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January Newsletter

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

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Courage is Good-Convictions are Better.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." Romans 1:16

In the year 2013, we are hearing buzzwords, like: redefine, change, coexist and compromise. All of these words are presented in a positive manner and attached to a message that attempts to persuade the Church that with a few minor adjustments, we could coexist with all the world's faiths and ideals. We are told that if we make a few concessions everyone will live happily ever after. What are those concessions? Disregarding portions of the Word of God that might condemn someone's sinful life? Changing our Christian values in an attempt to not convict those around us? Lowering the scriptural standard that has proven to be a safe vessel that has landed many saints successfully on Heaven's shore? To bow to the popular opinion and accept less than what we know God demands (yes, demands) of us? I say these concessions cannot be made and maintain the smile of God upon us.

I propose to you this scenario…suppose there was a campaign to redefine what is day and night. The polling data states that the majority of those polled want it changed. The scientific world would like to see it changed. The courts of the land rule it to be changed. Congress acts on it and it is redefined. My friend, I will have you know that regardless of other’s opinions or objections, the sun will rise in the east the next day and will settle into the western horizon that night. Man can attempt to redefine what God has set in place, but, no matter how hard we try, God always has the last word. He is never changing.
In the passage above the apostle flings out a bold declaration of support to the One in whom he has full confidence.  In making this statement he is asserting several things. As you casually glance at the text you might conclude that Paul is not afraid to preach the Gospel of Christ.  In noting that you would be correct.  For it was this same Paul that was stoned, imprisoned and ultimately martyred for the Gospel of Christ.  But I ask you to look at the backdrop of the text.  As you look with me you will see that Paul is not ashamed to be associated with Jesus.  He was not ashamed of the message of the atonement.  He was not embarrassed of the example of Christ.  He was not mortified at the miracles of Jesus.  Why?  Simply because he was not ashamed of Christ.
            He was not ashamed to have Him as a friend.  How could I be ashamed of a Friend so loving, so patient, so understanding, so tender, so kind, a friend that “sticketh closer than a brother?”  As one writer penned, “Not until midnight shall blush to own a star.  Not until tree or flower is ashamed of the sun of springtime that calls it forth into life and beauty, shall I be ashamed of Him who speaks to my soul and bids me live anew.  Write as high as you will the names of the greatest actors on the stage of human affairs, and over them the name of the wisest of the sons of men, and over them the names of the saintliest and purest of mankind.  Let these names shine with all glory which are due them, and over them all, across the sky of the world which He created and redeemed, I will write, with a pen dipped in His blood, the name which is above every name, the Blessed name of Christ.”
            In Anne Lotz’s book, My Heart’s Cry for More, she states that as Christians, “maybe you and I don’t need more courage – maybe we just need stronger convictions. Because when you feel deeply about something, you are compelled to open your mouth and speak up!” My fellow Christians, we do what we do because we love Jesus. It is our desire to please Him. It is my prayer that our love for Jesus will overwhelm the world and they will want what we have and enjoy!- SRS


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