You are Invited

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:7

Today you are invited to consider when you last sang to God.  Just you, as you were alone with Him. What song do you have in your heart today?  Is it a song of despair or a song of joy? How can you express your feelings through a song? You may want to read a psalm or a poem, you may want to sing an old hymn or a modern one. You may think this exercise is futile.  Speak to God about these things.  How can you express your faith and your love for Him in song today?  Then go ahead and sing.  No matter how your voice sounds, God loves you to express your love for Him in every way you can.

May God bless you as you sing to Him today and may you hear Him singing to you in return.

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You are Invited

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Psalm 63:6

Today you are invited to consider what you do when you lie awake at night, unable to sleep.  Where do your thoughts take you?  What is worrying you at the moment?  How often do you remember God in these times?  What sort of prayers do you pray when all is quiet and people are sleeping around you?  How often do you stop to listen what God is saying to you? Speak to God today about the things that are worrying you, and then, the next time you lie awake in the night, remember to turn to Him, give your worries to Him, and let Him hold them for you whilst you sleep.  He will return them to you in the morning having breathed on them gently during the dark hours, and you will find they are not as pressing as they were.

May God bless you with an assurance of His care for you today.

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You are Invited

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

Today you are invited to consider how much you long to be in the presence of God.  How high is seeking God on the list of your priorities?  What is ahead of Him? How thirsty are you for Him?  Are you in a dry and parched land or are you surrounded by His presence and aware of His hand of blessing in your life? What do you want to say to Him today in regard to the words in this verse – are you seeking Him or revelling in His presence.  What does He reply?

May God bless you and refresh you today with a sense of His presence and love for you.

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You are Invited

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4

Today you are invited to consider where you would go to draw aside and rest awhile in God’s ‘tent’ so you can take refuge in the shelter of His wings.  What place would that be for you?  When were you last there?  Were you able to spend time alone with God there?  Why is it a place of retreat for you? When can you next visit it?  If possible, in the near future, plan a time when you can withdraw from the world and spend time alone with God – even if you are only there in your imagination.  Then rest in His presence and listen for His voice.

May God bless you with a time of silence and solitude this week when you can be with Him.

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Parable People: Aaron’s Story 3

Aaron’s Story 2

I was free!

I was rich!

The world lay at my feet!

I travelled far and wide.  I saw places I never knew existed.  I met exciting people, many of whom became good friends.  I fell in and out of love with one beautiful girl after another.  I bought gifts for people, won and lost wagers, partied hard and recovered.  Every new experience was exhilarating.  I never realised life could be such fun.

I was so busy enjoying myself with my friends that I never took account of the state of my funds.  So it was with some surprise, a couple of years later when I awoke one morning to find that there were only a handful of coins left in the bag my father had given me.

I sat in my room, stunned.  What had happened to all that wealth?  How had I spent it so quickly?  There had been an endless supply of coins in that bag.  Hadn’t there?

That morning I realised, in a wave of shock, that the coins were not endless.   The money I had left would scarcely cover my debts.  Well, I was sure my friends would help, just as I’d helped them out of debt from time to time.

I visited them.  One after the other, they turned their backs on me.  By the time I’d seen five or six the word had spread, and I never saw many of the people I had called friends again.

I had also not been aware of the drought at that time.  Crops had failed.  Whilst there was money in my purse I was able to buy anything I needed no matter the cost.  But now, I realised food was in short supply and expensive.  I could not afford it.

I spoke to my creditors.  I gave them what money I had and promised I would repay the rest as soon as I could.  Few of them believed me, but I managed to juggle my funds and they agreed to wait for the balance.

I’d find work and earn enough to pay them.  I’d set up a home of my own and live a more simple life.  I was young and strong and I believed it would be easy to do.

But work was scarce.  I soon realised I had no suitable experience.  I had supervised the workers at home but had never had to do the work.  My father had always done the books, so I had no idea how to run a business.

I was desperate – and hungry.  I went from place to place seeking an honest way to earn a living.  Some people wouldn’t even see me; others opened their doors to me but had no work for me.  My fancy clothes, now showing signs of wear, were not a good indication of my ability to hold down a job.

One morning I hammered on a door which was opened by a man whom I recognised.  He was the house-servant of one of my so-called friends.  I was so desperate for help I hadn’t realised where I was in the city.  He told me he’d tell his master I was there looking for work, and then closed the door in my face.  I waited.  At last, after what seemed an age, the door opened again and the servant invited me into the cool courtyard.  He offered me a welcome cup of water and told me to wait again.  I was grateful for the shade and the sound of running water from a fountain somewhere further inside the building.

I had expected to see my friend.  Instead a stranger came into the courtyard.

“My master says he has work for you.”  His voice was gruff and abrupt.

I sagged with relief.

“Silas will show you where to go.”

He turned and walked back into the house, before I even had time to thank him.  Silas, a small, tough looking boy, arrived some time later and indicated that I should follow him.

I was surprised when we left the house.  We walked a long way, through the teeming streets and out through the city gate.   Silas was uncommunicative and just shrugged his shoulders when I asked where we were going.

The city was a long way behind us when he turned off the road and started to cross the fields.  I shuddered as we approached a herd of pigs.  My parents were devout Jews and I grew up knowing we were forbidden by the Lord God to have anything to do with the dirty, smelly animals.   They squealed and scattered as we walked closer.  To my horror, Silas stopped and pointed to them.

“You’re to watch the pigs,” he said, and turned away to walk back to the city.

“No, there must be some mistake,” I cried, so shocked my voice was as high-pitched as the pigs around us.  “I can’t look after pigs.  It’s forbidden!  There must be another task for me to do!”

Silas shrugged again, shook his head, and walked away, calling over his shoulder, “If you don’t like it don’t do it, but its work, and you’ll be paid.  Take it or leave it!”

Why the cheeky …

But I stopped in my tracks.  It was not his fault I’d been given such work to do, and he was right.  It was work – and I would at least be paid something.  I had no choice.  I had to stay, at least for a while – until I got back on my feet and could find other work.

I stayed with those pigs for several weeks.  There was a deep well there which provided both the pigs and me sweet water to drink, in spite of the drought.  I used an old pot I had found lying by the well as storage for my own water, rather than drinking from the same bucket as the animals.

Pigs are creatures that will eat anything, and I shuddered with disgust at the rubbish that was brought out to them every other day from the city.  They would squeal and nip at each other as I threw it out to them.  They ate it with relish.  And they grew fat and content.

I, on the other hand, was desperately hungry.  I was paid, yes.  Once a week a few coins were given to me by the carter who brought out the food for the pigs.  At first they were enough to buy food for me for a couple of days, and then, as the famine deepened, they did not even stretch that far.

I watched the pigs.  They had vegetable peelings, sour milk, and other scraps to eat that began to look like manna to me.  At first I refused even to contemplate sifting through the rubbish that came for them.  But hunger got the better of me.  Each day, after the carter had left, I sifted through the scraps, salvaging the better pieces of vegetables and fruit.  From time to time there would be a morsel of meat.  I fell on this with a greed I had not thought possible.

I tossed everything I could salvage from the pigs’ scraps into the old pot and stewed it hard.  I had no salt or spices with which to flavour it, but it tasted wonderful.  I settled down, becoming accustomed to my tough existence.

Aaron’s Story 1

Aaron’s Story 2

 

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You are Invited

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Today you are invited to consider the questions Paul asks.  What is God saying to you through this verse? Spend some time considering your answer and then discuss it with Him.  Give Him the time to respond to you and listen to His reply.

May God bless you with clarity of mind and an openness of heart to hear Him today.

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You are Invited

Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14

Today you are invited to consider how you do things.  What part does love play in what you do and say, and in how you behave and react to those around you? How important is it to you to act in love, rather than in your own interests? How often do you stop to think of the tone of your voice when you are in a rush or something has made you angry? What happens to your voice at such times?  How do others hear you? How can you show the love of Christ, whatever is happening? Ask God today how you can spread His love to everyone you meet so that they will know that you are His disciple by the love you show.

May God bless you with His love for people today and may you shine with His love.

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