Monday, 13 December 2010

Prayer...A safe place

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.  Pr. 18v10

I think the picture that really strikes me about God being my refuge is in this verse - He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 Have you ever seen geese with their goslings?? This verse really has meaning for me because we had a lot of geese when I was growing up! (They always would chase me and pinch my bum!) The awesome thing about geese/goslings is that when the mother goose lifts its wing (for whatever reason!) the goslings immediately run to the mother and take cover under that wing. No noise from the mother…just a simple lift of the wing. Also what struck me is that in order for the goslings to reply so instantly to that gesture, they would be watching the goose the entire time, no matter what they are doing! This struck me, very hard! Because I think firstly, like the goslings, running to God in prayer needs to be an instant reaction to anything in our lives, but even more importantly, if we are not focussed on God, we will not know where to run to! Or when to run to Him for that matter!! Its so true…the times when I forget to pray are the times when I have lost focus on God! Its no surprise to me that this picture of finding refuge under His wings was used!
The other thing about a goose is that when its goslings are under its wing, there is no moving it! It suddenly becomes the most stubborn ‘will not be moved’ creature in the world….And in the same way God never leaves us! And even more excitingly…Mother goose constantly follows its goslings, always has them in the line of sight! (rather like a good shepherd!) and its also like God. He chases us, even when we forget to take our refuge in Him, he still watches over us…He is still there! I think this picture is ingrained in my head! If I had got round to drawing any picture of prayer, it would have been a gosling under a wing!

And as for this verse - The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 – I think the meaning would have been a lot more valuable to the people of that time, they had the picture of a strong tower as something a lot more important than today – ie – I have never had to ‘take cover’ so to speak… But it hit me a lot more when I just thought, ‘The name of the LORD is the safest place!’ (not to try and change the bibles words, but rather to apply it!) Because in that age, there was no place safer than a strong tower. So I ask myself…what is the safest place for me? Well, the places I have felt safest are:

1.Wherever my dad was with me!
2. Within your family/home
3. In the UK.
So I thought about what makes these places feel so safe?
-for #1 it was having someone I trusted so deeply to protect me.
-for #2 it was being with people that I knew would not judge/condemn me, and whom I knew looked out for my best interests.
-and for #3 it was being somewhere that I knew that my life was protected, and I was out of harms reach!

And so I apply all these to prayer… prayer is exciting and important…I love to pray…but thinking about it as all the above, makes it really jump out at me!

God is good :)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Washed as white as snow...

As the country has been coated with a beautiful sheet of whiter than white snow over this past week I have had this verse on my mind and in my heart. Isaiah 1:18 “ Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."

I praise God every morning as I trudge out into the snow, and see a world that is clean, no evidence of the dirt that was there a week ago, no proof of the dying leafless trees that were there, now just a world coated with this shimmery clean, white beauty that we call snow! I praise God that just like this dark grey world has been coated with a clean beauty, so we too have been washed as white as snow! What an awesome thing, to know that there is no evidence of our past ‘greyness’ when we are alive in Christ, what a freedom that knowledge brings! 

My deepest sadness in this knowledge, is that there are people in our lives, everywhere we look—who have absolutely no idea what it means to be washed as white as snow! They live in a constant greyness, unaware of the freedom that is available to them! And missing out on the Joy that the freedom brings! While its all too easy to get caught up in our own lives and busyness, we need to remember the severity of people not knowing the truth. How can we know the truth, rejoice in the truth, be set free in the truth, but yet, not share the truth? The joy we know from being washed as white as snow, should overflow from our lives into the lives of those around us. Our freedom and joy should be evident in our actions and our words, in everything we do, in the love that we show. 

People are hungry for the truth, we as Christians know what they need to be filled, but if we withhold that—then we are guilty of letting them starve. We KNOW what they need, but we watch them starve.
I have been challenged a lot recently about being bolder and bolder with the truth, not just in the easy places.. God has set in my heart a real urgency in making the Gospel known. 

I pray that you would be challenged where you are to be bold in your faith, I pray that the grace that was shown you when you were washed white as snow, would compel you to want others to know the freedom that brings...Lets feed the hungry, and let us be purposeful in doing it, it is after all our calling as Christians!