Hearing “Happy New Year” lately gives me so much hope for the future. With so much happening last year in world affairs, mainly radical terrorists attacks such as ISIS, Israel and Gaza, North Africa, Ebola outbreaks in the USA, the elections in both local and federal levels, this and that going on in our personal lives, how can one stay clear of the waves of bad news? Even if you don’t watch TV or read the local papers, people talk. It doesn’t take long to hear about something of concern either on the local or national level. How does one stay informed yet remain positive?
The old saying “Good news doesn’t sell like a little bad news” is still true today. There is a light shining around those dark clouds of despair though. If Jesus Christ is your savior, Lord and Master, the bible says, “Look up” for your redemption is drawing near. I like that. “Where evil exists, grace abounds all the more.” I wonder what God means by that?
I don’t think you have to look far. As Christians, we know that God created us so that He could share everything He has with us. Yes, the bible says, “We have all things in Christ Jesus!” If we didn’t have cloudy days, we wouldn’t appreciate or be thankful for when we have a sunny day. Isn’t God good to us here on the Kenai Peninsula compared to other places in the world? We don’t know how fortunate we are to live here. We are blessed.
We don’t have to worry right now about rockets falling out of the sky anywhere near by. We haven’t had a drought in a long, long time, if ever, like some places. We have fresh water to drink, fresh food at affordable prices, ample clothing available to buy. Our schools are good, we live in safe communities, we really have an abundance that only the rich or a king would have in comparison in some of the poorer countries. I would say we have a lot to be thankful to the Lord for. We are still free to worship as we wish and where we wish to worship God.
The greatest of all these things, these blessings that I take for granted is the Peace of Christ in our hearts. We can still trust our Heavenly Father to take care of us. Read Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus tells us in summary, that if God takes care of the wild life, how much more will He take care of our needs? I am experiencing the “how much more,” God provides me as a child of God. The “much more” goes beyond what you can eat, wear or touch. Paul says in chapter eight of the book of Romans, “All things work together for good for those who love God and live according to His plans.” Wow, this is real. Peace and Joy really do kiss in your life as the bible says.
There is a catch though. We must love God with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind and we must believe in Jesus as the only way to the Father and His Love. We must believe God’s goodness and obey His word daily. Without the Holy Spirit in my life, I would not get it. I just wouldn’t get it. It doesn’t matter how much I know about God or how religious I can seem, If God is not present in me, living in me through the Holy Spirit, I really have no hope at all to know Him. With a relationship with the Holy Spirit I can really experience Jesus and the Father in a New Reality. That’s what Jesus said, not Mark Conway. Yes, relationship is everything to God. When I have relationship with God, then I am blessed with Peace of mind that comes only from God, I have Hope in what I hear from God and His Word is among us. I have the Joy which is true Joy that only comes from relationship with God. We all have a purpose in this life and it pleases our Father to show and tell us what our purpose really is.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” No one comes to the Father except through me. I believe God loves the whole world. He said so in John 3:16. Jesus didn’t say love the whole world and all that it can give you. He did say in fact, “Love not the world nor the things of this world.” Sometimes I get this turned around. I tend to love the world and worry about everything else. Jesus says, “Eternal life is this, to know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” His promise is for everyone if you believe in Him and what He tells you through His word, the Holy scriptures.
We do have a lot to be thankful for today. Keep our eyes upon Jesus and the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace. May the Lord bless us with His Grace and presence as we humbly seek to know Him through the cross and glory of Christ the King, repentance of our sin in our lives and thankfulness of God’s Love for us even before we were born. Jesus is for everyone, especially the sinner.
Mark Conway is a Christian Evangelist living in Sterling with his wife Maryna. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.