Bible Reading (Psalm 121) A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
This week’s ‘Thought for the Day’ is the 20th one that I have written and recently I was asked how I got the inspiration for what I write each week. It has to be said that usually it is not a problem, something happens or comes to mind during the week that gives me a starting point. I then pray about the topic and mull it over in my head until I am ready to write it down. For 19 weeks this has worked well for me. But this week I found myself being without inspiration about what I was going to say; I couldn’t find a starting point.
It got me thinking about where inspiration comes from. As Christians we believe that inspiration comes from God through the Holy Spirit. But how exactly does it come? I began to think about my five senses and how God uses these to inspire my thinking. The most obvious one for me is seeing; I am inspired by the beauty of creation that I see all around me; I am inspired by what I read in my bible and the daily reader that I use; I am inspired by things I see on the television. Inspiration through hearing, for me, is often associated with songs and music that I listen to, these give me inspiration, but it could be the sound of bird song, or the sound of rain on a window pane, or the voice of a friend or family member on the telephone that are the cause of inspiration. Different smells have different associations for people, for some the smell of roses will remind them of a loved one and inspire them to get in touch, for others the smell of food or incense will bring back a special occasion and inspire them.
I drink a great deal of water, its taste is refreshing and reminds me of the new life that I have in Christ. Jesus gave us an example of how taste could inspire us when ‘on the night he was betrayed, (he) took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) When I read my bible I often hold a wooden cross that was given to me when I was confirmed. Holding the cross in my hands inspires me both to remember the example of the lovely Christian lady who gave it to me, but most importantly the touch of the cross reminds me that Christ died for me and that should be all the inspiration I need.
Inspiration can come at what appears to be strange times. I often find that I am inspired while doing the vacuuming, or when I am in the shower. The noise of the vacuum cleaner blocks out other distractions and allows me to hear better, in the same way having my eyes closed in the shower while the water washes over my face gives a time of peace and quiet when I am more aware of what God may be trying to tell me.
God, through his Holy Spirit, uses all of our sense to inspire us, if we just let him. We need to be open to the guiding of the Holy Spirit and be ready to hear, see, smell, touch or taste what the Lord has for us.
Holy Spirit, we thank you for the times when you guide us. Help us to be aware of your guiding, to use all of our senses to understand what you wish us to do.
Song: Jesus, be the centre