Tag Archives: refuge

Approval that matters

“When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo.  He told his family and servants what to do.  Then he hanged himself.”  2 Sam. 17:23 

Let’s go back to chapter 16 vs. 23:  “Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.”

I know I started this off with a shocker of a verse this morning, but it’s reality.  Let’s face it, Ahithophel had fallen far.  

At one time his advice was revered by both King David, a man after God’s own heart, and his son, Absalom, who was now trying to be king.  They literally regarded his advice as though he was one who had been in a consultation with God.  And later, no one wanted to follow his advice.  

It didn’t just hurt his feelings a little or make him feel a bit disgraced.  It caused him to go commit suicide.  

It may sound shocking to you, but it shouldn’t.  When we get our sense of self-worth from people, this can easily happen.  If our identity is tied up in those around us, and they don’t approve of us, then, just like Ahithophel, we may feel like that is our only answer.  

When we are regarded by men as the best or regarded by men as not much, we need to keep our eyes on the Maker of heaven and earth.  He is the One who is our Strength.  He fights for us, gives us wisdom, lets us run to Him for refuge, and comforts us in times of need.  

Our identity comes from the One who created us, wonderfully, and willingly gave His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life.  God made us in His image, and calls us His own.  He created us with a purpose.  We are loved so much that Jesus chose to die for us–we were worth dying for.  

No matter what happens or what they say…stand on what God says, and run to Him when you need a word of encouragement.  He is always faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Choose to stay, with Him,

jamie

You’ve been heard

My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles!  I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light.  Micah 7:8

Have you ever felt that way?  You might have had enemies or just troubles.  For a moment you might have fallen.  Perhaps your enemies were more like regular complaints that caused you to feel like your falling.

Maybe you were in the dark, but all of sudden there was the light.  The Lord was there to remind you that He was the light of the world, and  you would not be overtaken by any of it!  

Something like verse 7 might have sprung to your mind, that says, “But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for Him to answer my prayer.”

The waiting may feel longer sometimes than others, but rest assured, dear friend, that even if you’re going through that now, that He has heard you. 

Michael told Daniel, “Daniel, don’t be afraid! God has listened to your prayers since the First days you humbly asked for understanding, and he has sent me here.”

The light of the world hears your humble cries.  He will not let you stumble.  God Most High will still be your Refuge in times of need. And He is still the lifter of your head.

Call upon Him and keep trusting,

jamie

You are not going to crash

I love the methods that God will use to get a message to us.  Migraine rescue medication combined with tension and sadness made for a rough morning today.  I was persevering, though.  I read my Bible while I ate my breakfast, I listened to praise and worship music all morning long.  I know where my strength lies, but sometimes I feel like I’m clawing for it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Is that just me?  Hmm…

Then my kids and I sat down for our morning devotions and the book said, “It is a great gift from God to be able to hear, but what you do with what you hear is your gift back to God.”  Then it quoted Jesus,

Everyone who hears these things I say and obeys them is like a wise man.  The wise man built his house on rock.  It rained hard and the water rose.  The winds blew and hit that house.  But the house did not fall, because the house was built on rock.  But the person who hears the things I teach and does not obey them is like a foolish man.  The foolish man built his house on sand.  It rained hard, the water rose, and the winds blew and hit that house.  And the house fell with a big crash.”  (Mt. 7:24-27)

I could literally hear God reminding me that my house is not built on the sand.  My house, my faith, my hope…they are built on the rock.  The solid rock of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Yes, it is raining hard right now, and the waters have been rising lately.  The winds have been blowing from one direction and then another, but MY HOUSE IS BUILT ON THE ROCK!

I’m not going to fall or crash.  I’ve got the Mighty God, the Great I AM, the Prince of Peace holding me in His hand.  My life is built on a solid foundation and I can take refuge in the stronghold of His name.  I can’t just talk about trusting Him in a blog on Monday and then forget it on Tuesday.  I have to do it!  And I am.

I was immediately comforted by the Lord as we read that devotion this morning.  If the winds are blowing around you and the rains are pouring down, pelting you from all sides, take heart.  If you can literally see and feel the waters rising around you, stand firm.  Your house is built upon the Rock and YOU WILL NOT FALL!

Stand firm…He is holding you steady,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 18

Today’s scriptures are about words.  Your Words are powerful, Lord, because they create.  Indeed, Lord, Your Word is forever settled in heaven.  It is as unchanging as Your faithfulness.  You established the earth by Your Word, and it abides.  What You create is for a purpose.

Lord, Pr. 18 tells us that our words create, as well.  Help my words to also have a purpose.  Help me not to express my own heart, but to delight in understanding. Help the wellspring of wisdom flow from my mouth and not foolishness.  Help my lips not to enter into contention or call for blows.  I do not want my mouth to be my destruction, or be a snare for my soul.  I want my mouth to honor and glorify You.

Keep me from haughtiness. Keep my ears and my lips closed to gossip. Let my ears wisely seek knowledge. Help my heart to be prudent, acquiring knowledge. Let the produce of my lips be good and not evil.

Lord, Pr. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Let my tongue speak life. Help me to be a wife who is honorable, loyal, and helpful.  Help me to speak life into my husband.  Let me to listen before speaking, and to answer softly.

Lord, I thank You that Your name is a strong tower that I can run to for safety.  When I need protection, Lord, You are ever there; unchanging, and eternal.  Thank You, Lord.  Thank You that Your faithfulness will endure to the generations that come after me!

I love You, Lord,

jamie

 

Call your Father

“Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Ps. 73:25-26

First thing this morning, my husband had a Face Time call on his phone.  Our son stayed with his grandparents last night, and when he woke up this morning, they weren’t in the room.  For some reason, he thought they left him at the house alone, so he was crying and very upset.  He called his dad.

His dad was able to calm him down, speak logic and assurance to him, and give him the courage to go look for them in another room.

Sometimes we feel alone and upset.  Sometimes life just overwhelms or weakens us.  We have a choice to make.  We can sit in the dark room, crying and feeling hopeless.  Or, we can call our dad.

Our father hears our voice from His temple.  Our cries come before Him, even to His ears.  (Ps. 18:6)

Feeling afraid?  Call your Father.  He will calm you, reassure you, and give you courage and strength.

Thanks, Abba.

jamie

The day is not over!

Pr. 24:10:  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

I never thought I’d include this verse in my blog because, quite frankly, I’ve never liked it.  Having faced unexplainable adversity in my health for almost 4 years, there have definitely been times when my strength was small and times when I have all but fainted.  Each time I have read this verse I have thought about those times.

This morning, however, the Lord has encouraged me through this verse.  Even though there have been moments when I have wanted to give up, I never actually did.  God brought me through those times with a hope only found in Him.  Even when my strength was at its weakest, the Lord’s strength brought me through.  With His help, I still continue going forward, doing what I can.

In reading this verse, I have judged myself a bit harshly over these 4 years, remembering only my weaker moments, and comparing myself to others who are much stronger than I.  However, the fact of the matter is that my day of adversity is not yet over, and I have not fainted.

My strength comes from the Lord.  My hope is in Him.  My courage lies in knowing that He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

My life may not look like that of others, or the way I expected that it should, but my day is not done.  While I am still here, there is work for me to do.  The work I am able to do is much less glamorous than perhaps I thought it would be, but I believe that facing this adversity in my life qualifies me to complete a work meant only for me.

It is time for me to truly believe my day is not yet over.  Until it is, I will continue bringing glory to my God in whatever ways I can manage.  I will continue to take courage in the fact that my God is for me, and stop believing I have fainted too many times go on.

My strength is definitely not small, for it comes from the Lord, in whom all things are possible.

If you feel yourself fainting, be encouraged.  The day is not yet over, and the Lord is on your side!  It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is our Defense.  He is our Refuge and our Strength.  He orders our steps and upholds us with His hand.  He does not forsake His children.  Keep moving forward…with Him.

Strengthened by Him alone,

jamie

This blog is dedicated to Larry Jackson, who definitely got this right!

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven. God used His smile to strength me one more time.

Me speaking to Larry hours before he went to heaven.  See that smile?  He allowed God to use him to the very end.

Where are you God?

Pr. 1:28:  “They will call on me (says wisdom), but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.”

Last week we returned home from a 3-day trip to a find our house just as we’d left it.  There had been no fire, no break-in, no water damage, no tree through the roof–nothing.  Everything was perfect.

As I thought about this and began to thank God for His protection over our house and our lives, I recalled all the times when I’ve returned home from a trip and didn’t even stop to fully consider it.  I thought of all the things we could have returned home to find, and things that I know others have returned to find before.

I thought about how it can be so easy to blame God when things go wrong.  It seems so normal that we ask or wonder why God allowed unfortunate things to happen.  Why is it that it took me until this trip to come home specifically thanking God that there was no tree on my roof, or water damage to our home?  Why hasn’t it been the most natural thing for me to praise Him for the fact that fire did not burn our home down or destroy our pictures and possessions while we were away?

This proverb reminds me of how we can sometimes wait until disaster strikes to look for God.  Then, we wonder where He is or why He allowed it.  Did we thank Him every other time that it didn’t?  Were we talking to Him daily beforehand, nurturing our relationship with Him?

In this proverb, wisdom didn’t answer nor show herself to those who call upon her or sought her.  Why not?  Because she had been trying to get their attention every other moment before this and they ignored her, turned their backs on her, and refused her.  Now, when they needed her most and finally decided to call for her, she wasn’t there.  She was allowing them to have their own way, just as they had always wanted.  Wisdom means business!

But where is God when disaster strikes?  He is right there, ready to offer peace, strength, refuge, and hope….right where He has always been.  He is the same God that was there every other time disaster did not strike.  He is the same God that offered protection 5 minutes before.

We don’t need to wait until it’s too late to look for or call upon God, and only then to place blame.  We must nurture our relationship with Him from moment to moment, knowing that He loves and cares for us the same yesterday, today, and forever.  His plans for us are good, He always provides, and we have a great reward ahead, just like we always did.

Call for Him now,

jamie

Who is protecting you?

Pr. 2:8:  “He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.”

Perhaps it is because I am reading through The Hobbit again, but this verse brings to my mind visions of dragons, trolls, goblins, rangers, and elves.

If you have never read the novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, let me introduce you to a character from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, named Aragorn.  He pledges himself to be the protector of a Hobbit (small man) named Frodo Baggins.  He guarded and looked after Frodo along some very dangerous paths.  Even near the end of the story, when Frodo was far from Aragorn’s reach, Aragorn was basing his decisions on what would help Frodo.

As outstanding and mighty as Aragorn is, his strength and protection can never match that of the Lord and Creator of the Universe.  When we walk uprightly, when we make decisions that keep us on paths of righteousness, God guards and protects us.

The Lord has pledged Himself to His children.  He is not only our Protector, but also our Refuge, our Strength, our Deliverer, our Restorer, our Provider.  He loves us so much that He even offered up His own Son to die for OUR sins.  (not His)  He does not desire that any of His children should perish, so protecting and caring for us, He made a way of grace for us to spend eternity in heaven with Him.

Ps. 94:14 tells us that the Lord will not forsake His inheritance.  He is always with us and always on our side.

Ps. 37:23-24 tells us even more:  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

We may fall while on the path (Frodo was stabbed by a poisoned blade under Aragorn’s watch), but the Lord is ever there to reach down, grab us, and pull us to safety.  He continues to protect and care for us.

Do not fear.  Continue to walk on the path of justice and righteousness.  God is ever by your side, guarding and protecting you until the very end.  He longs for us to be together for eternity.  He will do all He can for His children who desire the same.

Under His protection,

jamie

Don’t forget who He is

When going through trials and tribulations, if we have no refuge to which we can run, how can we stand?  If there is no shield in which we can trust to guard us, how do we keep moving?  Without a Comforter to overwhelm us and bring the peace that passes understanding, how do we not lose all hope?  With no solid foundation on which to make a stand, what keeps our feet from slipping into calamity, misery, or death?

God was the Restorer for Joseph.  He was then the Deliverer of the Israelites from the hands of Pharoah.  He was the Promise-Keeper for Abraham and Sarah.  The power of God was a cloak for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace, heated 7x hotter than usual, so that their clothes did not even smell of smoke.  God was mighty enough to shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel, delivering him from certain death.  David counted on the Refuge, that was God.

God was the Salvation of the people in Ninevah.  Jesus is Savior of the world, and the Forgiver of the woman at the well.  He was the Comforter of Peter.  He was the Healer of the centurion’s servant.  God was the Redeemer of Saul, who then become the apostle Paul.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  He is the one who is coming quickly, bringing His reward with Him.

God is zealous for His people, saying that, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Without the hope that comes from knowing and trusting in God, how can we have any endurance for this life.

He has been my Healer, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Shield, my Refuge, my mighty Defender, my Strength, my Comforter, my Hope, my Provider, my Forgiver, and so much more.  Who has He been for you?

Allow Him to be more,

jamie

 

Where honor is due

Pr. 30:11:  “There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother.”

This reminds me of the world in which we currently live, although, I know that disrespect goes back to the beginning of time.  I remember the story of Noah and his sons.  Noah became uncovered in his tent and when his son, Ham, saw his father’s nakedness, he went out and told his brothers all about it.  His brothers, on the other hand, went in and covered their father, keeping their faces turned.  They showed their father the respect he deserved because he was their father.  Ham was cursed and his brothers were blessed.

Disrespect seems to be more rampant in our society these days.  All you really have to do is visit a play ground or the mall and listen to the way that children speak to their parents to find out the truth.  More and more we are modeling the behavior of Ham.  Sadly we even hear of worse, as I just heard a story about a man who stabbed his mother to death.  How far we’ve strayed.

I won’t get in to all the discipline issues, but speak to God’s instructions about our parents.  As far back as the Exodus of the Israelites, the Lord gave the command:  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”  This was the first commandment with a promise.  Not only will our parents be honored and respected, but we live long on the earth and things will be well with us.

Some parents teach false or wicked things to their children.  What then?  We are not responsible for the actions of others, but for our own.  We aren’t to give respect only to those who have earned it, but to those who are in a position of authority over us because the Lord has appointed them.  We honor their position, not their worthiness.  We give honor and respect because we were commanded to do so, and because we see what Jesus has done for us when we have not earned it.  We honor and show respect as unto Christ.

Pr. 11:29 says, “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.”  Surely, not giving honor to our parents causes trouble; and instead of gaining a promise, we will get nothing.  Trusting in God as our heavenly Father allows us to follow His commands without fear.  Surely He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  He shows Himself strong to those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  Trust Him enough to keep His commands.  You will receive help and a promise to boot!

Respectfully,

jamie