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November 27, 2020

The prayer list gets longer but then, that is what a prayer list is for… to be lifted up in prayer and we all need prayers.  A lot of folks are troubled right now with worries, health issues, loneliness, etc.  (Does anyone remember that country song:  the last word in lonesome is me?  Now that was a depressing song!)  Along come the Holidays and that brings on more stress and anxiety and loneliness.  Yes, I am going to lift y’all up (I hope) and not linger on the darkness.  Remember, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  But what if you do not like lemonade☹.  If try to live life, we are going to have troubles and face crises, that is part of life.  However, a reminder, we do not have to do it alone.
“I have always loved the observation that John F. Kennedy made:  when written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters.  One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.  Was JFK correct?  I don’t know. But I do know that when we find ourselves facing difficulty, it’s right to be alert to the danger but also vital to think positively about the opportunities it presents.  The Bible adds a key third element to this equation that it often repeats: ‘Do not fret or have anxiety about anything.’ (Philippians 4:6)
That’s a strong command that allows us to walk amid both crisis and opportunity with courage and confidence.  But how?  ‘In every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition… with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants know to God.’ (v. 6)
And when we do that, here’s the result: ‘And God’s peace… which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’  (v. 7)
Christ is both danger and opportunity, but the key to managing them is laying them both before God, leaving worry behind, and then walking on in the peace and presence of Christ.  It’s a smart formula for life.” (Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel)
Recently I read an article about loneliness and hope, written by Max Lucado.  I would like to share his illustration: “All of society is traumatized right now.  Let’s say you’re in a building, it collapses, you escape, and somebody says, Are you ok?  You say, Yeah, I’m fine, and they say, but look, you’re bleeding.  You didn’t even know you were wounded.  I feel like we’re all going to realize we have been wounded.  We have been traumatized.  We are all going to have some fears, some anxieties.”
How do we address this?  Yes, there are a lot of people in pain.  There’s a lot of hurt.  Charles Spurgeon said we need to preach like there’s a broken heart in every pew (or today, a broken heart watching on the Internet).  We need to offer hope.  It is a time for us to come together as Christians to help each other heal.  Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful and grateful.  As Christmas approaches, let us be there for one another and help each other through this crisis.  Let us take this crisis, make an opportunity of it, and become stronger.  I pray we all emerge from this with a stronger faith, because faith is what will get us through.  Do not lose heart but be the heart of Jesus to those around you and for those around you, may they be the heart of Jesus to you.  As Ray Wylie Hubbard said: “Jesus is like duct tape, he fixes everything.  May you truly experience the peace of Christ this Holiday season!  God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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