Monday, December 1, 2008

Tis the Season

With the Thanksgiving leftovers almost finished off, it’s time to turn the corner and begin the delightful celebration of Christmas. For many people the Holiday season isn’t so joyful or merry. The holidays can bring to our minds sad memories and hurtful pasts. For some this may be a difficult season because you have lost a loved one. For others it may be a financial crisis which is looming large on your mind or you may just feel sad. In these next few weeks before Christmas, I want to visit about ways we can experience some “deliberate delight” during the holidays no matter what your circumstances are right now.

Today let’s consider the things in our lives that tend to rob us of our joy. Think of it this way, when is the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator? Possibly right now you have quite a few items which need to be tossed out of the refrigerator because they have been there too long and no one is ever going to eat the old moldy stuff anyway. You need to make a deliberate decision and a conscious effort to throw out the old, so you can see what you really have to work with and enjoy. We all know the nice feeling we experience when we have a sparkling clean refrigerator. Okay, so to be honest, that feeling comes around about every ten years when we actually do clean it out!

In the same way there may be some habits, tendencies and even sins that need to be cleaned out of our life. They are joy robbers, and they can slip into our lives unnoticed sometimes and stay around in our hearts and minds growing all sorts of ugly mold. Take some prayerful time to reflect on your life right now and see if any of these areas are cluttering up your heart and robbing you of joy.

Critical Spirit
Concentrating on what is wrong in a person or situation
Comparing with others
Self-centeredness or lack of caring and compassion for others
Immorality or impurity
Gossip Jealousy or greed

My friend, as you look at this list I want to encourage you that there is hope in turning from these behaviors. God is a redeeming God . He loves you and wants to help you turn from the old behaviors and experience the joy of new behaviors such as love, forgiveness, peace and thankfulness. Seek His help in getting rid of the old and filling your heart and mind with a renewed joy. II Peter 1:3,4 reminds us, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

Let’s each do a little “life clean out” as we begin the month of December, seeking God’s love and strength as we progress each day.

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