This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit.  In the following short quotation from Lucien Accad (from Lebanon, Mr. Accad is a former director of the Bible Society in Beirut.  During the war in Lebanon, his house was severely damaged many times.), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)

It was late at night.  We woke up suddenly because of the noise of shelling and realized we were again in the midst of a battle.  I heard a knock at our bedroom door.  Two of our young children came in and said:  'Dad, Mom, it's frightening in our room.  Can we stay in your bed?  If we die, let's die together!'  The youngest child did not wake up.

We started praying together and sang a few hymns, after which they fell asleep, but I could not.  Many questions were coming to my mind.  'Can the Lord keep us another time?  Should we go and take refuge in the nearby shelter?'

I put on my clothes and looked out of the window in the direction of the shelter.  The electricity wires had been cut by shrapnel and we were in the dark.  Cars were ablaze just in front of the shelter not far from our own car, but no one dared go to extinguish the fire because of the shelling.  Dark smoke was being blown in the direction of the shelter, and I could hear screams coming from there.

I heard a knock at the door of our home.  Some of our neighbors asked if they could stay with us and sat down.  'Please let us stay here,' they said.  'Why don't we all go to the shelter?' I asked.  'No' they answered, 'your home is safer because it is a place of prayer; please read to us from the Bible.'

Joy filled my heart.  'You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:14,16)

A moment of introspection:  Mr. Accad relates a familiar tale--one with which parents in any country might at least partially identify.  Loud noises, perhaps from a storm, or something falling within the house, or fireworks have brought young children to parental beds with the question, "Can we sleep in your bed?"  There is something safe in the near presence of one's parents.  But the next statement separates us from the experience of some persecuted Christian children:  "If we die, let's die together!"  Even though it sounds fatalistic, that statement is not.  Children are remarkably perceptive, and perhaps Lucien's children might have been prepared for the possibility of losing one's life in war.  In a video produced by Open Doors for a recent International Day of Prayer (IDOP), a mother asked if she were a bad mother, for telling her children that one day they might have to choose between continuing to live for Jesus or, perhaps, die for Him:  deny your faith in Jesus Christ, or die.  The Accad children might have had similar parents who sought to prepare their young ones for the choice offered by persecutors.  As children of the heavenly Father, we too seek reassurance of our safety in Him.  Repeatedly, in God's Word, we are exhorted with the words, "Do not be afraid."  Our Father is with us during the storms of life, as Emanuel, and He knows the pain and suffering for the name of Christ, that our persecuted brothers and sisters endure.

"Do not be afraid", the angels sang it, and Jesus assured others with these words.  We know from God's Word, that none of the Holy Trinity is the progenitor or source of fear (Romans 8:15); fear is an emotion of this earth and we who walk about on its surface, ply its watery deeps, and endure the buffeting of its windy skies have been offered an alternative to such angst.  So often, in God's Word the Israelites were warned against being fearful.  In the Scriptures, the psalmist bravely averred, "In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?" (Psalm 56:4).  Luke expounded on this, in Jesus' words, "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!" (Luke 12:4-5).  When we pray for the persecuted Christians in this life, we pray that they shall not be fearful but would trust fully in God. (Revelation 2:10)  In a turn of this phrase, one might encourage, "Do not be afraid to trust in God."  The Accad children knew to "fly" to their father. Keep us also, Father, from tarrying along our trusting flight to You.  

God's Word talks about taking refuge, saying that refuge found in the Lord is better than trusting in neighbors (Psalm 118:8).  The Accad's neighbors sought refuge with Lucien and his wife--not because the neighbors trusted them.  No, they knocked on the Accad door because they knew that the Lord was with Lucien and his family, whose house was a place of prayer and the presence of God in His Word.  Hear the Word of the Lord and the testimony of the Psalmist regarding shelter provided by God:  

Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 

Psalm 61:3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 

Psalm 143:9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge. 

By welcoming their neighbors into their home with the shelter of faith and of God's Holy Word, the Accads accepted a wonderful opportunity--sharing the hope of God through their own testimony.  God had blessed the Accads with His own comfort and they shared that with their own children and with neighbors; in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, God's Word says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."  Comfort in times of distress, is our way of "paying it forward".  This is evangelism; this is sharing the depth of our faith, our belief.  May God awaken us to the realization that true evangelism is loving the world the way God loves it; allowing our hearts to be broken by the things that break God's heart; acknowledging that there is no dichotomy between "evangelism" and "benevolence"—that true evangelism begins with Matthew 10:42: "And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward."  Comfort, benevolence, caring, all these are part of our witness of God's love to our neighbors and friends, our co-workers and acquaintances.  

In a compendium of illustrations, the following speaks of the Accads and hopefully of us as well:  "All of us need fortifications for life. But every line of defense is inadequate unless deep within us there is a resource hidden, abundant, untouchable. When the assault of life's enemy comes, we need not fear if that Source is within us. Absolute trust in God means that Source of life can never be taken, despite rejection, poverty, loss of vocation, misunderstanding. Jeremiah himself experienced all of that and more. Yet what was true for him can be true for you. Jesus said it best: from within, streams of living water."  Because of the streams of living water known to flow within the Accad home, the neighbors sought this living water in a time of peril and fright.  I pray that our homes might be thusly known--as spiritual triage centers bringing healing and hope to all who know us or of us.  2 Samuel 22:2-3 concurs:  "He said, "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence."  Just think--our homes offering this same refuge, shield, rock, fortress and deliverer.

Both the Accad children and the neighbors came to Lucien and his wife, seeking safety.  The world could not offer what they had; what Mr. Accad and his wife had was "safer" than the local municipal shelter.  In the safety of God's presence, the Psalmist says, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." (Psalm 4:8)  The Accad children sought their earthly father's protection; the neighbors sought the heavenly Father's security.  Both found what they were seeking.  An illustration might help in understanding the Father's safeguard:  "Loose things on the deck of a ship will be blown or washed overboard when the storm comes. There is only one way to keep them firm, and that is to lash them to something that is fixed. It is not the bit of rope that gives them security, but it is the stable thing to which they are lashed. Lash yourself to Christ by faith, and whatever storm or tempest comes you will be safe, and stand firm and immovable."  It is God and His Son who offer rock-solid anchoring in the midst of persecution, earthly storms, strong winds, emotional tempests, and more.

Worldly shelters may fail us; the Lebanese air raid shelters were no safe havens from the bombs and the loss of life that was spreading throughout the city and the country at the time.  Even in the Scriptures, when shelters failed or were not available, people suffered:  "They are wet with the rain of the mountains and cling to the rock for lack of shelter." (Job 24:8) Shelters offered false hope to those huddled within.  Many died in these shelters, not knowing the life-giving salvation of Jesus.  Paul's letter to the Church in Ephesus reminded his readers (and us in our time) that earthly shelters, without Christ, deprive occupants of hope and promise:  "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12) Paul's letter to the Church in Rome likewise describes the hope that true believers have. (Romans 5:1-5) Our hope is in Jesus Christ; our shelter is in our Father--not in earthly berm, trusting in the overhead soil, or crowded into concrete cave.  Perhaps, as Paul did, we too might aver "To live is Christ, to die is gain."  (Philippians 1:21)  Or, perchance we might with confidence, state, "For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14:8)  The Accad children sought shelter with their father, in that confidence, saying "Can we stay in your bed?  If we die, let's die together!"  That's confidence in the Lord, and that is trust in the Father above.  The Psalmist's confidence is his way of asking God, "Can I stay in Your bed?"  

Hopefully, throughout this life, we have learned the lesson of trusting God with our lives, our vocations, our families, our experiences on this earth.  Hopefully, when the time comes to trust anew, we can do so unflinchingly, unhesitatingly, and without fetter.  Hopefully.  But can we trust the Lord to protect us--again?  Perhaps the following illustration might encourage us to never give up on the Three-In-One; He knows His own, and He'll never give up on us.  "In the early days of emigration to the West a traveler once came, for the first time in his life, to the banks of the mighty Mississippi. There was no bridge. He must cross. It was early winter, and the surface of the mighty river was sheeted with ice. He knew nothing of its thickness, however, and feared to trust himself to it. He hesitated long, but night was coming on, and he must reach the other shore. At length, with many fears, and infinite caution, he crept out on his hands and knees, thinking thus to distribute his weight as much as possible, and trembling with every sound. When he had gone in this way painfully halfway over he heard a sound of singing behind him. There in the dusk was a man driving a four-horse load of coal across upon the ice and singing as he went!  Many a Christian creeps tremblingly out upon God's promises where another, stronger in faith, goes singing through life upheld by the same word. Have faith in God. Whoever puts his trust in Jehovah shall be safe."  Shall we creep, or shall we go forth knowing Whom it is that we rely upon and trust?

From the February 13, 2017 Prophecy News Update email:  Pastor JD Farag talks about how the world is being brought to the boiling point geopolitically, and as such, prophetically:  "All the signs of the last days are converging at the same time.  Bible Prophecy is happening right before our eyes and like birth pains, the predicted events are happening more frequently and more intently.  Never, in the history throughout the world have so many forces, including economic, scientific, techno-logic, ecologic, cultural, geopolitical, moral, spiritual and religion, converged together to bring this world that's already teetering over the edge into the abyss, to a point of no return.  Jesus said when you see all these signs happening, know that I am near, even at the door.  In times like these, we need a Savior; in 1943, Ruth Caye Jones wrote a song that has become famous--based on 2 Timothy 3:1 –

In times like these we need a Savior;

In times like these we need an anchor.

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, yes, He’s the One.

This Rock is Jesus, the only One!

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


In times like these we need the Bible.

In times like these O be not idle.

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, the One.

This Rock is Jesus, God’s only Son!

Be very sure, be very sure

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Our shelter from the storm--the Solid Rock.  The prophet Joel wrote:  "The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel." (Joel 3:16)  Our lives are like the open seas—calm and pleasant one day; stormy and tempest-tossed the next. But in times like these we can be very sure our anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.  May we too say "my home's known as being 'safer because it is a place of prayer'", and may God bring us souls eager to ask, "please read to us from the Bible".  In our welcoming homes, may the lost find comfort; and may they also find  their Way, their Truth, and their Life.