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Encouraged, Uplifted, and Protected

There is one statement we might just want to consider this morning: "I know ONE person who will never give up on me . . . GOD!" There are always going to be times when we find ourselves thinking everyone has given up on us, (it could be we are the ones giving up on ourselves), or that we want to give up on everyone else! When we feel like giving up, we are simply acknowledging we are at the end of our resources, aren't we? We are exhausted by the fight, worn down by the demands, or simply frustrated with the seemingly impossible odds. King David reminds us there are more "options" available to us than to just "give up" on life or ourselves. I think God wants us to hear this when we feel like the going is too hard or the times are too rough:

Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs. Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice. Our Lord, you bless those who live right, and you shield them with your kindness. (Psalm 5:11-12)

We need to learn to "run to God" when we are in the spot of feeling like it is time to give up. Whether we need "bolstering" for the continued battle, or just need to finally put down what we have been holding to so tightly, God's arms are the RIGHT place to be. To run into the arms of God for "protection" is always going to be the SAFEST place to be. Think about it a little - - - when we are facing insurmountable odds, don't we want someone to protect us from the very thing we see as insurmountable? When we are holding onto stuff we have been instructed to put down, don't we need something to "fill the space" where this "stuff" has been stored in our lives? David tells us to run to Jesus - for protection - not just to 'hide out'. I think of all kinds of "protective" things I have in my life. I have a silicone sleeve on my smartphone - not because it looks good, but because I may drop it and it is costly to replace! I have car insurance - not because I like supporting the insurance company, but because I don't drive these streets alone! I wear shoes outside, not because I enjoy having my tootsies enclosed in shoes, but because the Arizona sun makes the sidewalk hot enough to cook an egg! Protection is the preservation from injury or harm. Some of the things we have / use for protection are to protect us from injury - others are to protect us from harm. Injury suggests something we might have happen to us because of how we respond to a situation or in a particular circumstance. Harm is something that might catch us unaware - like a tornado out of nowhere.

We will experience encouragement and uplifting when we run to God for protection. When faced with harm - run to him. When needing to avoid injury - run to him. What we often find ourselves doing is running to others - not sure why that is, but it is a fact I have observed in my own life. We run to what we find comfort in rather than running to the one who provides a "covering" for us. The word "protection" comes from the Latin protectionem - a covering over. Take this a step further, and you will find the root word protegere which suggests placing a cover in front. God's protection is not a hiding place - but a place of shielded covering. It is a place where we can take refuge - still seeing the battle clearly, but being out of the line of fire. I stated earlier, God's arms are the RIGHT and SAFEST place to be. Shielded covering makes them the safest place to be. Uplifting encouragement makes them the right place! We have a chance to "refill" when we come into his arms. It is in his arms we pour out our hearts, share our fears, and find the faithfulness of God in managing the disasters of our lives. There are other forms of "protection" we might find ourselves using in life. Things like words to "protect" us from being found out. Using these words to mask where we really are emotionally, spiritually, or physically. Ever had anyone ask you, "How are you?" and found yourself answering, "Fine, thank you, and you?" It is likely you are asked this each day, by multiple people! How many times are you honest? Probably not many! In fact, if someone ever stopped me long enough when I asked this of them to actually "tell" me how they really were, I'd be so caught off-guard! The problem with all of our "shields" of protection - they "mask", but they don't really "shield" us from harm or injury. Only the arms of Jesus are capable of truly "shielding" us. Just sayin!

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