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During this time of ‘lockdown’ I have felt stuck and some days I have felt as if I was in a rut, with each day’s routine looking exactly the same. Maybe you have felt this way too? Maybe you feel isolated (whether or not you have people with you in your home). Maybe you feel that you’re facing the problems and challenges of life all alone. Maybe you’re discouraged and downhearted.
If any of these things are true of you, then take heart, because you are never alone!
This quote from C. H. Spurgeon should bring hope to any Christian facing hard times:
“The Lord knows all about your troubles before they come to you; he anticipates them by his tender foresight. Before Satan can draw the bow, the Preserver of men will put his beloved beyond the reach of the arrow.”
You don’t have to face things alone. Whether you are stuck in a physical place or stuck in discouragement, Jesus meets us where we are and encourages us through His Word.
Though you feel isolated, you can know that Jesus is close at hand. He sees and He knows, and He does not leave you as an orphan to face this difficult world alone.
During the last week of His life on Earth, Jesus knew His departure was at hand. So before He left His disciples, He wanted to encourage them. First, He warned them that they would face hardship and difficulty. But then He told them:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).
Take heart was Christ’s call to courage in the lives of His frightened disciples, which also applies to us. Jesus wasn’t simply saying, “Cheer up. Come on, put a smile on your face!” He was saying more than that. He was saying, “Be brave. Be courageous.”
We will face trouble and heartaches and times of isolation in this broken world of ours. It’s part of life on this side of heaven. But we also have the assurance that He has already overcome the world.
And that makes us overcomers too.
– Valerie O’Regan
We may be somewhat scattered and bewildered like the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection, but the reality of the cross and resurrection remain as powerful as ever.
When Jesus died and rose again he made a way for those who believe in him to be restored to God: forgiven from sins, clothed in righteousness and empowered from within by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus now, and for ourselves when he returns, we can say:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Thank you to everyone who has made the effort to connect in via live stream, to those who have helped others get online, those who have been participating in Bible studies on Skype or Zoom, and to those who have been making phone calls and delivering bulletins, CDs and printed-off studies. It is so much easier just to meet all together in person! Please keep it up.
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus and is an important part of our fellowship gatherings. I know that for some people taking Lord’s Supper at Easter time is also very significant. However, this Easter and for the time being I will not be leading it online. I have considered doing it via live stream or Zoom, but I have concluded that I would prefer not to do it at all. Although we primarily eat and drink on Christ in our hearts by faith, the physical presence of us all gathering and eating is important in the sacrament. I don’t consider satisfactory expression of what Christ has given us. I do long to properly meet together with you all (cf. 3 John 14).
– SAM PURSELL