It’s over! Another year has come and gone. Today is the last day of 2021! I am choosing to end this year’s blogs on the final day of 2021. So, welcome to Truth Bomb Friday!
As this year draws to a close and we anticipate the beginning of a new year, I have a question for you: did you accomplish everything you set out to accomplish in 2021? If you are anything like me, the answer is a big resounding NO!
So even though we may have failed, are we hopeless? Should we give up and never try again? I believe again, the answer is a big resounding NO!
I believe that we need to reword the question that we ask ourselves.
While the question, “Did we fail or succeed to accomplish our goals,” may give us factual information, I believe it fails to produce motive.
When our motives are pure and right before God what we attempt to accomplish will be grounded in love. And when our motives are grounded in love we cannot fail!
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6
Some of our goals can be rooted in selfish motives and not in love.
When this happens we may accomplish something but the only beneficiary is ourselves. However, when we pursue goals rooted in love, even when we achieve our goals, others benefit besides ourselves.
For example, we work really hard to achieve an end of the year bonus. When we receive it we give the first portion of it to God and the work that He is doing in the world.
WE NEVER FALL SHORT WHEN OUR FAITH EXPRESSES ITSELF TO OTHERS THROUGH LOVE!
So as we begin a new year with new beginnings and fresh starts, let’s look to setting all of our goals with faith rooted in love.
Set a goal, so that when you accomplish it, both you and others will be blessed!
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
…he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
We can have peace and be fearless every day of the year when Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior!
God is with us at Christmas time and every single day!
Praying blessings over you and all your loved ones this Christmas!
JOY, it seems to be what we are all looking for, especially at Christmas, but do we really know what we are looking for?
My favorite coffee spot tells me it can be found in a cup! Dark, decadent espresso is poured slowly over rich and steamy almond milk. I must admit I am quite joyful as I see the two delicious tastes blend to form a frothy top! Then it gets even better! A small pump of vanilla is added followed by a delicious spicy blend of holidays spices! It is almost too good to be true! And it does make me very happy!
Unfortunately, that joy only lasts for a short time. And I am left wanting more.
Can you have JOY when your heart is breaking?
Can you have JOY when your plans don’t turn out?
Can you have JOY when you receive that diagnosis?
Can you have JOY when that person is missing from your Christmas table?
THE ANSWER IS, YES, YOU CAN!
True JOY does not come from our circumstances. It is not found in another person or position. It doesn’t even come from a cup or a cookie, even though momentary pleasure is found. When the cup is empty and the cookie only resembles crumbs, the momentary joy is gone.
True Joy can only be found in the foundation of a relationship with Jesus.
JOY did come at Christmas. It was not in a cup or mug, no matter how much whipped cream was added. It was not in the form of a Christmas cookie, no matter how many sprinkles were piled on top!
JOY came in a manger. JOY came in the form of a newborn baby. JOY came through Jesus!
JESUS IS THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS!
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” Luke 2:10
We have JOY when we have JESUS! No matter the condition of our heart, no matter the state of our circumstances. When we have a relationship with the JOY of the world, our foundation is firm, our strength is sure, and our JOY IS FOUND IN HIM.
May you have a truly JOYFUL CHRISTMAS as you celebrate the JOY Himself, JESUS!
We are ONE week into Christmas. Yep, that’s right, the minute that December 1st hits the calendar, the countdown begins! Lights start going up on houses (our street looked like a pin ball game last week). One house was lit with lights, then the next, then the one across the street, then the one next to it, and so on and so on and so on. Now the street is lit up and jolly trees appear on roof tops of cars as they are carried home in great anticipation of being decorated! Shopping malls and store parking lots soon become a raffle ticket situation to find a parking spot, and Christmas songs are played every where twenty-four hours a day!
Yep, it’s true, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” But how are you doing?
Are you feeling jolly as those light’s light the streets? Are you feeling happy as Christmas tree after Christmas tree passes you on the road? Are you turning into Scrooge as you “patiently” wait for a parking spot to open up at the mall? And are you signing along with those Christmas songs or are they bringing you sadness? Christmas can feel lonely.
I listened to a pastor I know share a devotional on Christmas. He started out by saying, “I hate Christmas!” WOW, did that get my attention! I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I can’t wait to go through all of the painstaking traditions and struggles it provides to decorate, shop, bake and sing! As I listened further to his message I understood his point.
He hates that CHRISTMAS distracts from the very name sake it celebrates…CHRIST!
He shared how anxious he gets as he worries about the money it will take to buy all of the presents. He stated that his anxiety grows each year as he faces “getting everything done!” Then finally, he shared that Christmas can distract him from Christ altogether. It can leave him feeling frustrated and lonely.
Have you ever felt like that? While I cannot agree with the statement, I hate Christmas, I can agree with the sentiment it evokes. By putting Christmas stuff ahead of Christ Himself, we can be left feeling overwhelmed and alone.
The Truth is, the very meaning of CHRISTmas, Christ coming to earth in human form, made it possible for us to NEVER BE TRULY ALONE! HE IS WITH US!
The first name of Jesus on my advent calendar that I shared with you last week is,
THE WORD! JESUS CHRIST is The Word! What does a WORD do? A word communicates. The WORD, JESUS CHRIST, took on humanity. God spoke and the universe came into being.
“Let there be light.” Genesis 1:3a
The Word was God Himself and He was with God from the beginning.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and The Word was God.”
The Word has relationship with God. They are co-eternal. The Word became flesh. God The Son, who has an intimate relationship with The Father, has made Him known.
Jesus CHRIST, the meaning of Christmas has revealed this to us.
JESUS IS THE WORD.
JESUS IS GOD.
JESUS HAS REVEALED AND EXPLAINED GOD TO HUMANITY BY BEING WITH US, IMMANUEL!
Jeus made the invisible God visible! What we could not know or see in God, we can see and learn in JESUS CHRIST! He is the answer to all of our questions.
Is God loving? Look at Jesus Christ!
Is God merciful? Look at Jesus Christ!
Is God compassionate? Look at Jesus Christ!
“All the fullness of Him, Christ, dwells in Him in bodily form.” Colossians 2:9
The Phillips translation put it like this:
“IN THE BEGINNING GOD EXPRESSED HIMSELF.” JOHN 1:1
GOD DESIRES THAT WE KNOW HIM! HE SENT HIS SON SO THAT WE COULD KNOW HIM AND SO THAT WE WOULD NEVER BE ALONE!
BECAUSE OF CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS, WE ARE NEVER ALONE!
I STILL LOVE CHRISTMAS AND WILL NEVER BE A “HATER!” BUT NOT BECAUSE OF THE TREES, TRIMMING, GOODIES OR GLITTER, BUT BECAUSE OF THE GREATEST GIFT GIVEN, JESUS CHRIST!
HE WAS FROM THE BEGINNING AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS!
YOU AND I ARE NEVER ALONE WHEN HE IS IN OUR HEARTS!
What Are We Waiting For? As a child I remember anticipating Christmas! I would get so excited that I would physically shake on the outside! And on the inside I thought that my little self would explode! I simply couldn’t contain The expectation of what was about to happen!
From the minute my mom would walk over to our record player, yes you heard me right…Our record player was the size of a dresser and it held the turntable as well as a radio system, and put the Perry Como Christmas album on, my realization of something great coming was out of control! We would dance and we would sing and we would decorate. My mom was simply the best at it! Then we would get out of school for Christmas break and the greatest anticipation would begin! My sisters and I would lay on our bellies in front of our huge glass window at the front of our house and wait for it. That large white Buick that would be full of Christmas presents and Christmas cookies and the two most important people in our lives…Our Grandma and Grandpa! The first one to spot it would jump up and scream and we’d all rush out the front door and into their arms. I can still feel the shrill of joy and excitement surge through me now as I write this.
Then the celebrating would really begin. But it was simply a foretaste of what was to come. We would watch Christmas movies together, we would cuddle up in our Christmas jammies, and we would bake and bake and bake some more! We would prepare every dish that would lay on our Christmas table and we would wait and we would wait and we would wait.
Finally it was Christmas Eve. That day would bring such joy and hope of what was to come the next day that we would barely sleep. We went to church, we celebrated with family and friends and we sang happy birthday to Jesus as my Mom and Grandma held the happy birthday cake to him in their hands and the candles glowed in the dark of the night lit only by the Christmas tree lights. Then we were tucked into bed.
It was all just a foretaste of what was to come, a true realization in advance of something great that was about to happen. That was when I was a child.
Now that I am an adult I still anticipate something great! I still go through some, if not all, of the same traditions I was raised with as a child. but instead of anticipating a day filled with presents, food and fun, I anticipate the Savior!
Anticipation is defined as, “expectation or hope, a realization in advance a foretaste.“
Because I know that God is God and His word is TRUTH, I realize that in advance the promise of the Savior was proclaimed.
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
And again and Isaiah…
“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.”
Friends, talk about ANTICIPATION! Isaiah spoke the Truth I have this prophecy 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ! After the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC and then after the fall of the southern kingdom in 586 BC the long awaited and great ANTICIPATION OF THE MESSIAH WOULD COME!
IT HAS COME!
AS WE CELEBRATE THE FIRST COMING OF JESUS AT CHRISTMAS WE ANTICIPATE HIS SECOND COMING!
Beginning tomorrow on December 1, we begin turning over the numbers on our advent calendar as we countdown to Christmas day. It is good and it is right as adult christ followers to focus on the truth from God‘s word as it clearly spells out the advent of Jesus Christ, The long awaited Messiah, The Savior of the world.
But this year I pray that we also realize that the ANTICIPATION we now hold in our hearts is for His return!
I found a wonderful advent calendar last year on the Names of Jesus. Day 1, December 1, is THE WORD.
“THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US.” John 1:14
At Christmas time it is important to focus our hearts and minds on the divine miracle of God when He sent His one and only son Jesus Christ to earth!
But it is vital that we live our lives in
ANTICIPATION of His return!
Happy Advent Season Everyone!
May our focus be on Jesus Christ throughout this season and every season of life He gives us on this earth.