Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
Last week I observed another birthday. Actually, I don’t need to be reminded that I am getting older, in years at least. But, according to the reckonings of our culture, this was a rather significant birthday. One of the blessings of this year’s birthday is that I received greetings and wishes from many, many friends and family. In fact, in this “Facebook Age,” I received between 150 and 200 greetings! About 150 people sent me greetings by Facebook. That’s pretty amazing! But, I also received a number of the more traditional birthday cards. Quite a few of those who have my phone number texted me greetings. Others sent me e-mail messages. And, 2 people called me on the phone. One of those people, a lady 20 years my senior, sang to me!
It is truly a blessing to have family and friends who care about you. Such care is a comfort as one faces the joys and trials of life. I personally find strength and assurance in so many sharing well wishes and blessings. It is somewhat overwhelming to have this many people reach out in family love and Christian friendship!
As I was pondering my blessings on my birthday, I realized that we are all known by God, and with His knowledge of us also comes our Lord’s love and care, now and eternally.
One of the sections of Scripture in the Old Testament that shares that God knows us even better than we know ourselves is found in Psalm 139. “1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in-- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” As the Psalmist shares about God’s knowledge of us and care His for us, I agree with his assessments. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” In fact, when the world around us and our own sin accuse us of failure and tell us we are not of value, God’s assurance gives strength that speaks the real truth about who we are. (For other Old Testament verses see also Isaiah 49:1, and Jeremiah 1:5)
In the New Testament God elaborates on His knowledge of us and His care for us. In John 10, where Jesus shares with us that He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep, Jesus also tells us how His knowledge of those who follow and believe in Him blesses them. “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28) Jesus knows us personally. Jesus cares for us sacrificially. And, Jesus doesn’t just speak His love, He gives eternal life to those who follow Him!
In 65 plus years I have seen many trials and tragedies. But, when people ask me how I am doing I have developed a somewhat pat answer which I now often share. “Life has blessings. Life has challenges. God is good. And that’s 2 out of 3. Not only that, but God’s blessings in my life far outweigh my challenges!” In other words I am blessed by our Lord in this life. I hope you know the same for yourself.
What a joy to receive so many greetings and well-wishes on my 65th birthday. Thank you to all who reached out to me. But, in His Word God not only speaks His knowledge and love, but He shares how that love blesses us eternally. “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” I pray that this “greeting card” from our Lord gives you joy and peace and strength through the joys and trials of your life
A Child of God, Thankful for the Love of God and His People,
P.S. Sunday was the birthday of Ethan Mirly, our DCE Intern. Here are a couple of pictures from worship. https://photos.app.goo.gl/YpyLqjpFCu9uBJOk1
P.P.S. In the last week, not only have our daffodils bloomed, but now we have tuplips! https://photos.app.goo.gl/XTYc7OlNqmo83KsG2
P.P.P.S. I put the boat in the water on Monday to test things out. Here are a couple of pictures of boat, dogs, and fish. https://photos.app.goo.gl/bGseH1CKpkaQqgAb9
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 regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.