I just find it amazing that every references of Jesus’ birth resulted in causing great joy. One of my favorite verse about Christmas in Matthew said that when the three kings saw the star they were filled with joy. Then again here in Luke 2:10, the angel delivered the good news that a Savior has been born to us, He will be the Messiah and the Lord. And this great news will cause great joy for all the people. May the true joy of Christmas be upon us all this holiday season.
Can you feel that soon it will be Christmas? Few more days and the most anticipated day of the year will be here soon!
People may already already have a calendar when Jesus was born; to us, our guide to Christmas is our calendar; but to them, despite having the calendar that time, their guide to Jesus was the star. Christmas season is everybody’s favorite season – there are so much cheer and love and kindness.
Matt 2:10 is my favorite Christmas verse in the Holy Bible and it says:
”When they saw the star, they were filled with joy” – NLT
I find it amazing for God to use a special star to guide the kings to Jesus. As Christmas approaches, I pray that I will be like that star shining for Jesus for all the world to see!
Last week, while washing the dishes, God spoke to me to change my focus. I was like ”God did you really spoke to me?”. So when I went back to my room, I seek God again and He said again ”Change your focus. Focus on Jesus’ love”.
I know that God spoke to me but sometimes, we asked for more confirmation. And God was good! He confirmed His words for me through the sermon of our church pastor. In the sermon, I got a confirmation to focus on Jesus – on His persona, His integrity and character. I have to stop magnifying and overthink of the things I couldn’t control or on the what-ifs.
To focus on Jesus means to fix our thoughts to Jesus (Hebrews 3:1) whom we acknowledge and embrace as our High Priest.
To fix our thoughts on Jesus means to meditate on His persona; the incarnate God. Sometimes our thoughts have been focusing on our difficulties, problems, trials and sufferings. But when we focus our thoughts on Jesus, God will slowly reveal that all of the things we experienced as humans has been experienced by God. I remember reading an online article before and Jesus already knew that He would rise up Lazarus. But still, in the Bible, it was recorded that Jesus wept (John 11:35). This is to show that all the emotions raging in us, the things that stirred up our hearts – all of them have been experienced by Jesus. If I am lonely right now, Jesus knew how to be lonely. If I got rejected, Jesus knew the feeling of rejection.
To fix our thoughts on Jesus means to focus on His integrity. When He promised, He will surely do it. Jesus is not a son of man, His words are flawless – His words are perfect in every way. His words lead us to the truth, it is upright (Psalm 19:7).
To fix our thoughts on Jesus is to fix on His character – to fix our eyes to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Jesus knew that He would die on the calvary soon – but the joy set before Him of us being reconciled to the Father was enough to endure the sufferings in the calvary. Jesus gave birth to our faith based on what He did on the cross. Therefore, we can focus on the joy of what lies ahead of us.
Last Sunday, our pastor shared to us that God told her that she is in to be a season of worship, of singing songs and continue dwelling in His presence. She asked the congregation to join her in this season especially this harvest season. It is true that at most times that we are so caught up with our ministries, planning for church activities, doing God’s work and often than not, we forgot to dwell more in God’s presence.
In today’s meditation, God gave me the word ”Delight” from Psalm 37:4.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. (ESV)
This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible, but truth be told, sometimes too much familiarity breeds complacency. More often, I focused only on the second part, that He will give me the desires of my heart. I always seemed to fall short of the actual delighting in Him. To delight in Him is to make God our utmost delight and pleasure in our life regardless of the circumstances. Many times, we feel the pleasure in our life when we are in plenty or we have a new blessing or when we are newly promoted. I often asked myself whether I still take pleasure in God in other seasons of my life?
While I was reading the whole chapter of Psalm 37, God brought me to four ways to delight in Him:
Trust Him (Psalm 37:3). Last week, God spoke to me about surrender – trusting God means total surrender. We don’t just surrender the good parts of us, we also surrender the bad parts of us. I am still a work-in-progress. Every day, I lift up the things and emotions that I couldn’t control. To trust in God is to fix our heart on the promises of God for the one that promised is Faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
Commit your way to the Lord is me giving God the right to direct my life (Psalm 37:5). The issue with me is that many times, I struggle and think of ways to solve a problem. Then I will thank the Lord for wisdom. I got it all wrong. God doesn’t want me to struggle, He wants me to surrender everything, even the ideas, solutions to any problem and not to lean on my own understanding. Sometimes when the problem comes, we started to rattle our mind and think of how to do this and that. We rely on our own strength, our own understanding and when we think of a solution, we present it to God. And when it doesn’t work, we asked God why? I am learning this lesson the hard way, to be honest.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 34:7). Quiet your heart, your fight-or-flight stimuli, your brain, your soul in His presence and pray. How do I do this? I meditate on His word. I meditate on the phrases and keep repeating it until my heart and my mind calmed down. These are some of the phrases I meditate upon on – ” You are my Shepherd”, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”, “His grace is sufficient for me”.
Keep hope alive as long for God to come through you (Psalm 34:7 TPT). Keeping hope alive is fixing our eyes to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, holding fast on our confession of hope without wavering because the one who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Surely, the hope put to Jesus will never be put to shame.
Last Sunday, we have the privilege in our church to be ushered into God’s wonderful presence by JPCC (Jakarta Praise Community Church) Worship Team led by Pastor Sidney Mohede. Some of JPCC’s songs are instruments in my personal walk with God and have been my anthem in one of the seasons of my life – songs like More than Enough and Jesus It Is You.
Then they have included in last Sunday’s song list is the song Surrender from their newest album Made Alive.
While singing the song, the Lord spoke to me: “Child, surrender to me”.
And I answered, “Lord, you know I have surrendered my life to you”.
And He said again, “Surrender”.
Then I cried. The Holy Spirit revealed to me what God is asking me to surrender.
Then I said, “Lord, I surrender to you my fears, my anxieties, my insecurities and my doubts”.
And when I said that prayer, God has poured out the peace that transcends beyond my understanding came upon me just as what is written in Philippians.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
And when Pastor Sidney Mohede started his exhortation, I got confirmation on what the Lord spoke of me. It’s not just my life that he wanted, He just doesn’t want the good parts of me – God is interested in all of me and that includes my emotions, my thoughts and all my cares.
He ended up his exhortation with this:
Growing closer to God is not the result of trying harder but the result of surrendering more.
As a result, each day I surrender to God the good and the bad things in my life and I let my faithful God steer the wheel of my life. Because where would I be if not for His infinite grace and love.
Here’s the official video of JPCC Worship:
Update: I am following one blog site here in WordPress and have written a beautiful description of surrender – to surrender is brave.
Does your mind ever doubt if God really cares for you? Are there any circumstances that you don’t understand why it had to happen?
I had a couple of rejections two weeks back and somehow, those circumstances left me in puzzled why that has to occur. I actually ask God,
“Lord do you know the implication of that?”.
Of course, God knows. That is why He brought me to the verse that He is my creator and He cares for me.
As cliche as it may seem, God cares for me. I know that God cares, from the depths of my inmost being, I know that whatever circumstances I am right now, God does care for me as what He said in Isaiah 44.
I have been nursing my broken heart for the past week, but God never left my side. He kept on reminding me, that I may have these rejections over rejections, but God is for me. He will never reject me when I call on for His help (Isaiah 58:9). When I call, He will answer me, “Here I Am”.
If God is my creator, He knew what I needed today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
God cares for my feelings. When I felt sad, He comforted me. When I felt broken, He made me feel whole because I am whole in His care and love. When I am happy, He is happy for me.
God cares for what I need. He is my Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide. He will give each day my daily needs. He is my Great Shepherd.
God cares for my loved ones. He said in the scripture that “If I believed, my family shall be saved”. He is my salvation, therefore, He is my family’s salvation too.
God cares when I am sick. He died on the cross so that I can be healed.
God cares when my faith is weak. He is my strong tower, my refuge so even if my faith falters, He will strengthen my heart to have faith again, to persevere again. And when we are weak, He is strong, His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Cor 12:9-11). God’s grace and love are new every morning, His faithfulness never ends.
When my mind cannot fully understand why some things I did not perceive happened to me, I trust that God is my Creator and He knew my needs and He cares for me. God wants to help me in ways I might not be able to comprehend. But I know that My God is for me and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.
Sometimes, our identity in life is defined by our past mistakes. Other times, it is defined by our current circumstances.
If trials come, we call ourselves the “afflicted one”.
In a career setback, we call ourselves the “jobless one”.
When our health reports came unexpected, we call ourselves the”sickly one”.
When the desire for a child came later than expected, we call ourselves “the barren one”.
Dwelling in our circumstances takes our eyes off to who we really are. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to be called the “afflicted”, the “jobless”, the “sickly”, the “barren”. Jesus came for us so that in Him we can be called the “Child of God”. He came so that even though we may suffer afflictions, setbacks, sickness and barrenness so that we may have life despite all of these things. Jesus came so that we can have an identity in Him.
We are chosen.
We may experience affliction, but we will never be abandoned, never forsaken.
Jesus is for us. And because of this truth, we can put our identity into practice. Our faith in Jesus is secured. We are who God says in the Bible because of what Jesus did at the cross.
Blessed Sunday everyone.