From The Pastor

Thoughts on New Beginnings and Having a Happy New Year

Was 2017 a good year for you?

How you answer depends on how you dealt with the inevitable difficulties that you faced.

That’s the reason that just about every culture has a “good luck” ritual for the new year: smashing plates, sweeping out the door, having money in your wallet at midnight, eating black eyed peas and collard greens, just to name a few.

Maybe it’s pessimistic, but our experience tends to prove out that a new year marks a new period of difficulties:

  • Some struggle with sin and other “self-inflicted” wounds.
  • Others face very real suffering—abuse, rejection, physical pain.
  • Many more are simply weak: sickness saps their strength, the waves of life crash their ability to keep it together, financial resources barely last week to week.

But the new year offers a fresh page, a new opportunity, a “do-over” of sorts. Of course, we’ll very likely hit some trouble at some point in the year. We just don’t know which difficulties they’ll be.

But we do have God’s promise of victory. That’s what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:31-39. He reminds us that our God is powerful…powerful enough to overcome difficulties, to conquer sin (Romans 8:33), suffering (Romans 8:35), and weakness (Romans 8:38).

In fact, God is able to make you MORE than a conqueror through Jesus!

While I can’t promise total peace and prosperity (at least not on this side of heaven), I can point you to the Wonderful Counseller, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace and assure you that He’s got it under control.

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

Jesus makes all things new!

Just A Word

I hope you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas celebration–with all of the great food, presents, and joy that this season can offer.

But as you celebrate together, don’t forget that Christmas is when God came to be with His creation. In Matthew 1:22-23, we learn that one of Jesus’ names is “Emmanuel” or “God is With Us.”
And because Jesus is “God with us,” His birth means:

1.  We have Divine power available to us every day for every situation … so we ought to look to God for the help we need.

Jesus is GOD with us.

2. We now have a very present comfort & hope with us … so we are never alone; Jesus understands exactly what we’re dealing with and has given us the Holy Spirit as our Comforter.

Jesus is God WITH us.

 3. This event is personally meaningful to us with individual benefits and consequences … so we must make a decision of what to do with Christ; He cannot and will not be ignored.

Jesus is God with US.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:2

Jesus is our God, our Hope, our Friend … and He is here!