Posted by: lepages | November 19, 2009

More reflections…

Some thoughts, reflections, prayers from time with God over the last week or so. Have meant to blog some of them earlier but kind’ve got distracted with other bits… or thought ‘this is just going to be too long if I add them in here!’

Straight in with some in your face stuff I came to nearly a week ago….

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Romans 6:1,2 (New Living Translation)

So why is it, that so many of us continue in habitual sin? Could it be that we have never truly put it to death? Never truly crucified it with Christ? Perhaps we have never really entered into repentance – asking for forgiveness, yes, but never a real change of heart and mind. When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out, people were ‘cut to the heart’ Acts 2:37 New International Version and cried out ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ To which the response given was ‘Each of you must turn fro your sins and turn to God…’ Acts 2:38 NLT

Perhaps some of us need to be cut to the heart afresh and not just seek forgiveness, but really turn away from that sin which we perhaps love, or which perhaps controls us, and turn to God, who gives not only forgiveness, but also life and love and power, through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
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“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1,2 NIV

Paul Stallard shared these verses on Saturday night as we thought about intimacy with God. As I’ve reflected on the words the imagery which came to my mind was of a child sitting in a parent’s lap, leaning against the trunk of an old oak tree in some beautiful parkland. To dwell somewhere is not to visit that place, but to live there… God wants us to live in his presence – not just visit from time to time. When we live in his presence then we are blessed and we know with assurance that he is our source of strength and hope whatever life throws at us, and we discover that we can trust him with everything.
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“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”
Psalm 51:10,11 NIV

These words provoked two responses in me – one, a desperate cry of identification, the other a feeling of great fear. What could be more desperate for a Christian than to lose the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life – the one who comes and makes Christianity not just a positive way of living – though it is that – but a life giving encounter with God himself! The wonderful thing is that God doesn’t take his presence away from us, but just as when we live with someone else, its possible to just live in the same place and forget to value that other person’s presence, so we can do the same with God. I always remember a friend saying how she and her husband say ‘I love you’ to each other each day – and its not just a habit, its real. Its good to remind ourselves of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and welcome him into our days day by day.

But what about the desperate cry of identification? Sometimes I fail to recognise what God has done in my life. ‘Create in me a pure heart’ – this is not just some nice idea, its a reality which we need to live in. Have been really blessed over the last few days by recognising that God has given me a clean heart, that I don’t need to give in to temptation that comes from outside as I have a clean heart now. Its wonderful to be clean – refreshing, like having a lovely hot shower after a sweaty day’s work. All I need now is for the Lord to continue to renew a steadfast spirit within me so that I can continue to stay in that place.

Well, that’s enough for one day… there’s more to come… perhaps I’ll post some more tomorrow…

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