Shepherd of the Sierra Newsletter
LET US ADORE HIM – GOD’S GIFT!
Advent is a word meaning “coming.” When one anticipates or expects that something or someone is coming, there is some reaction and emotion attached. For some it might be excitement. For others it might be anxiety. For us as Christians, Advent brings excitement as we anticipate the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The coming of Jesus Christ was spoken of all throughout history since the Garden of Eden, as a result of the sin Adam and Eve committed. Listen to Genesis 3:15-16, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
During this Advent-Christmas season, may your relationship with God and with others grow as you celebrate Christ’s coming. May you grow, not only in your appreciation for God’s special gift, but also in your love for every one around you.
May this Advent season bring you renewal! Martin Luther said, “He who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labors joyfully and with a great heart. ‘For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep.’ They must work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him, and live in serene tranquility; with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely and quietly.”
May we go through our Advent and Christmas journey together, committed to give this time to God and to His glory.
Pastor Norm Milz
PART OF GOD’S PLAN
“In those days . . .” So begins a well-known passage of Scripture. Do you know what comes next? “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree . . .” (Luke 2:1). Some of us can quote the whole story by heart. Even though we’ve heard it year after year, some of us for many years, the story is still precious to hear, still warms our souls, still excites our minds, still calms our fears.
Two seemingly inconsequential people of little means obeyed that decree and traveled to the town of Bethlehem to register for the census. The woman, Mary, was about to have a child. She knew that her child was the Son of God, a child to be named Jesus. Joseph, her husband, knew he was not the father of the child, although that was how the world saw him.
These were two of God’s faithful. They knew the prophecies regarding the Messiah. They had been visited by the angel and learned that they were to be part of the fulfillment of those prophecies. They didn’t know how things would turn out. They didn’t know all that God had in store for them. They just “Obey[ed their] rulers and submitted to their authority” (Hebrews 13:17), as they trusted God to guide and protect them and His Son each step they took on His path.
Of course, God did just that. He provided a place for the Child to be born. He sent angels to announce the birth of the King and moved the shepherds to respond to the joyful news and go to worship the new Baby. He sent “Magi from the East” who brought “gifts of gold and incense and of myrrh” and them believed the warning God gave them in a dream and avoided the evil King Herod on their return trip.
How many of these people involved in this most wondrous story realized the important and memorable parts they played? We cannot say for sure but assume none could really comprehend the eternal significance of the events as they unfolded.
We, too, are involved in God’s plans. Certainly none can equal in importance the birth of Christ, but nothing God does is without purpose. Are we listening for the voice of the Spirit as He speaks to us through God’s Word? Are we, as we go about our daily routines, obeying our rulers, aware of being God’s feet and hands and voice to carry out His plan?
Do we bring our gifts, aware that God may use them according to a purpose we can’t even imagine? How exciting it is to think and know we are God’s instruments! What a loss of blessing to us if we refuse to let God use us and miss the opportunity God has planned.
As we live out our daily lives as God’s people, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith . . . so that we will not grow weary and lose heart”, but instead look forward with eagerness and anticipation toward the unfolding of God’s plan in our lives.
Birthdays in December:
Sandy Johnson – December 1
Erik Atkinson – December 2
Craig Witt – December 2
Jean Witt – December 3
Chase Johnson – December 6
Ron Berglan – December 7
Char Milz – December 7
Danny Flanagan – December 9
Rachel Renaud – December 9
Taylor Love – December 11
Alex Markwardt – December 11
Mary Ann Muenchausen – December 11
Caren Witt – December 13
Saul Reed – December 16
Theresa Patrick – December 16
Tracy Banks – December 20
John Caulkins – December 23
Blake Love – December 26
Matt Schober – December 26
Steve Shanahan – December 27
Tony Unger – December 27
John Ediss – December 28
Anniversaries in December:
Stan & Filomena Smokey – December 7 (22 yrs)
Bob & Dottie Gaines – December 26 (61 years)