Michael Spencer: Timeless Words of Wisdom

michael spencerAs a new school year began in August of 2009, all of us were feeling the effects of the “Great Recession” after the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008. If you lived and worked at a small private boarding school, which relied on a combination of donations, volunteers and tuition payments to survive, then you had good cause for legitimate concern.

Facebook has a feature (inspired by Time Hop) that reminds users of posts and pictures from previous years on a particular date. On this date in 2009, Michael Spencer sent a note of encouragement to his friends and coworkers. Continue reading

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Advent Peace

advent candlesFor 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, Prince of Peace.
 Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

One of the many titles the Son is known by is Prince of Peace, peace being the focus of the fourth Sunday of Advent. Isaiah 9:7 specifically says Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end and it goes to describe him sitting on the throne of David. Part of the Isaiah prophesy has been fulfilled in the first Advent of Jesus Christ; the child was born, the son was given. He was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) to a virgin mother (Isaiah 7:14). But he has not yet sat on the throne of David, and during his earthly ministry he even said “I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) There is prophecy yet to be fulfilled in the second appearing (advent) of Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Continue reading

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

In Luke 2 the sky was filled with the heavenly host proclaiming the gospel of peace to a few lowly shepherds.  Last week, Joy, was about the shepherds.  They found the baby as the angels had said, and went out of Bethlehem rejoicing and praising God.  This week we celebrate Peace and light the Angels’ Candle. Continue reading

Israel, Hamas, and My Friend That Lives There

isreali-tank-in-gazaUPDATE:Israel has announced a unilateral cease fire, Hamas has pledged to keep fighting.  Read the full story here. 

I have somehow avoided blogging on the Israel/Hamas conflict, at least mostly.  I mentioned that there was a conflict in my Welcome 2009 post, and I’ve commented on other blogs about the situation.  I plan to be brief.

Peace in the Middle East: It’s a catchy slogan, rhymes well, and became very popular back in the 80’s.  It is also highly unlikely.  Correct that; according to the Bible it is not going to happen.  Continue reading

4th Sunday in Advent – Peace

advent-wreathToday is the 4th Sunday of Advent.  Let’s begin with a review.  The first Sunday of the Advent season was Hope, and we lit the candle of Prophecy.  The second Sunday was Faith, and we lit the Bethlehem candle.  The third Sunday was Joy, and we lit the Shepherd’s candle.  Today is the Sunday of Peace, and we will light the Angel’s candle.

Luke chapter 2  tells the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds as they watched their flock.  On the third Sunday we focus on the joy the shepherds experience as they hear the good news and then find the baby lying in a manger.  On this day, our focus is on the angels themselves, and their delivering the message of peace; specifically “peace on earth, good will toward men.”  If you read Rethinking the Angelic Choir, it’s ironic that the angels singing about peace and were probably all holding swords.  There are plenty of anti-war demonstratorsthat will quickly tell you peace cannot be brought with a gun; that peace is not brought with violence.  In Scripture, however, peace is brought with violence.  There cannot be peace as long as Satan is deceiving the nations.  He and his demonic forces are the enemies of peace.  God will cast Satan and all his followers, human and angelic, into the lake of fire.  After His righteous judgement, death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire, and then Jesus will rule the nations… with peace.  Recall the prophecy of Isaiah:

To us a child is born, to us a son is given; the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighy God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end…   -Isaiah 9:6-7

At his first appearing (or advent) Jesus did not come to bring peace.  He came to offer himself as a sacrifice, in order to reconcile us to God.  Read Ephesians 2:13-22, which I saw tonight in a whole new light.  This may be the best one paragraph summation of the Gospel anywhere in scripture.  It explains the sacrificial work done by Jesus Christ and his relationship to the Father and Spirit perhaps better than any other single text.  At his next appearing, however, Jesus will not come as a baby in a manger.  He will be riding a white horse and wielding a sword.  He came before to be our sacrificial lamb; He will back as a concurring king.  At his first appearing, he became the savior to all nations; at his next, he will judge the nations. 

Even as we celebrate the Advent of Jesus Christ, let us be found spreading the Gospel message and preparing for his second appearing.  That is our hope of peace.