Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For To Us - Advent Reading 2 - Peace

This is the second advent reading that went along with the For Unto Us 2016 Christmas Prayer Loft at the Gathering House Covenant Church in Spokane Washington. 

by Margot Cioccio 

And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, 
Prince of Peace.

In the prayer loft in front of the Peace banner there is a hand out that has 50 names of Jesus and some other items to help you be more connected.  

In the Bible a persons name told you about their character and destiny. In this verse we are given just four names. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Let’s look briefly at each of them. 

Wonderful Counselor: We think of wonderful as meaning really good, nice, kind or likable but it is really more like incomprehensible and full of wonder. His name is so far beyond our understanding that we have to break it down into little bites to understand and even then without the help of Holy Spirit we don’t get very far. Jesus as wonderful counselor brings answers to problems that make a watching world scratch their heads in astonishment. Our lives as believers should never be dull or boring. Jesus wants to fill your life with wonder. In the early church you wouldn’t even be considered as a potential leader if signs, wonders and miracles were not evident in your life. Somewhere along the journey we opted for predictable tradition and religion when Jesus want to be our living God who does amazing things in and through us. Cool stuff beyond our own skills, ability and strength. Colossians 2:3 tells us In Christ is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” this includes the knowledge of all human nature  and what makes us tick. He always knows what we are going through, and He always knows what needs to happen. In Hebrews 4 he is our great High Priest with grace and mercy for us in our time of need.

Mighty God: In Hebrew this is El Gibbor that means strong and mighty. A mighty warrior who demonstrates courage, bravery and action. In 2nd Corinthians 10 we are reminded that though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” In Ephesians 6 we are given armor. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” God’s war is not against confused and damaged humanity but against the spiritual forces that continue lie, manipulate, kill, steal and destroy the people that God created and loves.

Everlasting Father: I like to think about what it is that Fathers are supposed to do and be for us. They are to protect, provide and give us a sense of our identity. Many of us have a messed up view of Father because our human fathers have not always been those things to us. As such it is often hard for us to relate to God in one or more of these areas. In our trinitarian ideas we don’t usually think of Jesus as Father, but they are all one. If we put on our Hebrew translation hats for a moment this phrase literally translated means “Father of Eternity.” He is the father over time and eternity, the amazing architect of the ages. 

Prince of Peace: We think of peace as being the end of conflict between peoples and nations. If everyone would just get along we could have peace, but perhaps political and cultural harmony is not what he is talking about. Shalom is the Hebrew word for “peace.” a calm and tranquility for individuals, groups, and nations. In Greek it is about unity and being in one accord or purpose. In Galatians 5:22–23 peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is one of the evidences that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
Still there is a much deeper meaning of peace in the spiritual harmony that comes when our relationship with God is restored. 

Today we light the Peace candle and are reminded that to truly have Peace we need our broken relationship with God restored. Jesus came to provide the way to accomplish that restoration. The lie we must over come is that we must work hard and be good to know God. The truth is that we need a redeemer in order to know God. That redeemer is Jesus. He has paid the price for you and simply waits for you to believe and call upon his name.

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