Sunday Message for 13 January 2019: “Encouraging Epiphany”

Today’s message rises from John the Baptist’s description of baptism (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22). A key verse reveals an epiphany through the voice of God, whose words proclaimed Jesus’ status:  “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22b). The baptism of Jesus symbolized his initiation into public ministry. Jesus’ baptism was a rite of passage announcing his divinely-approved mission.

An epiphany can take different forms. As discussed last week, the wise men from the East who visited the baby Jesus proclaimed Jesus’ messianic status.  This week, the voice of God also represents an epiphany in that the Almighty’s voice affirms Jesus. In everyday speech people can refer to experiencing an epiphany, which suggests that someone has had a life-changing insight. Have you experienced a spiritually-oriented epiphany?  Many people claim to have had an encounter with God, but personal perception makes epiphanies a highly subjective experience.  Whether you’ve had a dramatic encounter with God or not, it’s helpful to broaden how you define God’s presence in your life. The stakes are high because without the spirit of the Almighty, you’ll greatly complicate your holistic wellbeing (health in body, mind & spirit).

Do you feel that God is saying something to you? Do you feel awakened to the heavenly realm? If you feel unfulfilled or incomplete then you can pursue wholeness through God’s spiritual presence. You can build awareness that leads to a closer walk with God. Humans are designed to thirst for a spiritual reality and there’s no better source than God, from whom you obtain the soul food that satisfies your spiritual appetite and that empowers your holistic wellbeing. Religious observances such as performing rituals, going to church, and other outward behaviors are only a means to an end (and not ends in themselves). The goal is connecting to God, engaging the intensely personal spiritual connection that mere religion can’t achieve. This means that you’re invited to develop your inner journey, which is an intimate relationship with God resulting in a transformed life.

There’s no better time than now, at the start of 2019, to prioritize and get things right. Your quest for holistic wellbeing is worth the struggle because without it you’ll likely have an impoverished life. As to life’s spiritual side, remain open to how you might experience an epiphany or some other aspect of God’s love, mercy and grace. The spiritual side of life is notoriously easy to ignore, mostly because of the physical and emotional demands in life. Ironically, those who push away spiritual awareness may have more trouble reaching other goals. Do yourself a favor and embrace a vibrant spiritual life.

Do you feel hindered? There might be interference such as your internal messaging. You may have conditioned yourself not to sense God because you feel unworthy, unqualified, or unable. You might have been taught that God is too distant and inaccessible. A crucial step on the road to wholeness is to stop repeating negative messages and replace them with thoughts of promises and possibilities. Read the Psalms, for example, and you’ll find supercharged encouragement surmounting all obstacles.

Embrace a positive, joyous attitude that encourages spiritual health and vitality. Welcome God and God will be your partner in transformation. If you truly seek then you shall truly find.  Walking with God is a great way to live the most satisfying life. Be resolved to find God and in doing so all your other goals will gain proper perspective. Prepare yourself for the best year ever, one in which God will multiply your blessings through 2019 and beyond.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey