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Rankin Lake Baptist Church



Rev. Jim Loftis


January 2021
From the Pastor

BEGINNINGS…The word itself implies lots of things, but mainly a starting point.  There are many pithy sayings that could get our attention.  “A long trip begins with the first step.”  “A major project is accomplished by           beginning small.”  “Reading a long book begins by starting the first page.”  You begin a friendship/relationship by taking a first step.  On and on it could go.
One of the implications that goes along with the word is a freshness or newness.  God created the heavens and earth in the “beginning.” God took the initiative to have a relationship with Adam and Eve by reaching out to them.  God continues to take the initiative to have a relationship with us by reminding us that He sent Jesus into the world to show us how we could be in relationship with Him and reaching across eternity through His Holy Spirit to “tap” us on the shoulder saying, “I Love You! I want to be close to You.!!”
January 1st is a similar statement…almost like you can start over.  Obviously, we cannot literally “start again” with our lives but there is a fresh, new year that He has put before us.  We get to look out across the new year, with all its possibilities, and wonder.  Wonder what might be?  Wonder how 2021 might be different than 2020? 
Most of us would want the new year to be different than the last.  With all the difficulties and struggles we have endured, we want to see something new.  We want something fresh.  We want a new beginning.  We want to   embrace hope. 
There it is…a new beginning seems to bring with it hope.  But you and I must remember something:  Hope does not come by wishful thinking.  Hope does not come by some governmental official’s decree.  Hope does not come because of something in our checkbook.  Hope comes through Jesus Christ.
In the great “love chapter” of the Bible (I Corinthians 13), the Apostle Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit), wrote a lot about what love was and was not.  But then he said in concluding the chapter, And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (vs. 13).
That love is between God and us.  It is also between each of us.  I know, you are probably just like me, thinking, there are people I have a hard time loving.  You would be right.  But just like God loving us (He chooses to love us), we choose to love others.  Not necessarily the easiest choice, but the right choice nevertheless.
So, as we transition into 2021, let’s make a special effort to love each other no matter what.  Whether it is          beginning something new or simply continuing what we have long been doing, let’s make every effort to show the world our love for the Lord by the way we love each other (John 13:34-35).  Happy New Year!!
Your Pastor and friend,
Jim Loftis

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