My Refuge and Fortress

“Never find fault with the absent.” – Alexander Pope

The word of the day, from, is velleity, which means, “a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.”

This was really tough. Today is Global Forgiveness Day. Why was it tough? Because today is also Chocolate Day! And as much as I love chocolate and anything to do with it, I have to believe that to forgive is better than chocolate. I know . . . the words “better than chocolate” just don’t look right together.

It’s Thursday, already. That’s not a complaint, either. Gotta love these four-day work weeks! C is having dinner with a few ladies tonight, as they are having their semi-regular gathering for confession. It’s a thing they do. I know some of the guys gather on a regular basis for this, as well, but I’m not part of a group like that, at least not yet. I would want to be very picky about who I gather with for something as deeply personal as confession. It would have to be someone I trust fully.

The Red Sox managed to win a series against the Rangers, beating them 11-6 last night. They started off hot and stayed ahead the whole game. Unfortunately, the Boo Jays won again, too, so the Sox are still in third by a half game. The Rangers are 6.5 up on the Astros in the West. In other news, the San Francisco Giants have overtaken the Cubs as the best team in baseball, by two percentage points. The Cubs continue to be three points ahead of the Rangers, so they are now the third best team in MLB.


(From Praying With the Psalms)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Psalm 91:1-6

This is one of my favorite Psalms. In it, we get a variety of the forms that the protection of God takes. He is refuge and fortress. He will cover us with his pinions. What are pinions? I had to look that up. It’s the outer part of a bird’s wing. Under his wings, we will find refuge. The faithfulness of God is a “shield and buckler.” What’s a buckler? Besides being the last name of one of my best friends in high school, it is a small, round shield, worn on the arm. All of these forms of God’s protection deliver us from the “snare of the fowler,” “the deadly pestilence,” “the terror of the night,” “the arrow that flies by day,” and “the destruction that wastes at noonday.” God is our refuge and fortress; what do we have to fear? “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world,” said Jesus, in John 16:33.

“I need your protective help, Almighty God: be to me a refuge and a fortress. Grant that I may be more expectant of your protective care than fearful of the dangers of evil. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

Father, you are my refuge and fortress! You are my protection and my deliverance. Whom shall I fear? But, yet, I do manage to fear! How stupid of me! How could I possibly find anything to fear when you are my deliverance, and you will give me refuge under your “wings?” This Psalm says, “You will not fear the terror of the night!” It doesn’t say “you shouldn’t fear!” It says “will not.” Father, I need your Spirit to embed this truth in my being, so that I will not fear anything that comes against me. Fill me with the trust that comes from being a true disciple, as I walk in your kingdom. Make me aware of your presence throughout this day.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.


“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.”~~Kahlil Gibran

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is velleity, “a slight wish or tendency.” Example sentence: “Samuel sometimes mentions that he would like to go back to school, but his interest strikes me as more of a velleity than a firm statement of purpose.”

Today is International Mountain Day.

Oh. Wait. Wrong kind of “Mountain.” I think they mean this kind.


Our church had a women’s Christmas party last night, and Christi went to it. She had a good time, and they had an ornament exchange at the party. She didn’t get home until after 9:30, and said she was the first one to leave.

While she was gone, I watched “The Frighteners,” an old Michael J. Fox movie, from the nineties, I think? It was quite good and very entertaining.

Today is Friday! Woohoo!!


(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next step in Tim Keller’s framework (yesterday, we looked at “evocation”) is “meditation.” I realize that some more fundamentalist types of Christians run screaming from the room when that word is mentioned, but meditation is a good thing, and, in fact commanded by Scripture. “To respond to God in prayer, we must listen to his Word.” And the best way to “listen” is to take time to meditate on a portion of Scripture, using it as a “bridge into prayer.” When we say “listen,” we do not mean that we sit silently, listening for a voice in our head. The idea is to mull over the passage of Scripture that we have read, considering all of the possible meanings, and “listening” to what the Spirit leads us to hear from it. This is not something that one accomplishes overnight.

While it is true that the more you study the Bible, the easier it is to move into this kind of meditation, it is not good to spend most of your daily time in serious, in-depth Bible study, as it will not leave much time for meditation and prayer. This, if you recall, was one of the basic flaws of the “Quiet Time” model.

For people who might just be starting out with this (and I confess that I still don’t consider myself a “veteran”), it would be good to get a good grip on Scripture through slow study/reading. Perhaps a chapter a day, which would cover the Bible in three years, along with a single-volume commentary. While reading, you could earmark chapters for later reflection, returning to those for meditation times before prayer.

Father, Scripture meditation is something I have always struggled with. As I move toward adapting this model for my morning devotions, I pray for a good understanding of meditation, and that I might take time at other points in the day to engage in serious Bible study/reading, that my knowledge of you might increase. I pray for focus for my mind as I try to meditate, because my mind is so easily distracted.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.