Peggy Joyce Ruth and Angela Ruth Schum wrote stimulating stories to complement their verse by verse analysis of Psalm 91 in their book Psalm 91 God’s Shield of Protection. They also compiled a stirring collection of stories from people who experienced, first-hand God’s protection as a result of claiming passages in Psalm 91—by faith.
Flattop (3,510 feet) is Alaska’s most frequently climbed mountain. Located just 13 miles from downtown Anchorage in Chugach State Park, the views from its summit are stunning. I was in Anchorage to meet with participants in an emergency exercise timed to coincide with the 50thyear anniversary of the 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage. After our meetings I left with the two officers who accompanied me to take pictures at a park site near the airport. While there we met Kendra, a local resident, who told us Flattop was the place to go to get the best views of the area. We assumed we were going to arrive at a place where we could take photos from our car so you can imagine our surprise when she led us from the parking lot to Glen Alps trailhead to walk 1.5 miles and climb 1280 feet! This would have been okay except that the trail was mostly mud and snow and near the top very icy and steep.
Navy Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell was the sole survivor of a US Navy SEAL team ambushed by Taliban fighters. Severely wounded, Luttrell somehow managed through great courage to evade an enemy zealous to kill him. Fortunately, members of the Afghan Sabray tribe found him and whisked him into their village. Despite incredible danger, the tribal chief protected him, fending off Taliban attacks until word reached nearby American forces who then came and rescued him.
Acts 2:36,37—“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”
National holidays can provide a natural period for introspection. As we approach yet another celebration of our nation's independence, I think this year of the word insecurity. In the 1770’s when our forefathers fought for the freedom we celebrate today, they lived in a time of great tumult. Consider this: they faced an opponent far superior in wealth and military might; they knew starvation, harsh weather and disease; they lacked basic supplies in armament, clothing and supplies; and they did not always know who was truly for or against them. But in the midst of uncertainty, doubt and despair the trumpet call for liberty persisted. Men and women strove mightily to worship, speak, live and work upon the foundation of freedom. For that self-determination, insecure lives bled nobly; though pained, pilgrims refused to give up; trepidation clung to truth and the right to dispel tyranny.
Jude 24,25—Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and forever. Amen.
The Deschutes River in Oregon is 173.4 miles long. It runs through rugged forest and deserted desert sometimes cascading with terrific roar, sometimes ambling like some peaceful toddler. It is a great river to fish for steelhead and salmon. On the lower Deschutes people often come to whitewater raft. And for that experience, my son, Stephen and I, joined 17 folks from Southwest Hills Baptist Church.
So this is war. All airline flights were cancelled—an unprecedented occurrence. For days I couldn’t leave Georgia. The worst terrorist strike America has ever experienced induces bewilderment, anger, sadness, vulnerability, fear and a host of other emotions.
September 11, 2001 is our new day of infamy. Across the continent my wife explained to our three children the significance of what they observed on television. This is not some historical aberration, some freakish blow in a new millennium. This is not the isolated work of a depraved band of people. This is the calculated fist of evil and freedom is just one of its targets.
CPT Bob climbed the tower. His soldiers were there to rappel off the tall wooden platform. At the top he inspected the training and noticed that the end of one of the ropes was improperly anchored with a simple granny knot. So he pointed out to the Lieutenant, Officer in Charge (OIC), the problem. The LT disagreed, said the knot was fine and ordered Bob off the tower. By rights as the OIC he could do so. Bob reminded him that safety was everyone’s responsibility and that he would not allow his soldiers to go down under such unsafe conditions. Again, the LT told him to leave. After more heated words, Bob descended the stairs and walked over to the nearest phone to report an unsafe condition. While he was on the phone, one of his soldiers leaning over the edge shrieked as his rope came loose. He fell straight to the ground. Today that injured soldier remains a quadriplegic.
Saturday night I was supposed to be at a banquet in Beaverton. Instead I found myself sitting on a broken plane in Denver. The United pilot informed us that a navigational piece of equipment on our jet was not inoperable. We waited for mechanics to fix the broken system and watched as the little red ball in the sky fell out of view. Finally, our good-humored pilot confessed that the job was more complicated than expected. While he could fly the plane to Oregon without the instrument’s help, he elected not to as a matter of safety. He needed the assurance that if anything should go wrong that system would work and warn us should the aircraft be too close to the ground. Because we knew we would be winging over large mountains we clapped our hands in agreement. Finally, almost four hours later, we took off on a different plane United provided.
Jonathan Justice is elected Mayor of Reckless City. Immediately upon assumption of office he determines to instill law and order. He fires the corrupt police chief and sacks the city administrator. He appoints a special commission to go after organized crime bosses. His new district attorney is armed with the full cooperation of municipal government to nab criminals with effective passion. A weary city sighs in relief.
It’s hard to sleep at night with the realization that you may wake up with your house tumbling into the ocean. Such is the case of many Oregonian coast dwellers watching in apprehension each winter as Pacific waves continue to steadily devour beach and sand dune. The importunate cries of desperate homeowners have reached lawmakers who must decide whether to allow the emplacement of huge boulders that would form a wall against the water.
At approximately 3:30 a.m. the bright flashing lights of the police car in his rearview mirror meant pullover time. He stopped and started to get out of his car—not a good move! The stern voice of the policeman ordered him to keep his hands in sight and get back in his car. He noticed with apprehension the lawman holding a flashlight in one hand while unlatching his holster with the other. The agitated officer moved forward checked his license and then searched the contents of his car. Fortunately, he was not charged or ticketed, one of his headlights was not working.
At 2:47 a.m. the house shuddered. I looked over at my sleeping wife and asked if she had noticed anything. Since the dogs were not barking and I felt no sense of urgency, I drifted back to sleep. About a half an hour later, the doorbell rang and our two canines erupted. I opened the door to two policemen, bright flashing lights and the reality that an abandoned car sat atop the berm in front of our home.
Along the Oregon coast are posted signs warning people to beware of sneaker waves. Children playing on logs in the sand have died because a large wave has come in and rolled the huge timber over them as if twirling matchsticks. Others have been knocked down and pulled out to deeper water only to drown.
Bruce Thielemann tells the story in Christus Imperator of a king long ago who organized a great race within his kingdom. All the young men in the land participated. A bag of gold was to be given to the winner, and the finish line was within the courtyard of the king's palace. During the race the runners were surprised to find in the middle of the road leading to the king's palace a great pile of rocks and stones. But they managed to scramble over it or to run around it and eventually to come to the courtyard.