May 2016

August 1, 2016

Thoughts From The Cottage

Dear Friends

In the letter to the Hebrews chapter 10 and verses 19 to 25 we read.

“We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body. We have a great priest in charge of the house of God. So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.”

Dating from the early 60’s AD just 30 years after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension it is written at a time when opposition to Christianity was increasing and people were falling away from the faith. In this section, which continues to chapter 13 verse 17, the author was concerned that hope was being squeezed out by negativity. This is still a very real danger today. During this month we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit to all believers. Neither of these are conditional, they are not time limited or for some people only. Jesus is Lord of all for all time and the Holy Spirit is given to all Christians for all time. Of course whether we acknowledge the Lordship of Christ or use the Holy Spirit is a personal choice, but to reject either or both is to diminish both our well-being and our effectiveness in God’s world.

So what is it about the Lordship of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us such great hope? First of all it is not just hope for the future but hope for today that underpins everything we do. The future hope is that because Jesus has overcome death and risen again then his promise that all who believe in him will share eternity with him is guaranteed to happen. Therefore we have no need to worry about what will happen after death, equally we do not need to score good marks on earth in order to get into heaven. We can sit back contented, knowing that whatever else happens we will be with God for the whole of eternity.

That may be great but it is the present hope that is the most beneficial for us whilst we are on earth. If a Christian is alive then God has work for them to do, our job is not finished until God calls us home. If Jesus is Lord and the Holy Spirit has been given to us then hope abounds. We no longer make our own decisions, practical, ethical or moral. We are servants of God, the body of Christ so we simply turn to the head, Jesus, and ask him what we do. When we feel the God given task is beyond us, when our knowledge, skill or wisdom is not equal to the task, when our human desires go against the will of God we simply call upon the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we find humanly impossible. This wonderful hope means that we are not left alone to struggle but that we always have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us.