Zion United Church of Christ

139 N 5th Street Steubenville, OH 43952

Worship Service- Sunday's at 11am

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December Pastor's Pen

Posted on January 12, 2022 at 11:20 AM

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Believing in what God demands from us, knowing that it is right and true!

As I get older I realize that God knows my heart before my feelings get there. I know that God expects certain things from all of us. There are rules to live by and if you live by those rules your life will be better on earth and magnificent with our God in heaven. So why is there a problem? Why is it so hard for us to follow His rules? Look at all He has done for us. Beauty everywhere we look, possibilities every day of our lives, and a risen Savior to help us on our journey. Here is another Christmas Holiday and the story is the same. Baby Jesus is born in the wonderful journey that God designed. Since none of us were there our faith is needed to believe the story. It is not a perfect story because in comes the devil who infiltrates people and tries to change the outcome. Jesus became our brother to destroy the Devil and the power he holds in our lives and even in death. As humans we take the miracle of the baby Jesus and in comes Santa, shopping for people and anything else that takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. If none of us went into a store this Christmas, the Christmas story, Jesus being born, would still have taken place. I understand the story and how we got to this point from Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, Jesus being born, the wise men, and all the evil that was taking place all around them. From the moment an angel visited Mary our lives were changing. Jesus’ life from birth to the cross is all about God’s love for us. God knew that we would not be able to handle all that He had blessed us with. He knew our lives would get out of control. He knew if we were to survive we would need redemption. He knew we would not follow His rules we would change them in our human way just like our traditions of Christmas. Jesus became human flesh so He could share in our humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--- the devil. It is one of the great mysteries of God that the Son of God, Jesus needed to become the Son of Man- human to save us all from the devil and death You can’t look at the birth of Jesus without feeling His brutal death on the cross. Our humanness takes us to the courtyard as we are part of the crowd yelling Crucify him. Now comes in Grace. Who doesn’t need grace in their lives? The grace of God! Grace is an unmerited gift from a giving God. Grace is something we need but we don’t deserve. If we got what we deserved, we would all be lost. But God does not give us what we deserve. He gives us what we need—Grace.

Through our faith and the grace of God we have peace. Peace is not a place it is a state of mind that we only attained through our faith in God. It is not having the storms calm around us it is being at peace in the storm with our God at our side. No peace talks and no political agenda would settle conflicts of the human heart in Jesus’ time or in our present day with all its struggles, religious conflicts, and political disagreements. Only the Prince of Peace can answer our prayers. The answer is clear. God could have created whatever He desired, but He made a deliberate choice. His son was born the way He was because it was part of a divine plan. Who are we to question it?

Joyce and I were in line at Duncan and the car ahead of us had a bumper sticker that read,” When the power of love, overcomes the love of power, there will be Peace.” Well I investigated where this statement came from and you may be surprised to find out it was out of the mouth of Jimi Hendrix. God demands this Christmas as with all other Christmas’s that we stop hating and start loving; stop being a tale bearer and start being a peacemaker. Stop being a lukewarm, compromising Christian take charge of the Grace you have been given and start serving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and body. Remember to get your Sunday right! It is Gods day, not ours. Our baby in the manager has grown up. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He will be coming again in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. This is the real meaning of Christmas. This is the true spirit and the secret of peace and goodwill.

 

May the peace and love of God be with you,

 

Rev. Walter Coy

 

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