Happy Birthday! God, What Should I Pray for Now? A Feast of “Not so Much,” a Feast of “Just Right” or “Too Much?”

Happy Birthday to Me! Today, I am Celebrating a Wonder of God!

Birthdays are, or at least they should be, a deeply personal and meaningful “holiday,” so to speak. We feel that it is a special day, and even people who are complete strangers, don’t know you very well will wish you a “Happy Birthday” and sometimes they will even go out of their way to do something nice for you.

Why are birthdays special? As we get older, we can sometimes feel as if our birthdays aren’t as special or as important to celebrate. They just aren’t as exciting as those younger days when we were kids. While the Bible doesn’t command a celebration of birthdays, there are good reasons to go out of our way continue to celebrate the birth of any person—and a birthday is a perfect time to do it.

It is good to affirm the value of a person.

In Genesis 1-3, God goes about creating a beautiful and good creation. His most celebrated creation is man. God forms humanity in a very personal way:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Man is given a special status as God’s image bearers. What does that mean? God is king over his creation, is holy and good (moral attributes), and a creator.

In a similar way, man was made a steward over creation, was supposed to rule over creation well (Gen. 1:28), be holy and good, follow God’s word (Gen. 2:17).

God has created every single human being with intrinsic value because they are made in his image. Whether someone is an infant, a teenager, young adult or an octogenarian, every human life is absolutely special and precious in God’s sight.

The life of man was so utterly precious that the unjust taking of that life carried a severe punishment (Genesis 9:6). The psalmist, when faced with the marvels of creation, is amazed that God has created man in such a special way, with an elevated status (Psalm 8:4-6). To God, People hold a special place in this world.

Human beings of all ages are wonders of God. Just as we are amazed by and can look upon, recognize the glory and blessing of a stately mountain range or the awesomeness of a crashing ocean, we should join with the psalmist in praising God for human life. Birthdays are great opportunities to remind a person of the blessing he or she is and how absolutely, completely, they are a wonder of God.

Philippians 4:12-20English Standard Version

12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

14 Yet it was kind of you to share[a] my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.  16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. [b] 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Birthdays are a time for thankfulness.

Today is my Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you readers too – even if today is not your actual birthday.

Truth be told, everyone who comes to read this has a Birthday to Celebrate!

One day, God loved you so much He chose a special day to give you a life to live!

Wonder of Wonders! Miracles of Miracles! God chose to give you and me life!

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

Regardless of your personal circumstance right in this exact moment,

Celebrate God as He is certainly celebrating you EXACTLY RIGHT NOW!

Birthdays are a fantastic time to contemplate more positive things. 

There is so much complaining, strife, and conflict that swirls around us.

It is easy to be pulled down into focusing on troubles and trials and take people and things for granted.

Birthdays provide an opportunity to thank God for the life of a person who is made in the image of the God of the universe and is an amazing creation.

It is 100% important to remember God is the one who should be the focus of a birthday. When we celebrate someone’s birth, any one’s birth, even the one’s now being born somewhere, we can each remember that our Creator’s image is stamped upon this unique person, and we can thank God for his gift of their life.

Consider this Illustration;

 In Tony Campolo’s book, “The Kingdom of God Is a Party,” he tells of an event that took place when he visited Hawaii on a speaking tour.

If you’ve ever flown to the Hawaiian Islands, you know that the first couple of days are tough because you are trying to adjust to the time change. You auto-matically wake up about 1 or 2 a.m. their time because it’s about 6 or 7 a.m. back here. And that’s exactly what happened to him.

He woke up very early his first morning there and ended up going out on the downtown streets of Honolulu, looking for a restaurant that was open where he could get a cup of coffee that early in the morning.

He finally found what he called a “greasy spoon” restaurant, went in and saw that he was the only customer there. As he sat down at the counter, a rather large fellow came out of the kitchen and asked what he wanted.

Tony ordered a cup of coffee and a donut. So, the guy went back into the kitchen and came out with a sad looking donut & a cup of very hot coffee. Tony slowly sipped his coffee & ate his donut.

As he was doing so, in walked 9 prostitutes off the streets of Honolulu. And one of them sat down next to him. As she was sitting there, talking to the girl next to her, she said, “Well, tomorrow is my birthday.”

The other girl said, “So what, Agnes? What do you expect from me, a party or something? What do you think I’m going to do, bake you a cake?”

Agnes said, “I don’t expect anything. No one has ever thrown me a birthday party, and I’ve never ever had a birthday cake. I was just telling you, that’s all. Tomorrow is my birthday.”

The conversation soon ended, and all the girls left. Tony sat there for a moment, and he recalls, “Every once in a while, you get a good idea.”

He turned to the guy behind the counter, whose name was Harry, and asked, “Harry, do those girls come in every night about this time?” “Every night,” Harry answered. “Well, will Agnes be back tomorrow night?” “Yeah, she’ll be back.”

He said, “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we throw a birthday party for Agnes?” Harry answered, “That’s a great idea. Let’s do it!” Tony said, “I’ll buy the streamers and get a sign that says, ‘Happy Birthday, Agnes,’ and we’ll buy her a cake.”

“No,” Harry said. “I’ll bake the cake.” And they got busy making their plans. Finally, Tony said, “I’ll be back at 2:30 tomorrow morning.”

When 2:30 came, Tony was back with all the streamers, balloons, and the sign. Meanwhile, Harry had baked the cake and spread the word, and there were 30 prostitutes there, ready to have a birthday party for Agnes.

Tony writes, “We were all there in this restaurant, 30 prostitutes, Harry and me.” We had just gotten the streamers up, balloons inflated, and everything ready, when in walked Agnes and her friends. And as she did, the whole group burst into a chorus of “Happy Birthday, Happy birthday to you.”

Agnes was so overwhelmed that she could hardly move. Then here came Harry with the birthday cake with all the candles lit. “Come on, Agnes,” he said, “blow them out before they melt.” But she didn’t do a thing.

Finally, Harry said, “If you don’t blow them out, I’ll do it,” and he did. Then he handed her a knife and said, “Here, for crying out loud, cut it so we can all have a piece of cake.” But Agnes just stood there looking at the cake.

Finally, she said, “Do you suppose it would be all right if we didn’t cut the cake tonight? Do you think I could just take it home and look at it for a while? I promise I’ll bring it back tomorrow night and we can all have a piece then. But tonight, I’d just like to keep it if it’s all right.”

Everyone agreed that it would be okay. So Agnes left, carrying her cake as though it was a priceless treasure.

Tony said that after she left there was total silence in the room. “Here were all these prostitutes, Harry & me,” he said, “and since I had been acting as the M.C. the next move seemed to be mine.”

So, I said, “Let’s pray. Then I prayed for Agnes. I prayed for her salvation. I prayed that her life would get straightened out. I prayed that she would really have a happy birthday.”

“After I finished, Harry grabbed me by the shoulder and said, ‘You didn’t tell me you was a preacher.’ I said, ‘I’m not, Harry. I’m just a Christian and I just go to church.’”

Harry said, “What kind of a church do you go to?” Tony said, “I go to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:00 in the morning.” “No you don’t,” said Harry. “There ain’t no church like that. If there was, I’d go to it, too.”

That’s quite an inspiring story, isn’t it?

But let me ask you, “Is it right for any Christian to throw any party for a prostitute? Is it appropriate to pray for her to have a “happy birthday”?

Some might wonder about that. But it certainly is appropriate to pray for her salvation and for her life to be straightened out. When people are “lost” we must be diligent in praying for them and their relationship with their God.

But when it comes right down to it, we ought to ask this question too:

Is it right for any Christian to throw any party for a complete stranger? Is it appropriate to pray to God for that stranger to have a “happy birthday?”

Is it right for any Christian to throw any party to simply “Celebrate God?

Why do we “celebrate God?”

How do we pray for people we both know and do not know who are going through difficulties in life and who are probably not too inclined to be “celebrating God who is daily celebrating them?”

The natural response when we see someone who is sick, or going through tough times, or family difficulties is to say, “We are praying for you.”

But have you ever found yourself wondering, “What is the best thing to pray for in this situation?” Sometimes it is hard to know just what to pray. And doubts can arise when we pray earnestly, and we don’t get the answers that we want.

Sometimes we pray for people who are sick, and they don’t get better.

Or we pray for a marriage to be healed, and the couple gets a messy divorce.

Or we pray for a couple to have a healthy child, and a handicapped child is born.

Why “celebrate God?”

I cannot sit here and give you any easy answers as to why this ought to happen.

But what I don’t know about prayer doesn’t discourage me.

Because the way I have seen prayers answered, and the way lives have been changed as a result of prayer, gives me so much encouragement that I am so absolutely convinced the most important thing we can do in times of difficulty and ease and abundance is to “absolutely celebrate God” through our prayers.

Prayer puts us in touch with God. And it’s important for us to come to God and express our gratitude for our life, needs and the deepest longings of our hearts.

Psalm 8 Names of God Bible

Psalm 8

For the choir director; on the gittith;[a] a psalm by David.

Yahweh, our Adonay, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

Your glory is sung above the heavens. [b]
From the mouths of little children and infants,
    you have built a fortress against your opponents
        to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens,
    the creation of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have set in place—
        what is a mortal that you remember him
            or the Son of Man that you take care of him?
        You have made him a little lower than yourself.
        You have crowned him with glory and honor.
        You have made him rule what your hands created.
        You have put everything under his control:
            all the sheep and cattle, the wild animals,
            the birds, the fish,
            whatever swims in the currents of the seas.

Yahweh, our Adonay, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

It bears repeating as many times as it can be, ought to be, repeated;

Birthdays are a time for thankfulness.

Birthdays are a fantastic time to contemplate more positive things. 

There is so much complaining, strife, and conflict that swirls around us.

It is easy to be pulled down into focusing on troubles and trials and take people and things for granted.

Birthdays provide an opportunity to thank God for the life of a person who is made in the image of the God of the universe and is an amazing creation.

How important is it for us to “celebrate God celebrating us” to remember God is the one who should be the focus of a birthday?

When we celebrate God celebrating someone else’s life, what are we in actuality doing?

We are remembering that our Creator’s image is permanently stamped upon this singularly unique person, and we can thank God for his gift of their life.

Consider this illustration;

Tony Campolo tells about another time that he drove to Valley Forge, PA, where he was to be the featured speaker at the college there.

A few minutes before he was to speak several men took him into a back room and began to pray for him, that God would bless him and use his speech to accomplish His will.

While they were praying, one man also prayed, “And Lord, about Burt Harris.

Lord, Burt Harris needs you badly. He lives in that trailer down the street & he is considering leaving his wife & family. Lord, if you could just get through to Burt Harris…that would be great. Please, Lord.” And then he went on with his prayer.

Listening as the man prayed, Tony thought, “It’s strange that he should pray that here.” Soon the prayers were finished & Tony went out & made his speech to what proved to be a very appreciative audience.

After finishing, Tony got into his car & started toward home. But just at the edge of town he came upon a hitchhiker. He said that he doesn’t usually pick up hitchhikers, but for some reason he decided to pull over & pick the man up.

The man got into the car, & as they headed toward the highway Tony asked his name. The man said, “Burt Harris”.

Immediately, Tony stopped the car, turned it around & headed the opposite direction. The man stared at him & said, “What are you doing?” Tony said, “I am taking you back to your wife and family whom you are trying to leave.”

The man turned white! He never said another word – just sat speechless as Tony drove him straight back to his trailer. At that, the man asked, “How do you know where I live?” Tony answered, “God told me.” (In a way He really had.)

Tony ended the story, saying, “I took this guy inside his home and God did the rest. The family and the marriage was restored.”

Wow! What a story. And it’s true, absolutely true!

Now let’s go back & review what we have learned today from the apostle Paul.

We have learned we need to be asking for God’s presence and strength in our daily lives, for His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be working deep within us.

We need to be “celebrating God” by praying for God’s will to be done, and not ours. We need to be concerned about more than just our “celebrating” our own lives and needs and trials, but too about “celebrating” those who are around us.

Human beings of all ages are wonders of God. Just as we are amazed by and ought to recognize the glory and blessing of a stately mountain range or the awesomeness of a crashing ocean, we should join with the psalmists in praising God for the absolute sanctity of human life. Birthdays are great opportunities to remind a person of the blessing he or she is and how they are a wonder of God.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Good morning, Lord!

Thank you for my Birthday, Lord!

Thank you for my life, Lord!

Thank You for a new day. Thank You that Your compassion is renewed every morning. Great is Your faithfulness and Your steadfast love, O Lord!

I do not know what all is going to happen today, and how much celebrating I will get done, but You do. So, I give this entire day as one celebration to You.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, Father. Energize me for Your work, because You know how happy I am and how tired these bones are. Awaken me to the wonder of Your salvation and quicken my spirit to the reality of Your work in my life.

Lord, my mind is filled with creative ideas of celebration, but they are also jumbled. Holy Spirit, come and hover over my mind like You hovered over the waters at creation and speak order out of the chaos!

Help me to cease striving and to trust that You will give me all I need today to celebrate what life You have given and to do the work You’ve given me to do.

I deeply believe You will be faithful to complete the good work You’ve started, and as I step out into my day, I declare Your sovereignty over every area of my life. I entrust myself to You and ask that You use me however You see fit.

This day is Yours. My body is Yours. My mind is Yours. Everything I am is Yours.

May You be pleased with my celebration today.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

How do we Imagine God to be when we, Sinners in the Hands of a Singing and Dancing God, Pray? Luke 11:9-13

What’s one of the greatest answers to our prayers? The gift of God’s cleansing, justifying, sanctifying, saving, empowering, and indwelling Holy Spirit! If our fathers know how to give good gifts, don’t you think the Father in heaven will give us and empower us with his Holy Spirit? So, pray! remember today you and I belong to Savior Jesus. Let’s ask, expect, and receive this incomparable gift.

Luke 11:9-13 New American Standard Bible

“So I say to you, [a]ask, and it will be given to you; [b]seek, and you will find; [c]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now [d] which one of you fathers will his son ask for a [e]fish, and instead of a fish, he will give him a snake? 12 Or he will even ask for an egg, and his father will give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, despite being [f]evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [g]your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

We are sinners in the hands of a singing and dancing God!

How do we imagine God to be when we pray? Is He far from us or near? Is He assertive or passive or aggressive? Is He disgusted with us or in love with us? Is He a mean old unjust vengeful man, or is He a kindly grandpa-type, or neither? Is He deaf? Does He have even one or both His hearing aids in? Is He listening? Is He even looking in our direction? Does He even care for us? Can He help us?

What you believe about Father God is the most important thing contained in your heart and your mind and inside your soul. It affects everything about you. Specifically, what you and I believe about God affects the way you and I pray.

Unfortunately, there are many wrong perceptions of God that are commonly believed. These misconceptions distort our prayers and, in some cases, prevent people from praying altogether. For too many people, God seems far remote, impersonal, and unknowable. Because of that, even Christians suffer from an inability to feel merciful, forgiven, nagging doubt, mistrust of God, and even bouts with hyper-perfectionism, suffer from too much of our own humanity.

Our prayers are shaped by the way we picture God. A dysfunctional picture of God results in a dysfunctional way of praying and preaching.

Jesus revealed this truth;

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13 ESV)

Those which had a father who was never around when they needed him or has experienced trauma, abuse, or extreme discipline will have a challenging time preaching about personally pursuing an intimate, loving, singing, and trusting relationship with God as their Father.

They will see Him as a vengeful judge – spewing out wrath and retribution when sinners do by nature what they do best – sin! That’s why we need a Savior! Jesus forgave all sinners – in the past, present, and future – on the Cross.

It is up to humanity to accept the free gift of forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus by asking Him to become the Lord of their life and repenting of their sin and rejection of Him so that they can be reconciled back to God and experience an intimate relationship with their singing and dancing, celebrating Creator.

EVER PRESENT

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1 NIV)

God is right here, right now. Amid our trials and tribulations, He is there for us. We are never separated from His love and strength. The great Almighty God, the infinite Creator of the universe, takes great delight and unsurpassed joy from our relationship with Him.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with joy;
He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins],
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17 Amplified)

This verse is quite possibly one of the most poignant passages inside the Bible because it depicts the heavenly Father singing over His children and finding joy, celebrating in their presence, just as any good and loving parent would do.

VERSE BY VERSE

Let’s unpack the verse word by word.

“The Lord” (Heb: Yehovah = the self-existent eternal one)

“Your God” (Heb: Elohiym = the plural supreme God)

“Is in your midst” (Heb: Qereb = the nearest part at the center of it all)

“a mighty one” (Heb: Gibbor = a valiant and mighty warrior)

“who will save” (Heb: Yasha = to set free in safety)

“he will rejoice” (Heb: Sus/Siys = to be jubilant, leap for joy, to find a cause to be exceedingly happy over)

“over you” (Heb: Al = above, over, upon)

“with gladness” (Heb: Simhah = to be filled with joy and happiness; to be exceedingly pleased)

“he will quiet you” (Heb: Charash = to renew; engrave His rest upon you to be silent about your failures/sins)

“by His love” (Heb: Ahabah = a powerful and intimate covenant of faithful and affectionate love)

“he will exult over you” (Heb: Giyl/Al = to emotionally spin around over you rejoicing (i.e., dance!)

“with loud singing” (Heb: Rinnah = joyful crying out by shouting and singing of many songs)

In Scripture, the love of God is often expressed using the Hebrew word ‘hesed,’ which means a committed love that never fails and lives in the will as much as in the heart. As noted, the word used for “love” in Zephaniah is ‘ahaba.’

It is also used in the Bible regarding the passionate love of Jacob for Rachel (Genesis 29:20), Michal for David (1 Samuel 18:28), the warmhearted love of Jacob for Joseph (Genesis 37:3), Uzziah’s devotion to gardening (2 Chronicles 26:10), Jonathan’s deep friendship with David (1 Samuel 18:3), and also the devotee’s delight in the Lord’s law (Psalm 119:97).

This is also the definition of God’s love for His people, a love that delights Him and makes Him contemplate YOU with wordless adoration, a love that cannot be contained but bursts into ecstatic singing (Hosea 3:1; Zephaniah 3:17).

The verse is saying the self-existent, mighty, and powerful Triune God is in the exact center of our life. His covenant of faithful and affectionate love has saved us from our failures, both small and large, and from our sins. It will cause Him to be silent over us in His rest as He jubilantly sings and celebrates and leaps for and highly rejoices and dances over you with great joy and happiness because He is pleased with you (i.e., our choice to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior).

Can you imagine God singing and dancing around wildly over you as He shouts in rejoicing? Having the joy of God is hard to contain! Savior Jesus is our joyful Redeemer! We celebrate God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, as He utterly celebrates us

“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

The Author of joy, is breaking out into singing!

The God of history is dancing a jig over you!

The pleasure of heaven is expressed over you!

You ravish his heart, for He takes great “delight in you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride” (Isaiah 62:4-5 NIV).

The Father’s passionate rejoicing echoes throughout the heavenlies. Jesus paints a beautiful picture of unbridled joy:

“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7 NIV)

Repentance is the catalyst for experiencing both joy in heaven and freedom on earth.

THE DELIGHT OF GOD

God promises that He “will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul” (Jeremiah 32, 40-41 NIV).

God takes “delight in prospering you” (Deuteronomy 30:9). King David understood the love of the Father and exclaimed to the world that “no good thing does [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NIV).

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 ESV)

The Bible tells us that God works together with us in everything to produce good (See Romans 8:28). When we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart because they align with His (Psalm 37:4).

As His people, we should also sing and shout because of all that He has done for us! He has guaranteed that we need never be afraid because He is our eternal King and Redeemer. Living the Christian life means letting Jesus live His life through us. He has taken away our punishment, defeated our enemies, and come to dwell within us as His new Holy of Holies.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)

Beloved – please catch this: Jesus – your forgiver, the hope of glory, and the Creator of the universe – lives inside you. He spoke the Universe into existence, yet so many Christians struggle with their day-to-day existence.

Since the Creator of the universe lives inside every Born-Again Christian, no one should ever have a hard time dealing with problems and struggle as though God were a million miles away.

What you and I believe about Father God is the most important thing contained in our hearts, our minds and within our souls. It affects everything about us.

Being right with God is based on what God has done outside of you and outside of me. Jesus chose to dwell in us when we accepted Him. Isn’t that wonderful!

He came from everywhere we cannot go to live in you and me. We teach our little ones Jesus lives in their heart, so it shouldn’t be hard for an adult Believer to appropriate this truth as well. He has come to dwell and permanently live in you. You and I are now His dwelling place, we are the temple of His Holy Spirit.

God holds us next to His heart just as a loving mother holds their baby and quiets them with their love – and even sings to them!

This image shows God is not some distant, nebulous force somewhere out there in the immeasurable and unknowable universe, but a God who assures forgiven sinners that He loves, and is with them, so they have nothing to fear – ever!

The Triune God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a “singing” God (Zephaniah 3:17). God, the Son, Jesus, sang at the close of the Passover Feast and then went to the Garden to pray (Matthew 26:30). Jesus also sang after His triumphant resurrection from the dead (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12).

God, the Holy Spirit, sings today through the hearts and lips of every Born-Again Christian who praises God in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).

THE FULLNESS OF GOD

The Bible admonishes us to live our lives “overflowing with thanksgiving,” and in doing so, we will grow “strong and vigorous in the truth” (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV).

He warns us to make sure that no one is led astray “with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world” rather than on Jesus (Colossians 2:8 NIV).

Within Jesus, all “the fullness of God lives in a human body” (Colossians 1:19 NIV). As a Born-Again Christian, we have been made complete in Him “who is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe” (Colossians 2:2-10 NLT).

This “completeness” is conditional to a certain degree in how we appropriate it. God has given us all of His fullness at the moment of salvation. However, it is up to us to stay constantly connected to Him in every condition and circumstance in which we might find ourselves so that we will experience His fullness daily.

The Lord God is in the midst of you. He will rejoice over you with great joy – even “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride” (Isaiah 62:5 KJV); so, will the Lord “rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in His people” (Isaiah 65:19 NIV).

God will rest in His love for YOU, content with it as His supreme delight because YOU chose Jesus to be your Lord and Savior (Luke 15:7,10).

He will no longer hold YOU eternally accountable for your sins because of the sacrifice Jesus made (Psalm 32:2; Exodus 33:16; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:12).

When we train our focus on God’s endless love, power, and deliverance, we can experience hope in times of difficulty. Jesus is our King (Zephaniah 3:15), our Savior (v 3:16-17), and our Beloved (v 3:17)! We are eternally held tightly in the hands and heart of a singing and dancing and celebrating God!

What’s one of the greatest answers to our prayers?

The gift of God’s cleansing, justifying, sanctifying, saving, empowering, and indwelling Holy Spirit! If fathers know how to give good gifts, don’t you think the Father in heaven will give us and empower us with his Holy Spirit? So, let’s ask, expect, and receive, then sing and dance, celebrate, this incomparable gift.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Holy and gracious God, you are the greatest of all. You are full of wonders that no mere human can comprehend. Lord, I seek to understand you and your ways so that I can live according to your commandments. I now humbly pray for your divine illumination in my heart and mind. Help me see what you intend for me to see. Help me understand what you intend for me to understand. Open my eyes and my ears to see you and hear your whispers. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

When You Struggle with Self-Worth, Always Try Hard to Remember this: You Are Somebody Special to God!!! 

From my very earliest of years, I have learned so much from just watching the birds. I was raised by my father in the rural country surrounded by the woods, and we also had access to seven sizable ponds, so birds were frequent visitors. One in particular was a Great Blue Heron which would stop there every year. And even to this day, forty some years after leaving the country, it still does!

Watching these birds teaches me so much about God’s love and provision. A variety of birds visit our trees and our yard in Maryland, included are Robins, cardinals, orioles, blue jays, and hummingbirds.  When I study how far some of these birds travel each year, I marvel at how God sustains them throughout their migrations. It’s a joy to scatter sunflower seeds to help meet their needs.

I’ve also seen graceful herons and colorful wood ducks visit the nearby water ways where I live. A few times, a bald eagle has swooped over the lake to grab a fish for supper. In the winter, I regularly hear owls calling to one another in our woods. Each bird’s personality reflects a different aspect of God’s creativity.

All the birds I see or hear inspire me to praise God for the beauty of his creation.

Yet as wonderful as all of these species of birds are, they pale in comparison to the value and importance we people, God’s Children, have in God’s kingdom.

God, the Author and Creator of our life, through Jesus, affirmed our value with this verse: Matthew 6:26 Amplified 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?

When You Struggle with Self-Worth, as all of humanity will from time to time, Pray! Always Try Hard to Remember this: You Are Somebody Special to God!!! 

Matthew 6:25-34 The Message

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and do not get all worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Today, we are going to continue with the subject theme of “Who Am I,” but I believe it is time to discover who the Bible says we are. We have discovered who the Bible said the men of the bible were, but what does the Bible say about me?

Have you ever felt like a failure in life? Have you ever experienced insecurity? Some are insecure about your appearance, your abilities, your personality, your life, your choices? Have you felt unloved and worthless? Have you ever said the following words: “I am not attractive? I can’t do all the things that person can do. I am not good enough. Nothing good ever happens in my life. I am a failure.”

If your mind is filled or being overwhelmed with thoughts of worthlessness, shame, embarrassment and low self-esteem, valuelessness, then it is time this day to address all of that perceived insecurity. Some may ask; “how do I get rid of insecurity that has been there my whole life?” If you have ever felt that way, you need to listen to the messages for the next few weeks, because the only way we can address all those feelings is by realizing that WE are God’s most prized possession! If God had to choose the finest thing that He has ever created – He would choose you and me! We are somebody extraordinarily special to God!

Those thoughts and feelings of being worthless and devalued surround millions of people around the globe and they are the very worst kind of lies from the devil aimed at getting you so down on yourself that you will never experience God’s abundant best for your life. These thoughts try to get you to feel you are just not or never will be “good enough,” so why would God ever want to bless me?” God does not have one child who is not good enough to receive His love.

There are a whole lot of people who never learn how to enjoy victories in their lives because of such low self-esteem. Jesus said that we are to love one another even as we love ourselves. If you don’t like YOU, how are you ever going to like someone else? Low self-esteem is a result of a lack of knowledge, a lack of what I call “GOD-ESTEEM!”. I am absolutely convinced that the core reason so many Christians live way below their privileges as a child of God is because they don’t know that they are blessed and highly favored of the Lord. My favorite saying is, “I’m healthy, wealthy, wise, blessed and highly esteemed, favored of the Lord!!!”

AS WE STRUGGLE WITH OUR SELF-WORTH

We often spend too much of our time focusing on and prioritizing, losing sight of just exactly and exactingly, how absolutely valuable we are to God. Many of us see easily all of the most beautiful and valued things in God’s creation and in other people. Yet we somehow will refuse to value ourselves in light of how God 100% loves us. Some of us get stuck, struggle with feelings of low self-worth.

“Gee whiz, I have this physical or mental health challenge”, “I have a different standard of acceptability amongst my fellow human beings.” “My value and my self-worth are automatically assigned to me differently.” “As mankind assigns me my value, my self-worth, it automatically becomes my standard of living.”

If you struggle with any of these and similar sounding thoughts of self-worth, let Jesus’ words bring you comfort today. Look at the birds outside your window today, consider how wonderfully, automatically, God cares for them. Then pray about how much more he cares for you every day. How valuable you are to him. How much more could you value yourself when you realize, come to experience, echelons far above mankind’s standard of judgement IS God’s standard of care?

Isaiah 61:10-11 English Standard Version

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
    my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to sprout up before all the nations.

As a change of pace, consider the greatest plans and purposes God has for you, in comparison to birds. Then take the risk and take one giant sized baby step out in a bolder more confident, greater faith, trusting in the value and worth which Jesus places on you, rather than choosing a negative thought pattern.

As you meditate on the truth of God’s Word from the Gospel of Matthew, you can begin to see your great value in God’s eyes. You can overcome feelings of low self-worth when you believe Jesus says you are greatly valuable to him. Slowly, and I believe surely and genuinely, those thoughts can be case aside into the vast, immeasurable expanse and depths of God’s great Sea of Forgetfulness!

CELEBRATE GOD DAILY EXACTLY AS GOD IS DAILY CELEBRATING YOU!!!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, PRAY!

Let us set aside what we perceive and believe to be our value is to the world,

Psalm 8 Names of God Bible

Psalm 8

For the choir director; on the gittith;[a] a psalm by David.

Yahweh, our Adonay, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

Your glory is sung above the heavens.[b]
From the mouths of little children and infants,
    you have built a fortress against your opponents
        to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens,
    the creation of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have set in place—
        what is a mortal that you remember him
            or the Son of Man that you take care of him?
        You have made him a little lower than yourself.
        You have crowned him with glory and honor.
        You have made him rule what your hands created.
        You have put everything under his control:
            all the sheep and cattle, the wild animals,
            the birds, the fish,
            whatever swims in the currents of the seas.

Yahweh, our Adonay, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

https://translate.google.com/

Embracing God as He is Embracing us! Celebrating as God Celebrates us!

Who is the Lord our God? What is His realm? Remember, we are talking of the God of creation; yet how quickly we reduce Him in our hearts to a person more like us. We are more comfortable with a God who is always there to help and guide us rather than a God of judgment, strength, and power over all the earth. 

Exactly how powerful is the voice of the Lord our God? Exactly how much can all that power influence our circumstances and transform who we are? Ought we not to be embracing all God’s potential? The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders. . .. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. . .. The voice of the Lord shakes the very wilderness . . .. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare.

Now, look at the Psalmists response to this God of power and might. In His temple everyone says, “Glory!” Are we to fear this God? Yes! For non-Christians this is a fear of quaking and trembling before a holy God who will judge all His people. For the Christian this is a fear of respect, of unyielding reverence, at the awesomeness of God who sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. The Lord our God will do it all.

Pray today that God would fill you with a fear and respect toward God our true King, who alone can give you strength and peace. Who alone can speak into us!

Psalm 29 The Message

29 1-2 Bravo, God, bravo!
    Gods and all angels shout, “Encore!”
In awe before the glory,
    in awe before God’s visible power.
Stand at attention!
    Dress your best to honor him!

God thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—
God, across the flood waters.

God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s thunder symphonic.

God’s thunder smashes cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.

The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

7-8 God’s thunder spits fire.
God thunders, the wilderness quakes;
He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.

God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”

10 Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
    from which his power flows,
    from which he rules the world.

11 God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Jehovah GOD is the all-powerful Sovereign over all the earth and worthy of our praise. He is worthy to be celebrated each and every day! Celebrate GOD as GOD is celebrating you right in this exact moment. GOD is worthy to be embraced in every moment of every day! Embrace GOD as God is embracing you right now!

I love to think I am a pretty important person but when I am honest about it, I know my realm of importance extends (hopefully) to my family along with (maybe) a few close friends, that is about it. The importance of even the most powerful person on earth, now or in history, is infinitely smaller than an ant compared to God in heaven. We are who we are, where we are because of him.

We can never over the long and winding course of our lifetimes over emphasize the maximum majesty and greatness of GOD. Our worship to him is not about us, what abundance we get out of it (though it should lift us up and give us a genuine peace), but rather, our worship is about GOD and who He is. A better recognition of God and his majesty will affect our religion, our prayer life, our life at home, at work, at school, in our neighborhood. We are his and serve him.

How ought we to feel in our hearts and souls in the recitation of this psalm?

If you were to watch a man, take a gigantic tree of three feet in diameter and snap it in two, like a toothpick, you would most likely stand there for a moment in amazement. And if he, did it by simply speaking the word, you would be in absolute awe. We stand in awe of the authority, the majesty, the power, and the sovereignty of GOD. Some sports fans will roar with delight when a football player jumps six feet into the air to grab a ball, landing in the end zone. But how much more should we shake with thrill and raise our voices with praise at the greatness of our GOD who made and controls the swirling realms of nature!

What does this psalm teach us?

Verses 1–2. For some of our modern ball games, we find cadres of cheerleaders whose responsibility it is to whip the audience of fans into a fervor of praise and encouragement for the players on the field. In a similar way, David opens this psalm with an indescribable, encouragement to praise the One who can do infinitely more than toss a ball around a field. Here is a “high five” to praise.

Now generally speaking, powerful and proud men do not want to yell “bravo” celebrating the glory to GOD. They are so consumed with their own power; they cannot see their power is nothing in comparison to GOD. That is why this psalm instructs the even most powerful men in the world, including our president, to ascribe to GOD all glory and power and strength. Although one will rarely hear the presidents of modern countries acknowledge GOD’s power and sovereignty over their countries, that is precisely what the Psalmist says they ought to do.

Verses 3–10The following verses describe the GOD whom we worship, with a special focus upon His power working through natural phenomena. By merely speaking, powerful men can accomplish great things through their influence. With their words, they can greatly influence both great and small change. It might be they can influence national and world economies with a thought of what they might or might not do in a given situation. We assign that influence.

But even these acts of power and influence are a mere pittance when compared to what the voice of GOD accomplishes. When we hear the thunder, and the roar of humungous waves that too easily toss around the largest sailing ships in the world like they were made of paper, we know there is a GOD behind it. We can hear the very voice of GOD. In nature, we come face to face with the reality of the Creator. The power of nature harnessed by men through thermodynamic and atomic processes is borrowed power—borrowed from the GOD who created all matter and energy, holds absolute sovereign control over every atom of it.

Using powerful poetic language, the Psalmist continues to describe the power of God, snapping huge cedar trees in half, tossing them around like toothpicks, and sending earthquakes that make whole land masses skip like a calf. These tremendous earthquakes can move hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and over (un)written history they have been known to level entire cities.

Thus, we see that God merely speaks and the inanimate and animate world obeys His voice. That is absolute authority. If He purposes an earthquake or the birth of another baby deer in a forest somewhere, He merely speaks the word, and there is an earthquake or there is another fawn to grace nature’s beauty.

Every doe wandering around in every forest in the world produces the miracle of new life solely on the command from the mouth of Yahweh Himself. He is intricately involved with every detail of His creation. Nothing is hiding from Him, right down to the tiny insect wandering about on the floor of the darkest and most remote forest on this globe. Nothing of mankind can be hidden either.

He sits as King over the vast oceans and the galaxies in this expansive universe. Kings control the land over which they rule, and our King maintains absolute control over every square inch of this universe. Surely, He is absolutely worthy of our praise and worship. He is worthy of our strongest embrace, celebration!

Verse 11The psalm ends with a comforting word for the people of GOD. The same power that moves the earth and causes a mother to bring forth new life will provide strength and salvation for the people of GOD. The Sovereign who brings about the turmoil of the raging volcanoes and earth-shaking quakes is the same Sovereign who blesses His people with the abundance of His peace.

As you and I meet with GOD in the light of the morning or the growing darkness of the evening and night skies, as our thoughts turn away from lies ahead of us or what just transpired over the long course of our 24-hour days, as we look to confidently move forth into the silent sanctuary on the Lord’s Day, please know that GOD will take His place upon the throne of our hearts and souls whenever we embrace Him as He embraces us, whenever we celebrate as He celebrates us.

Our bowed heads, our bent and bowed knees, our humbled hearts and humbled souls, our attentive spirit open for us the gateways unto our Father in Heaven. It is a gateway that swings both ways, for we can get to GOD and our GOD comes to unto us no matter who we are or where we are or why we are. Embrace that! Celebrate that with every last ounce of worship you can muster from within you.

The wonder of worship is the wonder of GOD’S very real presence. It is music from another place entirely. It is indescribable wonder and an undefinable awe which floods out all the darkness and the dust of sin and death our life contains.

We rediscover the innocence of children again as we embrace and celebrate and exalt GOD as GOD embraces, celebrates, exalts us every moment of every day. For our GOD opens Himself unto us. It is the most awesome moment of our life – more awesome than the greatest degree and measure of awesome we define.

Indeed, the whole of GOD’s glory is manifold, and this Psalm captures a great deal of how his glory is witnessed and worshiped in creation and salvation. To that end let us read and pray and remember, embrace and celebrate this, Psalm.

In the name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, let us pray,

Lord GOD, as I come to you today, I cry Glory, Glory, Glory! You alone are the only true and living God. You made everything and put it in its place. You give unto me strength and bless me with your peace. Yet, in your strength and majesty, you love me and care about me. Give me greater faith and a deeper commitment to live for you and to allow your Spirit to lead me, guide me and motivate me as he molds me into your image. Forgive me when I fail to be all you want me to be. Use me in your service in your own way. I pray in the name of Jesus my Savior. Alleluia! Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Celebrate God, Celebrating You! It is Always Good Thing to Celebrate God!

Joy is found in celebrating the Lord, not in things. Joy is found in knowing that he always accompanies, sustains, protects, and upholds and celebrates us. How can we not rejoice? God loves you and me so much he emptied heaven of his greatest treasure so we could join him in glory. Joy is ours because of his grace.

Philippians 4:4-5 The Message

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen

Let us just go ahead and declare it right here and right now before another breath escapes our body and is wasted in our not giving glory unto our God.

It is Always Good to be Joyful!

It is always good and joyful thing to be celebrating something!

It is always a good and blessed thing to be celebrating someone special.

It is always and forever our very greatest privilege to be celebrating God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for all that which we have.

Psalm 103:1-5 The Message

103 1-2 O my soul, bless God.
    From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
    don’t forget a single blessing!

3-5     He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

Christmastime is supposed to be a joyful celebration. It is a season for mirth and family gatherings and Christmas parties at our places of employment. It is a time for buying, giving and receiving gifts to show your love and respect.

It is a time we sing “Joy to the World” and other Christmas Carols. It is a time of expectation of a better future. However, in many ways, the secular celebration of Christmas can be very disappointing. we feel this when we realize some one, we loved will not be sharing meal at the table with us this year. We feel isolated by the Coronavirus. Fear and uncertainty of the times adds immensely into our discouragement. Is there anything which can be more painful than to feel that we have to “take it” “fake it” so we can somehow “make it” and go along with the crowd with the celebration of Christmas lest our vulnerabilities be exposed.

You should notice that I said the “secular” celebration of Christmas. There is, indeed, little to cheer about the current world situation and our economies.

Christmas buying is likely to be diminished. there are those who want to replace “Christmas” with a secular winter holiday. So, what is the Christian supposed to make of this season of Christmas? Will we hear another sermon criticizing those who have an entirely materialistic view of Christmas, who have replaced Jesus with Santa Claus? These types of inevitably sermons get preached every year, and yet, next year we will find them again and recycle them. So perhaps it is time to re-evaluate our strategy and thinking about celebrating Christmas.

The first thing the Christian has to do is to realize the season of Advent is not about Christmas at all. It is about the return of King Jesus in glory rather than the arrival of a baby Jesus in Bethlehem. We do remember that He was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem a little more than 2,000 years ago. There would be no Advent apart from the fact that He became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. We do celebrate this on Christmas Day. But this is not Advent.

The season of Advent is the time we prepare for the final event in world history, the return of Savior Jesus Christ. this Jesus, who is the Word, become flesh came into this world. He performed signs and miracles. He taught us about Himself and the Kingdom of God. He died on the cross for our sin and was raised from the dead on the third day. He ascended back to the Father on the 40th day with the promise that He would return in the same way He left, with great glory.

All of these events are in history past. In history present, He is seated at the Father’s right hand to make intercession for us all. In History future, He is returning to receive us unto Himself. It is in this we hope. We shall know the fullness of everlasting peace in the Kingdom. We know that we will rejoice there forevermore. We shall love perfectly and feel love perfectly. These are the four themes of Advent we reflect upon. Today, we shall reflect on the theme of joy.

We read our devotional text from the Epistle to the Philippians written by the Apostle Paul. It would be helpful to relate the circumstances of the writing of the epistle. First of all, it was written at the very end of Paul’s life. Next to 2 Timothy, it may well be the next to last epistle he wrote before his execution.

He is in prison in Rome, guarded by the Praetorian Guard awaiting an appeal to Caesar Nero. whether or not he was released from imprisonment for a short time and rearrested we don’t know. But the context seems to indicate that the possibility of his execution was a very real possibility deep inside Paul’s soul.

The Apostle Paul had probably spent his earlier imprisonment under as decent conditions as could be hoped. He was allowed visitors. but he was still in prison. He had spent a night in prison in Philippi which was not at all very pleasant. The Philippian followers could remember very vividly the beating he received there.

By this time, Paul’s newest confinement was probably under much more dismal circumstances. There was little to be joyful about, as far reaching as this world would consider even minimally joyful. On top of this, there seems to have been some disagreement within the Philippian church. It was strife in the church which considered Paul more than the many wounds he suffered for the sake of the Gospel or even his impending death. So, Paul had every reason to be gloomy. But he was not, he was celebratory. This epistle has a very joyful mood to it.

The text we read from chapter four begins with the words: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice. By Paul repeating the command to rejoice, he is here putting extra emphasis that we should be joyful. Paul tells us too always be very joyful. This means that our season of joy and celebration is not just confined to Christmastide, but the entire year. We are not just to be joyful when things are going well for us, but we are to likewise rejoice in the middle of our tribulations.

Paul was in prison, yet he rejoiced. We are to rejoice in the Lord. this is why we can rejoice even when we are suffering. Jesus, the captain of our salvation knew the greatest suffering anyone could endure on the cross. add to this the grave psychological pain of being betrayed not just by Judas, but by the entire nation of Israel.

Yet the Book of Hebrews tells us He still rejoiced, not for the suffering of the cross. He endured it. He despised the shame. But He saw that on the other side of the cross, there was joy (Hebrews 12:1-3) Peter admits to the suffering of his readers in 1 Peter. they were really suffering. He says it is necessary. But he also says that it is for a little while. (1 Peter 1:6)

This is nothing to be compared to the incorruptible and unfading glory (joy) which is reserved even now while we await the advent. We can now have joy unspeakable and full of glory. Paul here states the reason we have joy: “The Lord is at hand.” This can be understood two ways.

It can mean that we rejoice and celebrate because Jesus is with us in our suffering, or it could mean that we rejoice because the coming of the Lord is nearby. Both statements are true, and this gives us reason to feel comfort.

So instead of living a life full of fear and agitation, we can retain a calm spirit in our lives which shines like a beacon to a troubled world. We can think of John Wesley in his journey to or from (I can’t remember) Georgia that the ship he was on was caught in a terrible storm. John, who was already troubled about his soul was terrified as were many others, especially those who had never in their lives experienced life riding out the waves from a storm at sea. But on that ship were a group of Moravians who sang psalms and hymns of praise in the midst of the storm. this had a great and powerful influence on the life of John Wesley.

The Philippians could remember Paul and Silas who were beaten and fastened to the stocks in the inner prison at Philippi singing hymns at midnight. (Acts 16:25) Note that the prisoners heard them, and the jailor and his house were converted as a result. Peter and John who were beaten by the Sanhedrin went home rejoicing and celebrating that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. (Acts 5:41). Yes, we ourselves should rejoice in the Lord always!

Paul goes on to say that we should not be anxious but commit everything to the Lord in thankful prayer. God will give us His peace in the midst of our storm. We talked about peace last Sunday. It is also to be understood in the light of Advent.

This peace comes from Jesus Christ and surpasses all understanding. The world would believe such a response to suffering to be insanity, a kind of “escapism.”

However, an escapist tries their very hardest to deny reality even exists. The Christian affirms the reality of suffering. We do not play mind games to divert our attention from this fact. But we at the same time affirm a greater reality which the world denies. The Lord is coming. He is with us in our suffering. After a little while, our sorrow will be turned to joy. (John 16:20) We confess that all this will work out for good for those who believe in Jesus, because we love and are loved by God and are called to fulfill His eternal purpose (Romans 8:28)

We all need an attitude adjustment at times. We need to stop whining we are victims. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Romans 8:37) We also read in Romans 8:38-9 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul now tells us how we adjust this attitude in Philippians. Instead of being constantly being angered and fearful about what is really going on in this world, we should think about what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.

All of these need to be defined in Jesus Christ. And what is of better report than the Gospel (Good News). We should seek after virtue. But this is not the same necessarily in accordance with worldly ideas of virtue.

“Virtue” comes from the Latin “vir” which means “male”. To be virtuous in this world is to play the man. In the Greek world, the virtuous man stood above the fray. He was indifferent to suffering. To the world the term “meekness” is “weakness”. Yet Paul uses the word “gentleness” in verse 5 which is a close synonym to meekness to describe the Christian.

Jesus reminds us that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5). Our virtue is not that we are above the fray, but rather that we can maintain and celebrate our integrity within the fray, at least for the little while we must be troubled down here. Our rising above the storm will occur when Jesus returns. We can celebrate and praise him now, even in our trials while we strive to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (The Westminster Confession of Faith)

To sum it up, Apostle Paul reminds them that they had already been taught these things. They now need to put them into practice. Paul had modelled the proper behavior. Now the Philippians were to follow his example. If we would practice these things .01%, we will have peace in our hearts, now and forever.

It is this truly momentous joy which we celebrate at Advent as we prepare for His return. We do well to remember the implications of His first Advent to earth. We do this at Christmas. We also do this at Easter as well. We live in the hope of celebrating His second coming and prepare our souls accordingly.

Celebrate Yahweh the Father, Celebrating You!

Celebrate Yahweh the Son, Celebrating You!

Celebrate Yahweh, the Holy Spirit, Celebrating You!

Invite some family friends and neighbors to share in this wondrous celebration!

In the name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Precious Father, thank you for always being there and knowing what is on my heart and caring for me in ways that I cannot even imagine. I long to know you face to face and share in the unbridled joy of heaven with you. Until then, I truly rejoice and celebrate because I know with all assurances, my entire future is in your capable hands! Thank you in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

%d bloggers like this: