Pastors on Peace

On the first Christmas, angels appeared to the shepherds and announced….

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

Yet today’s world seems far from peaceful. This Christmas, how is this message of peace relevant to a world that seems to be in chaos?

We asked several local pastors to answer this question, and here are their replies.

 

Pastor Todd Mullins
Christ Fellowship, Palm Beach Gardens

You could read Luke 2:14 and think to yourself, “Peace?  If Jesus came to bring peace on earth I sure don’t see it. It seems like things on earth today are more chaotic than ever.”

This world is a crazy place. We can never fully escape the chaos this world may throw at us. This earth isn’t perfect. If everything were perfect then Jesus wouldn’t have had to come. But, in the midst of all that life throws us, we can remain sound and secure, through our devotion to the Prince of Peace.

What is peace?

The word peace comes from the Greek word “Eirene” which is defined as the tranquil state of a soul certain of its salvation in Christ Jesus.

This quote from an unknown author says, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

What the angels were saying was that in the midst of the chaos of this life on earth you can have certainty in Jesus. No matter what you and I will go through, we do not have to tremble and quake in fear. We are safe, completely safe with Jesus.

This world tries it’s best to offer peace. It tries to offer peace through money, vacations, relationships and possessions. But, all the peace this world tries to offer won’t last – it’s all just a worthless effort to cover desperate, worried, anxious places in our lives with artificial solutions. It’s like getting bit by a shark and thinking that putting a band-aid on it will stop the bleeding. It’s just not very realistic in this chaotic world.

But the peace that Jesus came to offer is extremely different. It is a permanent peace. It gives confidence. His peace gives assurance in the midst of all the chaos that we face – past, present or future. God sent this earth His only Son, the pure substance of Peace Himself, to give all of us the long lasting peace, which only He can give.

 

Bishop Henry Fernandez
The Faith Center, Fort Lauderdale

We’re living in a world of chaos. You need only look around and see what’s going on in our country, and the world, to know that’s true. The recent terrorist attack on Paris is just one example. Everywhere, people are fearful, losing hope — frustrated with life, their jobs, relationships, even the government. They’re struggling to find peace, and many wonder Where is God in all of this? Or Why isn’t my faith working to help me get through life’s difficulties?

The truth is, God is right where He’s always been with us, His children. He promised that He would never leave or forsake us, and He never will. And because He is with us, we can have His perfect peace, despite any chaotic situation.

Remember that even from Creation, chaos existed. The Bible says in Genesis that when God showed up, there was darkness, emptiness — a void. But God dealt with that chaotic situation when He spoke and said, “Let there be light!” Later, He sent His Son to be a light to a dark, chaotic world.

The Bible says that the hearts of men are filled with wickedness — a primary source for chaos. But it’s important to understand that tragic situations, like those we’re witnessing today, can never be eradicated only by human means — with weapons, strategic planning or government legislation. This is a spiritual battle, and the only antidote for getting rid of chaos is Jesus Christ. He is our final hope and victory.

In this Christmas season, we can, by faith, have peace in knowing God is more relevant than chaos. We are the salt of the world — His representatives in the earth. We are called to be light in darkness, leading and pointing people to Jesus, the only One who, in the midst of chaos, can bring true peace on earth.

 

Pastor Troy Gramling
Potential Church, Cooper City

When the angels brought that message to Earth, the world was far from peaceful. There was political tension, people taken prisoner for their faith, famine, border conflicts and the like — eerily similar to the global crisis we face today. Yet they said it anyway, but why? Simply because (as Jesus would later echo) peace and joy come from God. They are held within the heart where famine or wars or threats of terrorism can’t affect them. That message of peace being declared angelically that first Christmas was a harbinger letting the people know that from that moment forward, the enemy would lose his power over the hearts of the world. Jesus had come. And the peace that He brought would be complete. Love, grace, forgiveness, mercy and strength would overtake chaos and the planet would never be the same.

Today’s world may look like it’s slowly pulling apart at the seams, but the same God who sent His Son that first Christmas day still reigns. His joy is still overwhelming and all-powerful. The peace He gives is not only all we need but attainable. Were the angels naïve, not realizing what this world would become? No. They were messengers delivering the new definition of what real peace was and Who was bringing it. The world says peace is a lack of war. Jesus says peace is a lack of worry. And there’s no need to worry. God is in control. He’s still good all the time. And that peace that was declared over 2000 years ago can and will win out over the chaos that we see in front of us. The words on the headlines may change, but Jesus’ commitment to be there with us in the storms of life never will.

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