Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Up to my neck in it


Psalm 32:6-8
Let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found.
Surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.  You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

When can the Lord be found?  Back before cell phones, I wouldn’t bother placing a phone call if I know the person wasn’t home.   I remember the days when there simply wasn’t a way of reaching someone if they were out.   You couldn’t leave a message.  There wasn’t even an answering machine there. 

Who are “the godly?”  How do they know (better than “the ungodly”) when to pray and find God at home?  

It seems to me that the key to understanding the first sentence is in the second.  A person who has lived around a river all their life knows when it is safe to cross the stream and when it isn’t.   Someone who simply walks up to the river and looks across to the other bank might say, “This looks safe to cross,” not realizing the bottom current is quite strong this time of year.  That person would be swept under and likely die.

The prayer made in the midst of crisis may be genuine.  But those prayers will never train a soul for righteousness.   A person who has made a habit of being with God on good days and bad makes quite a different sort of prayer when the crisis comes than the person to whom “God” is more a concept than a person. 

To a person whose soul has been trained in the ways of God, the sudden rush of water, the moment of life-changing decision may still come as a shock, but it doesn’t change a thing about that person’s life or relationship with God.  They are in constant dialog anyway.  Now is just another moment in that conversation.   There is no, “Where are you, God?”  For the “godly” are called that because they have been with God and know that as long as it is “today”, he may be found.   And for that person, even swept away to death, “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”

A soul trained in righteousness knows Jehovah-Machsi (God, my refuge), Jehovah-Hoshe'ah (the God who saves) and doesn’t fear the flood.  For he is also Jehovah-Mephalti (God, my deliverer).   

This is a person who doesn’t just “end up” in the midst of a flood and hasn’t a clue how they got there.  This soul is taught and guided.   This is the person who is in the river because God told him to go there. 

What river has God told you to ford today or this season?  Go there and you will quickly find yourself up to your neck… in his presence.

Jon


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