Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 22 – A towering rock of safety

O God, listen to my cry!  Hear my prayer!  From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed.  Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.  Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings.   (Psalm 61:1-4   NLT)

During a tense 13-day period in 1961 Americans prepared for nuclear war by buying all the canned goods they could find, stockpiling water, and working on makeshift bomb shelters in their back yards.  For a year before the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had encouraged people living in the US to build their own bomb shelters in case of nuclear fallout from war with the Soviet Union.  And when Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba, 90 miles off the coast of Florida, nuclear war became a real possibility.  Fortunately that war never happened, and even if it had, most of those homemade shelters would have been completely inadequate.

In the past kings built castles with high walls and moats to protect themselves from enemies.  In the time of Jesus, shepherds herded sheep into enclosures made of stone or briars, and would lay down in the door opening as a human shield to prevent lions and wolves from attacking their sheep.  Today advanced security systems are available for homes and cars, we have bulletproofing and burglar bars, identity theft protection and insurance for every imaginable disaster.  But are we really any safer from our true enemy?

The real terror that attacks us is spiritual.  Our fears of failure, loss and humiliation are a great playground for the devil’s colorful imagination.  Attacks that start with our minds and toy with our emotions can easily transform into real physical attacks on our families and possessions.  Allowing vivid thoughts to dance around in our heads of how powerless we are and how urgently we have to “fix things” by our own flesh, just feeds those demons and gives them full permission to wreak as much havoc as they want.  No amount of insurance or bullet proofing will do you any good here. 

God’s promise is to be that strong tower where we rise above all the problems of this world.  He is a fortress where nothing can reach us, nothing can harm us.  Like a mother bird who hides her young under her wing, God lovingly protects us and asks us to trust Him.  But where is this strong tower that we need to run to?  His sanctuary.  In one way that signifies His house, the church where you receive God’s Words of life for you to live out.  But also it means that holy place within yourself that you set aside only for God, where His Spirit is always welcome to speak, correct and inspire you.  

Don’t forget that no matter where you are – on the job, on the road, in the middle of a group of hostile people – you have a sanctuary to run to in your own heart and mind.  Run to Him, hear His Spirit speak, and gain the comfort you need for whatever issue you are going through.  He promises to be that tower to lift you high above your enemies and all the accusations that they bring, and then to guide you to know how to attack the devil back and win.  Just as the devil’s thoughts can transform into real physical attacks and losses, the thoughts and wisdom of God always transform into real physical protection and blessings that are untouched by evil.

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