Dear Friends of Zion,
Hallmark and florists have a profitable time each year before and on Valentine’s Day. I guess people want to be sure to tell those who are near and dear to them that they love them. They say it with cards as well as flowers. And that is a nice gesture. But the greatest way to let someone know you love them is with words and actions.
God showed His love to us with words and actions. St. John wrote, “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10) He personally chose sacrifice so that we would be forgiven. He was willing to suffer and even die so that we would be saved. That’s love in action.
When large numbers were falling away from Jesus, He said to His closest disciples, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)
We know how God has shown His love for us. We should also ponder how we can show our love for God. One way is to spend time with God in worship. Worship gives us the opportunity to bring to the Lord our praises, offer to Him our prayers, and to listen to His Word. The Psalmist wrote, “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs…Give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:2, 4) And God offers His blessings of grace and peace to us.
We can also show our love for God by how we treat each other. St. John wrote, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:19-21) Cards and flowers may be a nice way to say you love someone. But words and actions are even better.
May the Lord bless you with reminders of His love for you through Jesus Christ, His Son!
– Pastor Bob Hass
Dear Friends of Zion,
We face changes constantly. Some of them we welcome, especially when they help improve our lives. Other changes may be imposed upon us, such as illness, taxes, and regulations.
Mary and Joseph experienced changes in their lives. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to be the mother of our Lord, their lives would never be quite the same again. God’s Son would be Mary’s Son, and Joseph would have to deal with it. When Caesar Augustus ordered the decree that all the world should be registered, Mary and Joseph had to pack up and head for Bethlehem. When Herod sought to kill Jesus, Mary and Joseph took another detour in life as they travelled to Egypt.
We face changes in our lives, too. This year Christmas is on a Saturday. Since we already have a scheduled Saturday worship at 5:00 PM, our Council has decided to change the time of our first Christmas Eve Service from 7:30 PM to 5:00 PM. Please mark your calendars and adjust your family celebrations to include this earlier time for worship. We will have two services on Christmas Eve – 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. Christmas Day will remain the same at 10:30 AM.
The greatest change we have in our lives is the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives. He brings us peace through the forgiveness of sins. He blesses us with His grace and enriches our lives with every spiritual blessing from God. That is why Isaiah was able to say, “To us a child is born; to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Mary’s child is our child as well who brings great blessings to all who receive Him!
May God bless you with a very merry Christmas!