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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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    "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24)

    When in his missionary journey the Apostle Paul ventured into the city of Athens he was struck by two things. First, the Athenians spent most of the day doing nothing but talking about the latest ideas (Acts 17:21). In spite of that they could not figure out who the great God is and his plan for their salvation.

    Secondly, Paul noticed Athens was filled with temples and statutes all over. In fact he came across one altar marked with an inscription to an “unknown god” (verse 23). The Athenians were a very religious people, searching God but with no idea of his plans for salvation through Jesus.
    The experience of Paul travelling through Athens could be the same with any of us visiting our modern cities. It is easy to find folks arguing about where truth can be found on social media almost all day. And then also one can find temples of all nature rising across the city. This is usually where they have assigned and restricted God as folks go about their lives.

    One thing Paul reminded the Athenians is that in spite of all their great arguments and temples the truth was actually not far from them. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundary of their lands. God did this so that they should seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any of us” (Acts 17:27-28).

    Today, you may find yourself in a situation similar to that of the Athenians, where you are searching for the truth, yet it is so close to you. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).

    Prayer for today: Lord Father in heaven, today I pray in the blessed name of Jesus, to know and share the truth of your salvation like Paul did for you are not far from any who truly desires to know you, this I pray in Jesus’ name!