Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Reflecting God’

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)

 

 

 

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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.

Occupying the Secret Place

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 Two}

Finally, in verse 1 and here again in verse 8 we are comforted concerning the “secret place”.  We dwell there in verse 1 and we are inaccessible there in verse 8 – inaccessible to harm, fear, and the results of sin.  This seems too good to be true to many. It all depends on how much credence you give to God’s Word; how you hold it and honor it in your heart. How much you believe that this is God speaking to you, revealing His will and His ways. Through our faith in His Word and in all that Jesus did on our behalf, the secret place is ours to occupy. There are a great many interpretations concerning the Secret Place – each one contradicting the next as researcher after researcher, biblical scholar after biblical scholar, Gospel blogger after Gospel blogger offer their take on the topic. Thank God for Strong’s concordance and the Holy Spirit!  Ultimately it is as simple as taking God at His 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]! (Psalm 32:7)

Jesus is our Deliverer.  Jesus is the One Who brought all of the powers of the enemy down to zero!

[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]. (Colossians 2:15)

He is our hiding place, our place of safety, our secret place.  Hold that picture in your heart. It will inform your peace. He told us in John 15:4:

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

Further, in John 15:6, giving a clear and disturbing picture of the reward of the wicked, He said:

If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. 

 With His words in John 15:6, we see the result of not dwelling in the safety of His secret place, which certainly agrees with Psalm 91:8. Again, with our Lord Jesus, as with God our Father, the plea, the command goes forth to attend to the call to righteousness: 

…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) {Emphasis mine)

Paul picks up this same clarion call. When writing through the prompting of the Holy Spirit he says:

For the rest, my brethren, delight yourselves in the Lord and continue to rejoice that you are in Him. To keep writing to you [over and over] of the same things is not irksome to me, and it is [a precaution] for your safety. (Philippians 3:1) {Emphasis mine}

Through knowledge of His Word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, We know the extraordinary value of maintaining our placement in the secret place, and what we need to do to stay there. And it is our faith in the validity and reliability of His Word that so pleases our Father and accepts nothing less than the full and complete manifestation of His Word, His covenant promises to us.

 

Psalm 91, Verse Two – (Part Two)

For “on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I {confidently} trust!” This closing phrase of Verse 2 summarizes faith for us; faith in His Word, His love, His purpose in each of our lives. Speaking forth your certainty that God is reliable, trustworthy, and faithful to His Word (Romans 3:3; Hebrews 10:23) ushers in the covenant realities of the remainder of Psalm 91.

How often we read Scripture without the wonder, the awe and reverence it deserves. There is a familiarity with our Father’s Word that so very often undermines its power and compromises its life-changing, spirit-impacting purpose. God’s Word is Truth (Psalm 119:160); it is His bond. All of His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

For as many as are the promises of God, they will find their Yes {answer} in Him {Christ}. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God, through Him {in His Person and by His agency} to the glory of God.

We say we honor the Lord. We say we love Him and serve Him, and yet in our day-to-day lives the full manifestation of His promises is often missing. Our days should be characterized by an expectation that God will always fulfill His Word. He expects that kind of faith from His children (Hebrews 10:38); a mountain-moving faith in His power, His love, and His promises (Mark 11:22-23).

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. {Emphasis mine}

It is that “conviction”, that “holy fervor” spoken of in Hebrews 10:38 that lives in and enjoys the covenant promises of God. As you read Psalm 91:3-13 let these promises of God feed, strengthen, and establish you in His care. This is our Father’s part of the covenant and He will see to it according to your faith in His Word. You have resolved to dwell stable and fixed in His secret place (verse 1), and you have, from your heart and with your spoken word, acknowledged His Lordship (verse 2). That is your part of the covenant.

Then come these wonderful words – “For {then}…“{Amplified} (The NIV begins verse 3 with “Surely”) – and God reveals to us what we can expect from Him. He expects us to hold Him to His Word, for that is truly the faith that honors Him and that gives Him first place as our Lord.

I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night; you who {are His servants and by your prayers} put the Lord in remembrance {of His promises}, keep not silence.  (Isaiah 62:6) {Emphasis mine)

Our God fully expects, requires from us, total trust in and reliance on His Word. When we read the Word but don’t expect every bit of it to be fulfilled in us, when we don’t speak it forth as Gospel Truth for our lives, are we not in some way questioning His veracity and diminishing His power and authority?  Faith believes the Word, speaks it forth, and receives the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36). This Truth is God established.  Faith receives the promises.

Many hold that God is sovereign and whatever happens is His will.  The Word contradicts that opinion!

Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect {the authority of the Word of God through your tradition which you in turn hand on… (Mark 7:13)

And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief… (Matthew 13:58)

And He was not able to do even one work of power there…And He marveled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him)… (Mark 6:5-6)

So now read these verses in Psalm 91 with the awe, wonder, gratitude, and the spirit-strengthening ability they deserve! Thank Him! Praise Him! Honor Him by believing and, therefore, expecting His Word to come to pass in you.

 For the Lord will…take into favor His servants {those who meet His terms of separation unto Him} (Psalm 135:14)

             Let the Word {spoken by} Christ (the Messiah) have its home {in your hearts and minds} and dwell in you in {all its} richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom {in spiritual things, and as you sing} psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with {His} grace in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

 

Psalm 91,Verse 1 – (Part Two)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty {Whose power no foe can withstand}.

Now we come upon the promised result.  When we purpose to dwell in His secret place our lives and our future are stable and fixed.  This stability and fixed foundation are ours when our faith is in our God; when we purposefully place ourselves in His care.  He assures us that this is so.  Always be spiritually attuned to the Truth that all Scripture is God speaking to us.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction… (2 Timothy 3:16)

For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it {to do so – it never came by human impulse} but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

God promises these results as we lean on Him and trust absolutely in His care. Our work is faith in His Word, in the “great and wonderful and intense love” He holds for us (Ephesians 2:4), and in all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. His work is to see to the fulfillment of His promises. We “shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty”.  In other words, He is your covering, your safe place.

over everything the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and a shade from the heat of the day and hiding place from the storm and rain.  (Isaiah 4:5-6)

Protected here, no enemy can harm us for there is no foe, no hindering force that can overcome the power of our God.  The Greater One lives in us (1 John 4:4) and sees to our well-being. There will be attempts to unsettle us, but our faith in His covenant promises and His faithfulness to His Word is the overcoming force.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary.  (Psalm 107:2)

When we dwell in God’s secret place, when our faith holds us there, no enemy can get through His defenses to harm us.  I once heard a preacher speak of this verse in Psalm 107, emphasizing the last word.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say SO!”  “So, you think you can harm me??”  “So what if disease is going around? It can’t come near me.” So what if a storm is trying to overcome me?  I will not be moved!  I am safe in my Father’s care.” “So what! You can’t intimidate me! You are no match for my Father.  In fact, you have no power here. You have been defeated.”  When you’re saved and you’re secure and you know it, no weapon will prosper against you. (Isaiah 54:17).  That is your heritage, your security, your right as a faith-filled child of God.  And while to many this seems too good to be true, according to the Word of God this place of refuge in His care defines our days.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord (and His Presence) shall be my dwelling place. (Psalm 23:6)

Tender Mercies

It is easily observable that children thrive when raised in a family whose parents have demonstrated to them from the moment of their birth that they are greatly loved.  How a person’s heart, their spirit, their sense of self-worth, is powerfully shaped by this enabling understanding of being greatly loved!  The personal sense of being cherished, of being of great value, when instilled in the heart of a child is an enabling force.  A complete understanding that they are truly and unconditionally loved establishes a peace that welcomes in possibility, and a strength to overcome any attack on their self-worth.

As with everything in this world we live in, there is a parallel spiritual truth.  When we truly know the heart of God toward us, when we believe His Word, trust and rely on His loving intentions toward us, we thrive.  Nothing can shake that peace He has given to us (John 14:27).  Nothing can overwhelm or defeat us.

For this to be reality we must settle some Gospel Truths beyond any doubt in our hearts.  Throughout His Word our Father speaks of His tender mercies and loving-kindness toward us (Psalm 103:4, Psalm 145:9, Luke 1:78).  He is love (1 John 4:16), and that love sent our Lord Jesus to the cross (John 3:16, Galatians 2:20). We are of great value to Him.

You were bought with a price, {purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own}… (1 Corinthians 6:20)

He has given us the safety and shelter of His Word to stand on in faith and He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide, counsel and encourage us (John 14:16).  Allow these truths to recreate you (2 Corinthians 5:17); to renew your thinking ( Romans 12:2).  When you look out upon your day established in God’s Truth, identified through His love, trusting in His tender mercies, relying solely on His affectionate and watchful care of you ( Peter 5:7), then you are “safe in His inaccessible place” ( Psalm 91:8).

Faith in these truths establishes their reality in your life.  That’s our Father’s expectation – that you believe Him (Hebrews 10:38).  Faith believes that it receives all of these wonderful promises at God’s hand (Mark 11:22-24).  It is as simple as that (and in its simplicity it becomes quite difficult for some!)  When asked what the greatest Bible Truth he knew was, one pastor said, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.  “Have faith in God constantly” (Mark 11:22) seems to be a challenge for many believers.

It is the child of God who understands and receives His love and tender mercies that walks out every day in a peace that profoundly colors every moment, defines their days, and overcomes the world (1 John 4:4).

 

The God-Fashioned Life

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), {fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs}, but be transformed (changed) by the {entire} renewal of your mind {by its new ideals and its new attitudes}, so that you may prove {for yourselves} what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect {in His sight for you}. (Romans 12:2)

One often encounters a poverty of faith among believers gathered together in His name; gathered together to study God’s Word and purportedly to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Gospel; gathered together to encourage and edify and exhort each other in faith. Their spoken words often negate God’s Word as they reference illnesses and an inability to truly know God and His ways. One dear sister in Christ, when asked to identify someone who was a great spiritual example in her life spoke of a friend who calmly and peacefully glorified God in her life through a severe illness that He had seen fit to put on her. Those listening nodded wisely, commiserating with an all too familiar situation!
The opening two verses of Romans 12 exhort us to dedicate our lives to God – our bodies and our minds. We are a family of faith. Our every moment, our every thought, our very identity given over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. What our Father says in His Word is our plumb line in life. His Word and His promises usher us into kingdom living.
When He says “I Am the Lord Who heals you” (Genesis 15:26), when Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) as He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38), when we fully understand that what God has promised He will do (Hebrews 10:23) through the application of our faith to the Truth of His Word, and that “there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him” (Ephesians 6:9) – what He has done for one we can expect He will do for us – then health and healing belong to us!
When our Father says that “He delights in the prosperity of His servant” (Psalm 35:27), when He teaches that to sow generously is also to reap generously (2 Corinthians 6:9), when His ways of doing and being right teach us to prosper and be successful in all that we do (Joshua 1:8), we are to take Him at His word. Unbelief mocks prosperity. Faith believes it, speaks it and receives it with joy!
The words we speak either activate or nullify the promises of God in our lives. We are made in His image, He spoke this world into being and we speak our tomorrows into existence. It is either our faith or our doubt and unbelief that fashions our future days.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

In Hebrews 4:2 Paul identifies the cause of a powerless Gospel.

The message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom and goodness)… (emphasis mine)

Romans 10:2 carries a similar message:

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.

They are impressively energized concerning God – but they are doing everything backward. (Message Bible version)

Don’t speak what you see in front of you – what your physical eyes observe or what your physical body feels. Speak God’s Word, His promises concerning you. Don’t allow the natural to take precedence over the supernatural. For as a born again child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and eternity minded – you are to be well-versed in the supernatural. A God-fashioned life is fueled by and focused on His Word to us. That Word transforms us. It re-creates us into the likeness of His Son, and it greatly pleases our Father that we trust in and rely on that Word for our every need in life (Hebrews 10:38). It establishes us in peace and under girds our every step.

Take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life – a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you. (Ephesians 4:22-24 –Message Bible)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12: 1-2 – Message Bible)

A Peace Filled Heart

Psalm 34:4-5- I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him {of necessity and on the authority of His Word} and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

It is through peace that the Son of God is revealed in your life. A peaceful, quiet, confident spirit is tuned into God’s frequency.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My {own} peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. {Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.} (Emphasis mine)

“Do not permit!” Stop allowing the tactics of the enemy to touch your heart. Recognize his “modus operandi” immediately. Satan’s sole intention is to compromise your walk before God; to sow his negative influences of fear, worry, concern, intimidation; to knock you off balance in your faith walk, and to reduce God’s powerful, alive, and active Word (Hebrews 4:12) to a place of ineffectiveness (Mark 7:13) in your life.

Tuned into Satan’s frequency – he is the god of this world order (2 Corinthians 4:4) – we cannot at the same time tune in and yield to our Father’s Truth. And the enemy is often very subtle in the strategic placement of distraction in our lives. Caught up in (ensnared in) worldly issues – financial, political, familial, social – we are submitting to and yielding to an unsettledness that does not honor God. We – His children! – bicker and argue and waste precious time proclaiming the rightness of our opinions on various issues when we are meant to be “busy with His business” (John 9:4). Let’s follow our Lord’s example in this. When faced with something seemingly insurmountable, the news of a death, He remained unaffected – “overhearing but ignoring” (Mark 5:36).

Our Lord’s instructions in John 14:27 teach us to be persistent in looking to Him – His peace, His constant loving provision, His Word. The steadfast look to Jesus – attentive, expectant, a “steady and absorbing gaze” (Numbers 21:9), considering no other viewpoint (Romans 4:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:18) – is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38), receives all of the promises (Hebrews 10:35-36), and disables the negative impact of Satan’s tactics. Our thoughts become aligned with His thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), our words speak only His Word (John 15:7), our days are filled with and focus on Heaven’s purposes, and we flow, unhindered, in Kingdom rhythm.

It is not surprising, living in this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), that true heart peace can seem to be elusive; carefree living not easy to achieve. I exhort and encourage you this day to place yourself fully, without reservation, in the care and keeping of the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Look only to our Lord and Master Jesus. Submit only to the indwelling Holy Spirit. Honor God with your joy, reflect Him with your peaceful heart. Jesus gave and bequeathed to us His peace. Purposefully practice it!

What do You See?

In the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord asks His prophet, “What do you see?” (verse 11 and again in verse 13). And as Jeremiah’s words spoke forth what he saw in his spirit, as he gave utterance to the heavenly vision, God’s plans and purposes were established and eventually manifested for the nation of Israel. “What do you see?” It is a question I have heard quite often from the Holy Spirit during recent times of quiet listening. Along with this question I have received continuing instruction in the profound importance of the thought life. The Word of God instructs us over and over about how powerful the thought process is in our lives.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.

Proverbs 23:7 – …for as he thinks in his heart so is he.

Luke 6:45 -…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

What we see in the Word of God is a picture of who each of us is meant to be – God’s promises and provision for our healthy, prosperous, purposeful lives through faith in our Lord Jesus, and all that He accomplished on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is constantly retraining us to understand and walk in kingdom reality -not worldly reality. Through His guidance, yielded to it, we become the person we see in the Word. What do you see? What we see through our faith in the absolute Truth of God’s Word, and our trust in His faithfulness to His Word (Hebrews 10:23), directly and profoundly informs our thought life. And, in turn, our thoughts inform our words, and our words create our future days (Hebrews 11:3).

Does your thought life assume blessings, well-being, answered prayer? Let there be no poverty of attitude in you- never speak beggar, never allow your words to utter a negative report. Let the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you color every moment with divine audacity! It is what pleases our Father (Hebrews 10:38). God’s constant love reaches out to us, encouraging us to fully own our redemption; to fully and joyfully and confidently receive the extraordinary benefits of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

What do you see? How you see yourself in your heart is the person that you are. That is faith (or lack of it) creating your reality. Your thought life creates your reality – positively or negatively. Thoughts of “less than” in any area of your life are not kingdom thoughts. Your thoughts released into words are a powerful force.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it {for death or life}.

That is why we are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to:

…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).

Step up into a way of approaching and walking through your days that honors God and your placement in Christ. When you see it in the Word, expect it in your life. Treat this with the seriousness it deserves. Whenever and wherever you see something that does not line up and come into agreement with the Word of God, speak to it; speak with authority (Luke 22:29).Capture every thought. Yielded to the Holy Spirit, what we see, what we think, and what we say will bless your days and honor the Lord.