Good Monday Morning to you!
I hope the past week was healthy and enjoyable for you. I’ll give you a bit of an update on Miss Bessie’s and my health. Bess saw the Doctor last week for her surgery follow-up. As you know, she has had three surgeries in the same area since last March. The Doc said there was “slight improvement.” He reminded her that her recovery would be very slow, and at times quite painful. He gave her a break this week, but wants to see her again next week. As for me, I am feeling a little stronger each day. I see my cardiologist this week, so I’ll update you next Monday. I am told that with heart stints it takes a few weeks to notice vast improvement. As I said, I can already tell there is improvement, and each day is a bit better than the day before. For now, Bess and I both thank you for your prayers.
Yesterday was an awesome day at Friendship Harmony Baptist Church. We began the day by having our first Sunday School class. We had ten attendees including myself. Several more could not attend due to illness. I am teaching the class for now, but in mid January, Bro. Burt Nelson will take over. He is one of the finest teachers I have ever learned from. Burt, a former professor of geography at Central Michigan University, brings a vast knowledge of Scriptures to the table each week. Our Church is so blessed to have him and his lovely wife Chris Ann with us.
For our lesson, I taught the meaning of Hanukah, and the fact that it was celebrated by our Lord Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, it was at Hanukah that our Lord declared the fact that He indeed was the Messiah. This was not coincidental. Nothing Jesus ever did was, or even today is, coincidental. To take you back into Israeli history, the Seleucid King, Antiochus IV, declared himself to be God and committed the abomination by defiling the Jewish Temple. He set up a statue to Zeus inside the Temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar. He forbade the Jews to circumcise their eight day old infant boys, declared an end to the daily sacrifices, and forbade anyone from owning, keeping, or reading from the Torah. He also named himself Antiochus Epiphanes [God manifest]. By the use of this name, he was stating that he was God. The Bible tells us in John 10:22, “ And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” The feast of the dedication is Hanukah, the celebration of throwing out Zeus and all that defiled the Temple and rededicating it to God.
The Jews in John chapter ten knew their history, and they knew exactly what Jesus hasd said. He declared Himself to be God as had Antiochus Epiphanes, and many were not going to have any of it. We are told in John 10:31 “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” The difference between Jesus and Antiochus is that Antiochus died and remains dead until this very day. Jesus also died and raised from the dead on the third day meaning His claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God, indeed God Himself was a valid claim. Jesus is who He claimed to be and Easter is the proof.
“Preacher,” I can hear someone say, “Why are you talking about Easter, it’s Christmas time.” The reason is simple: if you take Easter out of the picture, all you have remaining is just another birthday. Christmas means nothing without the resurrection of Christ. It was on Hanukah that Jesus proclaimed who He was and is. If Hanukah was important enough for our Lord to celebrate it, and to choose that time to declare that He indeed was God incarnate, (in the flesh) then we as Christians are incomplete in our knowledge if we do not at least learn a bit about this most important Jewish holiday.
To end our day of worship, we celebrated The Lord’s Supper. This is a special time in the life of any believer, and it was the first time we celebrated it together at our new Church, Friendship Harmony. The plan is to observe Communion the first Sunday of each month. Many exciting things are happening at Friendship Harmony. I wish everybody in the world could attend one of our services. You definitely can tell God is in the building whenever this Church meets. Even though we meet in a secular clubhouse, for which we are very grateful, the Spirit of God meets with us and for that we are eternally grateful. I’ve been in services where the Lord’s presence was not felt, and I can assure you it was less exciting than watching grass grow.
If you are in the area, stop by the Church. We are located on Stringfellow Road, just south of mile marker 6 on Pine Island. We are in the Flamingo Bay clubhouse, next door to the St. John’s Episcopal Church. Our Sunday School begins at 9:00, and the Worship service is at 10:00. Come in any time. We will also be having a Christmas Eve service on December 24, at 6:00p.m.
May the Lord bless your upcoming week --- I hope you stay safe, healthy, and warm. As always, I look forward to seeing you again next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.