12. Feb, 2019

Ros's February epistle

During January we have been looking at the occasions in the Bible where the phrase 'Do not be afraid' is used. Our exploration continues and what we are finding is that it was used in a variety of circumstances to a variety of people and that each highlighted different characteristics of God. I'm really enjoying this series and am finding it both encouraging and challenging. It has emphasised how life can take so many twists and turns.

The series was introduced by Brian and he asked us the question: 'What promises has God given to Swanwick Baptist Church?' We struggled to answer the question but it is worth spending time considering it. Recently I was reminded of a passage from Hebrews 10 that reminds us that God keeps his promises:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.' 

Hope is another of those words that can be challenging and encouraging at the same time. Hope requires faith and trust as it concerns future things. It is important for us to trust God for our future as we recognise that he is in control. It is as we look to God that our hope and expectation grow, because we recognise it isn't about us, it's about him and his glory. It depends on his grace and mercy. So whatever we are facing as individuals and as a church there is hope because God is beside us showing his faithfulness throughout it. 

Not only is God there with us but we are there together for each other. At our recent Covenant Service we declared our intention to journey together with God and with each other. Hebrews 10 covers this too:

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

This is a powerful picture that goes beyond the superficial. It is more that smiling sweetly at each other and declaring that we will pray for each other. It requires a depth of relationship and commitment to each other. It requires a willingness to support each other. It involves that e word... encouragement. Not being negative or critical but encouraging and celebrating the positive. To be looking for ways to encourage and buildup.

...but encouraging one another.

Recently I was having a bad day, and a friend, realising this, sent me the blessing from the midday prayers of theNorthumbria Community. It was just what I needed to encourage me at that time.

Let nothing disturb thee

Nothing afright thee

all things are passing,

God never changeth!

Patient endurance attaineth to all things

Whom God possesseth

in nothing is wanting

Alone God sufficeth.

This month let us look out for ways that we can encourage and buildup each other. It doesn't require big gestures, as easy, small things can be powerful.