"I was thinking..."

 

January 2021

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I was thinking…Pastor Steve

“Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." 

James 1: 16 – 18  (NIV)

     I was sitting here thinking…wow, this year is gone and what do we have to show for it?  We, as a nation, have been kept inside (for the most part) and told where we can and cannot go.  We know who is “essential” and who isn’t.  And we have had a Presidential election that is, I think, unprecedented.  So, when we sit back and take a tally of the year, we have to put this one down as one of the worst ones we have lived through to date.

 

     But, more importantly, this has been a really tough year for our fellowship, our family of Believers.  This is the year that Frank Kidder, Doyle Drennan, and Gary Leever passed from this life to life eternal.  That’s difficult for their spouses, their children, their families, but it is also difficult for us as well.  We weren’t able to comfort those people the way we normally would have.  They weren’t able to seek solace at our house of worship at all times.  Yes, this year has been a really tough one for all of us, and our prayers are with those loved ones.

 

     And that’s just in our fellowship.  Each of us has probably lost a friend or a family member this past year due to poor health, covid, or some other reason.  Having just gone through the Christmas Season, we must realize that there was a reason God came to earth in the form of a baby, as a gift of salvation for all of humanity.  Still, even Jesus suffered on this earth, experienced the same types of losses, hurts, and struggles as we do.  His humanity was even given over to death.  He died as a man but is Resurrected as God.

 

     We live a frail life, one that is susceptible to disease, sin, and death.  However, God has given humanity a precious gift, a good and perfect gift in the form of Jesus.  And with that gift, we are given the opportunity for salvation, redemption, and a purging of all sin.  This gift never changes because God never changes.  This gift is the same 2,000 years ago as it is today and tomorrow, but we need to remember…tomorrow is not guaranteed.

 

     I’ve been reading a book off and on over the last few months.  The title is The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus and was written by Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona.  Licona came to Bethel in last fall to do a series of seminars at Living the Word Christian Church (formerly Bethel UMC).  I’m sure that you, like me, already believe that Jesus was Resurrected.  We just accept it as fact.  But that one piece of history makes or breaks Christianity.  IF there was no Resurrection, then Jesus was only a man who walked on this earth, had some really great teachings and stories, may have healed some people, and then passed away like everyone else who was beaten and crucified.  On the other hand, if Jesus did all of that and was raised to life again…well, that’s a game changer.  No other god has done that.  Not to get too deep into the weeds here, but this may be what James is writing about.  In God, there is no changing.  His Word, His Son, and His Spirit are all Truth.  They are the only Ones we can have our hope in, because they will not lie.

 

     We know that we will see our loved ones who have died in Christ.  That is our hope and desire.  But we will also see the Godhead in the Throne Room of Heaven.  And that, my friends, will be the highlight of all time.  May this coming year be a blessing to all of you.  Happy New Year and God bless.