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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Come aside and rest.

Come aside and rest.

This photo was taken a few years ago now but it always brings a smile to my heart. It was taken at the river mouth at Ogmore-by-Sea. The reason for it bringing happy memories is that it is unofficially adopted as Pam's and my bench. It has been a place of quiet rest, contemplation, prayer and building up.
Pam and I have often sat there through the storms of life when all seemed as if everything was dark and hopeless.
When Pam was undergoing chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy she was well advised to keep fit and so we took as many precautions as we could in order to keep her away from the coughs and colds of life, along with all of our food laced with garlic. We walked every day as far as was possible whatever the weather, our usual circuit was approximately 5 miles with this wonderful bench and it's beautiful view being our last but most important resting place.
Pam would happily sit there for 'hours' deep in thought and prayer whereas I being a boy sat for a few minutes and then the attraction of stones and water drew me to my own skimming contest. Every stone was another prayer point, some were in desperation, others in anger along with great concern, but mostly they were in praise of the great creator God who provided that place just for us. No matter what the weather God's glory could be seen, even the foggy days were helpful because we knew what was there even if we could not see it.
Even in difficult times, when all seemed lost in the fogs of fear and worry we knew along with the hymn writer that "Behind a frowning providence God hides a smiling face!" William Cowper who wrote the hymn "God moves in a mysterious way" knew full well what it was to go through dark days, he eventually in the depths of despair took his own life even though he believed in and trusted God. Sometimes we need a place of quiet rest where we draw close to God and be still in His presence. Our bench was such a place for us.
We thank God for the provision of a place like our bench in Ogmore but where do we go now?
Looe is so much different to South Wales, it is not open and vast. It is not quiet and peaceful, it is bustling with activity for much of the year and we do not get to see the sun setting over the sea. These are not all negatives because we really do love living here. It is clearly the place of God's provision for us currently and we are grateful recipients of His kindness and grace.

Where do we for rest and peace now?
We enjoy our walks along the seafront with coffee stops along the way. Coffee shops were never an option in Ogmore and so an espresso and a weak Latte on the way are a great addition to our constitutional!
But where is the place of quiet rest that Jesus invites us to?

The Banjo Pier or even the benches by the bridge are often a reasonable substitute to our Ogmore bench for reflection. It is not so quiet there but it is nevertheless a beautiful view of the glory of God in His creation. Wherever there are benches to rest on, Pam can still sit for 'hours' and I, usually with a pocket full of stones can throw my prayers to the One who really cares!

There are a number of differences between what we had before and what we have now but there is one constant, which is, that we are here because it is God's purpose for us. We spent 20 years very happy in Wales and now we are about to experience our third Christmas in Cornwall. We believe that God has led us here to come aside and rest awhile. The best place of rest for all Christians is with the people of God. He has placed us in a fellowship where together we are learning what it really means to come together and rest in His love, grace and mercy. A time of rest is necessary at times because we are in a spiritual battle which at times drains all of our energy. There is much in the bible about resting before God in order that we are equipped for all that the future has for us. God is so good, He is blessing our little Mustard Seed Church in Callington. It is our place of worship, fellowship and service and we love it. Please pray that in all things we will see God's purposes for His church in Cornwall.

This photo is a sunrise over Looe which reminds us that the sun of righteousness spoken of by Malachi the prophet has risen. The Lord Jesus who is Righteous has brought about a day when we can come to Him and rest awhile and through Him find true peace and when we do it really does not matter where we go to rest as He is always with His people. One of the names given to Jesus is Immanuel which simply means that “God is with us” therefore wherever we are, the Peace of God is our constant companion.

One day Jesus said to His disciples "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile>"

He still says that today, will you find time to be with Him alone?

We pray that the Lord will truly bless you all over this Christmas season and for 2016.

Love from Peter & Pam

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