Dear Fellow Children of God,
Recently I barely escaped a serious auto accident and possibly even being killed. On December 20 I was returning from a home visit to one of our homebound members who lives off Pittman Road. Around 5:00 p.m. in the dark I was driving south on the Parks Highway. There are no street lights on that stretch of road and a long line of lights came at me from the vehicles driving north out of Wasilla. Suddenly, out of the glare of lights, I realized one of those vehicles was in my lane driving full speed straight at me. I hit the brakes and swerved onto the shoulder. The vehicle that was driving at me did not swerve, it did not blink its lights, it did not slow down. But at 50-60 miles an hour that vehicle drove right through the area where I and the car behind me had been driving. For about a mile, with my heart in my throat, I drove slowly along the shoulder glad I had missed a possibly fatal accident.
The blessing, however, of a close call like this is that the escape from harm and death gives a person the opportunity to be thankful to be alive. Such an escape is an opportunity to count our blessings and to commit again to living each day as a child of God.
As we approach and begin a new year people often use the date on the calendar as an opportunity for a new beginning. But such new beginnings don’t require a near death experience nor a change of years on a calendar. For those who are in Christ every day, in fact many times each day, we have the blessing of new beginnings. One place that Scripture tells us of such a new beginning is in Romans 6. “ 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6;3-4)
Paul says that we die with Christ and rise with him to “live a new life.” One way God gives this new beginning is in our baptism. Every time we sin and repent of that sin, remembering our baptism, we have a new beginning as God forgives us. God puts the past behind us through His forgiveness won through Jesus’ death on the cross. As a person faces the hurts and disappointments of life trusting in Jesus we can continue through the pain knowing that God is with us in the love that caused Him to send Jesus. By faith in Jesus we have the promise of eternal life in heaven which gives us strength to face the challenges of each day.
It is always a blessing to put the past behind us and begin new again. For the Christian we have the blessing of those new beginnings every day through God’s love and forgiveness for us in Jesus.
A Child of God, thankful again for gift of new life found in Jesus,
P.S. Last week I mentioned the blessing of family. Here is a picture of of our “Grandchild Christmas” celebration on December 23. https://picasaweb.google.com/114993745799525883148/Christmas2011#5691837564137885058
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.