Shepherd of the Sierra Newsletter
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
As we look to the beginning of a New Year, there are many thoughts that go through our heads. There are some things that perhaps we know we’ve done poorly during 2013, and have made a resolution to do better in 2014! Many people look to a New Year with Confidence. They have been in this situation before as they began new years and they made it through.
Others are filled with Hope. Hope that the economy continue to stabilize and that things begin to get more stabile. How about Grace? What does grace have to do with this new year and the good stuff we have come to expect?
Here is a secret about grace – 10 little words that help, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” This is really all we need to know as we enter 2014. Below is a little devotion from Max Lucado which I thought was pretty cool as we step out into a New Year with the promise of change around us:
“Let’s look at the 4 words in this verse. Read slowly the phrase God is for us. Take your time and read it slowly!
God is for us. God is for us.
God is for us. God is for us.
God is for us. People may have forgotten you. Your teachers may have neglected you. Your family may be ashamed of you; but within the reach of your prayers is a Maker of the Oceans. God.
God is for us. Not “may be,” not “has been” nor “was” nor “would be.” God is! His loyalty does not increase nor decrease according to you. He is for you.
God is for us. Turn to the heavens and listen to the applause of angels. Too tired to continue? He will carry you. Too discouraged to fight? His is picking you us. God is for us.
God is for us. We know He has a tattoo, and we know what it says, “I have written your name on My hand,” He declares in Isaiah 39:16. If you have doubt, look at the cross. It is here where Jesus got to know you really well, when He tasted our sins in death.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” God says in Isaiah 49:15. Can you imagine a mother feeding her baby and then be asking, “What was the baby’s name?” No. No way. But even if she could forget, “I will not forget you,” God pledges.
God does not promise a removal of pain. He just graces us with the gifts we need to get through everything hell itself can throw against us!”
Think about all that Max has brought up in this devotion. As you do, ask yourself the question, “Who needs confidence when you have Grace?” Have a blessed New Year!
Pastor Norm Milz
A NEW YEAR – NEW OPPORTUNIES
Each new day brings promise of a new start. For many, the start of a new week is the time to begin that diet, get serious about exercising, or forgo TV viewing. For a vast
majority, though, there’s something especially motivating and invigorating about seeing the JANUARY calendar on the wall. This is the year we’ll accomplish great things!
God doesn’t necessarily call us to do great things, however. He asks that we be trustworthy in small things.
Luke 16:10-11, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” To that end, He gives us gifts to use to build up the Body of Christ and to reach out to the lost.
Some of us have many gifts. People like Michelangelo – painter, sculptor, and poet – and Thomas Jefferson – architect, statesman, and scientific farmer – come to mind. God, the Giver of gifts, knows that the number of gifts each of us has varies. Jesus told the Parable of the Talents pointing to this fact and teaching us that success lies in using what we’ve been given, not in having the greatest amount.
Our gifts also differ in degree. There are many sculptors but few, if any, compare to Michelangelo. Yet their art can bring satisfaction and inspiration to others. You may not be able to sing opera, but you can sing God’s praises. You may not be a great orator, but you can witness to the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. You may not be a mechanic, but you can provide transportation for someone needing to get to an appointment or to church. That’s why God gives us gifts and abilities – that we may be equipped to serve others.
The start of a New Year offers us an opportune time to assess those gifts and see how we can use them for God’s glory and the good of His people. The motivation to do this comes from the same One Who gave the gifts!
Just as God was motivated by love for us to give us, not just our gifts, but His greatest gift, His Son, so we can be motivated by love for Him to serve those He calls us to serve.
Birthdays in January:
Stephanie Markwardt – January 1
Rex Reed – January 1
Cameron Sievers – January 1
Vicki Wilson – January 3
Lea Ann Randall – January 5
David Evanson – January 6
Trevor Markwardt – January 6
Mary Laursen – January 11
Connor Witt – January 11
LeAnn Tozzi – January 13
Fran Smith – January 14
Karon Brauer – January 15
Bryce Unger – January 16
Dominick Tozzi – January 20
Cathie Collier – January 23
Zachery Schober – January 24
Sherry Siegfried – January 24
Carolee Berglan – January 26
Marv Kientz – January 28
Kurt Suchsland – January 29
Colton Witt – January 30
Luke Tatman – January 31
Anniversaries in January:
Marty & Heather Kois – January 4 (1 yr)
Kurt & Pam Suchsland – January 21 (33 yrs)