Brian Mashburn

December 6, 2020

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What a year it has been. Believe it or not, I'm not talking about Covid. There is that, of course, and it will make the Year of our Lord 2020 quite memorable.

But I am speaking of our 2020 Southwest Bible Project. I honestly do not know how many among us have been able to keep up with this year long Bible-reading, video watching schedule, but going through the entire story of the Bible has marked this year - for me, at least - in a profound and significant way. It has been soul-securing, faith-building, joy-producing, and peace-establishing.

Moving from the beginning, through the creation of everything, the fall of man, the rescue of the Hebrews, the establishment of the Law, the tension through the prophets, and then the "righting" and redeeming of everything in the story of Jesus has taken captive my thoughts and deepened my hope to levels previously unknown.

So as we dart through the New Testament letters (they seem so short now, donít they?), I have enjoyed in a new way what Paul, James, Peter, and John are explaining.

I told you the last two weeks how I feel that Paul summarizes that the offering of God to us in the Bible's story is GRACE - real, authentic, weighty, and observable grace. And that what God wants back from us in the deal is GRATITUDE - real, authentic, weighty, and observable gratitude.

I love that. Thank you, Paul.

So this week, as I read letters from James and Peter, I saw an application that is always relevant, but is particularly relevant to us in the Year of our Lord 2020.

They describe the upside-down, strange, surprising, and downright hard to believe way that Christians experience and handle suffering.

They explain how to approach it, why to approach it that way, and how it is possible.

Like many of you, I am not always consistent in applying my belief in grace, and my gratitude for it, in the face of suffering. But, like I witness in many of you, I want to be.

This teaching, when applied, can make any year - even 2020 - truly, the Year of our Lord.

Brian Mashburn

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