April 01, 2020
He is our Refuge and Fortress

Steve

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April 1, 2020

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April 01, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

There is a story that has circulated in my family for some time.  I haven’t heard it in a long time because if my memory serves me correctly, it was a story that my grandpa Page told often when I was younger.  My grandpa was an avid “outdoorsman” as he loved to fish and hunt.  But as he got older the truth came out about his hunting endeavors.  I don’t think he ever really shot at a deer when he would go out in the woods.  I think he just liked to go out with his friends, get fresh air and let the deer pass him by.  The reason why I think this, is because of this story.

He explained how one Fall day he went out in the woods and he knew that it would most likely be his final hunting trip.  So, the thought that he had was “I better get a deer this time, so grandma won’t tease me anymore.”  As he sat there, a deer came into range and he debated about shooting the deer.  He said finally after what seemed like an eternity, he took the shot.  As the deer fell to the ground my grandpa quickly realized that he was all by himself and he had no idea what to do next.  My grandpa went to the deer and as he knelt over it he prayed.  He thanked God for the deer, and then as my grandpa put it, he prayed for “divine intervention” on what to do next.  After the short prayer he opened his eyes and was startled by a hand on his shoulder.  There stood a man who asked if my grandpa needed any help.  My grandpa said that he did, and the man then proceeded to field dress the deer and then carried it to his car for him. My grandpa then went to his glovebox to get the stranger a thank you gift of cash.  He grabbed it, turned to say thank you… but the man was gone. He was all by himself.  Everything around him was quiet.  He said he never heard the man walk up to him and he never saw or heard the man leave.  He truly believed that the man who helped him that day may have been an angel. 

I have read books and listened to stories about where people have seen an angel or interacted with an angel.  But I didn’t know these people on any personal level.  But, this was my grandpa.  If you knew him, you know that he was the sweetest, most caring man you may have ever met.  He was notorious for standing outside of church greeting every person with a smile and a good morning.  As a young boy I believed this story was true and believe that yet today.  If anyone deserved help from an angel it was him.  My grandpa!  This brings me to today’s passage which is Psalm 91.  I know that in the last several weeks this scripture has popped up in my news feeds on Facebook, it has been talked about on radio shows, so it may be familiar to you.  But as you read Psalm 91 today, I want you to think of the story I just told you about my grandpa.

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

God promises us in Psalm 91 that He is our shelter, a refuge when we are afraid.  The writer of this Psalm has faith in the almighty God as his protector.  He believed God would carry him through all the difficult things in life.  Whether it be danger or fear, he knew that God was with him no matter how intense these things became.  As believers, we can have that same courage and that same faith no matter what the circumstances.  As long as we dwell and abide with God and entrust ourselves to Him, he will protect us and keep us safe.  He will give us a peace that passes all understanding.  In verse 11 and 12, we read how there will be angels to protect us and watch over us.  This is one of the functions of angels in scripture… to watch over believers.  A few examples are found in the following verses, 1 Kings 19:5, Daniel 6:22, Matthew 18:10. Satan even quotes this particular scripture when he is tempting Jesus. It is comforting to know that no matter what the circumstances we face that God promises to watch over us even in the greatest times of stress and fear.  As my grandpa prayed over that deer, I know that he probably was nervous, that there was stress and probably fear. So, what did he do?  He prayed.  To this day I do believe that the “man in the woods” could have been an angel.  If not an angel,  I do believe that God brought someone in to help my grandpa with his deer.  After all, we are promised by God himself that He is our shelter and refuge and that He will help us in all circumstances as we love and abide in Him.

Dear Lord,

My prayer is today that I would put 100% of my trust in you.  That I would have the confidence in you during these uncertain times, that yes you are my shelter and my refuge when I am afraid.  I pray that my fear wouldn’t consume me.  That my faith would be strong in you.  My protector.  I pray that no matter how intense my fear becomes that I would abide in you.  That I would give my whole self to you.  Lord I know that you love me.  I know that I am your child.  Thank you for your promises of unconditional love. 

Lord, I also pray for our leaders.  Our local leaders and national leaders.  May you guide them and may they put you first in their decisions.  I pray that you would be glorified through this.  That people would turn to you and surrender their lives to you.  Lord, I pray that this would be a revival of not just America but of the world.  Lord be with those that are on the front lines in the hospitals, the clinics, those that are helping people who are sick with this virus.  Put your hand of protection over every single one of them.  Thank you for them.  Lord, I love you.  Thank you for who you are and what you have done for us through Jesus, so that we can have a relationship with you.

In your son, Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.

Love you and praying for you all!

Pastor Steve

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