30 Days of Prayer and Praise–4!

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–4!

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;  the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121 NIV

Day Four

Lord Jesus,

Thank You for waking us this morning–with a heart and mind to praise You–to seek Your face while we’re able to do so. We know we can look to You to help us in every situation that may arise in our lives–for You are our source–of everything we need. We thank You for watching over us–day and night--never allowing us to slip or slide in the pits of darkness or any of the traps the enemy has laid out for us. We thank You for watching over us as we go in and come out of our homes, our schools, our workplaces and everywhere we go–You make Your presence known.

We thank You for the sun that warms, the moon that shines in the darkness and the stars that cause us to marvel and hope beyond what we see. We thank for the summer heat and rain and the cold that helps to regulate our climate. We thank You for the use of our limbs that work--some days better than others–as we lift our hands in praise of You and use our fingers to spread hope and joy by sharing The Word of encouragement for all who may have a feint heart.

We thank You for a time of silence we use introspection and reflection about we see and do. We thank You for always speaking a word to our hearts–guiding us on our daily mission so we might encourage ourselves and those around us. We thank You for the invention of all the technological platforms that give us avenues to speak up and out against injustices everywhere and to fight against hate and bigotry wherever we see it spring into action.

And most of all–we thank You for not only speaking to the hearts of all who have decisions to make regarding this great, but also for giving them the desire to hear and obey, making the interests of the nation a priority over political party affiliation.

Now, Lord look upon each of us and ignite in us a desire to do all that is right and live a life that is pleasing to You and You alone. If You find anything in us that is not like You, remove it and re-direct our thoughts so we will not bring shame to Your name. Though we are not perfect, we know we serve a perfect God, flawless–omnipotent–merciful and loving, taking of Your imperfect, children.

You, O Lord are all that is Holy, and True and we submit ourselves to Your molding to shape and prune–making us more like You.

In Jesus’ name we pray and thank You, Amen!

Shadow Security!

Shadow Security!

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.” If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:1,2; 9,10 NIV

When the shadows fall over the land, we can either feel security or fear. There are so many stories about our reactions to shadows that one blog post would not do it justice. There are times when shadows have caused people frightening experiences when they did not realize that tree branches and plastic bags caught on branches can give the allusion of something else that is far more sinister than what it is.

And then there are times when dangerous acts have been defeated because of the shadows alerting others of the dangers contrived by those who are evil.

But there is security in the knowledge that those of us who believe that the shadow of the Almighty is with us, daily. We can trust in the security of that shadow knowing that nothing by any means shall harm us when we dwell in His presence.

I started to title this post, shadow boxing–because that is what many of us do when we’re trying to overcome mindsets that keep us from enjoying the benefit of belonging to God. We feel we must always fight back–boxing our imaginary opponent that only exists in our heads–and yet we never win. Though shadow boxing has its benefits for those who are training to be boxers, there is no win since we are actually boxing our own shadow. And every time we move–in the right conditions for shadows to exist–the shadow moves and looms larger than we are.

So, too does God’s shadow–loom so much larger than we are and therefore we can trust Him to protect us. If we truly understood what dwelling in the shadow of His presence meant, we would indeed–fear no evil that conspires against us. We would boldly travel the paths He sets before us and not concern ourselves with the mediocrity that attempts to distract us. His shadow–on every side–because He is Light and where there is Light, His shadow is present.

Remember–when Peter passed by some and those who were enveloped in his shadow were healed. David said though the shadow of death was always present, he would not fear any evil coming upon him.

We do not have to fear shadows–unless we are in the wrong place for all the wrong reasons. Living in God’s shadow–we are fully protected and have no need to fear.

Refuge!

“The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” (Psalm 37:40 NIV)

Who does the Lord help and deliver? The righteous–those in right-standing with God can count on The Lord helping them and delivering them from all that attempts to hold them bound by the temptations influenced by evil. He delivers them from the wicked and saves (those in right-standing with Him) because they seek refuge in Him.

Every community should be a “safe haven” for those who live in it, but we know that does not always happen. Evil lurks, seeking whom it will attack and devour in our times, just as it did with the walled cities of old. The difference then is the cities had the watchmen walking the walls, looking for the attempts by others that meant danger to those who lived inside. When danger was seen, the alarm sounded and everyone knew what they had to do.

In addition to the walled cities for the majority of the occupants in a region, there were also cities built as a place of refuge for those who had been estranged from their place of origin or for those seeking shelter from the harm of others because they had accidentally killed someone (Numbers, Joshua).

I remember that in one neighborhood where I used to live, my home became the apparent refuge for children seeking shelter from harm by those living there who were certainly not law-abiding. There was drama unfolding on one particular evening and I looked out the door to see my porch full of children who were trying to get out of harm’s way. Most of these children participated in my “porch” bible study during the summer and I was glad they felt my house was a safe haven–a refuge from harm.

In the midst of stormy weather, we are told to seek refuge in low-lying areas and for those of us who have basements–to run to the basement for shelter. In the Midwestern regions–open ranges, they have storm cellars in which they seek shelter from the storms.

In the storms of life, filled with uncertainty and confusion, Our God is our refuge–a place where we can go and no one can harm us. When we are in right-standing with Him, there is nothing we cannot expect from Him–safety from those who would harm us, deliverance from things that would distract us, provision when we are unable to provide for ourselves, wisdom when we lack it and ask for it, mercy and grace we cannot earn, and love overflowing–when we are emptied out and need replenishing.

If ever there was a time we needed to know where we can find refuge, that time is now. Dangers are all around us–bone-chilling weather, icy road conditions, mindsets in opposition to God’s Word–all dangers that should cause us to run to The Lord, seeking refuge in Him to avoid the consequences of staying on the path of the wicked.

Don’t linger in the face of danger–RUN to the Lord and seek shelter in Him!