Tag Archives: God’s protection

September 11; I Choose God

Psalms 118, 129, 148-150; Ezra 6:19-22; Zechariah 9

I’ve sat here with my Bible open in front of me for some time this morning, wondering what God would say to me through these psalms of praise. These psalms talk about God’s enduring love, His power over the enemy, His goodness and salvation. “This is the day God made, let’s rejoice and be glad.”

But God made September 11, 2001, too. Are we to rejoice and be glad for the day 3000 people were murdered by Muslim terrorists? How do you reconcile that awful scene seared into the memories of all of us who were around that day, with a God of love?

So I started to re-read the psalms, asking God to teach me, and He pointed my attention to 118:4-9:

Let those who fear the Lord say; “His love endures forever.” In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. (emphasis mine)

God is good. And this good God DID NOT place in the hearts of those evil men a sinister plan to fly commercial planes full of innocent people into buildings full of innocent people in the name of Allah. God did not do that.

What God did, however, was remove His presence and protection from a nation that had removed ourselves from Him. The psalmist tells us God’s salvation is tied to our position in Him. Do I fear Him? Do I walk with Him? Because if God is with me, I need not fear any man, or terrorist cell, or Satan himself.

But hear this: if I reject God, I have every reason to fear.

I wish I could say we Americans learned our lesson that day eighteen years ago. We said we’d never forget. We’ve not only forgotten, we’ve made the evil of the Muslim religion look peaceable. We’ve elected Muslims into our government. Islam is more revered than Christianity to some in this country. We’ve made Muslims our heroes, and a former president even apologized for the USA inciting them against us.

We didn’t learn to embrace the God of the Bible. We’ve made Him the enemy.

I remember standing in front of a classroom full of sixth graders when I heard the first plane hit one of the towers in NYC. I remember one frightening event after another reported that morning, and looked in horror as the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, picturing the terror those inside must have felt before they died.

I heard people cry out to God, saw churches filled, flags proudly flown, promises made.

But that was eighteen years ago. Things change.

Dear one, 9/11 is only a glimpse at what can happen when a nation turns from God, when He removes His protection. Are we any closer to Him than we were back then? Are our churches teaching the Truth, our brothers and sisters in Christ rejecting Satan’s lies? Our we praying for our nation, our neighbors, our families to fear God and serve Him?

Do we want God to protect us? Then we had better be running to Him, obeying Him, loving and serving Him on His terms. Otherwise, He’ll let us to our own devices.

Our choice: Ourselves or God?

I choose God.  I pray you say the same.

 

 

June 15; It Keeps Coming

I King’s 17-19

The more I read the Bible the more I realize people haven’t changed all that much since the beginning. Take the widow woman, for example. During the famine God miraculously provided her with flour and oil so she and her son, and the prophet Elijah, could eat. She didn’t do anything to earn God’s provision – except obey. She obeyed, and God kept it coming.

But then her son got sick. What did she do? She blamed Elijah and, in turn, God. “Is that why you’re here?” she asked. “Did you just come so you could kill my son?”

Elijah’s not any different than the widow, really. He asked the same of God (who had just spared his life, too, with the never-ending flour and oil). The son did not die. And the miracle came through Elijah.

Later Elijah, who had demonstrated great faith in God, who watched God do amazing things, unexplainable things, who was protected by God, fed by ravens and angels, had doubts. King Ahab was out to get him, and Elijah felt all alone. It was too much. He wanted to die.

Can you relate? We are so blessed by God. We see evidence of that every day. Some of us have witnessed extraordinary ways God moves. But when tragedy, or hardship comes, the first response of many of us is to blame God. Or question Him. Or at least give Him the cold shoulder for a time. It’s so much easier to recognize God’s blessings in the good times. It’s a bit of a challenge to see those same blessings when we are hurting

But I am reminded today about God’s great love for His children. The flour and oil kept coming for the widow and her son until the famine was over. God encouraged Elijah by assuring him he wasn’t at all alone. In the midst of trouble, God was still keeping His blessings coming.

And that’s His MO still today. I don’t know what life is like for you right now. You may be going through a really hard time. Maybe you, like the widow find yourself striking out at God. Or like Elijah, you might be feeling abandoned by everyone including God. But hear God whisper in your ear, “I’m right here.” Open your eyes to the ways He demonstrates His love for you right now while you are struggling.

Because I know, as evidenced in Scripture and in my own life, even in the darkest nights, God keeps His blessings coming.

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel 31-36; It’s Not Funny

One of Satan’s tactics against God’s people is seen most clearly in the media, and the entertainment business. When was the last time you saw a Christian favorably portrayed in a show? Not too long ago, a popular talk show host said our Vice President was mentally ill because he’d said he listened to God’s voice. People who hear voices in their heads are insane, she proclaimed. She got a big laugh out of that statement.

Maybe you’ve been the butt of someone’s joke because of your stand for the Truth of Scripture. Satan delights in making us look like fools.

Satan also uses his own hatred of us against us. People have heard so often that Christians are bigoted, intolerant, hate-mongers that they believe it. Satan’s hate produces hate.

It’s a serious thing to speak against, or lie about God’s people. Read in chapter 35 what God said to Israel’s cousins, the Edomites. They had encouraged Israel’s enemies, wanted the Jews to suffer, and were very vocal against God’s people. Hear what God said about that:

You boasted against me and spoke against me without restraint, and I heard it. (35:13)

I HEARD IT.

We Christians are God’s people. He is our Father, our Shepherd, our Champion. He’s the mama bear protecting her cubs, a dad protecting his family against invaders. You don’t want to mess with Him.

But people still mess with God’s children. Listen to how God said He was going to deal with the Edomites who were messing with the Jews:

“While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. Because you rejoiced when the inheritance of the house of Israel became desolate, that is how I will treat you. You will be desolate, O Mount Seir, you and all Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (35:14b-15)

Here’s what God impressed on me this morning: Before I get too smug thinking people who are mean to me will get what they deserve, I need to ask myself if I’m giving them reason to hate me, or criticize me.

If they say I’m a bigot, do I talk like one? If they call me a hypocrite, am I hypocritical? If they want to see me suffer, is it because I’m not expressing the love of God toward them?

The Bible tells us very clearly how we should live, how we should treat people, what our attitudes should be. It tells us we can stand firmly on the Truth and still love our neighbor, do good to those who abuse us.

Understanding how seriously God views attacks against His children, and how devastating the consequences, I don’t want to provoke an attack by my poor choices. If they make fun of me or attack me because of sin in my life, I need to look at my sin and repent. But if those jokes or attacks are directed at me because I am living my life like Jesus lived His, then their behavior is on them.

People hated Jesus without cause. If people hate me, may they also have no cause. And may I warn them how fiercely God protects His children.

It’s not funny to our Father.

September 14 – It’s Kinda Hot In Here

Daniel 1-3

I have a friend from High School who had her second surgery yesterday to remove a tumor wrapped around her spine. Another friend was born with malformed blood vessels in her jaw, resulting in a deformed face and constant ringing in her ears. Yet another friend has a husband fighting for his life, one friend battling an eating disorder, still another recovering from a brutal beating outside his place of business. I know of someone who is belittled and challenged every day by a boss who hates Christianity and Christians.

Health, finances, relationships, prejudice, can make us feel as though we are walking through fire. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts. And sometimes it feels as if there is no way out.

God could have blown out that fire before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown into it. But He didn’t. Instead, He got right in that fire with them, protected them, until they came out whole.

The fires in our lives might not magically disappear. We might actually have to walk through them until Christ is revealed, and He brings us out on the other side.

Everyone walks through a fire or two in a lifetime. What a comfort it is to know we don’t have to walk alone. Jesus is right there by our side in the heat of it all. I pray that at those times, you will recognize His Presence, lean on His strength, and trust Him to get you through it as only He can.

I’m praying for you who are living in a fiery furnace today.

May 3 – Lovingkindness

Psalm 106-107

I’ve never really thought much about the word, “lovingkindness.” I know what it means, I suppose. I think I have a pretty good picture in my  mind what it looks like. But as I sit here this morning, I can’t think of an example I’ve read or heard where “lovingkindness” is used to describe anyone but God.

The psalmist uses the word a lot. Even when speaking about God’s discipline of His disobedient children. On one hand he tells of Israel’s struggles in the wilderness, their worship of idols, their constant whining. Then he tells them to thank God for His lovingkindness.

So here’s what I want to take away from these Scriptures today. God is perfect in love and in kindness. He’s like a nursing mother who gazes into the face of her child, heart bursting with love while she holds him close, touches his cheeks, examines his tiny fingers. God is like that daddy who puts those tiny shoes on his daughter’s Barbie because her little fingers can’t do it herself. He’s like the parent who plays catch with the kids in the backyard, even after an exhausting day at work. God is like the grandparent who kneels by the bed ever night to pray for grandchildren through tears of joy or sorrow.

God’s perfect love and perfect kindness cannot be separated. And His lovingkindness is directed toward me. It envelopes me.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… (Psalm 107:1-2a)

April 20 – Ain’t No Mountain

Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130

Several of these psalms speak about mountains. For one thing, a mountain isn’t going anywhere. During the days these psalms were written, living close to a mountain provided protection from invading enemies. And if you lived surrounded by mountains you were extra safe.

Very often in Scripture mountains are used to represent problems, something to be conquered, or to get over. These psalms had me looking at mountains today in a different light.

God is asking me today where I go for protection from my enemy Satan. Do I turn on Dr. Phil, read a self-help book, talk to a friend, take a pill or have a drink? How is that working for me?

Psalm 121 reminds me God made heaven and earth, that He won’t let my foot slip, that He’ll protect me and keep my soul. Psalm 124: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 125 tells me if I trust in the Lord I can be as immovable as Mt. Zion. It also says God surrounds me like the mountains around Jerusalem.

Today, I want to seek shelter in God who is more sturdy than any mountain He created. I want to live in the shadow of the mountain that is God Himself. He is my shield and safety. He is my protection and strength. None of my problems are too big for Him.

And He’s not going anywhere. He is as immovable as a mountain. And if I go to Him by reading His Word and praying, He is there.

You see, there “ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough” to keep God from me. That’s where I get my help. That’s where I get my strength. That’s where I want to be.

 

 

September 11

Psalms 118, 129, 148, 149, 150; Ezra 6:19-22; Zechariah 9:1-10

I was standing in front of my sixth grade class when our secretary came to the door and asked me to step into the hall. I knew something was wrong by the look on her face. As head of the AV department I knew how to operate the school’s classroom TV’s from our hub in the main office. She wanted to know how to turn on the office TV without turning on all the TV’s in the school. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers and it was all over the news.

Do you remember where you were the moment you heard about the terrorist attack on our country? Thousands of people spent the last minutes of life in unspeakable panic while the rest of us watched helplessly.

I couldn’t help but think of that day when I read Psalm 118 this morning.

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.”

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

“The Lord is with me, he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”

I wish I could say that our country heard the wake-up call and turned back to God after that awful day. I wish Satan had been defeated. But I look around and see even more godlessness, more lies, more depravity than I saw before 9/11.

What’s wrong with us? How could we let those dear people die in vain?

Dear Christian, let’s continue to pray for our nation. We have seen what can happen when God removes his protection and I don’t want us to ever forget. Let’s pray for our President, for his relationship with the Savior, for wisdom, for honesty and truthfulness. Let’s pray for our Legislators. Pray that those who know God will stand for the truth of Scripture. Pray that the decisions they make won’t be based on a party policy, but on what God says. Pray for our military that God would strengthen those brave men and women who know him and are serving our country to protect our freedoms. Pray for their families whose sacrifice is equally as important. Pray that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit will change lives in government, in the military, in the media, in our towns, in our churches, and in our homes. Pray that Satan would be defeated in the hearts of Americans and, in turn, our great country. Pray that God will bless America with himself because he has found us faithful. 

And pray for the families and loved ones of those whose lives were lost or whose bodies were broken on 9/11 and in the war in the Middle East since that day. May they allow God to be their comfort and strength and may each of them… each of us who call America our home… bow before our Holy God and realize our need of him. Only then can we truly be that nation under God.

I will give thanks to the Lord for he is good. He may have removed his protection that day but he did not remove his love. Men can do unspeakable crimes against each other as we saw on 9/11 but they can’t kill my soul or take away God’s grace from my life. And, although Satan may have won that particular battle through those terrorists, he cannot win the war he’s declared on our God.

It’s a spiritual war we are in, but it often shows itself in bombs and chemicals and crashing airplanes. America, let’s be counted as followers of the God of Creation. Let’s side with the victors, those who follow Christ. Then we can say with the Psalmist: 

The Lord is with me, he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.