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.
We Can Only Hope that We Do Not Take God’s Blessings for Grated and Fail to “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name”
MESSAGE SUMMARY: Introduction from “Living the Bible”:
Rev. William Tyndall, in the 1500s, translated the entire Bible, by hand, from Latin into English so that the ordinary people could have the Word from the Lord. Tyndall was burned at the stake, in 1537, by the Church for his gift to the human race. In 1611, Tyndall’s translation was used to develop the King James version of the English Bible translation. People have died in the translation, printing, and distribution of the Bible so that we can have the Bible to read and understand. If we would just take ten minutes a day to read the Bible, our Spiritual lives would be greater than we could imagine. By the way, it is OK to mark in the Bible – you can underline key points or make notes to increase your knowledge and understanding of the Lord’s Word. We need to systematically read the Bible so that we can learn and understand God’s Word through study and memorization. Also, we need to meditate on God’s Word from the Bible: “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." (Psalms 1:2). The five fingers for getting a grasp of the Bible’s scriptures are: 1) hear; 2) read; 3) mark; 4) learn; and 5) inwardly digest the scriptures. Remember, “The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and it contains all that is needed for our Salvation.”.
Today’s Message – “Giving Thanks to the Lord”:
In Isaiah 12:4, we are instructed: “And you will say in that day: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.’”. If we compare all our lives’ conveniences and facilitators today with the life situation of a twenty-five-year-old person in 1900, we will realize how truly blessed and privileged, in terms of things that make our lives easier, we are to live today. Also, we are blessed to live where we live today. When is the last time we gave thanks to God for living in this time period and living in America? “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name.”
We have so many things, including our health, job, home facilities, and family, for which we should “give thanks to the Lord”. However, we get focused on ourselves; and we forget how blessed our lives are. Therefore, we forget to “give thanks to the Lord”.
In Luke 17:11-19, Luke tells us the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers: “On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’". Of the ten lepers that Jesus healed, only one leper, the “foreigner”, gave “thanks to the LORD, call upon his name”. It seems that Jesus is disappointed that not one of His fellow Jews gave thanks for being healed. We can only hope that we don’t take God’s blessings for grated and fail to “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name.”. As Jesus Followers, we should not need our country’s upcoming legally designated Thanksgiving Day to, during every day of our lives: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name.”.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Lord, Sabbath rest is truly an unbelievable gift! Thank you that there is nothing I can do to earn your love; it comes without any strings attached. As I close my eyes for these few minutes before you, all I can say is, thank you! In Jesus’ name, amen. Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day (p. 133). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: Today, I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FORGIVEN. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Luke 17:11-19; Proverbs 13:1-25; Psalms 1:1-2; Joshua 1:8; Romans 15:4; Isaiah 12:4.
A WORD FROM THE LORD WEBSITE: www.AWFTL.org.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S DAILY DEVOTIONAL – “Is Your Faith Yours, or Is Your Faith a Faith Derivative of the Faith of Others?”: https://awordfromthelord.org/devotional/
DONATE TO AWFTL: https://mygiving.secure.force.com/GXDonateNow?id=a0Ui000000DglsqEABAll Sermons by Archbishop Foley Beach