Our Pastor's Message for March
As we journey through the Fourth Chapter of Philippians, we have reached verses ten through thirteen, which are among the most powerful verses not only in this letter, but in the entire Bible. And they are verses that summarize his spiritual autobiography.
From the moment Paul became a Christian, his life became difficult. Even
dangerous. He face death threats in Damascus, and had to be let out over the city wall in a basket. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem didn't trust him (after
his persecution of the followers of Jesus, do you blame them?) He was imprisoned several times, the victim of stonings, ran out of several cities, falsely accused, and ended up in Rome, a prisoner of Caesar, eventually to be executed.
And we think that WE have troubles! And yet he could tell his brothers and sisters in Philippi that he was content. That he knew all the ups and downs of life
and had handled them all. That he had been full and hungry, lost and found, confused and clear-headed. That he refused to complain about what he had taken
away from him. That he could see before him only the
hope that God was offering to him.
Singer Natalie Cole, who had her share of ups and downs in life, wrote in liner
notes for one of her albums. "I thank God for what He has given me; I thank God for what He has taken from me; And I thank God for what He has left me." (I wonder if we have the faith to express the same thought!)
That's the thought that Paul is expressing. Whatever I have, whatever I don't have, I have God. And that is all that matters.
And that is the reason why he writes verse thirteen: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." A verse that, after John 3:16, just may be the most important verse in the Bible, the verse that promises that all things are possible.
Now when Paul says 'all things', he doesn't mean we can flap our arms and fly, or write the great American novel, or win the Powerball Lottery. He simply means that we can face up to any struggle that finds its way onto our path; that we can deal with the frustration and opposition that enter into our lives; that we can be what God wants us to be. And not because we are strong, but because God is. It's the same point he makes in II Corinthians 12 when he understands the great truth that God made to him. "When you are weak, the I am strong."
Actually, if we try to survive on our own strength, we are just getting in the way of what God can do to lift us up in our weakness and get us on the right track.
You've probably seen a poster that says: "Success comes in CANS, not CAN'TS." We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, if we let Him. And if we don't let Him, the CAN'TS will be victorious. Which choice will you make as we face the future, as individuals and as a church.
Joys and Concerns
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving for two new babies:
Tess Holly, daughter of Kayleigh and Christopher Reim
Skylar Avery, daughter of Paul and Domenica Belcher.
and for new church members:
Mr. and Mrs. James Dawson (Chelsea) and Anne Unstetter.
Prayers of Healing and Peace for:
Betty Warner, Sandra Stammerjohann, Cheryl Cox and Laura Holleny Czaikowski.
Our sympathy is extended to Mr. William Sharp and his family on the recent
death of his wife Nancy.