Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - “A Place of Safety”

Each spring and summer while we have lived in our home in Newnan, Georgia, my family and I have witnessed the miracle of birth. Each season we have watched two pair of Kingfisher birds build their nests, lay their eggs and raise their young. One of the pair makes a nest on one of the downspouts that we can easily observe from our back door and sliding glass door. If you visit my personal Facebook page, you will see the pictures of the kingfishers and their little families. Each pair are a blessing to us and we watch them protect the eggs against harm. Each mother would sit on the eggs to keep them safe and warm especially during the early spring season when we do see lower morning temperatures.

During this year, our kingfishers have had to deal with heavy rains and thunderstorms. As we experienced the bad weather, my family and I would worry about those poor little birds having to weather the storms and downpours. There were times when I went out our back door with a flashlight to check on the mother bird and her children. She would stay on top of her children with her wings covering them as best as she could. Even with the wind whipping back and forth, she refused to leave. Without regard for her own safety, she would remain there on that nest to protect her children. I would bow my head in prayer and ask our Heavenly Father to protect her and her children. I know that He will watch over the little family just as He watches over my family. Like the mother, I would watch over my family. While they slept, I had the responsibility to make sure that they could sleep soundly and safely. But, I, like the mother, can only do so much. I not only pray for the little family of kingfishers but I also pray for my family and ask God to protect them.

As soon as the storm has passed, I would go to the window and look to make sure that she and her children survived the storm. When I see her, I bow my head and thank God for His righteous strong right hand as He protected the birds and my family. I realize that what I can do for my family is very limited. God is the only one who can order the storms to be still. Just knowing that God is there for all of us brings me great comfort.

With everything that we face in life, we sometimes feel that we are being stalked by misfortune at every turn. Speaking for my family and myself, we have gone through a lot this year. With my illness and all of the things that we have and continue to face, it is sometimes very difficult not to feel stalked by tragedy and misfortune. When I feel down or feel like life is just wearing me down, I turn to a particular scripture that we shared with our faith family at Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community in Cedar Park, Texas, years and years ago. My wife and I printed out a copy of Psalm 91 on some colorful paper and attached a magnet on the back of it. We gave out the copies to our family as a reminder that they can turn to God for refuge and safety.

Verse four of Psalm 91 reminds me of the mother bird as she protected her children from the bad weather. Reading from the New Living Translation. “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Just like the mother bird, God will stretch arms like wings and cover and shelter you during those times of trial and trouble. The key to the verse comes in the second part. “His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

God’s faithful promises are truly our armor and protection. When you consider His love for us, it is unfailing and eternal. His promise is summed up in verses 14 through 16. Let us look at those wonderful verses. “14 The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.’”

Just like the words of that wonderful gospel hymn, “I Shall Not Be Moved”, “though the tempest rages, I shall not be moved.” With God watching, protecting and, most importantly, loving us each and every moment of our lives, we have nothing to fear. Disease and death have no hold on us. We have eternal life and we can rest assured in that fact. 

In order for us to have that blessed assurance, we must put our whole and complete faith in Him. We must trust Him and follow His will in our lives. There are times when doing that simple thing is the most difficult thing to do. We sometimes find our faith and strength waning when we are assailed by life’s tempest. Just when we start to fall prey to our weakness, we need to realize that fear has ensnared us. It is at that point that we need to pray for God’s mighty hand for protection. God’s son, Jesus, has given us the power over hell and Satan’s minions. We can rebuke him and his demons and order them away from us. We just have to believe in that tremendous power that we have been given. Did you know that you have the full armor of God’s own armory available to you? God will personally protect you and order His angels to provide an impenetrable ring of protection around you. Let us look at Proverbs 29:25. Reading from the Contemporary English Version. “Don't fall into the trap of being a coward--trust the LORD, and you will be safe.” 

As Christians, we truly have nothing to fear. So, why do we act like we do? We have the promises of God the Father Almighty that He will ensure our safety and provide for us everyday. I know there are times when things seem like all is lost. I have been through those struggles before and will probably have even more difficult problems to overcome. But, the thing that I, like you, need to remember is the example of the mother kingfisher. She protects her children from predators and storm. She remains vigilant during the day and night. She is always close by her nest and has a constant eye on her babies. God does the same for us each day and even more.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the people about how much the Father cares for even the smallest in His Kingdom. Let us look at Matthew 6. “26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” We are truly more valuable to the Father than the birds. He will provide for our daily needs without fail and will do what He has promised us. 

If you do not have the security of a wonderful relationship with the Lord and feel the crushing burden of fear, uncertainty and doubt each moment of your life, then it is time for you to listen to that gentle knocking on your heart’s door. That is Jesus asking to come into your heart and life. He will give you that peace and be your intercessor in all situations that you face. When you open the door to your heart and accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, God, through Jesus, will give you with the gift of salvation. From that moment on, you are the child of the most high God. You belong to Him and He will be your shelter, refuge and shield. He will always remain with you even when others disappear. You can always and forever count on Him in all life’s troubles and woes.

As you go through the rest of this week, think about the lesson of that mother kingfisher and how she watches over her children. Think about her stretching out her wings to cover her little ones during times of storm or harm. She is always there for them. God will do the same for you and so much more. We just always need to remember that God provides for not only that little family of birds but will also provide for His most valuable creation, you. If you just remember those lessons, you can stand firm in His grace without fear, uncertainty or doubt ruling your life.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 

~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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