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Beloved, We are ending another month in this historic year of 2021 and quickly advancing toward to an unknown end. You might wonder why I would reference the end of the year when we are still at the end of the fifth month. It is because time only moves in one direction, forward. We can remember the past but we can only revisit the past in our memories. We can look to the future but we can only visit the future in our hopes, dreams, desires and visions. We have to live in today with the past as our foundation and the future as our destination. And, each passing day brings us hastily towards the next day. So, I am looking forward to the end of this year with the knowledge that the God who carried me through the past will be the same God who brings me into my future, day by day. And, what can we say about the days before us? Is every day a good day? Is every day filled with things that make your heart glad? Is every day a day of thanksgiving? To the second and third question, I think that you can honestly say, "No". To the fourth question, I think we can hopefully say, "It can be." You see, beloved, life on this side of glory is often a struggle. Life can be difficult. Life can be hard. Life can be messy. Or, maybe it is just me who sometimes finds struggles in my health and the health of those who I love and care for. Maybe it is just me who sometimes finds difficulties in my wealth and the wealth of those who I love and care for. Maybe it is just me who sometimes finds it perplexing and confusing in my relationships and the relationships of those who I love and care for. If it is not just me and you are also a passenger on this life train, then I think that we can all agree that sometimes we struggle in life. Struggle is defined as "to make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction." Does that not clearly articulate how we are sometimes living in our health, wealth and relationships? We are trying to get free. Why do we struggle? Because we know that we want to live and we want to live better than how we have been living. We do not want to just struggle because life is a struggle. We want to use our struggle to get somewhere else in life. Perhaps, in a word, we want to thrive. Thrive is defined as "to prosper or flourish". Is that not what we want in our health, wealth, and relationships? To thrive. Is that not what we want in the health, wealth, and relationships for those who we love and care for? To thrive. Beloved, for you and me, to thrive in a world full of struggle, we cannot ignore the struggle. We must seek to thrive despite the struggle. We must strive. Strive is defined as "to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something." Beloved, I may not know the exact thing that you are trying to achieve or obtain; but, I know, as sure you are living to read this word, you are striving for something in your health, wealth, and relationships. Now, what I do not know, God knows. And, God has a word for you. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us, "Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil." Beloved, wisdom comes from God and these verses from this letter from the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus is revealing that Godly people should be extraordinarily sensitive as to how they use their most valuable asset, time. We must prioritize what is important in our health, wealth and relationships DESPITE the days being evil. Evil exists. That is no excuse for you to be unwise in your health. Seek out the wisdom of God. Evil exists. That is no excuse for you to be unwise in your wealth. Seek out the wisdom of God. Evil exists. That is no excuse for you to be unwise in your relationships. Seek out the wisdom of God. Evil exists. So does God and God knows that evil exists and always provides a wise alternative to evil. God knows that life is a struggle sometimes. God knows how you can thrive despite the struggle. God wants you to strive, struggle to thrive. Beloved, you are going to struggle. Beloved, you should always seek to thrive. Beloved, trust in God and strive. Connect with your fellow striving Christian brothers and sisters today for Noonday prayer, the 3pm sermonic message on The Light radio station and internet, at 6:30pm HOPE Wednesday, on Sunday morning, and Sunday evening for 6pm Sunday School. The days are evil and we are striving. And, while you are striving, remember that God loves you and I love you too! Be blessed, Rev. Cain


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