”When it’s Stormy”

“In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by”
(Psalm 57:1 ESV)

Reflection:
Jesus warned us that there would be faith-challenging times in our lives. But His promise to be with us always built upon the promise of God to His holy people.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:1-2)

This is a magnificent promise but it too reveals the reality of testing periods in our lives. When such times are upon us they can appear as violent storms that threaten to play havoc with our emotions, our minds and our spirits. Whether large scale national events, local community events or very personal and individual experiences they may result in turmoil within us.

Elijah knew something of this when, having fled from the threat on his life to the mountain of the Lord, he experienced what seemed to be earth-shattering events as he hid in the cave.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)

It was then, after all this had taken place, that there came a gentle whisper to which he could relate.

Sometimes the only response we can have in the storms of life is to turn into the Lord and to wait there until the tempest has played itself out. Whatever the particular challenge we hold onto Him in prayer whilst striving to remain faithful to our daily duties and responsibilities. At some stage the storm-clouds will break and the rays of the sun will appear. The time may be right for us to hear the gentle whisper of God speaking into us – and speaking words of love, encouragement and guidance.

Response:
Hold on to the Lord – he will see you through life’s storms

Prayer:

Lord save us in the time of trial and deliver us from evil. Amen.

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My now

“This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it”
(Psalm 118:24)

Reflection:
Yesterday has gone beyond reach and tomorrow is always just over the horizon. I cannot go back and I cannot go forward. Today is all that I have.

However the dawn found us this is our day. This is our now.  It is here, in these few precious hours, that tomorrow’s yesterdays are formed and a foundation laid for the future. These are my defining moments.

The minutes that are ticking by are the ones in which I may ask for and receive from God forgiveness for the past and new hope and strength for the way ahead. It is now that I may turn to Him again and be still for a while in the truth of His presence – letting His cleansing and healing Spirit wash through me.

Today is also my day to change a world. All around me there are people in need of something – whose silent screams for love are heard by God – and by me if I will listen with my eyes and my spirit. I can help one of them – with prayer, with words of acknowledgement, recognition and encouragement, with time, and even with a gift. I can reach out.

And of course today is also my day for me. I need someone to tell me that I am precious in God’s eyes and dearly loved by Him. I need someone to count and cherish the tears of my heart and to hug the fears of my mind. I need someone to love me and to tell me that I matter.

And so I will spend time with my Father. I will tell Him what’s on my heart and then, when I have finished, I will rest my head against His chest. I will think that I feel the beating of His heart, the softness of His breath on my cheek and His hand in my hair. And I will rest there whilst He sings softly of His love.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17)

Response:
Just do it.

Prayer:

Lord let this day be our day – so that we may both look back on it and say that it was good. Amen.

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My Saviour Lord

 

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”
(Psalm 118:14)

 

Reflection:
 ‘He has become my salvation.’  This Lord, who is at once Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not one who merely watches from a distance but is the God who has come to us – to seek us, find us, help us and lead us home through His awesome death and resurrection. Every good thing promised and prophesied in the Bible has found its truth and completion in the Lord Jesus – and through the Cross.

He has sought, called and embraced each one of His beloved in His eternal love. Once we have given ourselves back to Him no one and nothing can ever separate us. His great promise, fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit, is to be with us always – in our good times and our bad times – and wherever we may be on our journey.

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
  • “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

Response:

He is my strength for life and for living.
He is my song of delight and of witness.
He is my present and my eternal salvation.
He is my Lord, my King and my God –

and my great Love.

 I love you, O Lord ..
my strength, my song
and my salvation.

Prayer:

Thank You Lord – so very much. Amen.

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Your Love-song

“The LORD is ..  my song”
(Psalm 118:14)

Reflection:
Humans have over the years composed many songs, not a few of which have been to glorify themselves. However, as our eyes are opened to the wonderful truth of the Lord, and our hearts and spirits respond to the revelation of His love and salvation, we may discover that one song rises joyfully above all the others.

The worship of God is the sweetest of all, and often it is enough just to sing out the name of Jesus. For me true worship must rise like a soaring eagle up into the heavens, and then descend into complete and holy silence  – where it is enough just to whisper again and again the one precious ‘name above all names’ – and then to be completely silent and silently complete in the stillness of the Spirit.

Also, and whenever I can, I love to ‘sing out’ in speech the wonders of this God of Love and of the love of God. He is truly ‘beautiful beyond description’ and, when I let Him, ‘my all in all.’ I have many stories to tell of God’s relationship with me, over all the ups and downs of my journey – of His love, presence, help, forgiveness and sharing of Himself. They all form a part of ‘my song.’

Response:
Recall and record some of the ways in which God has blessed you. Thank and praise Him for them. There are some wonderful songs and hymns that can be downloaded from ITunes – and the lyrics will be on the Internet. Use them if you wish as an aid.

Prayer:

Touch my spirit Lord with Your beauty and Your love. Help me to respond as You lead me into worship and the wonder of Your presence. Amen.

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My Life

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.”
(Psalm 18:1)

Reflection:
 “I Love You” –is a constant reminder of our decision and need to place God first at every moment and in every situation that we face. Our choice, and in response to the Great Commandment, is to have Him as the first priority in our lives. It also reminds us that we love Him because ‘He first loved us!’ We are His priority – and there is no clearer indication of this than the great statement of our Lord’s – and note that little word ‘so!’

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“O Lord” – is the expression of our love and service. He is God Almighty – the Trinity of God the Eternal Father, God the Son our Saviour and God the Holy Spirit who is with us and within us always. He is the God who had no beginning and has no end, the glorious and supreme Majesty who has desired us and sacrificed Himself for us so that we might receive, enjoy and respond to His Love. Our lives and work become an offering to Him.

‘My strength” – is our acknowledgement that without God we have nothing and cannot achieve anything of any great value. It is God in us who equips, empowers and enables us to live the life to which He has called us, and to do so in a fallen and unbelieving world. He gives us the love, the faith, the strength and the perseverance that we need – and from Him too comes the peace that passes understanding and the joy that is beyond any momentary happiness of the world.

Response:
Write the words into your diary (or somewhere that you will see them often). Learn them, say them, pray them through the week – and let them guide your thoughts, words and actions. Live them.

Prayer:

Lord God, please help me to love You more and to have you as my first priority, to do everything as an offering to You, and to look to You for all that I will need every day this week. Thank You so much for Your great love for me. Amen.

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Eternally Yours

“Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
(Psalm 90:2)

Reflection:
In the eternity before time as we know it began – there was God. In the eternity after time as we know it has ceased – there will be God. In the time in between – there is God. Always and ever there is, has been and will be God.

It is God’s will and power that created. It is God’s will and power that sustains. It is God’s will and power that redeems. It will be God’s will and power that resurrects. Always it is God.

There is no other God. There never has been. There never will be. God laughs at man’s efforts to create one or to be one. The first have no life in them. The second cannot keep themselves alive. Man may decide that there is no God – but still there is God and always will be.

We cannot find God. He reveals Himself. We were created in His image. Sin has separated and distorted us. There is an unquenchable longing within us. We know it but cannot identify it. It is Godless. The emptiness calls out. Only God can find it – heal it – fill it.

God. Always and only – God. He calls us to come home to Him even as He comes to make His home with us.

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23)

Response:
God calls. Listen.

Prayer:

Father God, always You call me to You. Help me to come – and to keep coming – and to know You (more) as Father. Amen.

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(Photo: Source unknown)

Wise Wisdom

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise”
(Psalm 111:10)

Reflection:
True wisdom is only to be found in God and comes from Him.

He is the one, true God – of unapproachable holiness, absolute power and authority, and unquestionable love and grace. He conceived and created all things and sustains them by the power of His word. He has a plan and a purpose that He is working out and which He will achieve just as He intended – despite the efforts of man and Satan to take control.

He alone knows and understands all things – for all things are His creation and point towards Him. His are the natural and spiritual laws which govern His creation. What He has done will never be undone. What He will still do will stand forever.

Against God alone has humankind sinned – and in God alone is the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of sinners.

“If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (Psalm 130:3-4)

Any wisdom that does not acknowledge God or submit to Him is, at the very best, incomplete. It would amount to a collection of truths that fail to discern the Truth. That Truth is not a concept or an understanding but a Person – Jesus Himself. He criticised the Pharisees for having searched he Scriptures and for having failed to perceive that they pointed to Him.

Solomon’s great wisdom was given to him by God – and James tells us that if we lack wisdom we should ask God for it. For, as Proverbs tells us,

“The LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6)

    All this makes the Scriptures of great importance for they contain the story and directives of God’s dealings with His people. And as David proclaimed these directives are of great value.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws” (Psalm 119:105-106)

Response:
Stand in holy awe of God and of the value of His guidelines for living

Prayer:

Holy and Eternal Father, please give to me the wisdom to turn to You and to seek Your will and ways for my life and living, and the discernment to recognise them. Amen.

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