Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Reflecting God’

Mornings in the Garden – The Weed of Dishonor

As we continue to carefully weed out “interlopers” in our life’s garden , applying the organic standards of the Lord to those heart attitudes that diminish or derail our faith walk, we come across the weed of dishonor.

Consistently honoring God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and honoring each other roots out his weed. The weed of dishonor in your garden powerfully repels God’s blessings. It is hugely important to our walk in the Spirit that we obey His commands in this area. Our Father is the “Rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out” (Hebrews 11:6). Consistent obedience to His directives reveals  our earnest and diligent seeking out of God.

When we understand the Lord’s expectations along these lines, the practice and the principle of honor will usher in great rewards. Conversely, not attending to this principle, not committing our hearts to purposefully seeing to its implementation, severely curtails our connection to the Vine, our success in the Spirit, and the manifestation of Gods purposes and promises in a life. The promise of Psalm 57:2:

I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me {Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them}.

is profoundly affected when we allow dishonor to infiltrate our faith walk.
Honor begins with the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 29:13); true honor comes from the spirit that fears and reverences God. He deserves (and commands) our honor and our praise.

For those who honor Me, I will honor. And those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.(1 Samuel 2:30)

…whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who has sent Him. (John 5:23)

But this requirement to extend honor encompasses our interrelationships with others as well, and we live in an age when honoring men is in short supply. In his book Honor’s Reward, John Bevere speaks of ministers of the Gospel whose work in Africa produced miraculous results in the area of healing and multitudes receiving salvation, while their meetings in America resulted in no mighty works – no miracles. The difference? Unlike many American congregations, the people in Africa highly esteemed their ministry and their message.. They were greatly honored for the position they held as ministers of the Gospel. Believing that these evangelists were called by God and given His authority to act, the people received blessing upon blessing because they recognized and honored that authority, thereby honoring God. Carrying that same message to American churches, there was a noticeable difference. The esteem and honor due these servants of God was missing. A similar situation is found in Mark 6:1-6 when our Lord was dishonored in His own home town (“Is not this the carpenter … and they took offense at Him…and they were caused to stumble and fall”).Unlike the effects of His ministry elsewhere, He was unable to do any mighty works there. In Luke 5:17-21, we are told that the power of the Lord was there to heal, yet the scribes and the Pharisees, in dishonoring Jesus, were not touched by the power of Heaven . So throughout Gods Word and in the world we live in today we see clearly the Scriptural results of dishonor.

By truly extending heart-felt honor to the men and women who cross our path, we are treating our Father and His authority to the honor He deserves. In James 3: 8-10 we again find the honor principle and our Abba’s requirement for people to people contact:

But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord, and with it we curse men who are made in Gods likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so.

Gossip, speaking ill of someone, mocking someone’s behavior or speech or actions, rolled eyes demonstrating disdain all fall under the heading of dishonor and that does not please God:

…in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the other as better than and superior to himself {thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not {merely} his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

When offended by someone, pray! When the enemy encourages you to mock, pray! When others gossip, pray! When you are tempted to step away from honor into dishonor, pray and obey! Our work is to honor all those He sends our way for that represents our Father well. The enemy is very attentive to creating situations in our lives that might tempt us to act, or even think, towards others dishonorably. Determine now that you are resolved to obey God and not respond to Satan’s devices. God will attend to the end result.

…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)

God’s standard against the work of the enemy is love extended to all. When we operate within the parameters of that principle we are correctly guarding our hearts and pleasing our Father. Let’s root this weed of dishonor permanently out of our life’s garden.

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The Weed of Unforgiveness – Part Three

This weed of unforgiveness deserves more attention as we oversee our life’s garden before the Lord. Because it is a tactic of the enemy to attempt to keep us from the blessed life God intends for His children, this weed of unforgiveness creates serious repercussions that can usher in aspects of the curse that Jesus defeated for us on the cross. Two actual life stories will illustrate this Truth. The first is an excerpt from my devotional, God’s Beloved Daughters:

“Mark Brazee is a traveling evangelist and minister of the Gospel worldwide. He tells of experiencing some very troubling symptoms of illness that persisted despite his prayers of faith. He knew and believed and taught God’s Word regarding healing without reservation, and yet those symptoms were not responding as they should to a son of God speaking forth against them in faith. He felt that there was some deep-seated spiritual problem that needed to be addressed. He went to the Lord concerning this dilemma and was reminded by the Holy Spirit of a group of people he had preached to weeks before, who did not receive his message of faith. “All right for them,” he had said in his heart at the time with some disdain, “let them stay in their ignorance.”

“That can’t be,” he thought after hearing from the Holy Spirit. “That’s too simple.” (How often do we go to the Holy Spirit for help, receive our answer and then disregard it?) He knew, however, that this wisdom was from God and what he needed to do. He forgave those people fully and completely from his heart, and prayed that the Lord would bless them with the wonderful truth of His Word – and the symptoms of illness left his body. He had restored peace to others (forgiveness), received peace in his body (healing), and experienced peace with God (obedience).”

The second example was shared by a brother in Christ concerning two women of his acquaintance. Both women were Christians, both married, and both had late stage cancer. The similarities did not end there. Both women had husbands who had committed adultery, both women were harboring unforgiveness toward their husbands, and both women were asking for prayer for healing. The pastor who went to pray with each of them said that he would seek the Lord on their behalf and asked that if he received specific direction for them, would they heed it? Desperately desiring healing, both agreed. In each instance the direction from the Holy Spirit was the same – they were each walking in unforgiveness toward their husband’s unfaithfulness and needed to forgive unreservedly and completely. One woman said that she could not forgive her husband. She was not healed. The second woman forgave her husband absolutely and obediently. She received her full healing.

Our Father’s admonition in Deuteronomy 30:19 to choose life in Him extends to this weed of unforgiveness:

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.

The Word of God is our standard against any tactic the enemy might employ to derail our faith walk:

Clothe yourselves, therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), {who are} purified and holy and well-beloved {by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by} tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, {and} patience {which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper}. Be gentle and forbearing with one another, and if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has {freely} forgiven you, so must you also {forgive}. (Colossians 3:12-13)

There is no wiggle room here.  There are not degrees of unforgiveness.  Apparently there is not one offense that is weightier than another in the Lord’s eyes. The Lord’s directives here are very clear.  Weed your garden obediently.  Forgive all as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you (1 Peter 4:8).

The Weed of Unforgiveness – Part Two

We see in Matthew 18:21-35 the definitive parable on forgiveness. The attendant whose debt was forgiven by the king did not offer the same blessing of forgiveness to another attendant who owed him money.

Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to. And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you? And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed.  (Matthew 18:32-34)

When we fully come to realize the great debt that God has forgiven; when we truly see the full picture of our redemption – from lost to found and from rejected by God to accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6) – the act of unforgiveness towards others is seen in its true light. It is a foundational principle of the kingdom of God; of life in the Spirit. It is the way His children are to represent Him to the world. It is a required heart attitude in pleasing our Father and walking in the peace that characterizes our heavenly citizenship and the love that identifies our discipleship.  Unforgiveness is discordant. There is no heart harmony when unforgiveness is present; the peace of the Lord is far from us, and the promises of the Lord hindered.

Unforgiveness can be harsh and hard and blatantly obvious – it can manifest in anger and shunning and severed relationships. As such, it can clearly be seen by all. It can also be subtle – quietly disguised as a reasonable reaction to a perceived wrong. Recently, in fact while writing this section on unforgiveness, I recalled having identified just such an attitude I had harbored in my own heart. My devotional, God’s Beloved Daughters, had just been published and I was asked if I was going to send copies to certain women in my life. Their apparent lack of interest in my writings caused me to say that I would not. “They have never indicated that my writing was of any interest to them,” I said. I had been holding on to a negative feeling in this area which was clearly the weed of unforgiveness. It seemed to make sense didn’t it? They showed no interest in my work so I should reciprocate  that lack of interest by neglecting to send them off a copy. And yet the entire purpose of the devotional was to bless, inform, encourage and edify God’s daughters. My negative feelings were taking precedence over my ministry before the Lord. It was the selfish tending to an emotional wound that did not honor God and the work He had given me to do. I sent off the copies to them with a prayer that it would mightily bless them!

Unforgiveness is directly related to judgment. Judgment is, in fact, the first step in falling into unforgiveness. We judge others as unworthy to receive forgiveness from us. We judge their behavior as a direct affront to our sense of right and wrong. It takes daily care not to fall prey to this emotional trap of the enemy.  The world we live in is divided and contentious with opposing sides “dug in” and unyielding. {This seems especially true in the world of political thinking. And yet God’s instructions to us on this front are very clear (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and unalterably opposed to “what comes naturally”.} It is so easy, when allowing our flesh to prevail over our spirit, to give place to unforgiveness and judgment. God’s Word tells us that we act in error when at one and the same time we:

...bless the Lord and Father, and…we curse men who were made in God’s image. Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. (James 3:9-10)

As with unforgiveness, the disobedient act of judging others has unfortunate consequences.

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. (Matthew 7:1)

As you attend to your life’s garden, under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, quickly and purposefully root out the weed of unforgiveness. Do not hesitate to clear it out completely. It is a blessing killer, and the Master Gardener wants you to recognize its power to diminish your faith walk.

Mornings in the Garden: The Weed of Unforgiveness

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover the prisoner was you – Corrie Ten Boom

Forgiveness is another powerful weed killer.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
(1 Peter 4:8)

Unforgiveness hardens the heart that God wants soft and uncompromising towards Him and our fellow men. Left untended, our hearts are hindered by a “settled state of hardness” (Mark 8:17 Amplified). Each of us has experienced this weed in our garden. We cannot have walked the earth among men and not have fallen into this heart attitude. It is often, in human terms, the predictable and understandable response to the inevitable daily conflicts among fallen men and women. It is the natural, fleshly response to a perceived wrong – a defense mechanism, the assertion of personal rights, the establishment of a protective perimeter, and a weapon for self-preservation. It is the personal determination not to grant blessings to the one who has wounded us.
The love walk, however, necessitates forgiveness.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. (Colossians 3:12-13)

We are to forgive each other readily and freely as God forgave us. We are to be imitators of our Heavenly Father, following His example in all things (Ephesians 5:1). As with all of our Abba’s* directives, His life-giving instructions are for our benefit and blessing as well as for the blessing and edification of others. God’s directives are always overflowing with abundant life for all! They bless the giver and they bless the receiver. His desire is only to bless and do us all good. So let’s look at both sides of the forgiveness interaction.

Scripture teaches that forgiveness keeps Satan from gaining an advantage over us ( see 2 Corinthians 2:10-11). Clearly the choice not to forgive is an act of disobedience, and as such constitutes obedience to the enemy of God. It is a choice to accept Satan’s ways and tactics rather than God’s highest and best. The extended outcome of such a choice is seen in Matthew 6:14-15:

For if you forgive people their trespasses {their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment}, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses… neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

If we hold on to unforgiveness we do not walk in the blessing of God’s forgiveness towards us. If, as an act of our own will, we do not obey and imitate our Father in this, then we forego that same blessing from Him. In that area of our life, with those choices, we are subject to the kingdom of darkness; unforgiveness honors Satan and misrepresents God. Because, as born again children of a loving God, our main purpose is to represent Him, we are allowing this weed in our garden to diminish our effectiveness as ambassadors to the world of the lost (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). The choice not to forgive is a decision to step away from our very identity and purpose. As all weeds do, unforgiveness depletes the nutrients in our life’s garden; God’s life in us is compromised and rendered ineffective as this weed prevails. As we purpose to send our life’s roots deeply into the life of God but allow this weed to remain it will rise up and choke out blessing upon blessing.

But what of the person toward whom our forgiveness is withheld? Are they as adversely affected? One might surmise that it is the one holding on to unforgiveness, rather than the one toward whom it is directed, that is the most injured. For the ones who are unforgiving hold on to this dark emotion; they are the ones who made the choice to take on Satan’s tactics. Yet Scripture tells us that if we do not forgive them, they are not forgiven by Heaven!

{Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him} if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained. (John 20:23)

Jesus is our example in this, extending forgiveness in a prayer to the Father on the cross to those who were responsible for His death (Luke 23:34). Forgiveness is a cornerstone of Gospel living. Jesus’ very purpose in coming to us, in facing the cross, was to enable God’s forgiveness to extend to all who believe (Matthew 26:28). Forgiveness is love in action. It says, “I determine that my life and actions will be a clear representation to you of God and of Heaven’s principles. I resolve that your salvation and relationship with God is far more important than my own needs. For God is in charge of my needs and I want only His highest and best for you.” Forgiveness sets aside personal inclinations for the benefit of others – for their eternal well-being.

The interrelationship of our behavioral choices is so clearly seen with this dynamic of forgiveness. Through the saving work of Jesus, God forgives us. He then instructs us that we are to unreservedly forgive others, as imitators of Him and representatives of His kingdom. As others witness firsthand this forgiveness, they see standards quite unlike their worldly experience and come face to face with God’s ways of doing and being right (Matthew 6:33 Amplified Bible) They see God in us. We get it right before God and they get a glimpse of Heaven.

*- “Abba” can best be translated “Daddy” or “Papa”. It expresses the close intimate relationship of a father to his child, and the child-like trust children have for their “Daddy”. (See Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)

Continue…

As we set out upon this New Year in the Lord it would certainly be beneficial to establish our focus and resolve – a spiritual counterpart to the age-old practice of New Year’s resolutions.  I offer here an appropriate excerpt on the subject from my devotional God’s Beloved Daughters – Daily Discovering the Blessings. It is the epilogue of the work as it seeks to tie together a year’s worth of daily teachings and encouragements.

If  you live in Me {abide vitally united to Me} and My words remain in you and continue to remain in your hearts, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.  When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified and you show yourselves to be true followers of Mine. I have loved you {just} as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love {continue in His love with Me}.  If you keep My commandments {if you continue to obey My instructions} you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.  (John 15:7-10)

   Rising again to His feet from an attitude of prayer He sets out into the new day. Early morning hours spent with His Father establish His path and purpose for the day. He walks on followed closely by those He has chosen. On the dusty road, in the heat of the late morning hours, they walk through the center of a small village. The people of that place see their approach and recognize Who is in their midst. Throughout the afternoon they send word into all the surrounding country and bring to Him all who are sick.

And begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed.  (Matthew 14:36 NIV)

And He looks up and out over the centuries and says, “Continue”.

He strides with purpose into the Galilean countryside, into cities and villages:

teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  (Matthew 4:23 NIV)

The reports of His ministry spread throughout the land. Many sick are brought to Him and He heals them all.  And He looks up from His work – up and out over time – and says, “Continue”.

Continue in this good work – God’s work – and in My Name.  Continue making inroads into the enemy’s territory; destroying his intentions in the lives of men and women and demolishing his strongholds (1 John 3:8).  Continue operating out of the very same love that sent Me to the cross.  Continue in close alliance with the Holy Spirit. Continue to operate in the mountain-moving, blessing-producing faith that pleases our Father.

Continue, My dearest child, to see the reality of life through the eyes of your spirit.  Do not step away from what you know.  Do not compromise what you have already learned.  Joyfully praise…quickly obey…eagerly pursue…correctly represent…promptly forgive…Continue!”

As the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, directs you through each day of this New Year, expect the fulfillment of His promises, the miraculous, and divinely orchestrated opportunities to impact the world in His Name.

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.

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)