Hope, love, joy, and peace. In this fourth Advent message, we turn to the Book of Philippians to find out how we can have the peace of God and the God of peace this Christmas.
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:10-11, NIV)
Psalm 29 celebrates the glory and power of God on display through a massive storm. The storm sweeps in from offshore, and it’s one of those storms where the thunder seems to shake the earth itself. Trees are shattered, snapped, and twisted. Everyone who sees the terrible beauty and awesome power of the storm responds with one word: “Glory!”
Yet even a storm powerful enough to shake the earth and split living trees with its thunder and lightning doesn’t shake God’s people. The Lord sits on His throne over the flood, over the wind and rain. He strengthens and blesses us… with peace. Isn’t it ironic that as God shows His power through the storm, He reveals His greater power by giving us peace?
I often feel overwhelmed these days–that life is flooded and I’m just trying to stay afloat. Reading Psalm 29 this morning reminded me that even when life seems to spin out of control, God is still King forever! He is on His throne and gives peace during the chaos (my chaos is often beautiful, but beautiful chaos is still chaotic) to all who trust in Him.
My prayer this week is that God will remind us that He is enthroned over our flood and that He will bless us with peace as we turn our eyes to Him.
When I came on staff at Bethel Assembly of God ten years ago I would never have imagined myself preaching. It simply wasn’t an option on my radar screen. Now, ten years later, as a seminary student at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago, and as associate pastor at Pontiac Bible Church, I’ve had a number of “reps” in the pulpit. I especially had opportunities over the year we spent searching for and hiring our new lead pastor. And, much to my own surprise, I’ve grown to enjoy preaching. I’ve always loved the in-depth Bible study that goes with sermon prep, and the study skills I’m gaining in seminary have opened an incredible new world of truth and meaning in God’s Word. But I’ve also come to enjoy imparting some of that truth to a church family that I have the responsibility to love and care for and encourage and lead.
This past Sunday, August 31, I had the honor of preaching from Philippians 4:1-9. This amazing passage of Scripture filled my life for a couple weeks as I studied, and then I hope came out in a way that was honoring to God and beneficial to the church. If you take the time to listen, I hope you’ll find it helpful in your journey with our matchless King, Jesus Christ.