LOVE GOD. LOVE OTHERS. SERVE.
Usually Jack Meehan writes this article for the newsletter. My only guess is that he wanted to share some of his glory with me with an invitation to mix it up and take turns bringing some encouraging thoughts to you in this space in the newsletter.
I'm sure he was in no way influenced at all by that Paper-Rock-Scissors game that I lost...
For those of you that do not get, or appreciate my humor, I apologize to you in advance, AND for the previous attempt.
Isn't it good to see the weather changing! Although fall is my favorite time of year, these spring days are a close second. And as I walk hand in hand with my wife,
in our yard,
looking at the trees,
arguing about how to properly prune a young tree,
- a tree is constantly growing, people! It's not going to look good when it's a bunch of spindly little sticks 3 inches off the ground! *Barney Fife voice* NIP IT IN THE BUD!
Spring time. It has a way of making you appreciate creation a little more.
A thought that comes to mind when looking at it comes from Hebrews 4:13 "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." On a sunny day, with no wind, and birds chirping, I think – God made this. He sees all of this. And then I realize the rest of the verse says "Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
We will have to give an account. What we do and say is permanent. And that is a sobering thought.
Don't worry. I didn't change this to "Elder's sobering thoughts" Because the encouraging part is on the way!
Verse 14-16 says "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Now that is an encouragement to me. These verses tell us that Jesus was God and man in a clear way. We can't say to God, "You don't know what it's like!", because he knows exactly what it's like to be human.
Then it says that we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence". Who does that make you think of? We just learned about Esther in a sermon series. She boldly approached a throne to receive mercy and help in a time of great need.
So that's what I have for you. If you feel like you have fallen too far from God, or are feeling particularly unworthy, go read Hebrews 4:13-16.
Do you have a great need? (We all do. A need to escape what we deserve.) For the christian, we have an inside man who cares about the details of your life!
I know this sounds cliché, but it won't if you have a need. Jesus is here. Approach him with confidence! He will not turn you away.
The following words of encouragement was written by Max Lucado from his
book Unshakable Hope.
Be alert to the devil, but don’t be intimidated by him.
Learn to recognize his stench. Since he comes to steal, kill, and
destroy (John 10:10), wherever you see heists, death, and destruction,
turn to God in prayer. Since his name means “divider,” wherever you
see divorce, rejection, and isolation, you know the culprit. Go
immediately to Scripture. Stand on the promises of God regarding Satan:
The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over
him. (Rom. 16:20)
God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who in in the
world. (1 John 4:4)
God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can
bear. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
[The devil] is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is
short. (Rev. 12:12)
Put on God’s full armor...with the belt of truth tied around your waist
and the protection of right living on your chest. On you feet wear the
Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of
faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One.
Condensed from the book “Her Story” by Diana Lynn Severance.
“Hungry for the Word”
December 1784, Mary Jones was born to Jacob and Mary Jones, poor weavers in Wales. Mary’s father died shortly after her fourth birthday, and Mary and her mother faced hardship in the coming years. Mary soon learned to weave. Together they attended the local Methodist church, where Mary came to personal faith in Christ when she was eight. When she was ten a school was begun about two miles from Mary’s home, and Mary walked to school, eager to learn to read so she could read the Bible. When a Sunday school was established at the church Mary regularly attended, faithfully memorizing entire chapters of the Bible.
The only Bible in her Welsh community besides the one at the church belonged to a farm family two miles from Mary’s home. They gave Mary permission to come and read it whenever she liked. For six years at least once a week, Mary walked to the farmhouse to read and memorize portions of the Scripture.
During those six years Mary saved every penny she could with the hope of buying a Bible for herself. This was no small accomplishment considering her poverty. In 1800 Mary walked to Bala, twenty-five miles away, to purchase a Bible from Thomas Charles. She walked barefoot most of the way in order to save her shoes.
Mary’s desire for the Scriptures and the sacrifices she made to obtain her own personal copy of the Bible made a strong impression on Thomas Charles. He told Mary’s story to a meeting of the Religious Tract Society in London, and the committee began to consider founding a society to publish and distribute Bibles. Out of this meeting and discussion, the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in 1804. For over two hundred years the Bible Society has published and distributed Bibles all over the world, believing everyone benefits from knowing and understanding the Scriptures.
When Mary died a widow in 1864, the Bible she had bought from Thomas Charles was on the table by her side. Today it is in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
An encouraging story, don’t you think? All Mary wanted to do was read God’s word. God created the circumstances using her desire to put His word into millions of peoples hands. Just read the Word and see what God can do through YOU!