31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:31-33 (WEB)
When I read these verses, I instantly thought, wow, this is for our time. We are scattered all over the town, country and world. We are told to stay in place for another month, by both the Governor and Bishop Beard. Yet we are not alone. We may try to leave Jesus, but he is always there with us. Though we may be in our homes, Jesus is with us. Though the world is troubled, Jesus gives us peace to “overcome the world.” Isn't it great to worship such a powerful and loving God!
11 For behold, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
- Song of Solomon 2:11-12 (WEB)
I went for a walk on the last Sunday in March and I noticed the “corkscrew willow” in the backyard of the parsonage is budding. The grass is turning green and spring is here. I don't know if the rains are over, but the turtledoves (and other birds) are singing their songs of spring. Flowers are coming up all over the neighborhood. The stay-AT-home order, is not a stay-IN-home order, so get out and enjoy the wonderful creation of God!
2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
- Romans 12:2 (WEB)
Recently, I read an on-line op-ed, in which the writer, an evangelical Republican pastor, said that he could not vote for President Trump. That is not the point of this blog, the point is what happened next. He know that he was going to hear from the Trump supporters, but he was not prepared for the hate that he received from “Christians” The responses were vulgar and vile. This is not a Republican reaction, Bernie Sanders' supporters have been accused of doing the same thing.
We as followers of Christ, are told not to conform to the world. When we live and act and talk like the rest of the world, how does that show Christ's message and love? Those of us in Christ are to be transformed by Christ, not the world. We must not act the way all of the others in the world act, but we must be the body of Christ, transform the world.
6 And the tongue is a fire. The world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by Gehenna (or Hell). - James 3:6 (WEB)
The Letter of James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is full of great and practical advice and wisdom. James tells us that the tongue is the most dangerous part of the body, not the hands, or the feet, but the tongue. The words that the tongue forms can do great damage, to a person's mental and spiritual state. Words can cut deep and cause long term harm. We as Christians must be careful, not only of what we do, but what we say, for we are the body, and tongue, of Christ on earth.
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. - Genesis 1:1 (WEB)
Sometimes you just need to go back to the beginning and look at the fundamentals. The start of a new year is a good time to do this. For a Christian it is going back to the Bible. Daily devotions and prayer are great ways to start or end the day, but Bible study is needed to understand God and His love for His creation. Start the year out right by not just reading the Bible but studying the very Word of God. Study what God is saying in each passage and as a whole. This takes work and time, but in the end it will grow a stronger and joyful relationship with God and that makes it well worth the time and effort.