Dear Fellow Children of God,
Have you ever built a new home? As Kathy and I were talking the other day we were amazed that it has been almost 9 years since we moved out of our previous home, with many older home issues, and moved into the home that Gary Foster built for us. It is exciting to watch your home grow from the ground up. Our new home has been a blessing as we have raised our family and entertained guests and family. We have had little if any problems with this new house. But we have learned that one of the important steps in building is to start with a solid foundation. Obviously, our home was built on a solid foundation because it has served us so well.
I ask these questions because we are approaching the New Year. In many ways people hope to build a new life in the coming year. Sort of like moving from an older home to a new one, people hope to leave the problems of the past behind and begin a time of life that has more health, more blessings, and hopefully fewer problems. And, like building a house, building healthy lives as God’s children means building on a solid foundation.
So, as we approach the New Year, on what foundation do we build our lives? We are told in Ephesians 2:19-20, “you are . . . fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Obviously from this verse, the ultimate foundation on which to build our lives is Jesus. We build our lives on Jesus because this sinful world does bring problems and death, and we need the forgiveness and life that only come through Jesus.
According to Ephesians God builds us on Jesus through the apostles and prophets, through His Word. So, using Scripture through worship and personal devotions is a way to build our lives as children of God.
In addition, we build relationships with others when we spend time with someone and when we talk and share with them. Our relationship with God is also built when we spend time with our Lord through prayer.
So, as we approach a new year and seek new opportunities and blessings, there are some simple practices we can follow that can build us up.
Are you regular in worship with God’s people? One person reminded me on Christmas Eve that God’s word tells us, “Let us not give up meeting together . . . ” (Hebrews 10:25) When God’s people gather around the word and sacraments in worship we are pointed to Jesus, and we are built up in Jesus who is the cornerstone of our faith. We are built up for lives that receive health and blessings in this world of sin and death. That is why I like another verse that talks about worship even more. Psalm 122:1 says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’"
Since we are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the Word of God, will you take time for Bible class and a regular devotional life in the coming year? Regular, personal time in God’s word also helps build our faith in Jesus.
Since we hope to face a new year with the love and blessings of our Lord, will you be regular in your conversations with the Lord? Will you go to Him in praise and thanks, with your fears and your hopes? Will you go to Him for yourself and others? Prayer builds our relationship with Jesus.
Perhaps you are making resolutions for the coming year. Why not consider these three habits of faith: faithfulness in worship, faithfulness in Bible Study and devotional life, and faithfulness in prayer? These may not sound life changing. But, these behaviors will build us up on a firm foundation on Christ Jesus. In Jesus we will know the blessings of God’s love in the coming year, even in the midst of this world’s trials.
I pray your Christmas brought you peace and joy and love through worship and through family time as you again received the gift of God’s love in Jesus. I pray that in the coming year you may build on this gift of Christ Jesus as God reveals Him in the prophets and apostles, as we find Him in God’s word and through prayer.
New Year’s Blessings, from one child of God to another,
P.S. Here is a picture from our family Christmas gathering. On Christmas Day. https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/6096996096671504081/6096997938277958114?banner=pwa&pid=6096997938277958114&oid=114993745799525883148
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. . .