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December 5, 2021 12:54 am
As we begin this series, Commissioner Phil Needham begins by asking, “Can we trust the future?”. He discusses the optimist and pessimist we all are, depending on the situation. And in this case- depending on our memories of Christmas.
Series: CHRISTMAS BREAKTHROUGH
Hi this is breathing welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life and I welcome the words of life on Bernie Dick and I'm sure welcome everybody officially Merry Christmas we are launching our new Christmas series today with Commissioner Phil Needham. The series is actually a sneak peek of an audiobook. He's working on for the book he wrote called Christmas break through the wonderful wonderful devotional book.
I did it last year you read it, I have man I have a copy of it. I have a passion for audiobooks. People consume books in different ways. So were actually editing the audiobook form so that I'll be able to listen to it as soon as possible and I will become familiar with it again as I listen to last.
I'm excited about that. Thank the Lord as we begin this new series asking the question.
Can I trust the future.
He discussed the optimist and pessimist. We are depending on the situation in this case, depending on our memories of Christmas do you have a favorite memory of Christmas. Cheryl so many I mean I grew up in upstate New York so you know snow on the ground. Christmas morning snow angels snow angels now peeking out my my second-story window bedroom window and pretending pretending I saw conference understand while you are very force yeah you definitely the smells of Christmas for me this winter upstate New York home but snow angels and snowball fights and all the things that you do so sexy. Not something I necessarily miss snow, but it's always cool to see it when it's freshly on the ground once a year and it's gone the next day. I love it. Hello my name is Phil Needham, retard Salvation Army officer who enjoys writing books that honor Christ and explore what it means to be his disciple.
My email is Phil email@example.com. The five weekly messages that begin today and extend through the Advent and Christmas seasons are based on meditations from my book, Christmas break through. The book provides reflections and prayers during the Advent season from November 27 to January 6. The book is available from Chris books.com Christian book.com and the Kindle format from amazon.com. We start today asking the question. Can I trust the future you may want to look at Luke 2125 through 33. We humans tend to be optimistic until we turn pessimistic we go through cycles, sometimes within the same day on an emotional level.
Optimism is a feeling that things are going to get better pessimism, a feeling that the future does not look good which emotion one has can relate to a number of factors, high or low self-esteem, upbringing, the influence of powerful people in one's life, one a more objective level both optimism and pessimism can be based on observable evidence. You see a definite trend. You see the makings of a better or worse, future someone has said that the greatest difference between people is what they anticipate. You've probably heard this ditty before two men look out of prison bars.
Once all mud. The other stars what you anticipate tells you what your life is about.
It suggests what your vision of tomorrow is if your life is committed to that vision. You are working toward it. You are revealing who you are, no matter what your present circumstances. Our hope defines us. Advent is the season of anticipation popular songs are full of it from the nostalgia of I'm dreaming of a white Christmas to the longing for family in be home for Christmas. Oddly, some adults think the possibility of a really bad Christmas can be used to get children to be on their best behavior during the season. It comes in the words of a rather cruel Christmas song were all familiar with. You better watch out you better not cry you better not piled telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town get in shape kids or you won't get the goodies.
The longing for a happy Christmas.
Maybe one expression of our greater longing for a better future. By the time Jesus was born, the Jewish people had for centuries been longing for deliverance from their oppressors.
Their psalmist cried out for this deliverance and agonizing poetry their profits solid and visions of a God anointed Savior who would proclaim and grant the deliverance. Christians believe that Jesus the saving Messiah did indeed come freeing those who received him not from external oppressors, but from the oppression of their own sinful hearts that compromise lives there abuse of each other. The psalmist declares God's goodness to his people in the past and then asks for a similar future in which what they have sown in tears becomes an abundant harvest. He hopes God will come through for his people as he has done in the past and another Psalm.
The writer David isn't so sure. My God, my God, why have you left me all alone. These very words were repeated by Jesus himself on the cross, he was simply quoting from the song for affect to state some doctrinal principle about God the father was disgusted by the enormity of sin.
Jesus had taken on himself, turning his face at his heart away from his beloved son, Jesus the man was honestly crying out as a result of the pain of his forsaken. This, in the gross uncertainty of the days in which we are living as the world seems to be falling apart. Many people wonder if God has abandoned us when terrible things happen to good or innocent people. We wonder where the hope is gone. We sometimes wonder if God is there for us. Then we hear the cry of dereliction from the cross.
We realize that Jesus experienced this to and he cried out his feeling of utter forsaken this by God. He may be giving us permission to do the same.
To be honest in our times of despair to be upfront about our feelings of feeling God's absence, what does it mean to believe that God is there for us if we cannot honestly confess or cry when we don't feel it is so should we pretend piety to cover honest uncertainty. The psalmist then Jesus himself knew God would be there for them but they didn't mince their words when he seemed so far away so many things are happening these days to make people wonder if the future can be trusted so many questions unanswered so that he hopes dashed hope, however, still hangs around and we the people of God still hold it or maybe it holds us.
We are like Moses when he was leading a multitude of slaves to the promised land. They took many wrong turns lost their faith time and again almost turned back.
It took them 40 years to get there in the face of his own doubt and the doubt of his fellow travelers. Moses Saying one word. Remember, remember, remember how God carried you. Just as a parent carries a child remember how he has seen you through our times of helplessness and threat this Advent season is about hope for the future we followers of Jesus stand alongside the children of Israel with plenty of reasons sometimes to feel God's absence but with more reasons to believe his seeming withdrawal is temporary and he will be there tomorrow we stand alongside Jesus when he says in the passage from Luke that heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away. We stand alongside our resurrected Lord when he assures his disciples, he will be with them every day until the end of this present age.
Even when it doesn't seem so this Advent season. Let hope capture you let Christ the one who disarmed the principalities and powers be your hope when you come to the Christ child this Christmas Eve know that in this Manger lies the hope of the world come prepared to give yourself to him again, perhaps in a new way. Indeed, you are part of the hope please join me in prayer. God of hope open my eyes. My heart my thinking.
My life to the miracle of your actual presence in the world. Help me to own the miracle, even though some days I don't feel it or see it especially on those days.
Give me the courage to risk living with the hope as did Jesus at great cost and that unlimited benefit to the world.
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