October 22

Psalms 91:1, 4 (NIV) 1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

4He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

This psalm is a favorite of many people. Contemporary songs have been written with the idea it presents. The idea of being under the wings of God, like chicks under the shadow of a mother hen's wings, runs throughout Scripture. It is a beautiful metaphor full of meaning. We should not look too deeply or make too many analogies from the picture, but a few are quite obviously intended.

First, we need to seek that nearness to God. A mother hen will give a certain call to her chicks when there is danger, and the ones with any common sense will immediately run for the cover of her wings. God has given us that call in His word. The Devil is like a roaring lion roaming about looking for those He can devour. The call has been given. Are you using your common sense to respond by running for the shelter of wings of the Most High? To dwell (abide) there is really the only safe place to live. We need to experience a constant living there under His shelter. Some refer to this lifestyle as 'practicing the presence of God' or 'abiding in Christ'. It is the one way to live in the rest of God. He has invited us to experience His Sabbath rest, but with the enemy on the prowl, the only way to experience the rest is to live in the shadow of His wings.

There are several comforting names of God used here. Most High is the Hebrew Elyon, the God above all gods, or Lord of lords. The other is Shadday translated 'Almighty'. This is no ordinary hen. Satan dare not mess with this mother hen. Nothing stands a chance against this One.

Remember: Let His wings, His faithfulness, be your protection, your place of rest. Live in His shadow! Abide in Christ!

October 22

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (NIV) 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

The Thessalonian church was worried about those who had died. They thought that the return of Christ would come before their death. Paul told them that what he is about to share came from Jesus' own lips. Peter, or one of the other apostles, must have shared this with Paul. We don't find it in the Gospels. If Paul had not relayed it to this church, we wouldn't know the encouraging truth found here.

He wrote that Jesus had explained that some would die before His return. The believers that are living would not be taken up before those who had died. Here is the order: the Lord comes down from heaven; He gives a loud command; an archangel gives a shout; the trumpet of God sounds; the dead in Christ rise; we are caught up with the risen believers; then we all meet the Lord in the air never again to be separated from His glorious presence.

Paul wrote that they should comfort one another with these words. We are going to meet Christ together with those we love who died. If we should die before Jesus' return, we will be with those who rise. We have a glorious hope. No other faith has such strong assurance and promise. It should be a great comfort to us.

Christians debate about whether our spirit is present with the Lord when we die, or whether we enter into a waiting mode like sleep. It is easy to argue for one or the other, but either way, it will seem like instantly being in the Lord's presence. Death is not the end for us. It is merely the door to a glorious eternity.

Remember: Life here is short. Live in the light of eternity.