Almost another year over, can you believe it? I have no idea what 2011 was like for you but 2012 is just around the corner and no doubt full of new challenges, fears, tears, highs and lows. But one thing is sure; we have an unchanging and loving God who, if you know Him, will be with you every step of the way during this Christmas season and the New Year ahead.
So what's with the Bible verse on the sign above, you may be asking?
"Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace" Job 22:21 (AV)
This is the Biblical text which sits high up on the front of the Grove church (also see picture below). The sign was renewed a few years ago but the same text has been there for years and years. And what a good verse it is too for saved and unsaved folk alike, as we contemplate the end of one year and look ahead to a new year.
A more modern translation of this verse is…
"Submit to God and be at peace with him" Job 22:21 (NIV)
One of our former deacons was challenged by that sign many years ago. Johnny would tell you that he knew he was someone without real peace at that time. He was then living across the road from Grove and often walked past the sign. After being wonderfully saved, he later moved to the fellowship at Grove. Johnny and his wife Hazel, after serving in various church roles, are now busy looking after our "Café Grove" outreach.
It's not just Johnny who has mentioned this sign before. Whenever we were getting the sign renewed, a man walking along the Beersbridge Road stopped and asked me whether the old one was being done away with. He said that it had challenged him years ago and that he often looked out for it while he was passing by the church. Then a guest speaker for one of our Sunday services was able to tell us that he read our sign while he was looking out of an airplane window, as he was coming in to land at George Best Belfast City Airport! We have the sign lit up at night but never thought it would be viewable from the air - almost a case of 'wisdom from on high'!
Just like that sign, if we are Christians, our lives should show daily that inner peace that only God can give to His fallible children. Mind you, we can only do this with His help and in His strength. And if you are not a Christian, can I tell you that true inner peace really IS achievable, when you give your life over to God. As someone once said, we all have a 'God shaped' hole inside us, which, unsurprisingly enough, can only be filled by our Creator God.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Or as a modern translation has it…
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. (Isaiah 26:3)
God will accept us, sinners though we ALL are, through His own dear Son, Jesus Christ because of His suffering and death on a cruel Roman cross.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
That's it for another month and I do hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. If you would like to read one of our former Christmas Thoughts, please go here.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!