Be Prepared – 1 John 3:3

Without Holiness, No One Will See The Lord

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Worthwhile Warfare

You are under attack.  Whether you realize it or not, you are being bombarded in the three main areas your adversary – Satan and his minions – have found to be most effective in derailing your efforts at remaining in Christ:

  1. The lust of the flesh
  2. The lust of the eyes
  3. The pride of life

There is a VERY GOOD REASON that the Western World is not seeing the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus when He said:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

The reason?  We are not a holy people.  We go to church (rather than BEING the church).  We seek and revel in the prosperity The Lord Jesus Christ has provided to us but don’t seek as our first priority that His kingdom prospers, even in our difficulties, and we don’t take the time to ensure that God has our full attention to transform us into the image of His Son.

I was recently at a worship/revival service where a man said that every believer should be able to do what Jesus did in His ministry:

Heal the sick, raise the dead (Gasp!  Anyone try this one lately?), cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  – (Comments in italics mine)

He then dedicated the people gathered (a local body of believers who knew each other and a few others that were invited) for service to the Lord.  He prophesied over their lives in the dedication part of the service with complete accuracy, telling people about themselves that he could not have possibly known (including the strangers among them, of which I was one).  After the dedication, he began to heal those who were sick.  Broken bones were mended.  The crippled and infirm stood up, jumped up and down, and praised God.  He drove out demons, calling them by type or name, and released people from their control.

This was a first for me.  Never had I seen someone operate with the power of God in such a way.  Then he made good on his promise that anyone can do these things.  My wife had recently had a concussion, and went up for healing.  After being healed, a man with a broken ankle went up for healing.  Looking around, the guest speaker at the revival service spotted my wife, and said to her, “Come here – YOU lay hands on him!”

My wife, in faith, walked over, placed hands upon the man’s ankle, and was told by the guest speaker to command the ankle to be healed, and say it with authority.  My wife did exactly that.  And then the most amazing thing happened – my wife said that under her hands she felt the bones of his ankle moving around and mending!  The guest speaker asked the man to walk around, and he did.  He could now jump up and down on it.  My wife doesn’t have the spiritual gift of healing.  She was just being faithful to the Word of the Living God, and He responded.

The following morning, I decided, in faith, to put this to the test.  My wife suffered (past tense!) from hypothyroidism.  I laid hands on her neck where the thyroid was located, and prayed, “In the name of Jesus Christ, thyroid, BE HEALED!”  I sensed the Holy Spirit of God tell me to command it to “BE HEALED!” two more times.  But, how do you take a thyroid for a walk?  Later that evening, after putting on her bed-clothes, my wife said to me, “I’m hot.”  The only way that she was warm in the past was severe sickness (fever).  We took her temperature, and it was normal – almost two full degrees higher than normal.  It has been that way ever since.

WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND OUR AUTHORITY IN CHRIST

The Western church (at least, a significant portion of it) is not teaching the disciples of Christ how to engage in spiritual warfare and how to use their authority in Christ.  I will not speculate here as to why.

God wants us to be free – to live free! – for if the Son frees you, you are free indeed.  But we continue to live in bondage.  And the reason why?  One of the very core reasons of this is that we are not preparing ourselves to meet the Lord.

Proper Preparation

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

We are to be a holy people, set apart from sin, and set apart to God.  But truly, how are we set apart?  Apart from telling people the Gospel, would anyone be able to identify you as a disciple of Christ from your actions?  Are we feasting our eyes on the latest R-rated films?  Do we feast our bodies with excessive alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or food consumption?  Can anyone tell us apart by the way we speak (not only the words we use, but how we say them)?  These are just a few indicators.  It was once said (I don’t remember who) that we should ask ourselves, “If there was a trial today, would there be enough evidence to convict you as a disciple of Christ?”

We are to be preparing ourselves as the bride of Christ.  The bride removes her old garments and puts on the wedding garment.  She waits in eager anticipation for the coming of the groom.  She preens and puts on her best makeup, perfume, jewelry, and has her nails buffed and polished to perfection.  She selects the very best shoes to wear.  She seeks to be as beautiful as possible for him, to be his delight.  If we do that just for OUR spouses, how much more so should we be doing this for The Lord Jesus Christ?

It is time that the church takes holiness seriously, and that the holy ones of God are released to do what God has purposed for them to do since before the foundation of the world.

Heart Hunger

We are to seek the holiness of God in our everyday lives.  We need to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  It is to be our heart-cry.  We are to eagerly desire the transforming work of the Holy Spirit as we grow in righteousness:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

Does your heart crave the word of God?  Do you long for and desire to be in the continual presence of the Lord?  Can you say, with complete honesty:

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

If not, do you WANT to be able to say that with joy?

Delightful Deliverance

The good news is that there IS deliverance from the soul-crushing rut of running into the same sins and (to a certain degree the same temptations) over and over again.  If that is how you feel, YOU NEED DELIVERANCE.  Disciples of Christ can be overwhelmed and influenced by Satan and his minions in many ways.  Once we have granted the enemy LEGAL GROUND to afflict us through unrepentant sin, curses (generational and otherwise), and ignorance of the word of God, we are the enemy’s new plaything.

There are several fine resources available to help you to shake yourself free from the grasp of the enemy (a couple of them are listed below).  If you want to live free in Christ, please take the time to read these resources, do the hard work, and free yourself:

Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

Awesome Authority

You have AWESOME authority in Christ!  With the same power in you that raised The Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (the Holy Spirit of God), YOU can live a free life, do the works that Jesus did, and even greater works than those, as you consistently yield yourself to the authority of the Holy Spirit as Jesus did when He walked the Earth two thousand years ago, and now sits at the right hand of God praying for you:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question – Am I truly walking in the freedom promised to me by My Lord Jesus Christ?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, forgive me for not taking your word at face value.  Forgive me for not believing what You have made plain to me in Your word about Your authority, my authority in Christ, and for not seeking you with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength.  Lord Jesus, help me to be the bride that is radiant and adorned with holiness, greeting You when You come for me dressed and prepared for the wonderful future You have promised to me, sealing Your promise with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to tear down any stronghold that holds me captive to the lie and does not comport with Your holy word.  Help me to rely completely upon the Holy Spirit so that I would walk in Your ways.  Help me to fight the good fight, to prepare as I need to prepare, and to stand for You, even unto death.  Help me to put to death anything in my life that would keep me from following you with utter abandon.  This I ask in the name of Your Most Holy Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


Notes:  Here are two resources that can be used hand-in-hand for deliverance of demonic oppression and interference in your life.  Please note that while I may not agree with everything the authors say or live out in their lives, the information in these resources is extremely beneficial to taking off the last of the grave-clothes, and keeping them off:

The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson

DELIVERANCE and SPIRITUAL WARFARE MANUAL” by John Eckhardt

If you have not been taught about spiritual warfare and deliverance, these resources may be challenging to both believe and read.  Set apart time to fast (a juice fast or Daniel fast if medically necessary) and pray that God would open your eyes when you read the books, protect you from interference from the enemy, and reveal the truth about spiritual warfare and His word to you as you read.

If you find that you cannot read these books (you feel pressure to not read them), pray earnestly that God would show you anything that you need to confess in your life to Him and repent of, anything in your life you need to renounce, and any amends that you need to make first (and go make them).  After this, open your Bible and begin reading the four Gospels and Acts.  If you feel reluctance to do that as well, seek out a church that will pray over you and help you with this issue (the interference of the enemy).  The body of Christ is there to uplift, uphold, bear the burdens of, and hold accountable all of us in our walk with God.

It IS possible to live freely in Christ.  Just because you haven’t experienced it yet does not mean that it is not possible or feasible:

my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…”

Spiritual Warfare and Fasting – John 9:14-29

When Confronting Certain Spiritual Powers, Prayer and Fasting Are BOTH Required

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer [and fasting*]”

Mental Mayhem

The modern world, especially in the West, has turned a blind eye to its roots, and now discounts the validity of demonic possession and oppression among people.  It was once said that if the Gospel were told to those in psychiatric wards, most of them would be healed and set free (author unknown).  Paul indicates that spiritual battle is not with people, but with the spiritual ranks of the enemy:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Here we see the evidence of demonic activity:  A demon was causing a young boy to do things that were detrimental to his and other’s safety.  The father of the boy even identifies the source of the issue as a “spirit”.  Since God’s spirit is a spirit of love, this is obviously a spirit of the enemy – of the nature of Satan.

Fact Finding

Most people would think that the first thing that Jesus would do is just command the spirit to leave the boy.  But since Jesus is our teacher, He guides us in how we should address the issue.  Jesus knows the truth about this (“I am the way, the truth, and the life…”), but for our benefit (just like He asked John to baptize Him even though He never sinned, to set an example for us to follow) He shows us the first step – engage in a little fact-finding.  Jesus asks the father about the boy to get a better understanding of what is going on.

Be a Believer

Notice that it Jesus was looking to strengthen the faith of the father of the boy.  Even in the midst of this, Jesus is on a mission to seek and save the lost.  Jesus reassures the father of the boy that all things can be done for those who believe.  We need to remember that when confronted with the activity of the enemy of our souls that has manifested in such a sinister way, we are to use these opportunities to help others to strengthen their belief and trust in God, or to instill a trust and belief in God.

There are two ways that demons can directly afflict people:

  1. Demonic POSSESSION
    • If a person does not have the Spirit of God within them, they are subject to the god of this world, Satan.  Once a person is freed from the control of any demons, they need to seek God to fill them with His Spirit:
    • 24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

  2. Demonic OPPRESSION
    • Christians are sealed with the blessed Holy Spirit.  Once the Spirit of God has taken residence in a Christian’s body, He locks all the doors and keeps everyone else out.  This does NOT mean that Christians cannot do things to give the devil a foothold in our lives.  For instance, if Christians willingly participate in divination (witchcraft, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, casting of lots, etc.), this can open a door through which the enemy of our souls can torment us and cause us much grief.  This is not demonic POSSESSION, but rather OPPRESSION.  While it may FEEL like demonic possession, the Holy Spirit of God seals us against such an opportunity.  Turning towards the occult can make us vulnerable to believing the lies of the enemy, which can then cause havoc in our lives.

The enemy of our souls can also indirectly afflict us by sending thoughts into our minds to try to influence us.

Name the Name

The name of something is very powerful.  It reveals the nature of it.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t just say, “demon come out of him”.  Jesus commands the evil spirit by its very nature.  This is important, because it more specifically identifies who/what is causing the issue(s).  Jesus elsewhere has commanded evil spirits to name themselves for this very purpose:

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Command and Control

Jesus then commands the evil spirit to come out of the boy.  He doesn’t ask it, he doesn’t plead with it.  He commands it.  We are to do the same in the name of Christ.  All authority and power resides in Jesus, not in us.  Jesus has said that we would do what He has done and even greater things.  All authority has been given to the disciples of Christ to do these very things to glorify the Father.  When people who are not God’s try to do this, they do not have Christ’s authority, which can be detrimental to their well-being:

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

Fasting Faithfully

So, what to do when faced with an evil spiritual entity that won’t listen?  First remember that where two or more are gathered, there God is in the midst.  Make sure that you have at least two mature, prayed-up, and fasting disciples present when confronting such a one as this.  Fasting draws a person closer to God.  By denying the flesh its wants and desires, the spirit of a man can draw even closer to God.   Make sure that when fasting, and especially for this purpose, that all known sin is confessed and repented.  Let there be nothing that any evil spirit can charge against you.  While a water fast is good, a hard fast (no food nor water) may even be better.

We cannot make ourselves any more presentable to God, for the righteousness of Christ does that.  By fasting, we are crucifying the flesh so that the spirit can draw even closer to God to do God’s will.  When a person has fasted and prayed up, the demon may even flee in the presence of the holiness of God as He shines through you.

Once the person is in their right mind, and the demon or demons have left the person (either come out of them or fled from their presence), talk with the person to have them identify what issue has occurred that allowed this in the first place (sin for the disciple of Christ, or lead that person to the Gospel of Christ, who is probably now in a better position to hear, understand, and accept that God needs to be in control of their lives rather than the enemy of our souls).

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I drawing close to God as I should?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have promised Your children that You would never leave them nor forsake them.  Forgive me, Most Holy God, for my every sin.  Reveal to me where I have been disobedient to You, so that I may confess my sin, renounce any spiritual activity that is not of Your nor approved by You, and please close every door that I may have opened in this process.  Help me to live in Your freedom, for if the Son sets me free, I am free indeed.  Help me to draw as close as I can to You, that I would be as far as I can from doing what the enemy of my soul desires for me to do, so that You would be honored and glorified.  Prepare me as the sanctuary for Your Spirit, pure and holy, set apart for You and You alone.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


*Notes: This blog has been edited for formatting and punctuation.

“And fasting” does not appear in all the texts.  However, this is a tried and true method to draw the disciple of Christ closer to God.  When the flesh is crucified, the spirit can flourish.  In spiritual warfare, this is especially true.  The value of fasting is very evident in the life of Jesus AND His disciples – “when you fast…”  When confronting these issues, engage a more seasoned Christian who has experience in this field.  Or contact a Christian group who can point you to someone who can guide you in how to proceed (Focus on the Family offers counceling and assistance with all manners of Christian issues – 1-800-A-FAMILY / 1-800-232-6459)

Rescued by God – Psalm 18:16-19

God Is Mighty And Is Able To Rescue Us Out Of Difficulty

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Superbly Simple

Sometimes when we read scripture,  it can convict us, comfort us, instruct us, and even confuse us.  God is able to use even the simplest of things to bring about understanding and growth in our lives if we are open to His leading.  In this passage, God has given us six simple, yet powerful, things to think about when we are in distress.

Heavenly Help

Our help does not come from man, but from God.  We don’t trust in horses or chariots, but we trust in the name (character) of our God.  God’s rightful place is above us, in Heaven.  Even here on Earth, the desired position of living is on high.  People build their estates in high areas, where they are (somewhat) protected and can survey the areas around their domicile’s dominion.

Jesus, in providing a prayer to His disciples on how to have a more powerful prayer life, starts the prayer out like this:

This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name…”

The very first thing that Jesus acknowledges is that God is our Father.  He then acknowledges the position that the Father has in our lives.  He then acknowledges the character of the Father.  Just behind relationship is where God is located.  Our help comes from above, as does every good giving and every perfect gift.  We need to always remember our position with God, and that God is on high, in His rightful place of leadership and authority over all that He has created.

Deep Distress

Matthew Henry, a great man of God, had this to say about the deep waters of our distress in his commentary:

The greater the difficulties are that lie in the way of deliverance the more glorious the deliverance is. For the rescuing of David, the waters were to be divided till the very channels were seen; the earth was to be cloven till the very foundations of it were discovered, Psalm 18:15. There were waters deep and many, waters out of which he was to be drawn (Psalm 18:16), as Moses, who had his name from being drawn out of the water literally, as David was figuratively. His enemies were strong, and they hated him; had he been left to himself, they would have been too strong for him, Psalm 18:17. And they were too quick for him; for they prevented him in the day of his calamity, Psalm 18:18. But, in the midst of his troubles, the Lord was his stay, so that he did not sink. Note, God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will sustain them and bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.

Powerful Protection

One of the aspects of God that we fail to grasp in our time of emotional distress under fire from the enemy is that God is Omnipotent.  God, by His very nature, is all-powerful.  Regardless of the power and strength of our enemies, God is the one who has sovereignly provided them with what little strength they do have.  And while our enemy’s strength may seem considerable and formidable, it is The Lord God Almighty who has the final say in what our enemies can and cannot do to us and among us:

6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

As we see from the life of Job, the enemy can do nothing without the express prior knowledge AND approval from The Lord God Almighty.  If we keep that in mind, we might be able to better respond to the attacks of our enemies.

Superior Support

Mankind is always in an arms race.  We develop new weapons to threaten, protect, and to intimidate our enemies, and sometimes even our own people.  And because of the fall of Adam, we have the curse of sin upon our lives.  And what is worse, because of the freedom God has given us as His image-bearers through free will, as well as the aspect of creativity (after all, God DID create everything…), we have perverted that which God has intended for good, and we even now invent new ways to sin.

But we can take heart!  For the Lord our God is our superior support.  We don’t need to fear anymore.  The God of Heaven and Earth is for us, to work out all things to good, so who can be against us?  Since no weapon formed against us shall prosper, we can take comfort in knowing that it is the Lord who will deliver us by supporting us through our trials.

Perfect Placement

God does more than just deliver us through our trials.  He places us where He wants us both before, during, and after He delivers us:

  • God placed Moses where He wanted him
    • He placed him in the Pharaoh’s daughter’s arms
    • He placed him in the arms of his mother to be raised
    • He placed him in charge of his people in Egypt
    • He placed him in at the side of Jesus at the mount of transfiguration
  • God placed Joseph where He wanted him
    • He placed him in the hands of slave traders to keep his brothers from killing him
    • He placed him in the house of Potiphar to prosper his master
    • He placed him in jail to talk to the cup-bearer and the bread maker
    • He placed him second in command of all the known world to deliver it from famine
    • He placed him in a position to be reunited with his family
  • God placed Daniel where He wanted him
    • He placed him with the right person to honor God with the food he ate
    • He placed him in a position of authority to speak to the rulers of the known world, one whom who later gave glory and honor to God
    • He placed him in a place where he could prophesy about what was to come

In all things, when we are willing (and sometimes when we are not), God will place us where He wants us to be.  And when we are delivered from our enemies, God will often place us somewhere other than where we started so that we can be used more effectively by Him for His purposes in His timing for His glory.

Divine Delight

David, the author of this Psalm, recognizes something important that each of us should recognize and acknowledge – God delights in us.  He loves us with an everlasting love.  He created each of us to be a blessing to one another and a blessing to Him.  He loves us with an everlasting love, and the only reason He delivers us is because He delights in us.

Don’t listen to the enemy, whether it is men (or women) belittling you, or Satan trying to rob you of your joy of the Lord (which is your strength).  God delights in YOU.  He delights in delivering you out of your troubles so that you will remember just how much He delights in you.  And as we take time to honor, glorify, and worship Almighty God, remember that even when you fail, even when you are outnumbered and all seems lost, even (and especially!) when God is doing the opposite of what you would expect of Him in your life, God’s underlying view of you is of a Father who absolutely adores and delights in the child He created.  It is for this reason:

he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When I am in difficulty, who or what do I rely upon to be rescued?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I know that You delight in me.  Rescue me out of my troubles.  Walk with me through my trials.  Grant me strength to continue on when I have lost even the ability to desire to go on.  Lift me up, and carry me through my pain and sorrow.  Vanquish my enemies who attack me for no reason, and have mercy upon them, Father, for they know not what they do.  Guard my heart until the day of my ultimate redemption when Your Son, Jesus Christ, appears in the sky and gathers His people to Him, with the dead rising first, and we who are still alive joining Him in His triumphal appearance.  Father, please remember my loved ones who do not know You.  Send kind, loving disciples to them, and I pray that the soil of their hearts would be plowed and ready for Your seeds to grow deep roots and bear much fruit for You when they won’t listen to me.  This I ask in the name of Your Most Precious Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Courage from God – Esther 4:12-16

And If I Perish, I Perish

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Powerful Privilege

Queen Esther had overcome, beyond even her own expectations, to win the heart of the king, and become queen.  She held great sway over the king, for she had stolen his heart.  The words of her uncle, Mordecai, must have seemed bitter, for he assured her that in the light of the decree of Haman, the Agagite, that the Jews were to be destroyed, that she and her family would also be utterly destroyed.  Power and privilege are of no use when you have already received your death penalty notice.

Destined for Deliverance

But God had placed Esther in a position of high authority to be used by Him to save His people.  God cannot ignore His covenants, and He had promised Abraham that his seed would be as many as the stars in the sky.  God would certainly keep His promise, even if Esther, her father’s family, and all people of Hebrew descent that were found through Haman’s decree, approved by the king, killed every Jew they could find.  God always has a remnant.  And God would raise up someone else to deliver His people.

When we fail to do what God has prepared for us to do, God has a backup plan, and a backup plan for that.  But He knows exactly how we will react, and what we will do, for He has seen the end from the beginning.  Like taking a snapshot of a battlefield, and carefully watching how everything plays out, God already knows what we will do, when we will do it, and how we will do it.  He has already planned for every contingency.

Powerful Preparation

And Esther, in preparation for her role to intercede on behalf of her people by approaching the king, was taking a very great risk.  Anyone who approached the king unbidden who was not then approved by the king would be put to death.  Esther recognized the danger to her life, and took the necessary precautions that she knew to take:  She had Mordecai tell the people to humble themselves with fasting and prayer on her behalf, when she did as well.  And in humbling herself before the Lord, He would lift up her head.

Capable Courage

It takes great courage to face death head on, doing what is right, unsure of the outcome.  Esther modeled courage for us, and resigned herself in trust to the One who can be trusted in all things to help the helpless.  Her response to Mordecai of “and if I perish, I perish” should be the cry of our hearts as well when faced with any difficulty.  Courage is the ultimate test and show of our faith.  We can be courageous, because we believe that God is completely and totally trustworthy, both in life and in death.

Total Trust

We are to trust that the King of kings and Lord of lords will work out everything to His glory and deliver us in life, and if not life, in death.  We need to take heart and trust God, for in all things, god can be trusted.  Knowing in our hearts that God can be trusted and then acting on it is the ultimate test of faith, and shows courage.  We need to be courageous in all that we do, operating without fear, so that the enemies of God will be afraid, knowing that our conviction in the truth is unshakeable because God is who He says He is, and will bear us up no matter the circumstances.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When faced with difficulty, possibly even death, do we respond with courage born by trust in God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You gave Your One and Only Son the courage to face the cross of crucifixion for us.  You have, throughout Your word, shown Yourself to be faithful and true in all things.  Give me courage today to do what is right, especially in the face of opposition that threatens to destroy my reputation, career, family, and especially my life.  Help me to overcome all resistance by remembering Your faithfulness.  And help me to continue to be faithful, even if it means that I go to my death, for You will resurrect me as You have Your Son.  Help me to do all that You desire me to do, in life even to the point of death, that I may hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Deliverance by God – Psalm 3

God Delivers His People Through All Of Their Trials

1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

7 Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Mocking Minions

Regardless of the time or era, the children of the devil oppose the children of God.  Whether openly in public discourse, privately in sabotage, or in David’s case, outright rebellion from his own flesh and blood.  Each of us has or will encounter the specter of opposition (a.k.a. persecution).

David wrote this psalm concerning the outright rebellion of his son, Absalom.  He was forced to abandon his kingdom for a time, and was mocked both by his son and by others as he left town.  To further discourage God’s children, they will say things like, “Look at you!  God won’t help you!  You have been rejected by God, and now you are on your own!  He can’t even keep you in your position – leave town while you can, you worthless garbage!”  That is the type of mocking that David endured, and many will face the same.

Superior Shield

But God – the two words that, together, should bring great joy to our hearts – is your shield and your glory.  He is the lifter of your head.  God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent – nothing can overcome God!  God has said that He already knows our prayers and has sent answers before the requests even leave our lips.  God seeks to bring about the circumstances that will forge our character and reflect His glory.  But we need to do something first, something so difficult, it appears impossible.  We have to let go of fear.

Forgo Fear

Fear can drive the most sane person crazy.  It can consume them, destroying their lives, wasting away their energy and sapping them of the very will to live.  When we live in fear, we dread waking up in the morning to face it again – it seems to too difficult.  Sleep or death seems favorable in comparison.  David comments on this in the psalm, indicating that the only reason he is able to wake from his sleep is because the Lord sustains him.  He girds himself with the knowledge that God is his powerful shield, and that although thousands – even tens of thousands – seek to do him harm, God will deliver him through all of his trials.

Pull the Plug

David also gives us an example to follow in prayer.  He is brutally honest in his talks with God.  He asks that the his enemies’ strength be stripped from them.  Their strength lies in the arrogant pride and assurance that they are in the right, and that they are justified in their thoughts and actions.  David asks that God remove their strength – their ability to continue to inflict harm upon him and his family.  Sometimes that will mean that a person in authority is stripped of their authority.

Sometimes that will mean that we will be elevated to a position of authority that makes our enemies pause.  And sometimes that means that our enemies will be destroyed – whether physically, financially, emotionally, psychologically, or otherwise.  Regardless, God will be the one to engineer the circumstances that stops the wicked from being able to continue to do harm to us.

We can take heart that sometimes that even means that walls to keep out people will be built to protect us from those who seek to do us harm. Nehemiah successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem despite jeering, mocking, false claims to the authorities of wrongdoing (the ancient equivalent of “swatting“), and outright threats to the workers’ very lives.  Imagine trying to rebuild a wall with one hand and with a weapon in your other hand, constantly looking around for the next attack.  Israel suffers this from their enemies even today.

Divine Deliverance

David reminds us that deliverance comes from the Lord God Almighty.  We can trust in His name – His character – to see us through all of our trials.  It is God and Him alone who will provide us with deliverance from our enemies.  For God has said,

  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When all seems dark and impossible, am I trusting in the character of God to wait for Him to deliver me through it?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have shown Yourself to be faithful in all that You do.  No promise that You have ever made will fail.  Nothing can prevent Your sovereign will from being accomplished, for You and You alone are in charge of all created things.  Deliver me this day, O Lord, from the attacks of all of my enemies.  Break their strength, and deliver them to me as you did Goliath to David.  May their strength fail in battle.  May they suddenly experience the very fear they intentionally try to inflict upon me.  Give me victory over my enemies, that You will be shown to be my shield and my protectors.  Let not your servant fail in performing Your tasks, and have mercy upon my enemies, for I, like them, was once Your enemy.  Destroy my enemies with kindness, mercy, and grace.  And if that fails, strip them of their power to inflict harm upon others.  May Your justice prevail, and may all see the great power of Your mighty right hand as He sweeps aside those who would oppose You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Cries for Justice – Psalm 74:18-23

God Is A God Of Justice As Well As Compassion, Grace, And Mercy.

18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,
how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the
land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,
the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

Remembering Rancor

God is a God of justice.  He will not forget His holiness or righteousness.  When faced with people who hate God and seek the ruination of His people, it is alright to ask God to remember their rancorous actions.  God knows everything, but when we cry out to Him for help, we confirm His righteousness and agree with it.  God is also a God of mercy and grace.  We need to keep everything in balance.

Appeal for Assistance

God hears our cries for assistance and intervenes on our behalf.  He is not deaf to our appeals for intervention nor does He wish us undue harm.  We must also remember that in everything God is a God of timing.  And the difficult situations we find ourselves in at the moment may be necessary for some greater part of His plan.  More than once God has used the suffering of His people to bring about the conversion of an unbeliever through their dedication and faithfulness to God, regardless of their circumstances.  Be faithful in praying for help from the unrighteous, and be prepared to wait for His timing.

Completing the Covenant

God has not forgotten His covenant with us.  He is unable to forget it.  It is not wrong, however, to ask Him to remember it.  We appeal to God’s character as we ask for His help.  When we do so, we are magnifying and confirming His character and our faith in God’s righteousness.  We should never give up hope while waiting for God’s timing, and continually remind ourselves of His faithfulness by appealing to His character – that God is unable to break His covenants.

Remembering Righteousness

In times when it seems that God will not defend Himself against the attacks of the enemy, we must remind ourselves of God’s righteousness.  And while in the present time the pain and suffering seem unbearable, it is for our sanctification that God permits these trials in our lives.

God has not forgotten about His righteousness, nor has He shed it.  He is waiting for us to grow and believe in His character regardless of our circumstances.  God will mete out justice for the ones who reject Him continually, regardless of the opportunities that they have been provided.  And many times, the destruction of the righteous are used as an opportunity for the unrighteous to repent.

God is a just God, and justice will prevail.  Let us never cease to remember His character, nor fail to appeal to it in times of trouble or even our own destruction.  In all things, may God be given glory, praise, and honor, even in our cries for His justice.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question: When faced with difficulties that overwhelm us, am I being patient, waiting upon God’s timing, and appealing to His character as faithfully as He is faithful?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have said that You will never leave us nor forsake us.  In this time of great injustice, remember me.  The oppression of the righteous is overwhelming me.  I am being crushed on all sides.  Remember the evil of my enemies, O God.  In righteousness, deliver me from their injustice, for You are a just and holy God.  Do not let their actions crush my spirit, but renew my spirit within me.  Restore unto me the joy of my salvation, and be merciful to all who oppress me, for they know not what they are doing.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Help from God – Psalm 70:1-5

God Is Close To The Poor And Needy

1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.

2 May those who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
3 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”

5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay.

Speedy Save

Most of us, when faced with an issue, generally cry out, “save me now!”, rather than “It’s OK, Lord. I’ll be fine.  When you have the time, would you please take a look at my situation?  I’ve got all the time in the world…”  When we are in need, our need is usually immediate.  Even David, in his prayers to God in the Psalms, cries out for immediate aid from His Creator.  It is perfectly OK to cry out for immediate assistance. God knows that we are but a mist, here today and gone tomorrow.  Be authentic with God; let Him know just how desperate You are for His help.  God already knows, and appreciates the honesty.

Request Redress

God has said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”  Each of us has, in our hearts, a great desire to see justice fulfilled.  Most of us want to see it fall upon others rather than upon us.  We seek to have any and all slights and wrongdoings righted immediately.  Yet God is full of mercy and grace.  He sent His one and only Son to die for us on the cross while we were yet His enemies.  How much more, then should we desire mercy and grace for others?

And yet, here David cries out for his enemies to be put in shame and confusion, and to be turned back in disgrace.  David understood that his cause was just, and he greatly desired to see justice, as well as mete it out.  It is OK to desire justice and to ask God for it.  When we are yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we are doubly troubled when injustice comes upon us.  This is both a test to grow in patience, mercy and grace, as well as an opportunity to grow in the desire to see justice from the perspective of a holy and just God.

Promptly Praise

In everything, we are to give praise.  David reminds us here that we are to rejoice in God, and to praise Him who saves us from our troubles.  Praise for Almighty God should always be on our lips.  Even Job, stripped of his wealth, health, and everything he held dear, upon hearing of the loss, put on the ashes of grieving, but immediately praised and worshiped God, the one who provided him with all that he had and all that he was.  We must always remember that the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away – blessed be the name of the Lord.

Declare your Desperation

It takes humility to come ask for help from anyone.  It is no different with God.  David declares his dependence upon and need for help from the One who provides for him and can help him in every situation.  David declared his desperation for God’s help by rightly declaring that he is poor and needy:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
3 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do we declare our unconditional dependence upon Almighty God to Him in humility and with regularity?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You and You alone are able to deliver me from my troubles.  I declare my complete and total dependence upon You, for You are the one who created me and provide all things for me.  It is You, O Lord, that deliver me out of my sins and from all of my troubles.  It is You, Lord God, who are able to overcome the impossible and bring glory to Your name in the most difficult of circumstances.  Remember me this day, Father; act divinely on behalf of Your servant.  Grant me to victory from my enemies.  Put them to shame, Lord God, who seek my ruination when I have done nothing wrong.  Deliver me from their clutches, and reveal to the world Your mighty Right Hand when You deliver me so that the world may praise and glorify Your name.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Message from God – Judges 3:19-23

A Grave Message From God

19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.

20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

Mysterious Message

God used the Judges of Israel to lead the people out of oppression from their enemies.  Israel had turned her back to God, and they needed to be disciplined.  God would often discipline them by sending them into captivity.  God’s hand would be against them, and no matter what the Israelites did, their enemies would conquer them and force them into servitude.

God had heard the cry of the Israelites, and sent them Ehud, a left-handed man.  Being left-hand dominant was a bit difficult in those times.  After relieving themselves of their scat, people at that time would wipe their behinds with their non-dominant hand.  For most people at that time, it would be their left hand.  So God, with a bit of a sense of irony, sent a left-handed man to do what no right-handed man could do.  Because of the scarcity of left-hand dominance, the guards would not check the right side of a person for weapons, for it would be very awkward for any right-handed person to quickly access the weapon to defend themselves, and no one would willingly wipe themselves with the hand that they ate with.  Because of this blind spot, God was able to use a left-handed man to deliver a “secret message” to Eglon, king of the Moabites, oppressors of God’s people at that time.

Judged with Justice

God’s message was justice.  Ehud successfully smuggled a knife into the palace on the right side of his body, and, when alone with king Eglon (who was vetted by his guards and thought Ehud was unarmed), pulled out a large knife (a cubit long, about 18 inches) and successfully delivered the message of justice from God to king Eglon. This message was very effective, because the king had grown obese and was unable to defend himself.

Although God will often use other nations to discipline His people, after the discipline is over, God has a tendency to destroy the nation that was used to oppress His people.  Even though they had been chosen by God as a rod of discipline, God keeps his word – those that bless Israel are blessed, and those that curse Israel are cursed.

Exquisite Escape

God is a God of justice.  If this assassination was not God-appointed, He would have surely made certain that His Judge would have been caught and put to death for murder.  In this case, the death of King Eglon was decreed and approved by God for the deliverance of His people from this wicked nation.

Ehud was able to successfully leave the palace, and to gather the Israelites together to rise up against the nation that had oppressed them.  God had given the country of Moab into their hands, and they took possession of the fords of the Jordan:

28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I doing anything that would require God to discipline me?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are full of grace and mercy.  You have spared my life when I was still a sinner.  Forgive me for my sins, and train my heart in the way it should go.  Help me to be fully submitted to the Holy Spirit, so that I would not need to be disciplined.  Help me to have the same love for Your people, the Israelites, that You have.  Help me to always bless them and not curse them.  May the enemies of the Israelites receive the full measure of Your wrath and your anger in the day that You deliver them from their oppressors.  Help me to have the strength and courage to stand for Israel even when the leaders of my country refuse to honor You and them.  Remember me in my distress, Lord God, when my government acts in ways that deserve Your wrath, cursing, and destruction.  Help me to advise them and, if given the opportunity, to elect leaders that will honor You rather than themselves, culture, or Your enemies.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Protection by God – Psalm 37:32-33

God Protects The Righteous

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the
wicked or let them be condemned when brought
to trial.

Treacherous Traps

Does it ever feel like evil people want you dead?  They probably do.  David expressed this feeling in this passage.  Saul’s men were told to find him and kill him.  David was on the run for many years.  Throughout history, there has been great effort and expense put forward to stifle the truth.

Saul of Tarsus was one such person.  He received authorization to put to death any Christians he found.  Stephen was stoned to death under Saul’s supervision.  The people who are doing this need to be prayed over in the same way that both Christ and Stephen prayed for them:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

In a world that is growing darker with evil by the moment, we must remember that the darkness hates the light, and will do anything it can to extinguish the light.  And while this is a terrible tragedy that is occurring, we must remember one thing:  God is sovereign.

Powerful Protection

God is also holy and just.  He is our fortress, our strong tower.  The righteous run to Him, and He protects them.  David stresses here that God will not allow all of His righteous to be in the power of the wicked; He will deliver us from the wicked.  He delivered David from Goliath; Peter from the Romans; Daniel from the lions; Paul from those who vowed to fast until Paul was dead.  There are many other examples of this.

Also remember that sometimes God delivers us when He allows the wicked to overcome us.  Many were crucified, beheaded, tortured to death, and suffered greatly at the hands of the wicked.  Yet God delivered them in death to Jesus, where they now wait patiently until the return of Jesus Christ in glory.  God delivered Jesus from the hands of His accusers in a trial of travesty that resulted in His death on a cross.  But God used that to bring more glory to Himself through the resurrection.  Regardless of whether you are delivered in this life or the next, God WILL deliver you through it.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I trusting God to deliver me through my trials?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You and only You can deliver me from those who seek my destruction.  Remember me this day, Lord God, and provide me with Your peace that defies all understanding.  Help me to endure the indignities of slander, libel, abuse, and if needed, even death itself.  Strengthen me that I would be able to endure, and to praise You throughout all of it.  Regardless of the loss that I have in this life, nothing compares to the riches I have gained in being found in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Guard my heart so that I will not become embittered at the ones who seek my destruction, and lay traps before me.  Vindicate me, Oh God, in the presence of my enemies, and forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Blessing of God – Psalm 91:14-15

Deliverance Comes from the Lord

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord,
“I will rescue him; I will protect him,
for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

Loving the Lord

The very first part of this passage is dependent upon us.  We are to love the Lord.  Jesus tells us:

23 … “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

No matter what we say, or how emotionally passionate we are for God, if we are not obeying His teaching, we are not loving Him.  Obedience to God and His Word is the key and cornerstone of love.  And we will see how love is manifested in our lives in these two ways:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Obedience also is seen in how we react when we are told by God that we are to do something.  God greatly desires immediate obedience (just as we do with our children):

10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.

Receiving Rescue

When we acknowledge God’s name – through the expression of His holy character in our lives – God says that He will protect and rescue us.  There are many people in the world who claim the name of Christ, yet live lives that are indistinguishable to the person who says that they hate God and embraces the world and its views.  The psalmists tell us:

The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

1 Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, 2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. 3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.

 Providential Protection

When we call on God’s name, He promises to protect us.  Although He protects us, He does so:

  • Within His plan,
  • In His timing,
  • For His glory

Sometimes that may mean that we are martyred.  Sometimes that means that we are kept from the consequences of other people’s sin.  Sometimes that is the protection of our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  But we need to have an eternal perspective when looking at this promise.  For instance:

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

A Qualifying Question

So let’s ask ourselves a question: When we are seeking God’s rescue and protection, are we loving God in the way that He asks us to love Him?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Thank You for your Word, and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for my sins.  Thank You for all that You provide, for every breath, all that I have, all that I can do, and even the ability to think is a gift from You.  Father, I am surrounded on all sides by situations and people who threaten me.  Rescue me from evil, Father, for I hate it as You do.  Display in me and through me Your love.  Help me to be immediately obedient when I see things in Your Word that I require adjustment in my life so that I will be in alignment with it.  Guard my heart, and protect me from my enemies, for I love You, and greatly desire to acknowledge Your name and character to all the world.  Remember me Lord – act divinely upon my behalf.  Cover me with Your protection, and may Your peace surround me and protect my thoughts and emotions as I cease striving and watch You work in these circumstances.  This I pray in the precious and mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

A Promise of God – Psalm 34:17-19

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Not one, but three promises of God!

When we cry out, God hears our prayers and delivers us from (through) our troubles.  And look how many troubles we have today!  Cast your burdens upon the Lord; He is able to bear up under them.

Oh, toD know that God is close to us when our heart breaks!  A perfect picture of our kind, gentle, compassionate Father gathering his child into His arms comes to mind.  Only He can help us when we are crushed in spirit.

God is our rock, our refuge, our strength, our fortress.  He can move Heaven and Earth for us.  God’s promise to deliver us from ALL of our troubles should bolster our faith and solidify our hope – our sure belief – that God is not only able to do these things, but that He WILL do them.  God’s character is perfect, and He does not renege on His promises (conditional, unconditional, and implied).  Therefore, pray to God and ask Him to fulfill His promises.

A Short Prayer of Preparation

Father in Heaven, You are perfect in all your ways.  You love your children and give them good gifts.  And unlike us, You fulfill Your every promise.  Father, meet me where I am today.  Deliver me through my trials and troubles.  Stay near to me when my heart breaks.  Provide for all of my needs.  Help me through these most difficult times.  Strengthen me this day and give me confidence in what I am about to face.  You, O Lord, have seen all that is to come and know perfectly how to navigate through it.  Transform my pain into trust, and lead me in the way everlasting.  This I ask and pray in the precious name of your most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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