Daily Update #169

Pause:

Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and were are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:3-5What are you most looking forward to at the moment?  

  • December payday?
  • Christmas?
  • Relaxation of lockdown and being able to meet some friends again?
  • Resolution to the Covid-19 situation and some kind of a return to “normality”?
  • Retirement?!?
  • Becoming a grandparent / great grandparent?  

Sometimes our ambitions can be a bit narrow, perhaps a bit limited.  Our passage in Luke today helps us to recalibrate and take stock.  What should we be looking forward to?  

The disciples’ seemingly innocent remarks on the beauty of the temple and its decorations have led to a lot of cold water, as Jesus pans back to share the destiny of that building with them (21:6).

He then maps out times of great trial and tribulation, not just for the world, but also for his church, as Sarah laid out for us in yesterday’s reflection.  

The key points to note are in verses 18-19; 28 and 36 of this chapter.  In the spiritual protection which Jesus provides, we are to stand firm so that we will win life.  We are to stand up and lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing near.  We are to watch constantly and pray that we may be able to escape the various tribulations and stand before Jesus.  

So we are to look forward to standing firm before Jesus, having withstood the trials and challenges of this life, so that we may find life and wholeness in him.  This really is worth looking forward to and worth applying all our time, energies and resources towards.  Other things will fade or pass, but the Lord God is good and his love endures for ever.  If we earnestly seek him and honour him then he will be faithful, through all the generations.  

Our focus should be on how to live here and now in such a way that we are focused on what really matters, which is the promises of God’s Kingdom.  We can enjoy a foretaste of all this now, but we should not be surprised when tribulation and problems arise, reminding us that we live in a world which is marred by the effects of sin.  All the more reason, therefore, to have the right perspective and to be anchored in Jesus.  After all he protects us spiritually, having given himself up to death so that we might have eternal life.  He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us in the permanent Kingdom of God.  He is interceding for us at the right hand of the Father.  In him we have peace, as he has overcome the world.  

So the next time something you are looking forward to does not work out, or you encounter trouble in this world from whatever source, don’t forget to pause and take stock.  Our trouble or distress is not a surprise to the Lord.  However he has overcome the world.  All we need to do is to stand firm and trust him, however big the trouble we are facing.  His Spirit will then lead us, over time, into perfect peace.  

Prayer

Almighty God, you made us and we are your people.  You sent your Son to overcome the forces of darkness and to win eternal life for us.  Give us grace to stand under all circumstances and having done all to stand, in the spiritual  protection which the Lord Jesus gives to all who repent and believe in him.  
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

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