A few of the attributes of God that are vitally important and that we confess every week is His timelessness, eternity, and immutability. This means that God is not trapped in time or space, and that He has no need of change. The Scriptures says that for God “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”(2 Peter 3:8). We however are very much people that are living in time, and our world (including us too) is ever changing. So how do we as a church live in this reality? We do so by focusing on the past, the present, and the future.
Connected to the Past
Our society is quick to dismiss anything in the past thinking that it is of no use anymore. It is the arrogance of the modern. Unfortunately churches can fall into this trap too by seeking to be uber-modern and contemporary and forgetting the past that got them where they are today. The Scriptures do not have such a view. The Bible is replete with reminders to do just that – remember! Remember the Lord’s provision and faithfulness; to remember the past acts of God’s salvation; and to remember sins of the past and yet the Lord’s grace and mercy. In fact, God made the Israelites build stone monuments (Ebenezers) so that they would not forget.
We as a church must do the same. We stand upon the shoulders of those that have gone before us – our forefathers of the faith. These saints (both men and women) labored diligently to lay a foundation for the generations to follow. Many of them are nameless to us, but not to the Lord. He remembers their acts, and more importantly, the Lord remembers His promises made to them. Promises that He will fulfill.
The Lord has been faithful to Smyrna Presbyterian. For a church to have a history over 100 years demonstrates that God has been rich in his blessings and provision. We need to remember and be thankful for the Lord’s work in this church and in these saints. Times of celebration and connection to the past are needed because these connections keeps us rooted that nothing we face is new “under the sun” that others have not gone through as well – and the Lord’s mercy and grace was sufficient for them, and will be for us too.
Living in the Present
As a church we want to be connected to the past but we do not want to live in the past. Thinking that the good days are all in the past. This would be a mistake. The past should help us to live in the present, which ironically is a hard thing to do. Too often we live in the past, or are looking so much to the future that we miss today - the small blessing in the ordinary and routine mundane of today. But this is where the Lord has us and we need to learn to be content and joyful in whatever stage of life the Lord has us right now. Because it is in these small moments (and sometimes big) that the Lord is teaching us and leading us to trust Him more. Can you thank the Lord for today – no matter what presently may be taking place?
Looking to the Future
The last but still important focus to have is to look to the future. When we have connected with the past, and are diligently trying to apply lessons the Lord is teaching you today, then you can have a bright optimism about the future. Not that everything is going to be rosy, but we can know that the Lord is leading and guiding us and that He promises His blessings upon that path of obedience. No matter what happens culturally or in the world, the church is given the only sure and perfect promises – because they are rooted and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are good days ahead because the Lord is good – all the time. Can we trust the Lord with our tomorrows and not be anxious or worried?
We are a part of an ever changing world but the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. With this sure foundation for our feet, the church of God can be confident by connecting to the past, living in the present, and looking to the future.
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