In Peace

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.

—Psalm 4:8

 

She sleeps tranquilly on the leather chair
Soft light surrounds her
Eyes closed
Ears relaxed

With a steady calm
She takes a breath
Then, another

She is not fearful
Her heart is at peace

May I sleep in calmness as she does
Knowing my Father in Heaven
Watches over me

 

 

in peace

From the Storm and Rain

In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.  Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.

—Isaiah 4:2-6

In the Midst of Trouble

Do you remember the accident you didn’t have?
How about the time the thieves decided NOT to break into your home?
Do you recall the day your doctor didn’t prescribe the wrong medication?
Or the time the poisonous snake in the woods didn’t bite you while you were hiking?
You don’t remember those things because they never happened.
The protection of God–we are not always aware of it, but it doesn’t mean we are not right in the center of it.
Sometimes we are guided away from danger without recognizing our circumstances.
We may feel an intense urge to leave a place or to go to another–finding later that we avoided catastrophe.
God will never leave us.
He is in control over all things.
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Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life. —from Psalm 138:7
midst-of

He Will Not Leave You

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

 

There’s a hurricane coming to my area.

It is forecast to be here in a matter of hours.

God had a plan for Joshua to lead His people after Moses.

Moses encouraged Joshua with these words:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

—Deuteronomy 31:8

God will not leave His children.

Not in a hurricane.

Or an earthquake.

Not in a tornado.

Or a tsunami.

Not in a time of drought.

Or in a flood.

God will not leave His children or forsake them.

 

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Wraps Around

I read Psalm 125 tonight. 

Verse two says, “Just as the mountains around Jerusalem embrace her,

    the Eternal, too, wraps around those who belong to Him—

    for this moment and for every moment to come.”

I purchased a couch throw to place on a chair in my living room this past summer. 

Wanting something to have wrapped around me as I rested in the chair, I found the perfect thing at a store. 

When I think of being wrapped, it’s easy to think of this woven piece of cloth keeping me warm. 

God wraps around me as the mountains wrap around Jerusalem, because I belong to Him. 

How long?

For this moment and every moment to come. 

Strength

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

—Psalm 46:1

From the air, the sky looks so big and the world looks so small and vulnerable. 

It helps to remember that God is our protector. 

He is with us to bring strength. 

When things aren’t going the way we hoped they would, He is our help. 

  

Unless the LORD Builds

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Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

–Psalm 127:1

Who is building your life?

Is it God, or is it you?

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builds

Going or Coming

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My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.
 God won’t let your foot slip.
    Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job.
 No! Israel’s protector
    never sleeps or rests!
 The Lord is your protector;
    the Lord is your shade right beside you.
 The sun won’t strike you during the day;
    neither will the moon at night.
 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
    God will protect your very life.
 The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
    whether going or coming—
    from now until forever from now.

—Psalm 121:2-8

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A Broad Path

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It’s a neighborhood I always like to visit.

About a twenty minute drive from where I live, there is a quiet little neighborhood with a walkway behind the homes.

Strolling along on this walkway, I enjoy seeing the flowers and landscaping in the backyards.

Visiting there recently,  I noticed that someone had constructed a boardwalk leading down to a lake.

That would make it a lot easier to traverse the path to the water.

Are there times that you’ve realized that God had made an easier pathway for you to travel on?

Above the grass, rocks and thick brush, you’ve been placed on a firm deck, protected from potential harm.

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You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

—2 Samuel 22:37

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broad path

Hold Me Fast

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In our day and age, travel is so common. There are many, many people today who have journeyed thousands of miles away from home–not once, but several times. I have a friend who will be flying to the opposite side of the world tomorrow morning. I can’t keep him safe, but God can. There is no place that we can venture where God is not. And wherever we are, His power and presence will hold us tightly–safely–in the grip of His love.

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If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

—Psalm 139:9-10

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Come and Go

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Does God ever just not know where you are?

Is your current situation something He might miss?

Could it be that God is looking after you now, but later on in life, He might stop?

The psalmist wrote these words:

The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

—Psalm 121:8

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God always knows where you are.

He fully understands your current situation even more than you do.

He is keeping watch over you now and He will continue to do so.

Whether you are coming home or leaving, wherever you are, God is with you.

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My Safe and Strong Place

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I’ve gone there on early Sunday mornings many times before.

Yesterday, I found the lake to be as I had expected it.

Quiet, yet alive with creatures in and around it.

Tall trees with birds’ nests, flowering plants shooting out from the water’s edge.

Not far from the shore, someone had placed a simple wooden bird house.

Just a box with a circular hole for an entrance.

Suspended well above the water, it affords a safe place for a bird to take shelter.

There was a stately bird standing on the top of the house, looking over the lake as I walked along.

The house had been provided for him and for any other bird that needed it.

A person constructed the house–not a bird.

In fact, there is no way possible that a bird of any kind could’ve built that house.

God provides protection for us, as humans.

Invisible, yet tangible to the heart, we are aware of His protection.

There is no way possible that we could provide this protection for ourselves.

God Himself is our safe place.

His strength is there to protect.

We can trust in His provision of shelter.

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I will say to the Lord, “You are my safe and strong place, my God, in Whom I trust.”

—Psalm 91:2

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Raging Wind

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Do you ever just feel small?

While eating dinner out this evening, I received a weather alert on my phone.

A severe thunderstorm was in the vicinity and lightning, high winds and hail could be expected.

After I left the restaurant and a few miles down the road, I noticed the sky above a parking lot.

The clouds were moving in, along with the rain.

A deep orange haze was beginning to tint the darkening sky.

I wasn’t afraid, even though the clouds seemed so large and threatening above me.

I knew I had shelter and that I would be home soon.

If I hadn’t had shelter, I would certainly have been wishing for it.

In the Bible, King David wrote about the pain he felt when a friend had turned against him:

I said, “If only I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and find rest.
How far away I would flee;
I would stay in the wilderness.Selah

I would hurry to my shelter
from the raging wind and the storm.”

—Psalm 55:6-8

We can see other kinds of storms in our lives.

Not the wind and rain storms, but storms of illness or broken relationships or perhaps a job loss.

Sometimes life can seem to loom above us like threatening clouds.

The only true shelter is God.

When we realize how small we truly are in the face of adversity, we must hurry to God.

He will be our protection from the raging wind and storm.

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He Sees the Wolf Coming

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It was a very captivating nature movie, showcasing the lives of a mother bear and her two cubs.

To be honest, I didn’t want to miss a thing as I looked intently at each scene.

Drawing a deeper meaning than what was actually on the screen, a particular part of the movie really made an impression.

The movie was narrated, but the “acting” wasn’t acting at all, since it was just the filming of bears in the wild.

The narrator simply explained some of what was happening, adding comments of interest.

At one point, the mother bear and two very small cubs were walking together.

The narrator points out that a predator has come onto the scene.

A stealthy wolf is walking slowing with a determined gait, his eyes locked onto the cubs.

He means them total harm, without apology.

The camera zooms in on his cold, hard gaze as he continues to move forward with undaunted resolve.

Zooming out, the viewers see the mother bear and cubs walking along, unaware of the danger immediately behind them.

What was it that I was seeing in all this?

I realized that the bears were like people.

We can be looking ahead, unaware of the danger, as Satan lurks quietly behind us, with a resolute intent to harm.

As the wolf’s lean legs planted each step with purpose, I could picture the Enemy moving forward, silent and vicious, waiting to attack you and me.

We are definitely just tiny cubs in this world.

Yet, we need not fear.

As we walk along, Jesus is with us.

He is aware of the “wolf” following behind.

He warns us of the “wolf’s” presence.

He will not leave our side.

Jesus speaks of us in the Bible as being His sheep.

He is our Shepherd:

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

When the Enemy lurks behind us, we are not alone.

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In the Shelter

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I noticed her, high up in a tree by the water’s edge.

She was sitting on a nest so far above the ground and on such spindly looking branches.

The nest was of her own creation, done just the way God had placed into her mind to do.

Protecting her offspring was also placed into her mind, as well, I believe.

The Great Blue Heron, far up in the branches, will continue to watch over her young to keep them from harm.

The psalmist writes,

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

—Psalm 91:1

In reality, aren’t we like a tiny, helpless bird in a treetop nest?

Unable to protect ourselves from the vast unknown?

If we are found in the shelter of God, we can rest in His shadow and in His love.

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With His Feathers

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As I was walking, I noticed the white feather on the ground.

Looking at my photograph now, I see water droplets adorning it like spheres of ice on a snowy meadow.

Feathers intrigue me.

Perfect in form and perfect for the animals who possess them.

The psalmist speaks of God protecting us:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 Surely He will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover you with His feathers,
    and under His wings you will find refuge;
    His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

—Psalm 91:1-4

I don’t remember ever having thought of this before, but tonight, “Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare” stood out to to me.

A fowler is someone who hunts for wild birds.

A snare is something they would use in order to catch them.

So, it is saying that God will save us from whatever the bird catcher is coming after us with.

The very next sentence says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge;”

I understand that this is metaphorical, but I don’t remember ever thinking about myself as a bird that was being hunted and that God, who is being pictured as having feathers and wings like a bird, is protecting me.

The divinely strong feathers and wings of my heavenly Father will protect my weak and spindly feathers and wings as I take refuge in Him.

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