For your feelings of sadness or depression remember some of our great Bible heroes, and spiritual leaders had to deal with the dark, downside and heaviness of heart for one reason or another. Moses, Elijah, David and Job, just to name a few, questioned God as they suffered feelings of inadequacies, some tainted with guilt as they experienced consequences of bad choices! Take heart friends, God didn’t leave them alone but He came to them with compassion overload, to lift them out of their despair and mend their brokenness. He desired to use them in spite of weaknesses. And He did! His desire is to do the same for you! He’s the healer of broken hearts and the mender of broken spirits. He’s the lifter of heads and our shield of protection! Rely on Him and enter a new year with renewed hope!

Psalm 3:3
“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

Psalm 34:18, 19
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

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God’s Call On Your Life

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Luke 9: 23, 24

“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Christ carried His humiliating and agonizing cross because of an amazing love that He had for His people. In order to bring salvation to a lost world He had to be obedient to His Father’s will. He fulfilled God’s purpose in His life and death, when He denied Himself of all rights and gave of Himself, freely and obediently, in His sacrificial death on the cross.

As His followers and as His disciples we have been commissioned to Go and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:18 -20. We have been called to represent Christ in this same world lost in hopelessness and despair. God has equipped His people with spiritual gifts, special talents and skills to use for His work of building others up in the faith. Taking up our cross daily, is to be “obedient” to Christ in the work He has called us to. It may take us into frightening unknown places and places that aren’t pleasant. It may take us to beds of illness, heights of financial despair, rejections and disappointments, but through it all, ‘Self’ must take a back seat to allow us to get out there and be efficient in proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Christ to our circles of influence in a hopeless world.

Is it easy? No, it’s not easy! That’s why it’s a cross to carry! Discouragement can set in. We can become tired, fearful, dissatisfied and discontent. Hurt and broken we can fall away becoming like strangers to our faith on the skid row of our circumstances. In our hurt, we can easily become vulnerable to ravaging wolves and the enemy who seeks for whom he may devour,
1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Our desires get out of whack and our priorities get all mixed up. No, it’s not easy to be obedient to our Savior and our cross, so our cross for Christ must be a daily evaluation supported and bathed in prayer, for there is no room for ‘me’ on my cross as I carry it for Him. The irony of it is that our cross of obedience is the only way to fulfill His plan for our lives and the only thing that will bring abundant life to our living. We can’t explain it, it’s just His way! To try to hang on to selfish pleasures will only take us into the pit of sin and bring ruin, desolation and hardship and that’s where we don’t want to find ourselves.

Let’s remember, if the Lord calls us to it, He will take us through it, and bring blessing along the way.

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A Good Choice

John 16: 33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As believers, we talk a lot about a deeper, greater joy than what the world and its empty pleasures have to offer. We speak of our relationship with the Lord as being the joy that brings strength even amidst sad, hard or difficult circumstances and situations that we may be faced with. Yet we still can feel down or discouraged or depressed at times. Just what is it, that we speak of when we talk of this joy, that sometimes seems so illusive? John knew of it as he penned the words in our scripture verse of today, but Paul also knew of it in his prison cell, when instead of counting the wrongs done to him, he counted the blessings that God had given him. What blessings? Perhaps the blessing of his changed, transformed life. He had experienced a dramatic change on the road to Damascus that he couldn’t deny. It certainly didn’t take away his problems but it did give him a new life and a new direction, even though it wasn’t a bed of roses. Instead of seeking people to destroy, he sought people to save by sharing the gospel message of God’s truth. His transformed life and relationship with Christ brought joy in the midst of persecution, trouble and upheaval because of an underlying, steadfast hope of eternal life at the finish line. When this victorious hope is our fundamental, solid base for our faith we are grounded in the victorious Lord who has overcome death and the grave. What victory is ours then, even when we feel discouragement or disappointment? When our faith in God is our grounding in life, it instills a certain peace that transcends all of our understanding and even when things go wrong, this God-given peace operates on default as we place our trust in the Sovereign God who is in control. What’s your prison today? Is there something that has you bound, robbing you of joy? Paul was thrown into a literal prison, but we can put ourselves in chains, just because of our own rebellion and selfishness. Or perhaps our prison is one of poor health, unemployment, addictions or other things that plague us and from which we can’t escape. God didn’t promise to take the problem away but He did promise to be with us in them. He alone can free us from the past and set us on a new road of direction just as He did for Paul. As we close the curtains on another year, do you know Him as your Savior? Who else can you trust other than the One who knit you together? The One who called the world into order with His word alone. The One who hung the stars and the moon and called the boundaries of the oceans into place?

He is your best choice as you begin a New Year and find peace amidst the uncertainties that lurk ahead. It may not be a bed of roses, but your default will be grounded on Christ.

“I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may go out into the darkness.’ He said to me, ‘Step out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light, and safer than a known way.’ ” A quote by Minnie Louise Haskins.

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No Pre-requisite


Luke 2: 8-1

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

I find it intriguing that God chose the lowly shepherds, not royalty, or religious leaders or upper class, but the lowly shepherds were chosen to receive this heavenly announcement. This good news of great joy! He chose the shepherds to shine His glory upon, and it truly terrified them, as they weren’t use to such drama in the night skies. Still today, God’s unspeakable and unconditional love will meet us where we are. Not necessarily in the high places or the places of knowledge! His love for us is not in our resumes, credentials, successes, popularity, or fame. Those things aren’t prerequisites for finding and experiencing God’s genuine love. A simple All He requires is a humble heart and a simple trust in Himself and He will do unspeakable and glorious things for us, around us and through us.

Still today, He is the giver of the good news of Jesus, the one who was born to die so that we might be redeemed to receive both eternal life after death and abundant life while here on this old earth. When His glory shines on us, there is no need for fear or restlessness. There is no need to be anxious over the future because He is Light and Truth brought into our life and into our world to bring hope into our hopelessness, peace into our chaos and equip us with a confident trust in His sovereignty and management for all of our concerns.

Find Him at this Christmas season and find Hope and Joy regardless of circumstances.

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