On Saturday, January 13 around 8:10 AM, residents and visitors of the state of Hawaii errantly received an emergency alert notification on their mobile phones which read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Thirty-eight minutes later a follow-up message, cancelling the original message, was finally sent which said, “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” Apparently, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency was conducting a shift-change drill at the emergency command post, which it habitually does three times a day, and an employee accidentally pushed the button that sent the alert rather than the button that simply tested the alert.
A common practice that coincides with the start of a new year is the making of new year’s resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is a personal declaration of what one intends to do at the start of a new year in order to alter an undesirable behavior or trait, to accomplish a personal goal, or to better some aspect of one’s life. One of the most popular resolutions every year centers around our finances. Financial resolutions may take the form of resolving to spend less money, to save more money, or to get out of debt. If one of your resolutions revolves around money, then consider what the Bible has to say about financial stewardship.
In Luke 15 Jesus provided a trilogy of parables known as the “lost” parables. These parables are similar to one another because they each depict something valuable (i.e. sheep, coin, son) being separated from its guardian (i.e. shepherd, woman, father) before eventually being reunited, after which a celebration ensued because what was “lost” had been returned to the one who lost it (Luke 15:6, 9, 22-24).
There is one distinct difference between the first two parables and the last one. In the Parable of the Lost Son, no one embarked on a search and rescue operation. While the shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to find the “lost” sheep (Luke 15:4) and the woman canvassed her house to find the “lost” coin (Luke 15:8), no one pursued the “lost” son.
Peace is not the easiest state to achieve. At times we find ourselves caught in stressful and even painful situations that rid us of hope, compassion, or maybe even faith, and Isaiah indicates that one final reason Jesus came to this earth was to provide peace. In Isaiah 9:6 we read,
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, Prince of Peace.
Here, Isaiah refers to Jesus as the “Prince of Peace.” This title is comforting. This title is soothing. This title is perfect for a world that is constantly experiencing conflict. However, though it is great to know who is the “Prince of Peace,” what most of us want to know is how does He bring peace to our lives.