Dear ACC Families,
The year 2020 will end in a few hours and we will embark on 2021 with a renewed vision and hope that the New Year will be better than the one we are leaving behind. Because social unrest, the Presidential election, and the pandemic dominated most of our 2020 concerns, many of us struggled to some extent with hopelessness, relationships, mental health, physical health, finances, and other important issues. Whatever life stage you are in, 2020 was a difficult year.
In 2021, America will have a new president. A new presidential administration and its decision-making will affect our daily lives. A COVID-19 vaccine will become more readily available throughout the year. We may be entitled to a few more stimulus checks. Some of us will find a new job or change jobs. Other surprises will be on the way.
But depending on how you viewed the year 2020, 2021 may be worse for some of us. All of the struggles I mentioned above could become even worse or could be compounded with even more issues. There is no guarantee that things will be better.
While it’s easy to trust in our own abilities and the people in our lives to make things better, we were never supposed to rely fully on them. We always should rely fully on God for everything.
Our ACC Christmas Eve service focused on many of the names of Jesus and what those names mean to us. Those names bring comfort and assurance from our Lord. We must always remember what Jesus means to us as Emmanuel (God with us), the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd, Wonderful Counselor, and Savior. In the coming year, let’s continue to reflect on these names. But, I’d like to add a few more names as we enter the year 2021 with much uncertainty, anticipation, and curiosity. Whatever our needs, whether financial, health, or other concerns, God doesn’t just provide the answer, HE is the answer.
For some, it’s easy to expect our family, employer, the government (stimulus checks, tax returns) or even lotto tickets to rescue us from financial struggles. That should not be so. The Bible, in the Old and New Testament, makes it very clear that God is our provider of every need.
Genesis 22:13-14 (ESV)
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is often referred to as the Great Physician. While people are not fully healed from all illnesses and diseases, it’s not because Jesus is not able to heal anymore. We live in a fallen world. But we can continue to pray for the sick because we know that God can and does heal. There is also a distinction between being healed by medical professionals and God healing us through medical professionals. Even after medicines, surgeries and treatments, God is still working on our bodies to heal us.
Exodus 15:26 (ESV)
… saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”
Matthew 8:16-17 (ESV)
16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
It’s understandable that we have stress about our health and the health of our family members, especially during a pandemic. When companies are laying off employees and businesses are closing, it’s easy to worry about where our next paycheck will come from. Finding peace may have been difficult in 2020 and can carry over into 2021, but our God is also the God of peace.
Judges 6:22-24 (ESV)
22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
John 14:27 (ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
On behalf of my family, we wish you all a Happy New Year and let us all continue to trust in our Almighty God to provide for our needs, health, and peace.
Lord, we pray for relationships over our children today.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Prov. 13:20
Lord, we pray for generosity over our children today.
“They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Lord, we pray for fruitfulness over our children today.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Lord, we pray for forgiveness over our children today.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Lord, we pray for favor over our children today.
“For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12
Lord, we pray for faithfulness over our children today.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Sam. 12:24
Lord, we pray for endurance over our children today.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” Hebrews 12:1-2