We were a large group this evening even though Rachael was away. Jim and Sean came with me as we're not able to meet on Thursday this week.
One of us explained that there'd been some difficulty at work recently, and then Jody posed an interesting question. She was thinking about the people of Israel in captivity in Egypt and asked us, 'At what point did they finally come to leave?'
Glenn and Chris offered a few suggestions, and Jim pointed out that in our lives it's not so much a question of whether we should go left or right (ie whether we 'do' the right thing), but whether we are really worshipping the Lord in our situation.
Glenn explained from Exodus 12:1-36 that Yahweh himself entered the houses of the Israelites. We often think in terms of Passover as if he 'passed over' their houses but not the houses of the Egyptians. But he didn't pass over (literally 'jump over') their homes, he jumped over the doorstep and the blood and into their homes (verse 23)!
Indeed it was Yahweh's presence in the home that restrained the destroyer. And it's the same with us today - he comes right inside and shares the meal with us (Revelation 3:20).
When we began to listen for him together, fresh ideas came thick and fast.
Sherellea described how we sometimes just have to take the time to be ready. The final result is often the end of a long process. She explained how a huge ocean liner takes a long time and several miles to stop or change direction.
Sometimes our lives seem to be on hold, we need to grow mellow and be willing to wait for the Lord's timing. It's always good to ask in times of doubt, 'What would Jesus have done in this situation?'
Sherrelea also read from Isaiah 48 where Israel was stubborn but was set free (the NIV has section headings 'Stubborn Israel' and 'Israel Freed'). And the Lord said to them, 'I am the Lord your God who teaches you the way to go'.
Chris shared a picture of a merry-go-round and imagined being on it and seeing a favourite family member waving each time it went round. Our lives sometimes seem like being on that ride, round and round we go. We glimpse Father briefly, then lose sight of him - time after time! But at the right time the ride will stop and we can get off and he'll give us a big hug. But until the time is right we can do nothing.
Psalm 100 reminds us that he made us and we belong to him. We can come into his presence and praise him, he loves us and is eternally faithful.
In another picture there was a long line of people (as in the Conga) but the people were on rollerskates. The one at the front was slow, the one at the back was fast. We need him to keep us moving at the right pace. To do this we need to keep our minds set on him.
Jody saw a field with a great, beautiful, white flower growing in it. There were other flowers all around, but this one stood out. And she knew that each one of us would reach perfection in that flower which was yet to be.
Chris thought that the beautiful, white flower represents the Bride of Christ, and he read from Isaiah 48:12-13 again. We thought about the way a man and woman are perfect for one another when they fall in love. Any blemishes in appearance or personality are utterly insignificant. Love is blind! This is the way Yahshua loves us and it's the same sort of adoration we should feel towards him. We are his Bride, and one day we will be presented to him, perfect in every way.