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Distractions

Distractions

Luke 2:8-14 8That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

  •  The news was supposed to bring great joy!
    • The Savior of the world came to take care of our biggest problem, our sin problem, the thing that could keep us from eternal blessing and relationship with God!
    • So why is this a season that is so often not full of joy?
    •  We get distracted—not just distracted—we get anxious and stressed out! So much so that we lose our joy.
  • The announcement of the angels also proclaimed PEACE ON EARTH.
  • Jesus came to bring peace. If that’s so, why do so many of us find it so hard to obtain?

For some, it has to do with inaccurate beliefs about what peace is. Peace is not warm, calm feelings or a life with no struggles.

Philippians 4:6-7 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Paul wasn’t saying there won’t be times where we are concerned or worried.
 Paul wrote the phrase in the present active tense, which implies an ongoing state. It’s the life of perpetual anxiety that he wanted to address.

– Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing

Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  •  This is saying that the kind of peace God wants to bring, comes from being a follower of Christ.
  •  The peace we are talking about can only come from making Christ Lord of our life

Because we live in a broken world, we will have feelings of stress and anxiety. But those feelings have a cause that is intellectual and spiritual.

We have broken belief systems and habits that cause the feelings associated with stress.  The belief that God is sovereign should bring peace to our hearts and minds.

Sovereignty is the term the Bible uses to describe God’s perfect control and management of the universe. He preserves and governs every element.

While some of us even are okay with the idea that God is generally in control, we struggle with the belief that He cares about our own personal life.

Psalm 139:1-5 1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

  • God is continually involved with all created things (INCLUDING YOU & ME), directing them to act in a way that fulfills His divine purpose.
  •  In the treatment of anxiety, a proper understanding of sovereignty is huge. Anxiety is often the consequence of perceived chaos. If we sense we are victims of unseen, turbulent, random forces, we are troubled.
  •  Understanding God’s sovereignty is good, but it’s not enough. We have to understand and believe God is good, too!
  • When we understand the sovereignty of God and His goodness, it changes the way we view the world.

We understand that He uses all things to accomplish His purposes.

Joseph and Mary went through many things that caused stress and anxiety.
And yet, they did what they were told by God, through His angels, to do.

Isaiah 9:6-7a 6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

 Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He wants you to have peace now, and He wants you to share that peace with others.
 That peace won’t come from spending your money just right. It won’t come from scheduling everything perfectly.

It won’t come from the removal of less than desirable circumstances.

It only comes from making God Lord of your life. That’s what Joseph and Mary did. They followed God’s direction, even when things didn’t make sense.

Passages to consider: Isaiah 40:28-31; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 4:6-8

  1. How did the sermon speak to you about perspective and pressure in this season?
  2. Read Isaiah 40:28-31. What does this passage promise? A) What does that mean to you?
  3. Take a look at Isaiah 9:6-7 & Luke 2:10-14. What has been your experience of Jesus bringing peace to your world?
  4. What helps you refocus perspective when you feel pressure? A) Look at Philippians 4:6-8. What help does this

    passage give you?

  5. How can you help yourself and those who are around you focus on Jesus and experience a sense peace in the

    midst of this season? Share practical actions for your context.

  6. With whom can you share the good news of Jesus coming to bring peace with God to us?

    New Series: It’s About Time.
    John 15:5; Matt 6:33; Psalm 27:8; Acts 17:24-32

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