Thursday, December 14, 2017

Don’t Let the Busyness of the Season Crowd Out What’s Most Important

By Debbie McDaniel, Writer
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Just a few weeks before Christmas, maybe life seems kind of full and busy.
Maybe you haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet. Or that special gift you’ve been looking for is officially out of stock, or costs too much money.
Maybe the decorations never got fully done, or the lights are already burning out.
Maybe the Christmas cards are still waiting to be mailed. And the to-do list is steadily growing day by day.
Maybe life is feeling frazzled and time always seems too finish it all.
But truth says, maybe what we spend so much time focusing on, really isn’t the most important.

Here’s what is:
Spending time first with the God who made you, who loves you, and sent His Only Son Jesus to be the Savior of the world.
In the story of Mary and Martha, Luke 10:38-42, times were busy. There was much to be done, and Martha was “distracted by it all.” Maybe, like me, you can relate. Yet in the midst of all the “busy,” Mary set herself right down at Jesus' feet. She seemed unaffected by all the pressing needs around her, she just longed to spend time with Him. So Martha did what many of us may have done, she complained. Yet Jesus reminded her that in all the hustle and bustle, stress, and preoccupation with other things, Mary had "chosen what is better, and it would not be taken away from her."
So often in this time of year, the most important gets crowded out because of the urgent. It's a battle not to dwell there.
Other voices will say, "You don't have time to pray. There’s not enough minutes in the day to spend time with God and still get everything done. You're way too busy." And sometimes we swallow that lie, and the next thing we know, we find ourselves weary and worn from spinning our wheels. Strength drained, impatient, stressed, pressed, out of control, and nothing much going our way.
Yet if we recognize our need for God, spend time with Him, relying on His strength, He is faithful. He’s got our back. He knows our way. We can walk with His blessing and favor, we can live in His peace, and be filled with His joy which is our strength.
We may find that when we end up of "doing less,” God is then able to “do more,” much more, with our time and energy than we ever could. For He's never limited by the restrictions we face every day. He is powerful and able, to work on our behalf, even behind the scenes where we can't see. He can line out our path, ordain our steps, protect us from what we can't see up ahead, and bring blessing and help where we might otherwise face defeat.
That's where real peace is found, and strength for the days ahead. Not in getting it all done. But simply “choosing what it better.”
Seeking Him first.
Sitting at His feet, time in His Presence, soaking in His words...
Choosing to live there today. Hope you are too.

Intersecting Faith & Life:  What can you let go of today so that you can “choose what is better” and spend time with God? Ask Him for His help and strength. Be reminded that He’s with you, and loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I'll be Home for Christmas

by Alex Crain
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:14
Recently, I got my parent’s old Christmas records out of storage and began making mp3 files of them so that we could play them again around the Christmas holidays. Bing Crosby’s classic rendition of "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" came on. Its melancholy sound filled the air.
I pictured the war-weary allied troops hearing this song the year it was recorded in 1943, listening to it on their radios at night, spellbound by the sound; longing to be back at home with their loved ones.

I'll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me, where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas... if only in my dreams.

Does any other version of the song capture the sense of sadness to the same degree that he did?

Believers in Christ are soldiers engaged in war (Ephesians 6:10). And deep within us there is a longing that nothing can suppress. We want to be home. It’s great to know that we are on the winning side, but we often get weary of the fight.

Hebrews 13:14 encourages us to remember and find strength in the fact that “we seek the city that is to come.” It’s a losing battle to pursue lasting satisfaction in this life. The words "Here we have no lasting city" drive us to only source of contentment: the promise that Christ is always with me (Matthew 28:20) and that He’s bringing me home to a place where love, joy, and satisfaction never end.

Intersecting Faith and Life: In the words of author, Randy Alcorn, "Things won't always take a better turn on an Earth that is under the curse. Sickness, loss, grief, and death will find us. Just as our reward will come in Heaven, laughter (itself one of our rewards) will come in Heaven."

Further Reading Heaven: Home of Laughter