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           I am always amazed by the speed in which the holidays pass us by.  We move from celebrating with family and friends to the long, cold nights of January.  It was all about celebrating Christ’s birth, and now we move to the long winter evenings, waiting for spring to arrive.  We have been blessed with warmer weather, but I am sure that the cold will return.

          We will resume our study of Genesis on January 8th.  If I am not mistaken, we have 3 or 4 more studies of Genesis before we will conclude that study.  There are some things in the last couple chapters that Dave would like to discuss so this may extend the study by a couple of weeks.  After that, I wanted to study some of the foods from Bible times, but I have not found a study for that yet.  There is a good possibility that we will try to tackle some of Revelation since I already have the books for that.

          We will be participating with the canned food drive for Kings Kettle for the entire month of January.  Unfortunately this year, Shippensburg COB has stepped away from the competition.  We will be participating with the Church of the Nazarene and the Shippensburg First Church of God.  We will either have a combined meal or worship service then in February.

          Normally we play volleyball at this time of the year as well.  Unfortunately with Brian leaving, this may prove to be somewhat difficult.  I have been working with a member of Shippensburg to keep it going, but we have not nailed any of that activity down yet.  I will keep you posted on that Friday evening fellowship opportunity.

          I am going to start the New Year with a series about taking Scripture out of its context.  When we remove Scripture from the context in which it was written, it can be easily twisted or diluted to serve a purpose that God never intended for it to be used in.  Often times, when we take a passage from its context and impose a new meaning to the passage, it may have never been intentional.  The first passage that we will look out at comes out of Jeremiah 29:11.  Jeremiah writes in a letter to those that are in captivity, “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  When you read that passage out of its context, one sees some pretty significant promises being made.  The implications are amazing.  Taken out of context, we can see that passage promising that our welfare will never be negative but always positive. 

          What we fail to grasp is that this verse is written for a specific time and a specific audience.  Jeremiah was addressing those Judahites that were taken into captivity.  These people were already suffering from the hands of their captors and living away from their own homes.

          This truth cannot be directly applied to you and me today.  For us to believe that we will never suffer with trials or anything of the like means that we have taken that passage out of its context.  James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

          Indirectly though, when we look at the promise through the lens of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, the truth becomes real.  God has a plan for those that know Him through His Son, and the plan is one of eternal life with Him.  We are responsible to study Scripture in its full context.

 

Until the Whole World Hears,

Pastor Leon Davis