Devotional

Covered With His Feathers

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Psalm 91

David begins this song with words of reassurance. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (:1). In a world torn by violence and anger, war and so many abuses, rest sounds wonderful. Our anxious hearts ache as we see the chaos around the globe. What would peace of mind feel like? How welcome to be free from fear!

Do we know the One who promises to “cover you with His feathers” where under His wings we will find refuge? Can we trust the promise of God that “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart?” (:4) A rampart is a length of bank or wall forming part of the defensive boundary of a castle, hillfort, settlement or other fortified site. God will protect His own. Isn’t it interesting that He promises the strength of feathers as our protection! However, David’s experience taught him to trust in the Lord whom he called “my refuge and my fortress“ (:2).

Notice this promise is conditioned on one thing. “If” – that tiny word with so much meaning! “If you make the Most High your dwelling….” (:9). Dwelling is another word for home, the place where one lives. In our homes we want to feel a sense of security and safety. When a young couple sets up their first home it is with dreams that the atmosphere will be full of love. God’s love removes any terrors those who dwell in His shadow might feel, night or day (:5-7). Love goes both ways. “Because he/she loves me” the Lord said “I will rescue him/her”. In fact, if we acknowledge His name, God will protect us and will answer our prayers” (:14-15).

Who wouldn’t choose to dwell with God when we read the list of His blessings? He will honour His children with long life. He will deliver us from all sorts of things (:5, 6, 10, 13), and as Jesus prayed, extends His promise to “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). God’s people will be satisfied (:16). In our world today there is so much striving for bigger and better things. The attitude that allows us to have satisfaction in the moment is pushed aside, when we feel driven to compete in the workplace. Paul knew “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). And God blesses His own, those dwelling in safety, with a visual hope of His salvation (:16).

This Psalm of praise thanks God for His judgment on the wicked (:4-9) and His blessings on the righteous (:10-15). In between, we read “For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”. Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout scripture we read about the service angels render to God, as they took messages to various people, Mary and Joseph perhaps being the best known example (Luke 1:26-36, Matthew 1:20-21). We must remember how they were warned by the angel of the Lord to flee from Herod into Egypt, with the Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13).

Reflection:

This beautiful Psalm shows us the character of God, who longs to protect us and to bless us with His love. He generously supplies His own agents, angels, to keep our feet from slipping into sin (:12). We know from New Testament scriptures that God has also given us His Holy Spirit to grow us in His likeness (Galatians 5:22-23) and to make us agents of His peace in a world that is weary with care (Titus 3:2).

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Uncategorized

Forgiven Much

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Luke 7:36-50

Have you been forgiven much? What is the measuring stick for our sins as children of God? Is it a list of do’s and don’ts? Are we guided by our feelings, whether something is right or wrong? How does God’s Word describe “sin”? Chuck Swindoll gives us some clues.

“Any and all sin is enough to separate us from God and invoke His wrath—even eating fruit (Genesis 3:6)! All sin is equal in the sense that all sin breaks God’s law and falls short of His perfect standards. The Bible portrays sin as straying from God’s paths, opposing Him, and rebelling against Him. Whether it’s the sin of stealing a small item, telling a lie, or murder, all sin transgresses the law of God. So yes, in that sense all sin is the same in God’s eyes.”

When God calls us to do something and we do not do it, is that sin? In order to appreciate God’s forgiving spirit we need to understand what offends Him. He saves us to be useful, to further His Kingdom here on earth. In our reading today Luke signifies the importance of glorifying God through our actions. A woman worshiped Jesus. Is that enough?

Reading on, we find that Jesus declares this woman’s sins are forgiven (:48). Is there anything more important in this life than to know our sins are forgiven? The reality is we keep on sinning, in small ways or in big. We all yield to temptation from time to time so are blessed to know that “He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). There is one condition. “If”….If and when we recognize our thoughts, our words, or our behaviour have offended God, we must confess our sins. Then and then only will God forgive us and cleanses us.

How did the woman in our scripture reading demonstrate a repentant attitude? Tears and kisses? I believe it was the way she bowed at Jesus’ feet. In an act of subservience, she acknowledged His supremacy. She didn’t care what people thought, or what they said about her. In fact, to this day she remains nameless. Only her actions testify to her faith. Jesus knows our hearts, just as He knew hers. “Your faith has saved you” (:50). WOW! He knew what this wordless demonstration of love meant.

Apparently my love is conditioned by my awareness of my own personal sin, according to this woman’s example. Jesus leaves us with a thought for further consideration: “He/she who has been forgiven little, loves little” (:47). For those of us who have known the exquisite joy of being forgiven, our gratitude is never-ending. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!!! Listen to the Psalmist: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees. The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Psalm 119:71).

Reflection:

God knows all about us. Are your sins and mine many or few? This woman was apparently a great sinner. Listen to Jesus publicly declaring: “Her many sins have been forgiven”. Whether you and I have been great sinners according to the standards of this world, nothing is too great for God to forgive (Psalm 86:5). How often are we Christ-like towards others who still struggle with temptation? (Ephesians 4:32) How kind are we to ourselves when we need to confess we blew it once again? God’s Holy Word is full of encouragement! He opens the door for us to express our great love to Him, by declaring us to be forgiven much!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)