Just Like a Mother Bird

by Sandra Chambers

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 NIV

During my morning walk today, I saw an interesting site—a tiny bird was chasing a much larger bird in midair. It was quite a sight as the little bird darted back and forth, at times getting fearlessly close to the larger bird. Back and forth they flew, zigzagging and circling overhead.

At first I was puzzled, expecting the larger bird to turn at any moment and give chase to the smaller one. Then it dawned on me—the smaller bird might be a mother bird protecting her nest that was nearby. The larger bird was possibly perceived as a predator after the eggs or young hatchlings.

When the midair confrontation finally stopped and the larger bird flew away, I began to think about several scriptures in the Bible where God is anthropomorphically described as a bird offering His wings of protection:

  • He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 NIV
  • I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4 NIV
  • How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7 NIV
  • I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1 NIV

In the New Testament, Jesus also speaks of himself as a mother hen, longing to protect God’s chosen people:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Matthew 23:37 NIV

We have a God who fiercely protects His own. He offers us comfort and refuge from the storms of life and from our enemies. We can do the same for those we love by pointing them to God and praying for them. As believers, God gives us the privilege and power to stand in prayer for our family members, our friends, our co-workers and church members. We can be like that mother bird who defends others because God has given us the mighty weapon of prayer to route our enemies.

When I face an enemy that seems bigger than me—whether in my life or the life of others, I want to remember that little bird’s boldness as it flew over and over again at the perpetrator. I want to remember that prayer is a mighty weapon and that God offers His wings of protection to all who would take refuge there.

This article has been brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sandra Chambers has a desire to help Christians find joy and purpose in their prayer life and has written a personal or small group study, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet—How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life. Her current writing projects include picture books and kid’s devotionals to help children find a personal relationship with God, develop godly character traits and discover their self-worth and purpose in God. Discover more about Sandra at sandrakaychambers.com.

Join the conversation: What other metaphors found in Scripture describing a characteristic of God are meaningful to you?

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The Wings of God

by Sheri Schofield

It’s nesting time in the wetland meadow near our house. The other morning when I walked down there, a red-winged blackbird was sitting high up on a power pole singing to his mate. A thrill of lovely notes would fill the air then he would wait. A shorter song would come back from his mate who was sitting on their eggs. Again, he would sing his little song and listen for her response. It was delightful to hear him checking up on her, letting her know he was there, watching over her.

Then he spotted me and his song turned to the danger warning: “Churp! Churp! Churp!” He followed me as I walked down the winding road, keeping me in sight at all times. Apparently, he saw me as a threat, for he sent out a shrill call to the other male birds in the meadow, and they all flew over to hop along the fence and follow me. The blackbird even began hovering over me as I walked! I could see its shadow following me, making sure that I did not attempt to go near its nest.

I put my hood up so I wouldn’t be taken by a surprise attack, and kept walking. The way that bird loved and protected his mate and family reminded me of God. “Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it” (Isaiah 31:5, NIV).

Though Isaiah is specifically speaking of God’s protection of Jerusalem, King David also speaks of the Lord’s protective action over all who trust in him. “For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him” (Psalm 34:7 NLT). I picture more angels hovering over God’s children, as well, protecting them from harm.

King Asa of Judah knew that he should rely on the Lord to defend and protect him. When the Cushites and Libyans brought a great army against him, he called on the Lord for help, and God gave him great victory. Asa had experienced the miracle that comes when one depends upon God. But then, when Asa had been king for thirty-six years, King Baasha of Israel went up to fight against him. Instead of again turning to the Lord for help, Asa made an agreement with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, and asked for his aid. The ploy was successful.

But God was not happy that Asa had turned to someone else. God sent the prophet Hanani to Asa with the message that God was displeased. He reminded Asa of the victory over the Cushites and Libyans: “…when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:8-9 NIV).

God’s angels hover over us, eager to help! When we need support, we can call out to God, and He will direct them to come to our aid. When we are ill, our first call should be to God, asking for His help and healing. He has given us the blessing of medicine, but He wants us to call on him first. When we are sad, we can run to the Lord, and He will wrap us in His loving arms and shelter us there. What a wonderful Father – hovering over us always, protecting us from harm! He longs for us to call out to Him!

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2 NIV

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sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: Has God ever demonstrated His protection to you?

Do God’s Restrictions Seem Unreasonable?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“Stop, stop!” I ran to stop the man clearing our land. I’d asked him to remove a section of trees so we could plant some evergreens behind our new house. He and his yellow bulldozer had gotten carried away. Or so I thought.

Now, years later, I regret stopping him.

At the time, I wanted to keep as many trees as we could. Now the gumballs that litter our yard and sprout up new trees remind me of my misplaced affection. While I’d focused on the immediate appeal of the trees, this pro had seen the trouble those trees would cause.

My gumball trees have helped me with some Old Testament laws and stories that sound over the top. One man remarked in a discussion about one such law, “Stoning for adultery? That seems rather severe.”

According to our culture, yes, that sounds unreasonable. But God gave that law to prevent the lifetime of suffering and loss some spouses, children, and even societies have suffered because of this kind of betrayal. Romans 6:23 and James 1:15-16 reveal the deadly nature of all sin. Old Testament laws and stories illustrate spiritual realities. God made the penalty for sin visible so we could visualize the damage wrong actions wreck on our souls and on the lives touched by our wrongs.

We live in a culture that normalizes sin. Illicit sex, recreational drugs, and other deviant behaviors are portrayed as personal expressions and even a means for finding personal meaning and fulfillment in life. The Bible acknowledges the passing pleasure of sin but warns that it ends in death—of character, relationships, spiritual life, and sometimes even physical life.

Is God Unreasonable…or Protective?

If you knew something would destroy your loved ones, wouldn’t your love motivate you to protect them? Is it loving or harsh to forbid your twelve-year-old from borrowing your car? Is it mean to take away the food that sends your child to the ER?

Just as I couldn’t imagine those shade trees causing so much aggravation, I can’t begin to comprehend the ripple effect of sin. But I can trust God’s wisdom and Word about those things. He is eternal. He makes no mistakes because He’s seen the end from the beginning. When He warns against certain behaviors and associations, I can trust that He does so to protect my life and well-being.

“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Philippians 2:15 NLT).

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Do God’s Restrictions Seem Unreasonable? insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you witnessed your sin or the sin of others causing destruction?

Under His Wings—Solid Shelter for Turbulent Times

by Crystal Bowman

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Psalm 91:4 NLT

As thunder rumbled and raindrops danced against the window, my infant granddaughter slept in my arms, melting into my chest. Oblivious to the afternoon thunderstorm, she rested in peace, knowing she was safe in my arms. My own body was also at rest, enjoying the tranquilizing motion of the silent rocking chair and absorbing the warmth of a six-pound human swaddle.

As I rocked back and forth, my eyes drifted toward a canvass print on the wall. The words of Psalm 91:4 were encircled by a pink and green floral wreath. “He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”(NLT) This verse reminded me that just as I was offering safety and protection to my granddaughter, God does the same for me. The metaphor of this verse is that of a mother hen, clucking to her chicks when she senses danger. She stretches out her wings and urges her young to run to her for shelter. Under her wings she will keep them safe from harm and the dangers that threaten.

We are living in turbulent times. Some of us are facing serious illness or financial challenges. Some of us have adult children who are questioning the faith they were taught in their younger years. Some have spouses who no longer desire to be married to them. Broken families and broken hearts have become the norm. But in the middle of these storms brewing around us, God spreads His wings and beckons us to run to Him for safety and protection.

How do we run to God? We do it with our words. God already knows what’s on our hearts, so why not have a conversation with him? God is a good listener. He is patient. He wants us to give Him our worries, so we can rest and be safe under his protective wings.

As we run to God and converse with Him, we can also invite Him to speak to us through His Word. Psalm 18:30 (NIV) says, “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” This gives us a second picture of God’s protection and shelter. The Bible is our compass, guiding our paths and giving us wisdom for daily decisions. The more we read it, the more we can hear from God, and the more we can be under His wings of safety.

No matter what you may be facing today, run to your heavenly Father, for there you will find protection. He will cover you with His feathers and shelter you with His wings. Sit at His feet as you mediate on His Word and talk to Him openly and honestly about anything that is on your heart. He is calling you to come and is waiting for you.

Thank You, Lord, that you are my shelter. Thank You for your promise to protect me and help me with whatever I may face today. I choose to run to You so I will be covered with your feathers.

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God provides the shelter we need turning these turbulent times – Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Crystal BowmanAbout the author: Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children including Our Daily Bread for KidsM is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps? She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences. She is a regular contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music. Crystal lives in both Florida and Michigan, and when she is not writing or playing with her grandkids, she loves to sneak outdoors to walk and talk with God.

Join the conversation: Tell us about a time when God’s protection was very evident in your life.

 

 

Calling 911

by Linda Rooks

When a hurricane was bearing down upon us in Florida a couple of years ago, my daughter in California texted me a comforting Psalm about God’s protection. A year later, when fires raged not far from her California home, I texted that same Psalm to her to reassure her that God was watching over her.

That Psalm became our go-to scripture whenever we needed peace to face frightening circumstances.

Months later while we were again dealing with a worrisome situation, my daughter shared an encouraging insight to me from this powerful Scripture. When we pray over this Psalm, it is like we are dialing 911, not to our neighborhood rescue, but to God. Psalm 91 is full of God’s promises. Its words can calm our fears and comfort our hearts with reassurance of God’s loving protection.

Psalm 91:1 begins:

“He who 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.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:1-4 NIV).

Life can be scary at times. Recently our world has been besieged with natural disasters. But sometimes a threat can be personally threatening. Things like a life-threatening physical ailment, relationship issues, or financial hardship cause us to fear as well.

Just as we dial 911 to bring the ambulance to our doorstep, when we call out to God, we summon the resources of heaven to our rescue. And just as we need to trust the paramedics to skillfully handle our medical situation, so we must trust our heavenly Father’s command of our circumstances. When we do, His peace will quiet our hearts and assure us that He is in control.

Later in the psalm, it says, “If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:10-11 NIV).

When we ask God to abide with us as our Lord and Savior, He will walk with us through our troubles, and we need only to call on Him to bring Him to our rescue. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91: 14-15 NIV).

Whenever you feel overwhelmed with fear, call God’s 911 hotline by turning to Psalm 91. His promises will calm your heart and remind you that you have a mighty God who loves you and watches over you. All you have to do is call on His name.

It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.  Isaiah 65:24 NASB

linda rooksLinda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation continues to bring strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.

Join the conversation: Has God ever rescued you when you have called out to Him?

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He Loves Ewe! Help from the Good Shepherd

by Pam Farrel

I am a true Bo Peep. I was a fourth generation shepherd, growing up on a Suffolk sheep farm in Idaho. If there is something I am familiar with, it is sheep! So when I read Psalms 23, one of the most familiar of all Psalms, it is very personal, encouraging and comforting.

You may also need comfort or encouragement in your own life right now. There are a few qualities of Your Good Shepherd that might encourage you, especially if you are feeling like you are traveling through the “valley of the shadow of death”.

The Shepherd is Personal

For example, the Psalmist’s opening line of “the Lord is my shepherd” became more precious when I became a shepherdess. The relationship between a lamb and a Shepherd can be a very close, caring, and even sometimes, an affectionate one. For example, my first 4-H lamb was a “bummer”, meaning the mother had rejected or abandoned her own offspring. These kinds of lambs need extra attention, so I feed my little lambie with a bottle twice a day, holding her in my arms like a baby. I carded her wool, I hand feed her grain, I walked her, and yes, I talked to her. On cold nights, I tucked her into a warm pen and if I heard howling wild dogs or coyotes, I got up to go out to check on her. I named her, “Bunny” because when she wasn’t in my arms, she would delight herself jumping from rock to rock in our pasture. Ours was an “everywhere that Pammy went her lamb was sure to go” kind of relationship.

The Shepherd is a Protector

It is the picture of my grandfather, father, and brother’s vigilance that I carry in my mind as what a truly protective good shepherd is like. Ravenous coyotes, wolves, and wild dogs roamed the vast expanse of high desert in the area our family farm was located. These savage dogs would attack and kill whole flocks of sheep in a single night. To help keep our sheep safe, we placed collars with bells on them. If we heard an occasional gentle chime, we knew our sheep were simply grazing calmly, but if we heard a cacophony of loud jingling, we knew the wild dogs were near by threatening an attack.

To protect the sheep, the men in my family would take turns staying in the pasture with the sheep. They would wrap themselves in a down sleeping bag with their “rod and staff” within arm’s reach. It was a cold, uncomfortable, thankless job, but it saved the lives of our entire flock of sheep and their lambs. To this day, when I picture my God as my Good Shepherd, I see him as my strong, powerful, and attentive protector.

The Shepherd is a Provider

When I read, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” that is exactly the experience of my upbringing.  I would often walk barefoot through the deep, lush, green grass of the pasture, as the sheep serenely grazed. I would take a blanket and a Bible and lie down and spend quiet hours communing with God. I might walk over to the creek and sit on the simple wooden plank bridge and sit and rest quietly, dipping my toes into the cool stream. This was my place of solace and restoration, far away from the chaos my alcoholic, raging, earthly father might be creating in our small farm house. To this day, resting in an open meadow, or the sound of gently tinkling chimes, remind me of the restorative rest the Good Shepherd can create even in the midst of chaos.

The Shepherd Is a Pursuer

As I have followed my Good Shepherd, I have seen how “goodness and mercy” has surely followed me  the days of my life.  One could phrase the meaning of “goodness and mercy” as something good, pleasant, beneficial, desirable, and best. Our Good Shepherd pursues us in  faithful love to give us these things.

I was going through one of my most challenging years of my life when my friend Jean asked me to co-author Discovering Hope in the Psalms. My Shepherd sent such goodness and mercy because He knew I needed to dwell in the green pastures of His hope-filled Word to survive what I was facing.

With the Shepherd, we can walk through the darkest valley without fear because the Good Shepherd sees his sheep, knows his sheep, and cares for each and every one of his sheep…including you!

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep…I know my own and my own know me.”   John 10:11, 14 NASB

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an international speaker and author of 45 books, including her newest, an innovative Bible study co-authored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher:  Discovering Hope in the Psalms.   Pam and Her husband Bill are Co-Directors of Love-Wise, a ministry to enrich, educate and encourage people’s most vital relationships. When not traveling for speaking, the Farrells enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, walking the beach and hosting guests on their floating home on the ocean.

 

 

Join the conversation: What attribute of the Shepherd do you need to hold on to hope?

Photo by Sam Loyd on Unsplash

When God Steps In

by Cindi McMenamin

Have you ever considered that some of the drama in your life could actually be God saving you from a more dangerous situation somewhere down the road?

It occurred to me recently that since God knows the entire script of my life – and yours – He can save us from what we never even knew was a threat.

I was reading Psalm 71 recently and highlighted verse 15 in particular, where the psalmist sings:

“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,

of your saving acts all day long –

though I know not how to relate them all” (NIV).

I started reflecting on God’s “saving acts all day long” and how many I might not even know about. I then started wondering if that is why some of the drama happens in my life. Could God be saving me from more dramatic and dangerous circumstances I never even considered?

I recently complained to God when I missed my turnoff on the way home from a speaking event and was inconvenienced by a detour in my attempt to get back on the freeway. Yet as I came upon a multi-car accident near home I found myself thanking God that I wasn’t on the freeway minutes earlier when it had happened.

How many times might God have saved you all day long and, like the psalmist says, there were too many incidents for you to sum them up?  Or maybe, like me, you were so caught up in the drama of not getting what you wanted that you failed to see what God had ultimately saved you from?

How many times have you seen Him at work:

Wow, it looks like that job I really wanted could have turned out to be a disaster. I’m so glad that it didn’t work out.

If I hadn’t forgotten something back at the house, I would’ve missed that important call.

 I’m so glad now that he never called back. I may have been spared from a troubled relationship.  

 I was upset that my car wouldn’t start that morning, until I saw on the news about the ten-car pileup on the freeway. I could have been in that accident if I had left the house on time.  

Yes, the Writer of your script and mine may allow unforeseen circumstances to come our way, but instead of stressing out because we’re inconvenienced, let’s instead thank Him for the bigger drama that He just might be protecting us from. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 Prayer: Lord, how many times have I complained about my circumstances when you were really protecting me from something far worse? Help me to trust You with all that I cannot see, knowing You are in control and You have my best at heart.

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including her newest, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and ministry, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Cindi’s book, Drama Free, Finding Peace When Emotions Oerwhelm You,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Are you aware a time when God has saved you from a lesser, or even terrible thing?