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The Joy Of The Lord

We are now in the third week of Advent. The theme for this week is joy. I am sure that each of you has fond memories of joyful times in your life. It is good to remember such times. Doing so is a little like medicine, specially in these days of testing. My hope is that each of you is getting on well. I say this fully aware that some of you are going through challenging times just now.

The message below begins with a memory from my childhood. As a Dutch family, we did not really celebrate Christmas as folks do today. Our basic gift giving was done on December 5. Christmas day was considered as the time for remembering the gift of God's love given in the birth of Jesus. It seems that Jesus has been replaced by Santa Claus for many people. This reflecting the pattern of change from spiritual reality to material reality. For me this is sad. I understand that healthy spiritual being is the key to a good life.

The video is a bit of a patch work. Getting together as a full group is no longer possible. Hopefully, the spirit of God will bless you as you watch. Grace and peace be with you each and all.

Here is the video:

These are the texts on which the service is based:

Isaiah 61:1-4 - The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 - Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

John 1:6-8 - There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

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