Article 14 : Thoughts from the cross trainer


Do you remember in my first blog that I mentioned the verses I speak out as I start out on my cross trainer every morning? Please do keep up!

It is of course Psalm 103, v1–4:
Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases;
He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.

Well, the other day something struck me in a fresh way, even though I’ve spoken out these words thousands of times! It was the last sentence of verse 4:

“and (He) crowns me with love and compassion.”

Isn’t that an amazing thought – we’re crowned! Not just covered or clothed, with love and compassion, but crowned.

A crown is something precious and valuable; it has significance and carries with it authority. It’s beautiful and it attracts attention to the wearer.

A crown made of gold and precious jewels would be wonderful, but even better, is one made of the love and compassion of God.

A crown sets the wearer apart from others, and a life crowned with His love and compassion sets us, His children, apart too.

When we live in the knowledge of His love, we know that He accepts us as we are but, most importantly, loves us too much to leave us as we are. We understand that we’re all a work in progress. It helps us to stop comparing ourselves with others and striving to be what we were never called to be, but provokes us to be ‘our best self’!

We want to excel in what we do in every area of our lives to bring glory to God, but we don’t want to step over into perfectionism. Perfectionism is rooted in fear and perfect love casts out fear!

We read in Phil 3, v12–14:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So, we’re ‘not striving’ out of fear, but ‘pressing on’, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

When we live in the knowledge of His compassion, we understand these truths:
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103, v 9–14)

He knows how we are formed.” He understands us like no–one else can and we can live a life of freedom from condemnation and filled with His peace, despite all that is going on around us.

We often sing this lovely refrain:
“I will trust in Your promises
My confidence is in Your faithfulness”
Our hearts go out to those around us who don’t know the Lord as their compassionate, loving, faithful and dependable Father.

We meet neighbours and friends who are living in fear and anxiety. Consequently, we long for them to come to know Him, as we do, and are all speaking blessing over them.

As we speak blessings over ourselves, our family, community, city and nation, we’re seeing new opportunities to fellowship together (– ‘socially distanced’, of course), and to share His love and compassion.

From the ‘Clap for Carers’ each Thursday evening, which has been a great time to join together as neighbours in our street, a group of about six of us (all ladies of a certain age) have met once a week to do ‘P.E. in the Street’.

This has been great fun and is certainly knitting us closer together. It’s an opportunity to fellowship with them and discover more of their ‘felt needs’, as we’re encouraged to by Pastor Tim. We can then to go on to pray for these needs and see the Lord move in their various situations.

In these ‘lockdown’ days, it’s an opportunity for our lives to ‘look different’ to those around us. We can live from a place of peace and security, being crowned with His love and compassion, which can set us apart as people of blessing.

It reminds me of when the children of Israel were in captivity in Egypt, and the Lord was about to deliver them through Moses. Time after time the plagues that were sent upon the Egyptians left the Israelites unscathed. We read in Exodus 10, v22–23:
So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. (… sound familiar?)

Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

They had light in the places where they lived”. Our lives are meant to look different and to not be hidden away behind the walls of the church but out there in our communities – however that is looking, in these strange days!

Do you remember the old song we used to sing (– I had to consult the font of all knowledge [Shaun] to get these words)?
And I can feel the love of God in this place, we believe Your Goodness, we receive Your Grace, we delight ourselves at Your table, oh God, You do all things well, just look at our lives”.

When our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues ‘look at our lives’, I pray that they will see something different about us and give us an opportunity to share Who it is who makes the difference! The God of love and compassion!!


by Ev Cowan Blog #4, 04/06/2020