Daily Discovering the Blessing

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Angels Among Us

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12)  { Part Two}

Because the Word of God would have us enlightened as to the presence of angels among us, it is a topic that deserves our closer attention. I offer here an excerpt from my woman’s devotional, God’s Beloved Daughters.

   The realm of the Spirit is a Christian’s focus, but the angel beings that inhabit it often seem only a Christmas focus, and otherwise tend to be overlooked. And yet, they are everywhere present.

A young woman disembarked from a bus in a major city.  As she left the bus station to walk to her destination, a tall young man engaged her in conversation. They discovered that they were headed in the same direction and so headed out together. Soon they saw, approaching them from the opposite direction, a group of three rather ominous looking men.  They might have troubled her had she not been accompanied by her companion from the bus station. The evening was darkening and she sensed their evil intentions. As the three men passed them and she saw that they were finally a safe distance away, she turned back to thank him.  He had disappeared!

A pastor was taking his daily solitary stroll in the woods. It was his habit to walk, read, and pray on this same route every afternoon.  Suddenly, a former parishioner appeared from behind some bushes, glared at the pastor and then walked away in another direction.  This troubled parishioner had nursed a long held grudge against the man of God and many times had threatened his life. Later the man admitted that he had followed the pastor to the woods to harm him.

“Why didn’t you then?” he was asked.

“Because of those two tall men who were accompanying you,” the man answered.

One pastor who has studied the subject quite extensively has said that he is amazed we do not have more reports of angelic visitations (Hebrews 1:14). In her book God’s Will is Prosperity, Gloria Copeland writes:

Hebrews 12:22 tells us that their numbers are innumerable… Revelation 5:11 speaking of angels says, “And they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands.” Hilton Sutton shared with us recently that as near as he can figure that would be one hundred trillion angels!  A trillion is a million million millions… I believe that is enough to establish God’s covenant in the earth.  There is no shortage of angel power.  Brother Sutton says, “If there were 5 billion people on earth and they all got saved, we would still have twenty thousand angels to minister to each of us.”   Brother Sutton’s arithmetic helped me to realize just how many angels there are.  To me, that is exciting.”

When my daughter Carly was 5 years old, I was traveling one day far away from our town and her school.  While driving I was speaking with the Lord about my concerns at being so far away from her. Several moments later I was suddenly seeing a picture of Carly’s classroom in my mind.  Standing directly next to her desk was a huge being, at attention! Leaning against the wall by the classroom door was another – at rest. Angels on duty!  This was not conjured up by me for my peace of mind.  It was not wishful thinking or creative imaginings.  I absolutely knew in my heart that this was God’s message to me – a glimpse into the spirit realm concerning what was truly going on in Carly’s classroom.  After all, included in my prayers for her every morning was that she was continually surrounded by ministering angels!

The woman from the bus station, the pastor in the woods, and the story from Carly’s classroom are all truthful, personal testimonies of encounters with angels.  The word tells us that for the most part we will be unaware of their ministry on our behalf.  But God shows them to us throughout His Word.   There are angels among us – Angels on assignment.  Yet another reason for praise!

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

 

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Angels on Assignment

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12) {Part One}

From Genesis to Revelation we learn of the ministry of God’s angels.  Scripture speaks of “countless numbers of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and “ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11). It appears their numbers are so vast as to be beyond counting.  2 Peter 2:11 teaches that they are “superior in might and power”.

   Throughout His Word our Father instructs us concerning the reality of the spiritual realm and of the activity “behind the scenes” – for both good and evil – generally unseen, but always touching and shaping the physical realm. There are approximately 200 references in the Old and New Testament to God’s angels {as well as numerous mentions of those angels who rebelled along with Satan and are now referred to as demons} (Jude 6). {There are also numerous, separate and distinct, references to “the Angel of the Lord”  in the Old Testament which appear to be references to the Lord Jesus Himself}. But God’s angels definitely attend to His orders and purposes throughout His Word.

We, too, are spiritual beings.  We have a soul and we live in a body, but our “spirit man” is who communicates with God, our Creator. The more mature our spirits grow, and the more attention we give to this Truth, the better able we are to comprehend the realm of the Spirit. It is obvious that God wants us to understand the reality of this spirit realm, and His purposes for the creation of, and ministry of, His angels. Understanding why they exist, understanding their purpose, helps us to realize why He created them, and helps us to see more clearly what His intentions are and how He works; how His kingdom functions.    Both the Hebrew word for “angel” in the Old Testament (mal’ach) and the Greek word in the New Testament (angelos) means “messenger”.  “One who executes the purpose and will of the one whom they serve”.

While there are so many references to angels in God’s Word, there still seems to be very little awareness and understanding of this spiritual reality and of their  activity around and among us.  This is not surprising. They inhabit the unseen realm, and, for the most part, we are cognitively unaware of the activity that goes on there. So we look to the Word for our tutorial on God’s angels:

  • Angels cannot be seen by humans unless God “opens” a man’s eyes to reveal them (Numbers 22:31, 2 Kings 6:17)
  • Angels can appear in bodily form to be clearly seen and heard by men (Matthew 28:2-5, Luke 1:11, 26-30, Hebrews 13:2)
  • God sends out His angels to protect us (Psalm 91:11-12, Daniel 6:22), to comfort us (Acts 27:23-24),to patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:10-11), to serve us (Acts 5:19, 12:7, Hebrews 1:14), to guide us correctly in our area of ministry (Acts 8:26, 10:3-8), to bring messages of revelation (Daniel 9:21-22, Revelation 1:1), to carry our His judgment (Matthew 13:39, 24:31, Acts 12:23, Revelation 16:1), to carry out His Word (Psalm 103:20), and to proclaim the birth (Luke 1:26-31; Luke 2:9-14) and return of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The Word tells us that there are things hidden that belong to God, but those things which are revealed are for us and our children to know (Deuteronomy 29:29).  As we become more aware of, attuned to, and informed by all aspects of the spiritual realm as our Father instructs us, be ever aware that through His loving care, angels are on assignment on our behalf.

Are not angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service {of God for the assistance} of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Confirming the Word in Your Life

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10) {Part One}

These verses are revisiting the concept of pestilence, destruction, and sudden death found in verse 6.  Please note its confirmation of protection.  This is faith food!  This is our Father’s assurance that this is what His protection looks like. It is repetition signifying the unwavering establishment of a promise; a covenant reality. There is, in both the Old and New Testament, an established principle that

“…by the mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three witnesses, is a thing established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 – Young’s Literal Translation);

“…so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Matthew 18:16 – AMP).

   When something is repeated it is time to truly sit up and take notice.  While every word from God is our lifeline, and all Scripture is God speaking to us and therefore to be attended to and realized as spirit maturing and character defining (2 Timothy 3:16-17), when we see something repeated over and over throughout God’s Word, it is vitally important that we honor His attention to that principle. Again and again throughout His Word to us we are assured of His loving, attentive care concerning our well-being.

How many verses speak of His protective care?  How many Scriptures promise just what we see here in verses 9 and 10?  And yet so many will not allow such a concept into their understanding of life lived out on earth. So many argue that troubles will come and we just need to bear up under them and to believe otherwise is simply foolishness and delusional. Yet In the book of Deuteronomy, God instructs His people concerning the way of blessing and the way of rebellion.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God…all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you… (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

And then verses 3-13 reveal the manner in which He will see to the well-being of His people.

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God…then all these curses shall come upon are     

And verses 16-46 warn of the manner in which life can get really troubled and desperate because of rebellion toward His ways of doing and being right (Mathew 6:33).  The first rebel, Adam, discovered the dire result of disobedience, and throughout His dealings with a wayward people our Father continued to call them back to obedience with the assurance that here is where the blessings lie.  Throughout the prophetic books of the Old Testament, into the Gospels and throughout the epistles of the New Testament, God continues to demonstrate and remonstrate that safety and security and peace lie within His care, and trouble and desperation and death await those who ignore His call.  And it is His people, not those refusing His Lordship, who have fallen away from His safe place.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you {the priestly nation} have rejected knowledge… (Hosea 4:6).

When we insist that it is His Word alone that defines our days, when our faith rises to the level of unreservedly trusting that He says what He means and means what He says, then the promises of Psalm 91 must be!

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The Heart of the Father

Only a spectator shall you be {yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High} as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:8) {Part One}

    Verse eight is a continuation of the Truth offered in the previous verse.  There will be many who fall (”a thousand …at your side and ten thousand at your right hand”); there is an inevitable “reward of the wicked”.  Our loving and compassionate and life-giving Father desires that all would be saved and redeemed through the righteousness that Jesus purchased for us:

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises… but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish. But that all should turn to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Who wishes all men to be saved and (increasingly) to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the (divine) Truth.  (1 Timothy 2:4)

For I have no pleasure in the death of Him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore, turn (be converted) and live!  (Ezekiel 18:32)

Because of the character of the Lord, love is His focus; the manner in which He wants to deal with His creation.  Throughout His Word, His letter of love to us, when He speaks of rebellious, sinful people He cautions and exhorts them to turn from their evil path and live in His grace.  He counsels them to choose life in Him (Deuteronomy 30:19). Through His prophets He gives warning concerning the end result of turning away from Him.  And always there is a message of hope attached to a turning back to the ways of the Lord – a return to covenant results in forgiveness and blessing.  He was long-suffering toward the fickleness of Israel and their cycle of disobedience, always extending to them a way back into grace.

But there is an inevitable end result to the stubborn refusal to honor God; the creation turning its back on the Creator and presuming to do life without Him. The word “reward” in verse eight does not indicate positive outcome!  It is the Hebrew word “Shillumah” which means “retribution” or “recompense”.  Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives the following definitions:

Recompense – Requital; return of evil or suffering or other equivalent; as a punishment.

Retribution -Repayment; return accommodated to the action

The “reward of the wicked” then is suffering, punishment; repayment in kind for evil, sinful, rebellious action; reaping what you sow. And it grieves the heart of our Father.

There are so many reasons why men turn from their own rebellious, selfish path and turn to receive Jesus as Savoir.  Some preach a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  Fear of eternal punishment certainly grabs the attention of many. (And when they turn, they also discover His love). Some preach the love of the Father calling men to repentance (2 Corinthians 5:18-the ministry of reconciliation”) and many respond to that message in faith, and that is certainly the manner in which God desires all men to know Him:

 The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Some have their faith walk jump started through witnessing signs and wonders at the hands of believers. Some have a direct revelation from God calling them to serve Him and take their rightful place in His family. Some simply observe the fruit in the lives of believers and want that for themselves. Our Father is love and that is what causes Him to use whatever message and messenger He can to call His wayward children back into righteousness. He sends prophets, evangelists, preachers and teachers.  Through His Holy Spirit indwelling each member of the Body of Christ, He encourages, exhorts, and witnesses to the unbelieving world.

All of the blessings found in Psalm 91 are such a rebuke of Satan’s ploy to steal from mankind the benefits of knowing and serving God. What a sharp and disturbing contrast between the lovingly cared for child of God and the inevitable cursed life and evil outcome for those who choose not to receive the Lordship of Christ. It’s hard, emotionally difficult, to read through the Old Testament prophets and see the results of sin and the terrible end that awaited the rebellious.  And if it hurts our sensibilities to read it, imagine what it does to the heart of the Father.

Over and over again throughout His Word our Father calls all people into His care.  The stark contrast between walking in darkness and walking in His light and love is there for all to see. When we see and understand these things, praise, continuous and heartfelt praise, is due our loving Father!

The Rock Upon Which We Stand

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. (Psalm 91:7) {Emphasis mine} {Part One}

Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.  (Message Bible)

There fall at thy side a thousand, And a myriad at thy right hand, Unto thee it cometh not nigh. (Young’s Literal Translation) ,

We have already seen, in verses three through six of Psalm 91, the protective promises of God concerning the safety and preservation of His believing children. Many may, and do (!), protest that life will always have troubles, difficulties, worries, fears, illnesses; to go through our days carefree and peace-filled and protected from all harm is impossible, a fool’s fantasy, an unrealistic and irresponsible teaching.  And yet here God says that these things will not come near us.  What is it that separates us from the world’s acceptance of trouble and disease and confusion and despair; its willingness to accept the evil report?  Our faith in our faithful God. Our absolute trust and reliance on His Person and His Word is the entrance into safety.

1 Chronicles 28:9 speaks of the life-altering decision, the foundational imperative, the divine mandate to know God:

…{have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with and understand Him, appreciate, heed, and cherish Him} and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind…If you seek Him {inquiring for and of Him} as you first and vital necessity you will find Him…

Within Scriptural context this is David exhorting Solomon, but within biblical, spiritual understanding, this is our Father instructing us. Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us too!):

…try to learn {in your experience} what is pleasing to the Lord {let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him} (Ephesians 5:10)

The expectations that we encounter in God’s Word are our road map to successful living before Him. This is our instruction manual! And through the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit, understanding and appreciating and firmly grasping and accomplishing God’s will (His plan and purpose for each of our lives) is not only possible, it is God ordained, and, yielded to Him, it will be! Within His Word we find the antidote for any device the enemy tries to establish in our lives to disprove God. .

Illness and disease – Exodus 15:26, Malachi 4:2, Matthew 4:23, Matthew 8:2-3, Mark 10:52, 1 Peter 2:24 (to name but a few)

Depression and sorrow – John 15:11, John 16:24, 33, John 17:13, Romans 15:13, Galatians 5:22, Philippians 4:7-8 (to name but a few!)

Poverty and lack – Deuteronomy 29:9, Joshua 1:7-9, Psalm 1:3, Psalm 35:27, 2 Corinthians 9:8-11, 3 John 1:2 (to name but a few!)

When we dig into the Word we discover there a blueprint for life and blessing that defeats every attempt of the enemy to harm us in any way. Do we take God’s Word seriously as coming directly from Him?  Do we establish ourselves on the rock of faith and obedience where we are inaccessible to Satan’s tactics?  Do we truly believe that there is no weapon formed against us that will prosper (Isaiah 54:17)?  Do we guard our spoken word to line up with and agree with God’s Word (Job 22:21)? Do we understand that in this world we are co-creators with God concerning our future days?  Many would take offense at that statement, but according to the Word, that is God’s expectation of His children (Job 22:28, Isaiah 62:6, John 14:12, Romans 4:17, Ephesians 5:1).

When our Father says that through our faith in Him, through our decision to follow Jesus and take Him at His Word that “It shall not come near you” that is the Truth, the rock upon which we stand!

 

Faith Speaks

Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. (Psalm 91:6) {Part Two}

Pastor Willy George, known to many as Gospel Bill, tells of a vacation he was taking with his family to the Grand Canyon. On the plane, flying to their destination,  he was led by the Spirit of God to pray in tongues, which he did quietly in order to not draw attention to himself from people who would not understand the concept.  The next day while viewing the canyon, he heard the squeal of brakes and turned to see that his young son had barely escaped being hit by an oncoming vehicle. In asking the Lord why his son almost died when he always covered his family with protective prayer, the Lord said, “He was protected.  We covered that yesterday on the plane when you prayed in your prayer language.”

Being quick to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, being faithful to seek the Lord daily as we walk through this place of spiritual darkness, recognizing our mandate to always yield to His guidance and expect His Word to come to pass in our lives – that is who we are as children of God. Faith receives all that our God has provided for us and speaks and acts accordingly.  That is God’s expectation for His children. Again, we consider why so many of His born again children are not experiencing the blessed life, the protected life, the carefree and fear free life He offers and extends to all who would believe.  We go to the Word for our answers.

Remember that Verse 2 of Psalm 91, our part of the covenant, requires that our words speak forth His Lordship.  We are to say and believe that He is our refuge, our fortress, our protection. Our words come forth from the overflow of our hearts (Matthew 12:34). And if we truly believe what we say, our actions, our responses, our character will reflect our spoken word. Remember, Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

And what is the will of our Father?

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He sent {that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger}. (John 6:29)

Our demonstration of faith in God and in our Lord Jesus is evidenced by the words we speak.

The psalmist asks in Psalm 15:1-2, “Who will dwell in Your tabernacle and on Your holy Hill?”   In other words, who will find favor with You, Father?  Whose life will give evidence of Your blessings?  The answer is:

He who walks and lives uprightly and blamelessly, who works rightness and justice and speaks and thinks the truth in his heart.” {Emphasis mine}

Every promise that God ever uttered and extended to His children is dependent upon this expectation of our faith in His goodness and trustworthiness. Speaking and thinking His Truth in our hearts – only.  So many believe they are in faith and yet do not see the full manifestation of a God-directed, God blessed life.  God directs us, encourages us, defines us as people who will not be afraid of any possible harm – pestilence, destruction, sudden death; people who recognize the attacks of the enemy and counter them with the eternal promises of God. Then, in faith, that is who we are.  No tactic of the enemy will concern those who operate in and out of faith.  In that place of resolve we mightily please our Father and defeat the enemy. Faith knows peace.  Faith knows the God of peace.

 

God’s Sheltering Care

Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. ( Psalm 91:6) {Part One}

Here again in verse 6 we continue to encounter what would so very easily set up extreme fear in the hearts of unsaved, faithless men.  The very thought of pestilence (plague) is disquieting – causing the bravest among men to tremble. “Stalks” connotes purposeful, harmful intent, as in “seeking whom he may devour”

…that enemy of yours the devil, roams around like a lion roaring {in fierce hunger}, seeking someone to seize upon and devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

And to add further concern the stalking is being done in the darkness – the kingdom characteristic of the enemy of God. He is the world ruler of this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), the one who has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). All of his work is done through lies, deceit, and darkness.  But the entrance of God’s Word dispels the darkness and brings light. (Psalm 112:4; Psalm 119:130)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, {God’s} own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. {1 Peter 2:9)

And this is the message {the message of promise} which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you; God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all {no, not in any way}.  (1 John 1:5)

{The Father} has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. (Colossians 1:13)

An effective commentary on this verse is found at Biblestudynotes.com. It beautifully depicts the peaceful heart of a faith-filled believer.

“Days of horror and nights of terror are for other men, his days and nights are alike spent with God, and therefore pass away in sacred quiet. His peace is not a thing of times and seasons, it does not rise and set with the sun, nor does it depend upon the healthiness of the atmosphere or the security of the country. Upon the child of the Lord’s own heart pestilence has no destroying power, and calamity no wasting influence: pestilence walks in darkness, but he dwells in light; destruction wastes at noonday, but upon him another sun has risen whose beams bring restoration. Remember that the voice which saith “thou shalt not fear” is that of God himself, who hereby pledges His Word for the safety of those who abide under his shadow, nay, not for their safety only, but for their serenity. So far shall they be from being injured that they shall not even be made to fear the ills which are around them, since the Lord protects them.”

Destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday”; the sudden death, sudden ruin that surprise and lay waste.  Those are fear-filled words entertained by the people of this world. For the child of God, led by His Spirit, nothing will surprise us.  We have the indwelling Holy Spirit Whose ministry includes informing us of things to come (John 16:13).  We have been given the blessing of the gift of tongues through which we pray out mysteries and speak intimacies with God (1 Corinthians 14:2).  We have the God-given ability, through the marvelous Gift of the Holy Spirit, to pray concerning things we know nothing about with our natural thought.  We are immune, through His promises and our faith in those promises,  to all of these tactics of the enemy that produce fear.

These are extraordinary, life-giving, peace producing  promises from our Father.  Always taking Him at is Word is the guarantee of our peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).  God delights in our expectation of His attentive and watchful care (Hebrews 10:38, 1 Peter 5:7).  That’s our faith in action and it greatly pleases our Father.

Faith’s Outcome is Always Good

You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, (Psalm 91:5) {Part Two}

The daily process of putting fear in its place is a successful by-product of the faith walk.  Our Lord taught clearly concerning our daily approach to any potential negative circumstance in Mark 5:35-36.  Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, came to the Lord for help concerning his daughter who was close to death.  As they approached the home, someone came to Jairus and announced that his daughter was dead, “Why bother and distress the Teacher any further?”

Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.”

Jesus spoke of death this way!  The outcome might have, would have, been quite different if Jairus allowed himself to be seized with alarm and struck with fear, for the tactics of the enemy would have been exalted above the wisdom and directives and power of the Lord.  When the Lord said that the little girl was not dead but sleeping, His statement was met with jeering and scoffing from the crowd.  He removed the mockers from the home before He was able to raise her up “from the sleep of death” (Mark 5:41). This is our example – our Lord is Who we emulate.  Overhearing the evil report, but ignoring.  Considering not! Let no unbelief or distrust cause you to waver (Romans 4:20).  Keep your eyes on the promises; keep your heart settled and established in the Lord.

The Word of God is forever settled (Psalm 119:89). He is faithful to His promises (1 Corinthians 1:9). 

God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man that He should feel repentance or compunction {for what He has promised}. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

In Matthew 7:21-27 and again in Luke 6:46-49, we are given a clear understanding of why faith for some seems weak and victory lost.  Why do some believers not experience the full manifestation in their lives of God’s revealed will? Why do so many born again believers fall victim to fear, depression, illness – all the worldly woes?  Why are their words so often couched in defeat and even whining?  Why do their careless, thoughtless words dare to contradict the Word of God? Why do the promises of the 91st Psalm elude them?  Why do so many shy away from the faith stand that will not be denied? Be sure to stop and read both passages.

In Matthew 7 and Luke 6, we see the life defining pictures of true faith and counterfeit or feigned faith.  The Master begins by warning that God looks at the heart and at obedience:

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven.

Even those who claim to have done mighty works for God (Matthew 7:22) are not exempt from kingdom standards.  The home (life) that was not destroyed when troubles came was the home founded on the rock of faithful obedience to God.  The life yielded to God, the one with:

…steadfast patience and endurance, so that you can perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away {and enjoy to the full} what is promised (Hebrews 10:36)

could not be moved.  This is the faith-founded life that will not be afraid of the terror of night or the arrow that flies by day, for it is securely founded on the rock of obedience.  They are safe and secure in the care of the Lord – they will not be moved away from that stand! Trouble in a life is overcome by faith in the promises and the character of God, the heart assurance that God is true to His Word and to His compassionate nature (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Timothy 2:13). The one who hears the Lord’s directives only, but does not put them into practice, not only collapses when trouble comes, but builds a doctrine up around their failure and then teaches that doctrine to others.  Cast fear and its cousins worry and concern far away from your thoughts.  The Lord assures us throughout His Word that He is our safety and our outcome is always good!

                     

Defusing Fear

You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, (Psalm 91:5) {Part One}

You shall not be afraid!  Fear is one of the tormenting tactics of the enemy of God. Of all of Satan’s devices in his arsenal of weapons, fear looms large – fear of death, sickness, poverty, each other, the future, the past!  How often are we exhorted to “Fear not!” throughout the Word?

God is love (1 John 4:16). Let the Word, let Jesus (John 1:1), minister life to you in this area.

There is no fear in love {dread does not exist}, but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!  For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and {so} he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love {is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection}.  (1 John 4:18)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but {He has given us a spirit} of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]. (1 Timothy 1:7)

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear or dread?  The Lord is the refuge and stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Our Creator watches over us affectionately and cares about us watchfully (1 Peter 5:7).  The all-powerful King of kings and Lord of lords, the One Who created all that we see {the stars, the universe, our world (John 1:3; Romans 1:20, Ephesians 3:9)} is your Abba – your Daddy!  (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)

In the Lord, in Jesus, we are sons of God (John 1:12), and that distinction comes with some wonderful, weighty realities:

  • We have been given “the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He {God} quickened Him” (Ephesians 2:5)
  • We have been seated with Jesus at God’s right hand far above the reach of the enemy (Ephesians 1:20-21; Ephesians 2:6)
  • Because of all that Jesus accomplished and our faith in that Truth, we can boldly approach the throne of God and receive “well-timed help, coming just when we need it”. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • There is no weapon that is formed against us that will prosper (Isaiah 54:17), for the power of the enemy has been defeated in our lives (Colossians 2:15)
  • Every single promise that God has made regarding our well-being, our success (Joshua 1:8), and our future (Jeremiah 29:11) is fulfilled and finds its “yes” in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:20)
  • We will be able to do what Jesus did, and “even greater things than these” (John 14:12), “because as He is so are we in this world”. (1 John 4:17)
  • The Spirit of God lives in us (Ephesians 3:16-17), and as we yield to His guidance He daily works in us “to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” (Philippians 2:13)

These are not just comforting platitudes.  This is Truth – God’s Truth.  This is our identity in Jesus – this is our “new creature” status (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred into God’s kingdom family (Colossians 1:13).  We walk in kingdom rhythm, we are compassed about with kingdom standards and blessings.  The physical world around us operates in the darkness of Satan’s standards.  We are not of that world and Jesus has deprived it of power to harm or affect us in any way – He has conquered it for us (John 16:33).  We must constantly renew our minds to that Truth.

In Psalm 91:1-5 the progression is clearly seen.  We make sure we are daily dwelling in the secret place, in the Lord, and that we are fixed in that safe location (verse 1); we speak out that Truth, our words confirming our total trust in Him (verse 2); He then delivers us from danger (verse 3) and keeps us safe from harm (verse 4).  Therefore, fear has no foothold in our lives. And any evil plot, any weapon that is meant for our harm, is defused, through His hand by our faith.

Safety in Salvation

{Then} He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. (Psalm 91:4) {Part two}

In the very same way that our Lord so effectively revealed principles of the kingdom of God through the use of parables, our faith is powerfully grounded on those visuals the Word allows us and encourages us to hold in our hearts.  Again, our Creator knows how we receive information, how our brains function!  We understand in pictures.  What we see in our hearts is what we speak out of our mouths and how we comprehend the world around us.  Over and over again our Lord taught us through examples in the physical realm that we could readily relate to – “the kingdom of Heaven is like…” (Matthew 13:24, 31; Matthew 20:1; Matthew 22:2; Mark 4:30-31).  His instructions were so very often in pictures (Matthew 5:14-15; Matthew 6:22, 26; Matthew 7:3-5).  As we continue to look at this fourth verse of Psalm 91, the picture it conveys of God’s faithfulness as our shield and buckler, when held fast in a believing heart, creates that peaceful, assured state that is the firm foundation of faith in our Father’s loving care and our safe and secure placement there.

But let those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your Name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.  For You, Lord, will bless the {uncompromisingly} righteous {him who is upright and in right standing with You}; as with a shield You will surround him with goodwill (pleasure and favor). (Psalm 5:11-12)

Other translations of Psalm 91:4 further strengthen our visual understanding of our Abba’s protective promises:

Message – His huge outstretched arms protect you – under them you’re perfectly safe; His arms fend off all harm.

NLT – His faithful promises are your armor and protection

NIV – His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart

{rampart – that which fortifies and defends from assault; that which secures safety.}

Throughout His Word our Father assures us of His protective care for His people.

As for God, His way is perfect!  The Word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.(Psalm 18:30)

 The Lord also will be a high tower for the oppressed, a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble (high cost, destitution, and desperation). (Psalm 9:9)

… Would that you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace—your security, safety, prosperity, and happiness—depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:42)

So many born again children of God hold the mistaken doctrine that we cannot avoid trouble in this world; that life lived and experienced in this physical realm must, of necessity, entail hardships, difficulty and troubles of all kinds.   So often I have heard such stated beliefs from the mouths of Christians.  It is tantamount to arguing against the proof of Scripture; it is allowing the devices of the enemy to take precedence over the Word of our God; it is placing more faith in what we see and hear than in our Father’s Word.

 You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah {pause and calmly think of that}! I {the Lord} will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you…Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and with loving kindness. (Psalm 32:7-8, 10) {Emphasis mine}

The reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it rests satisfied; he cannot be visited with {actual} evil. (Proverbs 19:23)

Fear-of-God is life itself, a full life, and serene – no nasty surprises. (Proverbs 19:23 –Message Bible)

Our worshipful understanding of the Lord, our reliance on His loving-kindness, is Word and Spirit generated.  Taking Him at His Word, basing our faith walk on His promises, results in that abundant, safe and secure life He so wants His children to experience.

 For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)

…he who trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on the Lord shall be compassed about with mercy and loving-kindness. (Psalm 32:10)

Let your words line up with His Word, and let your thoughts rest on His eternal promises which were purchased for us through the saving work of Jesus.  Build up your faith according to His Word. We are safe and secure under the protective arm of the Lord.