Standing on the Promises

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer but we almost missed it! How Glad I was to notice it on the television and spend the last 35 minutes of our evening praying for our nation. Just as in any family we often have our differences. God offers us the opportunity to pray together and sing together as one church, to remind us that for those of us who follow Him, through Christ we are all one. Unity in Jesus is one of the great promises of the Bible, but one that we have to stand on during the storms and we certainly are in the midst of a storm today! We are in a storm overseas with the war in Ukraine. We are in the storm at home fighting with each other over the best way to combat a pandemic that never seems to end. We are in a political and media storm as the battle for the innocent lives of the unborn hangs in the balance. We must pray…but more than that…we must stand together or as Benjamin Franklin noted in 1776, “We must indeed all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” But what we stand together on is not political cleverness, social acceptance or military power. What holds us together as the family of God is Standing on His promises and loving one another as He commanded.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT

Seasonal Changes

Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. Psalm 119:89-90 ESV

If you live in the Northern States you have already seen the beauty of the leaves changing their Summer clothes for colorful Fall outfits. Apple cider and pumpkins fill the market shelves, but that celebration of the new season is mixed with a melancholy knowledge that Winter is not far away.

Some changes in life are eagerly anticipated, like weddings or the birth of a child. But when our child graduates from high school and sets off on their own, that happiness mixes with silent tears. It was no different for Jesus as He lived on earth. The joys and gifts of the Christmas story were quickly followed by Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt. His healing of the sick was followed by Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. But as Jesus hung on the cross and the most difficult hour of change was upon Him, He held on to words that never change. “I thirst”; “Why have you forsaken me?”  and “It is finished.” were all quotes from the Old Testament. Jesus was trusting in a word that never changes because He knew that in Heaven His Father’s promises would not fail Him. They would carry Him through death and the grave to resurrection. Unlike the falling leaves, God’s word never lets go. It stays attached to the heart of the Father forever. If there are circumstances that are changing your life forever, then hold onto the faithful and loving promises of God. He has you firmly held in the palm of His hand and He has promised that whatever may come in both life and death that He will never let you go!

God’s Promises in a Covid World

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Matthew 2:19 ESV

Somedays we may wonder if and when we will ever emerge from the Covid-19 world. Some may be looking forward with the hope that Christmas will not be cancelled again. The rest of us are just longing for the good old days when a world-wide epidemic was simply the subject of science fiction. But the reality is that forces were trying to cancel God’s promises and destroy Christmas long before King Herod’s murderous plot and the wise men’s journey to Bethlehem.

As the sweet baby Jesus lay in the manger surrounded by shepherds, Joseph and Mary knew little of the dangers that lay ahead. They went to sleep that night trusting God just as they had always done. Then while they slept God sent His angel to warn them and direct them on their journey to safety.

So, as we face our dangers spelled out by daily new case counts, death rates and fears, remember that God also has a plan for us. Just as He kept Christmas alive in spite of Herod’s plans, so He will keep both Christmas and his plan for you and me alive no matter what comes. Even if our malls and restaurants close again or if we are unable to light candles together at church on Christmas Eve, God will keep His promise alive in our hearts forever if we will only trust in Him!