Tis the season – yes the Christmas holiday season is upon us once again. And a big part of the season involves the exchanging of gifts between friends and between family members. There is a double benefit when these exchanges take place: there is the benefit of receiving gifts, but also [and arguably more importantly] there is the benefit of giving. A major reason we experience joy at Christmastime is because of gifts and giving. But none of this, wonderful as it is, compares to the greatest Gift from the greatest Giver.
Leprosy is horrible. To hear or read descriptions about it is tough enough, but to actually have that disease is almost unbearable. We know about leprosy from both the Old and New Testaments and may think that it is one of those diseases that has been eradicated [like polio]. But there are still people today who have leprosy, most of whom live in leper colonies. Why do I bring this up? Because of the parable Jesus told about ten lepers who were healed by Him [Luke 17:11-19], and what this parable teaches us about giving thanks.
Why should people live by what the Bible says? For many who read this question the answer is so obvious that they may wonder why I’m even asking it. But let’s consider those who would answer this question differently, those who do not live by what the Bible says
Elsewhere in this newsletter you read about the babies who were recently born. They were described
as “covenant children.” We could say many things to describe these newborns (hair color,
eyes, looks just like mom or dad, and of course, cute). But God’s description is the most significant:
they belong to His covenant community (see Genesis 17:1-21). What does this mean?
Recently I read some disturbing statistics about human population growth trends (or the lack thereof). Fortunately for you, I can’t find the article that contained those statistics, so you won’t have to wade through those. But here is what struck me about those statistics: In North America we are moving towards zero net population growth, and then to negative growth as a population.
Two hundred and forty-two. As of this July 4, 2018, that’s how long the United States of
America has been a nation. Although we can take this long life of our nation for granted, we
should remember that very few nations or kingdoms have lasted that long during the course of
history. We have many reasons to be thankful for God’s merciful providence to our nation, both
in its beginning and in its life through these nearly two and a half centuries.
Our congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, does not exist independently.
We are a part of the Presbyterian Church in America, and with this relationship we are interconnected
with our sister congregations that make up the PCA.
Here is an important subject that is rarely considered even by church-going folks, especially
younger adults: How should people decide what church they should join (not just attend)? On occasion,
most of us have to make those kinds of decisions…
Many of you know that FPC is undertaking steps to improve our security. I wrote about this subject in last month’s newsletter. As I write now, a crew is installing a security system for all three buildings on the church property and is almost finished.
When Christians think of security they often consider the security of their relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. And our eternal security in Christ is indeed a glorious truth. To be confident that nothing shall separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:39); that the God who has begun a good work in us will complete it in the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6); and that God will never allow anyone to take His sheep out of His hand (John 10) are some of the highest joys we can have in this life.