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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Carved eagle
Eagle Carving by Tom Jenkins

"Dwelling In The Shelter Of The Most High"

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"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart" (Psalm 91:1-4).

Eagle nest (Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission, HDOnTap and Comcast Business)
There's a lot of interest in our area concerning an eagle cam which live streams a video of a bald eagle nest across the Susquehanna River from where we live (link to this page below). Any day one of her two eggs is supposed to hatch. This is a matter of interest and a source of discussion among many of the employees we visit as their chaplains. Some have even made the eagle's nest their home page.

The bald eagle, declared an endangered species for about 50 years, is now thriving here in Pennsylvania. A camera about the size of a soda can, is planted in the tree of a York County nest, and it provides a live streaming video of a bald eagle perched on her two eggs.

Before they hatch the eagle carefully protects her young from predators, extreme weather, or any other disturbance that would harm her future hatchlings.

This is also the image used in an ancient Psalm.
Psalm 91 begins with this promise, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

Headphones on airplaneOn our return flight from San Diego last week we flew Southwestern where seats are not assigned and we were unable to sit together. I (Brooksyne) sat between two young men who wore headphones and slept most of our flight so there was little conversation. But about halfway to San Antonio the man next to the aisle stirred, took off his headphones, and inquired, "Are you a nervous flyer?" Before I could respond he further commented, "I noticed you've been reading your Bible most of the flight."

Inwardly I smiled since I thought neither passenger took notice of me. I went on to explain that I'm not a nervous flyer; I was actually memorizing all 15 verses of Psalm 91 (which at my increasing age it takes a lot more time than my younger years).

He countered, "Oh, I thought you might be a nervous flyer so you read the Bible when you fly. I actually pulled out the Lord's Prayer and read it, before I boarded, which I do when I fly. It helps me to be less nervous." Trying not too sound preachy I briefly elaborated, "As a believer in Christ I try to read the Bible daily because it helps me in every area of my life." I was hoping for more of an opportunity to share my faith, but unfortunately his reinsertion of the ear plugs quickly ended the conversation.

Our brief exchange made me think of many who use the Bible or say a prayer only for special occasions, but choose not to "dwell" in the shelter of the Most High. To "dwell" means to linger, sit down, or "meditate" in the ascended place of the Most High. In doing so you rise above the madness, evil, and heartbreak down here below which leads to insecurity, doubts, reckless choices, and even despair.  To find reassurance for our soul we must
dwell in the shelter of the Most High and thereby we will find "rest in the shadow of the Almighty."  An old song states, "There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God."

In our daily text the Psalmist continues, "
I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" This is a powerful profession of our faith we can likewise declare today and everyday, for God has not changed and will not change.

"Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence." Two dangers are referred to here: the fowler's snare and the deadly pestilence. (The fowler's snare is like a net trap.) During every season of life we have dangers as expressed in John Newton's hymn, "through many dangers, toils and snares."  Our arch enemy "prowls around seeking whom he may devour", but God will save us when we call on Him for help.

The Psalmist then uses an analogy from a nesting bird: "He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge." Can you imagine a safer or more nurturing place in nature for the eggs or tiny chicks?
Similarly the writer of Psalm 91 warmly describes our loving, heavenly Father as One who covers us with His feathers. We find refuge under His wings.

The section ends with this promise, "His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart". The theme of God's faithfulness runs through the Bible beginning in Genesis and all the way into Revelation, where Christ is identified as "Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:11). Most of us know what a shield is but the word "rampart" is less familiar. Rampart refers to a defensive wall or bank built for protection. Our American readers will recall this word since it's sung in our national anthem, "O'er the ramparts we watched..."

As we
dwell in the shelter of the Most High we need not fear since God commands His angels to guard and protect us (Psalm 91:11). If you're feeling fear or insecurity today read Psalm 91, or better yet linger there for awhile, for fresh perspective on His enduring love and protection.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, like a nurturing eagle, You cover us with Your feathers so that we find refuge under Your protective wings. As we live in daily communion with You we are protected from the snare of the enemy. Therefore we need not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. Because we have made the Lord Most High our dwelling You have commanded the angels to guard us in all our ways. You will be with us in trouble, You will deliver us and honor us. What greater blessing could we want than to know we are under Your protective, loving care. Thank You, Father, for being all that we need here and now, and providing for our hereafter. Amen.

See all of Psalm 91

Of course for many the most famous Bible passage dealing with the eagle is from Isaiah 40. "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

Eagle reflection (photographer unknown)
I wish I could tell you I took this outstanding photo but I didn't!
Several years ago my sister Genelle sent it to me in a collection of beautiful photos.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Live Eagle Cam"  Video 
For whatever reason the video on this page was not working at the time we checked our page just before distributing (although it worked fine earlier this morning). Perhaps the eagle got tired of being viewed by thousands of humans and kicked the camera down! Scroll down and they also have a time lapse version from previous days.

Brooksyne found this beautiful edition of Psalm 91 set to music  Video

"Near To The Heart Of God"  Video   Green Hill Presbyterian Church

"Til The Storm Passes By"  Video  GVB

"Wings like Eagles"  Video  Hosanna! Music Scripture Songs

"On Eagle's Wings"  Video   Michael Joncas

"Eagle's Wings"  Video 

"I Cannot Tell"  Video  Songs of Praise  Next Sunday Brooksyne will be leading the church choir in this song, popular in Ireland.  A beautiful Instrumental version  Video

Finally today: When we visited California we saw this interesting name for a bakery shop in San Clemente!
3:16 Bakery Shop in San Clemente, CA

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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