Published on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 20:50
Reflections on 2012
With just over an hour left in 2012 (EST) I’m sitting on the couch here in the family room soaking up the heat from a good fire in the wood stove.
My beloved is in bed already, and I’m sitting here alone reflecting back over the year.
Some things, like the separation from our loved ones in Ireland, like the traumatic events in Vermont this past August are just too hard to think about, too painful. And so my thoughts go elsewhere.
I am warm, and not just from the fire in the stove. I am warm on the inside as I think over some of the wonderful ways God has blessed our lives in the last year.
First, I praise God for the prayers of His people. I and my family have been carried along by the grace of God and we are sure it is because of the many prayers being offered. We are so thankful for those prayers. We couldn’t make it without them.
I praise God also for a wonderful church family on both sides of the Atlantic. One year ago, the church at Dunmore East sent us back to America as missionaries with this commission which I carry with me wherever I go:
Dear Brother Ken
We recognize the call of God revealed through circumstances and affirm your response of faith. We believe you are upholding the truth established by our Creator.
As you go, be prepared to love and bless all whom you encounter. Speak the truth in love, and continue to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in both word and action. Be an ambassador for the immortal, irrepressible and invincible life of Christ. Through your weakness, you will see God’s power at work.
Throughout your life and ministry among us, you have been an example of Christ’s life on earth. We know you as a man of integrity, honor and conviction.
Continue to live in honesty, openness, wisdom and humility.
As a brotherhood, we commit ourselves to interceding for you daily, both in our homes and when are together every Lord’s day.
“May They Kingdom come, and Thy will be done.”
Take our love with you,
Your brothers and sisters at Dunmore East Christian Fellowship
By the grace of God, we want to carry out this commission in 2013.
Our church family here at Pilgrim Fellowship in Stuarts Draft has been incredibly supportive. They have welcomed us with open arms, assisting us with material and financial needs. Both vehicles we drive, for example, are on loan from brothers in Christ. Truly our brothers and sisters here are examples of Christ’s love. We are so grateful for the fellowship we experience here. This is why my heart is warm!
We praise God for the many people who have written or called with words of encouragement and blessing. It would be our desire to respond to each one, but we hope you can bear with our limitations.
We praise God too for the many people who have contributed toward the legal expenses. At this point there are sufficient funds. It seems like a miracle and our faith has been greatly strengthened by the generosity of God’s people.
As I sit here by the fire I am thankful above all else for the reconciling work of the Savior who brings us into the Father’s presence. I am not worthy to talk much about this, I can only point to the One who makes it possible.
Many scoff at the idea of a transcendent Being Who wants to move into our lives and live with us. How can there be a God when there is so much suffering; How can I believe in a God when there is so much hypocrisy in Christianity? are some of the questions raised.
I can’t deny the suffering or the hypocrisy. But there is something else I can’t deny.
I can’t deny the presence of God Who brings us so much joy, comfort and serenity in the midst of adverse circumstances. How can I deny the things which I have seen and heard?
My 73 year old mother makes homemade cinnamon rolls that are good enough, someone has suggested, to bring about peace in the Middle East. How can I know they are good? Can I trust my senses? After all these years of sitting down to a soft warm roll and a cup of coffee, could I be wrong about it all? Have my taste buds been playing tricks on me all these years?
How can I deny the Goodness of the God Whom I have met through the mercy of His Son and Whose grace I have tasted these many years? Is this some elaborate hoax? Is my mind playing psychological tricks on me?
No, friends. A THOUSAND TIMES NO! I could not deny the reality of His presence any more than I could deny the pleasure of my mother’s cooking.
Back behind the wreckage of a Christianity that has so often mis-represented Him, stands the Savior. He declared: “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him Who sent Me. And he who sees Me, sees Him Who sent Me.” “If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also…” “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 12:44-45, 13:7,9.)
I have two questions for those who are facing disillusionment with faith and religion. 1. Would you turn away from God if you knew He was like Jesus? 2. Is it fair to turn away from God without carefully studying the life and teachings of the One Who declared He was the manifestation of God?
I think there are many who have rejected God because of what they have seen in Christianity—who would not reject Him if they knew He was like Jesus.
At this New Year with all its uncertainties, my greatest desire is that people could come to know God through Jesus His Son.
Many people are weary of life because our materialistic culture has taught us “this is all there is.” People drink as deeply as they can from this material world and when they have drunk to the fill, they remain unsatisfied. This dis-satisfaction points to the fact that we were created to be nourished by Something outside of the material realm. We are not satisfied until we find Him.
The Good News is: HE’S LOOKING FOR US, AND HE CAN BE FOUND.
My encouragement to all; to those who have believed, to those who are discouraged, and to those who are not yet convinced, at this New Year, take a New Look at the Savior. He invites us to turn from ourselves to Him, to release our entire lives to Him, to surrender all.
In losing my life I find it
In surrender I find victory
In dying I live.
Wishing for all a peaceful new year with the Savior.
Jan. 1, 2013