A Better Year, 2021?
It was the worst snowstorm in Texas. We were not ready for it. Lives were lost. Many suffered and continue to suffer from it. This all on top of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. If you thought 2021 was going to be a better year, think again.
No, think a third time. Our blessings in Christ are not dependent upon the circumstances and conditions of the world in which we live. Nobody and nothing can take them from us. Unlike the temporal physical and material blessings of life, what we have in Christ is everlasting. Any one of the blessings of Christ is greater than all the things of this world put together.
We have been forgiven and set free from sin. We have been given a new life. We have a new family in the Lord. We have a heavenly Father who is always good to us. We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is our Lord but also our friend and fellow brother. We have the Holy Spirit, our helper and comforter, who dwells in us. We have brothers and sisters with whom we share a common faith and love. We have the privilege of prayer 24/7. We have the constant help and encouragement of God’s word and His promises.
This will always be an evil world because it is full of sin and death. It is not the way God made it and it is not what God wants for us. In His love, He sent His Son to rescue us from our sins and to give us eternal life. He will send Him again to bring an end to all things and to bring us home to His Father in heaven. For now, we walk in faith, waiting and watching for His coming.
We are not alone. We are not defeated. We are not without hope. This year, and every year, is better in Christ!
The Blessings Of Giving
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
We have all been blessed by what we have received from others. Perhaps, it was a gift that came just at the right time, just when you really needed it. Maybe you were surprised by a generous and wonderful gift that you could never have imagined. Or have you ever received a gift and thought to yourself, “What am I going to do with this?”. Even then you might say, “It’s the thought that counts.”
There is a blessing in receiving but according to Jesus the greater blessing is in giving. He said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).
That question may sound quite negative to you. It may sound more like a burden than a blessing. But God made it clear to Israel that His requirements were essential to their relationship with Him. God requires no less of His people today. To experience redemption from the life of sin and death, to know God, and to have an abundant, eternal life with Him, we, too, must meet His requirements.
Have you ever noticed how some always seem to be so upbeat and positive? It is not because everything is going great in their life, or that things are necessarily going better for them than everybody else. No, it is because they choose to be that way. They decide to look for reasons to be happy and to focus on the good things. In doing so they attract more of the same. It doesn’t just happen; they make it happen.
This is how Paul teaches us to live our lives. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Yes, God encourages us to come to Him for all our needs. He promises to listen to us when we ask and He promises to answer our requests. He gives generously and will never scold us for asking. You can always count on Him for every good and perfect gift.
Read it for yourself in the Bible: Matthew 7:7-11; John 14:13; Hebrews 4:14-16; James 1:2-5, 16-17; 5:16-18; 1 John 5:14-15.
Some of you may be wondering, “Why, then, do I not see this in my life? Where are God’s blessings?” The problem is never with God. It is with us. Open your heart to this teaching from James 1:5-8.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135