This week the big thrill was getting together with our small house church group. There are only 5 of us most nights. We meet share our week, pray, and look at the Word. Our gracious hostess suffers from anxiety and the isolation has not been good for her. She had not been included in anyone’s bubble and meeting with us brought her great relief.
We spent some time looking a Psalm 100 noting especially that the means of entering into the Lord’s presence was thanksgiving. We saw that thankfulness is both the opposite of anxiety but also its antidote! We began to list things for which we were thankful, and those things began to multiply as we continued the exercise.
Scripture tells us to be thankful because our natural fleshly tendency is to look at the negative. I remember a preacher holding up a white sheet of paper and asking what we saw. “A white paper!” was our reply. He then took a marker and put a small dot on the page and asked again what we saw. “A black dot!” we cried. Though it remained a white piece of paper all we focussed on was the dot. Such is our nature, but God calls us to live by his Spirit rather than our nature. We begin to do this when we choose to be thankful.
This little exercise did wonders for our hostess, but it also was most helpful to me. There are several ‘black dots’ in our lives these days. Staring at them makes them seem bigger! As I instead choose to look on those things which are good and pure and lovely, the ‘dots’ fade. The old chorus advises that we “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” with the result being that “the things of this world will grow strangely dim…”
We meet together because we need to remind each other and be reminded that we can chose his Spirit or we can wallow with the ‘black dots’, and we encourage people to thanksgiving and lives of hope instead.
Some readers may know that our National Director Jonathan Clarke has contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome and is quite ill right now. While he recovers I have been asked to fill his rather large shoes. Please join me in praying this will be a short and uneventful experience. Pray for his recovery and rehabilitation. So much for my sabbatical!
I have been doing a Bible Study Monday – Wednesday mornings and my audience has grown considerably from the 1 – 2 folks I used to get at the Men’s Shelter. I just finished a study on James, and I am thinking of starting a new study on the Gospel of John this week. Feel free to drop by my Facebook page or the Street Hope Saint John page it is made public on both.