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Maranatha!

CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE

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IT’S WINTER BUT THANK GOD SPRING IS COMING!

     It’s winter but thank God spring is coming! I love the snow. Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? (Job 38:22 KJV). I know I’m crazy but I’m Biblical! The air is so clean and everyone is forced to slow down, except road nuts with SUVS.

     The ground is insulated and being prepared for spring. Perhaps the cold wind of trials has come your way. Take heart, God is working on you for His glory and your ultimate good. It is written, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28 KJV. Easier said than done but still true. Keeping a Biblical perspective is essential.

    So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens.  2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,  3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.  4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.  5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless (1st Thessalonians 3:1-5 NIV).

     Suffering is God's way of keeping our focus off this world and on the next. Paul was quite candid about this when he said," 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,  26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me" (Phil 1:21-26 NIV).

     Today we live in a time of color coded terror alerts

GREEN: Low risk of terrorist attacks.

   
·         Refine and exercise planned protective measures.

·         Ensure emergency personnel receive training.

·         Assess facilities for vulnerabilities and take measures   to reduce them.

BLUE: Guarded condition. General risk of terrorist attack.

·         Check communications with designated emergency response or command locations.

·         Review and update emergency response procedures.

·         Provide the public with necessary information.

YELLOW: Elevated condition. Significant risk of terrorist attacks.

·         Increase surveillance of critical locations.

·         Coordinate emergency plans with nearby jurisdictions.

·         Assess further refinement of protective measures within the context of the current threat information.

·         Implement, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans.

ORANGE: High risk of terrorist attacks.

·         Coordinate necessary security efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies or any National Guard or other appropriate armed forces.

·         Take additional precaution at public events and possibly consider alternative venues or cancellations.

·         Prepare to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed work force.

·         Restrict access to threatened facilities to essential personnel only.

RED: Severe risk of terrorist attacks.

·         Assign emergency response personnel and preposition specially trained teams.

·         Monitor, redirect or constrain transportation systems.

·         Close public and government facilities.

·         Increase or redirect personnel to address critical emergency needs.

In light of all this, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 10;24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! 26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

    `Perhaps these times are the times that try our souls but in the end, let's not be found wanting.

 The Writing on the Wall - Daniel 5:1-7 & 24-28  

 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.  2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.  3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.  4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote.  6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.

7 The king called out for the enchanters, astrologers and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

  24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription. 25 “This is the inscription that was written:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN. 26 “This is what these words mean: 

    Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 

     More to follow in the coming weeks. In the meantime, stay close to Jesus and in the Word.

Agape,

Pastor Charlie Rizzo