By John Grant, Week Eighteen, 2020
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.“(Ps 9:9).
“In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God” (Ps 62:7).
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Ps 91:2).
In the Old Testament, when Israel conquered, divided and possessed the land of Canaan, God designated six special cities called the “Cities of Refuge.” These cities were a place of safety for the man who accidentally killed another person. It was a place where he could flee and find protection from “the avenger of blood.” The one responsible for the accidental homicide would quickly need a place of sanctuary to escape the dead man’s family who would be pursuing him. Ultimately, the man’s innocence or guilt would be determined by the elders. But in the meantime, until the emotions subsided and tempers cooled, the one seeking asylum was safe in the city of refuge.
The cities of refuge were easily accessible and always available. Their gates were open to all who needed them. They were place of security, shelter and safety– a constant reminder of God’s grace and mercy. No wonder Jehovah is often referred to by the Psalmist as his refuge. The word “refuge” is from a verb that literally means “to flee.” It denotes “a shelter; a rock of refuge.” Inherent in the word is the idea of safety. Care. And protection from danger.
Life is filled with many trials, troubles, temptations and even tragedies. Sickness. Suffering. Death. Divorce. Financial setbacks. All of these trouble us. Or our friends, family or brethren at some time in our lives. Currently, we’re experiencing a crisis as we deal with COVID-19. It has filled many with worry. Fear. Even panic. Sadly, some have even taken their own lives due to the financial fall out as a result. This is a time that calls for calm. Faith. Trust. And reliance on the Lord. We have a place of refuge to which we can seek shelter during this storm.
When life as we know it has been turned upside down, when everything seems to be falling apart, and when the future looks uncertain and even foreboding, we know that our God is a dependable fortress to whom we can flee, find protection and feel safe.
This is something that the secular world has trouble understanding. Vice-President Pence has been ridiculed for his faith and calling for people to pray during this crisis. Mike Lindell, the founder of My Pillow, was unmercifully mocked for his statement of faith at a recent Cornoavirus press conference for encouraging people to pray and read their Bibles.
Faith in God during these stressful times provides comfort, consolation and contentment, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Through prayer, meditation and the promises of scripture our hope lies not in political or scientific solutions, but in the power, providence and protection of the Almighty.
Our God of righteousness. He offers a divine shoulder to lean on. The everlasting arms. We share in divine association and fellowship. He’s our rock and fortress. He lifts us to new heights. And even in tough times we can experience the joy of our salvation.
God is not a spectator in our suffering, but a shelter for those struggling during the severe storms of life. Lean on Him and on Him alone as we travel these pandemic waters.
Contributed by The Preacher Man Ken Weliever THEPREACHERSWORD.com
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
By owning fewer possessions, we reserve time, money, and energy for the things that matter most. So, take some time to focus on the things you own and what can be removed, today or in the future. The Minimalist
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Max Lucado notes: The Jesus of many people is small enough to be contained in an aquarium that fits on a cabinet. He never causes trouble or demands attention. If you want a goldfish bowl of Jesus, steer clear of the real Jesus Christ. He changes everything! No, Jesus doesn’t make you sexy, skinny, or clever. Jesus doesn’t change what you see in the mirror. He changes how you see what you see. He will not be silenced, packaged, or predicted. He is the pastor who chased people out of church. He is the prophet who had a soft spot for crooks and whores. He is the king who washed the grime off the feet of his betrayer. He turned a breadbasket into a buffet and a dead friend into a living one. And most of all, he transformed the tomb into a womb out of which life was born life . . . your life.
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How John Newton found God’s amazing grace:
In 1748, John Newton converted to Christianity during a huge storm at sea. He was born in 1725, the son of a ship commander. He went to sea at the age of eleven and eventually became the captain of a slave ship.
He had received religious instruction from his godly mother, but she died when he was a child and he gave up any religious convictions. However, during a violent storm, he called out, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” He believed that God addressed him through the storm and that his grace had begun to work on his life. He called March 10, 1748, his “great deliverance.”
Newton eventually became a disciple of George Whitefield and came to admire John Wesley. He taught himself Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and surrendered to a call to ministry. He eventually wrote 280 hymns for the church, of which the most famous is “Amazing Grace.” He later moved to pastor a church in London, where he influenced William Wilberforce. Though he lost his sight in his later years, he continued preaching until his death in 1807.
The following is on his grave marker. “Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.”
Jesus used a storm to bring his amazing grace to a lost soul, and through him, to the world.
What fears would you trust to that Grace today?
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
When Abraham Lincoln was facing the crisis of a divided nation during the civil war, he was faced with many tough decisions. Often, he was second guessed. Criticized. And even mocked. It’s no wonder he admitted, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.”
There are times in our lives when we are confronted with the reality that we are not in control of the world around us. The Minimalist
Even in total silence, it’s hard to hear God’s voice over the screaming claims of the world when God tries to pierce our heart, that’s what Satan does. Dwight Short
Leadership is often easy during the good times. It’s when everything seems to be against you— when you’re out of energy and you don’t want to lead—that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sands of emotion. Richard Gonzmart
We always claim that our families are our number one priority. Yet, how often do we put them on the back burner. The Minimalist.
Spend less time looking at the horizon and more time enjoying the things immediately around. The Minimalist
Don’t spend so much time thinking about what God could do in your life that you fail to focus on what God is doing in your life. Kelly Knouse