Posts Tagged ‘prophetic words’

Jo 17I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with a certain TV show on at the moment that pits one singer against another. I enjoy hearing the contestants sing, but I fear for them as they put themselves in such a vulnerable position, slap bang in front of thousands of viewers, not to mention a live audience and those judges who will choose between them. I hate to see so many head home disappointed, with their dream of success shattered.

You might not be about to get on a stage and sing, but perhaps you can think of a time when you had to put yourself out there in some way and risk being judged. Perhaps you had drawn or painted a picture. Perhaps you had to play a musical instrument in public. Perhaps you had to read aloud something you had written. Can you remember how you felt?

I suspect I relate to these music show contestants so strongly because of my many experiences when younger of playing the piano for scary music examiners and also playing or singing in eisteddfods, while the judges busily wrote notes about my performance. Yes, these experiences made me feel so vulnerable, but they stood me in good stead for playing and singing in churches in later years—and also for getting up and speaking in public, as I still often do. And I believe that, by the grace of God, they have also armed me well for my current writing journey.

Yes, giving your new manuscript to others to critique can be a daunting prospect. And having books published can be even more daunting. It has been said that, to be an author, you need a sensitive heart, but the hide of an elephant! Yet, if we know God has called us and gifted us to write—or paint or sing or play or dance or bake or create in some other way—how important it is to keep putting ourselves out there, whatever others might say or think!

That certainly applies too when speaking about the things of God, whether in a formal setting or informally in our daily lives. Right now, when so many in our world are particularly vulnerable, there are opportunities all around us to share that encouraging word with others and to show them God’s love. But sometimes it can be hard, can’t it? Sometimes, sadly, I still choose to keep quiet and stay in my comfort zone, rather than risk being rejected.

Years ago, when I was about to start theological college and feeling very vulnerable as an older student in my late forties, a visiting speaker came to our church and, prompted by God, gave me the following verse:

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT

So many times, these words kept me going through all the challenges of college, helping me focus on the final goal. But these words speak to us at every stage of our lives, don’t you think? So, whatever is happening around us right now, may we all stand firm, knowing we are secure in God’s love. Then let’s step out, put ourselves out there and grasp hold of the things God has given us to do with courage and strength!

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Berthelsen-4Don’t you love it when people take the time to email or phone to encourage you in the midst of life’s ups and downs? In recent weeks, I have come to value afresh this caring connection with others and the love of those in the body of Christ in particular.  A precious gift indeed.

Recently, a good friend sent me an email, telling me she felt God was going to give me a ‘rooftop view’ and reminding me of Peter’s rooftop experience in Acts 10. She also expressed the hope and prayer that, as I am by necessity less mobile because of my current back issues and have the opportunity to be quiet, I would draw comfort from the Lord’s presence, be renewed, and enjoy being hidden and shaded by his hand. How blessed am I to have received such loving words and to have now experienced some part at least of the things she wrote about! I value this time on my ‘rooftop’, despite the physical discomfort, and look forward to any insights the Lord wants to give me. And I certainly value being shaded by the Lord’s hand. I have always loved Psalm 91, which now has even more meaning for me:

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.” Ps 91:1-2

I love that mixture of gentle protectiveness but also great strength that these words convey. Over the years, at certain times of need in my own life when I have cried out to the Lord in prayer and also as I have prayed with and for others, I believe God has given me a glimpse of what this looks and feels like. I can remember clearly several occasions when, in the midst of praying, I have seen in my mind a picture of Jesus standing right beside me or the person I am praying for, yet also towering above us, huge in stature, so strong and immovable, yet also so caring and watchful and protective on our behalf.

And this is what I saw again as I sat in God’s presence on my ‘rooftop’ recently. There was Jesus, so strong and tall and trustworthy, assuring me of his love and his protection and also conveying to me that he knew all about my physical pain. Next, I believe I saw him pick me up and carry me to an operating table in a hospital, where he laid me down carefully. Then in my mind I saw him place his hand gently on my head and also on the head of my neurosurgeon standing nearby, ready to operate. It was as if Jesus was saying, ‘I know about all this. I am here. I bless you both.’

What a comforting and reassuring sequence of events! Perhaps you may feel it was only my imagination running away with me—and that may well be the case. Yet I believe the Lord does reveal himself in these ways at times, of which this was one. And how gracious he is to do that.

I hope you have a rooftop too. I hope you meet the Lord there. I hope you hear and see him speak to you—often.

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