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Greetings in the New 2022

UMC in Latvia Superintendent Edgars Sneiders

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. (Joshua 1:5-6)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

After Moses, God gave Joshua to lead the people. His task was to lead God’s people into the Promised Land.  God spoke these words to him at the very beginning to make him strong in heart – “As I was with my servant Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous and never give up, never give way, but always go forward!  Wherever you lack strength, pray to God and He will help you.

Even though it was not easy for Joshua, he trusted these words, and eventually the people of Israel reached the borders of the Promised Land and, despite the difficulties, entered it. 

We, too, are pilgrims, journeying through this life to God’s promised land. And like the people of Israel, we too will face difficulties, challenges and losses along the way. At times we get tired and lack the strength to go on.

That is why the Lord is trying to encourage us today with the same words that were once spoken to God’s servant Joshua – As I was with my servant Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous. 

This is God’s command to us all. Having served in the army, I know that the orders of commanders above us must be obeyed. And Jesus, our Commander, is the best, the wisest, the bravest and the most loving, and He has only one purpose – to lead us into the Promised Land.

  Speaking of the various difficulties we will face in life, Christ once said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Let us therefore cast aside all doubts and unbelief and go forward boldly in this year to conquer new territories for Christ. 

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul calls us all to be watchful, to stand firm in the faith, and to become strong as men. One of the Apostle Paul’s sorrows was that many of God’s children remained at the level of a spiritual infant.

Instead of normal spiritual food, they had to be fed milk. Even today, nothing much has changed. Some believers need to be fed with spiritual milk. This creates difficulties for pastors, because they must not talk too often about very deep topics, because one part simply will not understand.

How to recognise this state of a young child in the life of faith? First of all, young children even need to be spoon-fed because they are constantly unable to eat. Some Christians receive spiritual nourishment only through pastors’ sermons, but do not read and study the Bible at home.

Young children just eat, play and usually do nothing useful. Similarly, many Christians just come to church, sit through the service, and then go home without thinking about how they can serve their Lord and people.

Young children raise their voices if they are not happy with something. Among Christians, this can take the form of talking behind the backs and anger.

Young children want to have lots of nice things for themselves, but they are not ready to give them to someone. If another child has better things, very often the child is displeased and asks the parents to buy them.

The Bible teaches that it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35) Therefore, we must strive to grow out of this spiritual infancy and become mature men and women of faith.

God has given us a good helper for this, the Holy Spirit, who is with us and dwells in us. Let us ask Him for wisdom, strength and the ability to grow and take root in Christ. 

This is my wish for all of you in this New Year of God’s grace in 2022!