The Daily Scroll

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PSALM 91

1. Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Lean back and rest as if you are sitting under a great old oak tree leaning back on the trunk, the branches above you providing shade. Take a deep breath and relax under his covering as if you are leaning back on his legs, safe, protected.

2. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

With my finger pointed to the sky I will declare, no shout to the world as I rest safely under His shelter.

3. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.

You and you and yes… you!

4. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Like a mother bird covering her baby bird in the nest with her feathers held by her wings. Above the feathers comes that firm yet gentle voice…

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

5. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.

Don’t fear nightmares caused by bad dreams brought on by stress, worry, and fear, resulting in restless sleep and sleeplessness. And don’t fear the attacks of the enemy that come during the day.

6. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

To fear a virus that you cannot see, that you have no control over can become obsessive but you must not give in to it, no more than you would give in to the fear of a car accident at daytime. It could happen but not likely if you proceed with precautions.

7. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

Why? Because you rest under God’s shelter, protected and completely covered. See it. Believe it.

8. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.

The wicked have no refuge in times of trouble. They live not under the shelter of God. Unfortunately they suffer the consequences.

9-10. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.

Make God your refuge! By an act of your will, stand on this promise.

11. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

God himself will give the order for his angels to protect you. Would an angel not obey? Unthinkable! They follow you, surround you, and protect you more effectively than a Presidential security detail.

12. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.

Uplifted.. Imagine…Angels lifting you up ever so gently by the elbows, just high enough to not stumble.

13. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

No matter how strong the enemy, whether animal or bacteria, they will be crushed because Christ is in you…His feet is in your feet!

14. The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.

And why wouldn’t he? Wouldn’t you rescue someone who loves you? Much more so will your loving Father God be there to rescu you.

15. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

He’s listening, are you calling in the time of trouble? You’ll be honored by his personal rescue. Call on him. He will answer.

16. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

When you live in his shelter, resting under his protection, you can expect and receive long life and salvation eternally.

No Hamburgers?

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Do you ever feel like the whole world is out of place except you? I have. The other night I decided to drive over to McDonalds for a hamburger. I knew exactly what I wanted, so I entered the drive-thru and without looking at the menu gave my order to the guy through the speaker.

“I’ll have a hamburger, small fries, and a small Diet Coke,” I said.

Then the voice in the speaker spoke words I never expected to hear. He said, “I’m sorry sir, we have no hamburgers.”

“What?” I asked. “No hamburgers?”

“No Sir,” He said.

Filled with frustrating disappointment, I leaned toward the speaker and asked, “How could you possibly not have any hamburgers?”

The voice in the speaker politely said, “This is Chick-Fil-A sir!”

At that moment, I realized that the whole world was out of place. Humbly I said to the voice in the speaker, “Never mind.” I quickly pulled out of line and drove next door to McDonald’s. How could I be so out of touch with where I was? All I had to do was look up and pay attention to the signs.

Today, signs of a changing world are all around us. We go about our day to day routine, assured in our own mind of where we are and what we are doing; yet, the world around us has changed. We are no longer living in the world of our youth. It no longer exists. I wanted a hamburger in a place that said, “Eat more chicken.” So no matter how badly I wanted a hamburger, there were none to be had.

We long for the old days, the simple, safe and secure days of our world; but those days and that world are gone. Sometimes our world changes instantly with the loss of a loved one, a job, a home, or even a church. Other times we wake up to discover a gradual change has happened without our even noticing. So what do we do when our world has been pulled out from under us, and we find ourselves in this new world? We go to the one who never changes. We go to the rock!

“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:2 (NLT)

Jesus is our rock, and in Him we firmly stand. His word is our guiding light in a changing world. He can reach into a lunch basket and pull out a feast for multitudes. He can calm the stormy sea. He can walk through the fiery volcanoes of our lives and bring us safely out without our clothes being singed or smelling of ash.

The Bible warns of a changing world with wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse places, and social upheaval. All these things must come to pass as the Bible predicted, but as Christians, we have the blessed promise that He, Lord Jesus, is coming back for His people. In this changing world, we are to comfort one another with these words.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT)

We shall suddenly be in a new and glorious world with the Lord. We, believers, look forward to that day. Meanwhile, as startling as it is to find ourselves in a different world here, if we will just look up, we will find that our steps are ordered by the One Who holds us safely in the palm of His hand, our Creator, Our God.

Copyright © Gene Markland. Used by permission.

Empty Pockets

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Old Joe sits on the edge of his bed and struggles with arthritic hands to fasten the cufflink on his shirtsleeve. He does pretty well for a 91-year-old man. The people at the assisted living center help him into his wheelchair, for the church bus is soon coming. Today is a special missions Sunday service and Joe hasn’t missed one in 82 years.

As they roll him toward the door, he reaches over to a small wooden box sitting on his bureau. He takes something out and puts it in his change purse. Returning the empty box to its place, he leaves for the bus.

Later at church, he sits in his wheelchair at the end of the front row, and his mind is flooded with memories. The singing ends and the Pastor begins his sermon about the missionaries they support, some of which are in attendance.

Again Joe’s memories take him back, to a time in his childhood at the age of nine. He sat in this same church on this same missions Sunday, and listened to songs calling men to service for God, and testimonies of the glorious works of God overseas. When they passed the offering plate, though inspired, young Joe had nothing to give. This saddened him, so on that day he purposed in his heart to never again have empty pockets when the missions offering plate is passed around.

So young Joe got himself a paper route and the next year he placed a brand new silver dollar in the missions offering. Every year thereafter, Joe continued to give. The church grew and prospered and so did Joe. It seemed like the more Joe gave, the more he prospered and the more he prospered, the more he gave.

Years passed and he became a successful manufacturer, owning his own factory. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t out-give God. Missions’ projects flourished around the world for years through his giving, and God blessed him in all his ways.

In time, Joe retired, sold his factory and enjoyed his latter years with his beloved wife Bernice. Now she is with the Lord and his possessions have been reduced to one small room in an assisted living center. Through insurance, his expenses are paid but he has no income and therefore no spending money. So, after all those years of blessing and wealth, old Joe sits in the mission’s service once again with empty pockets.

He thinks back to his first wedding anniversary, the mint condition silver dollar dated the year of their marriage that Bernice gave him, and the small wooden box he kept it in all those years. Today, old Joe would reach beyond his empty pockets and into his change purse.

As the Pastor prayed over the special missions offering, Joe struggled with knarled bony fingers to open the clasp on his small change purse. He reached inside and held his treasure tightly between his thumb and forefinger. As the offering plate was presented to him, he held his feeble hand over it and raised his thumb to reveal that precious silver dollar that Bernice had given him so long ago.

A tear rolled down his cheek as he lovingly placed his last offering in the plate for the Lord. His pockets are empty once again. As the service continued, Joe’s hands rested in his lap and his chin rested on his chest. Joe entered his rest and his reward.

I suppose as he entered heaven he was met by his heavenly Father, who embraced him and said, “Son, you started with empty pockets and ended with empty pockets, but in between, you have been faithful. Multitudes of souls rejoice here today because of your generosity. Like the widow who gave all she had, though small, it was counted as great. So well done Son! Great is your reward in heaven, and you don’t need pockets!”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (Luke 21:3-4 NLT).

Greetings Italy! Saluti Italia!

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To all our friends and companions of faith in the Italy. Greetings in the name of our Father God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, author and finisher of our faith. The Lord would say to you…

“Fear not for I am with you…yes, even you. Your faith is perfecting in this day of trial. Your love for me has touched my heart. I hear your cries, I see your sorrow. Fear not for I am with you…yes, even you.”

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4)

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be upon you and your families. May many blessings, health, and prosperity be yours today and always. – Gene

A tutti i nostri amici e compagni di fede in Italia. Saluti nel nome di nostro Padre Dio e di Suo Figlio, Gesù Cristo, autore e autore della nostra fede. Il Signore ti direbbe …

“Non temere che io sia con te … sì, anche tu. La tua fede si perfeziona in questo giorno di prova. Il tuo amore per me ha toccato il mio cuore. Sento le tue grida, vedo il tuo dolore. La paura non è per me con te … sì, anche tu. ”

“Anche quando cammino attraverso la valle più buia, non avrò paura, perché sei vicino a me.” (Salmo 23: 4)

Possa la grazia di nostro Signore Gesù essere su di te e sulle tue famiglie. Possano molte benedizioni, salute e prosperità essere tue oggi e sempre. – Gene

Blind Faith

IMG_0308Dolores Rivera had a dream, one that contained a message from God. She dreamed of a pillowcase slowly falling, and its four corners grabbed her attention. Some weeks later, she heard of a town called Dolores, Colorado, a few miles away from a place called the Four Corners.

The Four Corners is a unique location where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet geographically. God called her to go to the Four Corners and pray.

After months of prayer, Dolores saved enough money for an airline ticket to Colorado but was short the funds for a hotel and food for a week. Knowing God would provide, Dolores exercised blind faith and obeyed.

Upon arrival, she found that the airlines had lost her luggage, so what little money she had was spent on necessities. Undaunted, she pressed on. Upon entering the tiny town, she was amazed to see her name on everything. There was the Dolores Post Office, the Dolores Bed and Breakfast, the Dolores Gas Station and so forth.

After speaking with a nice man at the Dolores Hotel, she became aware of spiritual depression in the area fostered by Native American spiritism and witchcraft. God spoke to Dolores again and led her through town to the Dolores Restaurant. The owners inside were Hispanic and because of Dolores’ Hispanic background, they had instant rapport.

The nice lady asked Dolores why she was there, and as she shared her story of God’s mission, the lady began to cry.

She said, “We have been praying for revival and asking God to send someone to help us.”

Later, she introduced Dolores to a Pastor and some friends, then provided free room and board for her stay. Next, to the Four Corners they went.

Finally, reaching the very spot where the four states converge, they began to pray. She asked for God’s hand upon the land, beginning with the little nearby town of Dolores. Suddenly, the sky opened up and a strong wind blew. She knew her prayer had been heard. She was glad she had obeyed.

Afterward, the very atmosphere in the town seemed to change. God blessed Dolores, Colorado. The local church experienced revival and growth, particularly with the youth. And the restaurant owners … they were blessed and their business grew.

On her return flight, Dolores experienced a flight delay in Washington D.C. and was given free food and lodging in a first-class hotel with a free ticket to anywhere! She used that day in Washington to pray for the Nation. She can testify to the scripture that says,

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

The Bible tells us,

“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as an inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8 NLT)

Abraham obeyed with blind faith, and generations were blessed.

Another young man followed God’s call with blind faith. He packed up his family and traveled to an obscure neighborhood in a small town in Virginia. Having only $70 in his pocket, he arranged to buy a run-down television station in a dilapidated building.

To the casual observer, this TV station with its weak signal promised little more than a hobby. Yet like Dolores, Pat Robertson followed with blind faith in an adventure, which became the Christian Broadcasting Network, reaching the world for Christ!

If God is calling you to step out in blind faith, then obey Him and do it! Don’t wait for that perfect time. You might be unsure about some of the details, but don’t worry. When we show confidence in God’s call and obey Him, He honors our obedience and will enable us to succeed. He will not let you down. Blind faith is great faith, which leads to a wonderful life of adventures with God. Only He knows who will be blessed by your obedience.

Stepping out in blind faith is a delight to the Lord.

Remember,

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 ESV)

Copyright © Gene Markland, used with permission.

Moving Trucks in a Funeral Procession?

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Most people have never seen a moving truck in a funeral procession. And there’s a simple reason why. You can’t take it with you!

Consider Skip. He started out in life with nothing but a broken home filled with stress. He would often sit alone and daydream about growing up to be a big wealthy man in town. Eventually, Skip joined the Coast Guard. After years of service and living frugally, he separated from the service and struck out on his own. He had become skilled at operating and maintaining small craft boats.

He took his savings and purchased an old tugboat off the coast of Maine, restored it, and put it in service in Boston harbor. One boat became a small fleet of boats on the east coast.

One day he met a young lady, a bank teller, and the rest is history. Their first child was a beautiful baby girl who they named Angel. He also named his boat, “Angel” in her honor. Angel grew and became the sister to six hearty brothers. Skip grew a large family and a thriving business.

He gave his family opportunities he never had. But he left the raising of the children completely to his wife. He was a “big” man with important things to do. His large, growing family eventually moved away with loving memories of their mom, but very little of their Father. After 40 years of marriage, his dear wife died, and with her the love that held the family together.

Standing at her graveside, Skip grieved with their children. Wanting to console them, he made an uncomfortable attempt to be Dad. He wasn’t warmly accepted.

The reality was that he was a stranger to his own family. Later at home, he sat and listened quietly as his family retold many stories about their mom. They laughed, cried, and comforted one another but he was completely ignored. The next day they went their separate ways and Skip was left truly alone. Years later, when his time came, he found himself in a critical care home totally alone with nothing but time to think.

“I had a good life,” He thought, “but now my beloved wife is gone, my children and businesses are gone. What is left for me? Nothing.”

Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36 NLT)

Suddenly, a life lived for gain had become a life wasted, gaining nothing of eternal value.

Later that fall, Skip’s daughter, his Angel, rode with her granddaughter in a car behind her Father’s hearse. She noticed a concerned look on her granddaughter’s face and asked, “What’s wrong honey?”

The little girl looked up and said, “Wasn’t Great Grandpa rich?

“Yes honey, very rich,” her Grandmother replied.

“Then where are the trucks?” the little girl asked.

“What trucks?” Grandmother asked.

“The trucks with Great Grandpa’s stuff!” She replied.

“Moving trucks in a funeral procession?

“Yes, Great Grandpa had a huge house full of stuff.” She giggled.

Grandmother gently put her arm around the little girl, and spoke softly, “He can’t take it with him.”

“Oooh,” said the little girl. So he can only take those of us in the cars?

Her Grandmother looked at the hearse, and said quietly, “You missed it, Dad, we are the things you could take to heaven with you and you didn’t try. You missed it.”

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5 NKJV)

If Skip could live his life over, surely he would give more attention to the people in the cars rather than the moving trucks that are not in the funeral procession.

Copyright © Gene Markland, used with permission.

The Daily Scroll

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“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” (Psalms 19:12-13)