Do not be Anxious

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7(NIV)

For almost the last year, I have written to you each month about the state of the United Methodist Church. I am not going to do that today, but if you have questions or concerns that you would like addressed, please let me know and I will try to get you information.

I have heard many people in recent weeks speak of being sad, anxious, fearful, or depressed. These are just four of the many negative emotions that have been expressed to me. It is a difficult time for all of us.

Election day is in less than two weeks and we have been bombarded on television, on social media, by snail mail, and by telephone, to name just a few communication sources, with advertising, much of it false, to try to tell us how to vote. Candidates are running for positions from the federal level all the way down to our local school boards.

As I have said repeatedly, the United Methodist Church is in the midst of a confrontation between those who believe in the authority of Scripture and those who believe that our faith culture should become more aligned with the secular culture. Many churches have already disaffiliated from United Methodism. Many churches would like to leave, but can’t afford to because of fees being levied by the Church Conferences. Many churches and church members are still totally confused about what is happening.

I won’t go into detail about other issues that concern most of us, but many of us are seeing our retirement accounts get smaller and prices for basic necessities such as food, fuel, and utilities increase because of the state of our economy. Crime and social issues are infiltrating our schools and our communities. The list goes on.

Now that I have managed to make you feel even worse, let me turn things in a different direction. It is November. The beginning of the Holiday season. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving on November 24th. November 27th will be the first Sunday of Advent, and we will celebrate Christmas on Sunday, December 25th .

I want to encourage each of us during this Holiday season, instead of bemoaning all of the things that cause us to experience those negative emotions, to focus on those things that we are thankful for. Each day write down one thing for which you give thanks, one thing that brings you joy, something that makes you realize your life is not all that bad. Place these notes in a jar or in a bowl and when you wake up one morning down in the dumps, take a look at what you have written. I pray you will be uplifted for the day ahead.

I have ordered copies of a small book written by Max Lucado titled A Love Worth Giving to You at Christmas. By giving each of you a copy of this book, I hope to share the spirit of Christmas with you. They will be in the lobby of each church by Thanksgiving.

I also want to encourage you to spend time in God’s word each day. Read the Bible. Memorize a verse that could become your life Scripture. Volunteer at the food pantry, the Thursday night dinner, at the Christian Service Center. Get to know some of the people in our community who may have more struggles in their lives than you do. I would also encourage each of you to read a devotional each day during Advent. You can find them on line or you can read The Upper Room or The Daily Bread provided by the churches, or you can purchase one of your choice.

I want to share again a portion of an article I shared in the September newsletter from Timothy Tennant, the president of Asbury Seminary. Our love of Christ and his word will prevail. The Gospel will keep on being proclaimed until Christ returns. May each of us be comforted by those two sentences as we struggle with issues and negative emotions in this earthly life. And, I pray that each of us can be joyous and thankful during this Holiday season.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary."

Isaiah 40:31(NIV)

Blessings,

Pastor Nancy

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