Refuge

promise

A child’s world is most often a world of innocence. A world where faith is easy because we are cared for, provided for, loved, and safe. I know this is not always the case, and this is tragic and should not be, but for me, it was easy to trust as a child.

It was not until I lost a baby after 23 difficult weeks of pregnancy that I stopped trusting, that I stopped feeling safe and provided for. Suddenly I was afraid of everything.

Although I had always known that God does not always say “yes” to prayers about healing, that wonderful, faithful people did not always live out their lives in full, that heartache and tragedy were not unknown by many people I knew, it had never affected me so directly. Now I felt vulnerable and open to any and everything that could go wrong. And I could not stop imagining all the things that could go wrong.

It has taken me a long time to figure out what God means when he says, “Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.” (Psalm 91:9-10 ESV) God has not promised an absence of evil, but only that it will not be used to destroy us.

When God looks at our lives, He sees the past, present and future; we only see the past and present – how short that must be to Him. But He has not left us alone.

God has provided a place for us to take refuge during the difficulties and trials of mortal life which doesn’t banish the difficulties and trials, but instead gives us a reason to stand strong through them. A refuge is a place to feel safe and to hold on to hope. Just as a child can feel safe and hopeful in their parents arms, even in scary situations, so God offers us the same comfort under the shadow of His wings.

In Old Testament times, the mercy seat lay beneath the shadow of the wings of the cherubim and this was the place where God met with His people. In the New Testament, Jesus became the mercy seat or meeting place between God and man. “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:17-20 ESV)

This hope that we can hold onto like an anchor is the certain hope of a future. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 ESV)

If we can hold on to this hope, if we can trust that He is faithful, if we can have the faith of a little child, then nothing that happens to us can destroy us utterly.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV)

12 Promises God Has Made

promises
1. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee,neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

2. The poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst; I, Jehovah, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

3. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

4. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction…

5. Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy cometh in the morning.

6. And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you.

7. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

8. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.

9. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him… For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

10. … and the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

11. … and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.

12. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Deuteronomy 31:8 2 Isaiah 41:17 3 Psalm 23:4 4 2 Corinthians 1:3 5 Psalm 30:5 6 John 16:22 7 Romans 8:38,39 8 1 John 4:9 9 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 10 Isaiah 35:10 11 Revelation 21:4 12 1 Corinthians 2:9

20 Day Challenge #1: Genesis 12 & 13

biblejournaling5Read through the chapter and then go over it again and write out what you notice in your notebook. The first challenge is experimenting with bible journaling. You can use the following to guide you if you wish. If you don’t like drawing, then just write out the words in appropriate sizes or shapes.

Genesis 12:

  • In this chapter God begins the process of calling out a people for Himself. Abram’s family had left Ur, a great city but one that worshipped gods of their own making, and were on their way to Canaan. They had stopped in Haran and Abram’s father had died there. Now God comes to Abram and tells him to keep going. Look at a map in the back of your Bible or here, and draw a rough map in your notebook of where they had come from and where they were going – you can add to it as you go along.
  • Write out the promise God made to Abram in verse 7.
  • Faith and trust is a hard thing. Draw the beautiful Sarai. Write out what Abram was afraid of and what he should have done instead.

Pharaoh reasons with him: Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? intimating that, if he had known this, he would not have taken her into his house. Note, It is a fault too common among good people to entertain suspicions of others beyond what there is cause for. We have often found more of virtue, honour, and conscience, in some people than we thought they possessed; and it ought to be a pleasure to us to be thus disappointed, as Abram was here, who found Pharaoh to be a better man than he expected. Charity teaches us to hope the best. (MHC)

Genesis 13:

  • Draw Abram in his tent with his flocks and bags of gold and silver and beside him draw Lot in his tent with his flocks. Herdsmen would probably fight about water and pasture land. So you could draw a well and some grass and stickmen having a brawl.
  • Draw the Jordan valley on the east, and the rocky hills with sparse grass on the west and draw arrows from Abram and Lot to the land that they chose.
  • Draw a city and label it with the words of verse 13.
  • Draw a compass and around it write the words of the promise God made to Abram in verse 15 and 16.

Challenge #1: Genesis 12 & 13 PDF