Archive for the ‘Protection’ Category

Well it’s that time again. Time to reflect on the past year, time to consider behaviors and attitudes that need to be adjusted, and time to refocus on those things that are most important.

As a new year approaches, Psalm 91:1 seems to be standing out for me. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

What is this secret place? It is a place of constant communion or close fellowship with God. When we stay closely connected to Him, we will also reside under His shadow where we will find rest from the heat that often makes a situation seem unbearable. His shadow also provides a shade of protection and a refuge from the storm. It’s a place where we can find comfort, peace, and safety.

When I am far from God, not relying on Him or worshipping Him daily, then I am also far from the comfort of His shadow. That’s when I find myself sweating the small stuff and frustrated that the heat is so intense. I may feel desperate, begin to doubt God, and take matters into my own hands. What I need is to move back to that secret place and recommit to Him.

Whether your New Years’ Resolution is to do away with bad habits or to improve some aspect of yourself, the most important key is to habitually dwell in the secret place because doing it alone often leads to resolutions that are quickly tossed aside.

This year, before making any other resolution, make a new commitment to live in the shelter of the Most High,

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I am with You

Two years ago my daughter and I flew for the first time. We were both a little anxious about the entire process from security to landing and even how to make our way out of the airport. Since we were alone, we had no choice but to be strong, push forward, and walk through this journey together.

I had prayed many times for God to give us courage and for protection, and thankfully the entire trip was very smooth compared to all the concerns which had rushed through my mind in the days leading up to our flight.

My daughter, Lindsey, was anxious but also excited for her first flight. I, on the other hand, am afraid of heights, terrified on roller coasters, want to feel in control, and had the intentions of never, ever flying!

She immediately opened the window to see everything going on. I sat afraid to even look until the plane seemed to have leveled off and was no longer ascending higher into the air. When I finally did look out that tiny window, I was amazed at the beauty and comforted by the peace that I felt.

After landing and meeting my husband and son-in-law, we began to look through the pictures Lindsey had taken from the air.

When I saw this photo, I was immediately drawn to something that we had not seen as we were flying . I quickly zoomed in and very clearly saw an image which to me represented Jesus.

I was moved to tears. It seemed as though God was showing us that He had been with us throughout the trip. Although we did not see this image in the clouds when the photo was taken, He was there! It reminds me of the disciples in a boat as a storm raged all around them. They were so fearful, but Jesus was right there with them in that boat!

This zoomed-in photo has been the screen saver on my phone since that moment. It is a constant reminder of God’s presence through this earthly journey.

Two weeks after that flight, our family faced a raging storm when my husband was struck by a fire truck. It was a difficult time and still is sometimes, but I know without any doubt that God is with us!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Regardless of what you’re going through or what emotions you are struggling with, God can give you peace in the storm. You can face anything with confidence that God is with you. Whether it’s an exciting moment that causes just a little anxiety or something that causes great fear and a loss of control, He is there!

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Eagle’s Wings

Do you ever feel like life has pushed you off the edge of a cliff, and you are flailing about in slow motion just waiting to crash into the hard ground? The good news is that God is right there ready to catch you.

As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them up on its wings, so the Lord alone led him. – Deuteronomy 32:11-12. When the baby eagle has grown enough to learn to fly, the mother eagle pushes him from the nest and lovingly hovers near. When necessary, she spreads her wings, and catches that little one in the safety of her protective wings.

Like a baby eagle, sometimes we must be pushed out of the nest in order to grow and learn to fly on our own. At times, God allows situations to come into our lives in order to grow our faith, to teach us to trust Him, and to remind us of His loving presence.

When it feels as if your life is out of control and you’ve been pushed from the nest, remember that God is hovering, ready to swoop in, and carry you on His wings. He will not let you fall. You just have to focus on Him, and He will lead you just as the mother eagle leads her young.

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Just Believe

What is your reaction when someone tells you not to be afraid? My first reaction is usually fear and lots of questions. When we were young, my brother and our friend convinced (or maybe I should say coerced) me to ride the new double loop Shock Wave roller coaster at Six Flags. I was filled with fear and questions, but they insisted there was nothing to worry about. After a lot of screaming and even some crying, they had to practically carry me off of it, but I survived!

In Mark 5, Jairus, a synagogue leader, had a young daughter who was very ill and dying (v 23). The synagogue leaders of that time were skeptical of Jesus, but Jairus took a huge leap of faith and went to Jesus for help.

Along the way Jesus stopped when a woman touched his garments hoping to be healed. Jesus immediately recognized that healing power had passed from Him. So He insisted on identifying her, assuring her that she was healed by her faith, and most importantly loving her.

Surely Jairus felt impatient or worried as he waited for Jesus to go to his daughter, but he didn’t react impulsively. He simply waited. While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, news came that Jairus’ daughter had died. But before Jairus could respond with anger or grief, Jesus said, “Be not afraid. Only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Jairus must have had many emotions going through his mind, especially fear and questions. He may have felt that all hope was lost, but Jesus was telling Jairus that He was not finished. They continued on to Jairus’ house where Jesus resurrected the young girl. It is possible His delayed arrival was part of a greater plan. The girl’s resurrection was a much greater miracle than healing her illness, and Jairus’ faith grew as a result of the entire experience.

Jesus knows our problems before they actually occur. He also knows the strength of our faith or lack of faith, but there is no problem we could ever face that is too big. God’s timing is not usually our timing. Sometimes we must wait for answers. When the circumstances of our life seem totally hopeless and God does not seem to be acting, maybe it’s all part of His divine plan.

If life feels like a roller coaster that you never wanted on with double loops of trouble and mountains of unexpected delays, remember Jesus words to Jairus in Mark 5:36 – “Be not afraid. Only believe.” Believe what? Believe that God can. Believe that He does exist. Believe that He is with you. Believe that its never too late. Believe that He is stronger. Believe that He will carry you.

Just as my brother and friend did at Six Flags, God will be with you through the ride, He knows all the dips and loops in your life before they even occur, and He will carry you when you can’t go on.

photo credit: auspices <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26432632@N08/6169711244″></a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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The Lord is with you, mighty warrior(Judges 6:12). Battles are raging all around. I see many friends struggling with the distress of situations that seem too much to bear. These disheartening battles include cancer, heart disease, injuries, mental illness, financial difficulties, addictions, lawsuits, false accusations, broken families, and fighting an actual war. Our children aren’t even immune. Their struggles include peer pressure, eating disorders, bullies, anxiety, and even terminal illness. The list goes on and on.

The Israelites experienced many difficulties. In Judges chapter six, they faced oppression from the Midianites who, during a seven year period, often destroyed the crops, livestock, and homes of the Israelites. God appointed Gideon to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, but Gideon was afraid and confused about how that was possible when his people were the weakest in the land. God assured him in verse 16: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

We all have battles which God has called us to fight, but like Gideon, we can be certain that God is with us. Often we feel weak and think our struggles are more than we can bear. Realistically, without the strength that can only be given by God, we probably couldn’t handle such situations on our own. What a blessing to know that he will be with us through the battles of life.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

It doesn’t matter what we are going through, God will give us the power to overcome it through His strength! Find courage today in knowing that God will be with you through the battles of life. You are a mighty warrior through Him!

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English: Ramsey Island: rough water near Trwyn...

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

I can remember taking swimming lessons as a child.  In order to pass, we were required to jump off the diving board.  This terrified me, but it was the final step in proving we could swim.  I did not have a lot of confidence in my ability to accomplish this task.  Finally, the instructor swam out near where I would resurface after jumping and assured me that he would be there if I needed assistance.  The deep water terrified me, but knowing someone was there to save me if I could not make it on my own gave me the courage to complete the task.

Sometimes in life, things get so difficult you literally feel like you are drowning.  The more you struggle the deeper you seem to go.  Maybe things seem totally hopeless.  You try your best, but the situation just continues to get worse.  Isaiah 43:2 reminds us that no matter the battle, God is with us.  He will not let us drown in the raging river or be burned up by the fire.

Exodus 14:13 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still”.  In deep water sometimes you cannot tell which way it is to the surface.  It is a natural instinct to fight for your next breath, but if you will be still your body will typically begin to surface.  Our lives are the same way.  Sometimes, we just need to be still and let God fight for us.  Soon we will see the light begin to emerge at the surface of our problem as God fights for us.

What is the deep water in your life today?  Maybe it’s a relationship that seems to be crumbling at your feet, an addiction that controls your every thought, or financial difficulties that consume all your energy.  Whatever the struggle, God will be with you.  He will not let you drown!

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The Lord goes before youThe journey of life is often long and difficult.  There are many obstacles in our way that cause discouragement, grumbling, and questions. Our circumstances may leave us feeling like the Israelites as God led them to the promised land.  God had promised something better than the life they were leaving, but they faced many struggles along the way.

Exodus 13:17 says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” Why not? The Israelites were finally free from slavery, and God was leading them to the Promised Land.  Why would He make them go the long way?  As we read on we see that travelling the  shortest route would result in being attacked by the Philistine army.  God knew if they faced a battle, they might turn and head back to Egypt. They simply were not ready. So He protected them from an immediate battle to prevent the Israelites from becoming discouraged and giving up. Ultimately, He knew what was best for them.

Eventually Pharaoh decided he had made a mistake and gathered his army to capture and bring home the Israelites. As they approached the Israelite camp to force them all to go back to Egypt, the people began to panic and cried out to God for help.  When trouble appears in our life, we often respond in the same way.  We panic and cry out to God to help us get through it.  Then they turned on Moses, complaining about his leadership, and wishing they had never left Egypt.  They feared the worst thinking they would surely die there in the desert.  They didn’t even wait for God to answer their cries for help before they began to fear the worst.  Satan uses fear to distract us from trusting God, and we begin to question why He is taking us down this path in life. In Exodus 14:13, Moses says, “Don’t be afraid be brave and you will see the Lord today.”  Moses had faith that God would be with them.

Then in Exodus 14:14, Moses says, “The Lord himself will fight for you.  You won’t have to lift a finger in your defense.”  Hmm…so if we encounter difficulty while travelling the path God planned, He will fight the battles for us!  He doesn’t even need our assistance or advice.  As long as it’s His plan for our lives, He will ensure that things don’t go awry.  There may be difficulties along the way, but ultimately God will protect us every step and nothing will happen that is out of His control.  What a comfort to know that whatever battles come our way, God has it under control!  All we need to do is be still and allow him to work.

At this point the Israelites appeared to be trapped between the wilderness and the sea as the Egyptians approached.  Then as God instructed, Moses held his staff over the water, and a pathway opened across the sea.  The Israelites walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground as water stood like a giant wall on both sides.  The waters closed up behind them and the Egyptians, their chariots, and horsemen were all swept into the sea. God had rescued them from what appeared to be an impossible situation.  There seemed to be no way to survive, but God not only protected them but also removed the threat completely!

Exodus 14:31 says, “And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”  They saw the lengths that God would go through on their behalf to achieve His will in their lives. They began to sing the following praises:  “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.”  (Exodus 15:2-3)

Our lives are like the Israelites journey to the promised land.  God has promised something better (heaven), but it’s often a long journey, and there are many difficulties along the way.  Difficult times help us to learn to trust Him, and our faith and relationship with Him will grow stronger.  Although we may grumble and get discouraged going through it, we can trust that He is with us, He has a plan, He will fight for us, and in the end we will see His power.

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DEEP WATER

English: Ramsey Island: rough water near Trwyn...

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

I can remember taking swimming lessons as a child.  In order to pass, we were required to jump off the diving board.  This terrified me, but it was the final step in proving we could swim.  I did not have a lot of confidence in my ability to accomplish this task.  Finally, the instructor swam out near where I would resurface after jumping and assured me that he would be there if I needed assistance.  The deep water terrified me, but knowing someone was there to save me if I could not make it on my own gave me the courage to complete the task.

Sometimes in life, things get so difficult you literally feel like you are drowning.  The more you struggle the deeper you seem to go.  Maybe things seem totally hopeless.  You try your best, but the situation just continues to get worse.  Isaiah 43:2 reminds us that no matter the battle, God is with us.  He will not let us drown in the raging river or be burned up by the fire.

Exodus 14:13 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still”.  In deep water sometimes you cannot tell which way it is to the surface.  It is a natural instinct to fight for your next breath, but if you will be still your body will typically begin to surface.  Our lives are the same way.  Sometimes, we just need to be still and let God fight for us.  Soon we will see the light begin to emerge at the surface of our problem as God fights for us.

What is the deep water in your life today?  Maybe it’s a relationship that seems to be crumbling at your feet, an addiction that controls your every thought, or financial difficulties that consume all your energy.  Whatever the struggle, God will be with you.  He will not let you drown!

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