Thursday, December 28, 2017

In four days we will enter a new year.  Slightly more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born.  30 year later he began his public ministry.  His death followed a short three-and-a-half-year ministry.  That death brought in a new relationship that earth’s population could enjoy with Yahweh.  Despite the direction taken by man, God made it possible for some to enjoy a peace that “surpassed all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV).  The “peace on earth” announced by the angels was not a promise that man’s warmongering would cease (Luke 2:14).  Satan would still be deceptive.  Greed, covetousness, hatred, strife, murder, selfishness, suspicion, and such would still be peddled, even in the name of righteousness.  Satan can quote scripture with the best.  Jesus warned, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Luke 12:51 NKJV).  Some would reject Jesus’ peace and settle for the kind offered by Satan.

The world has always been at war somewhere.  Atrocities have even been committed by one Christian group against another.  Not exactly Christians and not close to the peace Jesus promised.  Yet, both sides justified their actions.  Another peace sought through Satan’s deception.

I can remember the death of the last Civil War veteran, Albert Henry Woodson of the Union Army.  He died on August 2, 1956 at the age of 106.  I also remember the death of the last World War I soldier, Frank Buckles on February 27, 2011 at the age of 110 years.  Both North and South lost almost an equal number of soldiers with the total for both at 1,264,000.  No war since has claimed that many American military lives.

Most have heard of the world-wide flu in 1918 which affected 500 million people, which was one third of the world’s population at that time.  Between 20 to 30 million deaths took place!  99% of those were under 65, with half being 20 to 40 years of age.  Those of us who are older than 70 can remember WWII which took the lives of 50 to 80 million civilians and soldiers from both sides.  The USA lost 291,557.  The Korean War followed WWII, then Vietnam, and more recently the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who remembers the school drills in the fifties to protect ourselves against a possible atomic bomb attack.  Most over fifty remember the confrontation of the USA with Russia supplying Cuba with missiles in the early 60’s?

Younger folks remember the tsunami that took so many lives and destroyed seaside resorts.  Today we are being threatened by an atomic attack from North Korea.  Wars and rumors of wars have not been restricted to the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Matthew 24).

How can one possess a peace that “passes all understanding” while the world around us wants to blow itself up?  How can we possess such a peace, when so many are filled with hatred, wanting to end our lives because they believe we are infidels?  Will that peace forsake us when a crazy person enters our business shooting anything that moves?  Will it disappear when an intercontinental ballistic missile is headed our way?

Paul was facing death, yet his peace nor hope evaporated.  He wrote,

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.  And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT).

Who is the author of your peace?