2900 County Barn Rd. Naples, Fl. 34112

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The New Year dawns and many people make resolutions they break shortly after the New Year begins. I guess it is tradition. People are supposed to be reflective and hopeful in the New Year. Why don’t resolutions work?

Simple really, your heart is not in it. There has to be an internal change in a person in order for a change of behavior to happen. We all know people that have changed a behavior. What happens first is a change of heart and will. A person has to make up their mind to change. While it sounds easy it is not. But it happens every day. The self-help section of a library or bookstore is packed with ways to change one thing or another about the self.

In the church we rely on God to help with a change of heart. When one reads the healing stories of Jesus in the New Testament it was always a desire of the person to change. Jesus saw the sincerity of the request and made it happen. Since a change of heart is needed to affect either an internal or external change of behavior, it is vital to rely on God for the change to happen.

As the New Year begins ask God to help you with your resolutions. You just might be surprised by the results. Blessings to you in the New Year.

Emmanuel

Thinking about the birth of Jesus and what it means today in world we live in I turn to the words of Frederick Buechner in his book “Listening to Your Life,” a daily devotional. He writes: “Back then to the essential message of Christmas which is Emmanuel, God with us, and to the questions it raises: Who is this God and how is he with us? “The high and holy One who inhabits eternity” is the answer to the first. The one who is with us is the One whom none can look upon because the space-and-time human mind can no more comprehend fully the space less, timeless Reality of the One than the eyes of the blind can comprehend light. The One who is with us is the One who has made himself known at most only partially and dimly through the pantomime of nature and history and the eloquent but always garbled utterance of prophets, saints and mystics.”

The third Sunday of Advent is about joy. We all may have our own definition of joy so this is just a list of joy. First is a definition from an online dictionary, the rest are quotes from a variety of sources. How would you describe joy?

Joy - a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” Carlos Santana

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

“Find ecstasy in life: the mere sense of living is joy enough.” Emily Dickinson

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Henri Nouwen”

“The healthiest response to life is joy.” Mark Twain

“Where there is love, there is joy.” Mother Teresa

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha

“Go find your joy. Whatever that is, go find your joy. Are you going to have a good day or are you going to have a great day? Because it’s completely up to you.” Sandra Bullock

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” Richard Wagner

“A joy that’s shared is a joy made double.” Proverb
“Whether you know or not, you are the infinite potential of love, 
peace, and joy.” Annie Ray

“A joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together.” Brene Brown

 “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Those two words are important to our health and well-being.  Yet a lot of times we neglect them.  In our fast paced society we don’t take time to rest.  The desire to do more, be active is a symbol and symptom of our society.  We do not take enough time to rest even though Jesus tells us to.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  If you notice he is actually not saying rest but where to find rest.  We find our rest in him.  Which leads us to, how do we find rest in Jesus?  The best way is to set aside some time in the day to sit in prayer and meditate on God.  The first thought to this idea may be, “I don’t have the time!”  That, my friend, is the very problem.  We think we have to always be doing something.  We are not called human doings, we are called human beings.  To be with Christ is to find rest in his presence.  Rest and pray.  Three simple words that we can incorporate into our lives on a daily basis to become more healthy, more compassionate, more loving and more like Christ.

All we have is today.  Let’s make the best of it.  One scripture verse that has this theme is, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Most of the time we think all is well.  Depending on the day we seem to either worry or look forward to the tomorrows we take for granted.

We got word over the weekend of a colleague who was in an automobile accident.  Her husband died as a result of that accident the following day.  For those of us in this denomination in Florida, it has shocked us.  It is one of those events that cause us to think that we may not have tomorrow.  By the grace of God we are given one day and it is today.  AA and other twelve step programs use the slogan, ‘one day at a time.’  If that person makes it through the day without picking up a drink or drug, it is a great day. 

Let us live for today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.  Today is a great day!

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MAYFLOWER CONGREGATIONAL UCC

2900 County Barn Rd 
Naples, Florida 34112

Office Hours: 
8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mon - Fri.

Sunday Worship 9:30
            Refreshments 10:30

Church Phone: 239-775-0055
Fax Number: 239-775-3253

Pastor Alan's Cell: 239-227-8500

office@mayflowernaples.com
pastor@mayflowernaples.com

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