Jesus said “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” (John 15:5 GNB)
Very often we are tempted to turn back. It can be for a multitude of reasons. Very often we feel that our devotion to this unseen God is not bearing fruit, our reading of scripture is not stirring our hearts and that the road is too hard for us. Sometimes the challenge of being a Christian is great and as I have repeatedly prayed for people in our church this year, I pray for you today:
May the joy of knowing Jesus Christ be greater than the challenge of being His Church!”
This week we received the Code of Conduct for the Elective Assembly. Its on the Board for you to read: and is a shocking reminder of the worldliness that has enveloped our institution. I ask you to pray fervently for the nominees, among them is our next Bishop. A woman or man called by God despite our humanness, despite our weaknesses and despite our failings, God will raise up for us someone who is “after His own heart.” But it is we that must be on our knees in repentance and it is us who must be seeking God and walking in His truth and in His ways. I ask you with all of my being to be committed to this one thing – to seek the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. To Love the Lord your God and to submit to Him. My prayer for you is that God will silence all other voices but His own and that each one of us will deepen our experience of God. We live in complex times – every generation has its challenges and ours are no greater than in any other era – but they are ours – we are the ones who have to take to heart the challenges of our days and seek Gods forgiveness, His healing, His strength.
I have had an interesting two weeks and have been challenged to my core as to who I am and what I am doing here, on earth! I have often felt like Jonah when he was on the Ship bound for Tarshish and they were in the storm and everybody agreed that it was Jonah’s sin that had caused the storm. (Jon1:7) He had not done what God wanted and now the whole ship was about to sink. When I feel like that, I too throw myself at the mercy of God and into the deep waters of trusting Him. True we normally end up doing what God wants with our dignity a bit knocked – (remember how Jonah left Joppa well dressed but after being on the Ship and in the sea and in the whale – he must have been a sight when he arrived in Nineveh. But he did what God wanted in the end. This is a process that we all have to endure. Do not be afraid of it. Do not be afraid of the life that God has called you to. Every experience, every challenge, every failure, every closed door, every trip to Tarshish – is part of God’s molding of your life.
So, let us not draw back. Let us be bold and trust in God! Let us not fear what the world tempts us to fear, but let us be resolved to love the Lord our God with all our heart with all our soul and with all our strength and to love our neighbors and to love ourselves (If we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves then it stands to reason that we need to love ourselves first).
To contemporize one of my favorite Scriptures:
“ I am convinced, that neither load shedding nor global warming, nor a failing economy and ‘junk status” nor budget speeches nor inflation, nor elective assemblies nor my fears; will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ.
And so my dear brothers and sisters in Christ : “be of good courage , fight the good fight of faith , that you may finish your course with joy!” and the blessing of the One true God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and upon all those whom you love.
Your fellow pilgrim.