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    Stay Safe! 

    It is intended as a nice thought, a blessing by those who may not be Christians but wish you well - “Stay safe!”  But it might actually be the opposite of what we really need to say, to bless and encourage others to push the boundaries and enjoy adventures.

    If we play safe we do not have the thrill of swimming in powerful waves in the sea, climbing mountains, bursting through Olympic records.  If we play safe and do not love others we can never know the incredible joy of being loved by others.  If we play safe we might actually become unsafe.

    Yet it is a Biblical theme that we can and should be safe - safe in God’s presence and protection.  Proverbs 18:10 says “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”  

    Does that mean that bad things do not happen to Christians?  No, a moment’s thought again shows that cannot be the case.  In Acts 14 Paul actually says it is through many sufferings that we enter the kingdom - in other words, if we want the power of the Kingdom to be seen in our lives like Jesus and Paul did, we may have to go through some of the things they suffered.  

    Psalm 23 is the classic psalm of resting in God’s protection and safety - yet it talks about walking through the valley of the shadow of death and a feast in the presence of enemies! It is even possible it was David’s battle cry as he ran across the valley to meet Goliath!

    Salvation, safety, shalom sum up what God promises us.  Shalom is the Hebrew word for ‘peace.’  It means so much more than absence of conflict: it is the presence of health and security.  The Bible is full of promises that God will save from sin and death.  More than that (as if it were not marvellous enough!) He saves us now, not from all difficulties in this life but through them.  God’s salvation is ultimate and complete and perfect but my participation in it is partial until Jesus completes His mission and all enemies are under His feet - I have been saved, I am being saved and I shall be saved!

    So staying safe is not a matter of staying out of danger but of walking with God wherever He takes us.  I would rather be in a difficult front line with God than a comfy bed without God. 

    Chris Horton, 03/03/2018