The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
MARBC State Representative
Welcome to the first issue of The Baptist Testimony for the year 2007! With this new issue come new features. This is the first issue that I have composed as the new state representative of the MARBC. Some things remain the same, other things have changed. A new column greets you on the front page, along with a new picture – mine! Following in the footsteps of my faithful predecessor, Maynard Belt, I will seek to encourage the good people of our wonderful fellowship of churches by writing a column that focuses upon Biblical principles. Because of this emphasis, I have chosen “The Word Has It” as the new heading for my column. Each month we will take a look at a practical Biblical principle by focusing upon a key word. Along the way there will be other features added to the “BT” from time to time to help it continue to be an effective tool of encouragement and information for our state fellowship. I encourage your input and suggestions. You can email them to me or through regular mail. The MARBC office address is posted later in this issue of the BT. Thank you for your prayerful support as we look forward to the exciting days of change that lie ahead!
As a new year unfolds, it is accompanied by a review and analysis of what transpired in the closing year and the anticipated opportunities and challenges of the approaching year. It is amazing how changing one page of the calendar can produce such a flood of thoughts and emotions.
Perhaps there is no more appropriate word for us to begin this New Year with than the word “change.” We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Verses 2-8 then share relevant examples of life’s cycles of ebb and flow, and give and take.
Change is a word that evokes multiple responses, depending upon the circumstance. Some change is life shaking. Change can come packaged as an unwelcome diagnosis. Or, it may be identified by a job transfer or plant closing. It may be the severing of a special relationship or the loss of a loved one through death. However it may be packaged, change can be unsettling and may result in an unrealized dream or a great disappointment.
This past year was certainly one of significant change at the Floyd house. Not only did both Sharon and I enter the second half-century of life, but our daughter Allison graduated from college and entered the teaching profession. As significant as the changes seemed to be, they paled in comparison to the greater challenges that came as God has allowed special situations to stretch our faith and produce new levels of endurance in our spiritual walk. In fact, the change that God presented to us would produce ripple effects around us that would impact many people. This included our church family and our state fellowship.
While the word “change” will have its standard definition in the dictionary, may I suggest that a Biblical synonym for it could be the word “growth?” Indeed, each of us will be led by God to face unique scenarios that are designed to stretch us and produce new growth. As Hebrews 11 recounts, the biblical story of Israel’s 40-year pilgrimage from Egypt through desert territory to the Promised Land becomes a metaphor for all of God’s followers. We are all caught up in the story. We are all on a journey.
Most of us, however, seem to prefer a life with minimal change. We don’t like to be disturbed, so we carve out routines. Sadly, we allow the “new life in Christ” to become customary and ordinary. What once produced spiritual excitement comes to be seen as normal and expected. And life becomes dreary.
The Christian with the renewed mind is replaced by the dull man or woman who hasn’t entertained a new spiritual thought in a decade. Instead of demonstrating critical thinking as defined by God’s Word, a person is just plain critical and tends to complain that things are not as they used to be. Soon, the mind that has been divinely designed to think on the “excellent and praiseworthy things of God” (Philippians 4:8-9) is content to merely reminisce about the “good old days” and harbor resentment regarding that which has been lost.
Change will most likely present its share of challenges, it also offers opportunity. Change offers the chance to learn new things. It introduces us to new people. It forces us to make decisions and choices at a conscious level. Most importantly, it directs us to seek the counsel of an all-wise God and allow Him to wrap us in His compassionate, all-powerful embrace. In speaking of the necessity of balance in the Christian’s daily walk with God, the Apostle Paul admonishes, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15).
Individuals, families, or churches that set their feet (or minds) in concrete are hiding from Biblical reality. God calls us to live in confidence and hope, not fear. Like our Biblical forerunners, He asks us to trust in the fact that He is already present in the places that are new and untested for us.
God is faithful to His people as we journey with Him. With joyful confidence we can move ahead with the knowledge that God is already where we are going.
You have His Word on it! (KEF)