Seven First Words, January 2022

When I wrote my first newsletter article for 2021 I thought, “Surely this year will be better than the last!” Now as I look back at all that has taken place, I am not sure if it was better or not? There was no “lock down” from covid as there had been in 2020, but the pandemic has not gone away, nor the fears associated with it. Along with new variants, and surges of new cases, there are also conflicts over masks and vaccines. Fears and frustrations seem to abound both in public, and also in families.

I had some glimmer of hope that perhaps the new persons in Washington DC might be able to help us work together better, and to solve issues more unitedly. That was the campaign promise. But, the political landscape is just as chaotic as ever!

A few years ago, I enjoyed a whole calendar year without any funerals of church family members. Could it happen again? It did not. It has been a year of losses, and changes. Cancer and other health concerns have taken away our loved ones. As well there have been injuries, and surgeries, and lots of changes.

So here I am writing a new article for another new year. 2022! With this new year come hopes, and dreams. What new adventures await us? Young people will graduate from high school, and college! New little babies will be born! Bodies will heal from their injuries, and their surgeries. There is hope for better. The seasons will bring their blessings and their challenges.

There will be challenges, and changes. There will be more pandemic concerns– new virus strains, mandates, and health issues. Our lives change a lot over a year’s time. Often we don’t notice because we live it day by day.

I want to share Seven First Words for 2022 that may be hopeful for you and me. They may not be the first words you say, but they are words you can use as part of your spiritual walk at least.

Repeat after me: I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST! (WHO STRENGTHENS ME). There are ten words if you remember the whole passage. The Bible [Philippians 4.13], contains this confident assurance of those who believe in Jesus. The Apostle Paul, had learned to put his hope in someone more powerful than himself. We can too!

Not only is Jesus more powerful, but he is wiser, and more gracious than we are. He is ready to redeem. He is preparing a place for us in his beautiful kingdom of heaven. This is the Christ who strengthens us. He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. By him all things have been created. He works all things together for good, for those who love Him and are aligned with His will.

What lies ahead in the year to come? For me a few new things. I have two more Spencer babies due in June. (Reed and Lesley will have five children). I will likely retire sometime pretty soon? (I am 68 years old). There are some new things to do, new goals to set, and some unknown changes.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You will probably look back a year from now and say, “How did I ever accomplish those things?” In amazement, you may realize how far you have come, and what trials you have faced. When you do- bless the Lord! Praise His holy name! He is the One who strengthens us!

I am hoping in the Lord for better things to come in 2022. I am ready for some obvious signs that God is at work in this crazy world. But, my real hope is in Christ– not the new year! Not in politicians, or economy, or things of this world. As you move ahead, just remember those seven words for 2022. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST! He strengthens us!


Pastor Mark