Psalm 18.29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall

August is nearly here and traditionally this has been the month when people take a holiday. Di and I some years ago, decided to do something different from holidays in Cornwall, and found we really enjoyed going to the Canary Islands. We try and do something completely different which stretches our normal boundaries most times we go. On one occasion I went scuba diving and Di went up in a helicopter to see the volcano (extinct) and the beautiful national park.

Before venturing out to observe the underwater world, I took my scuba diving lesson, learning how to use the breathing equipment and sign language to indicate all was ok. On my first attempt at, I saw beautiful schools of colourful fish and then, by chance, an amazing angel shark.  I came back with the photos and the enriching experience of seeing a whole new underwater world. I saw myself as a poor swimmer, but I had pushed past a barrier and done something right outside my normal comfort zone.

The verse we are looking at is encouraging us to go beyond our normal boundary lines and comfortable places. It tells us that with God we can do something way beyond our normal abilities. He can help us get over a wall. We can advance even where we feel opposition. I often hear people use the excuse ‘it’s not for me’ or ‘I don’t feel comfortable.’ But Jesus often wants us to take a step of faith or attempt something for him that we have not done before, and it doesn’t always feel comfortable.

I had an experience of this yesterday. I have started cycling with a group of guys on a Wednesday morning, who attempt some of the hills and lanes around Henley. As well as seeing some amazing views we sit and chat over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits and try to put the world to right. I was fearful that I would not keep up with these guys on the hills, or have much to say in the conversations, but I was fine. As we talk together, the conversation often comes around to what I do for a living, which gives me an opportunity to be a witness and talk about the difference that Jesus has made in my life. It can be quite a challenge with a group of atheists and agnostics. One of the guys is a dentist from Wales, and he was fascinated as I talked about the Welsh Revival and the difference it made to the Welsh miners. The Revival brought such a change to the miner’s behaviour, that they stopped swearing. The result of this was that pit ponies had to be trained again to follow commands, because the normal commands were peppered with swear words, and the ponies were confused and did not know what to do! My friend was fascinated and loved the story.

I was not, as the saying goes “ramming the Bible down people’s throat” but I was being a witness with God’s help and, in as interesting a way as possible, telling my new found friends some of the effects of a relationship with Jesus. With God’s help I was ‘advancing against a troop and scaling a wall’.

Why not during August, try something slightly different from the normal day to day activities you are comfortable with, and push past a few fear barriers. We may be able, with God’s help, become a bit bolder in talking about the difference Jesus has made in our lives. That way we will be ‘scaling a wall and advancing against a troop.’

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