Refuge in God

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. [Psalm 73:28]

Anyone can study the Bible and talk about what is in there. Anyone can memorize facts and spew them out in order to “win” a trivia contest. Anyone can memorize scripture in order to interject something into a debate/argument.  But it is only the one who places their very lives in the hands of God, through Jesus Christ, that  you can truly tell of God’s mighty works with any amount of passion and conviction.

There are many out there that preach about God. They stand in front of the masses, waving a Bible around, and tell of the mighty works of God. And these mighty works can be for you if only you believe right or give enough money to this ministry or think right or dream right. The problem is that this is not the mighty works of God that the psalmist is talking about. The mighty works of God are what God does for His children to show HIS glory; not OUR glory. God’s mighty works advances GOD’S kingdom; not OUR measly, little, weak kingdoms.

It bugs me when I hear about prosperity “gospel” preachers using the mighty works of God to advance a selfish agenda rather than to advance the kingdom of God. This kind of testimony says nothing about the truly amazing work of God; Jesus dying for sinners and rising to give eternal life to said sinners. THAT is a mighty work. And it is only truly a mighty work for you if your refuge is in the Lord God almighty through faith in Jesus. For,

it is there that you can truly see how Satan flees from the sound of Jesus’ name.
It is only in the refuge of God that true peace is known.
It is only in the refuge of God that true love in known.
It is only in the refuge of God that you can see how God is FOR YOU.
It is only in the refuge of God that true life can be known and received.

God’s mighty works can not be seen from afar, but only in the refuge of his loving arms. God is not a long distance relationship but rather an intimate, close, life-saving, cross-bearing, glory-showing relationship.

And let me tell you, for me it is good to be near God.

Mighty God, Your works are amazing, but Your work of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is the most amazing of all. May I never stray from the refuge that in only found in You. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

3 thoughts on “Refuge in God

  1. My pastor brother sent me an old blog you had written asking for people to share “their” slinky gospel. I couldn’t respond on the page my brother sent me.

    I do use a slinky every time I officiate at a wedding. Since I’m officiating at a family wedding next weekend, my brother was reminded about my use of slinky’ sat weddings.

    I always invite couples to choose a preaching text for the wedding. I can adapt my slinky use to any text a couple selects.

    The beginning of my homily is typical, I think. But then I present the couple with a nice decorative box and suggest it’s a wedding gift for them and ask them to open it. Any tension instantly disappears as they discover the slinky. The congregation becomes engaged as well. Many a ring bearer has popped up exclaiming that that’s not a wedding gift.

    I show them how easily the slinky moves back and forth and as I hold the slinky with 90% of it on one side…I suggest that marriage is a bit like a slinky. Sometimes we feel like we’re giving 90% to our spouse and we’re hoping we get at least the remaining 10%. When that happens sometimes we get our nose out of joint and become resentful of our spouse.

    But see how easily the slinky shifts to 50/50. You and I don’t move that easily. But the slinky moves so smoothly and easily. I talk about such things for a few minutes. I may suggest how they got in such a place with their spouse-and when I know a couple really well, I can give examples of what kinds of behavior could cause such an imbalance in their relationship.

    I talk about sin, guilt, anger, and then I get to forgiveness. Ahhhh, with The love of God we can move to a better place. God is the great equalizer. God fills in the space that’s so uneven between us. With the love of God, we can love and forgive and give our spouse what they need. We can’t do it by ourselves. But with God we can let go of our resentment and meet our spouse where they are and before you know it, things start evening out in our relationship…and I move the slinky to a 50/50 balance.

    I suggest that the couples put this box with the slinky in it in a prominent place in their home and whenever they start feeling like things are really unbalanced between them–to take the slinky out and play with it for a minute or so and think about God’s ability to help them deal with whatever is going on between them.

    It’s hard to explain this very well to you but i hope you get the gist of what I do and say.

    I’ve been doing this at every wedding I’ve ever officiated at in my ministry and it’s always been very meaningful to the bride, groom, and to people who are in attendance at the wedding.

    Every Christmas I get Christmas cards from many couples who tell me, “we’ve still got our slinky.” Occasionally couples will share with me how the slinky is used by their children as well. Even on Facebook when I wish a couple a Happy Anniversary, they’ll nearly always say something to me about the slinky.

    I figure couples are so nervous they don’t remember what the wedding homily was about. But they do remember there was a slinky at their wedding and some part of that message sticks with them. It creates a lot of conversation during receptions. I also give them a copy of my homily along with a copy of the outline for the service that I used during the worship.

    Well, you may not even be interested in the slinky any longer but I wanted to share this with you.

    I’m alwAys open for questions or concerns about the theology.

    God’s Blessings

    The Rev Cathy A Fanslau
    ELCA pastor

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