Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

On Psalm 91:2

Psalm 91: 2 (AMPC) “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!”

Refuge & Fortress.png

It is helpful to picture this dwelling place – as revealed in verse 1 – as a refuge or a fortress. Think about the pictures you have seen of ancient castles, hewn from the very mountain in which they are set. These to be sure can be called strongholds! Often on one side is a sheer cliff that drops hundreds of feet straight into the ocean. The sea crashes against this “wall” in all its great force and fury relentlessly, but in futility, for it cannot penetrate what is on the other side of that wall. Nor can any invading force arriving by ship even hope to enter and overtake. Those who arrive to attack will likely not survive their own efforts.

Huge walls surround this fortress on its other sides, which themselves are surrounded by craggy mountains and beast filled forests that threaten anyone who might be so audacious as to attempt to storm such a refuge.

A drawbridge is its front door – the only way in. Only those with the King’s permission can enter, coming and going, doing his bidding. Only one path leads to this entrance, a circuitous and narrow way. It is well protected by heavily armed and well trained guards, vigilant day and night as they patrol this path and surveil from its towers. One look at them would make anyone approaching think twice about his reasons for doing so! Unless of course his intention is to surrender himself in full to the King, to once and for all throw himself down before the mercies of the throne.

Spiritually speaking, King and Fortress and Refuge are one for such souls. The WAY to the fortress is through Jesus Christ alone, for any in need of God’s mercy, protection, and healing. Everything necessary is inside, for those who have greatly realized their need, having been assaulted by thieves and robbers (false teachers, the devil, the world system, and the flesh, and more – all adversaries of this fortress and those who seek refuge in Him).

Those who seek asylum in this refuge will never be turned away, for here we have Jesus’ own promise to such souls: “All whom the Father has given (entrusted) to Me will come to Me; and him who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out – I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me.” (John 6:37 AMPC)

Life may not seem like such a dwelling place. Even our churches – because of the culture which has assaulted and penetrated all too many of them – may no longer seem like places where it is conducive to finding a spiritual refuge, a place of quiet and reverence, where there is any sort of genuine sense of being “en-fortressed” by the Almighty.

Paradoxically this may have its purpose. Might it be in order for us to better redirect our orientation and intention toward a more prayerful and personal experience of our Lord God as refuge and fortress, in preparation for a time when the outer structures may not be as easily accessible?  Or so that we may be as Mary of Bethany who sat at Jesus’ feet to learn of Him, to comprehend and apprehend Him as refuge and fortress – as the Holy Spirit, through His written Word, makes us increasingly aware that, through Christ alone by grace through faith, we now indwell Him and He indwells us? Could it be so that we become intimately acquainted with the Omnipotent yet personal One Who is not bound by walls made by man?

This is He Who “richly and daily supplies me with everything I need to support this body and life. He shields me from all danger, and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does out of pure fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.” (Luther’s Small Catechism)

Can it get any better than this?

So we can pray this verse in praise of Him in Whom we live, move, and have our being, You are my refuge! You are my fortress, my God in Whom I trust! All thanks and praise be to You alone for this magnificent reality given to me because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ Who purchased and won me to be Your own! Let me live continually, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, in the awareness of Your life transforming love for me. Amen.

Posted in Observations, Uncategorized

Social Value

Sometimes jumping ship from online interaction for awhile may be a good idea, to see if there’s life after “social” media. This isn’t real; it’s virtual. Most often the things posted or passed around are not how we’d relate if we actually were all in the same room together. Think about it.
People put up private info about themselves and the whole world has access to it. Seriously, do you think those details (medical, personal, and otherwise) are needed by every passer by, and you don’t have your post’s set as “friends” (or even limiting which friends) but “public”? Then everybody wonders why creeps try to friend them, steal their profile or identity, or there are predators stalking their kids.
The boundary issues of our country, in my thinking, simply reflect the lack of personal boundaries far too many have – either by refusing to respect others’ boundaries, or by failing to insist upon keeping your own “wall” high and intact, which is simple self respect!
I’m pretty well convinced that this whole social media thing is some kind of global field observation, to test that very thing – personal boundaries – to see who’s open to allowing intruders into their life, exposing your life details or feelings, how many times an ad will be pitched to you before you finally buy (or at least click on it to take a look), and how far you’ll let it go on until you firmly hold up your hand and say, “No More!” What ever happened to the idea that some things are just plain not anyone else’s business?
Did you ever stop to wonder why and how we’ve been lulled into letting down our defenses like we have, or why we trust so very easily and blindly, tossing out our information to any and all? It’s as if people are running around on some sort of cyber street, crazy and naked, and they don’t even care who’s looking.
I hope and pray that as 2019 unfolds, we’ll begin to question “authority” a whole lot more: government, religion, education, corporatism, science, medicine, even the Internet … all of it. Every part of the system. Because at the end of the day, very little of that is worthy of being trusted, as it’s been compromised and corrupted. There are no free lunches. The price paid to use a social media venue may not be dollars and cents, but your information, as well as the profile of yourself that you’ve created without even knowing it. It will be mined and sifted perhaps for uses you neither dreamed of nor would approve.
So “anything you (can and will) say will be held against you…” You can take that to the bank, Miranda, because those who run the banks will do just that, with a view of you “read” by them as becoming an enhancement to their bottom line.
So beware of anything which advertises, “We value you.” Because they mean exactly what they say, if you catch the drift here. There’s a price on your head. Literally. Not because you’re a crook, but because you’re not. You just happen to trust too easily.