“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV) I remember this verse of scripture from the first Bible study I ever attended. We were looking at the Book of James. I went with fear and nervousness, not knowing what to expect and how I would be made to feel. It turned out to be very encouraging and positive. I got to know people, learn about God’s word and, unknowingly, at the time, God started to reveal to me that He was calling me and gifting me to someday become a Pastor.
I share this little story and verse with you this morning as we start another week to celebrate God’s goodness to us. This pandemic has certainly challenged us in many ways and in no way am I making light of the tragedies of this illness and the suffering, pain and grief it has caused. It is a deadly disease and needs to be viewed that way. But during this time, God has moved, in many ways, through our congregation, through our website and beyond to really bless us.
God has touched all of us by His grace. We have all gotten closer to the Lord and learned more about Him. His presence has been very real when you stop and think about it. “Every good and prefect gift” starts with Jesus!
God has touched all of us through others. The ministry that is going on through the lives of people in our church, and around our church, is incredible. People are getting to know each other in meaningful and deeper ways and really reaching out in Christ’s love. Many have taken up the torch to help each other in so many practical and caring ways. We praise Him.
God has touched me as a Pastor in getting to know many people in a deeper and more meaningful way. Through phone conversations, texts and emails, I have gotten to minister to folks and they to me. It has been very exciting to think about the love that has been shared. God bless you. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me.
God has touched our community through our church. We have been able to make significant contributions to the Stoney Creek Food Bank to help those that are struggling. God has blessed us so we can bless others.
God has touched us through the ministry of our website. God has used our church’s ministry to encourage, educate and share His message of love and grace with many. Thank you to Maureen and Allison for getting that up and running at just the right time. It is a lesson in God’s divine providence and timing. I think, for many of us, we have gotten to grow in our use of technology, in Jesus’ name.
God has touched us all through prayer. I think people, overall, are living more in an atmosphere of prayer as I talked about Sunday. I think that is exciting and so encouraging.
God has helped us all better understand the true meaning of love, of agape. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV) Our witness as a church has grown through our practice of His love. Love is that special catalyst that turns heads, open ears and causes hearts to really listen. As the children’s chorus goes, “Praise Him, Praise Him all ye little children, God is love, God is love.”
I open this week reminding myself that my blessings far outweigh my problems. God has touched me and so many others during this challenging time with many, many, “good and perfect gifts.” I am so fortunate. Thank you to all who have blessed and encouraged me and have reached out in Christ’s name to bless others. It has been a difficult time but it has also been a time of unprecedented blessings. May your day be filled with them!
God loves you and so do I! Have a great day – Pastor Ralph