United Church of God

Letter From Lewis VanAusdle - May 26, 2023

Letter From Lewis VanAusdle

May 26, 2023

Letter to the Congregations: 27th May 2023

Our Dear Brethren,

The crowd of people trembled and backed up as quickly as they could. Some of them wept and covered their faces as they tried not to look up. They had seen the power of God working to bring them out of captivity, but now as they stood before this mountain, they witnessed something that brought fear into their hearts. They saw "the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking" and were afraid of what their God might do to them (see Exodus 20:18). Moses, who was not trembling in physical fear, stood confidently in front of the nation and reminded them that: "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin" (verse 20). God had given them His law so they could learn what sin is and so they could turn from their former ways and draw close to Him.

Through the indwelling of His Spirit, God writes His laws on our hearts and in our minds. This is so we might always remember them, so we might be guided by God's will for us in our thinking and our feelings which dictate our words and actions. "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:30-31). Through this same Spirit our God dwells within us and claims us as His own. "...For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people'" (2 Corinthians 6:16).

Are we submitting to the lead of our God in our hearts and minds? Have we fully accepted our Father's will and do we allow Him to rule in our hearts? Do we reach out to God and ask Him: "Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face" (Psalm 5:8). The time between the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Day of Pentecost are a good time to examine what is in our hearts, to "sit down...and count the cost" of continuing forward as disciples of Jesus Christ (see Luke 14:28). Each step of the way, walking through the year as each festival of God comes along, is a chance for us to examine ourselves and to be reminded of what God has begun in us. Each Feast we keep gives honor to God and shows our desire to continue to be His people. Are we prepared to continue forward, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6)?

Our love is with you,

Lewis VanAusdle

Pastor, United Church of God

NYC, NJ, CT, Malawi, Zimbabwe