21 February 2024 at 00:00:00 JST

The hand of God is powerful: it creates, it protects, and it provides. Those who so desire can remain in and at the hand of God, no matter what. It was in last New Year’s Eve service that the Chief Apostle explained exactly how this works, and what one must do in order for this to happen.



Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider celebrated his last divine service for the year 2023 on 31 December in Tübingen, Germany. Once again, he reminded everyone about the annual motto for 2023, namely ‘Serving and Leading with Christ’: “This year is now coming to a close, but we are all agreed: we will continue to serve the Lord,” said the international Church leader.


The foundation for this divine service was a Bible text from Psalm 123: 1–2: “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God until He has mercy on us.”



Seeking protection under the hand of God

God has created everything: “At the end of this year, with all that we have experienced, let us first of all look at the hand, at the activity, of the Creator.” He is the almighty God, who has created all things. “He cares for His creation. He preserves it. He protects it. And this He will also continue to do.”


God preserves His own: “In many different ways we have experienced that God has provided for us over this year.” It is all too human to focus on all the negative things that have happened. “And then we are so quick to forget the moments when God performed a miracle, great or small, when He simply stepped in and changed the situation. In so doing He has told us: ‘I am still there. I am still able to help you. My hand has not become too short—I can make the impossible possible.’”


God provides for His children: in another passage we can read: “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147: 3). Over the past year, many things have happened that require comfort. “Even as Chief Apostle, I do not always understand God. All we can do is trust in God. He is the Redeemer. It is He who desires to save all humanity with His mighty Hand.”



Remaining in the hand of God

The Chief Apostle recalled: “It was the mighty hand of God that liberated the people of Israel from Egypt, that redeemed Jesus Christ from death, and that will also save the bride of Christ from death and lead her into the new creation. “We must believe in this hand. We must believe that God is still at work, that His hand is still powerful, and that He will continue to carry out His plan of salvation and bring it to its completion.”


We can therefore remain in the hand of God with trust and confidence, however, this a decision that each of us must make on our own: “No one can snatch us out of the hand of the Saviour. This can only happen by our own decision. Those who desire to stay at the hand of God will also be able to do so.” Even if it is exhausting at times, the devil is not to blame if we are led astray. That is our own decision!”



Receiving out of the hand of God

“Oh, it’s always only manna and more manna!”—At some point in the desert, the people of Israel were annoyed by the gifts of God, even though they were essential for survival. Today God offers His gospel, which is necessary for salvation—but it is always the same. Some people say: “But that is so boring! It doesn’t fit into our time anymore.”


However, the Chief Apostle did have a tip to share: “If we take some time to read through the gospel—that is, the teaching of Christ—intensively and really occupy ourselves with its contents, and then ask ourselves: ‘So now what should I do now?’ things really start to get exciting. The Lord Jesus said a great many things, even some that apply to daily life. And if we really want to put them into practice, we will begin to notice: ‘This is quite a challenge! It is anything but boring!’ Let us continue to take this out of His hand and be content with that which the hand of God gives us, namely the gospel of Jesus Christ.”



Being tools in the hand of God

“Our Bible text also mentions servants and maids. And this also applies to us. After all, we have been called and elected, baptised and sealed, in order to serve the Lord,” said the Chief Apostle. “Let us not forget this, even if we receive another motto for the new year.”


Through the Hoy Spirit, God tells His children: “We are to perform good works for our neighbour. We are to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.” We do not always recognise the good that we might do. “Here too, let us become more and more sensitive in order to recognise when the dear God shows us that it is now important to act. He takes us by His hand.”


“Do you see how interesting it is when we make the effort to put the gospel into practice in such concrete terms?” asked the international Church leader at the end of his sermon. “The hand of God shapes us. Through the activity of the Holy Spirit He trains us to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.” He went on to use the image of a potter: “Just take a look back over the past year and look at all the things that have happened from this perspective: God wanted to form and shape me. I am the clay and He is the potter. Everything that has happened, everything the dear Lord has permitted, everything I have, and everything I had to experience is all part of this process. He wanted to help me behave like Jesus Christ, to react like Jesus Christ.” And in conclusion, he posed the question, “Can you still see any other opportunities for adjustment?”


Author: Katrin Löwen


nac.today: New Apostolic Church International


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