It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Charisma House (June 2010)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***
Peggy Joyce Ruth and her husband, Jack, are former pastors from Brownwood, Texas. Peggy has taught an adult Bible study each week at her church for the past thirty years. She is a popular conference speaker and continues to teach a weekly radio Bible study called Better Living on KPSM and KBUB.
Visit the author’s website.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (June 2010)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
WHERE IS MY DWELLING PLACE?
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most HighWill abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Have you ever been inside a cabin with a big roaring fire in the fireplace, enjoying a wonderful feeling of safety and security as you watch an enormous electrical storm going
on outside? It is a warm, wonderful sensation, knowing you are being sheltered and protected from the storm. That is what Psalm 91 is all about—shelter!
I am sure you can think of something that represents security to you personally. When I think of security and protection, I have a couple of childhood memories that automatically come to mind. My dad was a large, muscular man who played football during his high school and college years, but he interrupted his education to serve in the military during World War II. Mother, who was pregnant with my little brother, and I lived with my grandparents in San Saba, Texas, while Dad was in the service. As young as I was, I vividly remember one ecstatically happy day when my dad unexpectedly opened the door and walked into my grandmother’s living room. Before that eventful day, I had been tormented with fears because some neighborhood children had told me
I would never see my dad again. Like kids telling a ghost story, they taunted me that my dad would come home in a box. When he walked through that door, a sense of peace and security came over me and stayed with me for the rest of his time in the army.
It was past time for my baby brother to be born, and I found out when I was older that Dad’s outfit at the time was being relocated by train from Long Beach, California, to Virginia Beach, Virginia. The train was coming through Fort Worth, Texas, on its way to Virginia, so my dad caught a ride from Fort Worth to San Saba in the hopes of seeing his new son. He then hitchhiked until he caught up with the train shortly before it reached Virginia Beach. The memory of his walking into that room still brings a feeling of peaceful calm to my soul. In fact, that incident set the stage for later seeking the security a heavenly Father’s presence could bring.
Did you know there is a place in God—a secret place—for those who want to seek refuge? It is a literal place of physical safety and security that God tells us about in Psalm 91.
Dwelling in the shelter of the Most High is the Old Testament’s way of teaching faith. This gives us the most intense illustration of the very essence of a personal relationship with God. Man has no innate built-in shelter. Alone, he stands unsheltered against the elements and must run to the shelter Himself. In the first verse of Psalm 91, God offers us more than protection; it is as if He rolls out the hospitality mat and personally invites us in.
I cannot talk about this kind of peace and security without also having another vivid memory come to mind. My parents once took my younger siblings and me fishing on a lake near Brownwood, Texas, for an afternoon of fun.
Dad had a secluded place where we fished for perch. That was the second greatest highlight of the outing. I loved seeing the cork begin to bob and then suddenly go completely out of sight. There were only a few things that could thrill me more than jerking back on that old, cane pole and landing a huge perch right in the boat. I think I was fully grown before I realized that Dad had an ulterior motive in taking us for an afternoon of perch fishing. He used the perch as bait for the trotline he had stretched out across one of the secret coves at the lake.
Dad would drive the boat over to the place where his trotline was located, cut off the boat motor, and inch the boat across the cove as he ran the trotline. That’s what he called it when he took the trotline into his hands and pulled the boat alongside all the strategically placed, baited hooks to see if any of them had caught a large catfish.
I said that catching the perch was the second greatest highlight of the outing. By far the greatest thrill came when Dad would get to a place where the trotline would begin to jerk almost out of his hand. Then we three siblings would watch, wide-eyed, as Dad wrestled with the line until finally, in victory, he would flip a huge catfish over the side of the boat, right on the floorboard at our feet. Money couldn’t buy that kind of excitement! Not even the circus and a carnival all rolled up into one could compete with that kind of a thrill.
However, one of these outings turned out to be more eventful than most, quickly becoming an experience I will never forget. It had been beautiful when we started out, but by the time we finished our perch fishing and headed toward the cove, everything had changed. A storm came upon the lake so suddenly there was no time to get back to the boat dock. The sky turned black, lightning flashed, and drops of rain fell with such force they actually stung when they hit. Moments later, we were being pelted by marble-sized hailstones.
I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes, and I knew we were in danger. But before I had time to wonder what we were going to do, Dad had driven the boat to the rugged shoreline of the only island on the lake. Although boat docks surround the island now, back then it looked like an abandoned island with absolutely no place to take cover. Within moments Dad had us all out of the boat and ordered the three of us to lie down beside our mother on the ground. He quickly pulled a canvas tarp out of the bottom of the boat, knelt down on the ground beside us, and thrust the tarp up over all five of us. That storm continued to
rage outside the makeshift tent he had fashioned over us—the rain beat down, the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled. Yet I could think of nothing else but how it felt to have my dad’s arms around us. There was a certain calm under the protection of the shield my father had provided that is hard to explain now. In fact, I had never felt as safe and secure in my entire life. I remember thinking that I wished the storm would last forever. I didn’t want anything to spoil the wonderful security I felt that day in our secret hiding place. Feeling my father’s protective arms around me, I never wanted the moment to end.
Although I have never forgotten that experience, today it has taken on new meaning. Just as Dad put a tarp over us to shield us from the storm, our heavenly Father has a secret place in His arms that protects us from the storms that are raging in the world around us.
That secret place is literal, but it is also conditional! In verse 1 of Psalm 91, God lists our part of the condition before He even mentions the promises included in His part. That’s because our part has to come first. To abide in the shadow of the Almighty, we must first choose to dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
The question is, “How do we dwell in the security and shelter of the Most High?” It is more than an intellectual experience. This verse speaks of a dwelling place in which we can be physically protected if we run to Him. You may utterly believe that God is your refuge, you may give mental assent to it in your prayer time, you may teach Sunday School lessons on this concept of refuge, and you may even get a warm feeling every time you think of it, but unless you do something about it—unless you actually get up and run to the shelter—you will never experience it.
You might call that place of refuge—a love walk! In fact, the secret place is, in reality, the intimacy and familiarity of the presence of God Himself. When our grandchildren Cullen, ten, and Meritt, seven, stay the night with us, the moment they finish breakfast each runs to his own secret place to spend some time talking with God. Cullen finds a
place behind the couch in the den, and Meritt heads behind the lamp table in the corner of our bedroom. Those places have become very special to them.
Where is your secret place? You too need the security and shelter of a secret place with the Most High.