Blessed Luke 1:39-45

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Luke 1:45

 

Sometimes we just need to be reminded we are loved by God, especially when life does not go as planned. The Bible says that faith is the “assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1) When clouds hang dark and heavy in our lives it is hard to be assured, let alone convinced that God is around during challenging times. We need to be reminded that we are truly blessed, favored, by God no matter where our journey seems to be heading. There are people that come into our lives for that very purpose; they are called brothers and sisters in Christ. We live with the promise that God will neither leave us or forsake us and it is the faith of those God places in our path that offers us hope and assurance. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had Elizabeth to remind her of just how blessed she was even in the midst of a confusing time. Elizabeth reminded Mary of the great faith she witnessed with the words, “here I am, Lord.” Your witness of faith matters; you are a reminder to somebody that they are not alone in this life and that God loves them enough to send you. In a world of social networks, texts, emails, and drivers more interested in arriving to their destination on time than those they are driving around, a witness of faith that offers the assurance and conviction of God’s grace is needed more than ever before. As we wrap our presents this Christmas season, let us never forget that our presence is the most precious gift we can offer somebody else; with our presence we are a blessing and truly blessed. Thank you Jesus!
 

 Pastor Tom



Favor With God Luke 1:26-38

“And the angel said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

Luke 1:30

 

Do you know that you have found favor with God? Most would probably say no, “I have done too much or too little to find favor with God; I am not worthy to find favor with God.” Throughout salvation history, God used flawed, broken people to proclaim God’s favor to the world. God enters our human existence with all its bumps and bruises, trials and tribulations, and seemingly impossible circumstances to offer hope and assurance that God has not abandoned us. Christmas witnesses God’s true love for us in the birth of Jesus, an ordinary life event with extraordinary consequences. Life can be scary at times, just as it certainly must have been for Mary as she was visited by an angel proclaiming God’s gift to the world through her, lowly as she was. Mary rose to the calling God placed upon her through her willingness to be part of salvation history, her profession of faith, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord,” and giving birth to Jesus the Christ who transformed the world and continues to transform lives, giving comfort to those whose souls are troubled, legs are weak, and eyes weary with despair. You, even now, have found favor with God. You have been offered the precious gift of grace and certainty even in the midst of an uncertain world. Jesus’ plea is even clearer now than it was when he spoke these words, “come to me, you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest;” in other words, no matter who you are, you have found favor with God and you will find rest for your weary soul. Thank you Jesus, for the gift of new life.
 
Pastor Tom


Be Alert Luke 21:25-36

“Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:36

 

Christians throughout the world begin the season of Advent this week, a time of great anticipation and hope for today with an eye on the future. Advent is an interesting time to be sure because we find ourselves in the present, a present that for some is unsettling and uncertain. There are signs just as Jesus described so the question is, are we at the end of our time? There is a 100% chance that at some point, life will end as we know it today. But that does not mean we cannot celebrate what we have and truly grab onto the affirmation of everlasting life that the birth of Jesus affirms. Jesus calls us to focus on what is truly real and never-ending and to be alert to those things that distract, if not overwhelm, us in our daily life. If we are so absorbed on what might happen or trying to predict what the future holds, we may lose sight on what God did offer to us in Christ Jesus. When we dull our senses with complacency or worry, we miss a huge part of life and what will keep us going for all eternity. Be alert for the signs, not of the end but of the beginning; live for the joy of knowing, despite the world and personal challenges, that God will strengthen and God will offer hope and renewal. Be alert to God working in you, and be alert for God’s grace being offered to you. Be alert to the needs of others and use what God has given you today to make a difference in those lives. Growing in faith does not include speculating on when the world will end or worrying about things that are beyond our control rather, growing in faith is being focused on Jesus working in the midst of times such as these and be guided by Jesus to serve all those for whom Christ died. Thank you Jesus.
 

Pastor Tom