In God Alone

By Emma Gray

I have been taking part in a Bible study looking at the life of David in the Old Testament. Part of that has involved looking into the Psalms, many of which David wrote. Two Psalms I have enjoyed recently have been Psalm 62 and Psalm 27. In Psalm 62 verse 5, David says, “Find rest, O my soul, In God alone; my hope comes from him”

I don’t know about you, but if something is going on in my life, good or bad, I like to talk about it with my family and friends and often, ashamedly, the last person I go to is God. People can give us good advice. At times, they can also give us bad advice. But for our souls to completely find REST, we have to go to GOD ALONE. That has two facets to it:

GOD ALONE – Only God can give our souls true rest.  When we are troubled, when we are weary, when our mind goes into overdrive, God alone can give us rest. He’s always there, waiting for us, delighting in us and ready to give us shelter under the shadow of his wings (Psalm 91). God alone is there for us, understanding when no one else gets what we’re going through. God alone is there for us when we don’t understand his will. God alone is there for us when we need intensive care and our pain is so great. We may seek rest for our souls in the company of friends, in a good book, in a walk along the beach, in trashy TV, in a glass of wine, but God alone is where we will truly find that soul rest.

GOD ALONE – Meeting together as church, as small group, as a prayer triplet are all good things which Jesus modelled for us. However, Jesus also modelled for us meeting with God alone – just Jesus and his father. If we want to model Jesus in our relationships, yes we should be regularly going to church, yes we should be part of a small group, yes it’s good to have the intimacy of two or three close friends who are believers, but let us not neglect meeting with God alone. A meeting just the two of you is so, so precious. It’s where God loves on you, his precious child, teaches you, changes you to be more like him. It’s where we find rest for our souls.

Psalm 27 v 8 says, ‘My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ I heard someone speaking on the radio yesterday about prayer. He said he prays because he knows God answers prayer. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with the man that God does answer prayer, is that why we pray? Often our prayers can sound like shopping lists of things we want God to do for us. We have been singing the song, “One Thirst” recently which contains the words from Psalm 27. I was challenged as I read the Psalm and sang the song. When I come to spend time with God alone, is my single wish to seek his face or seek what he can do for me? Am I seeking to know God more when I spend time with him? Is it just a tick box exercise that I have had my quiet time that day, or am I truly seeking his face? I know I don’t often get the balance right, but I know one thing for sure, his word is true. When he asks us to seek his face, he means it. When he says our souls find rest in him alone, he means it.

So, how about you spend time today with God alone? Seek his face and let him provide for you what you need – a big dose of soul rest.

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Emma Gray

I am married to Fin and we have three daughters, Ella, Daisy and Phoebe. We live in the country and love having our home filled with people. At the moment I am passionate about tea, music, running and doing the laundry! We can be found in Inverurie on a Sunday.

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Haunted

Have you ever been haunted by a passage of scripture? Do you know what I mean? It pops into your mind randomly in sermons, conversations, thoughts, prayer and life in general. Try as you might, you can’t escape from it. Over the last few months, I have been haunted by Ephesians 4, in particular verses 29-32:

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Now, let me be completely honest. I didn’t think I was too bad where unwholesome talk was concerned. It turns out, I am. I love how the Holy Spirit humbles us and shapes us through scripture. It was pointed out to me by a wise lady that unwholesome or un-whole-some talk is anything which is not whole, which breaks something apart – usually a relationship either with someone else or with God. This has particularly resonated with me when we did a sermon series on relationships. It is crucial in building and keeping positive healthy relationships that we speak well of each other and let no un-whole-some talk come out of our mouths.

There’s a little three letter word in verse 29 which is a challenge to me. Any. Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. The same wise lady who pointed out the un-whole-some talk to me also has a phrase, “God is a God of no loopholes!”. That means we can’t say, “But you don’t know what she did it me!”, or “I just have to tell someone this to let my frustration out!”, or “Just so you know what’s she’s like…” . When the Bible says ‘Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths’, it really means any, zero, none. We can be guilty of this with each other but also of other churches and denominations. Verse 3-6 say Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. I liked Chuck’s analogy at the Big Gathering a while ago when he likened different denominations to different regiments of the same army. We perhaps have different mission fields but our goal is the same. Let us speak well of other brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of how or where they choose to worship.

Verse 31 says, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Again, we have another three letter word which we can’t ignore. All. No loopholes. How often are our relationships with others broken apart, made unwhole, because of bitterness, rage, anger, slander and malice (I’m not sure we brawl very often as women!)? Even allowing a little bit of bitterness breaks apart a relationship and allows satan a foothold.

So now we know that we are to get rid of unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice. How then are we to speak? Verses 29, ‘but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’ Just think of the impact we could have in our relationships if we actively chose to build one another up according to their needs. If we asked God to reveal to us what our friends’ needs are, if we don’t already know. If we were to encourage our friends with scripture, and pray for them to be built up in their faith.

Verse 32 speaks for itself, ’Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ Let these not be trite familiar words, but words which spur us into action so that Jesus words in John 13 ring out,35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Now my challenge to you is this: at some point today, grab a cup of tea or whatever you fancy, find a quiet spot and read Ephesians 4 a few times. My prayer is that you will allow this scripture to haunt you this month. That it will soak into your heart and guide your conversations and attitudes towards others. I am certainly a work in progress in this area, but am so thankful that my Father God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love and wants to continue moulding me into the person He created me to be. My challenge is allowing Him to mould. Will you allow Him to mould you?

Written by

Emma Gray

I am married to Fin and we have three daughters, Ella, Daisy and Phoebe. We live in the country and love having our home filled with people. At the moment I am passionate about tea, music, running and doing the laundry! We can be found in Inverurie on a Sunday.

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