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Friday, November 21, 2014 Wishing You a Resilient Christmas!

(Posted on November 21, 2014)

"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)

As many of you know, Christmas can be “the best of times and the worst of times.” 

While it is joyful to herald the arrival of grace and truth in the form of baby Jesus, Christmas can also accentuate a sense of loss and aloneness.  Regrettably, national suicide statistics and other depressive disorders usually climb during significant holidays, particularly Christmas.  Ironically, this time of greatest joy can also be a time of despair for many, or a time of great temptation and “falling away” from your first love in For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.Jesus.  If you are personally at risk in this regard, I urge you to seek the fellowship of Godly friends and even professional help during this coming Christmas season.  As well, Christmas is a special time when each of us can be merchants of hope for others. 

The exhortation of Scripture in 2 Peter 3:17-18 (shown above) is a fitting caution for the risks of an altered schedule, a brief period where suddenly many of our life responsibilities are placed on pause, a time when excess often becomes the norm.  To paraphrase:  Be on guard!  Don’t get carried away by unprincipled or undisciplined practices during the holidays!  Use the Advent Season and Christmas itself as a unique opportunity for you and your family to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus!  Give Him all the glory for the temporal and eternal grace which our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has bestowed upon us!

In the Resilient Warriors “Get Ready” phase of resilience, we identify the importance of “Deploying with the Right Mindset.”  In Romans 8:6, God reminds us, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”  As we seek to foster resilience before, during, and after Christmas 2014, it is only fitting that we “set our minds” firmly on the wonderful reality of a loving God We must proactively press into God as we approach the holidays, ensuring that we do not fall subject to a Christmas malaise that can afflict those who take their eyes off of Jesus.who sent His Son to rescue us in a fallen world.  As well, we must “set our hearts” on the written word of the Lord (and Jesus, the “Word become flesh”), akin to Ezra who “set his heart to study the word of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10)  In short, we must proactively press into God as we approach the holidays, ensuring that we do not fall subject to a Christmas malaise that can afflict those who take their eyes off of Jesus.

No doubt you also have many good ideas, but here are a few proactive approaches to a “Resilient Christmas” as you and I “deploy” into the holiday season, as we wait with a purpose during Advent, as we welcome the Christ child, and as we usher in a New Year:

  • Wait with a purpose.  Do a Biblical topic study on “wait,” with a particular focus on Isaiah 40:28-31. 
  • Allow God to teach and direct you during each day of Advent, ideally with the assistance of a useful devotional for that purpose. Our family tradition is to put 28 candles for the four weeks of advent into an old log that we drug out of the forest with our young son many years ago.  What joy to light another candle each night of Advent on that same log, now with our grandchildren.  It is particularly awesome when you get all 28 candles blazing on Christmas Eve – some things never get old!    
  • Seek first Jesus -- not gifts, goodies, or games.  Understand that your greatest JOY will be giving time, warmth, and affirmation to others.   Act out Winston Churchill’s wisdom:  "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" (particularly at Christmas!).
  • Usher in the New Year with a spirit of anticipation and intentionality.  Do a Biblical topic study on “new” with family and friends on New Year’s Day.  Dream about “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory” for the year to come.

Please accept my best wishes for the most meaningful Christmas you have ever experienced. May it be particularly special because you intentionally and expectantly focus upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  To Him Be All the Glory!

Looking back for a moment, the November 4th webinar “Honor to Whom Honor is Due” was a fitting recognition of our nation’s veterans.  Your “My Favorite Vet” stories were overwhelming in quality (winsome memories of that special veteran in your life) and quantity (over 400 submitted).  This November webinar is available on demand at www.LUOnline.com/IMR; we will also post some of these powerful stories on the Military Affairs Facebook page throughout the next year.

The next Institute for Military Resilience (IMR) Webinar entitled “Relevant Research Findings for Military Personnel and Families” will be presented by Dr. Laurel Shaler from the Liberty University Center for Counseling and Family Studies at 8 PM on December 11th.  This informative webinar will highlight latest research findings which further demonstrate the relevance and power of faith in the lives of military members and their families, as well as our nation’s military veterans. 

Please tell us what you think about this latest Resilience Blog on the
LU Military Affairs Facebook Page!

PS-  I honor each of you who voted.  Now our responsibility as citizens is to PRAY!  May our nation’s leaders look to the very God who breathed life into the heart and soul of America. 

From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (and America).”  (Psalm 121:1b-2, parenthetical added)

Respectfully in Christ,

Bob Dees
LU Institute for Military Resilience

Posted at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)
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