Tag Archive: Christmas


Merry Christmas!!

GD Merry ChristmasFor to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

 

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Waiting on God

Jer 33.14-15

Have you ever noticed that waiting on someone else is so much more annoying than when someone is waiting on you?

When someone is waiting on me, I have control. I know I’ll deliver on what I said I would do. But when I’m waiting on someone else, I can’t be sure of the outcome. Best case scenario, I wait and the other person comes through, even if it’s a little late. Worst case scenario, the other person doesn’t follow though and I’m left waiting with something left undone.

When I’m waiting on God, it feels like I have no control.

I can’t control when He’ll fix a situation or a person.

I can’t control when God’s right time will be.

I can’t control when or where I’ll hear from Him or how He’ll call me.

And it’s annoying because from what I can see if I’m asking, then it must be the right time!

But when I’m not in the midst of turmoil and can take a step back, I see differently. My time is based on my emotions—emotions that feel out of control to me, but are just a minor storm to God.

I see only what’s around me, but God sees the big picture. He sees the storms raging and His people crying out. God sees it all, including our hearts, our needs, and our deepest desires.

My time of frustration and despair may not be the right time in God’s plan, but that doesn’t mean He’s not there.

God promised to never leave us and God always keeps His promises.

We can’t control God’s timing, but we can control what we do while we wait.

While we wait on God…we keep praying.

We keep walking close to Him.

And we keep trusting Him.

Because no matter how much of the picture we can see, God sees it all.

And His time is always the right time.

 

In Christ,
Laura
Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith
 

Holiday Survival or Christmas Anticipation?

People this time of year tend to wear themselves out. They attempt to hide it or act like everything is holly jolly, but I can tell when people are tired and worn out and I am sure you can too. You can see it in their eyes and their body language. When I ask people who look tired how they are really doing, they usually respond with the phrase, “Just trying to survive.” With only one week left till Christmas it has become a race to survive. Survive the relatives, parties, travel, decorations, and the list goes on. Are you just trying to survive another Christmas? Have you become so worn down by the circumstances of the season that the only thing you anticipate is the end?   

Anticipation comes in different forms. Two thousand years ago the people of the earth yearned in anticipation for the Messiah. Listen to the Apostle Paul from the book of Romans (8:22-25) as he talks about anticipation.  

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

We live a culture of “now” and waiting is not something that we like to do or believe we have to do. If we want it…then it is only a phone call or click of the mouse away. But let me take you back to a time when it wasn’t always like this. Do you remember the times as a kid that you waited for your Christmas presents? The feeling of excitement and joy mixed all together, as you anticipated what lie behind the wrapping.

I believe that feeling as a child captures the feeling of those long ago who waited for the messiah. The anticipation of Christmas today is really a flashback of the physical experience of the anticipation of 2,000 years ago. The earth groaned for a Messiah… they waited in anticipation. They eagerly longed for the Chosen One. The moment of his arrival was precious.

The holiday has become a burden and “Holy days” are not meant to be a burden but a time of celebration. Maybe this year we can turn our survival mode into a season of anticipation of the joy, the merry, of Christmas. It might be a matter of taking our focus off the things that can’t be controlled and place it on the One who has control; not anticipating the end, but anticipating the coming of the Savior.

Questions to think about and respond to: Are you just trying to survive another Christmas? Have you become so worn down by the circumstances of the season that the only thing you anticipate is the end? What can you do today to turn your thoughts away from survival mode into the anticipation of King Jesus?

Leave your thoughts or comments here or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

Holiday Sale or Christmas Promise?

My Pastoral supervisor in Freeport, IL always had a running joke. Every couple of months he would act very excited carrying a paper with him and wave it in the air while announcing, “JcPenny is having the biggest sale of the year!” Before you think he was one of those crazy JcPenny shoppers you have to know that he was really just being sarcastic. In the town of Freeport, JcPenny was always having sales and they always called it the biggest sale of the year. To their credit maybe every sale was their biggest of that particular year, but many people grew a little skeptical of “big sales” especially the ones that promised savings that had never been seen before.     

I was always taught that if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Stores are not in business to lose money. If they lose on one item you can bet they will make even more on another. Because of some of the sales techniques that we have been exposed to we have become more than a little cynical.

What do we do with the circumstances concerning the birth of Jesus? A virgin that is pregnant, shady shepherds proclaiming his birth, God being born into flesh and blood, and many other parts. It all sounds too good to be true. But this is precisely the difference between a sales pitch and a promise from God.

Have we grown so accustomed to the Christmas season that when we see the Christ-child in the manger every year we ask, is it too good to be true?

Leave your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Holiday Burden or Christmas Peace?

Pastor Ron will be delivering the message this weekend. From the video you can see that he will address the Holiday greeting. Have we been too quick to villianize the Happy Holiday greeting because people feel that we are skipping out on Christ and Christmas? If we were to look at the etymology of the word holiday we will see that it comes from the use of holy day. Throughout Scripture we see God telling his people how to celebrate on special feast or Holy Days. Could we try to understand holidays differently? This year we can have a happy and joyous “Holy Day.”   

But before we get to the conclusion we will talk about Burden and Peace this weekend. The pressure is starting to mount already. The calendar is full, the presents are not bought – and you don’t even have a list! Now you will have to travel to family since they decided they are too busy to come to you. The holiday is turning horrible, a horrible burden and you have started to talk about how glad you will be when it is over. I recently read a story that mentioned more and more cases of people getting sick after the holidays because they are so stressed out and burdened, that the whole body just shuts down and stops fighting. Does this sound like an enjoyable Holiday season to you? It doesn’t to me!  

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” In the birth of Christ we have found that peace was brought to earth. A whole body, whole life kind of peace.  Have you abandoned peace for even more burdens in your life? Let the peace of God that transcends all understanding, dwell in your hearts and minds this Christmas season.

If you have any questions or comments leave them below or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

We are not trying to get into a cultural war over whether people want to hear Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas at your favorite stores. It is fine to have a happy holiday season, but is that truly our goal, just to be happy? There are a lot of elements that have to be just right in order for us to be really happy during the holidays. Having a Merry Christmas is not about everything being just right. A Merry Christmas is about being secure knowing that God stepped into this world as a baby boy. That boy grew up and journeyed to the cross where he laid his life down as the perfect sacrifice for all people. This is knowledge that brings joy and peace no matter the circumstances in our life. Our God loves us so much he was willing to go to every extent to bring his creation back to him. We will focus on different aspects of the season that can easily distract us from the true meaning.

This week we will talk about Rush and Rest. We all talk about the holiday rush and how much we dislike it, but do we really?? I would guess there is a part of us that likes the excitement, the finding time to shop, getting ready for company………….at least while we are still 4 weeks away. The rush to celebrate our holy day helps us get focused, but if the rush consumes us we focus on the wrong thing. We need Christmas rest, a time to rest in the promises of God and the grace that came down on that first Christmas.

Let us know what you think. Leave your comments and questions below or on our Facebook page.

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