Newsletter of Walker United Methodist Church
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Charles Dickens in his novel A Tale of Two Cities opens with this famous quote:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
I believe this describes every generation. In every generation there are advances in medicine, technology, etc. and these advances enhance our lives and thus each generation in many ways is always living in a better time than those before them. Yet every generation faces its challenges that convince each generation that the present time is the most challenging there has ever been. So truly every generation encounters the best of times and the worst of times.
As 2019 approaches, we all know that the year will be mixed with joys and sorrows, victories and frustrations. I remind you of two things you already know, but it is good to remind ourselves.
1) Regardless of the “times” we encounter, God will be with us. We just celebrated Christmas, the birthday celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Matthew 1:23 we are told that one of the names/titles of the child to be born is Emmanuel which means God is with us. During the good times and times of celebration, God is with us. Don’t forget to praise God. During those times of difficulty, God is with us. God’s strength will sustain us and comfort us and guide us. When the difficulties come, remember that God is with you.
When we are in the midst of life, in the moment it often appears that for our life the moment is the best of our times or the worst of our times. We encounter “seasons of light and seasons of darkness.” But I have also noticed that much of life is determined by what we focus on which leads to the second reminder.
2) Often, what we focus on tends be what we get. One of the reasons we have to keep our eyes on the road when driving is because our hand steers the car to where our eyes are focused. As I travel this road of life, I find that when I take my eyes off of Jesus and focus on problems, aggravations, etc. I tend to experience what I have been focusing on. Likewise, when I focus on the love, grace, peace, strength and faithfulness of Jesus I tend to encounter it and then even the difficult times though not pleasant do not overwhelm me. When we are focused on Jesus even in our darkest hours we are not overcome as John declares in John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” When life is pleasant, focus on Jesus. When life is hard, focus on Jesus.
As we focus on Jesus who is always with us, we will experience the best that 2019 has to offer.
Happy New Year,
John Pike, Pastor