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2017 02p1As I complete my reflections on the word “Dwell”, I find myself taking refuge in Psalm 91, knowing that through all the continuing uncertainties and difficulties of my life, I can find true sanctuary in God alone.

Have you noticed that there always seems to be something to contend with amidst the daily maelstrom of life? For me, there seems to have been a continuous barrage of unexpected difficulties to deal with over the last few years. Just when I think that life seems to be taking a smoother turn, another event collides with the last and there are times when it all feels completely unmanageable. Increasingly this month, with its endless cold, grey days that I don’t do well, I have felt like hiding away from it all and saying to the world “wake me up when it’s all over and safe to come out…”

This is why I have returned to the comfort of Psalm 91 with its promises of shelter, rest and refuge, safety and protection, rescue and deliverance…. because for me, it is all unmanageable on my own. It is only God who provides me with the wherewithal to cope.

Rest and Refuge

2017 02p2Whoever “dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…He is my refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91: 1-2)
I don’t know about you, but when life drains my resources and energies I so need to rest and recuperate to build up enough stamina to face the fray again. The psalmist encourages us that by dwelling in the shelter of God, we will find refuge and by trusting in the Most High, we will experience the security that a fortress provides from the onslaught of all around us. Yet to experience this, we need to choose to dwell; choose to trust God- without entering this place of refuge; this defended fortress we cannot experience true safety.

Fear, Feathers and Faithfulness

“He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the arrow that flies by day nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness.” (Psalm 91: 4-5)
Very often at my lowest ebb, I am afraid. I start to dwell in my own abilities rather than God’s and forget His promises of faithfulness to me that act as a shield of protection in the battles of life. The image of being protected by God, safely surrounded and nestled in a warm, secure sanctuary – as a bird protects its young -seems a wonderfully intimate and poignant picture of Gods protection for his people and His closeness to us.

Guarded and Guided

2017 02p3“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands…” (Psalm 91: 11-12)
I find this verse hard to take in; to read that God directs angels to guard me and raise me up when I fall; that he will enable me to overcome great difficulties through that amount of concern and direct, individual support. God’s practical support humbles me. Who am I that the Lord of Heaven and earth cares so much for me? Yet, amazingly there is more…

Love Conquers All

” “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him…and show him my salvation.” ” (Psalm 91: 14-16)
The Lord God promises to protect me when I honour his name; answer me when I call out, be with me when I am in deep trouble; protect, rescue, deliver and honour me…and show me His Salvation. Wow! When I love God with all my heart, all this is promised to me… to each one of us. I can scarcely get my head around it all. I am saddened by the times that I fail to call out, determined to battle my way through difficulties alone, not out of any conviction in my own abilities but through neglecting to recall that we have the Lord on our side. How much do I miss out on Gods blessings when I fail to acknowledge him, forget to love as deeply as he loves me…?

And how much does God love me…? So much more than I deserve…a love deep enough to send Jesus, His only Son to die for me, redeem me and bring about my salvation. What else can I choose, but to love God; to choose to dwell in Him all the days of my life?

2017 02p4This month’s textile art depicts the sanctuary of dwelling in God, our fortress and refuge; the light and darker backgrounds representing both the difficult and brighter times in our lives. Within the stronghold is a nest with feathers giving reference to sanctuary under God’s wings. At the centre of the nest is my heart, visibly broken yet being healed as I rest and take refuge in God. The fortress deliberately echoes the shape of a cog, as I was fascinated to discover that “to dwell” can also mean ‘a slight regular pause in the motion of a machine’. How apt to realise that this is also significant to the smooth running of our own spiritual lives too! The lines around the fortress, represent the glory of God; the shields his faithfulness, and the arrows are the difficulties that surround us on every side. The four angels are Gods guardians for us.

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