The Gift of His Presence

Now that we have arrived at the twelfth month of the year, we look back at the year that has been and have been witnesses to God’s faithfulness. No doubt, there have been some rough spots personally and in other ways in this year. But His faithfulness is obvious. Even though, we do live at times as if he was not there, and whether we consciously are always aware of his presence or not, he is faithful all day, every day. 

Christmas reminds us that God desires an up-close, personal relationship with you and I. Think of the extreme measures he went through to even make that possible. Even though he created us to love him, we blatantly turned our back on him and accepted the offer of the evil one. We choose to deliberately walk away from God’s offer of unconditional love and his eternal care.

Not that God was caught by surprise, his Word tells us that his plan of redemption was drawn up in eternity past. His Son was sent to carry out that plan. He was born of a virgin; he lived a sinless life in order to die a death that would redeem us from the power of archenemy of God. You and I are redeemed by faith in what Christ accomplished on the cross when he shed his blood to pay for and cover our sin.

God in his faithfulness prepared the scene. As you read through the Gospels this Christmas season and get a sense that none of this happened by chance! Not one thing! From the opening chapters of Genesis right through the book of Revelation, God is unveiling his plan to welcome you into his presence.

He has not forgot about you. He is continuing to call you to know him and to grow in your relationship to him. He is patient enough to allow you to sense your desperate need of him on a daily basis. You see, even though we are surrounded by so many rivals, none of them can match what God wants to give us through Christ. Yet…we keep trying to find that “something, or someone else better”. We try to logically argue that this God thing is a figment of our own imagination. We attempt to rationalize that this “Jesus thing” was created by a bunch of right-wing wackos who are seeking to control our lives.

Not only has he not forgot about you, the gift of his presence in the person of Jesus Christ, seals the deal. I love the New Testament story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15. It illustrates perfectly what God did at Christmas. Those who rebelled against God, who wanted their inheritance now, who tried to deny their Father’s existence, found themselves eating at the pig trough, only to find out later that there was a banquet fit for a king prepared for them. That is grace! That is the gift of presence.

You may be new to the faith. You may be running from the faith. You may have already attempted to deny the faith. God still loves you and is ready to welcome you back! My only word of advice is, don’t wait! His presence is waiting to embrace you again with his eternal love and unrelenting care.

You may have followed Jesus for many years. Please my friend, don’t let his presence become a thing of the past. Don’t let it become something that you are so accustom to that it is no longer a wonder that it took you so long to find it. Let his presence renew your heart and your hope this Christmas season!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Pastor Bill Finch

finch1959@gmail.com

Real Hope for Real Life

hope

The Scriptures paint a very bleak picture of the spiritual condition of man.  There is no soft-selling it nor candy-coating it, or even dunking it in the world’s most expensive perfume.  Take a look at the picture painted by the Scriptures, the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:1-3

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ouch!

If that doesn’t shock your system, how about this:

Romans 3:10-12

“No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned asid; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Even by our own personal experience, everyone of us could testify that our thoughts, intentions, plans and desires are often times not what God would approve.  We are trapped by our own desires seemingly unable to escape their consequences.

What do we do?  How do we free ourselves from our sinful human nature?

Enter the scene help from the outside. We know by our own frustrations to “dig ourselves out of the ditch”, as it were, on our own we can’t do it!  The harder we try, the deeper we feel the desperation of our helpless situation. For that reason, Easter happened.

Christmas brings us the celebration of the arrival of the hope we desperately need. Christmas would make no sense whatsoever without the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Hope was renewed at Christmas and sealed forever at Easter.  Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)  That sealed sin’s fate. It was rendered powerless. The Apostle wrote, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

The hope that Jesus gives us real hope, not just a hopeful wish.  Jesus actually suffered on the cross, he actually shed his blood for the forgiveness of sin, he truly died and then he was resurrected to life again. This is such great news that we read the following words, “But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57)

My friend, is that hope yours?  Are you tired of trying to find the solution to life on your own? Reach out by faith to the forgiveness that God offers you in Christ!

In the first ever sermon that was preached in the first church, the invitation to embrace the Gospel of Jesus was expressed by the Pastor in these words,

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 2:38)

That, my friend, is the hope we need today! Embrace it, love it, receive it, live in it!

For His Glory,

Pastor Bill

Practicing the Presence of God through Prayer

Prayer gets a bad rap among some of God’s kids who think it is only for the spiritual elite.

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Photo by Nguyen Nguyen on Pexels.com

Some practice it on an “emergency only basis.  Others “seem” to be close to ” super saints” who use such erudite, spiritual language that you wonder what planet they have been on the last ten years!

Between those two very extreme caricatures are those who honestly struggle to adopt a lifestyle that carries with it the aroma of prayer.  These are those people, like you and I, who have a God-given passion in their hearts to bring every matter in their lives to the Lord’s attention through prayer. But, the question is, how can we adopt the lifestyle where prayer is the predominant theme of our lives? With your permission, I would like to take you on a journey through the pages of the Bible to witness those people from the past who came to grips with prayer’s importance, some failed and some passed with flying colours.

Continue reading

The Gift of Presence

two-friends-wallpapers“He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24).

It is very special to have “found” the Gospel of Jesus Christ when I was without purpose and no hope of every finding it on my own. I grew up in a home where the things of God were given only intellectual assent and never personally applied or taken serious. It was like knowing it was indeed true but pretending to live like it wasn’t.  Continue reading

If you knew…

They come in all shapes, sizes and intensity.  The innocuous thing about them is that they sneak up on us when weResults least suspect them like carbon monoxide on the unsuspecting homeowner. Before we realize it, we are left gasping for air as the life is sucked right out of us!

King David experienced it on a day that began like all the others he had every lived  (2 Samuel 11). He would go to sleep (if he could sleep) that night a changed man with a totally different future than he had when he woke up that day. And so does every one of us who yield to the tempting picture that sin paints for us without considering its deadly consequences. Continue reading