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"Be a Light in the Darkness! Bring Tidings of Comfort and Joy"

Candice Simmons
Dec 23, 2019

From the Desk of Steve Shultz:

Steve ShultzIn this season, we reflect on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, while we spend times with our loved ones too.

However, many people aren't experiencing comfort and joy right now and have gone through so much hardship. For some, the holidays can be a very difficult time.

I want you to read this very raw and real article from Candice Simmons. She doesn't shy away from the tough things her own family and others are going through right now.

If you know of others going through a difficult time, please read this word, share it with them, and pray the Lord's comfort and joy upon them...let's love well! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)

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Joy to your world for the Lord has come! It's Christmas time!

I hear the Lord saying, "Come! Let Me release My comfort and joy to you during this Christmas season. When the enemy tries to come in like a flood against you, I will come to comfort you. I want to be to you like a warm blanket or a hot cup of chocolate on a cold day. For it's in My heart to pull you closer to Me. I want you to be able to experience My joy, even in the midst of your enemies, for I didn't rescue you and give you salvation to then allow the enemy to rob you of one of the most fulfilling emotions that I have to impart. For it's one of My most beautiful, delectable, delicious fruits of the Holy Spirit that I have to offer.

"So, open your heart to more of Me and I will come in to comfort and fill you with joy unspeakable and full of My glory this Christmas season!"

As I've waited on the Lord for this month's word, I've been hearing over and over in my spirit the Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." I know this is God, as I rarely ever think about it.  I've never really even considered the words. As you read through this part of the lyrics, let them begin to speak to your heart.

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our savior
as born on Christmas Day
To save us all from satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy!

Now to the Lord sing praises
All within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy!

What a wonderful song! The God of all comfort and joy has come to abide in our hearts forever. And not only that, but He's made Himself available to be released through each of us every day of our lives.  For everything He has given us is meant to be shared and given away to those who need it (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Comfort and Joy in Times of Loss

You may be reading this and saying in your heart, "I can't help others. I'm not in a place to release anything. I'm the one that's really in need right now!"

In the last two months, we've attended three funerals; all of them were for family members: an uncle, an in-law and a nephew. And then just a few days ago we found out another family member (a cousin) has passed. But the Lord Jesus, our faithful Father, has brought us comfort and peace in every situation. He has given us His comfort and His joy in exchange for our mourning.

You, too, may have lost a loved one, or you may be suffering from some other kind of loss right now. Having pastored for 18 years I'm well aware that this can be the hardest season of all for some. Tragedy is alive and well on planet Earth, and Christmas can be especially hard when you're grieving or have family members in the hospital. There's a myriad of circumstances that can cause you to lose your way. But I hear the Lord saying, "I have come and I am here to rescue you!"

Just the other night, I had a dream about a woman who was struggling. She was having a meltdown and her thoughts went to suicide. I could hear her thoughts loud and clear in my dream. And she was struggling with feelings of jealousy over the happiness of everyone around her. She was thinking, "Why did this happen to me? Why me? Why at this time? Wasn't this supposed to be the happiest time of year? What have I done to deserve this?" Her grief and torment were indescribable. Her mind was racing and she wasn't able to stop the thoughts to regain her peace. All she could do was cry.

Then all of a sudden, I saw a friend walk through her front door. He went over to where she was sitting and wrapped His arms of love around her to comfort her. They both began to cry uncontrollably and they cried until all their tears were released. Then an amazing thing began to happen...they both began to laugh uncontrollably. They laughed and laughed and laughed. It was almost as though they couldn't stop. It was a miracle! She was set free! She was released from all of her depression. The thoughts of suicide left her. She was healed and delivered!

Then I woke up and realized that the friend was Jesus embodied in another Believer. Jesus, Himself, in another man's body, had walked into the room that day and brought her the comfort and joy that she needed so badly!

If you're suffering from depression today, I declare that Jesus is going to walk into your room. He wants to heal your broken heart. He'll wrap His presence around you, for He is going to make a personal visit to you too. He is bringing you comfort and joy!

Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah 61:2-3 (TPT) in Luke 4:18 about Himself:

"I am sent to announce a new season of Yahweh's grace (and we're in that season now) a time of God's recompense on His enemies (the enemies of your life abundant and freedom), to comfort all who are in sorrow, to strengthen those who mourn in Zion (that are crushed by despair), to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes, the oil of bliss (joy and gladness) instead of tears (robes of mourning), and the mantle of joyous praise (a splendor garment)..." (emphasis mine)

God has the power to change or move things around in your life to make something beautiful (Romans 8:28). The Father is about turn things around for you!

Be a Light in the Darkness

I've been addressing those that are depressed, but maybe you're not depressed and everything is fantastic! The Lord wants to use you to be to be a light in the darkness to those around you this Christmas. As you yield your heart to Him, Father God will release the anointing of joy that you carry to others. Joy was meant to be shared. Joy was meant to be contagious. There will never be a better time to release it than now! And every moment is now!

I just saw a movie, "A Beautiful Day," about the life of Mr. Rogers. I'm sure most of you have heard about him. He had his own children's television program. The movie was a powerful testament to his life and how he brought hope to others! From his broadcasts to his everyday life, he went about releasing hope, and he did it in a very simple and unassuming manner. We can do the same. Sometimes just a hug, a kiss on the head, focused attention, a word of encouragement and other kind gestures can go a long way. Your life was meant to bring hope as well.

Can't You Talk Louder, God?

I will never forget my pastor's wife kissing me on the head as a young child. That one simple act touched me so profoundly that I never forgot it. It was as if the Lord Himself had kissed me, and it was one of several kisses from Jesus that made me pursue Him.

I also remember a special incident, years ago, that took place when I became a pastor. Whenever I would enter the church on a Sunday morning, I would always remind myself that it was time for me to focus on the needs of others and not on my own.

On this one particular morning, I happened to hug a visitor (which was a pretty regular occurrence for me at our Sunday morning services). But this one morning it became a life-changing experience for one particular visitor. They told me later that they had planned to end it all, but decided to try church first. She said that she had prayed before she'd entered the building and said to God, "If no one hugs me I'm giving up and I won't be back. It's over." But that morning I hugged her. Although it was just a normal hug for me, for her it wasn't an ordinary hug at all. It was the Father hugging her.

She told me later, "I only came back the next Sunday because of that hug. And when I did, I heard the Gospel message and received Jesus." It really doesn't take much to release Jesus and His comfort and joy to others.

We're all well aware that suicide rates are soaring. But we must also be aware that we contain the embodiment of the good news, the light life for others to run into to be safe. We can call them out of the darkness! And we don't always have to use words. We have the capacity to change atmospheres even through one look of love, one hug, one word of hope, one gesture of the Lord Jesus reaching out through us. The world can only offer up a mirage of hope – false hope – but we have the reality of Christ living within us. He will reach out through you when you least expect it.

You are going to shine for the glory of God this Christmas. I'm declaring it! He is going to use your face, your arms, your hands, your feet, and, yes, even your money. Whatever you have He can use. You may think your hug is just a simple hug, but God can take a little gesture of kindness and use it to work a miracle! It's time to spread the comfort and joy of Jesus!

Spread a little love around! Spread a little comfort around. Spread a little joy around! In fact, how about spreading a lot of it all around? Let there be no Grinches when it comes to Jesus! His heart is not to withhold, but to give generously; pressed down, shaken together and running over from an overflowing heart of love! This is what the coming of Jesus to Earth has made possible.

Words of Hope for This Christmas

Listen to the words of hope found in the Christmas story. Hear the words of comfort and joy as it came in the form of Jesus to this earth.

"...Don't be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah." (Lk. 2:10-11)

"Glory to God in the highest realms of Heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men." (Lk. 2:14)

"The word from Heaven will come to us with dazzling light to shine upon those who live in darkness, near death's dark shadow. And He will illuminate the path that leads to the way of peace." (Lk. 1:79)

Now, I want to address all of you who are in need. I hear the Lord saying, "Allow your heart to become My home again. Let it be a place of rest for Me. I want to offer you the gift of comfort and joy this Christmas. I'm holding it out for you to take. I've wrapped it up in My grace and offering it to you today. It's available to everyone that will reach out to take it. You merely have to trade in your grief and sorrow to take hold of it.

"This Christmas season, I want to baptize you afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit. And as you receive this baptism, you will receive My comfort and My joy! And not only will you be made whole, but you can become a restorer of hope as well."

"In mercy You have seen my troubles and You have cared for me; even during this crisis in my soul I will be radiant with joy, filled with praise for Your love and mercy. You have kept me from being conquered by my enemy; You broke open the way to bring me to freedom, into a beautiful, broad place." (Ps. 31:7-8)

"Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts..." (2 Thess. 2:16-17)

Let nothing you dismay...
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy!

Candice Simmons
Stairway Ministries | The Passion Translation

Brian and Candice Simmons have been married for 43 years. With their three children, they spent nearly eight years in the tropical rain forest of the Darien Province of Panama as a church planter, translator, and consultant. Now, nearly everyone in the village follows the Lamb of God. After their missionary career they came to New England, and were involved with starting Gateway Christian Fellowship, which they pastored for 18 years. After turning the church over to a wonderful leadership team, they began to travel full-time speaking, teaching, and helping churches and leaders to grow in Christ. They've had the joy of traveling to over 30 nations, sharing the message of God's greatness and His end time glory that will be revealed through His people. Brian is also the lead translator for The Passion Translation Project which will result in a new, dynamic version of the Bible for this generation. Brian and Candice have three children, six grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.

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Can't You Talk Louder, God?
Candice Simmons' Itinerary:

Note: Events are subject to change at the ministry's discretion. We suggest you always check first with the event contact listed here and/or directly visit their website for latest updates on each event.

January 3, 2020 @ 7:00-9:00 PM
The Freedom House
Freeport, TX

January 4-11, 2020
Caribbean - The Passion Translation Cruise

January 17-19, 2020
Charlotte, NC - River Church
(for more itinerary information click here)

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