Love

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2

When did you last tell someone you loved them? Hmmm. That’s a hard question. I must confess that expressing my emotions in that way is hard for me. Not that I don’t mean it. It’s not that I don’t do it, because the sentiments are there inside me, but somehow those early conditioning years discouraged me speaking out anything emotional. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

But what did the Psalmist, David, mean with the use of his word “love”? It implied not just a feeling, though that may be part of it, but mainly an attitude of heart, confirming and affirming that David was deeply interested in, and aware of, God, His Heavenly Father. That he was grateful for all His wonderful works and provisions, in fact all that he needed for life. And it involved the reciprocation for all the love God poured out on him, His son. Many years later, Jesus, in answer to a question from a Jewish religious lawyer, said that the first and most important commandment was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27 NIV). It doesn’t get more complete than that! And that was the kind of love David was implying right at the start of this Psalm.

David associated the love of his Lord with His strength, using words such as “rock”, “fortress”, “deliverer”, “salvation” and “stronghold” to describe the way he felt about God. To David, God was utterly dependable. But how do we view God? In 21st Century Western society? Can we apply the same words David used in his day to our own relationships with God in our day? Or do we have God put in a box, with limits to what we think He can do. A box full of Sunday hymns and nice feelings but without any particular substance to help us, or a relationship to be lived out. It doesn’t matter where we live or what we do or think. Somewhere along the way, in our pilgrimage through life, we will come up against a problem. Will it overcome us, or will we rise up and declare, as David did, that God is our strength and our salvation? But one thing is for sure. God is always there for us. We may stumble and fall from time to time, but he will help us up and dust us off. And set our feet back on the Rock, ready and equipped for the next time something comes against us. Remember – God is the Lord of all.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. And Peter finally responded in a way that shaped the rest of his life. What would we say if Jesus asked us three times if we loved Him? Would we evade the question or embrace our wonderful Saviour with a resounding “Yes Lord, we love You!” A question to mull over in the day ahead.

The Refuge

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalms‬ ‭46:1-3‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

These three verses have been a tremendous comfort and support for many people over the years. They are often quoted in times of stress. They are the go-to verses read and uttered by God’s people when facing into some calamity or other. Look at the words the Psalmist uses; “Refuge”, “Strength”, “Help”, “Fear” and the very descriptive picture of an apocalyptic scene as our planet’s infrastructure collapses. Look at the contrast between the security of being in God, and the potentially disastrous state of being away from Him.

The contrast is between two kingdoms – the spiritual and the physical. Two worlds that we can access but so often we ignore the one and only dwell in the other. Of course this is perfectly understandable because we are physical beings with our feet firmly located on the home where we were born – Planet Earth. And we therefore try and look at everything around us through physical eyes and discount the spiritual world because we can’t see it. But it is there nevertheless, as many people over the ages will testify. How else do God’s people sustain themselves when tortured, imprisoned, and ill treated, all because of their faith in a God who one day will welcome them into His Kingdom, His world?

The wonderful and amazing thing is that we have an opportunity to be present in both worlds. Now. At this very moment. We can draw on the resources of God’s spiritual Kingdom to help and support us in our earthly world. God is inviting us to be part of His Kingdom, not just when we are facing into a calamitous situation, but all the time. And the access door is open this very moment – through God’s Son Jesus. Message me if you want to know more.

Although we start our life in the natural environment around us we will transition one day into a totally different spiritual environment, which itself consists of two worlds – God’s world, and another place where He is not present. Far better to enjoy the benefits of being a part of both God’s spiritual world and the physical world where we live while we have the choice. Because one day that choice will be removed from us.

The picture of an impregnable place in God that not only protects us from all dangers, but also resources us and strengthens us to face into impossible situations seems too good to be true. But it’s too good not to be true. Join me there today.