Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus!
Did you see that? Did you notice that most everything changed so quickly? How we socialize, how we conduct business, how we gather for worship has changed…. temporarily, to be sure. Schools are closed and employers are seeking ways to enable folks to work from home. It was sudden. David’s psalm came to my mind…
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
This is not the first time I have meditated to these words and I am certain it will not be the last. For it is in these ancient words that I find comfort and security. I trust you will find the same to be true. The words are timeless. They have comforted generations of people who have faced wars, disease, grief and uncertainty. Even today our spirits welcome these words and allow them to linger. May we invite them in to stay a while….
I also find a note of understanding from our Creator who tells us that when we come face to face with hardship, He will be with us always and give us reason to cast our fears away. God has forever been… and continues to be faithful.
So while we are trying to make sense out of the current headlines, let us also reflect on God’s love for us, keeping all things in proper perspective. Is God calling out to the world?, “If my people would humble themselves and pray….” (2 Chronicles 7:14) He is. Is God calling us to repentance? He is. Are we listening…. and responding to the way we should?
While we may not gather on Sunday morning … we remain the church and are called to pray, to help, and to be wise.
Be a blessing today!
Pleasant Ridge Christian Church
150 Years of Service Sundays/ 9am
A Note from Pastor Bill Meredith
April 4, 2020
This morning at sunrise I knew the next few hours the sky was going to be brightly lit with a few scattered clouds. Now at 8:25 am the sky is so bright I almost need sunglasses inside. It’s no wonder springtime for many is the favorite season. Right now, not only is the house bright, it is quiet… even the dog is sleeping. Yesterday, however, the house was full of action and noise as is the case when the grandkids are here. The house was stirred.
This word..”stirred” reminds me of what happened in Jerusalem when Jesus showed up. Look for a moment at Matthew 21:10…When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” Of course the answer came from the crowds of folks who knew Him. “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Imagine the moment. The city was running as usual yet there was something different in the air. Hope was in the air. Hope of redemption, which for many Judeans meant deliverance from foreign oppression. His hour had come, finally after so many generations and prophetic utterances. God gave Daniel the prophecy (9:24-27). God gave Zechariah the picture of Jesus riding on a colt (9:9). We find many Old Testament records of Jesus’ coming.
Those who were familiar with scripture recognized this moment as they began to cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Hosanna in the highest!” The city indeed became stirred.
Can you see the question coming? As you remember, are you stirred? That’s the question this morning. Are you thankful He came? Do you know that without the resurrection of Jesus, this story, along with all the others would be long forgotten. Without the resurrection, there would be no need to write any of the stories down. Certainly, the sovereign plan of God would include countless details along the path of unfolding. God’s plan would span generations and eras. Along the way, God would reveal Himself and also provide history to a few chosen prophets long before it happened. Everything pointed to Jesus and His coming. The plan of God continues to unfold… and will do so until all is made manifest.
As you again read Matthew and the other accounts, (Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15) take some time alone with God and see if your spirit gets stirred.
It is no coincidence we have been spending time in the book of Daniel and remembering many of the experiences he had during his remarkable life. Daniel faced trials, no question, and in each instance, he expressed his faith in the Father and continued his prayer life as it was such an integral part of his life. As a young boy, perhaps a teenager, he was taken captive during the fall of Jerusalem and was placed in a new and different culture from his own. During the next few years, he faced many challenges… revealing and interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and surviving under the protection of God while he was in the lion’s den, to name two. Babylon would finally fall and a new era would begin. Through it all, God remained sovereign, God stayed in control. The record of Daniel’s life gives us clear evidence about God’s faithfulness and power over both the physical and spiritual realms.
The passage of time has not changed God… He remains sovereign and powerful. As was then, there is still trouble in the world, but we can trust God through the valleys and during the storm. We can turn to the Bible and find words of encouragement. This scripture reminds us of a great truth…
Colossians 1:17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
You may wish to read this passage again from verse 17 and see the extent at which our God in heaven would go to reconcile us back to Him. As you read you will see that Paul is encouraging all who are in the faith to continue in faith, being established and firm. What Paul’s readers needed to hear, we also need to hear. As his readers were being reminded of the Gospel, we are also reminded and can be strengthened by it. Christ died, Christ arose, Christ will come again!
We are not alone in this battle, we are not without hope, and we are loved by God whose love is limitless. As the storm rages, he offers peace. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Do not fear, for I am your God. Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not fear, for I will give you strength and will surely help you.” (Isaiah 41:10 paraphrase) As we continue praying, remember to pray for folks who have been overwhelmed with fear and anxiety and those who are grieving. During this season, we are called to pray. Pray for healing, protection, and wisdom. Finally, we are called to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit. Take time to be quiet before the Lord and follow His lead.
I miss seeing you all and look forward to the time we can all gather together again.
Blessings, Pastor Bill