Stonehaven Baptist Church gathered once again this Sunday, although ‘gathered’ is used in its loosest sense these days. Many aren’t able to attend due to Covid issues so watch online via Youtube, you’d be welcome too, just type the church name into the Youtube search box and away you go. Or pitch up in the old fashioned way, in person, we’re based at the Old Courthouse and it’s an 11am kick-off.
The weekly service always includes much prayer for the people of Stonehaven, not only those folk who we know but more so those who we don’t. God knows all of our hearts and wants a relationship with each of us, he knows and loves you, so we lift each inhabitant of Stonehaven before him, asking him to touch hearts and minds, bringing people to a place of peace which only he can offer.
The sermon this week focused on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and in particular a section (2:27-30) which explained how we can devote our lives to God, give ourselves to him and surrender to his will. First, we’re to be steadfast in our faith, that’s to say faithful, standing firm and not wavering. Second, we’re called to behave in a manner that’s worthy of God. If we’re honest, we all cut corners, allowing ourselves the occasional misdemeanor and hoping no-one’s watching. These indiscretions can be large or small but regardless, they don’t edify God and while we can’t earn our way into heaven, we are required to live in a manner that truly honours the God who created us.
We’re to keep in mind that life’s a battle, a spiritual battle. The devil is as real as God, he tempts and taunts us, he’s God’s enemy and he delights in directing us away from God, having us question God’s goodness and looking to live outside of his will. But we’re to stand firm, not relenting or giving ground to the evil one. We’re to remain in one spirit with other believers, encouraging and supporting one another, with one unified mind striving to serve our Creator. We stand together, those who believe in the truths of the gospel forming a strong bond, with Christ at the centre, to overcome opposition, united we stand.
It’s not an easy gig being a Christian, it’s not the free pass to an earthly life of ease that some mistakenly assume, opposition and persecution comes in many forms with people resenting the peace you appear to have, wanting it for themselves but not prepared to relate to God in a manner that would achieve this. But we’re not to let that deter us or to weaken our faith, we’re to stand firm and be resolute as an example to those who oppose our faith.
It’s our desire and God’s desire that all might, in a quiet moment, turn to him, supplicate themselves to him, seek and find him. It’s the most critical decision in life and one that comes at different stages; deathbed conversions being equally as valid to a lifelong faith in God’s eyes. If you’ve yet to turn to God and ask him if he’s real and if could act in your life, today would be a good day to start.