Monthly Archives: June 2016

Word Pictures of God as Our Helper – God’s Attributes #5

Beneath the beauty and bounty of our world, millions face trauma. Orphans long for love. scan0010Single mothers struggle to hold everything together. Unemployed cry out for a job. The poor cannot find housing. The exploited and abused live in fear. Refugees flee horrific atrocities. Our governments try to help but fall short. At times, even our families cannot help. Where can we turn?

The Nazarene offers an invitation. “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Throughout the Scriptures God has illustrated his desire to help us in a series of vivid metaphors. The coming of Christ in human form is the most concrete Pattan Minara towerproof of his love and care. Here are a few other examples.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10) Pursued by evil men or calamity, those who have been declared righteous by faith in Christ, seek God in prayer for safety and help. The towers men build crumble like this illustration, but God is changeless, eternally able to help.

Is your life being shaken? “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10) The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried Pompei; earthquakes shake the Himalayas and the Rockies. Although the most stable things we know change, God’s love for His people never changes. (Just review John 3:16!)

Don’t know where to go for protection? The Psalmist cried, “I have no refuge” (Ps 142:4). At least 23 times Scripture responds, “The eternal God is your refuge” (Deut.33:27). God loves to care for and protect suffering people. Canada and others countries offer refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq the safety and security they need. We who follow Christ are involved OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAin that effort, but we long, as well, to point them to eternal refuge from the consequences of evil through faith in the suffering Saviour.

Feeling alone, unloved? “Hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Ps. 17:8). David imagines himself as a young bird hiding under the wings of an eagle or some kind of great raptor. Jesus comparing himself to a protective hen, laments the rejection he received from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. But the offer stands. “How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Luke 13:34)!

Greece, ParthenonFeel threatened; unsafe? Up until modern times, threatened people fled for safety to castles and fortresses. Hence, the Psalmist describes his sense of God’s protection from evil and danger in these words. “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress” (Psalm 91:1,2).

In danger? Fleeing for his life from his murderous son, Absalom, David affirms, “you are a shield around me, O Lord” (Psalm 3:3). ”You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). Not just a shield on one side, but above and behind and beside, God can protect His children from all evil. And so we pray, “Deliver us from evil.”DSCN2541

All those who have been born again by God’s Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ have become children of God. As such, the Triune God is very serious about protecting us. All the followers of Christ learn early that the first place they turn for help is God; our strong
tower, an unshakeable mountain, our refuge, a sheltering bird, our fortress, and much more. Lord Jesus help us to remember that your ear is ever open to our prayers. And help us to make your churches on earth to be a reflection of your concern and care.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1 and on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )

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Are Manners Passé?

Monarch butterflyI returned from a walk the other day only to discover a wad of gum stuck to the bottom of one of my shoes—a new shoe! Who would be so thoughtless as to throw their gum onto the sidewalk?

This incident got me thinking about other acts of thoughtlessness. My mother taught us that we should always wipe our feet carefully on a doormat when entering a house, store or mall. But this happens rarely today.

Last week at the mall, I held the door open for a young man who sailed through without a nod or a thank you. My mouth hung open in astonishment.
When we drive in a city, which I won’t identify, I find myself lapsing into aggressive mode. I soon join the horde driving as if chased by a demon. That is, until Mary Helen reminds me to be civil and not let other drivers determine my mood. Okay.

How about store clerks—or is that term politically incorrect? Have you been totally ignored by sales persons who chat with each other or are engrossed by their cell phones?

Do people around you say please and thank you? When was the last time you sent or received a thank you note for a gift or a kindness? Are you or your grandchildren absorbed by your cell phones during meals…or have you declared the dining table a no-cell phone zone?

Do you find conversation one-sided? Do friends and acquaintances regale you with their latest adventure, trip or operation without giving any thought to Summer walkengaging you in the conversation? Nowadays, few people express interest in the lives of others, despite the fact that everyone has an interesting story or an urgent concern. Monopolizing conversations is another reflection of deteriorating manners.

Actually, all societies could be measured by the degree of civility with which its members treat each other. Great societies are mannerly. Great societies breed thoughtfulness. Great societies inculcate respect for others.

Good manners are the practical outworking of a determination to, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Jesus left us a pattern expressed by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3-5).

Fortunately, we live in a fairly polite and thoughtful small town. Most people DSCN2541thank us for holding open a door for them. Cars often pause to let us cross the street if we are walking, or join an orderly queue of cars on a street if we are driving.

I was reminded by the gum on my shoe to deny my innate propensity to think only of myself. As a selfish teen, I might have laughed at my parents’ attempts to train me to be mannerly. But they were right.

(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca Facebook: Eric E Wright Twitter: @EricEWright1 LinkedIn: Eric Wright )