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Whatever the new normal is, look to Jesus, and He will direct your steps and the path before you

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ron HemphillPhilippians 3:14 – "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

The is an old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And this past year and a half has been tough to say the least. Yet somehow you have managed to persevere. I've noticed as I get a little longer in the tooth (another old saying), that I'm not quite as graceful as I once was. I still do most of what I've done before, but it takes a little longer, a little more effort and my dance moves aren't quite up to par, haha. I still manage, but!

So, in the past 14 to 16 months or so, we all have managed but kind of not so gracefully. We meet an old friend and go to shake their hand or hug them and are reminded of our social distancing, creating an awkward moment. We met them in a store and fail to recognize them, our masks covering their identity and for some of us making it difficult to hear or understand them. 

I remember a time that if you wore a mask into the bank you went to jail, and now if you fail to wear your mask, you are in trouble. Am I complaining, NO. I am making an observation that in spite of the hard times and difficulties we are facing today, still, we march on.

As the Apostle Paul was addressing the church in Philippi, he was saying that in spite of all difficulties, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Even staying home and away from crowds has created difficulties in and of itself. We eat more, gain weight, lack exercise, so we become lethargic. Our social interaction has been bittersweet. Keeping us safe from others but lacking in social intervention. Creating environmental depression (cabin fever). We spend more time on social media, video games and TV to keep ourselves entertained.

Now, as we start to get and meet people, there is a certain amount of trepidation or awkwardness as to HOW do we go about this. The rules have all changed, and what are the rules. 

As for me, I still try to walk as Christ would walk. I will admit, I have uncertainties when entering into certain establishments. Recently, I had a flight in another state where things were more open than here. Still, what were the rules? Do I do this or do that? Do I look at this person or that person, are they right or wrong? Confusion, I think is a good word here.

But, in spite of the difficulties, I will press forward. The early pioneers in American history faced great difficulties and still they managed to go forward. The pioneers of church history faced great difficulties as well and still they forged forward. Jesus Christ himself as He introduced the New Testament church faced difficulties, even insurmountable difficulties that we read about but can't imagine. Even giving His life for those who didn't and don't believe. Dying for my sins, I didn't deserve his grace, mercy and love, yet He did that for me, AND He did that for you.

Someone just recently said, "I can't wait for things to get back to normal."

What is normal, what is the new normal? I am reminded of another quote in the Old Testament this time from Joshua 24:15, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

So, whatever the new normal is, look to Jesus, and He will direct your steps and the path before you. 

Pastor Ron Hemphill is the pastor at New Life Bible Chapel. He can be reached at 541-447-6543.


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