15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
This verse stands against what much of the world feels about Christmas. Christmas has become a holiday of shopping, giving and acquiring. American families spend an average of over $800 on Christmas gifts. Do we really believe that our lives do “not consist in the abundance of our possessions”?
I think we like to say we don’t care about possessions, but if we look at all of the abundance we have in our lives, it would tell a very different story. Covetousness is “marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions”1 Do you have a an inordinate desire for possessions or for someone else’s possessions? We can be covetous when we want stuff too much or are jealous of what others have. Can covetous describe you?
How do you handle your possessions? Ever since my girls were little, we always had them sort through their toys before Christmas and donate those they no longer played with before the onslaught of new toys came. As they have gotten older, they do the same with their clothing and we donate it to a local Christian organization.
We need to understand we are not defined by what we possess and be on guard against this thought process. If we want to truly live our lives as though our possessions don’t define us, we need to take a serious look at how much we possess. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to collecting stuff and this verse was very convicting for me this morning.
Take stock of your possessions. Do you have an abundance? Are there things you could donate or share with others? Are you covetous? Spend some time with the Lord and let Him search your heart on this topic and be obedient to what He would have you do about it. Find a way to be more generous with others so you can truly live your life not defined by your possessions.
Tags: abundance, bible, Christian, Christmas, generosity, gifts, God, hope, Jesus, love, presents
Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
by Corrie Ten Boom
I love that quote from Corrie Ten Boom. It really puts our prayer life into perspective. As we approach Christmas, our lives become more and more chaotic. Unfortunately, when more things get added to our calendars and to-do lists, prayer is the first thing that falls to the bottom of the list.
Our prayer time should be like the steering wheel of a car, steering us in the direction the Lord would have us go. A steering wheel is a necessity for a car in order to proceed in the direction you wish to go. Prayer is a necessity for us to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. Without prayer, the direction of our lives is going to veer off course.
We need to be intentional about our prayer time, especially as we enter the busy Christmas season. One way to do that is to literally make an appointment with God everyday. Schedule some time in your calendar each day to spend with the Lord – like an important meeting you can’t miss. Then truly set that time aside without your email, Facebook, cell phone or any other distractions and give the Lord your undivided attention.
We need to seek the Lord to know what He would have us focus on during this busy season. Let’s let our prayer time be like the steering wheel of a car – necessary in order to get us where we need to go. Let’s not have it be like the spare tire we only pull out in times of trouble.
The countdown to Christmas has begun! Our church has produced a daily advent devotional for the season of Advent. It is a wonderful way to focus on Jesus throughout this season and a way to prepare your heart and mind for the coming of our Savior. Below is a link to the blog set up for this devotional. I highly encourage you to sign up and use this devotional for the season of Advent.
With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, it is hard to not think of all the things we are thankful for today. However, I think true thankfulness only comes when we really understand who we owe our thankfulness to. Everything we have and everything we are is because God has gifted it to us. Take a moment and really let that sink in. Everything you have, look around at all of the possessions, provisions and people God has provided in your life. Then think about yourself and your health, skills, talents, intelligence, freedom, etc. God has gifted you with.
We would have nothing and wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the Lord. He created us and He loves us. That alone is deserving of our thanks, not to mention everything else He has blessed us with.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
The word ‘thanksgiving’ is the Hebrew word ‘towdah’. “It means praise, thanskgiving. The word depicts worship by the presentation of songs of thanksgiving and praise that extolled the mighty wonders of the Lord.”1 This verse describes true thankfulness that cannot be contained. Being so thankful that you can’t help but sing songs of praise to the Lord.
When we think of being thankful, we often think of simply saying thanks for all God has done for us. However, when we truly understand all He has done for us, it is more than simply a few words. The Hebrew word ‘todah’ is a “word that describes an offering of thanks or a sacrifice of thanksgiving”. It is an attitude of the heart that truly wants to make an offering of thanks to the Lord.
Are you truly thankful for all the Lord has done for you? How can you show Him your thankfulness today? Let’s keep that in mind as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow!
Tags: Anglican, bible, Christian, church, God, Jesus, love, Praise, Psalm, thankful, Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is upon us this week and Christmas is right around the corner. Holidays mean spending time with families. For some that can be a blessing and for others, the thought of spending a lot of time with extended family can bring on stress. Regardless of how you feel about time with family at the holidays, there is something we can do to make it more joyful for everyone.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Thanksgiving and Christmas with all of the preparations that go with them can be a stressful time for many people. We have more things to do and less time to get our regular duties completed. We generally don’t behave our best when we are experiencing stress. However, we have a choice in how we treat others. We have a choice in the words we use, the tone with which we speak and the way we act. We can choose to speak words of kindness in a pleasant tone rather than responding with irritation.
It is all about what we choose to do. The Scripture in Romans is a beautiful reminder that we are called to live peaceably with ALL, not just those who are easy to live peaceably with. Sometimes, those in our family can push our buttons easier than anyone else. However, we always have a choice in how we respond.
18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Let’s be people who reap a harvest of righteousness by sowing peace in our families this holiday season. One way to help you be a peacemaker is to spend time with the Lord in prayer BEFORE spending time with your family. Seek the Lord and ask Him to empower you with His Holy Spirit to be a peacemaker in your family. Ask Him to reveal ways you can bring peace to your family. As followers of Christ, let’s choose to show His love to those around us this holiday season!
Tags: bible, Christian, Christmas, church, family, God, holiday, hope, Jesus, love, peace, stress, Thanksgiving