There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.

Week beginning: 24th December, 2017 | By Mark Barrell | Bury St Edmunds

"For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.
They will not labour in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them."

Isaiah 65:22b-23 (NIV)

It's that funny period in-between. You might be at your desk trying to catch up in this quieter period hoping the phone won't ring and fewer emails will arrive, or possibly at home spending some time recuperating from the excess. But with Christmas over and New Year looming, this is often a time for reflection on what has passed and what is to come.

These words of Isaiah are a hope-filled prophecy of what is to come and a complete reversal of the past. Having broken God's law, Adam and Eve were told those on earth would toil in vain and labour in pain (Genesis 3). But the prophet speaks of a time when God will overturn the effects of the Fall for all those who belong to Him. In the new creation we will forever enjoy our work and be blessed in His presence.

As we await this hope, we are called in this "in-between time" to follow Him, wheresoever and to whomsoever that may lead, taking every opportunity to speak about the hope in Jesus Christ and live out the gospel. At times the journey will be challenging, as an African proverb says, "there are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree", but the end reward and promise we have in Christ is more than enough to compensate.

Prayer Points:

1.  As you look back, give thanks to God for all He has done for you in this past year and for the hope he has given to us in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2.  As you look forward ask for a renewed sense of our eternal hope praying that this may encourage you even more to pass on the message of the Good News in 2018.