Devotional for Saturday and Sunday December 12-13

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Celebrating is good for us”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “… I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Jesus wins. Celebrate the victory”
 
It appears at the moment that the church in the United States is on the ropes. Even before the COVID 19 pandemic church attendance had been in steady decline for years. Once the pandemic hit, many churches across the land stopped holding service for some period of months. Some still haven’t started meeting again nine months later. For those that are meeting, most only have about 65% of their pre-pandemic attendance.
 
Those who study church life and trends say that once the pandemic is over, churches will have to go into an intensive and extended time of rebuilding that will probably take 18-24 months just to regain what was lost. They also say that many churches won’t make it and will end up disbanding.  
 
So, we could conclude that things look kind of bleak for the church. But I believe that would be an incorrect conclusion. For almost two thousand years Christianity has repeatedly gone through seasons of trial and struggle. Powerful leaders, governments, even entire societies have been aligned against Christianity. Churches have been destroyed, Bibles have been burned, Christians have been persecuted, imprisoned, and executed. There have been times of wars and famines, times of plagues and natural disasters. But through it all the church of Jesus Christ has survived and thrived and there are more Christians on this planet today than there has ever been at any time in history.
 
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus declared that He would build His church and the gates of hell – even all the forces of Satan – wouldn’t be able to prevent it from happening. That was two thousand years ago and here we are today, even after having to face all those trials and struggles for two thousand years, and His church is bigger and stronger across the globe than ever.
 
Yes, the pandemic has been a problem for us. Yes, it has caused some temporary disruptions to our normally scheduled programing. It’s true that our numbers here in the USA are down right now. But Jesus is still on the throne, we are still saved, the message of the Gospel is still being shared around the world, people are still coming to faith in Christ, and the church is still growing worldwide.
 
Jesus said He would build His church and He has – and He still is – and He will continue to. Despite Satan’s best efforts to prevent it, Jesus is winning, and we are a part of His victory. Now that’s something to celebrate.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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