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The psalmist emphasized that as long as God lived among God’s people, the city of Jerusalem was invincible. “God is within her, she will not fall” (Psalm 46:5). Pause for a moment and let that sink in. However, God tested Israel by having them surrounded by pagan nations (Judges 2:22). Centuries later Jerusalem did fall. Since God’s people had abandoned God, God abandoned his city. When they made God their refuge, and God was living among his people, they experienced God’s help

Many great cities of the world were built on or around rivers: Nile in Cairo, Egypt. Río de la Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Yamuna in Delhi, India. Pearl in Hong Kong, China. Thames in London, England. Moskva in Moscow, Russia. Han in Seoul, South Korea. Hudson in New York City. Rivers supplied drinking water for families and animals, provided food, were used in irrigating crops, and were a means of transportation and commerce. Concerning the city of Jerusalem, the psalm writer

Hurricane Isabel was front-page news in September 2003 as it rampaged through the Middle Atlantic States, coming ashore first in all its fury near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, site of one of America’s most famous lighthouses. When the storm hit Hatteras, the only road to the outside was destroyed. Oceanfront houses were swept from their cement foundations and dropped elsewhere on the island. One entire hotel was deposited like a soggy cardboard box in the middle of a street. Appliances littered

Sometimes when I have felt anxiety or fear, it was triggered by something specific. Other times it was just a vague sense of dread as though I was about to receive some bad news. Isaiah tells us that God is “a refuge for the needy in their distress” (Isaiah 25:4). The psalmist tells us the same: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). I have often repeated this to myself and prayed it for others. The word

A couple years ago I read a collection of prayers by the Puritans from the 16th and 17th centuries. I felt impacted on two levels. On the one hand, their prayers of worship were very helpful. But on the other hand, their prayers about penitence and deprecation were so terribly negative, they were downright depressing! Although they were assured of forgiveness through Christ’s death, they seemed to carry around the heavy weight of their sinfulness. Some Christians seem to only feel good