I told my husband today that I’m pretty sure this is the most ‘un-stressed’ I have ever felt in the days leading up to Christmas. Well, unless you count when I was six. Then my greatest worry was if my brother would fall asleep on Christmas Eve night and I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to while I spent that whole night wide awake. My parents actually resorted to giving me a few sips of wine in hopes it would konk me out. Don't tell anyone.
I have a long history of sweating the small stuff and often missing the meaning. I wanted to have peace and a heart focused on Him but always, always came up short.
I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem actually is. I can think of a few contributors… I didn’t want my kids to feel disappointed. I always make everything from scratch. I didn’t let people help me very well. And what’s at the root of all of that? Pride.
For the month of December I have been spending my morning time in the Word focused on Immanuel – God With Us. When I started on Dec. 1st, I wondered how God would keep me on that topic for 25 days. But it has but a little bit like an onion – each day I find a new aspect of God’s presence to meditate on.
His nearness to us.
Over and over in the Word God promises “I am with you.” He is close. We are never without His presence, His strength, His help. Never.
God Himself is with us.
The Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The all-powerful, all-knowing One who loves me with His life. He is the One who is with me. Don't ever forget who He is.
With us and with those we love.
He is not far from each one of us… for in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:27-28
In the scary circumstances, in illness, in rebellion, in dark times – He is there.
The fullness of His presence is what I need the very most – even when I don’t realize that’s the answer.
Though the economy doesn't improve
and the world seems to be overcome with evil,
though the relatives don't change
and the tension remains,
though there are no answers I can see
and no hope in the world,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (paraphrased)
If all the circumstances of my life disappoint me, I can still be joyful in God my Savior.
He is at my side when it might seem like no one else is.
No one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. 2 Tim 4:16-17
Disappointed? Hurt? Let down by someone important? Sometimes being ‘without’ in people ways brings me closer to God and a realizing that He is really what I need and all I need.
I can remind myself, Lord You are with me.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me
Do you tell yourself the truth? Rehearsing who He is and that He is there. It's way better than rehearsing 'what if's' or 'what about that's.
God occupies me!
My life, my body is where He lives. I am a living vessel of His presence and He can express Himself through my life.
We are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. 2 Cor 6:16
As His dwelling, I belong to Him.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. 1 Cor 6:16
It's not my body. Not my time. Not my life. I'm His.
So that means my problems are His. My children are His. My marriage is His. My future is His. Not my own.
He intends to have rulership in me.
But you are not ruled by your sinful selves. You are ruled by the Spirit, if that Spirit of God really lives in you. Rom 8:9
The whole reason Immanuel came was to live in us and reign over us. He doesn't want for me to be defeated over and over by my weakness and pride. He wants me to live in authority over those parts of my old nature, ruling over my mind, my emotions and my will by His Spirit. (Lord, show me what that means day to day!)
God wants His presence to mark my entire life.
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you. Joshua 3:7
What is the most recognizable characteristic about me? I want it to be God’s presence!
So… that is helping me every single day to put things in perspective. How I need His priorities, His love for people, His forgiveness. I have all of those in His presence alive in me.
We are made full and complete by Christ,
who fills all things everywhere with
who fills all things everywhere with
.(Thank you for listening in on this sermon to myself.)