Monday, December 14, 2009
Current Study: Advent
Today’s Topic: Joy to the World
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:10-11 …the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” These familiar words from a popular Christmas Carol are ringing in my ears this morning. As I went to my laptop at home to start writing my Connecting Points, there on my computer was an email from someone in the church. She had submitted a prayer request yesterday in the worship service for a close friend who needed to be saved. The friend and her husband are going through a serious financial crisis right now and may even lose their home before Christmas. We prayed for her friend’s salvation and for God to reveal Himself miraculously to them.
Here’s a portion of the email that arrived in the middle of the night. I know it’s late, but I just can’t wait to tell you!!!! I don’t think I’m gonna get any sleep tonight, I’m sooooo excited!! Shawna has accepted Christ as Lord of her life! This is awesome!!! I am going to send her that book [you gave me]. We are going to go through it together at night. We already talk every night, so it will be really cool to be able to talk more about how God is working in our lives. I have always talked about how great my faith is, but it really didn’t hit home for her until today.
When I got home from church I found Shawna online and asked her how she was doing. She said her life was hopeless and that there was no way it was going to get better. I said that I put in a prayer request for her and I can’t wait to see what God does with them. She said that she felt so hopeless that she didn’t think even God could help them. I told her that God was the ONLY one that could help them and that all he wanted from her was to give Him her trust and let Him handle the rest.
By the time we got home from the Christmas program Shawna had made a complete 360!!! She was laughing, singing and just plain happy. She told me that she prayed and told God that she just gave all that was going on to Him and that whatever he wanted to do with it was ok with her. Not even 2 hours later they had a few things pull through and it looks like they are going to have a small but BLESSED Christmas and their house to boot! The best part is that she’s more excited about the blessed part than the stuff.
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” Hallelujah! This event illustrates wonderfully what the Lord was teaching us yesterday in church. JOY is Jesus Overcoming You. Joy happens when Jesus comes. Joy happens when Jesus takes over. Joy happens when we let go and let God. Joy happens when the Holy Spirit produces the life of Christ in us. Joy is not contingent upon circumstances. Joy abounds in the life of anyone who has Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and has their focus fixed on Him.
The good news of Jesus is for all people. Race doesn’t matter. Status doesn’t matter. Looks don’t matter. Education doesn’t matter. The angel’s announcement to the shepherds in the fields was for all the people, and it was good news that brought great joy. The Savior has come. He has come to save people from their sin and to give them hope again.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the joy of Christmas than with the good news that Jesus has come to save another person from their sin. From an eternal perspective, does anything else really matter? Rejoice with us, and give thanks to God. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”
Here is the list I promised to publish from yesterday’s sermon.
Top Ten Ways to Guarantee Unhappiness
10. Make happiness the aim of your life instead of bracing for life’s troubles and growing from them.
9. Don’t give yourself wholeheartedly or enthusiastically to anyone or to anything.
8. Take personally, with a chip on your shoulder, everything that happens to you that you don’t like.
7. Always compare yourself unfavorably to others, which is the guarantee of instant misery.
6. Don’t trust or believe people, or accept them at anything but their worst and weakest. Be suspicious. Impute ulterior motives to them.
5. Be right, always right, perfectly right all the time. Be the only one who is right, and be rigid about your rightness.
4. Be a perfectionist: condemn yourself and others for not achieving perfection.
3. Get yourself a good worry—one about which you cannot do anything but worry.
2. Lose your perspective of things, and keep it lost. Don’t put first things first.
1. Make little things bother you: don’t just let them, make them!