Summary: Depression is something we can all struggle with during the Holidays. This series directly addresses the causes, and counters with the Promises that God gives us to endure and overcome.
God’s Promises for the Holiday Season:
You are blessed…
A couple of weeks ago, we began a small series on the Promises that God has given us, and we were doing this as a reminder in the face of what the Holiday Season has become. A time of year that was meant for joy and celebration has become a time of stress, sadness and depression.
Today we want to remember the Promise,
“You are Blessed.”
When you think of people who are blessed, what types of people do you think of? (Wealthy, Famous, Athletes, etc?) or is it different (Families, Friends, etc?)
blessing: (n) God’s favor and protection
Often times when Christmas rolls around we start to think of what we don’t have; what we wish we had; what we wish we could give or simply how we want more to add to what we already have.
1. How do we miss God’s Blessings?
Antithesis to blessing: “I have nothing, I need more, nothing good ever happens!”
A young man was learning to be a paratrooper. Before his first jump, he was given these four instructions:
1. Jump when you are told.
2. Count to ten and pull the ripcord.
3. If it does not work, pull the emergency ripcord.
4. When you land, a truck will take you back to the base.
The young soldier memorized these instructions and climbed aboard the plane. The plane climbed to ten thousand feet and the paratroopers began to jump.
When the young soldier was told to jump, he jumped. He then counted to ten and pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened! His chute didn’t open! So he pulled the emergency ripcord! It did not open either! In near panic, he thought to himself, “Oh great, the truck probably won’t be there either!”
Anybody ever felt like, “What else can go wrong? Nothing’s going right!”
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
You might be sitting here right now saying, “That’s me! I do what God commands, follow Him fully, but I don’t feel like I’m prospering! Where is God’s blessings? The problem isn’t that God hasn’t blessed us…
A. We lose focus
We finished a series this fall on Facing Your Giants, and what was the first step in anything that we face? –Focus on God, not the Giant!
Piece of Paper Analogy and the X – If I have a piece of paper with just an “X” in the middle of it, can I see anything else on the piece of paper. It’s all we see, the X, and forget the boundless possibilities around it. Artwork? Writing?
When we get into the tunnel vision of focusing on the trappings of life (what we have, don’t have) we’re going to miss out on the everyday blessings, and were certainly going to take for granted the blessings we’ve already received.
What are God’s Blessings?
We could go on for days recounting the many blessings God brings, but today I want to highlight a few that are relevant to the “Anti-Christmas” Mindset.
2. Blessed with Grace
John 1:16-17 (NIV)
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Greek text says “Grace upon Grace” – Continual
This is one of the easier Blessings to forget, because over time we get caught up in what’s going on around us. Grace is God’s Greatest Miracle in our lives. There is nothing else that can erase all our sin, but Jesus’ Blood. And the funny thing is, we look at the obstacles we face and sometimes deem them impossible.
See what we’ve done there? God has already achieved the greatest miracle in our lives, and we’ve now taken it for granted. We’ve made that smaller than our finances, relationships, our jobs, our whatever!
Our perception of Blessing must start with God’s Grace. If we take that for granted, the largest blessing we’ve ever received, we will take everything else for granted. It must be at the core of how we view life, and we must never forget it.
3. Blessed with God’s Provision
A. God gives us what we NEED.
Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.