Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
As 2021 draws to a close and we look to 2022 and what it may hold for us, we should not give in to worry, anger or hopelessness, but rather keep our trust in the Lord of the Universe who has everything under control. We cannot be sleepy or lazy, ignoring what is going on, and we cannot let the uncertainty of our times fill us with anxiety; we must stay alert to the directives of our Lord through His Word and the Spirit, and act as He leads us. We must stand firm in our faith that Jesus died for us and redeemed us for His eternal purposes, and those purposes will be fulfilled. We may certainly face hardships as many Christians have throughout history, and many do so even today, but the grace of our Savior will be more than sufficient to carry us through to the end. The phrase, “act like men” refers to courage and the ability to not shrink away in fear in the face of adversity, and the strength we are to demonstrate will be provided for us from our God through His indwelling Spirit. Financial hardships, health challenges and relational stresses are all part of living the life of a human, and we shall in some degree face these no matter what our faith is. The promise of scripture is that if we call on Jesus for salvation and surrender to Him as Lord, we will not face any of these problems alone, but rather have His presence and power available to us to draw upon in our time of need. This past year has been extremely difficult for many people, and this followed an incredibly challenging 2020! While I hope for much better in this new year, it may very well turn out to be another year that will test all of us. The real question is “who or what are you trusting in to get you through it, and to even find victory, in the midst of hardship? ” If we rely on ourselves, other people, organizations or our possessions and position for strength, we will face certain disappointment and defeat. Nothing in this life that is produced apart from God’s provision will truly satisfy and sustain us, and that is the lesson He is trying to teach us all. Stand firm in Christ, put all you hope in Him alone, be willing to face adversity, and then draw your strength from His Spirit and you will find that God is more than able to carry you through whatever you face. Blessings on everyone and I hope you have a blessed Christmas celebration and New Year!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek