Sheltering in the Shadow

I’m just so tired of it all. How many of us have said something similar–maybe even this week?  Whether it’s the battles we’re fighting daily, or turmoil within, or the chaos swirling in the world around us, it is exhausting us.

It’s ironic that one of the phrases of these times is “shelter at home.” We understand the intended meaning—stay at home to protect yourself from this virus prowling the world. But in these times, so much is going on both in the world and within us, that even “home” cannot offer sanctuary. For some, home might actually be the greatest battlefield, the place of least shelter.    

Is there any place of rest and refuge? As we face the tempest around us and within us, is there any hope of finding sanctuary?

Psalm 91:
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

In the last few weeks, one image from Psalm 91 has dwelled in my mind: living in the shelter of the Most High.

Our Creator God says He will give us the rest we long for. Living in His shadow brings refuge and safety even though the battle rages hotter than ever and seems endless.

This “finding rest” is not an escape mechanism, a desire to simply hide our heads in the sand. To the contrary, we know we are in a great battle; the Scriptures often speak of this and give us instructions and encouragement. The psalmist wrote that God trains us to do battle, to chase down our enemies and grind them to dust. That doesn’t sound much like hiding our head in the sand, does it? Paul writes of putting on the armor God gives us, fighting the good fight, and standing firm in the battle we must fight against dreadful spiritual forces and powers.  

No, there is no such thing as running away and hiding from it all.

But we all do need shelter, a place of safety, a sanctuary of rest, a refuge where our strength will be replenished.

What does it look like to live in the shelter of the Most High? How do we do that?  

I’ve been thinking about dwelling, and where I’m dwelling, and how I can dwell in His shelter—because I want that rest, refuge, and safety.

For the next few Saturday mornings, I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you. I don’t have all the answers, and even when I do “know” the truth, I at times drift away from the right path. I welcome any insights you’ve been given about dwelling in the shelter of the Most High. Please share with all of us in the comments as we go through this series.

To begin, we’ll first need to answer a hard question: Will we believe Him when He says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest and peace, healing and joy”?  

We must believe with a belief that is deeper than saying the words; it must be belief that moves us to action. Then we will go to Him and live there.

I believe Him. I believe He can and will deliver on that promise. So I want to find every way I can to dwell in His shelter.  

And if you don’t yet believe Him enough to seek His shelter, He always answers the honest prayer of Lord, help my unbelief!

Book Tour, COVID style

We’ve all been walloped by the reality that we cannot control, predict, or depend on what we thought we knew of the future.

But there are certain things that God repeatedly and emphatically tells us we can always be certain of—no matter what the next hour, the next day, or the next year might look like.

Those certainties—and the difference this hope makes in our lives right now—are celebrated in the fourth book of the Hope Knows series, Facing the Future. The book can be used as a devotional, for group study, or as a springboard to dig deeper into Scriptures to keep your hope strong.

For the first three books in the Hope Knows series, YOU have taken the time and made the effort to come to ME at book signings or to purchase your books at local stores. Now it’s my turn to come to you.

Since no book signing event is planned, I’d love to do a book “tour.”

If you want to buy a signed copy of the book, I’ll deliver one to your doorstep, your porch, your backyard picnic table, or whatever socially-distanced place works for you. If you prefer, I’ll send your copy in the mail.

The planned “tour” to deliver books is this Saturday, May 23. PM me on Facebook, or contact me through the email on my blog site for more details or to order.

Looking forward to sharing hope with you.
Elaine

P.S. The Hope Knows books are also available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Or you can order directly from the publisher, http://www.jpvpress.com. JPV Press has two special offers right now. When you order Facing the Future, you’ll receive the third book in the series Can God be  Trusted? FREE. Or, if you’d like the complete set of all Hope Knows books, a special price saves you $15 on the four. Click on their Bookstore.

Count the Stars

“But, Lord, that’s impossible!”

That’s what Abram said when the Lord told him he and his wife would have a son. We can’t be too critical of Abram. The situation did look impossible. Haven’t we often reacted the same way to a promise the Lord has given us?

“Look up at the sky and count the stars–if you can,” the Lord told Abram.  “That’s how many descendants you will have.”

Count the stars. 

When I’m tempted to say, “Lord, it’s just not possible… is it?” and wonder how He could ever make good on His promise, I’ll have to step outside and try to count the stars. The stars will remind me: That’s the extent to which He is able to make good on His promises. That’s the scale to which my God can do the impossible.

Count the stars, and hold firm to our great hope.

 

  • (Painting by Brenna Moan. Thank you, B.)

 

He’s never shaken

This is what our hope knows: God’s plans will win out.

Even now, although the world seems to be filled with so much that would puncture our hope, we know that God’s plans are still in place. He says He is still the same God who molded dust to make us. He has not changed throughout all of human history. His promises stand. His plans have not changed. They are firmly in place, in progress, and they will all be completed.

On the cover of the fourth Hope Knows book is a flowering almond branch. It recalls the Lord’s words to Jeremiah, who saw an almond branch in a vision. “And the Lord said… it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans” (Jeremiah 1:11, 12).

God’s promises and plans will not be shaken. We can live with great expectation!

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Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon or from JPV Press at http://www.jpvpress.com.

The time of perfection

Clouds and sky and the light of the heavens fascinate me. I sometimes wonder if that is because, from the time I was a little girl, I was taught the hope of Acts 1:10, 11–that someday Jesus Christ would return to earth in the same way He ascended to heaven, in the clouds.

There comes a time when we all have to make the choice whether or not we’ll believe what we were taught as children. And if we believe this hope that Jesus is again coming back to earth and if we live on this hope, then it changes how we view all of life and death and what is happening around us. It means we know there is more to come beyond the days we’re living now with jobs and bills, sickness and wars, politics and poverty. There is a time of perfection coming, and Christ’s return will usher in that time.

Why would we believe this? Do we have evidence it will happen? Does logic point toward this conclusion? Is there any anecdotal experience on which we can base our expectation?

Our hope rests on one thing: God says it will happen.

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Thoughts from  Facing the Future, Copyright © 2020 JPV Press, to be released April 28, 2020. Used with permission