“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2) These are the first words recorded in the Bible. They tell of an earth much different than the earth that we know today. That earth had no form and was empty, dark and chaotic. It sounds like a pretty unpleasant and lonely place. But if we continue reading the story of creation in the book of Genesis we find that just a word from God changed everything! God spoke and created light, and made night and day. God continued speaking into existence the sky, plants, animals and humans. Our God is truly awesome!
But let’s think about the world we live in today. Many times our world may seem empty, without hope or purpose. Problems and stress may cause us to feel our lives are just a chaotic mess. We may not be able to see beyond the dark path on which we travel. But, there is good news! Just as God spoke and brought order and beauty in the beginning, His word can still bring transformation, hope, direction and joy today. He is still the same awesome, mighty God!
Remember the great God that created heaven and earth is our God, He loves us and wants good for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Let God into your life and experience the change He can make.
Today was Installation Day for new Sunday School teachers and Officers, as well as committee members for the upcoming church year. It is a blessing to see new faces taking on responsibilities in the church and see those more experienced leaders still willing to lend a helping hand. It truly takes everyone doing whatever God has lead them to do to make the church (the body of Christ) work well.
There are times though when everyone feels overwhelmed by responsibilities or duties, not only in church work, but also in our daily lives. In Colossians 3:23 we read, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men.”
These are encouraging words for us to think about. Working for God will always reap a good reward. God sees the things we do and He knows our hearts. If we seek to honor Him with our every effort, He is pleased and one day we will hear Him say “well done”.
That is good news!!
Our congregation enjoyed a time of fellowship this afternoon with a church picnic. It was fun to visit with friends and family and enjoy getting to know visitors. God blessed us with great weather, good food and happy times together. From young to not so young, everyone enjoyed the relaxing time.
God is good in so many ways! For that we are thankful!
Are you familiar with the man called Job in the Bible? There is a whole book about him in the Old Testament. Job was a Godly man and God had blessed him with a fine family, health and wealth. It seemed that Job had everything one might desire. But God allowed all of Job’s earthly possessions to be taken from him. He lost his family, his wealth and his health.
Can anybody relate to this story? Many times in life it seems that things are going just the way we want and then something happens to change our situation. We may not lose everything like Job did. But sickness, loss of a job, a death of a family member can have a devastating effect on us. In times like these we may be tempted to blame God or turn away from Him, but let’s take a closer look at Job and perhaps we can learn from him.
Job’s friends questioned what he had done to deserve such treatment. Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God and die. But Job remained faithful to God. In chapter 27, verse 8 Job says, “For what hope has the godless when he is cutoff.” Job knew that God would not change, that God was still with him and that God was his hope and strength. Although Job’s circumstances had changed, his relationship with God had not. It was that faith and hope that got Job through his trials.
Now what does this story have to do with us? We too go through trials and tribulations. It may seem that all is lost or there is no one that cares. But God is always there to help and to see us through difficult times.
God never changes and never leaves us and that is good news!
God is love and we are to let His love flow through us to everyone. Think about that statement for a minute. It is not always easy to truly love everybody. There are people that are just annoying to be around, there are those that are simply unlikeable, there are those that are filled with hate and do unkind things to us. We would call them our enemies.
But God’s word says to love our enemies, and pray for those that persecute you (Matt.5:44). This can be a difficult command to follow. How can we love someone that really cares nothing for us or that wishes only bad for us?
It is possible only by the grace of God. With God’s help and His love in our hearts we can love those unlovable people in our lives. We can show them kindness and compassion. After all isn’t that what Jesus did for us. When we were lost in our sins and separated from the love of God we were in essence enemies of God (Romans 5:10). But Jesus death on the cross and resurrection changed all that. Because of God’s love for us (His enemies) we can be saved and become His friend and part of His family.
With God’s help we can show love and compassion to our enemies and perhaps they too will come to know Jesus.
Now that is good news!
Have you ever stood on the beach with your back to the ocean as the waves come rushing in? Most of the time you will be knocked down. Anyone that has been to the beach can probably say that this has happened to them at one time or another. It is usually not a fun experience to be blindsided by such a force. But, on the other hand, if you turn and face the ocean you can see the waves coming toward you. Then you can jump the waves and you will rise above them.
Rev. Nickles used this analogy today to explain that trials in life are the same way. If we are not watching carefully we can be knocked down by the waves of life. Hard times, bad decisions, wrong moves can all have devastating results. But if we face the trials (waves) of life with God’s help, we can rise above them.
Romans 10:13 tells us that “everyone that calls upon the Lord will be saved.”
So when trials and hard times like waves on the ocean come your way, don’t be knocked down. Claim this promise! Call on the name of Jesus, let Him help you face your difficulties and rise above them.
“Jesus, your name is power;
Jesus, your name is might.
Jesus, your name will break every stronghold;
Jesus, your name is life.”
These powerful words are from a song written by Claire Cloninger and Morris Chapman. When Satan tries to defeat us we can claim victory in the name of Jesus and overcome that stronghold, when we feel weak, He can give us power, and when we are dead in our sins He will give us life and restore us.
What a wonderful Savior! What great news!
Let’s share it with others.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 the Apostle Paul lists some sins that he says are wicked and the doers of these things will not “inherit the kingdom of God”. That is a pretty sad and disheartening thing to say to someone. But if we read the next verse (11)we hear the good news that Paul wanted to share. Here he says that some of the Corinthians were guilty of these sins, but they had been “washed, sanctified,and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” In other words, they had been made right with God, their sins taken away.
That is good news for us today too. No sin is too great for Jesus to forgive. No wrong is too bad that His salvation cannot cover it. No mistake is so terrible that the love of God cannot help us through it. When we ask for and accept salvation, Jesus sets us right in the eyes of God. His blood washes away our sins and we then are sanctified and justified in the name of Jesus!
As it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17 , “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!” What great good news!
Jesus loves you and me! Think about that thought for a moment and let it sink in. We Christians can become so complacent with this truth that we forget how wonderful it really is.
Jesus, God’s own Son, came to earth! He left all the splendors of heaven and came to a dying world with one purpose and that was to seek and save those that were lost (Luke 19:10). That means all humankind, you and me.
We have never done anything to deserve this salvation nor can we ever earn it. It is a gift, given freely, simply because we are loved by the Almighty God!
Now that is that great news! Share it with someone today.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner many of us are making plans for celebrations and well we should celebrate our country’s independence and the freedoms we enjoy. Backyard barbecues, trips to the beach or lake and watching fireworks are sure to be on the agenda for a lot of people. Independence Day is a wonderful holiday and we should be proud to live in such a great country.
But there is another kind of independence for which we should be thankful; and that is the freedom we can have in Christ. When Christ died on the cross and rose to life again, He conquered death and the grave for us. We now have the liberty to live life to the fullest as forgiven people – the burden of sin gone from our lives. We have assurance that there is eternal life to look forward. We have joy, hope and peace in our lives that is indescribable! As Jesus says in John 10:10. “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and may have it to the full.”
Isn’t that good news that we should celebrate everyday of the year!