“Do you miss Scotland?” is a question routinely posed to me, even though America has now been my home for the greater part of my life. My usual reply is “Yes,” and when pressed for an explanation, I mention that at certain times of the year I’m tempted to succumb to a wee dose of nostalgia. It usually lasts for all of 20 minutes! The transition period between Christmas and New Year’s is one of those times. New Year’s Eve (known as Hogmanay in Scotland) was the one day in the year when, as a boy, I was allowed to stay up late so that I could attend the ‘watchnight service’ with my father. It was always timed to end on the stroke of midnight as the church bells around the city heralded the beginning of the new year. Throughout the night, we visited friends and family in their homes and toasted the new beginning with shortbread and some kind of ginger cordial reserved for the occasion.
The good news and great joy of Christmas was now to be carried forward in the awareness that the presence of the Lord Jesus in our hearts and in our homes fills us with hope and enables us to face the unknown future assured that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even now, as I begin this new year, I am greatly helped by reflecting on the wonder of our union with Christ. This is what I want both our church family and our extended Truth For Life family to understand and enjoy.
Recently, we ended a lengthy series in Ephesians at Parkside and are all the better for the emphasis on what it means to be “in Christ.” This phrase is how Paul describes followers of Jesus who have been moved from unbelief to belief by the power of Holy Spirit.
We found it helpful to be reminded that being a Christian isn’t an add-on to who we are or to what we once were, but the result of a God-initiated transformation that forever unites us to the Lord Jesus in the way that a limb is part of a body or the way that a branch is part of a tree. This transformation also unites us uniquely with one another to form the larger body of Christ. Although we come from different backgrounds, God in His goodness equips us collectively to mature in our faith and to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).
Truth For Life offers a wonderful picture of this. Our program would not be heard without you and so many others coming alongside us to bring the message of salvation in Jesus to a global audience. Your enabling financial support makes Truth For Life possible! I’m grateful to let you know that we closed out 2018 fully funded and saw clear evidence of God’s blessing over our yearlong efforts. Our audience continues to grow in large numbers and the teaching is reaching more people than ever before. Thank you!
As a measure of our gratitude, please request our recommended resources this month. Streams of Mercy is a devotional that helps put words to our prayers of confession. Our second selection is a brand-new video documentary titled The God Who Speaks. In this beautifully produced full-length film, biblical scholars unpack the clear evidence that supports the truth and reliability of Scripture. It’s a great video to share with friends who question the authority of the Bible and is an inspiring piece for you to watch in affirmation of all you know to be true.
Thank you again for standing with us to proclaim the Gospel.
With my live in the Lord Jesus,
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg