Dear friends, brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Grace and peace!
Looking back at 2021, it was a challenging year. When the situation with the pandemic was starting to give signs that life was returning to normal again, the omicron variant showed off, and again, all restrictions took place. Churches in the land struggled to keep going, and some of them have been badly affected by the pandemic. As a Church, we learned that there is stormy weather ahead of us, with changes all over the country, groupings of Churches and reorganisation of the traditional modus operandi.
Indeed, there have been challenges, but the Psalmist says,
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation, I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (Psalm 34:4-7)
We trust that the Lord is FOR us, and if HE is FOR us, who can ever be against us? (Romans 8:31)
This morning I received an email from a friend with this quote by JB Phillips:
“The Christian Gospel took root and flourished in an atmosphere almost entirely pagan, where cruelty and sexual immorality were almost taken for granted, where slavery and the inferiority of women were almost universal, while superstitions and rival religions with all kind of bogus claims existed on every hand. Within this pagan chaos the early Christians, by the power of God within them, lived lives as sons and daughters of God, demonstrating purity and honesty, patience and genuine love. They were the pioneers of the new humanity, they lived by the power of the Spirit of God within them. We must do that too. Today!”
JB Philips wrote it over 50 years ago, and I believe they are prophetic words. Also, I think that despite all we have gone through and despite threats and challenges lying ahead, God is at work in our world today. If we, as a Church, listen to God’s voice (Revelation 3:20), if we decide to be faithful to his Word, follow the way of love, and choose to live by the power of the Spirit, then we will flourish. In so doing, we will make a difference to countless numbers of lives as beacons of light and hope in a dark world.
May God bless you all.
Dingwall, February of 2022.