Day 4 of AVBS Protection from fowl play…

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Welcome back!

To start us off let’s look at the opening verses to Psalm 91 from The Message:

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, say this: ‘GOD, you are my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!’ That’s right —he rescues you from hidden traps…

Psalm 91:1-3

In other translations that “hidden trap” is called fowler’s snare. 

I did some research and found a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon that expands on this image. 

The fowler often snares birds by using a net. Since these creatures would be suspicious of the foreign material of netting lying over the ground or in the weeds or trees, the fowler camouflages the trap by covering it with vegetation, leaves, sticks and such. 

To entice his prey to land strategically in the trap, he places tidbits of food so that the bird will be drawn to eat and once settled on the bait, the fowler pulls the trap and the animal is caught. 

Interesting and ironic, isn’t it? 

When we hide in the Secret Place of the Most High….He rescues us from the secret traps of the enemy of our soul

In an earlier post I suggested you ask God to reveal to you the place where He longs for you to dwell…what that looks like for you and for your relationship with Him. I do believe that the context of how we “dwell” in obedience to God will not be a cookie cutter experience. 

I do believe that each of us, while we must all share the common ground of coming to the Cross of Jesus Christ and exchanging our life of self and sin and deception for His life of sacrifice and forgiveness and truth, have very personalized and unique sanctifications. 

Thus our acts of obedience and our refinings, our trials and our triumphs, will all vary and be tailor made to how God created us to be. 

In the same way, as Spurgeon points out, the fowler does not use the same trapping method nor bait for every bird. 

The snares for me will look very different than the snares for my husband, my children, my friends….my pastor, my co-workers, my neighbors. 

The thing they will have in common is that they are geared to catch us off guard and offer us things that look good for us. 

Like all bait they will be…pleasing to the eye, good for meeting our needs and helpful in making us smarter, wiser and better equipped to live the life we think we were meant to live. Sound familiar? Think Genesis 3 if you need your memory jogged. 

Spurgeon has a great quote:

“…he adapts his snare to the condition of the bird which he desires to take.”

My heart beats a little faster on reading those words. 

It makes me feel a bit fearful for myself and those I love. 

Which is why the promise of Psalm 91 is so precious. 

He rescues us from the hidden traps.

He himself rescues from the fowler’s snare. 

In the sermon I read, Spurgeon says this rescue has two-fold meaning. 

He often rescues us FROM the snare in many different ways when we are living so closely with Him. 

Perhaps we suddenly see a glimpse of the net and realize we are about to enter a trap. 

Perhaps a problem or trial erupts suddenly and in the midst of seeking God for how to deal with this interruption, we recognize the hidden work of the fowler who was luring us into a net.

Perhaps in our walking closely with Him, we suddenly feel called to a deeper level of prayer and Scripture reading and we are strengthened spiritually to recognize the bait being offered. 

Perhaps God orchestrates events and circumstances in such a way that by the time the trap is set, we have not interest in the bait which days, weeks or years before would have enticed us.

And then…grace upon grace….when we have chosen to abide under God’s protection by living in surrender and obedience and yet, somehow we succumb to the hidden entrapment of sin…even as the net closes around our sorry soul and we think all hope is lost, it is His hand of love and grace and mercy that reaches into that web and pulls His child back out. 

When we belong to God through the eternal Blood of Jesus Christ, we ARE protected…we ARE rescued…there is NOTHING that can separate us from His love <3

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For your activity today: Think back to a time (if you can’t come up with one, ask God to remind you) when you know there was a trap set for you and somehow you realized and flew on away unscathed. Take some time to acknowledge that it was not your great smarts or your hutzpah that saved you. Thank God for helping you to avoid the net. 

Now think of a time you were duped. You saw something that was good and good for you and you pulled up a chair and began to dine only to hear the snap as the strands of a nylon mesh net enclosed around you. There you were. Caught and feeling foolish and knowing there was no way out.

And suddenly the bands that held you tight were loosened as a gentle, nail-scarred hand pulled you out and held you close to the beating heart of your loving Savior. Surely you cried out your relief through sobs of gratitude that day as the blue sky was once again yours to soar through. Will you drop down and thank Him once more today with the same tears of joy? 

Dear Father God, thank You. Thank you for the times You got my attention and I flew off free, shaking my head in relief. Forgive me for my failure when I didn’t acknowledge it was because of Your care for me that I was wary of something that looked too good to be true.

Thank You for the troubles You have sent my way that forced me to my knees and as I cried out to You, You lifted me away from something that was about to ensnare me.

Thank You for the strength You give me when I am tired and weak and You fortify me to continue in steadfastness.

And Father…thank You. Thank You that your love is stronger than any sin I have ever fallen into. Thank You that You have reached into my foolishness and my ignorance and You have also condescended and reached into the places where I willfully took what I knew was bait…and You have rescued me time and time and time again.

Your patience with me and Your love for me overwhelms me and my heart bows in humble gratitude before Your throne of mercy and grace today <3

Let’s celebrate with a yummy snack:

This one is from allrecipes.com and I have a note on it that reminds me we served it at John’s high school graduation party. 

Our graduation parties for all three are among some of my most treasured memories. Our house was jam-packed on all three occasions with friends and family. It was always the hottest day in May and I thought we would have to take out a loan to pay for the AC bill that month. 

Worth every penny…as it was such a great time to put out a huge spread and really thank all the people who had been a part of our each of our children’s journey through childhood to teen and then help launch them to their next step in education. 

For all three parties, I over did the food prep because that is my jam…planning the menu and all is like a hobby for me. But I needed back up and it came in the form of our sister-in-law Sonja. 

For all three events, she came early and helped me clean and cook and then kept the food refilled.

She was and is a sister and friend and helper extraordinaire and I am forever grateful for her organizational skills and steady temperament and loving support. 

So here is the offering for today:

Toasted Almond Party Spread

1 8oz package cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and divided

1/3 cup mayo

2 Tbsp sliced green onions

1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

assorted crackers

Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Stir in cheese, 1/3 cup almonds, mayo, onions and seasonings. Spread in lightly greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Serve warm with crackers