Headshot of Ted Parish

January 2022 Elders Report

Happy New Year! 

I hope that everyone had a chance to celebrate Christmas with friends and family and that you had a special time to reflect on God’s eternal and everlasting gift. I also hope this season was a time of rest in Him and we were not just blasting through a list of to dos to the point that we collapsed on New Years Day and wondered what just ran us over. By our old nature, we have a tendency to do that. 

The new year has come. Out with the old and in with the new. Let’s see now. What can I resolve to do that will make me feel better and shiny new. I just need to change some things to make me truly happy. I need to get in shape. That’s it! I need to lose twenty pounds and then I will look better and feel really good about myself. Or maybe it’s my job? Yeah, I need a better job because I don’t feel appreciated. Or maybe what I really need is a dog. I am lonely and they love you unconditionally! Do you see a pattern here? 

Unfortunately, many of us fall into that trap. Though we have trusted in Him as our Savior, we still stray and look to find contentment and happiness in things that our culture views as valuable or attractive or just warm and furry. It is a very easy trap to fall into. Especially at this time of year when we do the old self-assessment. People in the field of Psychopathology point to January as being the toughest time of year for mental health. Short days mean not as much sunlight (vitamin D) and hauling out on subzero days to go to work on top of the seasonal anxiety you may have just experienced – well you get the picture. Some have actually pointed to a specific day, January 16th. By then, many of us have actually abandoned our new year’s resolutions already, but still face months of winter left to endure. Sounds pretty bleak. 

But, can we backtrack a little and see where the train falls off the tracks? We have just celebrated the gift of Jesus who came and died to ransom us so we can spend eternity with the Father in a place so incredible that scripture describes it as a place the human mind cannot even conceive of. But in the meantime, before we even get there, He promises that He will also be here with us always, even to the ends of the earth. He has set his seal upon us and we are assured that He will have a place prepared for us among His Father’s many rooms. The Bible teaches us that that we glorify Him by serving and living in close relationship with Him. So, why do we continue to look in the mirror and not to our Heavenly Father for contentment? 

He doesn’t care if we carry some extra pounds. Nothing in the Bible speaks of getting on a scale prior to admission into Heaven. He doesn’t care if we look like fashion models. He chose to come to this earth in a form that was neither beautiful or majestic. He loves us just the way we are. We were made in His image. That cannot be improved upon. He knows your needs and will provide them. His word promises that if we seek his righteousness, He will give us everything that we truly need. 

Psalm 23, is probably the most famous Psalm. In that Psalm , the mighty King David likens himself to a sheep under the Lord’s (Great Shepherd) care. That in itself is amazing that David, who was a shepherd AND the mightiest King of Israel, saw himself as a helpless sheep under the care of His mighty Father God, the Great Shepherd. Sheep are extremely needy and rely on their shepherds for almost continual care. They are extremely skittish and fearful, not able to rest, feed, or drink unless the shepherd tends to them and makes his presence known at all times. He makes me lie down in green pas-tures; he leads me beside still waters……for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Yet the very first verse tells the story. The Lord is My Shepherd. I shall not want. Though I am this little, helpless, scared animal, who by myself cannot eat, drink, or rest, I am in need of NOTHING because You are near. If this mighty King, and man of God, felt this way about his Lord I think we can trust in Him as well to take total control! Have we put our trust in Jesus as our Savior but not sought the fellowship that He wants us to enjoy? I really believe that we are stealing glory from the Father if we still seek to find meaning and enjoyment in this world outside of Him. Walking with Him and enjoying His presence in our lives brings glory to Him! 

So this year if we want a resolution that is truly life changing, let’s resolve to trust Him completely. We can’t let the trappings of this world pull us back and forth like the ship tossed on the waves. Let’s spend more time on our knees and more time in His word. Let Him provide all our needs and deal with our fears and anxieties. In Him, we are a new creation, clothed in His righteousness. Truly out with the old rags and in with the new righteousness. Only life in Him can truly satisfy. Let’s shine for Him. 

Mr. Ted 

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