This is our time - Paula Morrison

Paula writes that the early verse of Hebrews chapter 12 provide excellent reminders for us through which we can find confidence and hope in God.

2020 certainly taught us much about ourselves, our priorities, our relationships, even our faith. The start of 2021 was an opportunity to reflect so our priorities could be reordered and the discomfort or loss from last year was not wasted.

I am currently reading through the book of Job. Job is well known for his great suffering and losing everything including his family. A verse that is near the middle of the book stood out to me in Job chapter 19, verse 25.

“I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand on the earth”

Job, even in the midst of loss and suffering, knew God was his redeemer and that in the end God will stand.

What do I need to remember in 2021?

After reading Hebrews chapter 11, the chapter on the Biblical heroes of the faith, I found the start of the next chapter gave me direction.

Hebrews chapter 12, verses 1-2 starts with

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.“

1) We are not alone

We can easily feel surrounded by personal and cultural challenges but the truth is we are surrounded by a large cloud of witnesses. This includes a long line of believers who have gone before us.

They often have inspirational stories as struggle has been their way of life so it is good to read these as that will build our faith. It is important to keep our footing when the world is shaking politically, morally, economically and remember previous generations also dealt with a lot.

We are also surrounded by witnesses here on earth.

We are not alone because we are part of the local and global church - we stand together as the family of God. It is good to hear stories of Christians from other countries about the growth of the church in far away places - a lot of times despite being persecuted.

Of course the local church can physically be around us which is so much better. The local church embodies God’s love towards us - we are part of a family.

The only way we can withstand the hard times is to be immersed in the love of God and let the local church remind us we are His beloved children.

Jesus is with us, the Holy Spirit is in us and the Church is around us - we are in this together - we are not alone.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that easily entangles.” Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1.

2) Sin and struggle do not define us

Yes Christians slip and fall but untangling ourselves from sin and running from sin is key. We are not defined by sins of our past or by our present struggles but by our future inheritance.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1.

We see the finish line and run to win the prize.

What can ensnare us? Fear and worry. When we meet challenges in our lives with fear rather than faith this can make us question God’s sovereignty.

Life with God is an adventure. This is our time.

Paul says don’t worry in Philippians - don’t go there believers! Don’t get sidetracked - run our race.

Instead we communicate the truth that our God is indeed worthy of our trust.

We don’t fret about the future because He has the future in His hands. We don’t need to wring our hands in worry because God is charting our course.

Having peace makes us stand out in an age of anxiety. In Ephesians chapter 3, verse 14 Paul tells us “For he himself (Jesus) is our peace”. Peace is a person and that person is Jesus.

Worry makes us go round in circles and not run our race well. Taking our concerns to our Heavenly Father moves our gaze from our circumstances to the throne of God.

3) We have a mission and a message

Remember the true race we are in is not a race to achieve success as the world values. If we think we are going to lose we don’t run as fast so let’s remember we are going to win. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church and we are on the winning side.

Our mission is to connect God's good news, to the deepest longings of those around us. This is our time.

We need to expose the lies of the world and offer the truth of the Gospel. Christ followers demonstrate that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Most people believe the purpose of life is to pursue what you desire and what brings you happiness and the mantra is “To find yourself, look within yourself“ but as followers of Jesus we know there is no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God.

Instead we communicate the truth that our God is indeed worthy of our trust.

4) Jesus is Lord over history

God is always up to something including making us holy, finishing the work he started in us.

This is our time.

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews chapter 12, verse 2.

This is where we find all we need to keep moving forward...

10th Avenue North have a line in a song:

“Hallelujah we are free to struggle not struggle to be free

Lord of our hearts and ....

King over history”

“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrew chapter 12, verse 2.

Let’s remember God is on the throne.

We need to keep our bearings. We often look back to the early church as if the past was so good and idyllic, yet all times have had challenging events.

Our message is a message of hope and confidence in God. He will return and make everything right.

Let’s not replace hope with fear of the future or nostalgia for the past. Hope gives us cheerful courage and confidence in God's good purposes for the world. We don’t know the future but we know the God of history

True hope rests assured in the coming victory which will grab the attention of a world which is full of fear, despair and hatred.

Let us be a people of faith, hope and love.

I love all 6 verses of Psalm chapter 1 which ends with:

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked leads to destruction”

Justice is coming and the evil of this world will not stand the test of time. The righteous are being watched over - we are guarded by our Mighty God.

May we live faithfully like Job knowing that our Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand.

Paula is a speech language therapist with pre-schoolers who have a disability. She and her husband, Jim, have been part of Windsor Park since moving from the UK 20 years ago.They are parents of two teens and are team leaders for year 10 youth. Writing is a new thing but one which she is enjoying as a way of expressing how God speaks and leads her in everyday life.

Have something to share? Email us: rhythmbloginfo@gmail.com

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