Prayer Blog – June 2016 – 01

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God is in the Restoration Business

It may come as a surprise but I do not intend to say much about the EU Referendum result in this blog. I figured you will have heard quite enough this week, and I will say something in tomorrow’s sermon, so I have been reflecting on how we feeble humans appear in the big scheme of thing, of which our big issues are actually quite small. After all, if it were not for God none of us would be here at all. I think that is often forgotten amidst all that we say and do, important as our political decisions are.

This past week I have been away in Stirling attending a series of ministerial workshops. The workshops were very good but I gave my brain a rest and took a trip through to Glasgow on Wednesday afternoon and evening, partly to visit some people and partly to spend time in the West End of Glasgow where I stayed during my first year of study at the Scottish Baptist College.

I like this part of Glasgow so I visited some old haunts including Otago Lane, off Great Western Road. Last time I was there, a couple of years ago, there was a campaign going to ‘Save Otago Lane’. No sign of that this time so I am assuming it must have been ‘saved’. Actually, I am glad of that because it has a second hand bookshop with a great theology section. Now don’t get me wrong. This bookshop, as with the rest of the lane, would not win prizes for architecture, tidiness or anything else for that matter but what I like is the fact that you can find some amazing books, which someone else has finished with, for very reasonable prices and bring them back into circulation again. In terms of their appearance they may not be as good as new but they are restored to usefulness. The same can be said of the second hand record shop and other outlets in that lane. It may be in need of restoration itself but Otago Lane is doing a great job at restoring otherwise useless items to usefulness.

It kind of reminds me of how God works with us. One of the workshops I attended was to raise awareness of people’s mental health and the effects of mental illness. Such people are often written off by society and particularly by their work places, at times. Yet they, as we all can, be restored to usefulness with the right help. That is often the work of medical people but God helps us too. In fact I would say that he never writes us off. Like the dusty old books we may become a bit tattered and worn out but he can always use us. We are never useless in his eyes.

I am reminded of the words of an old song and particularly the first verse which says:

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing

Praise him! Praise him!
Praise the everlasting King.

We normally think of salvation when we sing these words and that is appropriate. However, whenever in life we find ourselves worn out, we can find healing, restoration and forgiveness in the King of Heaven. A short visit to Otago lane and my wallet is £20 lighter and my bag is 14 books heavier. But the books will be useful and are appreciated for their inner content over their outward appearance. In God’s eyes, so are you!

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Praise my Soul the King of Heaven
(By Henry Francis Lyte, based on Psalm 103)

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me His praise should sing
Praise him ! Praise him!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favour
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless
Praise him ! Praise him!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Father-like He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Praise him ! Praise him !
Widely as His mercy flows

Angels, help us to adore him
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space
Praise him ! Praise him !
Praise with us the God of grace.

There is a fifth stanza to the poem, not often seen, inserted between the third and fourth stanzas above:

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
God endures unchanging on,
Praise Him, praise Him,
Praise Him, praise Him,
Praise the High Eternal One!

 

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