February 2022

May the peace of Christ rule in your heart
and mind. May the Fruit of the Spirit nourish
your soul. Greetings in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
As we head into February, I am reminded
of what a difficult month this may be. The
Holidays are over. Bright Christmas decorations come down.
(Barbara and I left a few up just because of that.) But the holidays
are over, we are looking at gray skies and an unpredictable wintry
mix ahead. Spring is out there somewhere. I can’t see it. Can you?
So… what to do?
Be on guard! Maybe February is a good month to spend more
time reading good uplifting books, listening to upbeat, positive
music, and enjoying our blessings. Be intentional. We’ve got a lot

working against us. In February, many people drop their resolu-
tions. If we do, we are liable to feel worse about ourselves than

before! Hang in there. Satan would love to give you a defeated
spirit. Fight him. And watch out for cabin fever. It can make us
edgy and unpleasant to be around. Watch out!
There’s no shortage of “angry birds” out there doing their thing. I
believe that statement is not only true of the world, but can creep
into the church. If you get caught up in the vortex of drama, it
grows. So, remember to be kind. Everyone is fighting some battle.
Don’t add to their baggage. There is an old Rabbinic proverb that

says “When you judge a man, first tip the scales in his favor.” To-
day we might say “Give him the benefit of the doubt.” I heard an-
other one that says “It is an awfully thin sheet of paper that only

has one side.” I use that statement in marriage counseling, when
the offended party takes no responsibility for what happened.
That, my friend is an awfully thin sheet of paper; all one sided. The
Bible even ways in on this. Proverbs 18:17 states “The first speech in
court always sounds convincing – until the cross-examination
starts.” (the Message Bible)

Guard your heart. I read a news article about “Being Resilient in 2022”.

You probably know this, but it is always helpful to remember: Eat

healthy, exercise every day, ask for help, learn to process your emotions,
write down your emotions, write down steps to take, set daily goals, sleep on
it, tap into gratitude, and finally,… just breathe… All good advice. I must add though,
that all of that must be bathed in prayer. This can be a tough month. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. Fight off the negative with a diet of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Ephesians 5:22, 23) That’s the Fruit of the Spirit, and
it makes for a nutritious diet. Enjoy!
Pastor Brian

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Oh, those four little words can be expressed in so many different ways! In acting class, I was taught to emphasize different words- What do you WANT?; phrases- What DO YOU want?; to deliver the line with no emotion- whatdoyouwant? or with great emotion WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT? Of course, there is a myriad of levels in between these extremes. It is a great theater game for actors.

Game or no game, what we want is often difficult to get. Frustration over people and circumstances could wear us out. But, sometimes- now stay with me- we are the problem. Sometimes we fight ourselves. Remember a guy named Ben Stein? He said something that grabbed my attention several years ago: “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.”

Sounds like a no-brainer? But oh, maybe not! Many, many people are so lost that they just react to life. Responding, reacting, accommodating, regrouping; these are all defensive. What is needed is a proactive offense. Clarity. You may want what other people have, but who are they? What “they” want keeps changing. How much is enough? The classic answer is “Just a little bit more.” Really?

What do you want? New Years Eve Resolutions are little more than a joke these days, so why not do it now? We are close to a new year, but why not now, whenever you are reading this? Oh, and “Losing twenty pounds” isn’t a goal. It may be a step to reaching your goal- better health, better self-image. Decide what you want. “Being popular” is not a goal, but it may point you to what you really want- feeling valued, appreciated.

Here’s a newsflash in case you need it: No, you cannot have it all. Personally, I live in a good part of the United States. God has clearly given me all of my needs, and a great many of my wants. I’m good. I have challenged my congregation to define what they want. How about you? Can you define what you are about?

I don’t care how young or old you are, the clock is ticking. Why wait? What do you want?  

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