Thursday, December 10, 2015
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The occasion was a city-wide art contest where the participants were told to paint paintings on the subject of "Peace." Well, you can understand that the judges were attracted to this beautiful "pastural" scene that a local painter had painted. It was a green pasture with puffy white clouds and this beautiful blue sky and a little boy going by with a fishing pole over his shoulder, little quiet brooks and birds flying around. Yeah. that one came in second.
First place? Well, the picture was of an angry, stormy day at the sea shore; the ocean was beating against the cliffs. The cliffs were stark and dark because of the darkness of the storm. The sky in this painting was black, green and purple and all angry looking. You had to look twice to even begin to figure out what in the world this had to do with peace! But if you looked halfway up the cliff, there were these little baby birds nestled underneath the wing of their mother. They were sleeping totally oblivious to the storm that was howling all around them.
The Christmas season is supposed to be about peace, right? But if you feel the holiday pressure like I do, it seems more like a storm and a stress which leads us right to those little birds.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Christmas Survival Kit."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Isaiah 30:15, "In quietness and trust is your strength." What a great verse for the chaos that Christmas has become. You're in the middle of it right now; the shopping, the entertaining, and getting all the cards out, all of the church events that are going on, maintaining all the family traditions that the kids insist you do. The guests are coming, family time, they're flying in, they're driving in. Oh, man, suddenly the Christmas season seems more like "Stress on Earth" than "Peace on Earth." And then God speaks, "in quietness and trust is your strength."
Now, if you are going to protect the heart of Christmas and not succumb to the hassle of Christmas, you're just going to have to protect a quiet spot at the beginning of each day where quietness and trust will be your strength. Think about those birds in that painting. Peace wasn't the absence of a storm; it was peace right in the middle of it. They found their quiet spot. Well, the secret is the same for you and me.
The more hectic the season is, the harder it is to get any quiet time with the Lord. And you know what? The more you need it. It would be tragic if Jesus gets lost in the process of you getting ready for His birthday. If anything, make your time with Jesus more your highest priority than ever.
See, Christmas becomes an idol if it crowds out Christ. And you need to be with Him to keep everything in proportion. Unload your concerns on Him. Focus on your relationship with Him. This is a love relationship above all else. Eliminate the overload. Ask the Lord if there are things you can eliminate. Simplify as you ask for His wisdom.
What's your Christmas survival kit? Here we go again! "Quietness and trust is your strength." It comes from time spent with the Prince of Peace. Who, by the way, brings peace to the human heart as no one else can. His legacy that He gave to His disciples as they were about to enter into the hardest days of their life was this: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:27).
Maybe peace in your soul has escaped you since you were young, and all the living, and all the accomplishing, and all the relationships, and all the experiences, and all the religion have never stilled the storm in your heart because you don't have peace with the God who created you. See, we've taken our lives from Him; we've hijacked our life from Him; we're away from Him. Peace is a person; peace is Christ in your heart who brings His peace with Him when you invite Him in to be your Savior from your sin.
What better time to do that than the season He came because of you…because of me. Why don't you tell Him today, "Jesus, beginning right here and right now, I give up running my life. I know You died for me. I know You're alive, and I'm Yours."
There's a whole lot more about beginning this relationship at our website. I hope you'll check it out today – AnewStory.com. Or if you want to text us at 442-244-WORD, you can let us know you want to talk with someone.
He will mend the broken relationship between you and God, and Jesus will give you the peace that has eluded you your whole life; a peace that is not based on what's going on around you, but who's going on inside you.