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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I don’t see many fortresses these days.  My neighborhood doesn’t look like a neighborhood of fortresses.  I have been to Fort Sumter, and a couple of other historic sites, so I can conjure the image of a fortress.  The purpose of a fortress is to keep people out, and also to keep people in.

Reading Psalm 48 today taught me about fortresses.  I guess back in the time David was writing this psalm, having, and being in, a fortress was a big deal. Of course David was talking about Jerusalem when he said “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!…the joy of all the earth…her citadels….a fortress.”  Are you getting the image of a college in Charleston?  🙂

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He goes on to say in a very poetic manner that some kings came together and saw the fortress and, basically, flipped out.  It says they trembled like the “anguish of a woman in labor.” If you watch Call the Midwife, you get it.

So a fortress back then was a big deal.  It was touchable.  It was seeable.  You could walk around in it.  Very tactile.  David goes on to say that “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever.  This is where we come in.

Today’s fortress, protected by God, is in our mind.  We must hear God’s word through the Bible.  We must see with the eyes of our heart that God gave his Son as the ultimate blood sacrifice so that we could “Walk around Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels.”  God is saying that not only will he stay with us forever, he will protect us from the enemy.  As long as we are in, the enemy is out.

Remember this the next time your circumstances get in the way of your peace.  When your son or daughter’s actions hurt your heart, when your pet is ill, when a friend wounds you, when your spouse wounds you, when you cannot control something you want to control, please remember, you are in God’s fortress.  Imagine it in your mind.  Inside. Safe. Protected.  With your good and awesome friend, Jesus.  Pray for yourself and your attitudes to be changed, inside the fortress with our God.

 

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I gave my problems to Jesus today,
And in his fanciful merciful way
He took my hands, curved them just so
Helping hold those problems I would not let go.

He and me, we blew breath on that living dish,
And like a dandelion wish,
Those problems swirled to ash
Bringing my heart peace in a dash.

To my amazement the ashes they flew,
To what end I hadn’t a clue.
Up to the heavens new stars they made
Light from the darkness the Master bade.

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Satan comes to steal and destroy
He has so many faces
What today will be his ploy
And where will be his places?

 Will he look like a friend,
   a sister or brother
Will he be your spouse
Or will he be another?

The face he takes you may not know
But the good news is
No matter how below
    you’ve sunk in regression
Jesus has taken all your transgression.

So do not fear
For you are beloved
Let Jesus steer
And daily accept the dove.

 

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Mom and me at IHOP

Mom and me at IHOP

Mom and me went to church today.  I was so glad to have mom join me because no other members of my family went with me today.  Teenagers and husbands, what can you do with them?

So mom and I, we recreated our many many experiences of going to Arsenal Hill Presbyterian Church as I was growing up.   From the times I remember riding the rocking horse in the nursery to the time I was confirmed to when I left for college, my mom was there by my side.  Through all those boring sermons. (They only became non-boring when I was an adult with my own children.)  I suppose mom got more out of those sermons than I did, although they were soaking into my soul and creating a love for Jesus Christ and the other Trinity members.

Yes, as I sung with the Youth Choir my mom was there every time.  I had a favorite aunt who would come pick me up for Youth Group as I entered my teen years, and she attended Camp Longridge as a chaperone each summer.  Good, good memories.  Camp Longridge was where I accepted Christ, the date memorialized in my Living Bible, July 18, 1975 at 10:30 pm.  In this same Bible I wrote quotations and even had a few people sign it, like a yearbook.  I note one today – “Is what I’m living for worth Christ’s dying for?”

Mom and me, I wonder how many times we said the Lord’s Prayer together, the Apostle’s Creed, or sung the Doxology?  We both had terrible voices, we were so timid singing it came out a whisper.  But we were there, and we were doing it together.

My mom wrote in my Bible, “I try to live each day so that if I die, someone will miss me.”  And I do miss her.   She entered Heaven on January 4th of this year.  But as surely as I went to church yesterday, on Mother’s Day, she was sitting beside me signing the Doxology, so low I could barely hear her.

Mom and Sam

Mom and Sam

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Stray Dogs

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I saw him by the side of the road, in a gas station/truck stop parking lot.  I hadn’t planned on stopping, but he pulled at my heartstrings.  I turned the car in and tried to get him to come to me, but he wouldn’t.  For every step I took toward him, he took two back.

A minute away from giving up, I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler about the stray she picked up one day.  She said if I would keep trying, she would go in and get something for me to feed him.  She came back with a chicken nugget plate.  The dog would eat good today.

He had gotten out of my sight, so I hunted up the long haired black lab-looking dog, and threw a couple of pieces of chicken towards him.  I sauntered back to my car. The black dog followed, and brought a friend with him, a brown mutt- looking dog.

While tearing the chicken into pieces and tossing it to them, I soothingly spoke about how they could come home with me and I would find them somewhere to call home.  They could have someone to love them, play with them; they could have a safe yard, and maybe a couch to lie on.

All to no avail.  They approached me as close as the chicken lay, but they always retreated.  Once the chicken was gone, they were too.

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Sitting in church the next day, I realized that people are like stray dogs.  Some of us see Jesus as a different species, one to be wary of.  We look at him with skepticism, perhaps thinking he may be laying a trap for us.  Not letting ourselves believe the great mercy that awaits, we turn aside before he can capture us with a sly move.

My heart wants to say, come, where you will be loved.  Where you will have peace, comfort and a place to call home.  There is no trick, no gimmick.  Just a sincere unfailing love waiting for you to accept it,  accept him.

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I can never escape from your spirit!

  I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there;

  if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning,

  if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

even there your hand will  guide me.

  and your strength will support me.

                     New Living Bible, Psalm 139: 7 – 10

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The sunny day I captured God

I reached into a mountain brook

And pulled out a stone

Flat on one side, it looks like a nut,

Sparkly, colorful on the other

Just like us.

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