Longing Pt.2 – To Live a Richer, More Satisfying Life
It’s the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
Matthew 1:18-25 NIV – This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
OPEN: A Sunday school teacher once asked her class of children: “What is Christmas a time for?” Many of the kids gave the usual answers—Jesus’ birthday, a time of joy… but one child responded it was “a time for sportsmanship, because you don’t always get everything you want.”
Everybody gets gifts they really don’t want during this season and several years ago “USA Today” conducted a survey among adults to find out what they do with that not-quite-right holiday gift:
– 31%: Keep it – 30%: Hide it – 13%: Toss it – 12%: Give it away – 6%: Return it
Every once in a while, everyone receives gifts that they’re really not sure that they want.
Gift: Webster’s dictionary defines a gift as
1 a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present: a Christmas gift | [ as modifier ] : a gift shop.• an act of giving something as a present: his mother’s gift of a pen. informal a very easy task or unmissable opportunity: that touchdown was an absolute gift.
John 10:10 NLT The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NKJV-Abundant)
Abundant – existing or available in large quantities; plentiful. excessive, profuse, rich, lavish, abounding, liberal, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, paramount, overflowing, prolific, extraordinary.
Life – Greek word Zoe (The God Kind of Life) – Not only duration of life but Quality of life
My Favorite Christmas Movie – “It’s a Wonderful Life”
In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” George Bailey had a gift that he wasn’t sure he wanted. His gift was the gift of life. And his life had seemingly fallen apart all around him. He just knew he was going to lose his business, his livelihood. He faced prison for something he hadn’t done. And as a result of all this… his family faced shame and poverty.
“At exactly 10:45 pm tonight, earth time, that man will be thinking seriously of thowing away God’s greatest gift.” Franklin’s voice “Oh dear, dear! His life!” Clarence’s voice
Clarence says to George, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives and, when he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Psalm 139:14 NIV – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The Life that God gives us is such an Extraordinary Gift
•••Just a reminder in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You’re important. You’re loved. And your presence on this earth makes a difference whether you see it or not.
Our Longing this Christmas
Every moment is a fresh beginning. T.S. Eliot
1.To Live a More Richer, Satisfying Life
Ephesians 2:10 AMP – For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Water to Wine – Are you weary and disenchanted with the bumper sticker, paper-thin Christianity? Are you yearning for something deeper, richer, fuller? Has the wine run out and you need Jesus to perform a miracle with your water? Are you longing for vintage wine from old vines?
•Jesus has something better than “cotton candy watered down Christianity.” There is MORE! Hunger and Thirst = Filled.
Ephesians 3:20 NIV – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Marcus Aurelius
(Proverbs 9:6 MSG) “Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”
95 year olds were asked – What if they lived life again what would they do differently?
- I would REFLECT more
- I would LOVE more
- I’d do more things that live on after I’m gone – Legacy/Eternity
•This is what I’m learning the older I get. Live simply & passionately. Forgive completely. Love generously
We cannot choose how many years we will live – But we can choose how much life those years will have
If I Had My Life To Live Over – by Erma Bombeck
•The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease.
If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.” There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.
2. Live Your Life Knowing God More Personally
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?””But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan. “Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.”I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
Rom. 5:10-11 (NLT) “We were restored to friendship with God by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, and we will be delivered from eternal punishment by His life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us…”
“If there is no God, nothing matters. If there is a God, nothing else matters.” HG Wells
Phil. 3:7-8 NIV – 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
My Prayer for you
Ephesians 1:17 NIV “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, you’ll surrender to popular opinion, money, resentment, or fear, to your own pride, lust, and ego.
Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction.
So this Advent time give it all to God: your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Christ in the driver’s seat of your life, and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.
3. Live Your Life Loving People More
I John 4:7-8, 21 NIV – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” Bob Hope
Every Person We Encounter is either….
•A Victim to Exploit •A Problem to Avoid •A Person to be Loved
John 13:34-35 NIV – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa
“God sees the best in the worst of us, knows the worst about the best of us, and loves us all without condition or exception.”
•When you know that God loves you unconditionally, you can love people unconditionally.
I John 3:18 NIV – Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Love is intentionally doing something – caring or helpful for another person, regardless of the cost or consequence.
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” Charles M. Schulz
Proverbs 3:27-28 MSG – “Never walk away from someone who deserve help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”
“The significance of the law of love is precisely that it is not just another law, but a law which transcends all law.”- Reinhold Niebuhr
(Galatians 5:13-15 NIV) “Serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
The more of God’s love we give away, the more he supplies. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Love always finds a way: selfishness always finds an excuse!
God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. You were put on Earth to make a contribution.
You weren’t created just to consume resources – to eat, breath, and take up space. God designed you to make a difference with your life. God wants to you to give something back!