July 3, 2024

Good afternoon Church family, 

I trust that many of you are resting well after a busy VBS week. I know that I am trying to recover, but fortunately for me, I have younger years on my side which helps me retain and regain energy much quicker than many of you “seasoned sages.”  What you lack in energy, you make up for in wisdom! 

Anyways, I was happy and sad to end the farewell discourse of Jesus last week. After soaking in His final words for months, His words of comfort & confidence began to build in me week by week. I hope and pray that you loved Jesus final words as much as I did and even more. 

As John 6:68 says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

And as Jesus says in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” 

One of the distinctive characteristics of us as Christ’s followers is that we love Christ’s words. We love His Word and we hear His voice through the Spirit as the Scriptures are opened and we walk away from sermons and Bible studies and daily devotions with the intent to obey His words and follow them.

And Christ’s last words brought me considerable delight as I hope they did to you: 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

One of the phrases that helps me remember the basic gist of what Jesus said here is this: “While trouble is promised, triumph is certain.” Or, “while trouble is guaranteed, triumph is granted.” 

I found the combination of trouble and triumph very intriguing & appropriate because of how it represents what you can expect as a Christian: 

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:9-10 explains this well: “(we are) unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 

And in the words of Adelaide Procter,

“1 My God, I thank thee, who hast made

The earth so bright;

So full of splendor and of joy,

Beauty and light;

So many glorious things are here,

Noble and right. A-men.

2 I thank thee, Lord, that thou hast made

Joy to abound; (made

So many gentle thoughts and deeds

Circling us round,

That in the darkest spot of earth

Some love is found.

3 I thank thee, too, that all our joy

Is touched with pain,

That shadows fall on brightest hours,

That thorns remain;

So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,

And not our chain.

4 I thank thee, Lord, that here our souls,

Though amply blest,

Can never find, although they seek,

A perfect rest,

Nor ever shall, until they lean

On Jesus’ breast.

Amen.”

The benefits of tribulation are so that we can depend on the peace that Jesus gives us and the victory that Christ has won us over this world, but it’s not to be found in this world. 

May you all live with a positive perspective of your troubles in life knowing that Jesus has won the victory through the Cross over the world, the flesh, and the devil in our lives. 

“We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us!” (Romans 8). 

It feels good to be a part of a winning team, and so we are! 

With abiding victory in Christ, 

Love Aaron

From Pastor Aaron

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