underhiswingsThere is a place of ultimate protection with the Father. Every earthly father seeks to provide the same. We are flawed. The Father is not flawed.

Maturity brings self reliance.  Until we live through storms bigger than our ability.  Then we want to run for cover.  The best time to run for cover is before the storm.
Before the heavy storms in Oklahoma, a dove positioned herself on my porch, laid two eggs, brooded over them until they hatched, and then went into protection mode. The hatchlings gained size rapidly. It surprised me how big they became from inside those tiny eggs to birds in just a few days. But they weren’t able for the storms that were coming.  They were not strong enough.
Every time I opened the door, momma dove would cover the hatchlings so they were invisible. All I could see was her. I did catch a quick glimpse a few times.  She was ready for the storms.
Psalm 91 gives this picture of our Father protecting us in the storms of life and even when they just threaten. “Under his wings you will take refuge.”
Taking refuge is an action. It means we decide to get up under Him and His love. The best time to do this is before a storm.
Last year I spent two months reading the entire bible a book at a sitting. It was refreshing. It was enlightening. The day I finished storm clouds rolled. Several family members ended their journey on earth. The grief was intense. My work assignment made a huge transition. My wife and I flipped our car after hitting a bear on a Montana mountain highway. A car was stolen. On and on it goes.

In a few weeks time, our world was shattered. Yet, we were under His wings.
How wonderful it is to be under those wings. The storm is there. The pain is there. The loss is there. The comfort is there. The security is there. The confidence is there.
My heart goes out to so many friends and neighbors with crashed lives in the storms that come. Homes, loved ones, jobs, and other items to which we attach our security are gone. It can happen to any of us at any day. When we are under those wings, it sure is easier. When we are exposed, it is hard.  The Father is always ready for the storms.

That momma dove took her hatchlings to more protective ground when the storms came.  They are fine.  God can do that for you.  He’s done it for me so many times.
My prayer for you goes like this:
Father, here is a friend. Here is a neighbor. Here is someone over which You brooded in their creation. Here is someone over which You wish to cover with Your wings. Make it easy for them, Father, to find that comforting place of respite in Your nest. Allow them to nestle up close and be overwhelmed by the immensity of Your comfort in a world of storms. The storms come and go, but Your protection comes and stays. Allow us our place beside You. Allow us our confidence in Your concern. Thanks, Father. You are amazing.

Meet Jesus: Mercied Matthew 5:7

Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ….. 7: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

 Mercy interests me.  I need a lot of mercy.  All of us do.  So what is mercy?

Mercy is acceptance in spite of my pain and problems and persistent pressures.

Mercy is being received by others regardless.

Mercy is not receiving bad results from bad actions.

Mercy is having a friend I just offended do an act of kindness for me.

Mercy is having my punishment revoked and let go free.

Mercy is someone loving me even when I continually hurt them.

Mercy is good.  It is kind.  It is abundant in Jesus.  He is full of mercy.

When mercy comes to us through others around us, we want to give it back to them.   A merciful person receives mercy from others.

When mercy is held back in a needful situation, we are deeply wounded.  We can decide to respond with mercy and protect our soul.

A really painful act with no mercy was dumped on me last year.  Really, it has taken me many months of pain and speaking blessing and forgiveness over the offenders to even have a day with rest.  The pain of a merciless act can dig deep into our soul.  This one did.  I won’t recant the actions.  They were disloyal, unfaithful, dishonest, and lacked any small amount of mercy.

Yet, I can apply mercy.  It has taken much of my emotional investment and trust in God’s protection for the future of my family, but He is giving me the smile of mercy for these that were unmerciful.  My joy is more certain and more consistent.  The wound of a friend goes deep.  These were friends.  Really, they were friends turned sour.  An unmerciful act of an enemy is expected.  But, a friend of over a decade is not expected to act such a way.

The great news is that we can take from our storehouse of mercy received over life and apply to the ugliest of situations and offenses.  We can dispense mercy in the face of evil and keep the light in our countenance.  Mercy has power.  Mercy received or mercy given  is healing.

ACT!  Mercy is learned by example.  Who around you is always taking care of others even when others take advantage of them?  You think about it and wonder if the person is all connected upstairs.  Why do they keep putting themselves at such risk?  Go spend some time with that person.  Learn from them. 

PRAY!   Father, I hunger for my family to be complete in You.  That is my hunger.  I wish to see all my friends connected to Christ.  There will never be a total satisfaction in me, Father, until I see my community committed to living fully in You and by character and moral principles revealed in Your word.  Satisfy my soul, Lord.  Show me a way to advance the righteousness of the kingdom in my family and friends and community this week.  Don’t let me sit on the sidelines.  Launch me into action.