Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
Testimony
I felt such peace overcome me as I let go of my pent up frustrations and guilt...I truly do not know where I'd be today if it wasn't for my Daddy God lifting me out of the darkness and into His loving arms! .... Read More...

Seeds of the Kingdom

Christmas Shopping

by Liz Griffin

17 December 2010

« Previous Day | Next Day »

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9, ESV

Paul and I lived in Japan for a number of years and went through the inevitable culture shock that expatriates experience there. Each year in December the shops were decorated with all the glitter of Christmas and I was very touched when I stumbled on a large nativity scene and heard some beautiful Christmas carols being played in a big department store. But this was misleading, because when December 25th came everyone just went to work as normal.

All the pretty Christmas trees vanished on December 26th and were replaced with an arrangement of bamboo and pine for the New Year festival.

One year I went to the American Club library and found Punch magazine with a cartoon in it. It showed a British woman, laden with parcels, who had been doing her Christmas shopping. She had found her way into a church and sat down in one of the pews. She was explaining to the vicar ‘I’m sorry vicar, but this is the only place I can get away from Christmas’.

I wonder what the time of preparation for Christmas with all the shopping is like for you? Is it exhausting and anxious? Do you long for the peace that passes understanding? The apostle Paul wrote of this in his letter to the Philippians when he said our hearts and minds would be guarded as we rejoice in the Lord Jesus, and present our petitions to the Him with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7). He then goes on to give the most wonderful piece of advice of how to keep this attitude of rejoicing within ourselves.

We are to deliberately focus our thoughts on things which are true and beautiful. ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’. The Philippians only had to cast their minds back to the things they had learnt from the apostle when he was with them. He had shown them what joyful Christian living was like and now they could imitate Paul’s life style. ‘What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you’. The joy that Paul calls for is not a happiness that depends on circumstances but a deep contentment that is based on trust in the Lord and is available always, even in difficult times.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, please help me to find the peace within my heart and mind that comes from our Lord Jesus, even when all around me is a frenzy of activity. May I focus my heart on the things that are valuable in your eyes and receive a refreshing within my spirit, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.

 

Sign Up Now

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.