Tag: trouble

Surrounded By Enemies

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.” (Psalms 5:8 ESV)

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11 – 5:12 ESV)

It’s a nasty, unfriendly world out there; for the Christian especially. To think otherwise is to be ignorant of God’s word.

Jesus said, “If they’ve hated Me, they will hate you also.”

John wrote, “He came unto His own (the people He had covenant with through Abraham) and His own received Him not.” (John 1).

And that’s what every child of God should expect: trouble from those whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to ours.

Of course trouble may come in different ways; from severe persecution to a mere intolerance of our beliefs and ideas. But nevertheless, trouble will find its way to every person who believes God’s word enough to live it.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV).

When’s the last time you reminded yourself that as long as you’re living in this world, you are surrounded by enemies? Have you come to grips with the word from James where he states a person must choose where their loyalty lies?

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 ESV).

It goes along with what Jesus spoke:

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:13 ESV).

And John the beloved’s words:

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13 ESV).

Another passage to read is found in Hebrews 11; the story of Abraham regarding himself a pilgrim and a stranger here on earth while waiting for a city Whose builder and maker is God.

Paul wrote to the Philippians: “To depart and be with Christ is far better (than continuing to live here on earth)”.

Child of God, you are surrounded by enemies. Unfriendly forces are set against you to try and trip you up, get you to compromise your devotion to the Lord and to besmirch the Name of Christ.

But you are not without hope! God did not leave you to walk through life on your own. He’s promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. He has sent the Holy Spirit to empower you, thus giving you victory over every trial and temptation.

He is with you in trouble as your ever present Help in time of need. You will never face anything by yourself, if you’ll simply call upon His Name!

“Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:12 – 10:13 NLT).

The Psalmist wrote this promise from God Almighty:

“The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” (Psalm 91:14 – 91:15 NLT).

It’s a mean, nasty, ugly world. And sometimes, it’s even worse!

Yes, sometimes the devil and his cohorts try and wear us down and tear us up. Peter referred to the devil as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He tried to devour Daniel but couldn’t get it accomplished!

David talked about walking through a dark, dangerous valley. Though he was surrounded by enemies, he declared to all who could hear him, “I will fear no evil because You are with me, Lord! In fact, You make it possible for me to feed on Your faithfulness while my enemies watch with frustration.”

You may feel like you’re walking through that same valley, surrounded by the same enemy of old.

But you are not alone. You can (and should) remind yourself daily (at least), Who God is to you, in you, and around you. Plus, remind your enemies just Who it is they’re messing with.

Use some of David’s words if you’d like.

“O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill…I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” (Psalm 3:1-4,6 ESV)

After all, even though you’re surrounded by enemies, you are God’s property; His purchased possession.

And He always takes care of His own.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” (Psalm 91:1 – 91:2 NLT).

Amen.

Rain, Floods, and Winds

20130906-223739.jpgWe sometimes can hear something taught for so long, we miss a word The Lord may be trying to tell us. We may read a passage of scripture off and on for years, and though The Lord ministered that particular Word to our heart one time, we forget He may have something else to reveal from that same passage.

For example, here’s a well known quote from Jesus.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

Traditional thinking, and teaching, tells us the importance of building the foundation of our life (our house) on hearing AND doing the Word of God. Not just hearing the words of Jesus, but hearing and doing.

Absolutely true!

The teaching points out that both the wise man and foolish man heard the sayings of Jesus. Both the wise and foolish men experienced the same storms. Everyone was given to understand the rain, floods, and wind represented storms of life; attacks from satan who’s trying to steal, kill and destroy. The wise man’s house stood because he heard AND did. The foolish man’s house was destroyed because he heard AND DID NOTHING.

Absolutely true!

But I’d like to offer an interpretation that may shake your thinking. It did mine.

Specifically, I want you to look at the words “rain”, “floods”, and “winds”. Remember, most of us have been taught that those words represent the kingdom of darkness, and its mission to tear us down and totally destroy us.

But I believe the Spirit of God is wanting us to realize a more important truth; one we must grasp, especially in this perilous hour in which we find ourselves.

The words rain, floods, and winds can also refer to the Holy Spirit of God!

“For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3 NKJV)

“So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.” (Isaiah 59:19 ESV)

“Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand” (Isaiah 28:2 NKJV)

“then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (wind) of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

“He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire” (Psalm 104:3-4 ESV)

“He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow” (Psalm 147:18 ESV)

“Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live” (Ezekiel 37:9 NKJV)

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2 NKJV)

Anyway, I think you can see The Lord MAY be referring to His Spirit when He speaks of rain, floods and winds.

“But that doesn’t make any sense”, you say. Ah, but it does.

The Lord spoke of a time, a certain time, when everything that CAN be shaken, knocked down, agitated, destroyed, toppled, WILL be!

“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken – that is, things that have been made – in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27 ESV)

I believe that time is upon us.

A time of peril (2 Timothy 3) and of people departing from the faith (1 Timothy 4). A time of sifting and preparation (Amos 9:9-12; Malachi 3:1-3). A time when everything that is not of Him is SHAKEN OFF AND OUT!

The goal? That we may grow up in Him, not having spot or wrinkle, or anything in us He CAN’T build upon.

So, how will we survive these days? What did Jesus tell us to do? He told us to hear His sayings AND DO THEM!

And when the Spirit of God begins to shake things in our lives, we won’t fall apart.

The first three chapters of Revelation indicate an inspection, a shaking, a judging of the saints.

Judgment WILL begin at the HOUSE of God! (1 Peter 4:17)

Don’t be upset with me. I’m facing the same shaking as everyone else. And it isn’t fun. But though His discipline feels like He’s trying to kill us, He’s only preparing us to walk as He walked.

In the Glory, and for the Glory, of God.

YOU

You

I have found life to be very interesting, haven’t you?

Strolling through life, enjoying each new day, thankful for your family, friends, job, ministry…

When all of a sudden a bomb explodes – not a literal bomb, but a situation, a threat, a fear; something unexpected, rocking your calm, peaceful world.

Years ago there was a guy, a king, name Jehoshaphat (love the name!); King in a land called Judah.

Good dude. Nice.

The Lord considered him to be a good dude as well. “…good things are found in you…and you’ve prepared your heart to seek the Lord”, are the words the prophet of God told him.

What a word to receive from the Lord! It’s like hearing Him say, “well, done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Or maybe it’s like having the Publishers’ Clearing House people knock on your door with one of their HUGE checks! If that happened to me I’d probably be up all night, every night for a week. I mean, think what could be done with all that money!

Having the assurance of God’s approval, His favor, is FAR more valuable than ALL the money in the world! But even that won’t stop trouble from coming at you; or keep a “bomb” from exploding near you.

Shortly after Jehoshaphat received the prophet’s word from God, someone else approached him with a different kind of word (2 Chronicles 20). The word went something like this: “Jehoshaphat, you’d better brace yourself! At least three nations, consisting of several hundred thousand troops, are marching against YOU at this very moment! YOU had better get ready.”

It’s a story that is fairly well known, and it ends with the good guys winning, and the bad guys killing each other. Good stuff.

But there’s one thing I want you to see. Jehoshaphat’s prayer. Here it is: 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 (I have highlighted certain words for greater clarification)

“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us — sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine — we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir — whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them — here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.

O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

YOU. Jehoshaphat knew exactly where to look. He was told, “King, the enemy is coming for YOU.” So King Jehoshaphat figured, “if the enemy is coming for “YOU”, then let them come and meet “YOU”.

The King moved the attack’s focal point from himself to where it belonged. GOD!

If we are in Him, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty God, we are in a place beyond the enemy’s reach.

If we’ll stay in there, and not let the enemy draw us out.

It’s not that we’re beyond attacks, beyond threats, beyond trouble or major problems. But we must remember our place of refuge.

For the enemy to reach you, he must first go through “YOU”.

I hope I am getting this point across to YOU. To help, I’ll close with scriptures using the words “You Are”. Let the words help YOU see just where your help lies.

When trouble comes, the bomb explodes, and YOU feel like caving in – remember:

the YOU Who is for YOU…

O Lord God…

You are the helper of the fatherless
You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup
You are my Lord
You are holy
You are with me

You are the God of my salvation
You are the God who does wonders
You are my strength
You are my God
You are my King

You are my rock and my fortress
You are my help and my deliverer
You are my hiding place
You are my hope
You are my trust

You are more awesome than Your holy places
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb
You are my strong refuge
You are glorified
You are good

You are more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey
You are the same, and Your years will have no end
You are the God of my strength
You are there
You are near

You are fairer than the sons of men
You are the glory of their strength
You are from everlasting
You are very great
You are my praise

You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek
You are clothed with honor and majesty
You are exalted far above all gods
You are my portion
You are my shield

You are great, and do wondrous things
You are great in counsel and mighty in work
You are the Lord our God
You are our Father
You are God

You alone are God

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