Journal Entry ~ 12/22/17
1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! - Psalm 95:1-2
In the middle of this Psalm about singing praises to the Lord is a word of caution about hardening our hearts. In verse 7-8, we read: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. The greatest obstacle to worship is when our hearts are hardened. We’re all susceptible to the hardening of our hearts, and even as Christians, we’ve all experienced it to some degree. It’s when we choose our own will over God. When we choose our own way instead of God’s way, our hearts become callous and unfeeling. If we continue to choose our will over His, our hearts grow cold, uncompassionate, unemotional, and unsympathetic. It’s important to pay attention to the ways we become insensitive to God, or where our hearts become hard, especially during the Christmas season.
One of the major ways we can harden our hearts this time of year is quarreling. It's sad to say, but it's true. We have a tendency to quarrel more this time of year. As we spend more time interacting with family members we may not necessarily have as much contact with throughout the rest of the year, we need to remember the way we speak to other people can harden our heart. Our mouths can get us into trouble when we have a set of expectations for our plans or our interactions with others. Let other people win. Let other people choose the plan. Let insensitive or harsh comments roll off your back. Shine the light of Jesus during Christmas celebrations by choosing to love when the urge to quarrel kicks in.
Distraction is another way our hearts are hardened during this holiday season. When the pressures of the world to celebrate Christmas in a certain way become more attractive to you than the ways of God, we are in danger of our hearts becoming hardened. When we let the voices around us distract us from listening to the God’s voice, then we have let our hearts be distracted. What happens as a result? Read verse 11 - God prevents us from getting rest. We cannot find His peace and strength when we are distracted, which means we have a difficult time representing Christ to those with whom we spend Christmas. Have you ever noticed how short you become with those around you when you have too much on your plate? That’s a good indication you are letting the world distract you from the true meaning of Christmas. Stop doing so much. He hasn’t called you to do most of the things on your “to do” list. He just calls you to worship Him.
When we turn away from what God calls us to do, we harden our hearts and we sacrifice God’s blessings. God calls us to worship Him, and we cannot do that with a hardened heart. Soften your heart this Christmas season by confessing where you have failed to make Him the priority, and sing His praises as you welcome the Messiah.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists. It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst. Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps! Here is the link:
https://www.gofundme.com/chair4caregivers. Thank you so much!!
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