|A Blessed New Year, Saints!
I pray that your Christmas celebrations were joyful and fulfilling, especially the time we had together in worship.
Today, December 29, we have a special teen event in the family life center, 1 pm. We’ll play a few games, eat some pizza and snacks and have a grand old time. All of our high school and college students are welcome.
Sunday marks the last day of 2017. It has been a trying and difficult year, but also one with many blessings. We will have two services this day. We will have our usual Sundaymorning service at 10:00 a.m. (No King’s Quest, ACTs or Adult Bible Class, though.) We will also have a special New Year’s Eve service at 5:00 p.m. looking at the life of a Christian. The Lord’s Supper will be offered.
Looking ahead to January 2018, there are a few things to highlight. We will start a new Sunday morning Bible study on the Minor Prophets, looking at a new one each week. That starts January 7. The Wednesday breakfast group starts the book of Judges this week. The mid-morning class will begin the book of Romans January 17
January 21, Pastor Bob Fleischmann from Christian Life Resources will be here for Bible study and worship. January 28, Pastor Larry Zahn will be here to guest preach. After that service, we will have our chili cook-off. I hope you can attend!
Here’s our last devotion for 2017:
We Die and Live
My brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
If you ask Christians to talk about what this article’s title might mean, many will tell you that when we die, God promises to give us eternal life. Perhaps they might quote a part of the Bible, like John 11:25-26: “Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’” That’s a great, true and hope-filled Biblical answer.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he explained “We die and live” in a different way. Paul said that we die and live NOW. When those Christians believed in God, they also died to the law, belonged to Jesus and bore fruit to God.
What did Paul mean when he wrote that? When Paul says that “you also died to the law”, he’s reminding them of what he told them in Romans 6 (see Romans 6:3-4). In Baptism, God connected them to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through their baptism, God removed the law’s hold on them. They were God’s children and belonged to God. They didn’t belong to the law, they belonged to Jesus. Because they were connected and belonged to Jesus, this made a huge impact on NOW. They were spiritually alive and bore fruit (good works) to God.
What does this mean for you and me? It’s essential for you to know how your relationship to God works. We belonged to sin and death, but God rescued you and me. In baptism, he connected us to Jesus’ death and resurrection. God made us spiritually alive. We belong to God, and live like it, too. Paul calls this bearing fruit (doing the good things God wants us to do). Because we are connected and belong to Jesus, this makes a huge impact on us NOW.
Take a few moments and consider:
- I died to the law. In what ways have I lived like I still belong to sin? Like I still belong to myself? What sins do I need to confess?
- I belong to God; I am his treasured possession. How does this change how I view myself?
- I am to bear fruit to God. What good things can I do today in thanks to God?
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me your own. You graciously give me what I do not deserve – forgiveness, life, peace and heaven. Let me give you what you do deserve – my endless thanks and joyful living for you. Amen.