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Pastor's Letter

Pastor's Letter - February 2024

Romans 5: 1 - 5

Peace and hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Bristlecone pines are the world’s oldest living trees. Several of them are estimated to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old. In 1957, scientist Edmund Schulman found one he named "Methuselah." This ancient, gnarled pine is nearly 5,000 years old! It was an old tree when the Egyptians were building the pyramids.

Bristlecones grow atop the mountains of the western United States at elevations of 10,000 to 11,000 feet. They've been able to survive some of the harshest living conditions on earth: arctic temperatures, fierce winds, thin air, and little rainfall. Their brutal environment is one of the reasons they've survived for millennia. Nothing compared to the weather we had over the past few weeks here in the UK. I am pretty sure most of us have muttered about the horrible weather we had.

Over the years I have learned that hardship has produced extraordinary strength and staying power. Paul taught that "tribulation produces... character" (Romans 5:3-4). Adversity is part of the process that God uses to produce good results in our lives. Trouble, if it turns us to the Lord, could be the best thing for us. It leaves us wholly dependent on Him.

So, we should pray not just for relief from our affliction, but for the grace to turn it into greater openness to God and to His will for us. Then we can be strong in calamity, and at peace in the place where God has planted us.  

God uses our difficulties to develop our character. As you trust him, He’ll give you not only joy, and peace, but also hope when all hope is gone.

Christvin Edbarg. 

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