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Stand Firm

Brothers and sisters, become imitators of me and watch those who live this way—you can use us as models. As I have told you many times and now say with deep sadness, many people live as enemies of the cross. Their lives end with destruction. Their god is their stomach, and they take pride in their disgrace because their thoughts focus on earthly things. Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform our humble bodies so that they are like his glorious body, by the power that also makes him able to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters whom I love and miss, who are my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord. ~(Philippians 3:17–4:1)

Stand Firm

Good Day Family,

Some days, it’s hard to stand. We may be weary from exertion…or from inaction. We may be carrying heavy loads that weigh us down. We may find parts of ourselves a little weak—an ankle or knee. We could even be spiritually or mentally tired of enduring something that we didn’t anticipate or that became prolonged. And, that’s just the reality of day to day living.

What happens when life takes us on a strange, unexpected, and difficult turn? I’m thinking of the people of Ukraine, who were living very normal lives just two weeks ago. Reports indicate that over two million have been displaced. Their cities and countryside lay largely in ruins and, most importantly, the forty million plus who remain live in constant fear. Average citizens were drafted or volunteered into service for their very survival. Standing firm must mean something entirely different in their current condition. I’m also thinking about people still suffering the effects of the pandemic. Those with long-COVID who must wonder if they will ever be fully well. The loss of loved ones has devastated families. Nearly all of us have changed some pattern or behavior. Standing firm may be the only available option when events are so far beyond our control.

Paul is talking about being faithful and holding true to our believe in Jesus Christ. He admonishes us to take comfort in the glory that is to come as an encouragement to stand firm in the now. But Paul wasn’t writing to a people experiencing particular turmoil in this letter. While his advice is still sound, I think it needs expansion. Yes, we can stand because we know a great reward awaits, but we can also stand firm because God sustains, lifts, and upholds us in the now. God is with us through the weariness, the trials, and even the battles of our lives. We can stand firm in that.

Standing on the promises of God,

Be well,

Pastor Cheryl

We are the church and as we gather, in whatever form that may be, to worship, fellowship and serve, the church is alive and well.
Let us encourage one another. Remain safe and check in on one another. We will get through this, and when we do…and look back on the other side…we will be stronger, more grateful, and more connected than ever.
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