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Monday, November 12, 2012

Just in time for Christmas! When you reach your last straw...lay it in the manger!


(Hmmmmmm....This is a greeting we'll all be using pretty soon.) 

The words "Happy Holidays" evoke visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, eating huge meals,  laughing together at family gatherings and other holiday pleasures.

Everyone wants to be happy. We make chasing this elusive ideal our main focus sometimes, especially when we're planning our holidays.  The problem is, we can't ever create the perfect experience.

Something is bound to go wrong.  Plans change.  Loved ones struggle. Money gets short.  Disappointment comes. 

Oh, dear! "Happy Holidays" can sometimes become a struggle! 

The problem with "Happiness" and "Happy Holidays" is they depend on what happens to us...which is often out of our control.

Enter: JOY.  JOY depends on Jesus.  When we give our lives to HIM, we possess JOY no matter what happens!

Philippians is Paul's JOY letter.  He wrote this letter to a special church in Philippi.  The pages of the Book of Philippians radiate a positive message. 

The concept of rejoicing or joy appears sixteen times in four chapters in this Bible Book.  One would think Paul, the writer of the letter was in his "happy place" when he wrote to his friends.

Wrong.  Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from a prison cell.  As a matter of fact, in a life dedicated to serving Christ, Paul had faced imprisonment, excruciating poverty, beatings, abuse, and other hardships.  Paul had learned, however, whatever his circumstances, to be content.  How? Paul had learned to focus on Jesus.

In this crazy, stressful day and age, I would really like to learn from Paul! -- Want to join me? 
Let's study Paul's letter in the Book of Philippians! 

Along the way, let's talk about great ways to keep our holidays focused on Jesus, too!

Your Assignment:  1. Pray for God's guidance.  2. Read the whole book of Philippians.  3. Think about what you have read.  4.  Think about how the concepts apply to your life.  5.  Pray for God to help you remember to apply Philippians to your life!   

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