Posts Tagged ‘To the rescue’

Halloween Reflections: To the Rescue

October 31, 2012

In thinking about Halloween, I recall an experience a friend shared regarding a horrible prank that occurred as a child.

Halloween and some of its negative aspects, such as pranks, remind me of an incident a friend shared with me when he went to live with a relative in the rural South where there was no indoor plumbing, and everyone used an outdoor toilet known as an “outhouse.” Unbeknownst to my young friend, the custom on Halloween night was to move the “outhouse” from its original position so that when a person stepped inside, he would fall into the pit. That’s exactly what happened, and my friend immediately cried out, “Daddy, Daddy, come and get me!” His father came running with a flashlight and reached down and grabbed his son by the collar and snatched him out of the horrible pit.
That incident never fails to remind me of a spiritual parallel whereby I, like the young boy in horrific circumstances, called out to my Heavenly Father in desperation. I identified with my friend and expressed my thoughts in some of the lines of “my testimony in poetry”:

With lovin arms you reach way down
And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,
Sought me and flat-out rescued me,
Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

(from Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance)

Many times as we go through life, we become entangled in circumstances that restrict our efforts to succeed and impede our progress. Like the Psalmist we may find ourselves in situations whereby we cry out to God:

Psalm 35:17
Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

The calling out to God in desperation to “come rescue me” is beautifully expressed in this rendition of “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful:


When I think about being rescued from a dangerous situation, I recall some of the lyrics of this familiar “vintage hymn” from childhood days of growing up in the Church. The hymn was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which had these lines:

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.

The words have become even more meaningful today. I was absolutely overwhelmed by this rendition of the song from the combined choruses of Brigham Young University:


Like Daniel in the den of lions, we sometimes find ourselves in desperate, seemingly impossible situations from which we cannot extract ourselves on our own. When we think of such situations like that of Daniel, we must remember the King’s response when God delivered Daniel:

Daniel 6:27

He [the God of Daniel] delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

In thinking about the record of Daniel in the lion’s den, the words of a Black Spiritual also raise an important question:

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel, Deliver Daniel?
Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel? Then why not every man?

“Hand upon the Plow” gives account in poetry of a number of instances where God came to the rescue of Daniel and other believers:

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it spose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to buggin you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

From Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance

During times of intense pressure when I forget just how faithful God has been, He gently comforts and reminds with these words:

Listen to Me
Isaiah 46:3-4
Listen to me. Open your ears and clearly hear
I have always been there. Though you had not perceived
My presence in the wasteland, I was ever near.
Indeed, I knew you before you were first conceived.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He
Who still holds you and causes you to remember.
I open deaf ears and cause blinded eyes to see
The passion that consumes your soul was once an ember.
Though I seem to be delayed, I will not tarry
But will return for the faithful ones who remain:
Those whom I have made those I will also carry;
Those whom I have called by name I will sustain.
Rest in me: I will perform all I said to do.
Know that I will sustain you and will rescue you.

Every Halloween when I recall my friend who found himself in a horrific situation and called out to his father or whenever I find myself in a horrible mess, generally of my own making, I am also reminded of this truth that when I cry out, my Heavenly Father will come “to the rescue.”

When I recall the circumstances from which God rescued me, many times I am overwhelmed with gratitude, as I shudder to think when I might be if He had not intervened in such a dramatic manner. In reflecting upon God’s intervention, I composed this poem which I use to conclude this blog.

If It Had Not Been for the Lord


“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,”

Let Israel now say—

Psalm 124:1

If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,
I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.
I shudder to think just where I would be today.
I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,
But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,
My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.
He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,
But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.
Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand new day,
Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight and pray.
The Lord is my keeper; in Him I confide:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Helen Baylor offers her testimony in song with a selection with the same title: “If it Had Not Been for the Lord.”

A Five-fold Prayer: Protect Me

February 7, 2012

In the fourth part of my Five-fold Prayer I ask God to "Protect Me."

This blog entry is the fourth part of “A Five-fold Prayer,” a series of commentaries based on a statement regarding the ways of God when we find ourselves in perplexing situations that challenge our faith. In such instances, God is endeavoring to do one or a combination of five things: “Direct you; Inspect you; Correct you; Protect you; Perfect you.” After hearing those words, I took those five verbs and formed them into a request, a petition, a prayer to God for me.  I asked God to become the initiator of the action, and I would become the object of his action. I also examined each of the verbs with scriptural illustrations from the Old Testament and New Testament and composed a prayer/psalm inspired by each verb at the end of each section related to each of the five verbs. In writing out my personal application of the scriptures, I also incorporated music related to the verbs as well. In Part 4 I ask God to “Protect Me.”

 

Using the verb "deliver" in place of "protect" which is not found in the KJV of the Bible

 

Protect: Since there is no word “protect” used in the King James Version, I used “deliver,” a word that has the following definition and is found in the following scriptures:

Deliver:

O.T.: to pluck out of the hands of an oppressor or enemy; to preserve, recover, remove; to deliver from danger, evil, trouble; to be delivered, to escape;

Psalm 31:1-4 and verse 15

31:1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.

2  Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.

3  For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

4         Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

15  My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

 

The Greek word used in the New Testament is ruomai, translated to mean: “to draw or snatch to one’s self from danger, to rescue, to deliver.” This particular definition brings to mind a stanza from one of my poems that poetically expresses my testimony:

With lovin arms you reached way down

        And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,

Sought me and flat-out rescued me,

          Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

“Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?”

Other related scriptures include the following:

Matthew 6:13:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

 

II Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

 

II Timothy 4:18

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever.

This section also concludes with a psalm or poetic prayer to God:

Protect me

 As a child runs to safety in his father’s arms,

So I, too, run to you, “my shelter from life’s storms.           

Lord, I long to dwell with you in the secret place:

My buckler, my shield, deliverer, my fortress,

Strong tower, defender, who responds to my prayer,

For Lord, you are faithful, who will establish me

And protect me and deliver me from evil.

As a youngster, I recall singing in the Junior Choir and learning a number of hymns, one of my favorites being “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Charles Wesley, the brother of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, wrote the lyrics to this classic composition:

 

Selah, contemporary Christian music group, offers a fitting song related to this entry, “You Deliver Me”:

 

“Your Deliverance Will Come” by James Bignon and The Deliverance Mass Choir is an energetic reminder of God’s faithfulness.

 At the end of January I posted a blog entry entitled “To the Rescue Anew” that was actually a lead-in to a reposting of an entry “To the Rescue,” a commentary on the rescue of the Chilean miners back in October of 2010.

To the Rescue Anew

January 26, 2012

Recently we have seen daring acts of bravery that have come to the rescue of those in danger.

Recently as I completed my morning time of meditation and prayer, I came across two similarly related news items that ministered to me and reinforced one of the entries from “Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.” The news items related to individuals who were in serious trouble, and someone came along to rescue them from danger.

 

By now the world is well aware of the daring rescue of American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted, from Denmark, two Western hostages held captive by Somali pirates in East Africa.  The same Navy Seal Team responsible for the death of Osama bin Laden parachuted under the cover of night and whisked away the two individuals with no casualties to the rescue team.

 

Many people, however, may not be aware of a parallel situation, whereby  Malik Gipson  performed the Heimlich maneuver on his two-year- old brother, Michael, who had swallowed a piece of peppermint candy and began to choke. Initially nothing happened, but Malik had the presence of mind to continue performing the procedure. On the third attempt, Michael coughed out the candy, later prompting Michael to say, “Malik saved my life.”

 

 

These two news accounts captured the essence of the message of a blog post written following a similar rescue operation that captivated the world at the time. Most providentially I had just read “To the Rescue” written in response to the Chilean miners who were rescued after more than two months in the heart of the earth.  Here is a reposting of that blog entry:

 

https://drlej.wordpress.com/tag/chilean-miners-rescue/

 

God is able

August 22, 2011

Despite the severity of the challenges we face, never forget that "He is able."

In a recent series of messages taken from the Book of Daniel, I have been strengthened and encouraged by examples of those like Daniel and others who exercised astounding faith, reaping the benefits of their strong convictions. Yesterday’s message by Apostle Eric L. Warren at Equip U Ministries centered on “the three Hebrew children.” “In the Fiery Furnace” was the title. In reviewing my notes, I was inspired to write this poem:

 God is Able 

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us  from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

Daniel 3:17

                                 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly  

above all that we ask or think, according to the power    

that works in us,

 Ephesians 3:20

                                   

God is able to do far above all we ask or think.

Life’s greatest challenges will not prevail, but they will shrink.

Although threatened on every hand, we refuse to back down.

In the midst of what seems to be defeat, we will still rebound.

If we have to, we will walk on water and will not sink.

 

Surrounded by disaster, even at the very brink           

Of total defeat, so the enemy would have us to think.               

Though confronted and intimidated, we stand our ground:

God is able.                                    

 

 

We have learned that God’s Word and God’s will are always in sync,

That His Word nourishes and sustains us more than food or drink.      

Our confident trust in God is nothing less than profound,

As we rise untouched, not singed, even from a fiery showdown.       

Renewed in the spirit of our minds, we can now rethink:

God is able.        

As I completed the piece, a couple of songs came to mind: “He is able” expresses the same truth, as powerfully rendered by Wintley Phipps:

The entire discussion of God Almighty who rescues those in danger brought to mind a blog written after the dramatic rescue of the Chilean copper miners who were saved in a miraculous manner. Featured in the commentary and poetry are a number of musical entries that also make reference to Daniel in “To the Rescue“:

All this reminds us “that the God that lived in Daniel’s time is just the same today.”

To the Rescue

October 13, 2010

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera greets one of the first miners rescued after being trapped underground for 69 days.

The headlines joyously revealed the account of the rescue of another miner who had been trapped in a copper mine in Chile. That incident brought to mind  this blog “To the Rescue,” a compilation of scriptures, comments, poetry and music centered on the theme that when we call on God, He will come “To the Rescue.” Just as the Psalmist declares in Psalm 138:3

In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.

I am especially mindful of how God comes to the rescue of those who call on Him, around this time of the year. As we approach Halloween and some of its negative aspects, such as pranks, I recall an incident a friend shared with me when he went to live with a relative in the rural South where there was no indoor plumbing, and everyone used an outdoor toilet known as an “outhouse.” Unbeknownst to my young friend, the custom on Halloween night was to move the “outhouse” from its original position so that when a person stepped inside, he would fall into the pit. That’s exactly what happened, and my friend immediately cried out, “Daddy, Daddy, come and get me!” His father came running with a flashlight and reached down and grabbed his son by the collar and snatched him out of the horrible pit.

That incident never fails to remind me of a spiritual parallel whereby I, like the young boy in horrific circumstances, called out to my Heavenly Father in desperation. I identified with my friend and expressed my thoughts in some of the lines of “my testimony in poetry”:

With lovin arms you reach way down
And snatched me from Satan’s outhouse,
Sought me and flat-out rescued me,
Fixed me up in my Father’s house.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

(from Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance)
Many times as we go through life, we become entangled in circumstances that restrict our efforts to succeed and mired in unpleasant situation that impede our progress. Like the Psalmist we may find ourselves in situations whereby we cry out to God:

Psalm 35:17
Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

The calling out to God in desperation to “come rescue me” is beautifully expressed in this rendition of “I Need You Now” by Smokie Norful:

When I think about being rescued from a dangerous situation, I recall some of the lyrics of this familiar “vintage hymn” from childhood days of growing up in the Church. The hymn was “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” which had these lines:

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.

The words have become even more meaningful today. I was absolutely overwhelmed by this rendition of the song from the combined choruses of Brigham Young University:

Like Daniel in the den of lions, we sometimes find ourselves in desperate, seemingly impossible situations from which we cannot extract ourselves on our own. When we think of such situations like that of Daniel, we must remember the King’s response when God delivered Daniel:

Daniel 6:27

He [the God of Daniel] delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

In thinking about the record of Daniel in the lion’s den, the words of a Black Spiritual also raise an important question:

Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel, Deliver Daniel?
Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel? Then why not every man?

“Hand upon the Plow” gives account in poetry of a number of instances where God came to the rescue of Daniel and other believers:

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it spose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to buggin you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

From Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance

During times of intense pressure when I forget just how faithful God has been, He gently comforts and reminds with these words:

Listen to Me

 
Isaiah 46:3-4

Listen to me. Open your ears and clearly hear
I have always been there. Though you had not perceived
My presence in the wasteland, I was ever near.
Indeed, I knew you before you were first conceived.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He
Who still holds you and causes you to remember.
I open deaf ears and cause blinded eyes to see
The passion that consumes your soul was once an ember.
Though I seem to be delayed, I will not tarry
But will return for the faithful ones who remain:
Those whom I have made those I will also carry;
Those whom I have called by name I will sustain.
Rest in me: I will perform all I said to do.
Know that I will sustain you and will rescue you.

Every Halloween when I recall my friend who found himself in a horrific situation and called out to his father or whenever I find myself in a horrible mess, generally of my own making, I am also reminded of this truth that when I cry out, my Heavenly Father will come “to the rescue.”

When I recall the circumstances from which God rescued me, many times I am overwhelmed with gratitude, as I shudder to think when I might be if He had not intervened in such a dramatic manner. In reflecting upon God’s intervention, I composed this poem which I use to conclude this blog:


If It Had Not Been for the Lord


If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side,

Let Israel now say–

Psalm 124:1

If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side,
I would have drowned in the sea from the tears I cried.
I shudder to think just where I would be today.
I would have lost my mind or turned and walked away,
But I learned that God is faithful—this cannot be denied.

He was there to guide when I was tempted and tried,
My shelter from the storm where I could run and hide.
He was my deliverer—that is all I have to say:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Enemies rose up like a flood to wash aside,
But God came through and rescued me and turned the tide.
Pressing toward the mark, dawning of a brand new day,
Through all my trials I learned to watch, fight and pray.
The Lord is my keeper; in Him I confide:
If it had not been for the Lord.

Last year I published an Examiner.com article regarding this valuable lesson that I learned from a Halloween prank.. Here is a link to the original article from which this discussion was taken.

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-20264-Columbus-Christian-Spirituality-Examiner~y2009m10d27-Halloween-prank-valuable-lesson-learned