By Dr. D.
Dear Pleasant Ridge Church Family,
“SPRING IS COMING!” There’s so much hope in a statement like this, especially as I write this article on a cold, rainy Wednesday morning. It’s exciting to think that soon the trees will be budding, and the flowers will be blooming. I think for every person there need to be words of hope that carry us through the storms and difficulties of life. Many of you understand the power of hope… just recently after spending 3 weeks in the hospital, Ray Crowe was able to come home and sleep in his own bed. I recall how on several occasions as I visited with him, that was his desire… just to be in his own home and sleep in his own bed. You may understand how you felt when the Lord has help to pull back together what once was unraveled in your life. Part of our unraveling can come from the outside… the pressures and stress of work, school, home life, finances, health issues and so on. Some of our unraveling comes from within… when we have abandoned the hope that God gives through His presence. At times we turn our eyes, hearts, ears and minds away from the greatest source of hope that could ever be found… Our Creator and Sustainer.
The Apostle Paul knew how easy it is to lose sight of the Lord and how effortlessly we can become unraveled on a daily basis, so he offered these words of encouragement to us…
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”Any challenge that we may be facing here and now is only a temporary setback and really can be used to bring God glory. We can “choose to lose” or “Hold on to Hope!”.
God really does love you and when we recognize that love we discover the by-products of His love. Qualities like mercy, grace, forgiveness, peace, joy and hope flow alongside of God’s unbounded love. Years ago, a beautiful song that Dionne Warwick made popular was entitled, “What The World Needs Now”. The lyrics go on to say that the thing our world needs now is “Love, sweet love.” This is so true today… in the midst of protests, hatred and so much anger everywhere, we have lost sight of the fact that we are to show love and share love because we are the children of a Loving Father. There’s the hope.
Take a look at the wisdom of the Apostle John when it comes to our relationship with the Lord and where that relationship will take us in our attitudes and actions…
1 John 4:7-21 (NIV), “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
As wonderful as the prospect of Spring coming soon may be to us, there is actually something even better here for us every day… The love of God! What a refreshing way for us to look at life; even on a cold, rainy day. Those cold, rainy days pass, but the Son of God endures! God’s blessing isn’t determined by the weather, nor by the circumstances of our lives. His love is perfect and eternal. Hold on to Hope… God is Good, and His presence brings power to us. I love you. I pray for you. And I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our church family. His Greatest work at Pleasant Ridge (and in your life) is still ahead.
Make a Difference, Dr. D.