There are so many beautiful things in the world that help us to understand something of the beauty of our Creator. The sunrise in the east as it stretches across the skies, whilst the quiet sunset brings each day to a finale.
I have commented before on the fact that God could have made each little bird the same brown colour; but instead, He gave each their own amazing colours and to some the most beautiful of songs. We have a wonderful Creator! There are daily opportunities to marvel at the beauty of creation and discover God’s presence for ourselves. We need never feel distant from Him when He is all around us in the smallest of details. Our Lord Jesus encouraged us to ‘consider the lilies.’ Matt 6:28 KJV
Some of us have just returned home from our annual summer camp. It’s been the first time in three years that we’ve been together (due to Covid). We had a wonderful time being in God’s presence, worshipping and glorifying His name. However, whether we are with God’s people or on our own we need to learn to tune into His quiet strength. Our faith would be all wrong if we only became stronger Christians when we were all together.
We need to use the moments when we are alone in our day, and draw strength from God. Simple tasks like a walk to the bus stop, driving the car to work or putting the baby to bed can be moments when we find His presence. I love to open my bedroom window at night before getting into bed and listen to the stillness of the night or hear the sound of sheep bleating on the nearby farm. It makes me feel at one with God.
It is not only in the big congregations, when voices rise in song and hands are raised in worship, that we find the presence of God. The small everyday moments are even more important to us. That’s when we are truly ourselves. Our conferences and camps are wonderful but these are only two or three times a year. The beauty of eternity is there to help us every day.
Learn to live the disciplined life of seeking and finding His presence in all the little lovely things in life. Then when greater difficulties come our way, we shall be ready, and we will be able to overcome by His power
What a wonderful thought that He counts our every step! When you are up in the night, each sleepy step you take is numbered. When you come downstairs for your morning coffee, go out to the garden, or walk through the office, each step is numbered. That’s how much He cares for you.
Even when we walk away from Him, He watches us numbering each step. He watches us falling and comes to help us back up again. He observes our rebellion and repentance, and sees all our ways.
The Lord Jesus said, “Come unto me.” (Matt 11:28 ) He counts our steps as we draw near to Him. These steps must delight Him!
When we begin to understand that He knows every step we take it brings a greater understanding of the fact that the very hairs of our head are numbered, that a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without Him. He is indeed omnipresent and omnipotent.
What a comfort it is to know that even when we wander from the right path and pass through shadows He counts our steps. Even when the shadows are a result of deliberate sin or choices that we have made that have caused us to wander far from the Light. He is not far away, watching over each step we take.
How grateful we should be knowing that He cares for us so deeply and that even though we can be very foolish at times, He knows the way that we take. He is but a prayer away.
These are the words of Job, a man who suffered desperately. God had allowed everything to be taken from him including his family, his wealth and his health. He was left in the shadows of life, confused and wounded. He comforted himself with these words:
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 NIV
When he had nothing left he comforted himself in the knowledge that God watched over him and knew exactly the path He was taking. He went on to say:
“My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Job 23:11-12 NIV
Let us learn to walk carefully. We should no longer be like toddlers who take a few steps and then fall over. We need to learn to follow His steps without turning aside and to treasure the words of His mouth more than life itself.
Take comfort in the fact that today each of your steps is counted even before you take it. He knows exactly where you are going to go, and what you are going to do. Commit your day into His hands and pray that each step will be pleasing to Him.
As a child, I had absolute trust in my parents. Nothing ever worried me because I knew I was perfectly safe. Even if the world had crumbled around me, it didn’t matter, as long as they were both with me.
As an adult, I look back and smile at my simple belief in my parents and realise how fragile that childhood world was. But it gives me some understanding of how safe we can be in God our Father.
He is our place of safety. A place we can go to when everything else is precarious. The world might be tumbling down around us, but He never changes. He is always the same strong, steady presence: our ultimate security. He is perfect stillness, strength and safety. We need never feel afraid when He is in charge.
However, we do need to learn to train ourselves to run to Him when the storm arises and stay there until it passes. If you do this, you will learn to draw strength from Him and be filled with calmness and courage. You will learn to look at life’s conflict through His eyes and recognise the hand of God at work.
He is our place of safety. There is no one like Christ. He is perfect, and wonderful in all His ways. A place of perfect rest and delight.
Turn to Him today and tell Him of all your fears. He already knows! Bring all your loved ones and place them in His care, and then let your heart rest in His love in this place of safety.
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
A whisper can be delightful or dangerous. We all know that gossip is wrong, and to whisper unkindly behind another’s back can be divisive.
But how precious when we catch a whisper from heaven. Our Lord Jesus never shares an unkindness but in His mercy entrusts to us the delights of heaven:
“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches.”
Isaiah 45:3 NLT
How important it is for us to be in the place where we can hear ‘a word secretly brought.’ We need to declutter our minds, make space in our lives and find time to hear the whisper of God. How necessary it is for us to take note of what He is saying, to meditate on it and let it expand within us bringing life to our spirit. His word is perfectly fitting for each of us.
Sometimes when we are in prayer it can be just a split second, like a flash of revelation, when we suddenly find we catch something new. Like a whisper from heaven. If we are too busy we miss it. That moment comes and goes and some scarcely notice it.
We don’t always need to be in prayer. It is an inner attitude of always being open and in touch with God. We must have a seeking heart and hungry spirit to pay attention to what seems like the minutest detail of our spiritual lives. To the one who lives life knocking that the door might be opened, the whisper of His voice catches their attention even for a split second. That is where the treasure is, suddenly the secret riches of the beauty and loveliness of Christ are unveiled.
Learn to walk quietly, to walk alone with God. As you tread carefully you will find treasures hidden in the darkness, the wonders of Christ entrusted to you. They are simply a whisper away.
Sometimes we hit a wobbly patch in life. We can be shaken to the core by unforeseen circumstances, and we need, more than anything else in the world, the steadying hand of our God.
Recently, when speaking to a friend, her eyes filled with tears and she said, “I’m lost!”. She wasn’t lost, for she has been found by Christ for many years. However, at that moment she needed His steadying hand.
How easily we lose our focus when we hear bad news or meet a negative response from someone for whom we had great hope. What should we do when our focus is lost or when we are jolted by difficult circumstances?
We need to be alone to find His steadying hand. The instructions of our Lord Jesus were very practical:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 NIV
He will reward you with His steadying hand.
There are so many voices, and equally, there are so many opinions: the voices of our parents, our children, our partners and our friends. There are also the voices of different church denominations and what each believes. But there is only one important voice. When we hear His voice we are quietened. Nothing else is important, no matter what happens.
It is my job as a minister of the gospel to point people to find this steadying place. It is not enough for me to comfort or console or steady. Each one needs to find their way to the Source of strength. Whenever you feel ‘lost’ or bewildered do what Christ says: go into your room, close the door and let His quiet, strong, steady hand hold you and help you.
For: “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him.” Deuteronomy 33:12 NKJV
This is the secret to walking a steady path, knowing the will and mind of God and learning how to grow strong. We discover His powerful arm is sufficient. Every other voice and opinion is silenced in this place.
On every side of you is the tender care of God.
What does this mean in the practical? It means that in everything you do - in every project, daily task, in the common menial routines of life, in the busiest of days when too much is asked of you, when the children are running around your feet, when a loved one is very ill, or even when suffering through bereavement, you will find Him there taking care of you.
There will not be a corner of your life which is bereft of His presence. How comforting to know that He is everywhere!
Today as you go about your day, from the moment you waken until you close your eyes at night, in every small task the Unseen will be watching over you, caring for you. You may not always be aware of Him, but He is always aware of you.
There are moments throughout our lives when we are conscious of His presence. Times when we can be overwhelmed by His nearness but there are times when we simply forget. We forget to be conscious of His presence. We forget He loves us. We forget He has promised to watch over us on every side.
We need to practice His presence. He doesn’t need to be reminded to love us but we need to train ourselves to love Him and to be conscious of His presence all the time.
“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
One day we shall know Him even as we are known. Then we won’t need little prompts or reminders to remember His kindness to us. We will know and love and we will sing:
‘Your loving kindness is better than life.’ Psalm 63:3 NKJV
For He has taken care of us on every side.
Many years ago in one of our prayer meetings, I found vision opened to me as I was in prayer.
I saw the people in the church standing shoulder to shoulder, like guards standing in rank. They were facing outwards, united together, watching as a huge tidal wave of darkness was rising against the church. It wasn’t rising against a particular denomination but against all those who had been redeemed. However, there were gaps in the wall. These gaps had been made by those who had left their position. Several had simply taken their eyes of Christ, some had compromised in their walk, whilst others had backslidden and walked away. They were no longer guards in the wall.
As the tidal wave of darkness came nearer it was able to infiltrate the church through the gaps where the redeemed of the Lord were missing. Some had fled before the darkness. However, the darkness couldn’t get past those who stood shoulder to shoulder; where they remained the unity of light prevented its penetration.
I believe the vision was prophetic and the tidal wave of darkness has now come upon the church. There are places where it has infiltrated deeply, whilst in other parts of the church the light is still strong.
It tells me how important it is to keep watch and to remain strong in these days. The weight of responsibility for the church is not only on those who minister in public but upon each one of us who is a Christian. When we falter, take a break from following Christ, or let sin slip in we are not only affecting ourselves but we are leaving a gap in the wall.
Let us recognise the privilege that has been given to us to stand as a guard in the wall surrounding the church. Where we have grown weary let us gather our strength once again to stand strong in the face of all adversity for the sake of the true church of Christ.
“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet.”
Hebrews 12:12,13 NIV
The quietness that God gives is wonderful. It is not dull, like a space waiting to be filled, but rather it is full or vibrant power and peace. When God gives quiet, there truly is no one or no thing that can disturb.
However, many of us fail to enter into His quietness. In Philippians, it explains how to find and maintain it:
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus"
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
As we hand everything over to God in prayer, peace will stand guard over our hearts and minds: our emotional and mental well-being. Here is an example of this quiet vibrant power acting this time as a guard against all that life would throw at us: all the fiery darts of the enemy.
It is our duty as Christians to recognise when He gives quiet, and to let it saturate our souls and pervade the atmosphere around us. This quietness can draw those who have no peace.
There are so many suffering from mental health issues because this wonderful quiet is missing from their lives. Their hearts and minds are not guarded by peace and therefore they have seldom experienced the peace 'which exceeds anything we can understand'.
It is our job to shine with quietness in our day to day lives. Let those who feel frazzled with life draw from our quiet strength. For it is when we are quiet with His quietness, that we shall be our happiest.
'When he giveth happiness, who then can disturb us?' Amy Carmichael