As this year comes to a close, I have so much to be thankful for! God’s amazing grace has been so real to me, our family and our Woodland Family. Our first grandson was born to Andrew and Dana, Andrew has returned home from his third deployment, Christopher has completed his Masters, Benjamin and Aimee are both growing in their faith. Dad was miraculously healed by God this year. From palliative care, to intensive care, to celebrating this Christmas with his children, grandchildren, and great grands! God has blessed our Woodland family with new members, new converts, and continued grace upon our ministries. I am thankful for the readers of my blog and your comments and emails. Facing the challenges this year, receiving answers to prayer, and walking by faith, I’ve been reminded afresh that God is in Control!
This has been a year of grief as well. I’ve buried friends and loved ones in Christ. Some had lived long faithful lives for the Lord. Others had only recently come to faith in Christ. There were conversations about heaven, life and death with people I loved and their families. There were prayers, intense prayers for peace, and an awareness of God’s presence. What makes our grief, bearable and sweet at the same time, is God’s promise of heaven and that we will be reunited in a great celebration of God’s kingdom! However, God is in control. Heaven is our home!
In the midst of my praise and prayer this morning, Republicans and Democrats are still arguing about the fiscal cliff, Detroit’s homicide rate has climbed 10%, there are debates about gun control and war continues in the Middle East. In the midst of all the confusion and suffering, remember God is in control.
This morning, I finished my Bible reading from Revelation 22 and 2 Chronicles 36. Both chapters end with hope. The Chronicles appears to end with captive Israel suffering, but God has the final word. “In the first year Cyrus was king of Persia, the Lord had Cyrus send an announcement to his whole kingdom. This happened so the Lord’s message spoken by Jeremiah would come true. He wrote: This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has appointed me to build a Temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Now may the Lord your God be with all of you who are his people. You are free to go to Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 36:22–23, NCV) God has always been in control!
Revelation ends with joyful hope. “Jesus, the One who says these things are true, says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20–21, NCV) Additionally, this verse stood out as a reminder to daily share with people the Good News! “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears this say, “Come!” Let whoever is thirsty come; whoever wishes may have the water of life as a free gift.” (Revelation 22:17, NCV)
Tomorrow, a New Year begins. But on this sunny warm day in Georgia, I am reminded that what makes life joyful is God is in Control!
Peace and Joy in Christ!