Summary: Can we really achieve peace on earth and goodwill to all?
Peace On Earth – Goodwill To All
This is the Christmas season. In his gospel Luke, recording the eyewitnesses of those around him, wrote these powerful words; “While the shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep by night, an Angel appeared before them to announce the great news of the Savior’s birth. And suddenly, along with the Angel was a multitude of Angels, too many to count that filled the night sky praising God and saying “Glory to God in the Highest; and on earth peace and goodwill toward men and women, all inhabitants of earth, then now, and in the future.”
We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and Bethlehem is in close proximity to Jerusalem. It’s only six miles away. Yet it was a long way from Nazareth where Joseph and Mary lived. They had to make that treacherous journey over 70 miles to register for the census. That’s what brought them all the way to Bethlehem in the first place. Long ago in that region, many of the sheep grazing were used for Temple sacrifice so the shepherds watched over them day and night. The shepherds experienced this amazing encounter with the Angels in the night sky. Do you think it may have changed their lives?
“Glory to God in the Highest; and on earth peace and goodwill toward all.”
But how can we actually achieve peace on earth? Do you suppose the Angels were predicting a day when peace would be possible? Today, Christmas season 2010 we are still at war in the middle east protecting our freedoms while trying to protect theirs. We are minutes away from another conflict in Korea and there are civil wars in many other countries as usual. Can we actually achieve peace on earth? When Jesus was born, I believe the Angels were pointing to another time. A time prophesied by the Old Testament writers Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and others. A time penned by the Gospel writer John in his Revelation of the future. Yes, a time when Christ would come, a second time to finally bring world peace into existence. Yes, peace on earth at last.
There has never been a generation since the beginning of time when we were not at war with someone or something. Ever since the founding of our country, we have fought in some war every 25 years. Think about it. Every peace treaty since the world began has been broken. Conflict is a part of life; it has been and always will be until Christ returns. But we must never give up. We must never stop trying to help those who are oppressed, those who are in need. After all, this was Christ’s message from the start.
But let’s not deceive ourselves by not knowing who have we been fighting against since the beginning of mankind? I believe that to be the spirit of darkness, satan himself is more alive than ever fighting each one of us as individuals and as a country. Satan does not want the United States of America to be a Christian nation, if so, he would lose some foothold.
Satan hates it when we as individuals draw closer to God through fervent prayer and studying God’s Word. Instead, Satan attacks us in our weakness, and we each struggle with different trials and temptations. The Apostle Paul wrote these powerful words in his letter to the church in Ephesus:
“Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (which is the Greek word for ‘schemes’) of the devil himself. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the Heavenly places” (meaning the entire spiritual realm.) Paul goes on to say; “Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand all evil around us, that we may be able to take a stand against the constant attacks on our weakest areas.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Peace on earth Goodwill to all? Someday we’ll truly experience it, when the prince of darkness no longer exists, and when evil is no longer all around us. Where are you the weakest? There are three areas where Satan thrives; First, Status Quo – just existing without moving forward. Being satisfied with the hum drum. Everything’s OK. I don’t need to change my ways or even consider moving ahead. God blessed me in the past, not sure where He is today, but I’ll just keep treading water. Not moving forward, not moving back, but eventually I know I’ll sink. Oh well. Second, discouragement – finding ways to completely remove joy, hope and peace for our lives. Discouragement is so destructive. Think about this. It is so powerful. The world beats us up and causes us to question ourselves. Guess where that comes from? We can accomplish great things, we can be used by God to encourage people rather than discourage. God loves us just the way we are today but He doesn’t want us to stay the same. And the third area in a nutshell, is a lack of love for ourselves. Oh, most of the time we can love our neighbors, but often times we struggle with loving them as we love ourselves. Feeling that we do not measure up, that others are better qualified, more talented, prettier, or more handsome. That there is no way for God to use us because of our weaknesses, our backgrounds or the struggles we are facing today. But I have some great news. God can use us, especially when our weaknesses have overtaken us. Why, because there is nowhere else to turn, that we must rely on God, that we simply cannot do it on our own. And satan hates this with a vengeance. God can use us exactly where we are today, no matter what is in store tomorrow or what has happened in the past. And He will love and protect us from evil, if we take it all to God in prayer. All of it; and not just the short blessing you may say at mealtime, but time set aside to literally be on our knees in prayer.