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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

God's Umbrella Of Protection

"He's (God's) a rich mine of common sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere." - Proverbs 2:7 The Message Bible

Recently, a young teen wrote me, and poured her heart out to me, about how she had drifted away from God, and how her life was slowly unraveling as a result. She was hanging around with the wrong kind of friends, and the negative impact they were having on her life was becoming more and more evident in her own behavior. No matter how she struggled to maintain her identity in Christ, she felt herself being pulled further and further away from God. I recognized her letter as a cry for help, but I didn't realize how desperate a cry it was until a few days later, when her mother wrote me and described the tragic incident that had befallen her daughter the night before.

This experience reminded me of a powerful demonstration that I witnessed in church years ago. The pastor was holding an umbrella over his head, saying that God's protection was like a spiritual covering over us, as long as we were walking in His will and His ways. But then the pastor stepped out from under the umbrella, emphasizing that we remove ourselves from God's protective covering whenever we step outside of His will. I believe that this is exactly what happened to the young girl who wrote me. While she was devoted to God, she was in a place of safety and blessing. But when she turned her back on God and His guidelines for living, she placed herself in harm's way, and the devil did the rest. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, while Satan "comes only to steal and kill and destroy." (John 10:10) When we walk away from God and His will for us, we give the devil permission to come into our lives and do us harm.

Scripture indicates that angelic protection is available to those who devote themselves to the Lord. The Amplified Version of the following verse brings out this truth beautifully: "For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]." (Psalm 91:11 AMP) Throughout the pages of the Bible, God's people are promised angelic protection. But we can't expect God to give us the same degree of protection when we're walking in disobedience and "doing our own thing." In order to enjoy the greatest level of divine protection, we need to have a reverential fear of the Lord. Scripture says: "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers." (Psalm 34:7 AMP)

The thing that impresses me most about this girl's sad story is that I believe God had warned her that trouble was headed her way, if she continued to drift away from Him. Her letter to me, and her cry for help, just days before tragedy struck, are proof that the Lord had been dealing with her about her disobedience. I've heard my husband say countless times that, "God always gives us warnings," and there are many verses in the Bible that confirm this fact. Job 33:14-18 says: "In a dream, for instance, a vision at night, when men and women are deep in sleep, fast asleep in their beds--God opens their ears and impresses them with warnings, to turn them back from something bad they're planning, from some reckless choice, and keep them from an early grave, from the river of no return." (The Message Bible) When we are on the path of destruction, the Lord will go to great lengths to get us back on the right track. But if we continually resist His Spirit's promptings, our hearts can become hardened, and we can easily miss His loving cues.

Today, if you sense that you are on a path leading away from God, I urge you to stop in your tracks, and cry out to Him for help, before it's too late. May this precious promise from the Lord encourage your heart today--"'If you'll hold on to Me for dear life,' says GOD, 'I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care, if you'll only get to know and trust Me.'" (Psalm 91:14 The Message Bible)

Prayer: Lord, I humble myself before You today, and I ask You to make it clear to me if there is any sin in my life that you would like me to deal with at this time. Please give me a tender heart and a tender conscience, and make me sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit's leading in all things. Thank You, Lord, that as I continually submit to Your will and ways, I will remain under Your covering of protection, safety, and blessing!

- J. M. Farro


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