Zeph Daily 8

Morning!
It’s Jenny’s turn to lead Zeph @10am today.

I have decided to give myself a framework to pin my weekly reflections onto. A few years ago I bought a chronological Bible, where the books are all jumbled to follow, as closely as scholars can discern, a coherent timeline. It means that the Psalms attributed to David are dispersed through the stories of David that appear in the first book of Samuel. I have decided to focus on these psalms, in order, and in the context at which they appear. The first is Psalm 59. I’m not going to focus on all of it, but you might want to read it before we get started. Verse 9 says, “You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, Oh God, are my fortress”.

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For a moment, think about a fortress – perhaps one like Masada, with its position on top of a steep hill, surrounded by walls – or perhaps the more familiar motte and bailey-type castle we see in the UK, with it’s keep, high up surrounded by defensive walls and embankments, designed to ‘keep’ the inhabitants safe under attack.

Now, think about the place, or situation, in which you feel most safe, most secure. It may be a familiar place, like your own home, or even a specific place in your home. Perhaps your duvet is the ultimate shield against whatever life might throw at you.

Or it might be about the person or people you are with. Perhaps there is someone who, no matter where you are, has the ability to make you feel safe and secure.

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“But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love”

Psalm 59: 16-17

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The word translated as ‘refuge’ in this translation is variously translated as ‘fortress’ or ‘high tower’ in other versions.

This Psalm has been placed at a point in David’s life when he is hiding at home, knowing that Saul has sent his troops to kill him as soon as he steps outside his front door. He is neither in a fortress or a high tower. He has no physical earthly protection. However, his wife Michal (Saul’s own daughter) warns him and helps him to escape out of a window during the night. She puts an idol in his bed, disguising it to look like its him sleeping, and then lies to the soldiers saying that he is ill in bed. David is able to escape to safety. As suggested earlier, sometimes God gives us someone else who makes us feel safe, no matter where we are.

David recognises that ultimately God is his refuge, his fortress, his high tower, his place of safety, his means of escape and salvation, his source of strength. This turns the end of what is quite a grim Psalm into a song of joy and praise to God.

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Let us give thanks and praise that, no matter what life throws at us, God is there and he is our refuge and our strength. Give thanks that he protects and guards us. Give praise that his love is truly unending and unfailing.

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Let us give thanks and praise for the people that God has put around us – either physically or remotely at the moment – to help provide us with a safe place. Those who support and help us. Those who lift our spirits.

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Let us pray for those who we know who are feeling vulnerable right now, or who don’t feel they have anyone to turn to. Let us give thanks for those who are going above and beyond to reach out and help others at this time.

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Let us pray for ourselves, that we will hold fast to the knowledge that we are safe in God’s care and in his unfailing love. May we be inspired to sing songs of praise in the darkness.

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Just like it was for David, singing praise in the midst of difficulty can be tough. I hope that today you get a chance, not just to dwell on the difficulties of life right now, and the stuff we’re facing in the world right now, but to also to sing with joy about God’s unfailing love.  Have a good day!

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Thanks Jenny! We’ll be back with Zeph@10 tomorrow, when Julia will be taking the reins… See you then!

 

 

Zeph Daily 3

March 23 2020

Morning! Welcome to Zeph’s 10am gathering. It’s Jenny taking the lead today. As I used to do as a lecturer, I’ll wait 5 minutes for everyone to arrive, but in the meantime, perhaps you’d like to reflect on these words.

“They can hear the birds in Wuhan”
(Quote from Facebook)

 

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Imagine standing in a busy city street, with a constant stream of cars, buses and mopeds surging by, punctuated by blaring horns and screeching brakes, while people swirl around you, their conversations blending into an unending babble, broken by the music spilling out of shops and restaurants.
Or imagine that you are stood in the middle of Holiday Club, with all the noise and chaos of 70 children bringing their enthusiasm and creative energy to junk modelling, building their bases, making friends and enjoying the freedom of the summer holidays. Constantly moving bundles of humanity, pulling your attention in many different directions at once.
Now imagine the silence brought by thick fresh snowfall, blanketing and obscuring everything, and deadening all the normal sounds of life.
Or imagine waking up early on a still summer’s morning, before the rest of the world is awake, and hearing, on the still air, through the open window, the sounds of the birds singing.

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Watch:
God Speaks

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“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper”. (1 Kings 19: 11b-12)
The quote from Facebook, “They can hear the birds in Wuhan”, struck me as being true in two different ways. The writer simply meant that, with everyone staying indoors, and no cars on the roads – normal city life suspended – it was quiet enough that the birds could be heard. But there’s a second meaning. The slowing and quietening of people’s frenetic lives had given the space and time for them to hear the birds.
The fact is, that our lives today are fast-moving and crammed with activity. We sometimes don’t have enough time to notice the birds singing……. Or to hear God’s gentle whisper.

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Father God It is hard to slow down, to put aside the busyness that seemed to give our lives so much of its meaning. Help us.

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Father God, the wind and the earthquake and the fire outside our doors and on our TV screens and news feeds are deafening. Help us to hear your gentle whisper.

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Father God, We know people for whom this is a scary, unsettling and worrying time. Lord, we name them before you now. Help us to help them.
Amen.

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Watch:
Be Still and Know That I Am God

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Today, may you remember that whatever storm or fire is raging around you, God is there. His voice will be the quiet one, telling you He loves you, and that He’s with you in the storm. Still your heart and mind, so can hear him whispering in your ear. See what he has to say to you today, here, now.

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This is the point, at our church, when tea and coffee downstairs is announced. Feel free to grab a mug from your kitchen and hang around for a bit, enjoy a chat, ask for prayer. I shall hang around too. If you have to get back to work/homeschooling, or just want to enjoy the silence, this is your chance to make a break for it.

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Join us on our Facebook Page for tomorrow’s Zeph Daily with Julia…