As we celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas, let us challenge ourselves to focus on the “Light of the world,” and remember that Jesus really is the reason for the season. It is so easy to get caught up in all the festive events, sales at the malls, finishing those Christmas lists, decorating the house, making travel plans, and visiting with family.
What is supposed to be a time to remember the Son of God entering the world becomes a time of exhaustion and survival. The joy of life and of the season is stolen; and, of course, the Presence of the Lord becomes impossible to detect.
Jesus said in John 8: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (ESV). The key is to follow Jesus as we traverse these holiday times. Keep Him always before you in your mind and your heart. Talk to Jesus often. Keep your daily time alone with Him. Ask Him for His guidance and blessing on your daily activities. Look for references to the Christ as you listen to and sing the carols and Christmas music. Don’t neglect your time of worship of Jesus with other believers. Reach out to those around you who are in need (not just physical needs, but emotional and spiritual as well). Remember, there are numerous military families in our community whose loved ones will not be home for Christmas.
Following Jesus through this wonderful time of year will bring out His love and joy in your life. Following Him will make all the difference between a Christ-centered Christmas or a cultural-driven Christmas. It will make all the difference between “getting through” the season or “being a blessing to others” during the season. Following Jesus will help you to see His Presence in and around you as you go about your business. It will enable you to be a blessing to others in their time of need. After all, didn’t Jesus say, in Matthew 5:14-15, that we, His followers, are also supposed to be light of the world: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house."
Dr. Foley Beach is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (Canada, US, and Mexico).
In our busyness, we can neglect some important aspects of following Jesus, which would help us to know Him better, to understand Him better, and to deepen our relationship with Him. These aspects of following Jesus are usually not screaming for our attention; therefore, they are often overlooked in the hectic pace at which most of us live. While not an exhaustive list, these relationship attributes are offered to encourage you to go deeper with the Lord.
On Gratitude and Developing a Thankful Spirit
MESSAGE SUMMARY: Overview from Being in Christ, Part 4 – To Pray in Christ: Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”. When we put our issues into God’s hands through prayer, then the peace of Christ will set up a guard around our hearts and minds. The peace of Christ sure beats anxiety. In Hebrews 4:16, it is reinforced, that after the coming of Jesus, we have direct access to God through prayer. Pray to the Father in the name of the Son – praying in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. In our prayers, we are to pray in petition and with thanksgiving.
Sermon Today – Developing a Thankful Spirit: To give thanks is something no follower of Jesus should need to be told. If we truly understood the price that Jesus paid for us and all that God has done for us throughout our lifetime, then we would have a true thankful spirit. However, we are human, and we still sin; we doubt; and we hurt. Therefore, we forget to be thankful; and God must remind us. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul presents several commands as “God’s will for us in Jesus”. Paul emphasizes that the followers of Jesus are joyful and always to rejoice in the Lord while praying continually. Paul exhorts us to be thankful in all circumstances.
No matter what our lot or our situation is in life, we can always find something for which we should be thankful. God’s will for us in Jesus is to be joyful always; pray continuously; and to give thanks in all circumstances. Also, Paul exhorts us not to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives by ignoring God’s will for our lives.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Keeping the Sabbath, Lord, will require a lot of changes in the way I am living life. Teach me, Lord, how to take the next step with this in a way that fits my unique personality and situation. Help me to trust you with all that will remain unfinished and to enjoy my humble place in your very large world. In Jesus’ name, amen. Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day (p. 129). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Philippians 4:1-13; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19; Romans 4:17; Psalm 95:1-11; 2 Corinthians 11:23-30.
A WORD FROM THE LORD WEBSITE: www.AWFTL.org.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S DAILY DEVOTIONAL – “Jesus Followers Have a Personal Relationship with the Creator of the Universe So Pray, Listen, and Be Patient for God’s Call”: https://awordfromthelord.org/devotional/
DONATE TO AWFTL: https://mygiving.secure.force.com/GXDonateNow?id=a0Ui000000DglsqEABAll Sermons by Archbishop Foley Beach