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Some Days, I Need a Strong Tower

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Going In For Cover

Some days, I need a Strong Tower. Actually, most days I need one. You know, the one mentioned so frequently throughout the Bible promising cover and protection from the most personal and oppressive forces? If you have ever said the phrase “This is one of those days”, then you can understand what this means.

Where Can I Hide?

The interesting thing about exclaiming I need a strong tower is that many times I am crying out to God to give me a place to hide – a quiet sanctuary where I can block out the distractions of this world. Though it is a great thought, unfortunately, it is not always feasible; like when I am driving in traffic or working with a team on a project. The thought of going poof into the air to my ‘strong tower’ place might also scare those around me – kind of like the rapture though they weren’t caught up with me. Still, it is a fun thought…but I digress.

God’s Covering

In the Bible, a strong tower is described much like a fortress. It is a fortified place that not only provides safety for those inside but also keeps the undesirable things outside. It is a pure place. A safe place. We sometimes look at our homes as ‘strong towers’ because they are our ‘safe places’. But even they can be penetrated by unexpected events and emotions – anyone that has lived with a growing teenager can relate. When God is your strong tower it goes much deeper. God can be your safe place – even in the middle of a crowd. I know that may not make sense but think about Psalms 23:5 which says “God prepares a place for us in the presence of our enemies”. It reminds us that He is always aware of what we face. If God prepares the place for you it is already anointed with His protection. His cover is over you always, even when those desiring your downfall are right before you.

That is what His strong cover means – He is our fortress and refuge in the middle of the storm (Psalm 46). What a promise and what a blessing God offers to those that seek Him.

So, the next time ‘one of those days’ or even one of those moments creep up on you, seek the cover of a loving and safe place. Seek God. He’s got plenty of room to cover you and no one – I mean no one – can break through His walls. You are safe with Him.

#LivingTheRedeemedLife

Fallen? Don’t Stay There

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Fallen? Don’t Stay There

Beloved – We all will have times in our life when we will fall or fail or just plain mess up.  There will be times when we just don’t meet THE standard where we will do all things correctly.  Sometimes, it is the result of the decisions and choices we make and sometimes it is the result of our reaction to things that have been done to us.  Sometimes it is naivete or ignorance of what is happening around us and other times deliberate actions on our part.  Whatever way ‘the stumble’ comes your way, my message to you is – Don’t Stay There!  Get up, get moving and seek the face of a merciful Lord that loves you beyond the marks life can leave on you when you sin.

You Linger Long…

Daniel 9:9 says:

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him”

God knew we were going to have times where sin was going to trip us up.  God knew sin would also try to keep us entangled in guilt and shame in ways that will impact our ability to move forward and thrive in His grace and mercy.

My mother used to have a saying when I was growing up that stated, “You linger long, you linger wrong”.   It was her way of saying – if you stay anywhere that just doesn’t feel right longer than you should it will become your reality but in a negative way.  Interestingly she used to say this to me and my brother during our dating years to remind us that a bad relationship was a bad relationship and it is ok to get out of it.  Lingering in the aftermath of sin in guilt, shame, unworthiness, regret, and fear is not a safe place to stay for long.

Yes, God gives us a conscience, so we should feel some regret when we do something we shouldn’t but – Don’t Stay There.  There is life after the fall.  Life to do better and be better.  Life to be more sensitive to not do it again.  Somehow, I think that was what my mother was trying to say me after the break-up – there is life after that bad relationship, but you have to break-up first to be free to live.

Life Awaits You

That is the promise of John 10:10 which says:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

That is why Jesus Christ came to this world to die for our sins – to give us life.  Not just life after our falls but, and this is the good part, life when we are in a ‘free fall’.  Because if you really look at life, we are in a continuous fall every day because sin is so prevalent around us.

Jesus gives us life where ever we are in life.  His number one goal is for you to have the best in life but not according to the world’s standards.  Jesus wants life according to the biblical standards that let you live freely.  No guilt, shame, hate or fear.  A life filled with a peace that only He can give (Philippians 4:7).  Accept Jesus into your life.  Take His Hand and give all of yourself to a God that loves you and understands this thing called life.  With Jesus, you won’t want to stay in that other place any longer.

With God, It’s Personal

 

It Starts With The Simple Things

I was taking my regular walk today, during the heat of summer, admiring the bluest of skies and all the creatures moving around me.  I was lamenting the fact that I was now in July and have not done half of what I planned for the summer now that my daughter was out of school – and then it hit me.  With God, His care is personal.

I saw this tree (the one depicted in the picture).  Something about it reminded me of God’s personal attention to everything He creates.  This tree stood alone with branches fully formed.  It had the beautiful backdrop of the blue skies behind it.  There were other trees around it that were taken care of too, also on their own account, but this one stood out to me.  And that was when God reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 6:25-34 –

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So, Relax…

God takes care of His creation.  With Him, it is personal.  He knows what you need.  He knows what you are going through.  God tells us to trust Him and Him alone.  He’s got you.

That tree didn’t have to worry about having enough water or if it’s leaves were enough to provide shade for the family where it was planted.  It just grew and thrived in the season it was in.

We all could benefit from thriving in the season we are in as well.  It may not be perfect to us but where God has us allows Him to use us – right where we are.  Your blessing will come.  Your promise will come.  Don’t worry about it…just thrive.

God knows you personally and that blessing you have been praying about, seek God first and it will come, right on time.

#LivingTheRedeemedLife

You Are God – Alone

Hello God – Are You Out There?

Is God losing control of things?  We are living in times that can make you go “hmmm…”.  Times that can leave you guessing where the parents are in some communities, countries, and nations.  Times where boundaries are continually tested and in some cases even torn down.  Now, in some cases, this is not a bad thing.  As one whose parents grew up during the civil rights era, I know there are times when the rules at hand need to be revised and the only way to do it is to question the applicability and rationale in place when they were created.  Using the litmus test of the Bible on how we should love and live together that was a no-brainer but some days I look around me and wonder – what is going on?!

I was recently involved in a discussion with friends and we began to talk about ‘wars and rumors of wars’ similar to the scripture Matthew 24:6.  What I found interesting was the somewhat casual talk about ‘if we are involved in a nuclear war this is what I would do’.  Huh?  Thankfully, I have not been involved with this in my lifetime but my thoughts drifted to wondering who would even be around to tell their survival story if it did happen?  The discussion was almost as casual as running out of milk and needing to go to the store to replace it after the impending hurricane has passed – get my point?  These topics can make you anxious and scare you.  My pre-teen daughter even stated to me after a recent newscast “I want to live to be an adult so I hope we don’t have a nuclear war”.  Believe me, this led to a long discussion about faith and tomorrow not being promised but ugh…not a great topic to have with my beloved child.

The Sovereignty of God

This brings me to what has become one of my favorite verses in the Bible,  2 Chronicles 20:6 –

…“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.

It reminds me that God is fully aware and in control of all things that happen around us.  God ‘rules over kingdoms [physical and spiritual] and nations’.  This scripture lets us all know that even the most unpleasant things in this world can lay the groundwork for His glorious plan.  Yes, evil exists – and because of the free will God has given us, not everyone is going to do righteous things – but God is still in control and has not abdicated His authority.  God is sovereign.  Some things may be difficult to watch or experience and some things are unto death – this is sad but true.  God is still God and He implores those of us that are still standing to love our way through and to seek His love and guidance.  That is what I told my daughter. Yes, it can be a bit scary but if you know Jesus, there is nothing to be anxious about (Philippians 4:6).  Since we have the Bible (and the New Testament) we know how this story ultimately ends.

So when those scary thoughts creep in or the events around us make no sense at all – Live your life and love!

Thank you, Lord, that You Are God – Alone!

Warning – Single Lane Ahead!

Single Lane Ahead – Now?!

Change and discipline never seem to come at the right times in life.  I feel the same when I am riding along, headed to work or home and suddenly approach a “Single Lane Ahead” sign that indicates I’m getting ready to have my commute impacted.  This sign is meant to be both a warning and guide. It lets us know what is coming ahead while at the same time giving us guidance so we don’t drive off the road because we’ve suddenly found ourselves on the shoulder. It is an especially important warning if there is no shoulder to drive on or, far worse, to keep us from driving in a lane with oncoming traffic! It is not meant to harm but to help  and give us information to protect our safety.

This sign reminds me of many of the principles of the Bible but in a positive way. The Bible is sometimes seen as a book of ”don’ts” and many believe the Christian life is one of restriction and blandness. On the contrary, it is meant to guide us, so we can live with a sense of awareness of what could be ahead.  Biblical awareness actually gives us freedom – because we know what the boundaries are.  When we know the boundaries, we don’t have to worry about the consequences of going out of bounds – like driving on that shoulder or down an embankment. We can focus on living life. When we live without boundaries, though it may be fun for a moment, we risk running out of roadway and having an accident. I think about those construction zones where we are warned of the upcoming lanes narrowing to one – if we kept driving in the affected lanes we could drive right into a catastrophe which could harm us or even worse, take our lives. Living life is no different.

Abundant Living is Free Living

In John 10:10, Jesus reminds us that He came to not only give us life but one that is abundant. It is abundant – with boundaries. It is abundant with seasons of great highways (I live in the Washington, DC area so I envision the Capital Beltway) but there are times God has to put single lanes ahead of us so we can focus.  ‘Single Lanes’ also provide discipline as He prepares us for blessing and purpose.  They can also protect us if life begins to get unruly and needs repairs (like that construction zone).  You determine which way God is guiding you by praying, listening to the Holy Spirit and studying the Bible.

The next time you see one of those ‘Single Lane Ahead’ signs, heed the warning and ask God if He is trying to tell you something.

#LivingTheRedeemedLife