Have you ever experienced God’s protection? Has He ever stepped in and kept you from harm? Whether the harm coming was physical, emotional, financial, has God ever intervened on your behalf?
There have been times in my life when God has taken control and kept me from going overboard. The stories are numerous. All I know is that it is powerful and life-changing. How many of us have stories that start with the line, “I wouldn’t be here today if God hadn’t…”?
I began to think about God’s awesome protection this weekend while at MTSO. While wandering out in the “wilderness” on a break, I found these two ducks. The male (drake) was swimming nearby, protecting the female (hen). As I approached to take this shot, the drake began to let me know he wasn’t happy about my presence. As he quacked, the hen took notice and began to honk away. She was protecting her babies and also wasn’t happy about my presence. These two ducks would do any thing to protect the nest.
There are times in which we feel like God is distant. And then there are times when we feel like God is like these ducks…honking away at any thing that might bring us harm. And, when we sense His presence and His protection, all we can do is rejoice!
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11)
I spent part of the weekend at Methodist Theological Seminary in Delaware, OH for a preaching course.
Each day started with a time of spiritual transformation (basically a worship service…done in a very “high” church, traditional, liturgical method). Then, we would dismiss into our classrooms. We crammed a lot of “stuff” into a two-day gathering.
I am one that has great difficulty sitting for long periods of time. After 15-minutes of sitting, I’m ready to get up and run. Whenever we had a break, I would venture out into the “wilderness”. While the campus is pretty much “in town”, they are next to a golf course on one side and have some wooded area on the other. I walked along the creek and around the pond every chance that came.
It was in those moments where I would pray and find my spirit renewed and refreshed!
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19)
So, I have about 35 minutes to kill before I head into a class. As I drove into town, I passed by this rather hip looking coffee house called the Mean Bean. I decided to stop in, grab a cup of coffee, and do a little bit of work.
From the moment I walked in, I liked the place. It’s very trendy…has a nice urban feel.
And then I noticed the music selection…
The environment screams that this would be a place filled with indie rock snobs…or at the very least folk music loving hippies.
Instead, the barista is slinging out today’s hottest country hits. Not only is he playing these horrible songs that represent the absolute downfall of country & western music, he is passionately singing along.
I never expected to hear “What Hurts the Most” in one of the coolest looking coffee houses I’ve been to in a long time.
It reminds me that, while we can present any kind of outward image that we desire, the inner self will always be revealed.
Okay, while typing this, the barista changed cd’s and is now listening to Stevie Nicks. And I didn’t think it could get any worse…
1. John Calipari’s salary at Kentucky. This guy isn’t bringing in a bunch of national championship rings. He recruits well, which is crucial in NCAA sports. But, does it justify the salary. I believe that our nation (and world) needs to get the salaries of our sports figures (coaches, athletes, owners, etc) under control. When athletes are among the highest paid individuals in society, I believe it indicates a problem.
2. Bonuses given to leaders of failing companies. I thought bonuses were supposed to be based on job performance. If one does a great job, they get “rewarded.” If one does a poor job, they do not get “rewarded.” As I look at the bonuses given to top executives in various fields, I wonder how any of this is justified. I feel that one and two are both related to over-consumption…and I could go on for hours about that.
3. People slamming wealthy Christians. I read a blog recently that posed the question, “How can there be wealthy Christians?” It’s really a pretty easy question to answer. Scripture is full of references about faithfulness…to those who have been faithful with a little, more will be given, etc. I think the more important question is “Why do we need wealthy Christians?” If we all took vows of poverty, how would we support the needs of our church, community, and world? And, let’s face it, even though many in the US would not consider me to be a wealthy Christian, in a worldview…I am a wealthy Christian. We need Christians at all socio-economic levels who demonstrate faithfulness.
4. That Adam guy on American Idol. He keeps getting the praises of the judges. He keeps receiving America’s vote. And, I just don’t get it. They keep saying that he’s “hip”, he’s “relevant”, he’s very “now.” All I can think of is that he should be fronting a reunion tour of Whitesnake or some other 80’s hair metal band. Yes, he hits high notes…but he’s kind of a one trick pony. Every song you know he’s going to start screaming like Mariah Carey. I’m so over it.
5. No quotes on my Peace Cereal box. It used to be that whenever I opened up a box of Raspberry Ginger Crisp that there would be a quote from some noteable world leader who worked for peace. It would be something that would start my morning off in the right direction. Now, the quotes are gone. The cereal is still my all-time favorite. But, I wonder why Peace Cereals decided to stop printing the quotes.