What is it about waking up early to see that snow has fallen while you were sleeping? As I stand on the porch, I don’t hear anything. Just a calm quietness. All around are fresh patches of snow that haven’t been disturbed by any critters, neither the two footed nor four footed kind. The white is so bright that even in the early hours, the darkness seems to evaporate. The cold is beginning to seep in, but I remain outside feeling no motivation to begin my day scurrying from this activity to the next. I’d rather just stand and enjoy because……it’s just so…..peaceful.
As Jesus is talking to HIS disciples in John 14, HE promises in verse 27:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”
If you are like me, you can so easily find yourself asking (or in my case, demanding), “Jesus, where is that peace!?!”
And if you’re like me, you might be just as apt to be reminded by Him that Paul told you where that peace is in Philippians 4:4-7:
“Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The LORD is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So simple right? It’s right there for the receiving, and Paul laid out exactly what I need to do to have that peace.
But it’s often easy to believe the world: I need to make more money. AND build a bigger house. AND bake food for all the neighbors within an 80 mile radius. AND participate in the 12 Dinner Parties of 2018. AND go into debt in order to have ample things for my family and friends under the tree. AND either have myself or my children participate in every activity offered in our area. AND…. AND…..no! There are no “ANDs” for what I need to do, and the list is so simple.
Rejoice. It’s so simple, he even repeats himself….again, I will say, rejoice! Pray with a thankful heart.
That’s it. It doesn’t require more money. It doesn’t require more time working at the office or around the house. It doesn’t require any great skills. It transcends age, work experience, or any other demographic. Simply rejoice and pray with a thankful heart. THEN, that peace will come.
So simple, but I get so caught up in other things that I miss it. I think that’s why I love this time of year. Not just because it’s a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, but I find myself finishing the story and moving ahead to what He did for me on the cross. Knowing I would still struggle with certain sins, still struggle with wanting to “be good enough”, still struggle with dying to self, My Savior still chose to leave His throne and come in the form of a baby, the weakest creation, to submit Himself to His Father’s will, to place Himself at the mercy of those around Him to care for His needs as an infant and child, to grow in wisdom and stature, to face trial upon trial, to be persecuted, to refrain from commanding His army of angels to come to His defense, to walk that painful path to His death, and to conquer death……..simply to give me life everlasting. Not only me, but anyone who will repent and call upon HIS name and Believe.
Rejoice. Again, I will say, rejoice!! Webster defines rejoice this way, “to experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to exult.”
When I consider Christ lying in that humble manger, I can’t help but rejoice and pray with thanksgiving for what HE willingly has done for me, and as HE promised, HIS peace comes. Filling me completely. Causing my anxieties to evaporate. Without fanfare. Quietly. So that in the midst of the chaos of the world…..I am peaceful. Just like the snow.
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MCC Elders and Connectors are hosting a Starting Point Lunch on January 13th after 2nd service. The luncheon is a great way to learn more about MCC, ask questions and meet new people! We encourage anyone who is considering making MCC their church home to attend and get connected! Contact Elizabeth to RSVP today.
For any ladies interested in prophetic literature or wanting to begin a Bible Study in the New Year, MCC is starting a new Bible Study in January! What is the heart behind the roar of the Lion from Zion? In this 16-week study through the book of Amos, beginning January 7th and meeting Monday mornings at 10 a.m., you will learn about a loving God who prepares His people to live forever. We hope you will consider joining us for this fantastic study! Child care is provided. Please contact Elizabeth Allan to learn more.
If you have ever felt like you don't fit in, that you aren't good enough, that everyone else has it together while you struggle to even show up, then we invite you to join us. We want you to learn that we have a God who lifts the pain of worthlessness and rejection! Starting Thursday, January 17th, Sara Ghormley and Elizabeth Allan will lead discussions as we prayerfully work through Ed Welch's book, "Shame Interrupted". We begin at 6:30 and end at 8, and will meet for 16 weeks. Cost is $16 per person, but scholarships are available. Please contact Elizabeth and let her know so she can order a book for you.
Would you like to learn how to respond to conflict Biblically? Pastor Frank Malizzo, Elizabeth Allan and Spencer Brown are hosting a Peacemaking as Evangelism Workshop at MCC on January 25th-26th. The class will highlight Biblical tools that can be used for work, in the community, in the home and as a tool for evangelism. “Conflict presents unique opportunities to serve other people, we can demonstrate the love of Christ and give witness to the gospel even to people who are attacking us.” Ken Sande. Contact Elizabeth to learn more.