in the shadows

SONY DSCOn Sunday I had a mini retreat. Members of our church were leading the services and it gave me the opportunity to have some time just with me and Jesus. It was a bit unorthodox. My plan was to drive out of Colchester and find somewhere quiet to sit, read, contemplate and pray. But everywhere I went there were people. It was a lovely sunny day and the roads were full of cyclists, Sunday drivers and people who had blown the cobwebs off their convertible cars. The places where I thought I would stop were already occupied.

So in the end I spent some of the day just driving, appreciating God’s countryside, and thinking. Eventually I found myself overseas. Well, on Mersea Island anyway. I found a quietish car park and settled down to read and pray. I started to read some of the sermons that Charles H Spurgeon had preached around the Communion table (the book is called ‘Till He Come’).

The second one I read was called ‘Under His shadow’ and was based on Psalm 91:1. In the King James Version that Spurgeon used it reads as:

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

The new New International Version translates the same verse as:

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

I found myself captivated by that, and Spurgeon’s reflections on that one verse were uplifting, inspiring, encouraging and challenging. I won’t rehearse them all here because I am still contemplating them for myself, but think for a moment about what the Psalmist wrote.

What does ‘the shelter (or secret place) of the Most High’ mean?

What does it mean to abide (rest) in the shadow of the Almighty?

There’s so much in these words but surely as a minimum they indicate a close proximity to God. You can’t be in his shadow if you are a long way away. You can’t be sheltered by him if you are distant from him.

If you are in need of rest or shelter I suggest the first thing to do is start with drawing closer to God. And a good place to start is where I started – take yourself off and spend some time with Jesus. He’s waiting for you…

Be blessed, be a blessing.

a pome for the weekend

diaryHere is a pome what I have writ… it will also appear in the ‘pomes’ section of this blog in due course. (Bearing in mind that some people have to work at weekends, this pome is transferrable to other days off).

Weekends are Designed for strengthening us when we feel weakened:

Rest, recreation, relaxation and re-creation are needed at the end

of a busy week – whether it’s on our own or with family or friends.

Time spent away from work, toil, stress and strain help us mend

our busy lives and enable our sense of well-being to be deepened.

The Designer designed us that way so that we bookend

business and busyness with refreshment and intentionally send

the message that days off are essential, not just a trend.

Be blessed, be a blessing

A friend once described the austere nature of Sundays in his household. It was a day of rest and frivolous activity was forbidden: “We would even take the swing out of the budgie’s cage in case he enjoyed himself!”

Because you’re worth it

No, I haven’t got a corporate sponsor. Today I’m taking time off because I worked some of my last day off and will be working some of my next day off too. A principle that has been laid down from early days is that it is good to rest as well as to work.

Regardless of what you think of Genesis 1, you can’t ignore that our Creator took a day off. It’s a need that he’s hardwired into humans – we need to take time out. Scientists and engineers have been unable to create perpetual motion and that doesn’t exist in us either. 

It’s not slacking or lazy. It’s essential that we enjoy rest and recreation so that we are refreshed and re-created. It’s worth taking for our well-being – not self-indulgent but sensible. And as a Minister I need to take my time off for the benefit of those I serve so I am re-created to serve – they’re worth it.

And we could do a lot worse than be inspired by Nicholas Allan’s lovely children’s book ‘Jesus’ Day Off’. http://www.nicholasallan.co.uk/books_jesus_day_off.htm

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Be blessed, be a blessing.