Do You Need Protection?

by Tracy Hester

Psalm 91 beautifully illustrates one of God’s characteristics as being our protector. In reading the entire Psalm, I get comfort in knowing God is my security guard and his host of angels. This Psalm reminds us that if we trust God and not in anything else, he will deliver and protect us from the snares set up by the enemy. The enemy wants to hinder, discourage, and distract us by making us forget who we are in God and the power we have as Christians. 

Psalm 91 is one of the if and then passages in the Bible. Meaning if we do something, then God will do something as well. Here are a few examples:

“When you sit enthrone under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.” Psalm 91:1 TPT

“When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.” Psalm 91:9, 10 TPT

“Because you have delighted in me as my great lover, I will greatly protect you. I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face.” Psalm 91:14 TPT

I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.” Psalm 91:15 TPT

The consistent message conveyed in Psalms 91: when we rely on God and stay in communion with him, despite our challenging and difficult times, he will place us under his care and protect us. Even if evil comes our way (and it will), it won’t destroy or hurt us because we have made God our habitation. A habitation is where we live or where we call home. It’s not a place we visit now and then, but it’s our consistent resting place.

So how do we make God our habitation? Well, first, it involves us not depending on our jobs, homes, families, or anything as the primary source for our security, filling us up, or making us complete or happy. Second, we can make God our habitation when we practice being in the presence of God consistently, not just on Sunday mornings. 

We can also practice being in God’s presence when our thoughts, actions, and desires focus on his ways and not our ways. This happens when we praise and worship him and consistently get our instructions from our life’s handbook—the Bible.

God’s presence is the only thing that can protect us completely, so run home and let God cover you!

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

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021 and releasing Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

Tracy is the author of All Things New. When we experience personal struggles, we often hope He will remove our pain and instantaneously lift us from despair. But God’s plans for us will not always work out in that way. So often God wants us to instead take a journey of healing that can change our lives.

Join the conversation: Have you made God your place of habitation? How did you do it?

Your Secret Is Safe

by Rhonda Rhea

The crumb tray. On a toaster. That’s a real thing.

I was having breakfast with my daughter Kaley and caught a whiff of burnt toast. When we checked, though, the toast was fine. The rest of the conversation went like this.

Me: I’ll bet you just need to empty the crumb tray.

Kaley: The….what?

Me: The crumb-catcher thing. You know. That pull-out tray that catches the breadcrumbs.

It took me a couple of minutes to convince her that I wasn’t making it up. And you can guess how I convinced her, right? Yes, I went over to her toaster and pulled out the crumb tray. Full? Um yes. She was incredulous. And how had she and her entire household never caught fire?

I sent a video message to her sister so we could semi-good-naturedly rib her together (sorry, but it’s what Rheas do).

My video to Allie: Can you believe your sister never knew her toaster had a crumb tray?

Allie’s video back, looking at least as incredulous as Kaley: The…what?

My video: Noooo! You were supposed to lovingly mock her with me.

Allie’s next video, holding an overflowing crumb tray: I had to check to make sure you weren’t pranking me.

Me, in a later video message to both daughters: I am a failure as a mother.

It’s interesting to note that what was most compelling to both daughters was that there was this secret place. A secret compartment, right under their respective noses. I don’t think they could’ve seemed more surprised if I’d told them there’s a secret door that leads to a secret passage that leads to a secret treasure.

It’s more interesting to note the compelling nature of an altogether different secret place. The writer of Psalm 91 knew about it. “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty,” (Psalm 91:1 CSB). Young’s Literal translates it this way: “He who is dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, in the shade of the Mighty lodgeth habitually” (YLT). There is treasure in habitually lodging in this secret place, treasure greater than anything we could ever cook up.

We’re not compelled to go to this secret place so we can hide away from the world or keep private our walk with God. We’re not encouraged to live out our faith in isolation. There is much in God’s Word about doing life and faith together.

But there’s a secret place that’s just one-on-one ours. It’s our spiritual bread and butter—an intentional place in every day where we get away with Him. It’s not really about a particular space. It’s about this particular relationship.  How astounding it is that we are offered a meeting place with our Creator—an invitation to enjoy His presence! Our souls are fed at every meeting in that sweet place of talking, listening and fellowshipping.

Through Moses, God told us that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3 CSB). We have a choice. We can focus our heart-of-heart’s attention on our physical needs. Bread alone. Ironically, that’s a hungry life of never feeling satisfied. Or we can make our overarching goal of every day to know and love Him so well that our truest desire is His will and His glory.

That secret safe place. It’s a real thing. A treasure. Spiritual daily bread—with no crumbs ever left over.

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

rhonda rhea

About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation: How often do you visit your secret place?

He’s Got Your Back

by Julie Zine Coleman

One evening, a few of us sat around swapping labor stories. I had to laugh—we are all well past childbearing age—but each labor experience was as fresh in our minds as if it were yesterday. There are some things you just don’t forget.

I sheepishly informed my friends: I wasn’t much on natural childbirth. In fact, I considered myself the president of the Epidural Club. I walked into labor and delivery each time and announced to all within earshot: My name is Julie Coleman. I want an epidural. Please have the anesthesiologist standing by. (This worked two out of four times for me. I had my twins naturally, but not by choice.)

Some of you childbearing-supermoms out there are probably offended. Please forgive me, for I’m no supermom. I hate pain. If you’ve never had an epidural, let me tell you, they are amazing. Once it is administered, you lay in your hospital bed, totally relaxed. Once in a while you notice the needle indicator on the monitor climbing. Wow, you calmly think. This is a strong contraction. Then you close your eyes and take a little nap.

Yes, I am a fan of epidurals. They render you totally numb below the waist. You see the contractions with your eyes, but that’s as far as the affect goes. Beautiful.

The writer of Psalm 91 had a similar kind of experience. “You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon…you will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.” The psalmist was no idiot. He was well-aware of the danger that lurked around every corner. But he was also aware of God’s protection.

Some danger we can see with our eyes. But there is a second kind of danger. Paul warns us of this unseen threat: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The bigger threat to our well-being exists in the spiritual realm.

We may not be able to see it, but it exists, alright. We get a rare glimpse into the world of the unseen from 2 Kings 6. The prophet Elisha had offended the King of Aram, who angrily sent horses and chariots to surround the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. When the servant rose in the morning, he saw the city was surrounded. “Alas, my master!” the servant gasped. “What shall we do?”

Elisha could see the threat as well as his servant, but he didn’t blink an eye. “Do not fear,” he encouraged the trembling man. “For those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha then prayed that the Lord would open the servant’s eyes so that he might see the reality of God’s protection. The writer of 2 Kings tells us: “The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Like the writer of Psalm 91 or a woman in labor after an epidural, Elisha looked with his eyes and acknowledged the danger, but the sight did not bring fear to his heart. Why? He knew there was more to the story than what his physical eyes could see. And this knowledge made all the difference.

We have an enemy bent on our destruction. Peter tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. He goes after our weaknesses, finding any place he can use to gain a foothold in our lives. He purposes to extend our anger into bitterness, temptation into disobedience, and pride into narcissism. We give him an inch; he turns it into a mile. He is a formidable foe. He is aided in no small part by our own sinful nature, that part of us that relentlessly drives us to act in ways that oppose the God we love.

We exist side-by-side with things bent on our destruction. So how can we live without fear? The psalmist answers that in the last stanza of his song, giving voice to God Himself: “Because he has loved Me, I will deliver him… He will call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see my salvation.”   

We can look dire circumstances in the eye with confidence. What we see with our eyes should not bring fear to our hearts. Why? God has our back.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

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

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300

About the authorJulie Zine Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or crafting. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a revealing look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: Of what are you afraid?

What Would Jesus Say to Us about the Corona Virus?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.                                      Matthew 10:28 NIV

Have you wondered what Jesus would say to us about the corona virus? My inbox is full of emails from merchants and event planners sharing the precautions they’re executing to protect us from this virus.

My daughter, who works in airline reservations, had her shift hours doubled to handle flight cancellations. It doesn’t take a genius to do the math on that one! Paying your employees overtime to cancel your source of revenue? The threat of this virus has shaken our economy and our sense of well-being.

So, what would Jesus say? Several thoughts come to mind. Let’s look at one.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 NIV).

I bet you didn’t see that one coming! While the Bible is full of verses that assure us of God’s care and protection over our earthly lives (Psalm 91; Matthew 6:25-27), this one reminds us of a core issue. We all will die. Some of us will die peacefully; others will die painfully, but either way, life on this earth will end.

How we live and whether or not we are ready to face eternity is more important than how and when we die. While the New Testament speaks of a time when Jesus will return and all believers who are still alive will meet Him in the air, statistically speaking, you have 100% chance of your life on earth coming to an end (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

I recently spoke with a young man who said his sister had canceled her family birthday party because of the virus threat. I mentioned that we all will die and need to be ready to die. This 38-year-old man said he’d had a brush with death just weeks earlier. He described riding his motorcycle down a city road when a rolled carpet fell off the truck in front of him, knocked him off his bike and sent him skidding across 100 feet of asphalt. He showed me the pink skin running down his arm where the asphalt had penetrated the layers of his clothing.

“When they put me in the emergency vehicle, I fell apart. I couldn’t believe I was still alive,” he said.

Jesus’ words really are a source of comfort to those who embrace them. For He reminds us there is only One with the power to destroy or to save an eternal soul. And He has gone to extreme measures to save us.

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

If you were to die today and God were to ask you why He should let you into His heaven, what would you say?

Would you tell Him you’ve done your best?

That your good deeds outweigh your bad?

Your very eternity rests on getting this right. The Bible supplies the correct answer.

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV). Have you put your trust in Jesus? Do you believe His death paid for your sins—past, present, and future—and His resurrection secured your eternal life (1 John 5:13)? If so, you have nothing to fear from the corona virus, or anything else, for that matter.

How much head space is the corona virus taking up in your mind? We should be wise in our actions. We should heed the precautions to wash our hands and protect ourselves. But let’s be counted among those who encourage each other to faith, not fear. Fear actually suppresses the immune system we need to fight not only this virus but other serious illnesses, including cancer.

Let’s follow the Bible’s admonition to: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8 NLT).

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What Would Jesus Say to Us about the Corona Virus? – encouragement 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: How are you coping with our present circumstances?

Grateful for Little Things

by Crystal Bowman

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1 NIV

My late cousin Marion spent most of her life in adult foster care or nursing homes. We lived in the same town, but since she was much older than I was, I rarely went to see her. She was closer to the age of my parents, who lived 40 miles away but regularly visited her. The week before Easter, my parents would always bring her an Easter lily. One year, my mom and dad were both sick, so my mom asked me to bring Marion an Easter lily. I thought it was a lot to ask, but I honored my mother’s wishes with a not-so-great attitude.

Since those were the days before online ordering, I went to our local supermarket, bought the lily, and delivered it to her with my three young kids in tow. “We’ll only stay a few minutes,” I whispered as I knocked on the door. Marion was thrilled to see me. She knew every cousin by name (dozens of them!) and greeted me with a bright smile. “Hello, Crystal! It’s so good to see you. And who are these children?”

I introduced Marion to my two little boys and my baby girl. Spending time with her was so delightful that we ended up staying for more than an hour. What impressed me the most was the joy that flowed from her because she was grateful for “little” things. “I’m so thankful for my window!” she said.  “It allows me to enjoy God’s creation. I love watching the birds find their food and shapely clouds sweep across the sky.” She was also thankful for her radio, which allowed her to enjoy hearing Christian music, messages from pastors, and current events.

After that initial Easter lily delivery, my kids and I went to visit her regularly. I usually went with the intent of cheering her up, but I was the one who was always blessed. Through the years, we brought her pictures my kids had colored, cards they made, and home-made holiday decorations.

But one visit will stand out in my mind forever.

As we entered her room, she greeted us with her usual smile. When I asked how she was doing, she replied with child-like enthusiasm, “I have a new job! I get to fold the towels when they come out of the dryer. They smell so fresh and clean, and I fold each one the best I can. It makes me feel useful, and when I do my best, it brings glory to God.”

The Apostle Paul encouraged the early Christians in Colossae to set their minds on things above, and to live with a God-focus and a grateful heart. In Colossians 3:17 (NIV) he says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This message is timeless and applies to us as well. In everything we do, we have an opportunity to do our best, to the glory of God, with thanksgiving.

I admit that I am not always thankful for daily chores, inconvenient requests, or business demands. Maintaining a positive focus and an attitude of thankfulness is a daily challenge. But every now and then, when I have a load of fresh towels to fold, I think of Marion and fold each one the best that I can to the glory of God.

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Grateful for Little Things – encouragement from Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Crystal BowmanAbout the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids. She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

Ten percent of women struggle with infertility. Mothers In Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms contains 30 hope-filled stories from contributors like Valorie Burton, Katie Norris, and Shay Shull, whose journeys through infertility and miscarriage to adoption and miracle births will buoy your faith. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Join the conversation: Is there someone in your life that has lived out an important truth in front of you?

 

 

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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