Dear Church Family,
Yesterday morning we woke up and Bonnie looked out the window and there, glistening in the morning sun, was our first ripe, bright red strawberry. I said, “You better get out there and get it before somebody else does.” She laughed and said yes, and as soon as she could, went to the garden.
Later, she brought my breakfast to my desk and there, plump and ready to eat, was the strawberry. She explained that there had been four—one for me, one for her and two for whoever or whatever was first on the scene. If the weeds do not choke them, if the rain does not drown them, the varmints will eat them.
That is the way it is in this world. Designed by God to be full of joy, contentment and satisfaction, man, by his sin, reduced himself to a state of perpetual discontent (Ecclesiastes 1:8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.), and the world itself into a place of disappointment. Not everything is as bad as it could be, of course, but that is only because God is gracious and merciful, and keeps evil in check for the elect’s sake. He also provides blessings for His people even in the midst of sorrows and frustrations.
Psalms 145:8-9 Jehovah is gracious and full of pity; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Jehovah is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works.
But, as we have been discussing, there is a rest to the people of God.
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be the Root of Jesse standing for a banner of the people; to Him the nations shall seek; and His resting place shall be glorious.
The glorious rest that awaits you as a believer is real and secure; it is complete and satisfying.
The last two stanzas in the hymn, “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him,” say this…
Keep us, Lord, oh, keep us cleaving
To Yourself and still believing,
Till the hour of Your receiving
The victorious Bride.
Then we shall be where we would be;
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Then shall be our own.
The last verse expresses the very nature of this promised glorious rest—then we shall be where we should be—not here in this mess, but in the place that Christ has gone to prepare for us. And we shall be what we should be—what we strive to be for Christ’s sake, but can never fully be until we enter into that rest—a people of perfect faith and faithfulness.
Meanwhile, we take up our cross and follow Him. We seek to serve the Savior in the perilous times in which each generation finds itself, knowing that this promised rest is ours. Our title to it is confirmed and perfectly clear—it is sealed by the blood of the Lamb. Our possession of it is guaranteed and perfectly preserved—it is the promise of God.
1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing in Him you exult with unspeakable joy, and having been glorified, obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
And your capacity to fully enjoy the rest is equally assured.
Isaiah 61:10-11 I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah, my soul will be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the robes of salvation, He covered me with the robe of righteousness like a bridegroom adorns himself with ornaments, and like a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth comes out with its bud, and as the garden causes that which is sown to grow; so the Lord Jehovah will cause righteousness and praise to grow before all the nations.
This blessed hope of rest eclipses all the unrest of this world and it is the gift of God to the believer. But it is not for us to revel in and keep to ourselves; it is the message we are to share with the troubled world. The justice so many hope for and look for will never be found in this fallen world; it can only be found in Christ and the world He has prepared and promised to every believer.
Please be praying for the session as we undertake plans for opening the church again for services onsite.
Be praying about the security of our property.
Keep in prayer those who are serving our community in various capacities, especially those whose jobs carry them into the path of danger. And remember their family members, that they might have peace of mind from the Lord.
Pray for ongoing plans for VBS and the opening of Heritage in the fall.
Pray for our leaders to make wise and just decisions.
Pray for those who feel threatened and are angry and frustrated, that legitimate issues will be fairly and justly dealt with and illegitimate fears put to rest.
Pray for the revival of Christ’s Church in the land, and for the renewal of the work of the Kingdom here and around the world. Men and women will never find in this fallen world what it cannot give. These things can only be found in a real, redeeming relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.