New Month/New Year/No Theme

It’s January, and we’re ringing in a new year.  2020 has been a difficult time for many of us.  We’ll remember it as the year of the pandemic.  People have been isolated and afraid;  many have been sick and some have died.  Churches are suffering from low attendance and decreased giving.  Businesses have failed and some have lost their jobs.  Employees and students are learning to work from home.  We’re wearing masks and social distancing.  It’s the “new normal.”

Like many, I’m hoping that in 2021, we can put some of the bad things behind us.  I’m reminded of Paul’s statement in the book of Philippians:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Our circumstances may change, but our goal does not;  our hope does not;  the promises of God do not.  We can’t give up, because Christ is counting on us;  we must continue to be His people and His voice and hands and feet in the world.

There is no theme, because right now we have no idea what 2021 will bring.  We only know that we must keep running the race with our eyes focused on the goal — eternity with the One Who called us.

Wishing you peace in the coming year because He loves and so do I!

Inspired by the Spirit

This was written by Becky, a member of our congregation who is one of our adult Sunday School teachers.  She used it to open our class, and said she felt the Holy Spirit inspired her to write it.

Paul wrote to the Philippians,

“things which happened to me have turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that my chains are in Christ.”

Prison became holy ground, a sacred place set apart for God’s purposes.  In his confinement he made room for God.  So consider our confinement in isolation during this epidemic an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God and to encourage others.  Paul also said,

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

His heart was so filled with the presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  He had peace with God no matter the circumstances and wanted to serve and bless others.  God’s presence with us in confinement makes this one of the most significant times in our lives and a key to fellowship with Him.  He is still in control, declaring,

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

Our strength must be in God.  Times of crisis demand that we turn to each other, not on each other.  As Christians, we are called to be faithful to God and to one another.

All of us want things–expressing them differently.  We want heroes; we want assurance someone knows what is going on in this mad world;  we want someone to lean on.  Paul says Christ is the one to worship and serve–King of Kings–Lord of Lords–the Mighty One–to occupy first place in our hearts and home.  It’s so easy to allow things and even people to be central in our lives.  When we replace Christ with these, we have sinned.  We’re to live in this world as a representative of Christ –serve Him by giving Him our best and sharing His love with others.

For more about the pandemic see these posts:

Small Things

All Times Are Uncertain

Clarity — First Step