Posted by: Carey Memorial Baptist Church, Kettering | September 2, 2017

The Strong Word – September 2017

 

A visit to the seaside always comes with thoughts about the tide. Will the tide be in or out? When is high tide? Tide timetables posted nearby are useful to know what is happening. I was especially interested this year near the busy Padstow harbour where we stayed. Boats came in and out in a day, but choices to come and go were limited by the tides.

The inner harbour is only open 2 hours before high tide and two hours after it. At all other times the gates are shut and no boat can go in or out. The sea just vanishes away for many hours, leaving acres of sand and mud outside the inner harbour area, through which no boat can move. Where all that water goes to is quite another matter indeed!

I have come to the conclusion there is a tide of the spirit of God in each of our lives. There are times when God is very close, times we are prompted and encouraged to make decisions to follow and to serve Jesus, or go the extra mile. There are other times when he seems to go out like the tide, to be distant and at those times choice can seem limited. The sea is always there but it just is not so close.

The Billy Graham missions of the 1950’s and 60’s were times when the tide was high, since then youth weekends, special services, Missions or personal moments have provided moments of high tides in our hearts when God has been close.

But I noticed many boats even when the tide was high, remained in harbour, choosing the easy life of access to the shops and facilities of Padstow rather than out on the high seas. Yet these boats were built to sail not to wallow in a safe harbour.

Isaiah tells us we must “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.” The Bible is constantly encouraging us to be who we are called to be. To be the people God has made us to be. Remember Lot in Genesis. He chose the easy route, of city dwelling, leaving Abraham to negotiate the hills and difficult terrain. The easy way was his downfall eventually.

As the hymn goes:- Not forever in green pastures would we idly rest and stay

But would smite the living fountains in the rocks along the way.

As Psalm 95 tells us:- “Today If you hear his voice do not harden your heart” as we have done in the past!

So, are we awaiting God to come in closer, to give a high tide of his spirit in our hearts? Are we looking for it and eagerly waiting, ready to set sail? Or is he here standing at the door of our lives knocking? Are we going to open up the door as the harbour gates open up to the sea, and take the chances and opportunities of sailing off with him into the future and taking the risks and challenges he calls us to take?

Like many captains in many harbours around the world we have a choice to stay safe or to go. May we use wisely the time and talents the Lord has given to us.

Peter

 

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