Saturday, December 10, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Peace

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.

While pondering the word, Peace, I was inspired by Hillsong’s anointed hymn, Prince of Peace…while studying Isaiah 9:6 …


NASB:  For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace

Amplified: For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace.

Expanded Bible:
 A child ·has been [or will be; the prophet views the future as though it had already happened] born to us; God has given a son [a son has been given] to us. He will be responsible for leading the people [The government/rule/dominion will be on his shoulder]. His name will be Wonderful Counselor [or Wonderful! Counselor! or Extraordinary Advisor],Powerful [Mighty] God, Father Who Lives Forever [Eternal Father], Prince of Peace.

NET: For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called: Extraordinary Strategist, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Pastor Ray Stedman writes: "The Greek word eirene is derived from the verb "eiro" which means to "join together." The picture is that of binding or joining together what is broken or divided—setting the divided parts at one again. To "make peace" is to join together that which is separated. Eirene originally meant the ordered life that was possible when people were not at war. Later, the concept was expanded to include an inner, personal peace. As noted above, in secular Greek eirene was originally associated with cessation or absence of war.  Before we were born from above, we were "at war" with God. In Christ our lives are made whole, our relationships are harmonized, and we experience the spiritual and psychological wholeness that God intended for human beings in the original creation. His peace can provide freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. Jesus did not end all human wars, but he does make it possible to end the war between God and man. His death is our peace, our means of reconciliation with our Father. Peace does not mean the absence of pain. It means that in our pain, we can have peace because we know the Prince of Peace and we know He is in control. True peace comes not the absence of conflict but from the presence of the Prince of Peace."

Jim Walton was translating the New Testament for the Muinane people of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3 days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana, so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left. Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase, "I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace with God means that there is nothing—no sin, no guilt, no condemnation—that separates us. And that peace with God is possible only through Christ.

Pastor Don Fortner writes: “In all that Christ has done as our Mediator, whether in planning or in executing the work of redemption, he has sought and secured the peace and eternal welfare of God’s elect. It was to purchase our peace that he became incarnate and died upon the cross. It was to bestow peace upon us that he ascended into heaven, assumed the reins of universal dominion, and undertook the management of providence. Peace was the legacy which he left to his church when he departed from this world. Upon his ascension back into heaven, he poured out the Spirit of peace upon his people. To this very hour the Son of God, our Savior, the Prince of Peace dispenses peace according to his own sovereign will to the sons of men, giving it in great abundance to all the subjects of his kingdom. The word “prince” simply implies that Christ, at the time of his incarnation and birth, was the rightful, legal heir of the throne upon which he now sits.  Christ is here called “The Prince.” He is called the Prince of Peace because it is his sovereign prerogative to speak peace to his people.  And there is no peace in the world but that which he bestows. Christ alone is the Prince of Peace, and those who trust him enjoy “a peace which passes all understanding.”. No one will ever apply to Christ for peace until they are in trouble and distress of soul, made to feel the danger, bitterness, and consequences of sin, and made to see the impossibility of helping themselves. But when weary, heavy laden sinners seek him, he hears their prayers and gives them peace. He steps out upon the bow of the troubled, tempest tossed ship, reveals himself in boundless, almighty grace, and says to their raging souls, “Peace be still”…and immediately there is a great calm.”

Pastor Wayne Barber writes: “Now we need to understand that “Prince” means not only giver, but the one who maintains it. He gives the peace, and He maintains the peace. The first place that we find that peace needed is not with Jew and Gentile. It is with man and God. That peace was disrupted when Adam sinned. Man was separated from God, and was placed at enmity with God. You see the first thing that must be received is God’s grace. God’s grace is what God does to a man, in a man, for a man and through a man that a man can’t do himself. God came down. Man could not ascend. He tried that in Genesis 11. That’s where the nations came from. God came down as He told Nicodemus in John 3. He came down to die for our sin. The greatest picture of grace in all of Scripture is Jesus coming to die for our sin and shedding His blood to redeem us off the slave block of bondage to sin. When man receives God’s grace, then and only then can he be at peace with the God that he has been estranged from since Adam’s sin. So before you ever talk about peace with man, you’ve got to realize Jesus is the essence of our peace with God. So often we do it the reverse. So often there is a problem between two of us, and we try to major on our relationship to make our relationship with God better. No, you major on your relationship with God, and that makes your relationship with others what it ought to be. Jesus is the essence of God’s peace, the essence of our peace with God.” 

What situation or problem could steal your sleep and your peace? Call on the living Prince of Peace, who will answer when you call to Him. Remember that you can close your eyes and rest because God’s eyes never close. The One who never sleeps cares for you personally and watches over you. The same God who created the expanse of the heavens, majestic mountains, glaciers, and everything else on earth and holds the whole world together by His powerful word knows the number of hairs on our heads—and watchfully and lovingly cares about each one of us individually. This one truth is worth rejoicing about all day—the Prince of Peace cares about me! I am of infinite value to Him. Nothing happens to me apart from His knowledge. He knows my name, my aches and struggles, and He loves me. We do not have to be afraid, for our Prince of Peace is watching over us. Our part is to stay connected by trusting Him.


Lord Jesus, thank You for setting apart each of us to know You and for answering when I call to You. Let the smile of Your countenance shine on me this day. Grant me peace in Your presence, even before a turnaround or harvest comes. When the night falls, grant me to “lie down in peace and sleep,” for You alone keep me safe. Thank You for Your tender, watchful care. Help me to remember all through the day that you are with me. You know every detail about my life—who I am, what I like, where I go—nothing is hidden from You. Your love for me means more than anything else in this world. May I go about my days with quiet confidence and peace, knowing that I am safe in your hand. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.



Look Up—meditate on Isaiah 9:6 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Isaiah 9:6 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Isaiah 9:6 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


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