Week #12 “When you call, I will answer”

The Lord says, “When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. (Psalm 91:15)

I think we take for granted the most amazing miracle in the Bible. The Creator of the Universe listens to each individual prayer. And, if that is not mind boggling, that same Creator,  speaks directly to you, to me, and to everyone. He is not absent, nor does He require us to perform some great display of pleading.

One my favorite incidences in the Bible that reveals God’s awesome power and communication is found in the encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

Elijah confronts the Israelites with their disobedience and idolatry by saying, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21). The Israelites are quiet and do not respond. So Elijah invites all the people to witness a show-down between Yahweh and Baal.

“Then they [prophets of Baal] took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, ‘Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.’ So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 18:26-29)

I have to admit, I think the antics the prophets of Baal perform to get Baal’s attention is quite entertaining. Until one realizes that there are still religions that require sacrifices, asceticism, and various displays to communicate with their god(s). Yahweh hears and speaks to all people. It is His Spirit that calls the unsaved and wicked inviting them into his love and grace. As a Christian we have the promise that the Lord will hear us, answer us, and draw us closer to Himself (John 15:7). Combine our open access to communication with our devotion and we confidently abide in the shadow of the Almighty as a devoted servant of the Most High.

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:15

Reflect: Rewrite the passage Psalm 91:15 inserting your name. For example, When Carrie calls to Me…. Then, write out specific ways the Lord is rescuing and honoring you.

Prayer/Praise: Write out a specific prayer of praise, thanking the Lord for how he has rescued and honored you.

Week #11 Devoted To God

The Lord says, “Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he is loyal to me.” (Psalm 91:14)

Here in this final conversation of the Psalm, we hear what the Lord wants from us. “Because he is devoted…” Some translations explain the word or phrase “devote” using “hold fast to me” or “love me.” The original Hebrew word used is “chashaq” a verb meaning “join together as one” or “cleave” (Lexicon #2836).

The Lord wants our dedication, our undivided attention. “You shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14). An earthly relationship most closely related to “devotion” is the union found in marriage (Mark 10:6-9). Where a husband and wife love, provide, and are faithful to one another through the blessings and the sufferings of life. Another relationship is found in parenting, where parents devote themselves to their children. Careers, vacations, and personal pleasures take second place to raising children to adulthood following Biblical guidelines.

Devotion can also describe our commitment to nursing and the care of patients. We finance our schooling, work long hours, and at times sacrifice our own health to serve the sick.

These are all examples of devotion in our life, yet the verb “chashaq” to God is unique. “What does the Lord our God require of us: worship him, obey all his commandments, love him and serve him with entire mind and being.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).  Our devotion to God is comprehensive and unlimited. There is no other relationship that takes priority—then our commitment to God. Nothing less is accepted than the hundredfold devotional love given to us, reciprocated to our Heavenly Father.

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:14

Reflect: Is your relationship with God one of devotion and love; or is it more along the lines of obedience and service?

Prayer: Father God, open my heart to be more and more devoted to you. Keep me from growing lukewarm and abandoning my first love, you faithful Son. Amen. (Revelation 2:4; 3:16).

Week #10 My Red-letter Moment

The Lord says, . . . (Psalm 91:14)

In previous sections of Psalm 91 the teacher or psalmist instructed and encouraged us using his teaching points. Our lesson plan included comparing the protection of the Lord to a mother bird and the Lord’s security to a fortress. We were recently reminded that, if needed, the Lord will even send his angels to our aid. Now at verse 14, we see a change in the narration with the use of “I” or the phrase “Lord says”. It is as if our teacher has stepped aside to invite the Lord to continue our lesson. And like a classroom filled with restless students that suddenly quiet when the principal walks in, the reader is beckoned to pay attention.

The Master and Scholar has personally come to emphasize our lesson. Like the red-letter print in the New Testament used to signify the words of Jesus, these are personal words of Yahweh. The lesson has changed from a group discourse to an intimate moment from the Almighty. He is reaching out to us individually, in love and patience, to emphasize his truth needed for our lives. A quick reader can miss this interruption. So let’s take time and wait to see what our Master has to say.

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:14

Reflect:­ What red letter words is the Lord saying to you specifically today? If recent life events has quieted the Lord’s voice, then turn to the book of John and start reading Jesus personal words.

Prayer: Jesus, you promise as your precious children we can hear your voice as you speak to us. Open our hearts and minds to hear your voice amidst the noisiness of our world. Amen. (Luke 24:45; John 10:27)

Week #9: Strengthened by Angels

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up. lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

(Psalm 91:11-13)

We have explored the many dangers we can experience and the Lord’s promise of protection and strength. One way the Lord miraculously can choose to intervene with us is through angels. The foremost witness of the work of the angels is seen in the life and ministry of Jesus. From conception, through childhood, emerging during his temptation and then reappearing during his suffering and resurrection, we see angels appearing in Jesus’ life to assist in the unfolding plan of God. The Lord also sent angels to assist Peter in prison in Acts 12:7-10, protect Paul during his shipwreck in Acts 27:23 and to guide Cornelius to salvation in Acts 10:7.

As believers, the Lord can send angels to protect, strengthen and guide us (Hebrews 1:14). Our faith rests securely in the Lord God Almighty who governs all created beings in heaven and earth. And intimately sends heavenly beings to encourage our journey.

At times we may be tempted to inquire about “Did angels do this?” or “Was that a miracle?” Our response to the Lord’s hand in our lives is to praise and thank him while leaving the details up to him (Revelation 22:7-8).

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:11-13

Reflect: Read Acts 12:7-10 and reflect on how you would think and feel if you were Peter? How does the prospect of God sending angels for guidance and protection encourage your faith?

Prayer: Father God, know you can command an entire army of angels to guide and protect me, your child. Help me to always look to you for strength and security. Amen

Angels Watching Over Me by Amy Grant

Week #8: My Shelter, Sovereign One

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)

Our testimony is more than a way to bring the lost into the saving grace of Christ. It is also more than our “salvation” story. It is a constantly changing expression of how the Lord is working in our lives. Our testimony is a continuous narrative of our faith journey filled with valleys of sadness and peaks of joys. These times can be Godly intercessions for us personally and professionally, and may also include family, colleagues and/or patients. Whether our family is protected from an accident, our patients are healed from an illness and/or a colleague finds cancer in the early stages. The Lord’s will intersecting in our day-to-day events is opportunities to share. When we tell others the mighty deeds of the Almighty we build up their faith and encourage their spiritual growth (Psalm 145:4; 1 Corinthians 1:4).

I encourage you to take time and reflect on these most recent events and how the Lord has strengthened and/or encouraged you as a Christian nurse. Next, pray for the opportunity to share with a colleague how “my Shelter, the Sovereign One” has worked in your nursing practice. Like the writer of the 91st Psalm, we can use our life journey of living in the refuge of the Lord as a teaching tool for our patients and colleagues.     

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:9-10

Reflect: Who will you shared your experience with this week?

Prayer: Oh, Lord, I will praise You for all your wonderous deeds and tell others of Your great salvation and mighty works for those who love You! Amen

Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns You Tube Video

Week #7 Protecting Our Redemption

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. (Psalm 91:7-8)

The Psalmist continues his description of the immeasurable protection our Magnificent Lord provides. The use of “thousand, ten thousand or multitude” implies an infinite number of ways the Lord intercedes for us. Our greatest danger is from Satan, who prowls around seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Our salvation and faithfulness is of supreme importance to the Lord. In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus prays specifically for Peter to return to his faith after being sifted like wheat. Also, in John 17:15, Jesus prays to the Father to keep the disciples and us from the evil one.

Working in tandem with the evil of Satan is the Lord’s judgment. How this occurs is more than we can fathom; for God’s judgments and conduct is beyond our understanding (Romans 11:33-34/Isaiah 55:9). It also is part of the redemptive plan (Revelation).

W.A. VanGermeren, Professor of Old Testament writes, “Seeing God’s salvation with the eye of faith will further encourage the godly, whom the Lord has promised his protection and blessing. The godly will witness the righteousness, justice, and fidelity of the Lord as well as the punishment of the wicked. No power in heaven or earth is greater than that of Yahweh, the Divine Warrior!” 

So, in the middle of a song of praise and protection, we are encouraged that redemption from the Lord is faithful to secure us while condemning the wicked.

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:7-8

Reflect: Can you recall a time when the Lord kept you faithful to Him when your confidence was wavering?

Prayer: Father God, you have secured my redemption through your Son, Jesus Christ. Protect me from the evil one; keep me faithful to your truth and will when I waiver in fear and doubt. Amen.

Week #6: 24/7 Protection

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. (Psalm 91:5-6)

The previous devotions we have explored how the Lord demonstrates security as a fortress, rescuer and as our wise guardian. We even discussed how our faith walk can be disrupted by doubts, fears, insecurities, and disturb your sleep.

In the next section of verses, the psalmist used symbolic language to define the vastness of dread and destruction that can come into our lives. The writer understood that we live on a planet with chaos and death. We are helpless against dangerous volcanoes, vicious earthquakes, and damaging tsunamis and share communities with evil men and women who purposefully cause pain and suffering. And these are just a few of the terrors and dread that encompasses our life.

When we read all that the Lord protects us from, we may be tempted to assume nothing bad will happen to us.  Instead, we are assured that nothing is beyond the reach of God (Psalm 139:7-12). No sin or evil will prevent the faithful hand of our Lord guiding us through the calamities. There may come a time in each of our lives when we quake in fear, run in panic, and hide in terror. The Most High and Almighty will be there with us. We have a 24/7 security system.  The Lord ensures international and eternal coverage through the “terrors at night”,  the “arrows in the day” and amidst the “disasters at midday.” This coverage is mediated and delivered through the promises of our glorious Savior, ensuring that even death should not cause us to worry (1 Corinthians 15:26, 55; Romans 6:8).

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:6

Reflect: What causes you the most fear? How can the passage in Romans be an antidote for your personal fear(s)?

Prayer: Oh, LORD Most High, what then shall we say to these devastations we encounter? If You are for us, who is against us? Will anyone or anything, seen or unseen, separate me from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”But in all these things I am an overwhelmingly conqueror through Christ who love me. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nordepth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen (Romans 8:31,35-39).

*Excerpts were taken from the devotion with the same name 24/7 Protection in CARES: Reflections for Nurses.

Week #5 Night Time RX for Sleep

You need not fear the terrors of the night, the arrow that flies by day (Psalm 91:5)

In our previous devotions, we explored the security found in God of the Most High. How his refuge and shelter provide a strong secure dwelling place. Beginning in verse 5, the psalmist shares various scenarios, which builds our confidence in security of dwelling of the Almighty.

When I read the verse: You need not fear the terrors of the night, the arrow that flies by day, I thought of Satan and the different terrors he can inflict.

Imagine the following scenario:

Your day has been one of love and trust for God. No matter what concerns may have arisen; you have stayed faithful and strong. Let us take our current pandemic. Yes, you have worries—economic worries for your job as your hours have been cut; concern for your family’s health as your relative begins to cough and run a fever; emotional concerns as you notice an increase in anxiety and depression. Yet, through each one of the worries and throughout the day, your faith has not wavered. You have stayed connected with the Lord through prayer, worship and fellowship. The Lord’s shield protected you and you feel comforted under his wings. Until nighttime–You wake up in the middle-of-the night and your anxious mind has taken over. You begin thinking about all the worries you have and they are suddenly insurmountable. Your daytime calmness and resolve, has somehow changed to doubts and panic. Questions run through your mind: What if my wife has the virus, will I get the virus? My boss says my cut in hours in only temporary, but what if I lose my job? How will I feed my children? The security of the day is gone and your nighttime has become a terror. Satan has not only thrown arrows at your faith, he is also terrorizing your nighttime.

Thankfully, the psalmist reminds us that the Lord’s protection is 24/7. We can be reminded of this protection through prayer and scripture. Just like we combat the enemy during the day, we can combat him during the night (Ephesians 6:16). If you are disturbed by doubts, fears, insecurities, or your past haunts you during the night—pray against this. Your nighttime (RX) or prescription includes the following:

Every night at HS or ½ hour before bed do the following:

  • Read a passage of scripture
  • Listen to soothing worship song
  • Pray to the Lord to provide a protective covering over your mind while you sleep. 
  • Mediate on Psalm 91:1-2 or comforting verse as you doze off to sleep.

May the Lord’s peace and comfort bring you rest.

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:5

Reflect: What worries/stresses can disturb your nighttime rest? Write them out and then use the RX for Sleep to invite the Lord’s peace into your night.

Prayer: O Lord, my protector at night, may I rest under your strong wings of protection secure against the terrors of night and the arrows of the evil one. Amen

Week #4: Secured In Faithfulness

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

(Psalm 91:4)

            Have you ever seen an adult bird tuck a baby bird under their wings? The adult bird has the strength of being larger and more mature; has acquired life-learning wisdom; and is alert to the surrounding dangers. The baby chick rests securely, for it is weak and vulnerable dependent on its parent for sustenance. The chick possesses no knowledge of anything beyond the warmth and security of the parent. I always think that is true protection and reliance

            In the simple, yet intimate life of a bird, we are given another source of God’s protection—his faithfulness. Some Bibles use “truth” meaning stability, firmness and reliability.  At first we may be confused to think that the word “truth” is interchangeable with the word “faithfulness.” Yet, isn’t that where the strength and security of our Lord comes from? His truth. The divine instruction of the Bible and the authenticity of Jesus Christ are truth and define the faithfulness of God.

            Romans 3:3 reminds us of the indescribable law at work with God’s faithfulness—it isn’t dependent upon the believer. For whether we believe or not, God’s faithfulness does not change. We are to be the baby bird. The difference for us is how we rest…are we secure and content like a baby bird under its mother’s wings? Or are we panicking constantly peeking between the feathers to make sure all is okay?

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:4

Reflect: Reflect on this past week and how you have been like a baby bird—tucked comfortably under the refuge of God. Or, have you been filled with doubt and worry peeking through the comforting wings of our loving Father in Heaven.

Prayer: Oh, Lord You are my guardian and stronghold caring for me as a helpless chick. Help me to live out Your faithful promise that not even a hair on my head goes beyond your notice or caring hand (Matthew 10:29-31) Amen.

Worship Song: Promises Never Fail by Bethel Music & Emmy Rose

Week #3 Our Rescuer

The two scenarios found in Psalm 91:3 are enough to cause fear and panic.  And, once again we are reminded where our security rests. We have the shock-and-awe of an animal snare. A snare is a trap hidden in the forest or jungle. Because it cannot be seen or detected it traps an animal unaware. Another fear is the unseen panic of a deadly pestilence, which we are currently living through the corona virus.

“For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from deadly pestilence.” (Psalm 91:3)

This week as I met with my women’s prayer/fellowship group, we were amazed at the how quickly the corona virus has invaded our lives. In a matter of weeks or months, many of us went from knowing about the virus in China, to a few cases popping up in our area, then to shelter-in-place to stop transmission. Suddenly we have a whole new existence with remote working or unemployment, homeschooling our children, and no face-to-face contact with our neighbors, friends, and church family. For some of you the virus has infected your family, friends and/or neighbors; or you have already lost loved ones to the respiratory illness. And since most of us our nurses or midwives, we are on the front lines caring for patients who are severely sick and dying, while trying to keep our own family from becoming infected.

Through the “shock-and-awe” scenarios of a snare and pestilence found in Psalm 91:3,   we are reminded where our security rests. In our Rescuer–Jesus Christ!  We are protected in his hand. Not immune to disasters or viruses, but secure in his ever present providence (Hebrews 13:5/Psalm 118:6; 1 Chronicles 29:11). God knew about the corona virus, including the who, what, where, when, and how. He even knows the why!

Even though we are vulnerable to the tragedies of this world, we have a secured eternal place with him.  

Reflect: Use an online Bible tool (BlueLetter Bible) to look up the topic “God’s Providence”. Write down the verses and explore how your beliefs about the “hand” of the Lord line up with scripture (Psalm 118:6/Exodus 15:6)

Write out and memorize: Psalm 91:3

Pray/Praise: Father God, You are my rescuer and nothing in my life is outside of Your knowledge. For just as You know when a sparrow falls from a tree, so you know every cell in my body and moment in my life (Matthew 10:29-31).  Thank You and praise You, for from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! (Romans 11:36). Amen