There is so much going on in the world today. It is so incredibly easy to become depressed, to fret, to worry and to lose hope, especially at this time of year. Currently, there are devastating news reports from the city I was raised in, acts of pure and sheer evil have already taken place. There are people battling disease and loved ones are sick and may be near the last stages of there time here on earth. The sadness all around us is seen and heard about everywhere, on televisions, on the radio, on the Internet and while talking to those we know. It’s almost as if there is some great plan taking place all over the world to keep people down and in the dumps.
I must admit, lately, I have allowed the news to bring me down. I fall back into the habit of letting myself focus on the negative rather than the allowing the positive to inhabit my thoughts and actions. It’s easy to do when your eyes and mind are flooded with it everywhere you turn around. I literally have to stop and remind myself of a few things when I find myself falling back into these old habits.
- There is more good in the world then there is evil. Evil wants to portray itself as if it has the upper hand, but it does not. This is especially seen when something tragic happens. Good always rushes is and begins to overshadow the bad. People rise up, they act on behalf of humanity and are motivated to do whatever it takes to come to the aid of those in need. The throne of God is flooded with prayers and those prayers are heard in heaven. I am so thankful that good wins in the end.
- We should not feel guilty about what has occurred or try and change the joy we have in our own hearts. That is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants a bunch of people walking around in a depressed state so that we are less effective or ineffective altogether for the greater good. This does not mean that we do not grieve. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything. However, we do not allow the grief, pain, sadness, or tragedy to swallow us up.
- We turn our hearts and minds to Jesus. Psalm 37 (NIV) says:
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future for the wicked.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
In times like this, the only answer is to choose joy. It’s Christmas time, a time when we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Be merry, have hope, celebrate His birth, choose joy and give it away, keep your thoughts and mind focused on Him. Doing so will keep you from falling into the trap of our enemy. He wants more than anything for you to live as if there is no hope.
Reminding myself this morning that is a time of true joy,