2019, November

Dear Friends,

Saint Paul writes in Philippians 4: 1 – 7, 21 – 23

4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

To all the saints at Zion, I encourage you, as St. Paul declares: 4Rejoice in the Lord always! Rejoice in the Lord all ye Saints. Because it is in JOY that we will find the resounding song of a thrilled heart, a full life and a satisfied hope. Not that everything is necessarily perfect just in this moment, but the possibilities of life seem endless when we are thankful for the good things that are ours right now. The promise is that it will only be a matter of time before the bounty of life will be fulfilled.

So, some days you just have to pretend. Pretend you feel good, inside and out. Some days you need to look yourself in the mirror and smile like you are filled with joy, grin at that that poor lonely fool and promise that it is going to get better and it starts with a positive attitude. Not so easy on some days.

It starts with a sense of thanksgiving, as you consider the days and years and challenges that have brought you to this moment. And, it is best to recognize the good that has occurred and the physical bounty that surrounds you. I know, I have sung that song as well, ‘too much month at the end of my paycheck.’ That’s a tough place to be. I would never minimize the weight of having to decide what you are going to pay this month because you can’t pay it all. But, living in the empty places of life is sure to leave your heart and soul empty.

Now there are some of my readers who are not there, in the midst of financial need. But, do we not find ourselves, at times, in the midst of physical or emotional or spiritual need? Do we not all, sometimes, worry about where the next ray of sunshine will come? Then it is best to think about the rays of sunshine that have shown on you previously. More will come. Count on it! Look in that mirror and say: ‘a ray of light will come today.’ And give thanks for that light that is coming. Choose Joy as a reflection of your Hope!

As St. Paul is writing these words, he is under arrest, under guard from imperial troops, this after a long period of being persecuted, chased, stoned, beaten up, and living under a life-or-death threat because of his insistence on continuing to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even so, the Great Apostle says: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ I am thankful for what has brought me to this day, and for what will take me to a wonderful future. In the meantime, I will choose Joy and Thanksgiving.

May your heart and life be filled with Thanksgiving, Joy and the Peace of God, ‘which surpasses all understanding.’ Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day filled with a great sense of Joy!

Your companion in Ministry,
Pastor Paul