, an Iraqi now living in Everett, Washington clapped his hands and said, “I want to go through the ceiling,” when television reported Hussein had been hanged. Minutes later, though, his hands moved to cover his face as he wept. Al Buhaleg said he was thinking about his father, who 20 years ago was dragged from their home in Iraq by Hussein’s soldiers, never to be seen again. (2)

These episodes play out against a backdrop of a nation that is starting to tire of the costs – human and otherwise – of waging war and is seeking answers that can lead to peace on the battlefield. Hussein’s seeming search for peace with his God, Al Buhaleg’s desire for inner peace, and a people longing for peace with others – it seems like all of mankind is searching for one of these three varieties of peace: Peace with God; Peace with Self; Peace with Others.

As we conclude this series entitled “God’s Promises for YOU at Christmas,” how timely is it that we conclude with the promise of the Bethlehem child who offers all who seek “supernatural peace?”

(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 (Isaiah 9 - NIV)

The fields of Flanders were no place to be on Christmas Eve, 1914. Thousands of British, French, Belgian and German troops were dug-in and planning yet another day’s carnage. None of them would have guessed that the “War to End All Wars” would continue nearly four more years and ultimately cost more than eight million soldiers’ lives. So, when the entrenched British soldiers saw candle-lit decorations emerging from the enemy’s foxholes and heard the strains of faint melodies being sung in German they thought their enemies were taunting them and prepared to open fire. Suddenly, one of the British soldiers recognized the melody and started singing too -- the same song that the Germans were singing -- only in English. Soon other British soldiers began singing as well and suddenly the whole battlefield, in that little parched land of war-torn France on the Christmas Eve, 1917, was singing “Silent Night.”

For the remainder of that night and much of the next week the war stopped, as the both sides lay down their weapons and lifted their 18-20 year old voices to sing familiar Christmas carols in their own languages. An amazing spirit of peace fell over the battlefield that night as war gave way to peace in the Spirit of the Christmas child whose coming had been foretold by Isaiah. By New Years all sides would be back to killing as usual but, for a brief moment, peace came to one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. That same Christ still offers peace to the bloodiest of conflicts in our lives. (3)

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