The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the Lord , who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust: He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord — my refuge, the Most High — your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. I will satisfy him with a long life and show him my salvation.
Psalms 91:1-16 CSB
It is almost summer, and summer means camps, and camps mean new and renewed friendships.
These camps are meant for fun, but from time to time there are poignant moments that make you want to stop and say “Thank You Lord!”
Two Summers ago was just one of those moments. My cousin on my dad’s side of my family passed away– the Wednesday before I left to go to New Mexico for camp. My autistic mind went nuts. I distinctly remember thinking “Do I go to my cousin’s memorial service or go to camp and miss out?” When my dad called me with the news that Brandon had passed on– mercifully in his sleep — I asked if I needed to go to his memorial service. I was assured that Brandon would have wanted me to go to camp. So I went. I got more out of that moment than I had ever got before. God healed my emotions that year.
Fast forward to 2016.
I got the opportunity to help out at 3 different camps. There was two in the spring/summer, and I liked those two, but the one in the fall (Labor Day weekend) opened my eyes. I got the opportunity to meet some incredible people and kids but two in particular blessed me. Their names were Jake and Diego. Diego was 15 years old, and Jake wasn’t much older then Diego was. They were from different backgrounds (Jake’s dad Jeff was the Claude ISD Superintendent; he not long after camp accepted a job in Vernon as the Vernon ISD Superintendent effective at the start of the 2017-18 school year). I got to meet these two… And one of the two would tell me something that would make my weekend:
“I LOVE YOU!”
Diego told me that and it was if God was speaking directly to me. I believe God was telling me “I LOVE YOU!” through Diego. I will never forget that
Now to present day. We’re getting ready for our camp season to begin here in a few days, and I really can’t wait to see what small moments make me smile this year.
Lord, help me open my heart to others like never before and open my heart to Your love for me. I confess I haven’t been as close to you as I should be. Close the gap Lord and make me closer to You.
In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Angry at the Almighty?
Tell God the Truth
Have you ever had angry thoughts toward God, even if only for a second, in a children’s cancer ward, a nursing home, a housing project, a courtroom, or in front of images of dead bodies being pulled from a movie-theatre shooting massacre?
If you answered yes, then the important thing to realize is: you are not alone. You feel alone, I know. I know this because I often feel the same way, but really, nothing could be further from the truth. You feel alone not because you really are alone but because of the nasty, unwritten faith-law that demands we keep such “sinful” thoughts secret and hidden from each other.
I have decided—as would be the case with any other friend I truly love—that not telling God what’s on my heart feels like badmouthing God inside the closet of my mind. I am coming out of the closet as a Christian who is, some of the time, very angry at God. Okay, a lot of the time. God already knows this anyway, I imagine, because as Psalm 44:21 says, God knows the secrets of our hearts.
Job told God exactly how furious he felt and God did not run away from him, shouting, “Traitor!” or “Sinner!” Instead, God showed up. When I yell at God, I secretly want this more than anything. Most people who are really angry at God just want God to come back home, already, and stop being a run-away. Though God’s whirlwind explanation to Job might fail to satisfy, the fact remains that God rewards Job’s honesty with his presence.
The liberating truth is that ultimately, God doesn’t intimidate; God authenticates. What God authenticates is your heartrending struggle to be in relationship with Love even when it feels like Love has left you.
casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7 CSB
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:1-8 CSB
On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
Romans 10:8-10 CSB