I've just come back from my home church in Swindon's communion service this evening, and I have to say that I have come away SO encouraged by what I've been reminded of. My Pastor led on 'Don't forget', so here goes:
1. ...Where you've come from, thinking of Psalm 40 where it talks of God lifting us from the 'Miry bog' as the ESV puts it. The original greek describing this pit referred to a large pit that farmers would dig and line with clay in mind of dry season, leaving only a small hole at the top for access and water to enter. If you fell in then there was literally nothing you could do to help yourself.
2. ...The rock from which you've been hewn, thinking not of Jesus, but looking back to Abraham, the promises that were fulfilled miraculously in his old age alone, let alone the fact that we can now love God through his covenant with him. He was an idolatrous pagan before God took hold of him and promised to use him to build his people. We are no different.
3. ...The darkness from which you've been brought.
4. ...The pollution from which you've been cleansed.
5. ...The wrath from which we've been delivered.
'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.' --John 3v36--
6. ...The death from which we've passed.
'Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.' --John 5v24--
And following these challenges, we had a time of open prayer, with only about 80 max of us in the church, and it was such a blessed time of thanking and praising God for who he is & what he's done for us, prayers looking forward to when we'll be in his presence eternally, and throughout the time of prayer and communion afterwards I had a ridiculously big smile across my face. Why? Because I had been reminded of the greatest truth that exists in my life; I am a sinner, saved by grace, righteous by Jesus' righteousness and an heir to the throne of heaven, and one day I shall stand before the Father himself and hear the words, 'welcome, my good and faithful son'.
Is it any wonder that we are encouraged to never stop meeting together? He knows we need this constant, daily encouragement, to live a life as part of his church, to live as part of the body, rather than a limb on its own. He knew what we desperately needed then and now, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and gave it. And his all-encompassing, soul-cleansing grace is something we need bring our hearts and minds back to each day if we are to stand firm.
Amazing grace just doesn't cut it, Heaven's going to rock.
weird is just your own personal brand of normal