Christmas is here again, one thing is for sure every year it comes around. Some of us love this season whilst others of us struggle and can get overwhelmed with all the parties, gift giving and general expectations to have a great time.
The good news is that Christmas is not all about the tinsel and parties but is a deeply sacred time where we can reflect on Gods presence coming amongst us. If we can take a moment to stop and think what is the real meaning behind all the celebrations then we may engage with a sense of perspective, becoming aware of God’s love extending to us.
For 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah9:6-7
With God all things are now possible as his brings the possibility of reconciliation to himself and therefore to our relationships that we would like restored including a sense of reconciliation within ourselves. God is the author of restoration so if we connect with Him through the gift of his son Jesus we are touching into the why we have a Christmas season; the coming of Immanuel God present with us in our lives. Then all things become possible that we long for, all we have to do is believe in Jesus and his work.
I pray that we will all take a moment over this season to stop and think about what is impossible to us and invite God to journey with us into a land where all things are possible. I invite you to reflect on the things of God who has extended his love towards us and embrace a New Year full of his goodness.
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:12
This scripture has been bouncing round my mind for a while now and it is my prayer that you are well in both areas knowing that one can affect the other. As we navigate the corridors of the pandemic we may notice changes that have occurred in ourselves. I certainly have and I am wondering how we will all emerge eventually out this time and what the future holds. Some things will change whilst others remain; Gods love and ways are a constant that can be an anchor for us if we feel adrift.
When life knocks us with a few punches rather than letting those circumstances push us around we can choose to tighten the attachment to the anchor and choose to live by vision and calling as these things are irrevocable “for God’s gifts and his call can never be withdraw” Romans 8:28. I have a saying that if you can keep the mission of God going then we will flow in the grace of God even in the toughest times. Over the last few years this is what I have tried to do to the best of my ability. For me this is part of my own anchoring in Christ; meeting God on the move. I notice that as I keep my focus I remain anchored and Christ centred within myself
We can all notice when we drift and that can be a frightening place to be. We can all anchor ourselves to Christ. Your own anchored to Christ may look and be different to mine as we are all wired differently and I invite you to ponder how you are anchoring up. Whatever it is please do what you need to do to keep yourself well in body and spirit.
We are in a time in history where we have the opportunity to be a person of great influence. People are wanting to hear and experience faith, hope and love. As people of faith we have a great message to share with those around Peter reminds us, it is time to love our neighbours and be connectors as never before of who we are what we are called to “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9. It is the time to Be the Church and distribute the message of hope that people are desperate for. We will need to be organic in the how we do that.
We are all called to lead in life. lead ourselves, families, friends, community groups and so on. Where ever you are connected to people that is our sphere of influence. In this time of worldwide struggle, we all need strong leadership and we can look to ourselves with Christ in us for this. There is no one stronger than Jesus Himself. For some the structures that held you or you relied on are no longer there. But you yourself can rise up as Jesus did in the desert (Matthew 4) to pray, fast (when you feel led) and to live out the Bible in the real world, In many ways we been on an enforced fasting from people and going back to lots of meet ups is something I find overwhelming at the best of time. These three things prayer, fasting and scripture (God’s word) hold and change us in the times of struggle. Be the leader you would want to follow and watch others be drawn to that Jesus shaped expression that you carry.
Our default setting will want to fight against us being the leader of ourselves as by nature we are lazy and we will want to feed off of others. If we can press through this time a new strength will be seen when are eventually emerge into our new expansion where ever in the world we live. We will be different and more prepared for the next era through this season of great challenge. But for now, we can feed ourselves through our devotional lives enabling us to influence others. It is from our own overflow that we live out the goodness of God. This is not for the chosen few but for all of us who are called out of the darkness that Peter speaks about ( 1 Peter 2:9). That way we have a first-hand message on the inside of us. As we enlarge our God territory on the inside we will notice God will enlarge our sphere of influence on the outside bringing people for you and I to be connected with.
I am going to leave you with the prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:10 “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. Be encouraged we can grow through this time and God will greatly use our lives to connect and reach others with His love and message of Hope.