So the idea of "seeking sanctuary" is one that has fascinated me for many years (I am a nerd, moving on)!  If you are not familiar with this idea, allow me to explain a bit.  "Seeking sanctuary" is the idea of those who are oppressed or persecuted because of political or religious beliefs seeking asylum or sanctuary in a church or a country offering asylum.  Some countries, including our own, still offer asylum or a safe place for those who are refugees, but seeking sanctuary was most prominent in Medieval Europe.  Many churches had a "sanctuary ring" on the doors to be allowed into the church.  I am not exactly sure why this has fascinated me for so long, but I have always felt safe at church and liked the idea of seeking refuge in a safe place.  Now I love old churches - they are just so comforting.  In fact I kind of picture God as an old church sometimes - one that has been in the community for centuries, where the pastor knows your name and entire family history, where the interior is that incredible mix of comfort and awe, and where the hushed sound of a whisper is life-changing.

This morning our pastor talked about anxiety and how to biblically deal with anxiety!  Sometimes I think he must know what I am thinking or what I am dealing with because it hits so close to home.  But I know that is the Holy Spirit speaking through him and God knows me inside out. You should really check out the sermons - they are amazing and you can watch them here.  Anyways, he talked about Paul's exhortation and instructions to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4,  and it rocked my world.  

         4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 

 Rejoice in the Lord always is not something that has come easily to me in the past.  To be really honest I kind of skipped over this part of Philippians 4 because it seemed so cliché and insincere to me because I never thought it was possible to really rejoice in the Lord always.  First of all my idea of rejoice (be happy) is completely wrong, and also my idea of God and His character was little.  A few years ago, I found myself without a teaching job and without anything else to tell me who I was.  I was lost.  I was disappointed with God and my faith.  I thought I had done something wrong in the formula of me + follow rules = God adhering to my plan and needed to start over.  I had no idea where to go next.  But in the midst of my pain and grief there came a quiet voice saying “be still.”  So I began to listen and out of the stillness came love and grace.  The God of the Universe was pursuing me and wanted me to know Him and His character.  He wanted to be my everything.  So I began with getting to know Him – Kay Arthur’s study of God’s names will rock your world – I am proof.  And through knowing God, I learned how to worship God where I am, to align my plan with His, and to find joy in His presence even when things are not going my way.

This idea of finding sanctuary in a church – the church would be a refuge, a safe place for those who were oppressed.   I feel like I have found that idea of sanctuary in truth, a firm foundation in knowing more about God’s character.  My sanctuary is God – He is my safe place and my refuge!           

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