Watch Out for the Potholes

We have entered into another New Year. It’s officially 2019. With a new year comes new expectations, new hopes, and new dreams. There is always a fresh optimism at the beginning of another year.

But the reality is – life is still the same. Turning another page on the calendar doesn’t really change anything. Life goes on. You’ll face the same issues, same problems and same hardships as you did on the last day of 2018.

That’s the bad news.

I’m not trying to ruin your year. There is good news.

The good news is that you can face whatever 2019 throws at you with a new sense of strength and hope if you face it with the knowledge that Jesus is both your strength and your hope. He’s what you need.

He won’t eliminate the problems (wish He would!). But He will help you handle them if you’ll trust Him.

Read these words from the Bible and let them sink deep into your soul.

Psalm 9:10 – Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalm 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 33:18 – Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy.

Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.

Isaiah 40:29 – He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

My hope and prayer for you is that you will experience joy and blessing in 2019.  But it is also likely that you will face some problems and hardships. The question is not Will you? but When?

The secret to the Christian life is not in avoiding the problems of another year, the secret is in how you handle them.  Handling them with dependence on God and with the confidence that in His power you can do what is right is the goal.

Blessings on you in 2019. But watch out for the potholes along the road (if you’re from PA you know what I’m talking about!).

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

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Is Anyone in Charge?

For those of you living in the United States that’s a question that you’re probably asking yourself – Is ANYONE in Washington, D.C. in charge? The government is in a partial shut-down with a financial default potentially just around the corner and our politicians are playing a game of “blame the other guy”. Instead of working on creative solutions to our problems they’re spending their time and energy trying to convince the American people that this crisis is not their fault – it’s the other guy’s fault. Those of you living in other countries probably have your own political version of the game.

It’s no secret to my non-American readers: Americans like to be in charge! It’s part of our cultural DNA. We like to run things. We like to be the decision-makers. We like to have the final word. We are in-charge people. We especially like to be in charge when it comes to our own lives. We call the shots. We make the decisions. No one tells us how to run our lives.

But the reality is that you have never been completely in charge of your life. When you were young your parents were in charge; they told you what to do. As you got older you thought that at last you were in charge of your life but then you met teachers, employers, coaches and various types of people in official capacities who told you what you could and could not do. You have probably been in charge of less of your life than you ever realized.

And that’s the way it is suppose to be for the Christian. You were not created to be in charge of your life nor were you saved to be in charge of your life. God created you to be dependent on Him. The original sin, both in terms of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14) and man (Genesis 3:4-5) is a rejection of dependency on God. And that is still the underlying premise of all sin – rejecting our dependency on God. Even after we are saved we struggle with it (Romans 7:14-20) – we want to be in charge of our own lives. But scripture is clear (Proverbs 3:5-6) that we are to depend on Him. To put it succinctly, we are not in charge of our lives – He is, and no amount of protest to the contrary will change it.

What we fail to realize is that we will never be satisfied in life until we find our satisfaction in Him and our dependency on Him. The Psalmist understood this truth when he wrote:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2)

O God, you are my God; early will I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)

Dependency on God leads to a thirst, a longing for God just as surely as dependency on water leads the desert wanderer to a longing for something to drink.

Dependency is not a weakness, in fact in the spiritual realm it is a strength. The Apostle Paul learned this lesson and came to the conclusion that he had to be dependent on God if he was going to endure his trial (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). His words still ring true, when I am weak, then I am strong.

So who’s in charge in your life? Who or what are you depending on?

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve