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31/12/2023 All day

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” ( Hebrews 12:1).

Clouds are visible mass of condensed watery vapor floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the general level of the ground. For us below we can say due to their advantage point clouds provide a good oversight for our walk. In our leading verse the Apostle Paul used them as a metaphor to make a point of beloved witnesses around us who encourage and strengthen us in our Christian walk.

While any believer in Christ may on occasion rely on his gifts to grow in faith everyone needs the support and fellowship of others. As it is pointed, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” ( Hebrews 10:25). Further, Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” ( 27:17). These believers around us are a “cloud of witness” who spur us on to yonder.

Through the time of the Covid pandemic many of us were locked up in isolation as a deterrent against infection. However, once the doors were open there was an eagerness for many of us to go out and meet others. This was true also of many believers for purposes of enriching our faith through shared testimonies and communal rejoicing and praise of our living God.

The cloud of witnesses are one of the blessings God has given us to mature in faith. They help us unburden whatever weight might be pulling us down, so as to stand straight and persevere on in our faith walk.

Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I thank you for the cloud of witness you have gathered around me to strengthen me in my faith and may I profit from these faithful witness, this I pray in Jesus’ name.

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    “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”( 2 Timothy 4:7).

    Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors  ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.

    Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).

    Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).

    Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!

    Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!

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