What to Do When It’s Not Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lonely holidays are the times to draw close to God.

The songs play it. The movies portray it. Even our church services have their part to play. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Yeah, well what if it isn’t? For many people, holidays bring up painful memories.

(Photo by Photodune)

Sore spots from childhood or the loss of loved ones hit hard during this sentimental season. While many people celebrate the joys of Christmastime, others suffer lonely holidays.

During one of the most desperate times of King David’s life, the anointed future king of Israel found himself running from two separate enemies—hardly a time to celebrate. With the Philistines to the west and King Saul to the east, a distressed David sought refuge in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1–2).

David felt very alone.

His situation offers encouragement to us during lonely holidays.

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An Amazing Truth: We Worship What We Think We Need

Are people elbowing God out of your life?

Some people can make us feel good. They attract us. Like a sunflower in a sunny field, we long to face the source that keeps us satisfied and meets our needs.

We Worship What We Think We Need

But we tend to worship what we think we need—whether it’s God, money, or even people. And whom we worship, we will also obey.

That’s why worshipping people—or using them to get what we think we need—can leave us enslaved to them.

God offers a better alternative.

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How to Avoid High Places if You’re Looking for God

We need one thing more than anything in our spiritual climb.

You started strong. Determination and strength came easily. You reach a summit in your day (or Christian life)—only to find life in high places has let you down.

Mount Tabor

(Photo: Mount Tabor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

We followed the rules. We stayed in line. We walked the straight and narrow. So what happened?

The path we followed led to a false summit. A huge distraction. 

It happens when we forget this one thing.

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The Temple Mount in Jerusalem—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

There's only one thing we can give our God who has everything.

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house. Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it.

Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat. Hardly worth noticing.

The Temple Mount—An Ordinary Hill Made Holy

(Photo: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself.

How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote.

God chose it. It’s the same with us.

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When You Still Aren’t Being Used to Your Full Potential

God’s design for a tree includes winter as much as summer. In fact, the dormant season remains essential for a tree’s growth. In a way, we are very similar to a tree.

Dormant Tree

(Photo: By zause01. Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

God has gifted each Christian for a purpose. But like a tree, our gifts have seasons—and sometimes certain gifts may lie dormant for a time—untapped.

In my last post, I offered 3 perspectives to consider when you aren’t being used to your full potential. Here they are:

  1. Remember who your gifts are for—the church, not you.
  2. Seek fulfillment in faithfulness rather than in the exercise of your gifts.
  3. Refuse to get your identify from your gifts. See yourself as God’s servant.

In this post, we’ll add 3 more to the list—including one truth that has set me free when it seems my potential is untapped.

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When You Aren’t Being Used to Your Full Potential

You are gifted. God has made you unique and given you a number of natural abilities and spiritual gifts “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). There’s just one problem.

When You Are not Used to Your Full Potential

(Photo by Photodune)

You feel you have much more to offer than your situation allows you to contribute. Am I right?

Honestly, I think most of us—all of us—find ourselves not utilized as much as we could be. In fact, the Bible shows 3 reasons your full potential isn’t being tapped.

(And why that’s a good thing.)

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