“Out With the Old, In With the New?”

I’m not sure where this idiom originated but it expresses the sentiment of people all over the world who want to leave 2020 behind. Things have to get better in 2021, right? I hope so but am not sure they will. Whether or not they do, I want to propose a new declaration:

“TAKE HEART IN WHATEVER HAPPENS!”

Here’s why we can take heart…

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Whatever the New Year brings, we can take heart that Jesus has overcome the world in all its brokenness and dysfunction.

The Star pointing to Bethlehem.

We can take heart that, just as Jesus was sovereign in 2020, so he will be sovereign in 2021…as he will in the years to follow. We can take heart that Jesus overcame death and provides salvation to all who turn to him. We can take heart that Jesus is with us and will never leave us. We can take heart that Jesus is coming again and will put all things right.

CHRISTMAS CARDS: “TROUBLE” AND “TAKE HEART”

I love Christmas cards, photos, letters, and updates. Three of my favorites are pictured in this update. Thank you for all who sent them to us this year, as well as in past years. In so many letters we received, we saw the themes of “trouble” and “take heart.” Here are just a few examples:

Carol on Trouble: “To say that 2020 has been a complicated year is an understatement!!!

Carol on Take Heart: “Trust the Lord God with your future because he knows the plans He has for you.”

 

Anne and John on Trouble: “What a difficult year this has been for all of us.”

Anne and John on Take Heart: “It is good to remember, though, that through it all, our God is still sovereign, and He knows, understands, and cares for us each and every day.”

 

Vance and Nina on Trouble: “After nine months of “house arrest” under pandemic, it is easy to say 2021 will be a better year.”

Vance and Nina on Take Heart: “We pray that sometime in 2021 life will return to a more normal state for all of us.”

Wise men and women still seek Him…

 

Kent and Myrna on Trouble: “What a year 2020 has been! In our lifetime that has never been a year with such global illness and political upheaval in America. It was a year that filled many of us with fear, anxiety, isolation, anger, rebellion, and depression.”

Kent and Myrna on Take Heart: “Look to our precious Lord during this time. He loves you so and wants to bless you in a mighty way.”

 

Dianne on Trouble: “There will never be another year like this one, at least that is my fervent prayer.”

Dianne on Take Heart: “But in the midst of this strange time, I can still say I am grateful… Jesus has been my rock during these long months.”

 

Jonathan and Monica on Trouble: “Literally, both Monica and I got Covid just as the shutdown swept across our country.”

Jonathan and Monica on Take Heart: “We fully recovered…. Our greatest joy is to rediscover the hope that has always been there: for unto us a child is born, unto us a Savior!”

SHARON, TAKING HEART IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE
…and when they find Him, they worship Him.

Sharon continues to take heart in the midst of her recovery from the brain bleed and broken femur she suffered earlier this year (just before the Coronavirus pandemic). She has had two therapists that we have been able to share the Gospel with. We chat back and forth as Sharon does exercises.

In Sharon’s most recent session, her physical therapist, Elena, asked if we had anything that could make sense of the chaos in our world.  I shared with her briefly our One Sentence Gospel: “I was lost, Jesus rescued me, and He can rescue you too,” then gave her a copy of the Greatest Rescue with the following outline:

Remember the 33 miners trapped in Chile? Their only hope for rescue was from above. Like them, we are trapped and can’t rescue ourselves. The following is an outline of the GOOD NEWS of how God has provided for our rescue:

    1. Father God loves us and cares for us.
    2. But something (“sin-within”) broke our connection with Father God and left us trapped.
    3. Jesus came to rescue us and reconnect us with God…through His perfect life, His death as payment for our sins, and His resurrection and ascension back to heaven.
    4. We must get in Father God’s rescue capsule—Jesus, our rescuer.

Pray for Sharon’s therapists to come to know they can take heart in the midst of trouble…through Jesus…and pray for Sharon’s continued recovery too.

TAKING HEART, EVEN IN DEATH

Yes, we can take heart in the midst of trouble, even when facing death. Several of our friends wrote about losing loved ones or loved ones facing life-threatening conditions. Even then, we can take heart, as the Apostle Paul assures us: 

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8).

Thanks for being part of our lives and ministry with Global Training Network in 2020. We look forward to taking heart together in 2021, as we equip and encourage leaders, and lift up Jesus around the world.

With love, friendship, and gratitude,

Linus and Sharon


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