A Message from the Pastor
As the story goes, there was a Christian man who was never afraid to share his faith despite the ridicule he sometimes endured for it. He was a simple man who had never learned to read or write.
Working as a janitor at the local grocery store, his manger one day decided to fire him in order to hire a friend of a friend, and he used the excuse of the man being illiterate as the reason for the loss of his job.
In any event, without the ability to read or write his future looked pretty bleak. Jobless, he decided to take his meager savings and open up a coffee shop and soon enough business was so good he opened another shop and within a couple of years was earning a very comfortable living.
One day while going over some things at his bank, the banker said to him, “You’ve done quite well for an illiterate, imagine where you’d be if you could read or write” to which the man replied, “I’d be a janitor at the grocery store.”
Of course, it would be incorrect for me to promise that everything in our lives will necessarily work out the way we’d like…that every unfortunate circumstance or difficultly will eventually end in a bed of roses, like in that story. But what I can tell you, is that God can and sometimes will use affliction for our benefit as strange as that may sound…to strengthen our faiths, to draw us closer to Him, and to further His kingdom and those being saved. Trials that often tend to remind us that we are mortal sinners in need of a Savior.
I’m also a firm believer that sometimes afflictions or even tragedies are God’s way of getting our attention before we drift too far away from saving faith. A sort of “shot across the bow of our ship” so-to-speak, to get us to change course before we crash our lives onto the rocks of unbelief. A wake up call if you will.
St. Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) To humble yourself before God, means to surrender all your cares and concerns to Him, because when we don’t, the Devil will use them to get us to second guess and to doubt God’s love. In fact, the word “anxiety” means “diversion” as in getting our lives diverted from prayer, reading the Bible, and weekly worship attendance. Therefore, we are implored to cast our worries to God.
You know, it’s been said, that worry is nothing more than an invitation for us to pray.
I know many think or believe that we in the church should be safeguarded against the assaults of Satan, but the truth is, “Wherever God builds a church…the Devil builds a chapel.” In other words, the children of God are his primary targets…to get us to abandon our trust and eventually our faiths, so that he might drag our souls with him into hell.
The Devil doesn’t want you to believe in the Bible. He doesn’t want you to believe that Jesus won complete forgiveness for your sins and so he will constantly bring up your past sins and wave them in your face and ask, “How can God love someone as filthy as you?”
But the answer is…Jesus. The name by which we are saved. The name that has the power to make the Devil shake and tremble in the corner of his cage. The name by which we have been declared to be the forgiven children of God. The name by which you will one day enter paradise.
So go ahead…call upon his name…cast your cares and concerns upon his shoulders…and don’t worry about a thing.
Until next month….