In this month’s message of inspiration, Rev. George Woodruff of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church recounts the story of Nicodemus. Like him, he says, we all need a new spiritual birth.
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Encouragement is defined as the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope; persuasion to do or to continue something; or the act of trying to stimulate the development of an activity, state, or belief. I want, by writing this article, to encourage you to do better, to feel better, to live better, and to love better!
Right now, society is in a complete state of confusion and the environment or situation we all hold as common is afflicting us all. Of course, I am talking about the novel coronavirus and its wide range of effects on all of us and our precious families! It is keeping us at a distance from each other (social distancing), making us wear masks (protection for and against others), separating us from loved ones and friends in rest homes and hospitals, and making us fearful of a normal and healthy future.
As a pastor and servant of God, I do not know how to minister to those I want to be close to as they walk daily with afflictions they cannot understand or are unable to overcome. Honestly, it stinks. But I also realize there is no event today that is new (There is nothing new under the sun: Ecclesiastes 1:9) and all is covered in God’s holy word!
Disease, famines, crooked leadership, bribes, sickness, out-of-control fires, healing of families, unemployment, labor disputes, racism, murder, mental illness, and anything else you can think of! Yep, the Word of God—the Bible—has it covered! It holds answers to our deep-seated questions and gives us a clear path to take to resolve our struggles. God loves us and wants us in a place of victory and freedom as we walk this earth daily.
In the third chapter of the Book of John in the New Testament is an insightful picture of a man, Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler who thought he had it all under control and going on. He was a political leader and religious teacher; very astute and learned. On the outside he looked like he was alright, but he had many questions about life and his own future. He had seen Jesus and thought him to be a miracle worker, a prophet of God, and a good man, so he went under the cloak of night for him to answer some of the questions that kept him from sleeping. As he presented himself, Jesus simply said: “You must be born again, born from above!”
We all need a new spiritual birth, a start over, a fresh new beginning in sweet fellowship with the one who created us. God made that possible by his son Jesus dying on a cross, taking our place for sins we had committed against him. Jesus was our creator who is also our judge to right the wrongs we have done, but came first as a savior for us from our sins. I encourage you to start new and accept the grace He is giving every one of us. He can make the crooked straight, cast away your old life filled with mistakes, and give you a new life that lasts forever.
Rev. George Woodruff is the senior pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in the Northside.