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God is our refuge and strength

September 27, 2006

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Ps. 46: 1-4

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging… There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

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Ps. 66:10

“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”

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Our church is built over a dry riverbed. In the past, the only time this mattered was during times of heavy rain, when the basement would flood. However, in recent days, God has been showing us that this placement was not accidental or poor planning.

In Ps. 46:1-4, we read God’s promise that “God is our refuge and strength, [T]hough the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and …There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

In recent years, the “earth” under our feet has given way, our spiritual mountains have crumbled before our very eyes as we’ve been in a seemingly perpetual period of upheaval. Many times, it seemed as if we would be pulled under by waves of strife and division. The faith we placed in people was dashed against the rock of human fallibility.

Yet, though our world seemed to fall around us, a heap of rubble and debris laid at our feet, God was an “ever present help in trouble”. It is as if we were silver, being refined by the master Silversmith. Although we had to go through the fire, God was holding us the entire time, expectantly waiting for that moment when we would be refined and His image reflected in us. We have come through the fire, refined and purified. Now that we have reached this stage, He has installed leaders over us who He will use to shape, mold and rebuild us. They have the ability and anointing to serve in this role because they themselves have been refined in the flames of adversity and have had the dross removed and cast aside.

This is not to say that they are perfect, infallible. (To do so would be set them, and ourselves, up for failure.) Instead, it is their transparency and vulnerability which draws us to them. Their willingness to confess their failings is the very quality which challenges us to be more transparent before God and each other. Following their example, we remove the masks which we have worn over the years – the “Everything Is OK” Mask, the “Life Is Great” Mask, or the “Nothing Is Wrong” Mask.

Since my youth, there has bee n a pervasive sense that each person who passes through the doors of our church are brought here, even inexplicably drawn here, for a purpose. Our leaders have been placed here for “such a time as this” to minister healing and grace to us during our season of restoration.

Healing will flow from God’s healing river and will wash over our leaders. As it filters through them, it will fall over us. Restoration of relationships between God and His people will follow. Regeneration of lives given up as lost will be seen.

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