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overwhelmed

Bah Humbug (a Timeless Truths blog post)

grinch

The stress of the holiday season leaves many overwhelmed. All the countless activities … all the countless presents to buy and people to shop for … all the countless decorations to put up (and then take down later) … all of it – every little bit of it – can leave many people throwing up their hands in despair and saying, bah humbug … I’m just not going to do this anymore! Going through all that stress just isn’t worth it! Why celebrate at all when it just seems like so much work (on top of all the work I normally do anyways)! Well, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. All the outward appearances of celebrating the holiday season can seem very overwhelming … and those outward shows of celebrating are – oftentimes – overrated. Sometimes the most enjoyable thing to do is to just keep it simple. Just keep our eyes on what’s most important. Just focus on the inward reason of celebrating the season. After all, if you don’t know why you’re celebrating, really, why celebrate? With all the sights, sounds, money spent and other distractions it may be hard to focus – to zero in on – what’s really most important … not just at Christmastime, but at any and every time – any and every day, really, of the entire year. And what, exactly, truly is most important you may ask … that, in a nutshell, is our personal relationship (or lack thereof) with Jesus. Hebrews 2:10, 14-18 (NIV) tells us, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered … Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” So, the timeless truth for today is to consider all that Jesus has already done for you. He has already made atonement for your sins – he has already paid the price so you don’t have to. You don’t have to be “good enough” to have a personal relationship with Jesus (no one could anyway no matter how hard they tried). All you have to do is humbly accept the free gift Jesus wants you to have … the free gift of salvation that he offers to you today. Knowing that Jesus understands your suffering since he, too, suffered makes having a relationship with him a good thing – because you can know and believe that he can relate to you on a personal level … and, with that in mind, once you have that personal relationship with Jesus you can truly have a reason to celebrate … not just at Christmastime, but any time of the year. No longer will you say, bah humbug, but, rather, you can choose to say, thank-you, Jesus, for the gift you have given me … thank-you for giving me salvation … I accept your gift and ask you to be a part of my everyday life … I ask you to be my Lord and Savior … and I thank you for giving me an inward reason to celebrate … I thank you for giving me the best gift of all, I thank you for giving me a personal relationship with you – every day of the year!

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Thoughts (a Timeless Truths blog post)

Do your thoughts tend to run away from you? Do you find yourself thinking about one thing, then another thing comes to mind, then another, then another, then another … and before you know it you’re stressed out and overwhelmed trying to think of everything all at once? Well, the mind is like that … it wants to have a “mind of it’s own” and dictate what you do or do not think about. Fortunately, as children of God, we have power over our minds, over our thoughts … we don’t have to allow them to control us, but, rather, we can “take authority” and “take charge” and actually choose what we are thinking about (or not thinking about). It’s a little known fact … we do have that power. When Jesus died and then rose again, He gave us that power … power over sin, power over negative thinking, power over worry, power over anything that would try to control us. Is it easy? Of course not! But it is possible! Remember, with God all things are possible … including getting a handle on our thoughts. After all, our thoughts determine our actions. Most often, we first think about something before we actually do it. If we’re careful, we will pay attention and choose those things that are beneficial to both us and others. Want more proof that we can actually choose “right” thinking? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Now, if scripture instructs us to do something, we can trust that God will enable us to do it. He won’t ever ask us to do something that He wouldn’t also give us the ability – the power – to do. 2 Peter 1:3 (ICB) tells us, “Jesus has the power of God. His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him …” So, the timeless truth for today is that we have the ability – the power – to choose our thoughts. With that knowledge, we can make choices that will help, rather than hinder, our walk with the Lord as well as our relationships with people, and, last but not least, our relationship with ourselves (the things we tell ourselves in our own minds that no one else is aware of). As we do this, we will notice our lives improving. After all, as we focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (all positive things, by the way), we will be focusing our thoughts on things that will build ourselves (and others) up, we will be combating all the negativity in the world, and, most importantly, we will be coming into agreement with what God has to say in his Word … a sure-fire way to be blessed, not stressed!

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