Skip to main content

Get to the shelter!

I am pleading with the Eternal for this one thing, my soul’s desire:  To live with Him all of my days—in the shadow of His temple, to behold His beauty and ponder His ways in the company of His people.  His house is my shelter and secret retreat.  It is there I find peace in the midst of storm and turmoil.  Safety sits with me in the hiding place of God.  He will set me on a rock, high above the fray.  (Psalm 27:4-5 VOICE)

"Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books - especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day." (John Wooden)  Mr. Wooden was a college basketball coach, spending most of his career at the UCLA campus coaching the team into national play-offs and huge wins.  His "drive" was a bit more "internal" than it was "external" though - for his drive came from the relationship he had with his Savior.  As he led the team into award-winning status, his main goal was to impart the pleasure he had in his relationship with Jesus - often commenting to his players that basketball was important, but nothing was more important than a relationship with Jesus.  I think he managed to echo the words David penned about living with God all the days of his life and finding both a shelter and a retreat in the presence of the Almighty.

Every moment of each and every day, there is a place of shelter and retreat for those who have entered into relationship with Jesus.  In examining the meaning of the word "shelter", I found the following:  "Something beneath, behind, or within a person which protects from storms, threats, adverse conditions - a refuge."  Living in Arizona, we don't have storm shelters, although wind speeds can be significant during our monsoon season of late summer.  Those who live in tornado zones create these shelters not far from their homes. They become a place of refuge and shelter during the raging storms all around them. They often emerge from the safety of the sometimes small, but well-built space to find all which they had once counted on or known to be no longer there.  In the storm, they were "kept" in the recesses of the safe place.  After the storm passed, they emerged to most often begin the task of rebuilding.

In God's sheltering arms, the task of protection is up to him.  He is like those secure walls of the storm shelter, but he is also the one who does the work of rebuilding what must be there in our lives.  Sometimes the storms of life seemingly "sweep away" those things which have become the things we counted on the most to give us a sense of safety and security.  In the midst of the storm, we come to recognize the only true safe "place" is under the wings of the Almighty!  His protection knows no end.  His reach cannot be extended too far.  His presence forms walls of protection around, even when the storms rage and howling winds roar.

A shelter is of no value if it is just built.  It would be like having one in my yard, but never having the need or inclination to use it.  Sometimes we might do well to find shelter even when the storms aren't raging!  In Arizona, shelter comes in the form of a covered patio, a large shade tree, and a supply of water.  The storms we face here are different than those of the Midwest, but are devastating when one has not "sheltered" or found "refuge" during the most difficult and testing of extreme conditions which tax our bodies, minds, and spirits. The storm we face here may not come with the raging winds and roaring commotion, but the building heat and unrelenting long days can take a toll for those who have not learned to find refuge from it.

In life, we can take refuge in a great many things, but none quite shelters in the same way as the presence of God.  We cannot hope to "ride out the storm" without the safety of his refuge. When all is in constant turmoil around you, and even when the threat is not fully recognized, the place of profound protection and provision is under the shadow of his wing. As Mr. Wooden said so well, you build a shelter in the relationship you have with Jesus and then you store up for the times of storm - through times in prayer, study of the Word of God, and just "hanging out" with Jesus.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce