Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee (Ps 91:5-7)~ How great is our God? How much will He look after us? He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find ALL in Him that he needs or can desire. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are traps to lure us into the contagion of sin, which is a spiritually deadly state. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Ps 23:4)… Yes, great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. We will experience God’s grace while witnessing others that succumb; but wisdom should keep us from being afraid without cause, and faith should keep us from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father’s will is done; and we have no reason to fear but every reason to trust in Him, our protector. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust (Ps 91:2), For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock. (Ps 27:5)
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor 12:8-9)~
Ever been in the middle of something tough, prayed for rescue and heard… nothing? Ever questioned God in frustration “Why won’t you answer?”
Could it be that God doesn’t answer because, sometimes, He wants us to stay right where we are and learn, there, how to fight? Could it be that sometimes God allows trouble and pain to train us, to build our strength and maturity, to make us more reliable conduits of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? WE consider pain and troubles as unnecessary, to be avoided, hindrances to our ease and happiness. Might it make more sense to consider pain and trouble as opposition; as a mountaineer views the altitude; as a firefighter views a blazing building?
We aren’t meant to be men who avoid tribulation; numb it or deny it. We aren’t meant to run from battles, hiding and letting others fight them. We’re built for this ‘opposition’. Truthfully, we’d probably wither without it. We must see it through for what it is: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). Our struggle is against getting lured into selfishness, indifference, impatience, rage, resignation or sin in the face of problems in our lives, our relationships, in our families or at work. These are epic struggles – battles worthy of any man.
God isn’t going to always take our challenges away because He’s built us to go through them, overcome them and conquer them. His grace is enough to see us in and through all of this! My brother, my sister, hang in there – Trust in the Grace and go on through it!
We live in a world that is hungry and thirsty for so many things. We see people that are famished and parched for fame, position, power and riches. But God is always looking for people who are hungry for Him. Jesus said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). This is our invitation to come to Him. Jesus said that the one who comes to Him would He by no means cast away. In fact, Jesus also said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). Kind of like how your natural appetite works, you have to eat when you get hungry to satisfy that hunger and eventually you will get hungry again; you have to have a regular and sustained portion of God to be satisfied. But unlike your natural appetite where you have to stop taking it in because you get full – You never get to a point in God where you will be so full that you will not need Him anymore. And while God is always satisfying us, He is also continually increasing our hunger and thirst for still even more of Him. The more you hunger and thirst for Him, the more will He reveal Himself to you and the more you will yearn for Him. With your food you get full and you get tired of it and it becomes boring and you sometimes get to a point of not even wanting to have that particular food anymore. But we will never ever be frustrated when we hunger and thirst for The Lord Jesus. As we hunger for Him more, He will fill us more. He will reveal Himself to us more and more as we thirst for Him. There is simply nothing more satisfying as the knowledge of who God is. Do you have hunger and thirst for the Lord? As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Ps 42:1-2). O Taste and see that the Lord is Good! – (Ps 34:8)
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me (Ps 63:8)~ so many instances I have to be thankful and grateful because if I didn’t have His hand to hold me up… To order my steps…to walk with me through the peaks and valleys!!! My life is engulfed in His hand and there is no place I’d rather be. There is such strength in His hands, but also great gentleness. In my childlike weakness, I rest in my Father’s strength. I know a place of security. How great is the hand of God? Out of the depths of His love and mercy, He ordained that He would provide Himself as the payment for our unpayable debt. He knew there would be no other means of rescue. So out of eternity, God reached forth His mighty, loving hand into the pit of destruction to gather His people unto Himself. He undertook to do for us what we were unable to do. The Bible tells us that once we were darkness, now we are light (Ephesians 5:8). Our sin has been forgiven, our debt has been cancelled, and we have been transferred from the kingdom of evil to the kingdom of God. We are rescued by His hand and pulled safely out of the darkness into the light. We are a radical transformation…in His hand!
For as he THINKS in his heart, so is he (Prov 23:7)~ The world says that image is everything, and if you want to change your life, you first need to change your image. The world’s recipe for change says you need to change your wardrobe, toothpaste, hairstyle, hair color, and wear colored contact lenses. And while you’re at it, a trip to the tanning salon would also be a big plus. And then some augmentation here and a little tucking there would definitely be in order. And don’t forget a face lift that would put a permanent smile on your face. Now you have to shop here and party there and being part of this organization and that group; drive this car, wear these clothes and live in that neighborhood. And you only associate with these kinds of people and don’t be seen with this or without that. The menu of possible changes is as big as your checkbook and at the end of the day, the checkbook is the only thing that really changes! You are still the same ‘YOU’! Too often we look for change in all the wrong places. That’s why we have such a hard time making positive change happen. The world can’t give us the change in life that we really need. Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5). In Christ we have the power to change our lives for the better. It is here that a river of positive change will flow through your life. The MIND is the door through which we enter the world of positive change. In order to have a new life, we need a new way of thinking. Everything we put into our MIND is important, because it affects who we are. When we put in good things, life improves. Put in bad things, life becomes worse. We can change who we are by changing what we put into our MIND. When we change our MIND, we change our life. This law of change never fails. Positive transformation isn’t an accident; it’s something we do on purpose. You can become a positive person by putting positive things into your MIND. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom 12:2). Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on these things (Phil 4:8).
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt 6:33)~ Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. So many of us are focused on worldly gain; materialistic profit; Hierarchicial stature. We take pride in worldly possession but have no interest in our lot in eternity. What profit is there for us to gain the world and lose our soul? Seek first the kingdom of God, and make the cares of your eternal soul your business: it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. Jesus said “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” The life we seek of this world and find comes in the midst of much worrying, wonerding, doubting and struggle and will be lost; but to put aside the life of this world, seeking Him in faith, hope, trust and most importantly, love, will not only provide for us here on Earth but set our destination to His presence in eternity. It is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations and cares of the world, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to His wise provision. Seek the world and we find the world. Seek the Lord and we find eternity which gives us in and above the world! What are you looking for?
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated (Dan 3:19)~ Demonic opposition is hard at work to force us to turn to ways opposing God’s will. Mankind creates reasoning and by “the law of the land” the devil tricks man into thinking that what’s always been wrong is now right. But the Word says “All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify” (1 Cor 10:23)~ just because it’s the thing that everybody is doing doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Just because there’s a law supporting it and it’s the ‘way the world is’ doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that you have to conform to it! Godly convictions are always unpopular and always yield to persecution by the popular crowd or the crowd that supports the new ‘status quo’. Many out of fear of this persecution simply conform; relinquishing their own convictions and giving in to the pressure of a world that bows down. God gives us a means to withstand the heat – He doesn’t necessarily take us OUT of the heat, but He sustains us IN it – even if the pressure is enough that others succumb to it and try to force us into it, we have in Him, what it takes to stand in a bowing world! In Him – the ‘heat’ of the world will do no harm to us – And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. (Dan 3:27); Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph 6:10-13) … in a bowing world!
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27) Would you pick up a flaming hot coal in your hand to throw at someone else hoping to burn them? Better yet, would you drink poison with the expectation that someone else would get sick or die from it?? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t. So WHY would you allow yourself to contain anger or a grudge against someone? Why do you choose to hang on to your wrath rather than letting it go so God can help you deal with and fix the problem? When you carry that anger because your pride and ego won’t let you put it down, you are essentially burning yourself, poisoning yourself and stressing yourself out. And guess what… that person you’re mad at…is moving on..LIVING their life…just fine…regardless! That’s right, your grudge had ZERO impact on them. Tomorrow will have enough problems of its own (should you live to see it) without you bringing today’s bag of issues into it. It’s bad enough to go to bed angry… but why would we want to get up in that same old state? Think about this, to go to bed.. mad, the sleep you do get is not quality because you left your mind and heart to stress all that drama you had too much pride to let go of.. only to wake up…. still mad… keeps you from being truly and fully thankful to God for the day He has given you; cause you’re mad! I hear you saying “oh I’m thankful but I’m still mad!” I hear you saying “I’m not ready to forgive because I’m still mad…” or even worse, the great lie – Yes, YOUR great LIE: “I’ve forgiven but I’m still mad…” (True forgiveness lets go of anger). You so mad you PROUD of YO mad! Really?? How’s that working for you? Who are you really hurting by staying mad??? Does your wrath and anger bring about God’s righteousness (the only TRUE righteousness)? Would God ever bless you and carry anger over you? What devil in hell told you its okay to stay in this angry phase? Well the devil IS a lie! He’s laughing at you because he’s tricked you into slowly stressing YOURSELF to death! That’s right, while your justified anger is making you satisfied in being that way, you’re dying of hypertension… that slow silent death because you’re keeping your anger and blood pressure elevated! Look, whatever it is… deal with it before the day ends! What if the chance to reconcile never comes (tomorrow)???? You think being angry takes a toll on you, try not ever having the chance to forgive or apologize. Don’t let the devil have this day or any other at your expense! God keeps the one in perfect peace whose mind us stayed on HIM; so do whatever you have to do to drop that grudge, that anger, that attitude, into God’s hand!!! Refuse to be unhappy…trade that burden for His peace! And when you give it to Him, DON’T TRY TO TELL HIM HOW TO SOLVE IT… IT BELONGS TO HIM NOW!! When you make that first move, then your heart and spirit are relaxed where you can now rest on it! And do just that.. IN PEACE, sleep on it, You’ll sleep better and live to wake up feeling much better! And watch what GOD does when you are at peace, in Him!
Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matt 18:22)~ there we have it– you just keep forgiving– whether the offense against you happened once or it keeps happening- it’s not about how many times or who started it, it’s time you get over that grudge– that actually does you more damage than the person you carry it against! After all, WHO is the one that’s mad? WHO is walking around with an imbalanced temperament? WHOSE blood pressure is up because they’re being mad just because they want to be? Stop justifying your selfish anger and get over yourself cause that’s what you’re doing .. Making it all about YOU! Time to let go and love the unlovable, pardon the unpardonable, believe the unbelievable and hope when everything seems hopeless. YOU need to forgive the petty mess that’s going on between you and “them”. It’s not about who’s at fault or who apologizes first. But since you made it about YOU, YOU NEED to forgive. See, others don’t need your forgiveness nearly as much as YOU need it yourself. It’s YOUR heart that is hard because YOU haven’t forgiven; YOU are carrying carry heavy burdens…YOU are weighing yourself down more and more with stress just by holding that grudge! Every excuse you make to justify your anger, grudge and unforgiveness just makes the burden heavier on YOU! There is only one way to lift this load. ForGIVE it away!!! Every ounce of forGIVEness you dispense to others lifts off the burden that YOU bear. The forgiving heart is the forgiven heart. You can experience the freedom and healing power of forGIVING away the burdens of unforgiveness. Each of us has that one grudge that we haven’t let go of…and what is it doing? It’s enslaving YOU in burdens of anger and rage…for what?? My friend, life is too precious and too short to stay mad at them over some petty trivial junk whether it happened way back when or yesterday! Holding back forgiveness is like standing in an open cell and refusing to walk out. Stop imprisoning yourself!!! Christ set us free in His forgiveness of our sins for eternity. The prison doors that held you have been opened….but you need to embrace your freedom and walk out into that freedom! Give up that pride and make yourself thankful for mending that tear in that relationship! It’s truly liberating!
O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the Word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not (Jer 20:7-9)~~ Have you ever been in a position where you felt like your efforts were just mundane, without any impact, maybe even worthless? Have you ever just gotten tired of ‘doing the right thing’ and wanted to just break away and quit…even if just for a little while? Maybe you were discouraged and ultimately you just didn’t want to continue. Or what about that opportunity you were thinking about but you were wondering if it really was for you? Yeah, me too… it happens to us all. We just want things to be easy going… just want to cool down… we’ve lost that fire -we’ve become.. lukewarm! Oh, you may still be doing what you should do, but God is trying to get you to see what through Him you COULD do. You may even be going through all the motions, but there is no victory in it. No power. No excitement. No fun. You resign to it saying, “well, you can’t be fired up all the time!” THAT IS THE LIE THAT GOT YOU IN THIS CONDITION! God speaks a Word on all of our lives and He intends for us to let SHINE the light that He placed in us…with life and enthusiasm. He’s not going to let us just quit what He has intended that we do: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isa 55:11-12). There is a fire burning in each of us that cannot go out! When I’ve said to myself, I’m just going to back down and not do this or that, then I really find out if God called me to it.. because something about that fire just burned hotter in me! Romans 12:11 says that we should be fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. Fervent means to boil or to be hot… meaning whatsoever we do, we do it heartily, as to the Lord (Col 3:23) with life and excitement and enthusiasm – FIRE! Friend, the most exciting thing that ever happened could be going on right in your own back yard, but if you are asleep and lukewarm – refusing to let that light in you shine and that fire in you burn hot, you will not be excited by it. The Lord has called us to awake from our slumber, and fan the fire. Add the fuel of the Word He has spoken in you. He’s not gonna let you out of it, He’s already declared it done, and YOU are part of that Divine Will and Purpose so you might as well do it and do it well! Get into Him, the source of the heat, and be fervent! Get FIRED UP!