The glory of God is the hope of the world

A movement is made up of a group of passionate people centred on a cause. Movements have been with us for centuries and while some of them are good, others may appear to be good but aren’t. Others are clearly evil (Nazism). The early church was a movement of people passionate about Jesus and his glory with the desire to share Him with the whole world.

Of recent times we have movements associated with climate change, internally displaced people groups, refugees seeking a better country, now groups with strong views about Corona virus, political issues and of late the importance of racial equality just to name a few. In the last days perilous times will come but let us not be sucked into spreading fear. For centuries people have followed conspiracy theories. They may seem valid (to some) at the time but end up by consuming much emotional energy and promoting fear.

Unfortunately, movements supporting a worthy cause for example racial equality, can be hijacked by others with secular even Marxist views. This can be seen in their websites.

Jesus is the Prince of peace. Are you walking in that peace or are you spending most of your time feeding negative thoughts increasing your anxiety? I thank God that ‘the glory of God is the hope of the world.’

Biblical
‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.’ Isaiah 60:1-3
“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
‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18

Observation

  1. There is a saying ‘The darkest hour is just before dawn.’ Our world is in a terrible state. However, it is probably no worse than during the days of John Wesley and William Booth. England in those days was depraved and godless. And yet it was during those times that the glory of God lifted people out of despair and where the church became a radiant beacon of hope! We could very well be entering similar days again. Watch out for prophets of doom, they fill you with fear and get you sidetracked!
  2. Don’t get caught up with gossip from the internet as we can easily get from the internet whatever view suits us best, even if it is not completely true! It takes a humble person to admit they do not always have the whole truth. Remember also that emotions especially ‘fear’ are sometimes unreliable at discerning truth.
  3. It is important for Believers to keep abreast of world news, but I find if I saturate my mind too much with that it replaces my intimacy with God. Monitor what you listen to and watch on TV and other devices. Feed your spirit healthy food.
  4. The motivation for the church is the establishment of the ‘kingdom of God for His glory’. ‘Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth’ (Psalms 57:5,7 and 108:5). How wonderful is that! Meditate on His glory and pray for His glory over your region and family.
  5. The Bible strongly teaches that we need to pray, not so much that we escape trials but that the church becomes strong and full of courage (e.g. Eph 6:19,20) We need to also pray for the Lord’s return (Rev 22:20).
  6. Don’t become self centred in trials and choose comfort rather than courage. We need to toughen up in walking with the Lord.
  7. In ‘the Rise of Christianity’ (by R Starks) it is mentioned that during the plagues of the early church the non-Christian Emperor Julian made the complaint that the Christians were much better at looking after the sick and the poor than the ordinary non-Christian population. The opportunity may come to us to also expend our energy in that direction in sharing the glory of Jesus.
  8. Tom Wright mentions, ‘The New Testament insists that we put Jesus at the centre of the pictureand work outwards from there. The minute we find ourselves looking at the world around us and jumping to conclusions about God and what He might be doing, but without looking carefully at Jesus, we are in serious danger of forcing through an ‘interpretation’ which might look attractive – it might seem quite ‘spiritual’ and awe-inspiring-but which actually screens Jesus out of the picture’.
  9. Finally, Jesus very fond of a family in Bethany calls in unannounced. That’s where his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus live. Mary decides to sit at Jesus’ feet listening with rapt attention as He speaks. Martha on the other hand busies herself with organising meals and taking control of the situation. Jesus has a soft spot for Martha as he mentions her name twice, “Martha Martha”. He gains her attention and then he says, “Martha, don’t be ‘torn apart’ by all that is going on around you. Learn to be like Mary and quieten your spirit. She has chosen the better pathway” (paraphrase mine). This invitation is also extended to us –‘Arise shine for your light has come and the glory of God rises upon you.’

Resources
‘God and the Pandemic’ by Tom Wright
‘New Issues Facing Christians Today’ by John Stott (doesn’t include pandemic)
‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas A Kempis

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