Daily Discovering the Blessing

Posts tagged ‘Released into His Care’

Mornings in the Garden – Those Pesky Weeds

Matthew 13:3 – Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them out.

Anyone who seriously tends a garden recognizes the absolute imperative to seek out and destroy weeds! Weeds are aggravating invaders into what otherwise would be a pleasing and gratifying sight – your well-planned, carefully cultivated, and visually soothing creation. Weeds are insidious in their encroachment upon our best laid plans. For serious gardeners, weeding can be a very cathartic experience if they will let it be. If your gardens are extensive, then the weeding aspect of the gardening experience is on your daily to-do list during the growing season.

Chemical solutions – sprays, powder applications, liquid weed killers in a can – offend many gardeners who desire a kinder and gentler approach to their gardens. Pouring, spraying, and sprinkling their way to a weed free existence seems to many, and to me, a harsh and mistaken approach to nature’s challenges. Pouring poison onto your creation to eradicate unwanted visitors somehow alters your relationship with your gardens, otherwise lovingly tended. Bullying your way to beauty somehow reinterprets your garden’s purpose and compromises the effectiveness of your stewardship. The use of these “quick fixes” may seem an easy way to alleviate the problem of weeds and pests, but the potential side effects are a cause for concern in the same way that worldly solutions to life issues which ignore God’s ways of doing and being right (Matthew 6:33) are counterfeit remedies.

Some weeds relinquish their position in the garden easily while others maintain a hold that indicates their intended permanent placement within the floral landscape. Some send their root structure underground and pop up here and there throughout the flower beds, establishing a tunneling system that appears to set up squatter’s rights among the rightful inhabitants of your garden – the plants you chose for that particular plot. Left unaddressed, the presence of weeds in your garden will eventually reduce an otherwise lovely landscape to the appearance of a long neglected and discarded property – uncared for and abandoned.

Left to their own devices they flourish and “choke” the life out of your garden’s vision – they grow out and grab for themselves the benefit of sunshine – they usurp the soil’s nutrients for themselves, robbing the rightful occupants of the garden space, which must now cope with less sun and less goodness from the soil. They “deplete the soil, intercept the sun and take up room” (Luke 13:7). And where once beauty was expected, there is now the dismal and disheartening look of neglect.

It is the garden well-tended, diligently weeded, purposefully, thoughtfully and honorably cultivated that honors the gardener and shows forth the beauty and intended purpose of careful stewardship. For with the guidance of the Holy Spirit we oversee the careful weeding of our own personal plot of land – our walk before the Lord.

It is not only easy, but also instructive to draw parallels between the careful tending of our physical gardens with the careful tending of our spiritual garden. Weeds within our own lives can fall under so many categories – bad habits which have become firmly established, negative worldly attitudes which color our days and our interactions with God and others, generational dysfunction, misconceptions concerning spiritual Truths, and just plain old sin (missing the mark in terms of God’s ways of doing and being right) are but a few. For our purposes of understanding the identification and removal of spiritual weeds, we will define these weeds as anything that hinders our spiritual growth and pleasing walk before God.

The Holy Spirit is there to shine a light upon the weeds in our life’s garden. When we get purposeful about our relationship with Him we can be assured that with His help our walk before God can take on a well-manicured appearance – honoring to Him and a powerful witness to others. He will help rid our garden of the weeds that would hinder spiritual growth.  The ways of the world – the methods and philosophies that promise self-improvement, the programs listing steps to take to achieve various goals, the gurus, teachers, and groups offering the way to enlightenment and success in any area – are poor substitutes for the work of the Holy Spirit and are the spiritual equivalent of the chemical solutions we spoke of earlier! God’s ways and solutions to the weed problem are, if you will allow the extended metaphor, the organic solution. He Who knows us intimately, Who knows our end from our beginning, Who knows our correct path, our giftings and our outcome – is our Master Gardener. To trust His ways and not the world’s ways is to shun anything else that would attempt to pour its artificial sustenance into your life’s garden. The “organic” weed killers which we will be addressing in future posts,  used through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, honor the life and the beauty of God’s most beloved creation – you!

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How Silently the Wondrous Gift is Given

I recently attended a holiday event advertised as a Christmas market.  Hundreds of people were in attendance – visiting tents offering wide varieties of handmade goods, standing in long lines to order food or pay a visit to Santa Claus.  I thought, as I sat observing the many people wandering around, “Lord, You love all of these people so very much.  They’re here at an event only being held because it’s Christmas, but how many of these wandering ones are open to You at all?”

Each one of us encounters this truth everyday as we interact with people of the world – in supermarkets, malls, airports, or the workplace.  There is a truth that will set them free; that will restore and revive and refresh.  Its quiet and calm message powerfully overcomes the noise and bluster, the cacophony, of the world.

In her book of prophetic encouragement, entitled Dare to Declare, Dr. Mary Frances Varallo writes:

“So many voices can be heard in the earth today, but His sound ascends above them all… no matter how the world tries to silence the sound of the Son of God, Christmas is the one time where mankind is brought face to face with the reality of Jesus Christ and what He means personally, individually, to each and every heart… even now, I believe the Holy Spirit is preparing for you divine encounters, and opening up doors of opportunity for you to walk through, providing places for you to speak His Name, and orchestrating occasions for you to bring eternal hope to hurting hearts.”

We position ourselves to be their answer by daily attending to the voice of the Holy Spirit growing us up, guiding us out, showing us where to look and what to see.  We honor God in this, taking those moments to get quiet and listen. Worldly noise is a distracting, misleading hindrance that so easily and purposefully redirects our attention away from the quiet leading of the Spirit.

And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire {a sound of gentle stillness and} a still, small voice.”  (I Kings 19:11, 12)

A still, small voice.  A gentle stillness.  A verse from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” so beautifully describes the otherworldliness of our Father’s leading:

“How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven…
Where meek souls will receive Him, still
The dear Christ enters in.”

God’s gift to us is quiet peace, gentle leading, the assurance of grace.  All of this comes out of times of refreshing in His presence, learning to recognize and obey His sure and quiet leading.  May His peace define your days in this season of celebration in the birth of our Savior.

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.

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.

Confirming the Word in Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

The Heart of the Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Retribution -Repayment; return accommodated to the action

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing, Honoring, and Cherishing God

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

God does not reveal Himself as wanting to be intimately known if we could not achieve it. He does not, like an unfair, unjust taskmaster, develop a long list of unreasonable requirements which we could never fulfill. That’s Satan’s misrepresentation of Him! Like a loving parent raising up children, our Abba (Mark 14:36; Galatians 4:6) shows us the right path to take, the correct way to think, speak, and act, and the manner in which He is to be known and understood. With extraordinary love He grants to us:

…a spirit of wisdom and revelation {of insight into mysteries and secrets} in the {deep and intimate} knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)

Because being intimately known, and therefore honored and cherished, by His children is the desire of God’s heart, the enemy has thrown many roadblocks in our way. Satan’s aim is to distort Truth, disrupt progress, and diminish God’s standards and revealed will in our lives. Those who buy into those tactics fall by the wayside- a thousand at our side and ten thousand at our right hand. When you entertain the idea that God is unknowable and unreachable, that we can never truly interact with Him and hold conversation with Him, you are listening to the enemy’s lies and not attending to God’s Word or His Spirit. When we accept the world’s view of the inevitability of troubles to be dealt with, calamities to endure, and sorrows to bear up under, we are not permitting the Word to readjust our thinking and acting. When we explain away Scriptural Truth as “not for today” or really only spiritual concepts not valid in this physical realm, we give away His established blessings and reject the full life Jesus accomplished on our behalf. And we fall victim to unbelief in the integrity and the power of God’s Word.

There are obviously some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you {with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel} and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) {into something which it absolutely is not!} (Galatians 1:7)

From Genesis to Revelation God extends to mankind the Truth that He wants to be known, and known intimately. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that ability has been given. Our part in this relationship with our Creator is to seek after Him as our “first and vital necessity” (1 Chronicles 28:9); to give Him, His Word (Jesus), and His Spirit first place in our lives; to cherish Him as our very reason for being; to love His Word as our most precious possession; to daily honor Him with time spent in His Presence (getting to know Him and to recognize His voice); to imitate Him “…and follow His example}, as well-beloved children {imitate their father} (Ephesians 5:1)

Then no false gospel, no teaching contrary to His Word, no thoughts contrary to Gospel Truth will compromise or diminish your faith walk. The blood of Jesus, which won our salvation, and our testimony of our Father’s goodness and loving-kindness will define our days. And while many in your life might fall short of this blessed life in Christ:

A thousand… at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand….

Standing firmly, with resolve and absolute trust and confidence, on God’s Word, that tragic falling short will not come near you.

The Rock Upon Which We Stand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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