Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘God’s Faithfulness’

The Character of our Waiting: Untroubled, Undisturbed Well-Being

There are, and I am sure there will be, questions waiting for answers in our lives. It is the “character of our waiting” that matters.  I remember hearing a man of faith speaking of our faith stand as being even more pleasing to God than the actual receiving of the blessing asked for (Hebrews 10:38). Our Father delights in the prosperity of His servants (Psalm 35:27).  He is a Giver and gives us all things richly to enjoy:  wisdom (James 1:5), material blessings (Mark 10:29-30), life direction (Proverbs 16:9), healing (Exodus 15:26, Matthew 4:23), everything that “pertains to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) are ours through our Father’s care in Christ Jesus. The character of our waiting determines our receiving.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is born hither and thither and tossed by the wind.  For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything {he asks for} from the Lord.  (James 1:6-7)

But the just shall live by faith {My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it}; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.  (Hebrews 10:38)

These seem like stern words, but, in actuality, they are Heaven’s encouragement to our faith walk.

Just recently I fully experienced faith stand coming to fruition and the reality of God’s Word fulfilled in my life..  Hebrews 10:35-36 speaks to us of the need for “steadfast patience and endurance”  in order to “perform and fully accomplish the will of God and thus receive and carry away {and enjoy to the full} what is promised”  {Emphasis mine}.  After a surgery and a prolonged regimen of antibiotics, my physical well-being was quite severely compromised.  My digestive system had been thrown off kilter by the strong antibiotics, and for a period of about three years foods that I had previously enjoyed seemed off limits.  (Dairy seemed the main culprit and dairy is everywhere in our diets.) My food intake was severely curtailed as my family and I had to accommodate dietary restrictions.  My flesh seemed to be dictating my days, not my spirit. This also directly curtailed activity away from home.  This was hardly abundant life!  (John 10:10)  I was faced with a choice here – either receive this new, limiting “reality” or stand on the Word of God. Either accept less-than and poverty of health or insist that God’s Word must be!

Daily – many times during the day to confront incorrect thinking – I spoke God’s promises over my body.  I said, “I can eat all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).  I spoke God’s life and promises to my digestive system (Jesus is our example in this – He spoke to wind and waves, fevers and fig trees with good result!!)  I called my digestive system strong and healthy in Jesus’ Name.  I said, over and over “I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Proverbs 18:10, Ephesians 6:10).

It seemed a long season.  Often I “permitted” thoughts that I should simply accept this new reality.  But I purposed not to verbalize those thoughts.  Thoughts will come to try to influence our spoken words.  I spoke God’s Word and His promises. Today, all of those dietary issues, those limiting factors, are in the past. I am eating and enjoying in health all of those foods again.  It is a rejoicing place to be to be living in the answer!

Philippians 4:9 speaks of our Father as the “God of Peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being”).  That’s what I was seeking (insisting upon) during that season of “dietary confusion”.  God’s Word is meant to be our standard in all things.  We have an enemy who works very effectively in the lives of many to disprove God’s Word and to derail our faith in our Father’s promises.  He traffics in chaos and deception.  Untroubled, undisturbed well-being is quite the opposite – it is where we are meant to live.

I want to encourage and exhort you to keep your eyes on Jesus and on God’s promises to you and refuse to consider anything that does not line up with and agree with our Father’s sure and true Word.

Advertisements

How Well Do You Know Him?

I often think of a quote from Smith Wigglesworth when I am in conversation with the Lord, seeking wisdom and understanding on a certain subject – “God wants to answer even more than you want to ask!” One of the most encouraging and productive aspects of our spiritual life is a true understanding of our Father’s heart. He is for our success (Joshua 1:8). He is the Blesser (Proverbs 10:22) – He wants to provide for us abundantly (John 10:10). He loves us with a great and wonderful and intense love. (Ephesians 2:4) And it is that loving relationship that we are meant to share with the lost, dead ones in the world. They are meant to observe, in our daily lives, what God in a life looks like; what our loving God is all about on behalf of the children of men! Our Lord Jesus made this a very simple equation:

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. (John 13:34-35)

And, Jesus Christ, we know, is the direct representation of God the Father:

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)

And as “the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature” He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s influence (Acts 10:38). He brought light into the devil’s darkness. In love He paid the penalty we deserved and restored us to all of the benefits and blessings of life in our Father’s kingdom. As His disciples, as the believing Church, that is our calling as well. We are to deeply and correctly know God so that our lives reflect His goodness and so that all may look and see that God is good!

...For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, (Ephesians 1:17) (Emphasis mine)

We are to “spread and make evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The only way we can correctly reveal the character of God to the lost ones is to know and understand Him correctly and intimately ourselves. Is that possible? God’s Word says that it is.

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. (John 17:3) (Emphasis mine)

And he said, The God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will [to perceive, to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with His will], and to see the Righteous One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), and to hear a voice from His [own] mouth and a message from His [own] lips; (Acts 22:14) (Emphasis mine)

That is what we have to offer the lost world – not judgment, harsh criticism, or self-righteous condemnation. Just love. We are safe within the care of our Father. It is a care-free place, this realm of knowing God; of understanding our Father’s heart. Safe and secure in the care of the Lord, guided and taught daily by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we understand that in Jesus we are worthy of the Father’s intimacy and love:

But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. (1 Corinthians 8:3)

So the fundamental question for each born-again child of God is “How well do you know Him?” Are you growing daily in “the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord?” (2 Peter 1:2) Does Scripture – God’s holy, unchanging, uncompromising Truth – inform your expectations in life. Trust and unwavering reliance on God’s Word relies upon your relationship with your Creator. In the book of Romans Paul speaks to the compromised faith walk of many:

I bear them witness that they have a [certain] zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to [correct and vital] knowledge. (Romans 10:2)

Look at this wonderful promise from God:

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

Allow the Truth of God’s Word to give you a hunger to daily become more intimately acquainted with your Father. There are wonders to understand about what being a child of God means. There are privileges and blessings that God extends to His own. And it pleases His heart when His children take Him at His Word (Hebrews 10:38).

Moment by Moment

We often overlook, or leave unpondered, the beauty of our moments. In truth, every second of our life holds the opportunity to reflect God, honor Him with our choices and our thoughts, and determine that His love will guide our outlook. In contrast, every moment that is colored by the world’s ways and the enemy’s attempts to diminish or redirect or disfigure and compromise the life the Lord has given us robs us, to a degree, of our heavenly identity.

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

      “In order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loves us“! Now that’s an understanding to carry into and to inform our moments. In Christ, you are loved by your Father with a great and wonderful and intense love. Before any other understanding in our relationship with God, this is paramount. It is defining. This colors our moments. It settles our hearts into peace when we fully embrace and own this Truth.

The first thing [is] wisdom — get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) {Young’s Literal Translation}

The heart that understands this Truth operates in the peace and joy which define God in a life (Romans 14:17). “Get understanding” about who the Word tells you you are. And let that understanding about what a life hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) looks like fuel your moments. The Word is filled with God’s covenant promises with His people. We are to search God’s Word for that wisdom (Proverbs 2:4). And we are to stand uncompromisingly on those promises. But even before gathering to ourselves and owning the wonderful promises that are ours through Jesus, we are to know the Person and the love of our Father. He not only tells us Who He is through His Word, He graciously lives in us to allow that knowing to grow and flourish (2 Timothy 1:14, 1 John 3:24). Knowing God and desiring to please Him with our moments is the calling of every child of His. This takes resolved practice. Thoughts will come, issues will arise, opportunities to fall away from peace and joy will attempt to color your moments with the dreary “less-than” often experienced by those “In the world without God”  (Ephesians 2:12). But our Father’s Word says that, safe in His care, those issues will not hinder us.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. 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 91:7-8)

And these moments build upon one another. Once you’ve settled the matter and have insisted that as far as you’re concerned this moment will honor God and receive the peace and joy that is yours in His care, the very next moment will follow in the same manner. For when peace rules as umpire in your heart (Colossians 3:15), you will recognize when you fall away from that secure place. As I said, it takes concerted, purposeful practice to both recognize who you are in Christ and to also recognize when that identity is being compromised.

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (2 Corinthians 10:5)

When our moments honor God and His Word to us we are pleasing our Father (Hebrews 10:38). When moment-by-moment we determine that the Word defines us and not the world, we reflect Heaven’s standards (Luke 12:32). Safe in our Father’s care (Psalm 91:14-16), we are a powerful witness to those around us of what God in a life looks like (Joel 2:27).

The Process of Receiving

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Power, ability, efficiency, and might“. How many of us would recognize themselves in that description? Receiving anything from the Lord is a faith proposition and our faith walk is entirely informed by our knowledge of what the Word says and our understanding of Who our Father is. Look at this wonderful picture of Who the Lord wants to be in our lives:

And I thought how [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage, the most beautiful and best [inheritance] among all nations! And I thought you would call Me My Father and would not turn away from following Me. (Jeremiah 3:19) 

What a beautiful expression of our Father’s heart toward us; His desire for each of His children to occupy the Promised Land. For so many of His children, though, their vision of what the Promised Land looks like is misinformed or diminished through lack of understanding, incorrect teaching, or an unwillingness to fully accept the wonder of it all! When we daily operate from the vantage point of, the safe place of, our Father’s love for us, we are at the receiving post of every promise that is ours through Jesus:

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, (Ephesians 2:4)

How good is our Father! How much goodness from God will your faith accommodate today? Let the Word redirect your outlook today. Let it transform you through the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2); let it establish new and correct attitudes concerning what this walk of faith is all about. When you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are loved by God with a wonderful, great and intense love. When we receive that Truth in our hearts and let it direct and inform our daily outlook and expectation, our faith in His goodness and faithfulness receives the promises.

How does His loving-kindness manifest in our lives? He came Himself to die on our behalf, to fulfill the demands of justice, to satisfy His expectation that sin would not overcome His creation. But there was an inability in His creation to overcome the sin nature – only He could do that on our behalf. Jesus won back our redemption, our restored placement within the relationship God desires with men. And then, still knowing that even with all that Jesus accomplished we would fall short of the glory He desires for us, He equipped us with His Holy Spirit. He calls us to excellence and holiness and then provides us with the ability to accomplish that expectation by coming to live within each believer.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). (2 Peter 1:3)

We are responsible for how much we receive from the unending supply of our Father’s love and goodness. Faith receives God’s favor, His grace (Romans 5:2). Faith in His Word, belief that what He says He also means, is how His blessings are received in a life. Faith grows. It’s a spiritual muscle to be flexed and strengthened. As born again believers we are all given “the measure of faith”(Romans 12:3 – KJV) What we do with that measure of faith determines our outcome. How we grow our faith determines our ability to accept and receive the great plans and purposes of God for each of our lives:

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Ephesians 3:20)

That superlative description of life in the Spirit seems beyond the reach of so many, and yet it is God’s will for all of His children. Continuous faith in God’s Word is a powerful force that most believers seldom tap into. According to the Word of God, mustard seed sized faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20). Jesus spoke of Peter’s inability to continue walking on water as having “little faith”(Matthew 14:31).

How good is our Father? What are you expecting and excited about today? Is He a “just-enough-to-get-by God or a God of abundant overflowing life (John 10:10)? How big is God in your life today? Is He a help-me-get-through-this-illness-with-grace God or your Healer? Taking the faith step to believe God’s Word uncompromisingly is the path to “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams”.

Speak the Word, Only

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.(Matthew 8:8 KJV)

During my “growing up” years in beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit and God’s ways of “doing and being right” (Matthew 6:33 Amplified, Classic Edition), blessed through the encouragement and exhortation from faithful teachers of the Gospel, I came to understand that effective prayer involved speaking the Word of God into any and every situation I encountered. For my husband, my children and now my grandchildren, over our health, our finances and our future days, and for people the Lord placed on my heart – the most powerful and productive praying I, or anyone, can do is to simply speak forth what God says.

Scripture teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh:

And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us… (John 1:14)

Throughout the creation story in Genesis 1, it was the Word spoken by God that made manifest all that we see (“and God said…” over and over again as He formed the world and all that is in it). John 1:1-3 reveals the foundational understanding that Jesus (the Word) was with God at the beginning – the creation of all things – and that everything we see was made through Jesus.

All things were made and came into existence through Him, and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. (John 1:3)

These truths feed our faith and receive God’s intended purposes in our lives. For when we know the Truth, that Truth will indeed set us free (John 8:32). Our prayers become more powerful and effective when we understand what God’s Word tells us about His Word!

God’s Word has “self-fulfilling power” (Isaiah 61:11 Amplified Bible), when spoken out in prayer, with a faith that understands it must produce as He promised that it would.

– God watches over that Word spoken in faith to perform it in our lives.
…I am alert and active, watching over My Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12)

– God promises that His Word will produce the results asked for:
So shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: It shall not return to Me void {without producing any effect, useless}, but It shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and It shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

– God’s Word is alive, active, and energized:
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power {making it active, operative, energizing and effective… (Hebrews 4:12)

– Our Father is faithful to His Word and to His covenant promises (Hebrews 10:23, Deuteronomy 7:9)

This is a primer for us on effective prayer. Throughout His Word God lovingly teaches us how to operate within His established parameters for success! We are to take our Father at His Word. As little children accept and trust the word of loving parents and without hesitation accept as true and reliable the words they speak, we are to unquestioningly and unwaveringly trust our Father’s Word and promises to us (Luke 18:16-17). On this foundation, faith receives. For according to His Word, our Father is obliged to do what He said He would do. That statement may seem presumptuous and irreverent, but look at 2 Timothy 2:13 as expressed in several versions of the Word:

...there’s no way he can be false to himself. (2 Timothy 2:13 – Message)

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (NIV)

…If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (King James)

…If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself. (Amplified)

On this understanding, faith receives our Father’s promises.

Jesus exhorts His disciples, and us, to “Have faith in God, {constantly}” (Mark 11:22 Amplified Bible). He then goes on to say:

whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will {get it}. (verse 24)

Our faith matures and strengthens and receives as we come to understand and “own” these God-given Truths. His Word does not fail. His Word is ever true. His Word is His bond; His covenant with His people, with you. His Word is Jesus. When you speak forth that Word in faith, it will be done for you (Mark 11:23). This is not, “Wouldn’t it be nice” or “I hope this works”! This is taking God at His Word and making a demand on His ability, His promises, and His integrity. We have such a clear picture of the rights and privileges of faith in Luke 8:

And a woman who had suffered from a flow of blood for twelve years and had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, Who is it who touched Me? When all were denying it, Peter and those who were with him said, Master, the multitudes surround You and press You on every side! But Jesus said, Someone did touch Me; for I perceived that [healing] power has gone forth from Me. (Luke 8:43-46)

I especially like the 20th Century Translation of this last verse. When the woman with the issue of blood touched Him, the Lord said, “Someone has made a demand on My ability” .

Speak in faith over your health, your prosperity, your future days. Be bold and, in faith, in obedience, make a demand on His ability! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). It gives our Lord great pleasure when His children take Him at His Word. We truly live by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We are to be imitators of our Father (Ephesians 5:1) who “speaks of the nonexistent things as if they already existed” (Romans 4:17). This is how our Father establishes His kingdom in the lives of men. Through the spoken word, His Word spoken in faith, will a thing be established. For your children, your family, your health, your prosperity, your future, take this seriously – it is life to you!

Mornings in the Garden – The Weed of Fear

Here is a weed that burrows underground and pops up in many areas of your life’s garden. In the area of your finances, your health, your peace, your confidence and your attitude concerning the future, fear so often influences our thoughts, words, and emotions.

When Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue heard of the death of his daughter, Jesus immediately said to him:

Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing. (Mark 5 36)

In fact, we are told in that same verse that Jesus was “Overhearing but ignoring what  they said.”   Hearing, but ignoring. There is the formula to cast out fear in whatever form it may take in your life. The key here is to be well-versed in what the Word says on any and every subject. Faith in God and the Truth of His Word kills this weed of fear every time

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

We are told in 1 John 4 that “God is love” and that “there is no fear in love” (verses 16 and 18). In fact, God instructs us that:

…love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! … he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love. (1 John 4:18)

As one of Satan’s primary tactics, fear severely compromises our faith walk for it puts into question the veracity of God’s Word. Fear takes the beauty of the life in the Spirit that God extends to us and casts a shadow of concern over the garden. It is a virulent weed for it has the ability to reduce God’s Word and His promises to us to the realm of “hope so” instead of “know so”! It also stands in direct opposition to our Father’s loving directive to us:

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7)

Interestingly, immediately before we are directed to cast all of our anxieties, worries and cares onto Him, we are told in verse six to humble ourselves:

…lower yourselves in your own estimation} under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you. (v. 6)

In other words, take yourself  out of your own keeping (See Acts 16:31 Amplified Bible). Be humble enough and wise enough to recognize that we cannot do this life without Him. He is our Strength, our Refuge, and our Answer. How then, with God in charge, can fear of anything trouble us? Then, immediately after we are directed to cast all of our cares on Him we are warned of the devil’s tactics:

that enemy of yours, the devil, roams about like a lion roaring {in fierce hunger}, seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith… (v.8)

So here is God’s remedy for the eradication of fear from your garden. Humble yourself, hand Him every one of your cares and concerns, and in faith defeat this fear tactic of the enemy.

That God’s Word is forever settled (Isaiah 40:8) and that His covenant promises can be utterly relied upon (1 Corinthians 10:13) is mocked by a spirit of fear. So make a close inspection of your garden. This is a gardener’s daily duty. Among the beautiful flowers that you and the Holy Spirit are tending, does the weed of fear ever crop up? Do you verbalize fearful thoughts hidden in your heart? Remember, our words indicate the state of our spirit and the condition of our hearts before God. Our enemy knows this. He wants your words to compromise God’s Truth and hinder God’s ability to bless you. Do you speak out words that may correctly characterize an issue that you are currently facing but that incorrectly represent God’s promises to you? Do you report on the immediately seen rather than on the unseen – in other words are you speaking of the problem you are presently facing rather than the promise of God that you have been given? To allow the weed of fear in your life’s garden is tantamount to attributing to God the ability to lie and deceive His children. Be vigilant about this weed. Recognize it quickly and root it out.

When God says that He is love and that perfect love casts out all fear, that is your rallying cry. Upon that Truth the weed of fear can no longer disfigure your garden! For to trust and love your heavenly Father is to accept His Word as absolutely true and to recognize where the fear comes from. It is a tactic of the enemy whose singular purpose in your life is to diminish or disprove God and His Word.

The Wonders of Salvation

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation. (Psalm 91:15-16)

We come to the closing verses of this wonderful Psalm of protection and God’s promises of sheltering and preservation. Over and over throughout His Letter of Love to us it is His stated intention to care for and protect His people (Psalm 15:9. 97:11, Jeremiah 31:3, Luke 19:42, 1 Peter 5:7). The opening phrase, “He shall call upon Me”, is in reference to the ones who have set their love upon Him (verses 9 and 14), those who:

…seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and is righteousness (His ways of doing and being right)… (Matthew 6:33) {Emphasis mine}

We have His assurance that when we are in that position of trust in Him, when our love is set upon our Father, we can rely on and expect His answer when we call out to Him. James 1:5 confirms this promise:

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God {Who gives} to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  {Emphasis mine}

It is our absolute faith in this Word from our Father that receives His answers. His covenant promises to us.  Our God has given His Word, He has established this Truth for us to rely on. And our faith in His reliability, His faithfulness to His Word, is the key.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting).  For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and is tossed by the wind.  For truly, let not such a person believe that he will receive anything {he asks for} from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)

God’s Word carries us through troubles safely to the other side. It’s not that born again believers, children of God, won’t experience troubles n this life – challenges, obstacles, the attempts of the enemy to disprove God’s Word.  Jesus said:

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have {perfect} peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration, but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world. {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} (John 16:33) {Emphasis mine}

Our faith walk sees those obstacles and challenges as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on our behalf. Our mindset, our spirit’s rallying cry, must be, “If it doesn’t line up with the Word it may not stand.”  Faith considers Jesus and all He accomplished on our behalf, never the problem confronting us (Romans 4:19-21). For the promise is , “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him“. {Emphasis mine}

God’s pleasure in the faith of His children (Hebrews 10:38), our absolute trust in His power, wisdom, goodness. and His Word,  is revealed here in verse 16.  He will “honor” you.  In other words, He esteems you, He dignifies you, He treats you as precious and holds you in high regard! Jesus said:

…If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.  (John 12:26)

We are to honor the Father (Psalm 86:11). We are to honor each other (Romans 12:10). We are to treat ourselves with honor ((1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and “live and conduct ourselves honorably” (Romans 13:13). When we walk in that Truth, that awareness, when we reflect our Father in those actions, He tells us that He honors us.

“But wait, there’s more!” Along with all of the blessings and protections of Psalm 91, God will satisfy us with long life and show us His salvation.  The word “salvation” is extraordinarily weighty.  With great wonder and awe, we need to take in its full impact and make it our own.  We need to walk in this knowing every day.

Jesus is our salvation (Romans 1:16).  The original Greek word for salvation in the New Testament is the word “sozo,” which in its full complete definition means heal, preserve, save, make whole, rescue, deliver, protect, make prosperous!  In the Old Testament, salvation in the Hebrew is the word “Yeshuwah” (Jesus!), and means aid, victory, prosperity, health, and welfare.

Being saved through Jesus, experiencing God’s salvation, is not only meant to be the comfort that Heaven is your destination.  It is the assurance of all that the original Greek and Hebrew words signify.  When we truly understand all of the aspects of His salvation covenant, which God desires for each of us, it will powerfully and profoundly affect our daily expectations.

I began this in-depth look at Psalm 91 by sharing that I speak it out daily over every member of my extended family.  It is such revelation about our Father’s heart and character.  I encourage you to stand on these promises and speak them forth over your family every day.

The Name of the Lord

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My Name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].  – Psalm 91:14

All throughout Psalm 91 we are assured of God’s care and protection. Here at the beginning of verse 14 it is summed up very effectively: because we set our love on Him He delivers us. All of the previous verses are very specific about what that care and deliverance looks like. Here in verse 14 our covenant relationship with our Father is simply put  – “if you…then I”.  If we, through faith in His Word to us and His loving-kindness, purposefully place ourselves in His care, then He accomplishes all that He has promised on our behalf.

And our faith and trust in Him is entirely informed by our understanding of His character; His great desire for a loving, intimate relationship with us (Ephesians 2:4), and how He has revealed Himself throughout His Word. Our Father leaves us in no doubt as to His intentions in the lives of men. He expects, in fact delights in, His children taking Him at His Word; He requires that of us (Hebrews 10:38). When He reveals Himself to us through the names He calls Himself, we are to know and understand Him in the light of that revelation.  We are to daily rely on Him to fulfill those roles in our lives, for they reveal His very nature, His desire to be known and understood in those ways.

We are told concerning the Name of God:

…Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehearse Your wonders. (Psalm 75:1){Emphasis mine}

And they who know Your Name {who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy} will lean on and confidently put their trust in You… (Psalm 9:10) {Emphasis mine}

The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the {consistently} righteous man {upright and in right standing with God} runs into it and is safe, high {above evil} and strong. (Proverbs 18:10)

As our Father lovingly reveals Himself to us through His Names, our firm expectation is that He will indeed be Who He says He is and be faithful to that revelation. That is the faith that receives each and every one of these promises.

He is Jehovah, meaning the Lord Who reveals Himself. Each compound Name of Jehovah is the rock we securely stand on, the tower of safety we daily inhabit.

Jehovah-Jirah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Provider (Genesis 22:14)

Jehovah-Rapha – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Healer (Exodus 15:26)

Jehovah-Nissi – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our banner, our protection, our deliverance, the One Who causes us to win (Exodus 17:5)

Jehovah-Shammah – The Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35)

Jehovah-Raah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

Jehovah-Tsidkenu – The Lord is my Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Romans 3:22)

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – The Lord Who sanctifies you (Leviticus 20:7-8; 1 Peter 1:15-16)

 

  So, because you are in Christ, because you trust in God’s Word to you, you are a winner – provided for, healed, protected and delivered from harm, shepherded through life by the loving hand of the Lord, sanctified and made righteous because the Lord is there for you in every area of your walk before Him. Now that is worthy of praise!

Here is where your personal knowledge of His mercy, love, and kindness begins. By taking Him at His Word and by expecting that He is Who He says He is.

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. (1 John 4:16)

 

 

 

Renewed Thinking

 

Psalm 91:13 – You shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13)  {Part One}

Surprisingly, this is the one verse in Psalm 91 that I seemed to have some difficulty writing about. Procrastination in approaching and addressing its message was a clear indicator of the problem.  Either it was too simple and straight-forward to expound upon, or I might not be able to effectively plumb its scriptural depth.

All of God’s Word, every verse, has life-changing, spirit-maturing potential.  All of the Word of God, every verse, is Jesus (John 1:14) teaching us, training us, in kingdom living (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word, every verse, is meant to alter our thinking (Romans 12:2), our outlook on “everyday life”, our heart attitude and our spoken word.  What we see and experience every day, what we permit or prohibit, must be with the eyes of the Spirit and the counsel of the Word. It teaches us who we truly are; it teaches us how to rule and reign.

So clearly, Psalm 91:13 continues the affirmation, the comforting, confident expectation that having placed ourselves in God’s keeping, nothing can, by any means, harm us.  Psalm 91 in its entirety speaks to that safe keeping. We will overcome any danger that confronts us.  Notice that the confrontation does occur.  The lion, the adder, the serpent, they will try to overtake us.  Jesus told us:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have {perfect} peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world.  {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} (John 16:33)

Notice that the evil that will try to confront is of the world.  As His born again followers we are no longer in that category.  In her devotional Dare to Declare, Dr. Mary Frances Varallo writes:

“That may not negate the storm or the hard thing you may walk through, for this planet is cursed.  Though you are redeemed from the curse you are not immune from it.  When the curse gets on you, speak to it.  The Word of God has told you that legally you are free from the curse.  Therefore, it has no right to you or your household.”

And God’s Word – throughout both Old and New Testaments – reaffirms that extraordinary promise. Psalm 91:13 is one verse of many that reconfigure “reality” for us. The first example that came to mind as I prayerfully approached this verse and its message to us was David and Goliath.  It’s a familiar lesson first taught to many as children in Sunday school.  The Philistine Goliath intimidated every soldier in the Israeli army. It took a young shepherd boy with a sling shot to defeat this enemy.  What truly defeated Goliath and the Philistines was David’s faith in God’s protection. Speaking faith and acting on that faith is the overcoming force.

The Lord Who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:37)

   Faith sees and then acts progressively. Faith says, “This is how God showed Himself strong and true on my behalf before, I can and will expect it again.”  God is constant and He is “faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on). (1 Corinthians 1:9)

When we allow the Word to create our true identity, when we confront each encounter with the enemy as over-comers (1 John 4:4) and more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), our witness speaks loudly along with David’s:

…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…for the battle is the Lord’s. (1 Samuel 17:46-47)

So whether it’s a physical attack, an emotional attack, a financial attack, a lion, an adder, or a serpent (!) – the Word encourages and exhorts us to tread and trample on the interloper. When we see ourselves, in our hearts, as the Word of God defines us, we act, think, and speak differently.  Faith says:

The Lord is good, a strength and stronghold in the day of trouble.  He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

 

 

 

Faith in our Faithful God

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 Two} 

We are so very often not attending to teaching, exhorting and encouraging each other to truly take our Father at His Word.  He says what He means and means what He says.  When He says that no evil will befall us, if we encounter such negative moments, His Word is our escape plan (1 Corinthians 10:13)! Faith sees Satan’s attempts to deceive and destroy and raises up God’s standard to defeat the weapon.

We are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions (2 Corinthians 2:11)

…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight. (Isaiah 59:19)

We need to be so armed with understanding and knowledge of the Word that when we see something that compromises, or seems to put into question, God’s Truth as revealed through His Word,  we quickly reject its ability to overwhelm and defeat us.  We say NO! to Satan’s tactics, to his roadblocks, to his evil intent.  In faith, backed up by the Word, we refuse any situation that rises up against the revealed will of God.  If it doesn’t line up with the Word, it may not stand. (2 Corinthians 10:5)  We have been given that authority (Luke 9:1, 10:19); we have been instructed concerning what is ours through Christ.

Because you are attending to your end of the covenant relationship, because you are honoring God by giving Him first place in your lives, because you have taken yourself out of your own keeping (Acts 16:31) and entrusted yourself into His care in faith, you have been and are being protected from evil.  Through your faith in God’s promises to you, the malicious intent of the enemy has no foothold in your life.  We truly need to be attuned to the manner in which the realm of the Spirit dramatically affects and shapes our daily walk.  We need to understand both the authority given to us and the reality of spiritual forces.  Our NO! spoken in faith to Satan and our YES! spoken in faith to all of our Father’s promises are the actions that receive the promise that no evil will befall us and no plague or calamity  come near our tent.

If a believer is strong in their understanding of the benefit and blessings of the tithe, for example, should a financial pressure show up, they might stand in faith and say, “No!  I am a tither and offering giver.  My Father delights in my prosperity. I will not be robbed from.  This attack will not stand!” And faith will receive the promise.  However, will that same believer hold God to His promises concerning their health?  Have they been taught enough concerning the extent to which we honor God’s Word to withstand that type of attack?  To take our Father at His Word that no evil will befall us is to completely transform our minds and hearts to what He is truly offering us here.

There is a sureness about the Word of God that many of God’s children sadly disregard.  When we hold Him to His Word we please our Father and bless ourselves.  There is a misrepresentation of God when we don’t fully take Him at His Word. For according to promise our abundant, peace-filled, joyous life is hidden with Christ in God.  Do not accept and receive any mischaracterization of that Truth.