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Bethlehem peace

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Bethlehem Peace.doc                                                                                               SD21

December 7, 2008                                                                                           file: G3a

Bethlehem’s Peace

At 5:30 am Mitsuo Fuchida plane was the first to lift off the deck of one of three aircraft carriers—He would be joined by over 300 others as the would fly 250 miles and then over the mountains of the island of Oahu in a surprise attack on the Naval Fleet docked at Pearl Harbor—

      It was 7:53 AM December 7, 1941 when the bombs began to fall. A day that lives in infamy. (now joined by 9/11/01), In that attack on Pearl Harbor the death count would reach 2,403

It launched The united States into the Battles of WWII. Both in the pacific and in Europe.  (67 years ago)

It was just a part of the war that has been fought on earth from the day that Adam & Eve stood beneath the forbidden tree and satan breathed his lie and the man and woman took—in direct disobedience of the fruit…and sin entered our world…

And through sin came wars, and fighting, and sickness, and despair, and greed, and lusts for money, sex, and power…

Poverty, injustice, etc.

But the war took on a decisive turn—in a little corner of a little town, 5 miles north of Jerusalem called Bethlehem…

God doesn’t think like we do!!!

He has no need to prove himself or exalt himself or play the power monger…

So he by-passes the wealthy and the royal…he ignores the palace of Herod and the temple of the Pharisees—and as King (of a different sort), he goes to a village—a stable—a manger…and makes his grand entrance.

When the baby announcements are sent out they too ignore the great and go to the humble—to shepherds…

The angels told them to go to Bethlehem…and find the baby wrapped in rags lying in a feeding trough…

Their final words in the grand announcement were:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

Glory and Peace

F.B. Meyer says

“The two are joined together, and you just can’t separate them.  

Do you want peace?

Your highest aim must be the glory of God.

Do you seek God's glory as your highest aim?

Then, the inevitable result will be the peace that passes understanding.

Glory to God in the highest.

 It was said of the soldiers of the first Napoleon that they were content to die in the ditch if only he rode over them to victory. With their last breath they cried, "Long live the Emperor!" It seemed as though they had lost all thought and care of their own interests so long as glory accrued to his name.

So should it be of us. Higher than our own comfort, or success, or popularity, should be the one thought of the glory of our God. Let Christ be honored, loved, and exalted, at whatever cost to us.

On earth, peace. - It will come, because when the heart has only one purpose to follow, --that heart is delivered from the cares that divide our allegiances and distract us from our one true aim.

Peace will come, because the glory of God is so lofty an aim that it lifts the soul into the atmosphere of the heavenly and eternal world, where peace reigns unbroken.

It will come, because we are not greatly troubled by the reverses and alternations of fortune that are incident to all work in this world, since the main object is always secure and beyond fear of failure. What though there be the ebb and flow of the wave, yet the tide is certainly coming up the shore, and will presently stand at high-water mark.

In the NIV this peace is said to come only to men in whom God is well pleased.

Live to please God and He will breathe on you His peace. Seek His glory, and He will make your heart His home.

Do His will, and thereby good shall come.”

Bethlehem is a key player in the Christmas drama…

The first time we encounter Bethlehem in the Bible is at a funeral—Jacob is burying his beloved Rachel after the death of their last son…

It becomes a place of weeping and sorrow---as it would once again after the birth of Jesus—when Herod unleashes his satan-inspired plan to destroy the new born king—and there is weeping in the streets of this little village where every child under two is massacred.

We visit Bethlehem again later in the OT—but the story goes back to Jericho—Remember Rahab?  The woman of questionable reputation—she and her immediate family are the only ones who survived the destruction of Jericho.

Ever wonder what happened to her?

Well, she married a Jewish man named Salmon and settled in Bethlehem…they had a baby boy who grew up to become a wealthy farmer who married a woman from Moab named Ruth…and the book of Ruth is the story of redemption…a savior!

Bethlehem is where the drama of salvation is played out. Where the lost is found and the broken is restored.

      Where the battle is waged…and savior is born!!!

For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord! –JESUS!!!!

Well Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David…

We first meet David on his knees before Samuel with the anointing oil running off his ruddy head…as he is anointed the next King of Israel in a secret meeting…in the home of Jesse….in the village of Bethlehem…

The youngest son in the insignificant place called Bethlehem…

God is full of surprises---he just doesn’t think like we do.

To win a war---you send a warrior—not a youth like David---much less a baby—born in a barn!!!!

He chooses the little places and the little people to confound the mighty—we look for super-heroes…God gives us His son!

We look for the mighty---God calls the weak and makes them His!

And he sows the seeds of peace in the human heart…before peace will ever come to earth---it must come to you!!!

Peace comes through the prince of peace…

A war that still rages for the souls of men and women, and boys and girls yet today…it is being fought in your own heart!!

Satan still breathes out his lies…

But the answer still remains in a stable, on a cross, and in an empty tomb!!!

The ultimate answer to our deepest questions is not in a religious philosophy but in a person---in a relationship---

He just wants you to come to Him!!!!

As we prepare our heart for communion watch this short video…

      About the characters and impact of a little town called Bethlehem….

Show video:   BluefishTV-Advent_2_-_Peace.mpg

 

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