November 2020 - Thoughts from Jim
Here it is November already. The year 2020 has been a difficult one in many ways. We ushered the new year in with news of a deadly pandemic which has changed the lives of everyone to some degree. Churches, schools, sports, businesses, and life as we knew it were closed down for several weeks. We were told to stay home except to go out for necessities. We were not allowed to visit friends who were hospitalized, nursing homes were closed to visitors, and still are. I remember going to a Walmart nearby to buy some groceries and was surprised to see the frozen foods section with empty shelves. The first time in my life I had ever gone to a store to see that many food items were completely sold out.
We have been through a lot this year, and nothing seems to be normal. People still are staying home a lot, and when we go out, masks are the norm. We have had a presidential election where results are still not known several days after we voted. There is much uncertainty in every area of life.
But this is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, and I have noticed when reading the scripture, that Thanksgiving is always appropriate, because God is still on His throne, and He is still in charge. I would like you to think about these words from Philippians, written by the apostle Paul while he was a prisoner, facing death.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:1, 4-7 (NASB)
Let’s remember to give Thanks to God in every circumstance, and His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
May God bless you,
October 2020 -Thoughts from Jim:
A Light in the Darkness
This is the time of the year when the leaves change colors, farmers harvest crops, darkness comes earlier and earlier. I love the color of the leaves and enjoy seeing the fields being cleared of their crops, but I’m not particularly fond of darkness. It’s hard to see in the dark, and much easier to step on some obstacle or trip on something that you didn’t know was there. It’s harder to navigate in the dark. Thanks be to God for lights on our cars and in our homes!
A number of years ago I took a camping/biking trip to Southern Illinois with some singles from West Side Christian Church. We camped in a State Park, then took a bike ride on a path called Tunnel Hill, near Vienna, IL. It was formerly a railroad line which made a gentle uphill path and went through a tunnel in the side of this hill. It was a fairly long tunnel and once you entered it, no lights were there except for the light at the end of the tunnel where the exit was. I kept thinking about the phrase, “Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel”. And I did so through most of that tunnel. But when I was about three-fourths of the way through the tunnel, I decided to look around a bit, but that was a big mistake. I lost my focus, and before I knew it, I couldn’t tell where I was, and I fell off my bike. I was disoriented only for few short seconds, but it was enough to cause the problem. No one else was near me, so I didn’t get ridiculed, but I felt kind of foolish. When we returned to the tunnel on the way back, I remembered to keep my eye on the light all the way to the end, and I made it through the tunnel in one piece.
Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, even though the days gradually grow darker, we can trust Him to keep us from falling. He is the Light that we need to stay focused on every day. Keep looking to Him the entire way through life’s journey.
May God Bless You,