Bad news seems to be all around us. We hear grim predictions about the economy and the environment, learn about hostilities and divisions within communities, listen as our friends tell us their troubles. Everywhere we turn, the news seems to be negative. Even the prayer list at church can get us down.

But our faith in Christ speaks of good news – good news for the poor and oppressed, healing for the sick and broken, freedom for captives, redemption from sin, and hope for us all.

How do we discover and experience this good news that Christ has come to proclaim? And once we have found it, how will it make a difference for us and for all the world?

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God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.

1 John 4:16b-21

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There was a little boy who was afraid of the dark. He cried for his mother to stay when she turned out the light at bedtime, and she told him he didn’t need to be afraid because God would be with him. The little boy replied, “I would feel better if God had skin on.”

The good news is that, in the coming of Jesus, God does have skin on. We can experience God’s love and know that we are not alone because God abides with us in the person of Jesus. 1 John tells us that God’s love is perfect and that perfect love casts out fear. So whatever problems or evil we find in the world or sin we find within ourselves, we know that God loves us perfectly and offers us acceptance, transformation, and forgiveness. Through Jesus, God’s love and grace are offered to everyone, and that is good news for all the world! Thanks be to God!

Elizabeth Jones Edwards

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Generous God, you love me so much that you became human and faced death so that I can have abundant life. Such love is more than I can comprehend. Help me to trust in your love no matter what circumstances I face and to share your love with every person I meet. Amen.

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“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

From “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts

Elizabeth Jones Edwards

Elizabeth Jones Edwards has served as Associate Minister for Youth and Christian Education at Lakeside Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC, for the past 13 years. She lives with her husband and two sons in Nashville, NC, and enjoys poetry, cooking, and cheering on the Demon Deacons.

Jesus, Giver of All Good Things

Jim McConnell

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