For the past 11 years I have stood before you, faithfully teaching / proclaiming the truth of God’s Word; His Word given to us to show us how to live; His Word which is our rule of life and faith, and a faithful record of all that He has revealed to be true and right and noble. We are blessed to have written words from God, who breaks into human history to reveal Himself to us; who is at work in our world and in our lives; who leads and directs us according to His plans and purposes.
Over the past years we have looked at what the Bible says about worship, about prayer and what it means to live by faith. We have come to know and to marvel in the truth of His amazing grace in our lives and to live out the words of Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Many of you have known this peace and it’s my prayer you would continue abide in his love and grace all the days of your life – calling out to our God for strength and courage to face whatever may come our way and interceding for those we love.
You have often heard me talk about living as a child of God. John writes: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1-2)
I don’t know what it is like for you, but I constantly need to be reminded of this truth. Henri Nouwen writes, ‘Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.’ I have to remind myself each day that there is a God and that He loves me; that we are in a covenant relationship. His desire is to break into and lead my life; He is still at work in my life, still writing my story. And friends, He is still at work in your life; still writing your story. And because of that, we can find rest and strength and joy in our journey with Him.
As I noted in the last blog posting, for me, I am still learning learn to allow the Shepherd of my soul to lead me to green pastures and quiet waters. And this is my desire for you; that you too would find rest and joy in Him. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. (Psalm 23:1-3)
Often I have encouraged you to stay faithful; to live out the truth of my life verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58: Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Especially in this season of our lives – when we feel the effects of growing older, when we grow tired and weary; this is the very time we need to stay faithful; to stay the course all the way to the finish line!
It has been my observation that many, contrary to what we might think, lose courage; we lose confidence as we grow older. So I have sought to cheer you on in your walk of faith; to spur you on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24), and to build you up in the faith, to bring to you the Word of God and call you to respond to God and His Word; to be a voice calling out to you…This is the way; walk in it (Isaiah 30:21).
Because friends, I believe to the core of my being that a life of faith in Jesus Christ is the best possible way for us to journey through our days on earth! And it’s the only way we’ll spend eternity together in heaven. This is the central message of the Christian faith and so you have heard me often declare this message to you that Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
It really is the best possible life and I pray that you would embrace it, receive it and live confidently as His beloved son / daughter. I pray that you might live with assurance; that you would have a confident faith that will carry you through whatever life brings your way and will lead you boldly to the gates of heaven; that you would live well and finish well for His honor and glory.
Our life and legacy is about so much more than what we do for the short time we are on this earth. Henri Nouwen writes…I still believe deeply that our few years on this earth are part of a much larger event that stretches out far beyond the boundaries of our birth and death. I think of it as a mission into time, a mission that is very exhilarating and even exciting, mostly because the One who sent me on the mission is waiting for me to come home and tell the story of what I have learned.
There is a part of me that can’t wait! What a day….what day that will be!
Until that day…until He comes or calls us home may we be found faithful!