Thursday, July 30, 2009

The guy on the horse

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:8)

I recently visited Gettysburg National Military Park, site of the bloodiest conflict ever fought on U.S. soil. Nearly 1,400 monuments dot the now silent battle field in memory of 51,000 casualties and what was then a chance meeting between General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and General Mead’s Union Army of the Potomac.

On the cover of the park’s Official Map and Guide is an artist’s illustration of one of the many skirmishes occurring during those three fiercest days of combat in 1863. In the middle of the fray, with troops pounded by artillery and rifle fire and the ground strewn with dead and wounded, sits a man atop a white horse.

Who is this guy?

Amidst the chaos of battle it’s almost impossible to understand how the foot soldier kept his sense of direction, much less knew the enemy’s position. Was the figure on the white horse helping point direction?

Did the drained and fatigued soldier, already exhausted from a war two years in the making, look to this leader to be reminded of the purpose for which he fought?

Far from home, family, and those he loved, did the image on the horse give confidence to the soldier that he was not alone? Was he the one encouraging, “Don’t give up, men! Keep fighting! I’m with you!”?

The New Testament book of Ephesians reminds us of the battle we are in (Ephesians 6:11-12). Our struggle, however, is “…not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We desperately need a strong, mighty leader; and throughout God’s Word, we are given promise upon promise of direction (John 14:6, James 1:5), the reason for standing firm (Nehemiah 4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18), and encouragement that we are not alone (Matthew 28:20).

Are you in need of encouragement or direction today? As we move on, let’s fix our eyes on our mighty leader, Jesus Christ, “…the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Blessings, my friend.

Faithfully Following

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What dwelling?

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

(Psalm 91:1, 5-6)

Coming up the lower level stair steps I greeted my husband at the kitchen door, “Hey, hon. You’re home early today.” His response was not what I expected, “Well, I guess I’m going to be home for a while. I lost my job.”

Not again! Barely out of boxes from our most recent move just seven months earlier, we could hardly get our arms around what had happened. So we put our arms around each other...and in the promises of our Most High God.

Psalm 91 became my source of encouragement and assurance during the next months. Frustrated I constantly fought fears and doubts about my future—“Dwelling? What dwelling? Lord, I really am thankful for every place we’ve lived and each house you’ve given us. But, Father, seven moves in 16 years is a lot and I’m weary. I’m worn out from picking up, packing up, and starting over. I feel as if I’m constantly living in ‘temporary’.”

Rich in metaphors and speaking of physical as well as spiritual safety, Psalm 91 promises deliverance from every type of danger. Nothing can touch those whom God protects. We’re assured rest if we dwell in the Almighty’s shadow (v. 1) and protection from harm and disaster if we make the Lord our dwelling (v. 9-10).

Sixteen months since losing his job, we’re settling in our new physical dwelling—new job, new state, new community, and new friends. Spiritually, I continue to stay firmly entrenched under His shadow. I realize life isn’t all roses. If it were, verse 15 would have no meaning, “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Blessings, my friend.

Faithfully Following