Being Joyful Like The Shepherds

Series: Seasonal Attitudes To Have All Year Long

Topic: Joy, Luke 2:8-20

20151220FBCAM

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

This holiday season we’ve been looking at seasonal attitudes to have all year long. During the stressful holidays, we especially need cultivate in our hearts the attitudes of contentment, thankfulness, peace, gentleness, and patience. But a person could have all those attitudes and still miss the most important attitude to have this season—joy.

 

If you look at Christmas decorations or cards, you’ll find that “joy” is often a word found somewhere on them. Here’s a few quotes from cards that I found:

 

  • May Peace, Joy, Hope and Happiness be yours during this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year

 

  • Wishing you a Joyous Christmas and a New Year filled with Peace and Happiness

 

  • Best Wishes for Peace and Joy this Christmas and a New Year of Health, Happiness and Prosperity

 

What do you suppose most people would say is the reason that they have joy during the holidays? I made a list—

 

1. Some people say that they like the decorations.

2. Others find their joy in the Christmas parties.

3. Children are often happy to receive Christmas gifts.

4. Many people are excited about being together with family.

5. Kids and college students rejoice in having a break from school.

 

I am sure we could add to that list, but it’s clear that people can have many reasons for being joyful during the holidays. But notice that the decorations, parties, gifts, family get-togethers, and school breaks all come to an end. The joy they bring ends, sometimes with a hangover!

 

Christians, however, have a source of joy that will never end. It’s the same joy that came to the shepherds who witnessed Jesus’ birth over 2,000 years ago. What gave them joy? It was a joyful message, followed by a joyful encounter.

Continue reading

Habakkuk’s Strength In Trying Times—Habakkuk 3:1-19

Series: Trusting God in Trying Times

20151018FBCAM

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Where do we get the strength to survive in trying times—whether it’s a personal trial like the death of a loved one—or it’s a national trial, like the sliding of our nation toward’s Gomorrah?

 

Habakkuk, as we have seen, was a prophet of God who lived during very trying times in the nation of Judah. In this last chapter, he encourages the remnant of believers to find their strength in the Lord.

 

Habakkuk 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. 

 

This whole chapter is a prayer, but it’s a prayer that is also a song. The odd word, “Shigionoth,” [SHA-GUY-AH-NOTH] probably refers to some sort of musical notation or instrument.  At the end of the chapter, we have confirmation that this is also a song:

 

Habakkuk 3:19b To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

 

Why did Habakkuk write this prayer-song down? Well, one benefit of writing a prayer is that it can reach and encourage more people. That’s what Habakkuk was doing here. He wanted to encourage the remnant of Judah (who were about to be conquered by the Babylonians) with a prayer of praise to God. 

 

He wanted to remind them where to turn in the dark times ahead. Then he put his prayer into a song form so that it could be memorized easily and sung by the captive remnant like we might sing a hymn today to lift our spirits.

 

Of course, this prayer-song also was inspired by the Holy Spirit, so it became part of God’s Word and now it can encourage us today. 

 

Today many Christians are afraid of losing our nation. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I do know where to turn for strength even if the worst possible things happen to me, my family, and my nation. 

 

Habakkuk knew where to find strength in trying times. First, he teaches us that…

Continue reading