Loving Hope

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Seasonal Messages

March 2009
by Freda Shultz

Learning to Know the Voice of Jesus 
Two months of the new year are over. The cold chilling weather will be only a memory for a little while. Have we taken advantage of the cold winter days to stay in and study and pray and truly learn to recognize the voice of Jesus?
John 10:4 tells us “When He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.”
Are we one of His own? Do we know his voice? Jesus talks to us in different ways. Sometimes He speaks through a still small voice through our conscience. At other times He works through the Holy Spirit and flashes a Bible verse to our mind. It may be a verse that will help us to overcome the tempter.
He speaks to us through Scripture as we read and study. A knowledge of the Bible is one of the best safeguards to hearing God’s voice and overcoming sin.
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness He would say, “It is Written.” It was because He knew the voice of God that He was victorious. The two best ways that we can overcome temptation is to study scripture and then lift our hearts to God in prayer asking Him for strength to overcome.
Today Jesus speaks to us as He did to His own disciples just before His ascension: “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth, and Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the earth.” Matt. 28: 18-20. We need this sense of the presence of Jesus in every time of temptation and trial.
The story is told of a little dog who stood shivering on a thin cake of ice floating in a reservoir. His pitiful howls stirred the police, the firemen, and the town folk to help him. They tried in different ways to remove the little dog from the ice but nothing worked. Then someone had a bright idea... The dog belonged to a little 6 year old girl. They brought the child as close to the dog as possible so that she could call and wave her hands to show her pet she was there.
When the dog heard the familiar voice of his mistress, he wagged his tail, splashed to the bank of the reservoir and climbed to safety. The skill of strangers gave the animal no courage but the voice of one whom the dog trusted rescued him.
Today we must be able to recognize and listen to the voice of our Saviour. He wants to rescue us from whatever may be our temptation or difficulty. Even today His promise holds.  "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Heb. 13; 5.
“My sheep hear My voice and they will follow Me.”

January 2009
by Len Loraditch

The beginning of each New Year brings to mind New Year’s resolutions.   It also reminds us of our beginnings as new children of God when we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior and received eternal life through Him. But unless we resolve to rededicate ourselves to God each and every day of every year, not just at the beginning of each year, there is a danger that we can slip away from His saving protection.
We can be assured that Satan, our arch enemy, wholly dedicates himself each day to our personal destruction and to the loss of our salvation. He doesn’t wait until a new year starts. Satan’s attacks are relentless and so should our dedication be to God. Our protection against the Accuser is only possible through the saving grace that is abundantly given by God.
When you start this New Year, think about what your relationship with God was at the beginning of last year and the year before that. Have you grown closer to our Creator since that time? Is your faith in Him growing stronger or has it grown weaker? Are you attending church more or less often than previously? Are you reading the Bible more or less often? Are you treating others with more or less loving concern for their welfare and for their salvation?  Honest answers to these questions will give you a compass to guide you in your future relationship with the Master. Without His constant companionship and guidance your salvation can slip away. Resolve this year to strengthen your grip on His hand and really get to know Him as your personal friend and counselor.

November 2008 
Roger Mathewson

As the days shorten while the crisp, cold nights lengthen, and the trees lose their leaves, the Thanksgiving holiday is approaching and Christmas along with New Year’s Day are just another month away. This is one of my favorite times of the year, especially Thanksgiving, when we take time to reflect on what we are truly thankful. God has lavished us with an abundance of blessings. We live in a rich country where we have freedom. This freedom was just clearly demonstrated by the historic election on November 4th. Now as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, my prayer is that we each spend some heartfelt time thinking carefully about what we are thankful for and how God has blessed us. Our Lord and Savior challenges us: "In everything give thanks." (1 Thes 5:18). 
The Holy Spirit inspires us to search for the good in all things and never give up hope, even when times are dark and discouraging. Our nation and the world are going through tough economic times now. We need to pray hard for our national and world leaders to learn from past mistakes and make sound decisions for our future recovery. And as a church family, here in Lancaster, during this time of economic hardship, we need to be extra sensitive to and perceptive of those of us who may be hurt more severely by these trying times, offering Christ-like help, support, and encouragement when it is needed most.
Loving Hope
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