Take Refuge in God

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1 NIV

Prayer

Oh, Lord, exalt Yourself above me and all that I am – possessions, friends, comforts, pleasures, reputation, health and life – everything. Test me, Lord, and see whether I can really leave everything in Your hands. Bring my life into line so that I will not be fully myself, but fully in You, knowing the truth that I can take refuge in You. Oh, Lord, set in motion a chain of circumstances that will bring me to the place where I can sincerely say, ‘Be thou exalted above the heavens’. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet (1726-1792)

The Faithful Remnant

The Faithful Remnant

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Malachi 3:16-18 NIV

More than Conquerors

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  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 8:31-39 NIV

Make Up Your Own Mind

Psalm 42

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Psalm 42:2-3 Tree of Life Version

The following excerpt is from The Crucified Life by A W Tozer

“A man once wrote in an evangelical magazine, “I have accepted the doctrines of such and such a denomination.” He had allowed somebody else to make up his mind for him. That is why millions of people are contented Catholics (or Methodists or Presbyterians), because somebody does their thinking for them. Somebody assures them, says a word of love and consolation, and has done all the thinking for them. Someone higher up has taken up all the responsibility. All they have to do is obey without question.

I do not mean to be unkind. I only say this is why certain religious denominations can hold their people and ever say, “It is you and God.” You have to find God “as the hart panteth after the water brooks” (Psalm42:1 King James Version). You have to seek God alone. I will help you with Scripture and do my best to help you, but when He meets you, it will be by yourself. You cannot take the authority of somebody else. Nobody can come and say, “All right, it’s done. I hereby now as of today, at this hour, declare you are all right.”

A young Christian earnestly seeking God once said to me, “I think you’ve got it.” Thank God, I knew better, because that could have been the end of me. Our desire is for everyone to cry out to God and look in His direction with nothing but the naked intent of seeking God Himself. I want God and I want nothing more.”

“I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.”

Proverbs 8:17

Miracles

FIREFLY BY JEAN VADAL SMITH

The following is an excerpt from the book MY FATHER MY KING by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Hear your Father your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe saying to you:

The world in which you live is full of miracles so that you will have constant reminders of My presence.

There are miracles of history. There are miracles of biology and botany. There are miracles of chemistry and physics and of anatomy and astronomy. There are miracles of events that are mathematically improbable. There are major miracles and there are minor miracles miracles that are easily recognizable and miracles subtle and hidden.

What you refer to as “nature” is the manifestation of My will in the world. All of nature is ultimately a miracle. Don’t allow familiarity to blind you to the magnitude of the miracles that appear commonplace.

Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every cough and sneeze is a miracle. Every step you take is a miracle.

Keep your eyes open for the myriad miracles in your life. Seeing those miracles will add a spiritual dimension wherever you are and wherever you go, and your entire life will be filled with joy and gratitude.

Living in the Faith

Instructions from the Apostle Paul to the body of believers at Philippi

Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice!  Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us.  Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.  And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.  Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.

Philippians 4:4-9 The Voice Version

Please go here for a full commentary on these verses and practical guidance.

When Things go Wrong

The following excerpt and poem is from Disguises of Love by Eddie Askew (former General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission).

My mind was drawn recently to the book of Daniel. Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their refusal to deny their God? The King threatens them with fire, but they affirm their faith in a God who is able to rescue them. And then comes a mind-catching phrase: “but even if he does not . . . still we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:18)

To begin with it’s an honest acknowledgement of the fact that things don’t always go right for God’s people. That’s pretty self-evident to anyone who looks at the world realistically, although I do meet blinkered Christians who seem to imply that if only we’d get right with the Lord – as individuals and as nations – everything in life would be fine! It just doesn’t happen that way. And it’s not always out fault – don’t get hung up searching for personal guilt when things go wrong, that’s just inhibiting. Faith isn’t an all-risks insurance policy. (On second thoughts: maybe it is. Insurance doesn’t prevent accidents but it gives you a secure base from which to face the consequences.) It isn’t a cure-all. If it were, if faith prevented the pain and the problems, the queues outside the church buildings would be enormous. Sometimes faith and pain go together, and it’s the unrighteous who have it good.

“But even if he doesn’t . . .” It’s also a courageous statement of faith in God’s purposes. Not necessarily accepting that whatever hits us comes straight from God – I’m wary of these over-simplifications of why calamities happen – but faith in the way he can and does use events to shape and refine us. A faith which springs from the experience of God-with-us through many crises. Ed Ingebretsen, an American Jesuit poet writes: . . . your violence, Lord, opens more worlds than closes; . . . we are stones, sons of black rock; crush the veins, grind, hew, hone. Free the waiting diamond . . . we are steel, straighten, stretch, fine – melt us, shape, thin us like strong wires. we are seed, dry, desiccated – rain us, green us as once we were: The harvest remembers not the cut.

He proclaims faith in his continuing love and concern, however hot the fire. Rescue may come or not; faith shows its strength in accepting at times, God’s non-intervention. It’s not a glib, easy acceptance. It takes courage simply to pray ‘but not my will’ and mean it!

Lord, that’s the way I’d like to live.

Fearless, honest.

Looking life straight in the eye whatever comes.

Facing the reality of the world with your courage.

Not flinching at the furnace.

Staying faithful to you.

Hoping for rescue but standing up anyway. Upright, dependable.

Even when the consequences are clear to see. And frightening.

Finding the strength to stand firm.

Knowing that you are here, through good and bad.

The trouble is,

looking at me, you’d never believe it.

Because try as I may

the picture never looks like that.

However much I struggle with the outline

the details don’t fill in the way they should.

I look at the furnace, feel the heat,

and the sweat breaks out.

Not the hot sweat of commitment.

The cold sweat of fear.

And when I think about it

afterwards,

when I recognise the denial,

I can’t look myself in the eye.

I’m ashamed.

Lift my head up, Lord,

so that as I look into your eyes

my shame evaporates

in the warmth of your love.

Give me the courage to start again.

And help me to see

that your love comes in many disguises.

Help me to grasp that truth,

more real than reality.

Teach me, teach all your children,

to feel your love,

not only in the gentle whispers of life,

but in the black boiling storm clouds

which threaten us with crisis.

Show us its presence

not only in birth-joy

but in the death of the seed.

Resurrection at the door of the tomb.

And, somehow, Lord,

give me the courage

to welcome your love

in all its disguises.