It has been some time since any up date has been made by me. One reason too many people have much to input but are saying very little that has any substance.
I have been lead to open the Year 2016 with a tender acknowledgement. We are exiting a very important period in our Christian faith. The recognition of the Savior’s birth is the tangible evidence that God so loved the world. His arrival was also the beginning for his preparation to depart.
I am so humble to realize that this great act of love is initiated from God Himself. Jesus came into this trouble, hostile world to save humanity. Too many take that act of love for granted. The changing times forces us to look at life with different shaded of glasses. What was previously considered sacred has been attack by those who have little to no regard for human decency. Worst yet, little regret or remorse is not visibly seen.
This period of celebration (beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year) is also the same time of more depression and hurt. Those who lost love ones during this period are sadly force to recall and remember these departures. Rather fully celebrating a shadow, a cloud hovers over this occasion. For some it is so difficult that the routine daily activities come to a sudden halt. I have no magical remedy, but to remember the Lord Jesus said, “I will always be with you”, even in the most troubled times.
I offered as a theme to the congregation the thought: Strong to the Finish: finish the race; keep the faith.
I focus on two passages written by the same author Apostle Paul. He writes to his son in the ministry Timothy and the passages are:
1 Tim 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
2 Tim 4:7
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: KJV
These two passages offered are referred to clergy for understanding and comprehension. But what are ministers? We are servants to carry the message of our Savior. If this be true, then every born again washed in the blood believer should carry a message from the Lord.
Both of these scriptures refer to fight and the good fight of faith. Paul needed to share the message that Christians need to be prepare for the rising tide of opposition and persecution (does that sound familiar?)
The “good fight” involves holding fast the faith and committing it to others. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (KJV) Eph. 6:12
In Luke 13:24, the Lord challenges us to strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. KJV
It is imperative to hold fast to our faith and lay hold the journey for eternal life.
Our acceptance as believers of Jesus Christ is a calling of the gracious work of the Spirit in bringing us to faith in Christ.
How did we do that? Thought you would never ask…In our profession (better yet confession) of Christ and acknowledgement as Savior.
… If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. KJV (Rom 10:9)
A basic doctrine in the Lord’s teaching said in Matt 10:32:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. KJV
If you are in the valley, or just came out of the depression from the holidays, or just celebrating the moment, I like to close leaving you with this passage
- Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
- Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
- And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
- In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NIV
We today celebrated our Christmas observances at the church. I invite you to join in our celebration.