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“Keep Calm…Christmas is Coming” is the theme of this year’s Singing Christmas Tree. We have adapted that, of course, from the popular phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On” that was first developed by the British government in preparing her citizens for the Second World War. As I contemplated this phrase, I began to think what an appropriate phrase this is to communicate the truths of Christmas. In light of Jesus Christ bursting into our world to bring hope, joy, peace, and most of all salvation, we of all people, believers in Christ, should “Keep Calm and Carry On.” So, this Christmas Season, I am endeavoring to remind us of those reasons associated with Jesus’ coming that we have to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Last week, we said that we should keep calm and carry on because God is here! Isaiah prophesied that His name would be called Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” Because God is always with us, we should keep calm and carry on.
What should we do when we are faced with problems? Do most of us react like David in 1 Samuel 23? Going to God in prayer? When we are faced with issues in our life we need to 1) Go to God FIRST. 2) Pray specifically. 3) Enlist the payers and support of other Christians. 4) When you receive the answer, move ahead.
We can all agree that life is hard. In fact, it can be downright excruciating. Sometimes we don't know how we're going to go on.....how we could take even one more thing. Paul gives us the secret of how to make it.......the secret of how he made it in spite of constant hardship and persecution.
We can easily lose our joy and confidence in the Lord when we get our focus off of God's goodness and choose to dwell on the negatives and our problems. When we do this, we become discouraged and that discouragement leads to a negative self focus. This is what happened to Israel after the miracle of the deliverance at the Red Sea. In just a few short days the people went from worshipping to whining.
Again, this morning, our text comes from the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah. We have used Jeremiah’s prophecy in these last weeks to help us with some questions that all of us have. We have, as a result, called this series of messages “Life’s Ultimate Questions.” Today, we ask the question: “Is anything too difficult for God?” It just so happens to come from my very favorite story of the book of Jeremiah, and maybe even the whole Old Testament. As a matter of fact, God used this passage mightily in my life in to confirm my calling to be your pastor eight years ago.
Part Two! Tear Down and Destroy! Once you have identified and rooted out the sin, once you have torn out the stumps in your life's fields, now you must tear down standing influences... get away from those who want to pull you back to the swamp, and then destroy the things that anchor you to the past... Joshua walks us through the next two steps that lead us to personal freedom and will end with a life of victory...
Now, like any medications we take there are always those unwanted side-effects we have to contend with. In the same way, when a church is taking a daily dose of God’s M.E.D.S. (missions, evangelism, discipleship, service) there will be side-effects as well; side-effects of both positive and negative problems due to growth and side-effects of problems due to external and internal persecutions.
We need a winning attitude based on faith in God's promises in order to fight the battles of life.
Esau recognizes that the blessing has gone to Jacob and that Jacob is sent by their father, Isaac, to secure a wife from their descendants. Esau's response is to try and acquire what Jacob has received by doing something similar. It is a picture of what takes place when we are unwilling to receive God's blessing in the way that God has already ordained that we would receive it. Our sin leads us to use methods to secure God's covenant blessing--life--by utilizing our methods or means, when God has already established the means by which we receive his blessing from him.