“God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.” Psalm 34:7
The circle of protective angels God sends to us reminds me of the pioneers traveling West to the land of hope. At the end of the day, they formed their wagons into a protective circle. There they would gather around the campfire to eat meals, socialize, and receive support from each other.
An organization called the Guardian Angel Foundation helps people with grief stemming from issues, such as death of a loved one or pet, loss through unemployment, divorce, or other emotional issues. Skilled counselors offer therapy, support groups, and bereavement services. One of the main components of this foundation is to offer a bereavent camp for children ages 6-16. The kids spend a week releasing their sadness and anxieties through arts and crafts, singing around a campfire, as well as recreational activities–all in a safe environment with angels in the form of counselors hovering over them.
For whatever your needs may be today or in the future, know that God will send a circle of angels to gather you into his safe arms.
Dear Lord, send your best angels to protect and guide me in my daily walk. Amen.
“The One on the Throne will pitch his tent there for them: no more hunger, no more thirst, and no more scorching heat.” Revelation 7:16
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the notorious Arizona sheriff of Maricopa County. Prisoners wear pink underwear and can be seen in chain gangs cleaning the roadsides around the county. His jails are crowded, and he puts overflow offenders in tents. There is even a manual on how to survive this experience! When the temperature in the tent reached 138 degrees during a heat wave and the inmates complained, he told them: “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths.”
He gives his guests two meals a day and all the water they can drink. He doesn’t run his jail like a hotel and posted on his campaign website: “People shouldn’t live better in jail than they do on the outside. Here in my jails, they don’t.” Sheriff Joe is tough, but he keeps the crime down.
In Revelations the writer tells that in heaven God pitches tents “for those who come from great tribulation.” Unlike the pink underwear in Sheriff’s Joe’s encampment, everyone will be wearing white robes, have full tummies, and there will be no chains around their ankles.
Dear Lord, help those imprisoned in a destructive life find the path to your loving arms. Amen.
“Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map, so I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of your presence ….” Psalm 43:3
A mother once told her four-year old son, “If you don’t want to mind Mommy, then you don’t need Mommy, so you may pack your bag and go somewhere else.” A short while later, the little guy came out of his room wearing his backpack stuffed with a spare pair of blue jeans, his favorite blanket, a storybook, and Mickey Mouse. He took a few steps down the sidewalk, and turned to his mother, and with a serious look on his face, said, “I need a map.”
The picture I received of this special child showed a dejected young man, with the map tossed down on the ground. I wonder when fail to respond to God’s desires for us (and we all do), we resemble the disobedient child tossing the “map” that would help us on our faith journey.
When our spiritual path is no longer illuminated, we stumble around and can’t see the way back to God’s open arms.
Dear God, shine your light on my path so that I might never get lost on my life journey. Amen.
“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.” 1 John 4:1
I’ve written many times about how you can’t believe what you read or hear. That’s a shame. We have developed into a nation and world of distrust, which leads to fear, and from fear we move into a stress-filled existence.
So, how do we get out of this huge rut? We need to start by opening our minds to the fact that people are human beings with agendas of their own and whose perception is 100% accurate for them–but not for everyone.
In 1 John, we are told it is our responsibility to examine what people tell us. For this to happen, we need a form of Snopes.com programed into our minds.
Lord, help us become people with discerning skills. Amen.
“If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” Matthew 23:12
Soon we’ll see the Christmas Santa Claus or snowman bubbles in the front yards around Sun City. During the evening they are puffed up and light up the yard. By day, with the wind is knocked out of them, and they become a plastic puddle on the ground.
Self-esteem is like that—sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t. I have a friend who is tall and dresses to accent her slender body, but she states that her mouth is too small and too heart-shaped, her hips too broad, her hair too stringy. Instead of being content and “puffed up” with her whole body, she examining each piece. Friend, you are beautiful in God’s eyes–and mine!
Dear Lord, let us find beauty in our hearts, souls, and the body you gave us. Amen.
Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave.” John 8:34
One day we decided to go to a movie, and after getting a short description of the featured shows, we chose to see “Courageous,” the only show that was starting within a half hour. The plot was about the lives of five male law enforcement officers, who struggled with tragedy, adversity, soul-searching, and unethical choices. They all recognized the need to become better fathers. Glen and I laughed, cried, and left the theater wishing we could have seen this movie when we were raising our kids.
Our children are adults and experiencing their own struggles and success stories. After seeing “Courageous,” I know that God removes the barricade at the end of every dead-end situation I find myself in.
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me another chance to live in a way that will set an example for my adult kids and grandchildren.
“Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.” Romans 3:28
During my junior and senior years at Nevada High School, I proudly wore the uniform of the drum major, carried the four-foot long baton, and blew a whistle that commanded the band into action. I ran the parade (at least the band’s portion). It felt good to blow the whistle and know that the band would respond to the various sounds. I could start, stop, and put the band at parade rest by different tweets. With the baton I kept the band playing at the same tempo, and could direct a turn, slow the marching pace. What a feeling of being in control!
What most folks didn’t know is that I got to be the drum major for three reasons: I played the baritone saxophone, which was too cumbersome to march with, I fit into the drum major uniform, and I was tall enough for everyone to see! It had nothing to do with being chosen by God.
After reading the words in The Message from Romans 3:28, I understand what it means to be in step with God. Instead of taking hours of practicing on a football field or on the streets of Nevada, Iowa, it takes meditating and learning to get into pace with the Holy Spirit.
Lord and Pacesetter, help me remember that I am no longer a drum major and just one of the members of your band. Amen
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46:10
Politics is nothing new, and it is getting old. News about the candidates running for local, state, and congress positions trumps every other news reports and will continue to do so for a couple more weeks. Boring, same old stuff is all we hear–promises that can’t be made by anyone other than God!
We can’t let the political news take over for what is really important. Everywhere we look, there are “nesses” that need our attention, such as homelessness, joblessness, loneliness.
I tend to be a bit gullible or naive and want to believe what everyone says to be true. In Psalm 46, we are reminded to “step out of the traffic” in order to listen to God instead of the chatter of the world.
Lord, let us look to you above everything else to find strength for the day. Amen
“I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” Jeremiah 31:34
As a kid in grade school, it was a privilege to be picked to wipe the blackboards after school. Every Friday the board needed to be washed to make it look new again. Today we use computers that connect to a projector to flash information from a file on to a screen. A “delete” button gets rid of the file, but it can be retrieved, if needed, from a virtual trash can.
Consider how God wipes our slate of sin clean. We connect to him through prayer and ask him to cleanse us of all our sins. He forgives us! There’s no need for a virtual garbage can, because in God’s eyes our sins are forgotten—gone forever.
Lord, thank you for the ability to connect to you through prayer. Amen.
“Love others as well as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:39
The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Which commandment in God’s law is the most important?” (vs. 36) Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” Then he said we need to love others as much as we love ourselves to be “set alongside” of the loving God commandment. That makes sense: Loving the Lord makes it easier to love yourself and others.
Perhaps the reason our world is in constant turmoil is that people don’t love themselves. Self-loathing or self-hatred probably starts the moment someone puts a child or adult down in a way that embarrasses them or makes them feel foolish. What a shame. Children learn by adventuring outside the little box they were wrapped in as an infant. They begin to explore their surrounding when they reach for a toy beyond their blanket or highchair. A toddler slips around the house and wanders away to see what’s on the other side of their world.
Being corrected is part of life–but it needs to be done reflecting God’s voice and using God’s hands.
Dear God, when we steer away from your righteous path, thank you for correcting us with a big dose of love—not shame. Amen.