Enemies of Israel – Isaiah 17:12-14

Great Destruction Will Come Up Against Those Who Oppose Israel

12 Woe to the many nations that rage-
they rage like the raging sea!
Woe to the peoples who roar—
they roar like the roaring of great waters!
13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
like tumbleweed before a gale.
14 In the evening, sudden terror!
Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
the lot of those who plunder us.

Reckless Roaring

God does not take kindly to those who would overwhelm His people.  Even when He raises up those whom He would use to chastise Israel, their eventual end is destruction.  Even now, the offspring of Ishmael and many nations rage against Israel.  They roar against her like the sea of incoming tide, seeking to wash her from the face of the Earth, to remove her as her very presence is a painful thorn in their side.

The nations rage against her because they hate who protects her.  Her very presence, they beloved of God, is like the brothers of Joseph, watching him in his ornate coat, favored by their father, made them hate him and jealous of him.  And the nations do that today.  They fabricate lies against her and try to cheat her out of her inheritance – the land of Israel, given to her by The Lord God Almighty.  For years they tolerated her, broken and scattered among the people, scoffing at her and gloating over her as God disciplined her.  But when God did the impossible and gathered her again to her home and gave it back to her, it was too much for them to bear.  And even now, they seek to undermine, impugn, and utterly destroy what God has wrought – the fulfillment of His Holy Word.

Regal Rebuke

God, however, does not take this sitting down.  He has prepared a rebuke for the nations that oppress, antagonize, and refuse to recognize the sovereignty of Israel.  This is not some simple rebuke.  The people of the nations that are seeking the eviction and/or the eradication of every descendant of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (now Israel) will come under a most difficult rebuke.  They will come under a rebuke that is even more terrible than that which they intend to inflict upon Israel

Terrible Terror

God will drive Israel’s enemies far from their homes.  They will flee with such speed that they will look like tumbleweeds in a great windstorm.  They will fly under the pressure of God’s rebuke.  There will be sudden terror in the evening, when light has fallen and they cannot see their attackers.  Terror will fill their hearts, and in a measure that pales in comparison to what they intended for God’s people.  So swift will be their flight, that by morning they will no longer be there.  No one will be exempt – they will all flee.

Guarantee from God

God has declared that this is the portion, the judgment upon and rewards reaped from their actions.  Any who loot Israel, any who plunder her, will be utterly destroyed and driven from their homeland.  Because God’s judgment is not swift and immediate, the nations brag that God does not see, or does not exist, because they do not immediately reap the consequences of their actions.  They incorrectly interpret God’s grace and mercy for impotence or imagination.  But God will certainly cause this, for He has spoken it, and it is the portion of God’s enemies to be reaped in its proper time.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I praying for Israel’s enemies to repent?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are holy and righteous, and every word that You have ever spoken has or will come true.  Father, remember the enemies of Israel.  Plow through the hardness of their hearts so that they will be positioned to receive the seed of the Gospel.  Grant them mercy in their cruelty, that they would see how good You are.  And when it is time, Father, may your rebuke upon them be so overwhelming that the nations would tremble, and that the fear of You would come upon all the Earth.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Moral Value of Wisdom – Proverbs 2:1-11

Morality Is Rooted In The Wisdom Of God

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding-
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.

Desire Discernment

Each of us is given the opportunity to seek God.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.  We are to seek out wisdom and accept the commands of God.  Without the desire to be wise, we will act in foolish ways.  Each of us should desire wisdom and discernment so that we can grow in Godliness.

Wisdom is to be desired like silver or gold.  We are to place an even greater value on it than on any Earthly possessions.  Men will go to great lengths to find and extract precious metals from the Earth, but will they take the same time and energy to seek wisdom from God in prayer and through His word?

It is important to realize that without God as the source of wisdom and morality, our understanding of wisdom AND morality will be greatly skewed.  We will be subject to the whims of those who would try to convince us that their ideas of what is good and right is the truth.  However, the holy word of God clearly says that Jesus is the embodiment of truth.  We need to embrace the revealed truth of God as wisdom, and not the subtly or radically altered versions of morality that come from our fallen nature and the activity of the enemies of our souls.  Only in God will we find true wisdom.  Any source apart from God is suspect.

Wonderful Wisdom

Knowledge and understanding come forth from the mouth of God:

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

We will find success and fulfillment as we pursue a life of Godly wisdom.  It is in the instruction of the Lord that we find contentment concerning living our lives in ways that please and honor God.  It greatly pleases God when men are living in accordance with His ways.  Like finding a friend who shares your inner core beliefs in whom you can freely and openly be yourself, God desires to reveal through wisdom more of His character and ways so that we can draw close to Him.

Powerful Protection

Wisdom also provides us with protection.  It keeps us from engaging in evil ways, and helps us to avoid the pitfalls of certain temptations that can cause ruination in our lives.  King Solomon, son of King David, helps us to protect our lives from certain influences, such as promiscuity, financial indiscretion, and spiritual darkness.   Wisdom provides a shield to those who embrace her.  God guards the live of those who are just in their dealings and faithful to Him.

Divine Discretion

When we embrace Godly wisdom, we be able to rightly know the difference between good and evil. Discernment and discretion will be hallmarks in our lives.  We will be better able to answer others, and to refrain from doing and saying what is not Godly.  While this seems simple and evident, look at the state of the world.  When God’s people begin to accept worldly wisdom, their Godly discernment begins to fade, and they seem less able to make good judgments when presented with subtly skewed situations that may look OK, but lead to ruination.  Discernment and discretion protect the Godly from the wiles of the enemy.  The word of the living God shows the basis of wisdom, and His Holy Spirit reveals the unknown to those whom have given their lives to God and seek His guidance in their lives.

Umbrella of Understanding

Discretion protects us from wrongdoing if we are willing to accept the consequences of doing what is right.  There are times when we are forced into corners by the actions of evil people.  What seemed innocent becomes evil and ruination may result.  Understanding provides us with the ability to see where something will lead.  It is said that good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.  With discretion and knowledge, a lot of bad judgment can be avoided.  God has provided His word to give us instruction so that we can learn from those who have come before us.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I embrace wisdom as I should?

A short prayer of preparation

Father in Heaven, You are generous with Your wisdom to all who ask in faith.  Grant me the wisdom, discernment, and discretion needed to protect me and my family from the pitfalls of error that accompany bad judgment.  Help me to rely more upon You and less upon myself as I am faced with situations that could have immense consequences in my life.  Grant me the wisdom and knowledge to avoid that which will cause harm, and help me to be vigilant when the Holy Spirit guides me to be tested, that I may be victorious.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

The Blessing of Protection – Psalm 147:13-14

God Blesses Through Protection As Well As Provision

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

Sovereign Safety

God delights in sovereignly protecting His people.  He is greatly concerned with and involved in securing the national borders of Israel, and considers national borders to be of vital importance to a nation.  It is God who watches over the city (and, by inference, the nations):

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God is very involved in the raising up of leaders and nations (for His sovereign purposes):

5 “Look at the nations and watch-
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.”

Bountiful Blessing

God is the author of all provision and blessing.  He provides for our physical blessings as well as our spiritual blessings.  God provides us with great blessings, as well as plentiful blessings:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God desires to bless us in abundance with everything that we could every need or desire.  He greatly desires that we desire Him; for when we desire Him, He will provide Himself in even greater measure:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Protected in Peace

The traditional greeting in Hebrew is “shalom“.  This is a blessing upon either an individual or a group of people.  It is a blessing of peace to another.  God greatly desires to protect us in peace:

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Here is another translation:

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

God desires is that we live in peace with everyone.  When we are being obedient to Him, and pleasing Him with our ways, even our foulest, most despicable, war-like, offensive, murderous, odious, and otherwise ill-willed enemies will be forced to be at peace with us.  How great a blessing is that!

Finest Food

God provides richly for his children, and greatly desires to provide the finest goods for them.  This is not a “name it and claim it” blessing, but rather an indication that when God’s favor is upon us, we will have the opportunity to partake of the finest goods that the land has to offer.

The United States of America, in previous years, had been greatly blessed by God.  The standard of living of the people in her borders was far and above that of just about every other nation on Earth.  The finest goods and services were both produced and consumed in her by her citizens.  God’s blessing upon her was abundantly apparent, and she was the envy of the nations.  People willingly forsook their countries of birth for the mere chance at the opportunity to come to her shores and partake in the opportunity and blessing afforded in righteousness before God.

But as her people turned their hearts away from God, banishing Him from her schools, government, businesses, laws, and every other nook and cranny within her, God, being the gentleman that He is, politely nodded His head in acknowledgement of her people’s collective decision, and has withdrawn both Himself and His blessing from her people.  And as her people indulge themselves in wickedness and self-centeredness, they are reaping what they have sown.  For although her people still have a significantly higher standard of living than most of the world, her people are now, in comparison, poor and living in wretchedness as a result of their wickedness.

Providential Protection

God greatly desires to protect and provide for those who would seek Him out in righteousness.  This is not a bribe to people, but rather the way that He seeks to display His mercy and glory.  Not everyone who seeks the Lord will become well-off financially.  Rather, they will reap a reward of abundance in righteousness.  And God, who is sovereign, will secure their future with Him in salvation purchased through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, as it washes those who have sought Him clean of their stain of sin.  Being reconciled to God, they can now live in freedom from sin and in peace with God and man.  Regardless of whether monetary and/or Earthly riches are provided in this life, God has abundantly provided riches in spiritual blessings for all eternity to those who would kiss the Son.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I partaking of the abundant blessing that God offers in His Son?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Thank You for Your protection and blessing.  Thank You for watching over my household, my city, and my nation.  Thank You for your abundant provision through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.  I know, Father that you know of my needs, and I confess them to you now.  Help me that I may seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness that all of these may be added unto me.  Help me to treasure my inheritance, and to look forward to the future when my present circumstances appear bleak.  Reveal to me Your glory, power, presence and peace so that I may have the strength to endure the trials that I face.  Forgive my nation for its many sins.  I confess them to you now, for we have forsaken You, My Lord and My God.  Help change the hearts of those who have indulged in the pleasures of this world so that they would seek the beauty and peace that only You can provide in relationship with You.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Provision From God – Psalm 146:6-10

God Is The One Who Supplies All Of Our Needs And The Needs Of Others

6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them-
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Capable Creator

God is a most wonderful creator.  He created the heavens and the Earth.  Every day he paints the sky with clouds and the light of the Sun.  He continually creates as life abounds of every type, knitting together children in their mother’s wombs, causing seeds to burst forth from the ground to grow into plants, and eggs hatching to become other creatures.  There is no aspect of life that God is not intimately involved.

Faithful Forever

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  And He has shown Himself faithful in every aspect of His character.  Because God is love, He cannot be unfaithful in anything.  God’s love always seeks out the betterment of others, and His word will never pass away.  His faithfulness is a sign that He can be trusted, and that His character is rooted in goodness and righteousness.

Compassionate Caregiver

As creator, God is also compassionate towards His creation.  He especially shows this aspect of His character in how He upholds the cause of the oppressed.  When men (and women) seemingly abandon others, God rises up to defend their cause.  God created ALL men and women in HIS image, and He assists the oppressed among us, as well as feeds the hungry.

Freedom Fighter

God desires that no one be a prisoner to sin.  He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to come and free the captives.  Even those who have been wrongfully imprisoned by men can have their souls freed by God.  Physical imprisonment cannot stop God from freeing men for eternal relationship with Him.  God will go to great lengths to set the captives free, bending Heaven and Earth to do so when someone seeks Him out with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.  And if God so chooses, He can free them physically as well.

Rejoicing in Righteousness

Part of God’s very nature is righteousness.  He is greatly pleased when He sees it, because His very existence is bathed in it.  It resonates true with Him, and He rejoices when He sees His children walking in righteousness.  Just as a parent is proud of their child when they are being polite towards others and living a life of serving others in joy, so does God when we do the same.

Helpful Hospitality

The Psalmist reminds us that God has a special place in His heart for the foreigner among us.  To be sure, God is referring to the foreigners who are among us lawfully.  God gives the sword to rulers to punish those who refuse to obey the law.  Civil disobedience is only tolerated by God when the rulers of a nation are using laws to oppress the people, obfuscate the truth, and deny lawful image-bearers of God their freedom.

God provides great hospitality towards the foreigners among us, as well as the fatherless and widows.  God does not forget those people who are unable to provide for themselves.  He fully expects the righteous among us, whom He has blessed with plenty, to help those in need.  And while He expects this of us, He does not expect us to give out free food and cash to lazy, indignant, self-righteous, and discontent people purveying a victim mentality:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

Just Judge

God is not indifferent to the suffering of people.  Neither will He put up with wickedness:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

God is righteous, and although wicked people may be allowed to continue on in their wickedness for what appears to humans to be an eternity, God is giving them every opportunity to change their mind and be saved.  Although it is a burden upon us when wicked people oppress us, and may even cost us our livelihoods, the material possessions that God has provided to us to manage, and perhaps our very lives, we are sheep being led to the slaughter, witness for God, so that the wicked might turn towards God.

And if they do not, let your heart be at rest.  For in death, they will surely pay in full for what they have done here on Earth.  Jesus came to pay our fine, but in refusing payment, they will endure for all eternity the punishment that is justly received since they cannot pay the price to redeem themselves.

Righteous Ruler

The Lord God Almighty reigns forevermore in Heaven upon His throne, rightfully in His play of power and glory, overseeing all that He created and ruling in righteousness as He pleases.  Let us not forget the sovereignty of God, and the wonderfully good implications that His righteous rule entail.  For nothing can happen in the universe without the express prior knowledge and permission of Almighty God, who is righteous, protector, provider, overseer, and master over all.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Where do I go first when I am in need?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You show Yourself to be righteous in all that You do, even in allowing the wicked to prosper.  Help me to have a perspective that places You in Your proper role in all things.  Give me the wisdom to recognize in my darkest situations that You are right in the center of them.  Help me to be Your eyes, ears, hands, and mouth as other struggle in their daily lives.  May Your light show through me that people will be drawn to the light and seek freedom from darkness.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

God Protects Israel – Ezekiel 38:17-23

God Doesn’t Take Kindly To Those Who Would Harm His Beloved

17 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.'”

Malicious Men

The nations gather and, in word and action, throw their vitriol towards God’s chosen people, the Israelites.  Time and time again, God uses the nations to discipline her for her adultery and idolatry.  But God, for His name’s sake, continues to be faithful to the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God is faithful even when Israel is not.  And after 2000 years, He is gathering His people back to their promised land Israel.

Not everyone is heeding the call.  The pull of wealth and power has many Israelites loathing their own people.

For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.

So now, the Israelites will soon be dealing with all of the nations that hate the offspring of Jacob and the success and protection that God affords them (for more information regarding what God has done and is doing, read Ezekiel 36-39).  God will not turn a blind eye on Israel, but will protect the people and the land in such a way that He will be declared Holy before the nations.

Eventful Earthquake

A great and powerful shaking will occur in Israel and her mountains.   This is not some ordinary earthquake; it will level every wall, mountains will be overturned, and cliffs will fall.  But, as human beings, even such terrible natural disasters such as this type doesn’t keep our attention for very long.

Brother fights Brother

The weapons of the people who come up against Israel will be turned on each other.  Brother will kill brother during the ensuing chaos.  This will not be the first time that God has induced confusion into the armies of the enemy.  There will be a bloodbath.  Israel will need only to watch as God fights for them and rescues them from the blood-thirsty people who would see them harmed.

Powerful Plague

But just to make sure, God will send a plague among her enemies to ensure that any who did not die from the sword will be done in.  God will make certain that EVERY LAST ONE of the people who come against Israel at that time are utterly destroyed.  And then, for good measure, God will do something even better.

Nature’s Napalm

Not only will the enemy fight each other to the death; not only will God send a plague in addition to the bloodshed; God will use the very forces of nature that He sovereignly created and that He sovereignly controls to take care of the rest of Israel’s foes.  God will send torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulfur to take care of the rest.  There will be no doubt in ANYONE’S mind that it was God and God alone who did that.  Who else could send torrents of rain, hailstones, AND “nature’s napalm” – burning sulfur – at the same time?

He IS Holy

And when God has completed His thorough destruction of those who would dare come up against the people who are the “apple of His eye“, the nations will acknowledge that God is holy.  He is set apart from sin, and set apart to righteousness, for that is His character, His very essence – God IS Holy.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do my thoughts, words, and actions show that I for Israel, or against Israel?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, bless Your people Israel.  Protect them even now as they attempt to live in peace in the land that You created and gave to them.  Give them Your every support.  Bless them in all that they do, and may they be a blessing to all of the nations.  Strengthen their hands, their will, and their nation, that You would be glorified through them.  And reveal Your Son, Jesus Christ to them soon, so that they will embrace their Savior, and the prophecy You have given will be fulfilled.  Father, help me in thought, word, and deed to do anything and everything that I can to help Your people Israel.  Guard me and my family, for as we takes sides in this spiritual war, the enemy will surely try to overwhelm us.  Give us strength to remain steadfast, even unto death, that You would be glorified.  Amen.

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

…Not of the World – John 17:15-19

Walk In The Same Manner As Christ – Sanctified By The Word Of God

15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Powerful Protection

Jesus’ prayer for us as believers wasn’t that God would remove us from the world, but rather that we would be protected from the evil one – Satan.  God has a plan that is unfolding every second of every day, and we are a part of that program.  We are Plan A of His plan – to reach everyone in every nation with the love and message of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.

In order to do that, we need some divine assistance.  Jesus recognized from His own testing that we need to be protected from Satan.  As Jesus’ disciples, we are not greater than the master, but rather suffer the same way that He did.  James did give us some advice on how to overcome the testing of the enemy of our souls:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We tend to forget that first part, and go straight to the second part.  When we do that, it is like picking up an unloaded weapon and pointing it at someone who can see that the chamber is empty of a bullet.  We have a responsibility to first submit ourselves to God.  Let us do so, for we are not citizens of this world, but of Heaven.

Otherworldly Origin

Too often we become entrenched here in the world.  Like Lot, we pitched our tents towards Sodom, and the next thing we know, we are sitting in the City Gates, fully part of the culture that we have been sent to confront.  Our confrontation should not initially be with words, but with actions.  We are ambassadors for Christ, citizens of Heaven, just passing through.  We need to remember that so that we do not begin to look and act like the people that we have been sent to minister.  Otherwise, our ability to minister will be greatly impacted.

Paul said that he became like the people he was preaching to win many, but was not under the law.  When people see that we identify with them, they are more likely to listen to the message of Christ.  Is it not easier to minister to someone who is greatly grieving if we ourselves have experienced a similar loss?  Do we not then have the compassion and empathy towards their situation to be able to say, “I’ve been there.  Let me tell you what helped me through this…”.

Sacred Sanctification

Jesus’ desire for us was that we would be sanctified.  He desired that our character be conformed to the character of God.  He wanted us to live our lives in a way that properly reflected the righteousness that He would soon give up for us so that we could be reconciled to the Father.  Personal holiness is not required for salvation, but it should be a desire of every believer, for we wish to emulate the life and character of our teacher and savior, Jesus Christ.

Sovereignly Sent

Jesus asked the Father that He would send us out into the world just as God sent Jesus.  To be sent, we must first be made alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us.  We are then tested by God.  Next, we are to be filled with the Spirit of God as He comes upon us mightily.  Walking in the gifts of the Spirit that God provides to us, we are sent out to minister to others and do God’s work in His will.

Truly Transformed

When we yield ourselves to God, He will conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  We will shed the things of the past, and embrace the things of the Spirit and our future as we look forward to returning to our true home, Heaven.  Transformation through sanctification is a blessing that every believer should embrace.  In the same way that we expect a college student who has taken courses for the last four years to pass their exams and graduate, we also should be applying what we learn so that we too will properly use the education that God has provided to us for the purposes of glorifying His name and bearing His image properly to others.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  To the world, do I look more like them or more like Jesus?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You test me day and night.  Your word convicts me, and I desire to embrace the changes that You want to make in my life.  Give me the strength and wisdom to let go of the past, and to embrace the present.  Help me to apply the lessons that You teach me in Your word so that I will live a life worthy of the calling that I have received.  Help me to be light and salt to this world, and to use every available resource that You provide for Your purposes and not my own.  Give me the ability to yield everything to You, for You already own it, and want me to voluntarily see this truth and embrace it in my heart.  Transform me that I may be more useful in Your kingdom, and help me to do all that You desire so that I may hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I next see Your Son, Jesus Christ, in glory.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Home Security and God – Psalm 127:1-2

If God Is Not Involved In Every Aspect Of Life, Don’t Expect Success

1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Count the Cost

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,”

In everything we do, we should count the cost.  Whether it is building a home, constructing a tower, starting a business, or any other endeavor, counting the cost is a natural and normal thing to do.  We should determine if we are willing to (and able to) spend the necessary time, talent, and treasure to see the vision be completed.  In this passage, the Psalmist indicates that it is foolish to even build a house if the Lord God Almighty isn’t involved in building it.

God owns everything:

The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Time after time, God takes credit for OWNING all things, including US.  When we fail to take this into account, we are in effect telling God that WE own ourselves, or our property, or our money, jobs, children, abilities, and anything else that we falsely lay claim to owning.  God, instead of making us accountable for OWNING these thing, in His great wisdom and mercy, only makes us accountable for MANAGING these things.  By doing so, GOD is responsible for ensuring that we, as managers, are provided with the proper resources to take care of HIS things.  We, in and of ourselves, have no way to create our own resources to take care of anything!

[A lesson in futility, all sarcasm intended] If you ever want to take care of YOUR own things, feel free to create matter from nothingness.  Then, form and refine it into whatever useful shape you desire, and God will certainly acknowledge that what YOU have created is YOURS, and not HIS.

Safe and Secure

Many people have home security systems installed to ward off burglars and would-be-thieves.  Those who have money to spend on armed security guards do so as a heightened level of protection for the assets that they manage.  The Psalmist rightly concludes that if God is not protecting the city (or even the home), those who watch for danger watch in vain.

Locks keep honest people honest – Unknown Author

If someone is determined enough, and they have sufficient resources, they will be able to thwart any security measures that are taken in order to obtain what they secretly (or openly) envy and desire.  Security measures are meant to deter people from attempting to steal, or interrupt them in the act of stealing.  But if God is watching over the house or the city, the thieves will surely look for other, easier marks, or be thwarted in their attempts.*

But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – Origin Unknown

Even if you are watching over everything, day and night, you may not be fully prepared to deal with the resources that the enemy has brought to bear against you.  The only sure way to know that you and what you manage are safe is to make sure that the Sovereign Lord of the universe is watching over what He has placed in your care.

Vain Ventures

Man has, for millennia, toiled under the sun (and with the right resources, under the moon as well…) to gain wealth.  We work our fingers to the bone trying to make enough money to provide for ourselves and our loved ones.  This is especially prevalent when evil people are at the helm of the country who secretly (and sometimes even OPENLY) desire to ruin the economy and makes the citizens of their dominion their slaves.  When this happens, we slave away and have nothing to show for it, even when we are carefully planning finances and frugal in spending what little money is earned.

A famous song captured this quite succinctly:

…You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store… – Merle Travis, “Sixteen Tons

The author of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, puts it this way:

22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Satisfying Sleep

And on the note of minds not at rest at night, it is God and God alone who gives us restful sleep at night.  It is God who helps us to sleep soundly without worry.  God tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will provide for our every need.

However, God does test us in our sleep through our dreams:

Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.

In everything we do, we need to be mindful that it is God who gives us what we have, including our time, talent, and treasure.  Everything belongs to God, and we have an obligation to God to acknowledge that everything, including us, are His.  Management of what God has placed into our care is a great privilege and honor, and if God has chosen others to manage more desirable aspects of His creation, or greater portions of it, we should not envy our neighbor, for they will be held more accountable for what they do with it, and God provides to us exactly what He knows we are able to effectively manage.  After all, He is the one who gave us whatever ability we have to manage in the first place!

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I acknowledge God’s sovereignty and ownership of everything, including myself, in how I manage what God has placed me in charge?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are gracious in Your dealings with me.  Your mercies renew every morning, and You show me mercy and grace with exceedingly larger measure each day.  Father, please help me to manage all that You have placed under my care with the utmost of respect and ability that I may honor You.  Help me to be like Joseph, in whom his enemies could find no fault as he managed Pharaoh’s vast empire.  Give me the correct attitude towards what I have been entrusted so that it will be used for Your honor and glory.  Help me to turn from the worldly cultural teachings regarding acquisition, ownership, and management, and look to You and Your word for wisdom and ability so that You would be honored.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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


Notes:

*In a true story that was told at a church, there was a serial rapist on the loose in a city.  No one could identify the man, because he brutally murdered all of his victims so no one could identify him.  One night, a woman was walking down the street alone.  The serial rapist saw her, but didn’t attack.  She got a good look at him, especially his face.  A few minutes later, another woman came down the street alone, and he abducted her in his usual way with his usual methods.  When the police found the second woman’s body, they began to ask around, and discovered that the first woman had been in the vicinity of the area where the second woman had been abducted near the time of her abduction.  When they questioned her, she was able to give an accurate description of the man that she saw, who the police later arrested and charged.  During interrogation, when the police asked the man why he didn’t take the first woman, he declared in exasperation, “Are you kidding?  There were two of the largest guys I had ever seen in my life, on her left and her right.  I would have been a fool to try to take her with them around!” If God is protecting you, evil people will seek other marks.

Protection by God – Psalm 125

God Is The One Who Protects His People Israel

1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.

3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.

4 Lord, do good to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
5 But those who turn to crooked ways
the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.

Total Trust

God greatly desires that we trust Him.  He has shown his trustworthiness throughout His word, and history bears witness to it by external observers.  As we develop in our relationship with God, there is a level of trust that comes into play.  When circumstances seem to show that God is against us, are we willing to believe that God is for us?  Will He ever truly leave us or forsake us?  Do we trust in His character, or the blessings that He bestows?

Secure Stronghold

The Psalmist indicates here that those who trust God wholeheartedly are like a mountain – they will not be shaken.  That is because any good building is completely reliant upon its foundation.  When we trust in Jesus Christ, we are building upon the cornerstone – the very first and largest stone laid down in a foundation.  When the cornerstone is laid properly – it is level and faces in the right direction – the rest of the foundation that is laid down next to it will be straight and true.

Jesus is our foundation, our solid rock.  Anyone who builds on Jesus, through trust in Him, will build upon the unshakeable cornerstone of God.  God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; nothing and no one can cause Jesus to change.  He is securely seated at the right hand of God, His power and authority being vested in Him.  Nothing will move this cornerstone from its tried and true positioning.

Power Purged

It is good to know that the wicked will eventually be removed from power over the righteous.  God knows that if wickedness stays in power for too long, the righteous will begin to falter, and they may begin to do evil with their hands and hearts.  Human beings can only endure so much before they “crack”.

Imagine if there were continuously evil rulers since Cain murdered Abel.  What would people think and say?  “Where is our God?  Will He never deliver us from this evil?”  Their hearts would grow heavy, and under the constant barrage of evil, the unending torment of those in power, our will to endure would surely erode, and our belief that God is holy and just would fade as generation after generation prayed for relief but found none.  God surely delivers His people not only to demonstrate that He is sovereign over all, but also to give hope to the hopeless.

Crooked Crushed

And when God does act in justice and removes the wicked from power, He banishes them with the evildoers.  God originally intended the Lake of Fire to be for fallen angels only.  However, He will use this place of torment and separation from His power and presence for all who refuse to repent and turn towards the One True God in faith.  Those who suffer under the rule of evil people can take heart that God is a just, righteous, and holy God.  He will not abandon His people to the whims and depredations of the wicked, but will instead judge the wicked, unrepentant people and place them where they can no longer do any harm.

Permanent Peace

The Psalmist’s cry is that God do good to those who are good.  The funny part is that in and of ourselves, no one is good or righteous.  Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ that He died for our sins, and clothed us with His righteousness.  We who believe and are obedient to Him are declared righteous and good before God the Father*.  And the lasting promise given to those who live for God and obey His commands (in holy fear, reverence, and gratitude) will be peace, first on Earth, and then everlasting peace in His presence for all eternity in Heaven.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I show that I trust God through my actions and my speech?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are my joy, my peace, and my sanctuary.  You have displayed Your awesome power through the creation of the Universe, and You display Your mercy and grace as You patiently, tenderly, and gently woo each of us back to Yourself.  Father, time is short, and even now You are calling the last of the remnant to Yourself in dreams and visions where Your people cannot work.  Give me a sense of urgency as the time grows near for Your Son to be revealed again in glory in the clouds.  Help me to show others that You seek peace for their lives in You.  Help me to get out and declare Your righteousness and our wickedness before You.  Prepare the hearts of all whom I will interact today.  Give me the strength, the words, and the will to boldly praise You in power and glory to others.  This I ask in the precious name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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


This blog has been edited for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as clarity.

*Faith without works is dead – James 2:17; If you love me, you will obey my commands – John 14:15-24; Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved – Joel 2:32.

It is not our works that save us, but grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ – Ephesians 2:8.  God accepts us as we are, but loves us too much to leave us where He found us.  God cleans us up and prepares us to be a holy sanctuary for the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  This process is called Sanctification.  God did not save us just so we could avoid Hell (fire insurance), but to be adopted as His children – Ephesians 1:5.

And just as every parent has expectations from their children (yet loves them unconditionally even when they misbehave), our Father in Heaven has expectations for our behavior as well.  He has forgiven all sins of ours, past, present and future – Psalm 103:12.  But we should, in gratitude, try to honor Him with our lives in every way, knowing the price that He paid for our freedom, and adoption into His family!  It is relationship that He desires with us, along with a singular pursuit of Jesus in holiness and righteousness – Matthew 7:21-23.

Obedience to God is not legalism, for we are to live righteous and holy lives, not sinning in order that grace would abound – Romans 6:1-2.  Obedience is an act of gratitude towards God as an acknowledgement of His holiness and righteousness – Romans 12:1-2.  Obedience to the word of God shows that we are growing spiritually and being sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the word of God – John 17:17.  It is something that every believer in Christ should greatly desire in their lives – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.  If you disagree, please bring this before God and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of it to you – James 1:5-8.  God’s word is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16.

National Security and God – 2 Kings 6:13-23

When The Lord God Almighty Guards Your Country, No Harm Shall Befall It

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Formidable Foes

When faced with an army of your enemy, many would be intimidated.  The prophet Elisha’s servant certainly was when he woke up one morning and saw the entire city surrounded with chariots of the nation that had declared war on Israel.  He was intimidated to the point where he began to experience great fear.

Fear Factor

When we are faced with what appears to be overwhelming odds, we also have a tendency to experience fear ourselves.  The Bible tells us over three hundred and sixty-five times – enough for one every day of the year – that we should not fear.   We have been told by God that there is nothing to fear, for He is sovereign.  Yet our physical eyes may try to deceive us, and Satan, the enemy of our souls, would try to instill fear and panic within us.

When we experience fear, we begin to act irrationally.  We see imaged threats that aren’t even real.  And we conflate the importance of the threats that are right in front of us.  In this case, the servant of Elisha the prophet saw no way out, and only saw himself and his master as being able to stand against this massive gathering of enemy troops.

Concealed Charioteers

But God protects His people.  Most of God’s people do not have the ability to peer into the spiritual realm.  If they did, they would see just how protected they are from the enemy.  Elisha, the prophet of God, prayed to God that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see what he could see, and God honored that prayer and did so.  When He opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant, he saw the most amazing sight – the hills were filled with chariots of fire being pulled by horses.  Immediately, this calmed down his heart, because his faith had become sight.

Supernaturally Subdued

…These aren’t the droids you are looking for…Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi

In what would seem to the world to be a stunning turn of events, Elisha the prophet prays and asks God to strike the enemy blind.  The Sovereign Lord God Almighty immediately answers his prayers, and the enemy is struck blind.  Although this in and of itself is amazing, but what happens next is even more amazing.

Remember that the enemy arrived at night.  They were camped out around the city.  They could clearly see the city, and the road that they came in on – the sun was out.  Scripture says that it was early in the morning (this began around 6:00 AM, as the fourth watch of the night was from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM).  They were now struck blind.  That certainly would have unnerved them.  But it was what happened next that was most amazing and interesting.  Elisha tells the men that they are on the wrong road, and this is the wrong city.  He would lead them to the man that they were looking for.  They didn’t bat an eye!  Scripture doesn’t record that they even told Elisha why they were there!  Elisha appears to just walk up to them and tell them they are in the wrong place, and he’ll lead them to man.

In Elisha’s defense, he didn’t lie.  Elisha wanted to reveal himself to them in Samaria, so they technically were in the wrong city.  And Elisha did lead them to the right man – himself!  And, being blind (a rather incapacitating handicap at this point), they blindly followed Elisha to Samaria (no pun intended).

Manifest Mercy

Arriving in Samaria, in the land of the king of Israel, Elisha the prophet of God prayed that God would open the eyes of the men that were blinded.  Now, the group of chariots that were arriving would have been both seen and heard from at a great distance from the city of Samaria.  The king of Israel would surely have placed watchmen in distant areas to warn of any pending invasion by the king of Aram, as they were at war.  When news of the prophet of God leading an army of the king’s enemies towards Samaria, the king of Israel would have surely called all men to arms, and had them line up around the army as it approached.

Upon seeing the vast army in front of him, the king of Israel asked the prophet of God for permission to destroy it.  Elisha forbade the king from doing so, pointing out that it was improper for the king to kill those whom he had captured in war.  Elisha instead commands the king to feed them and provide them with drinks.  The prophet of God showed the love of God towards his enemies, and the king did more than what was required.  A great feast was thrown by the king for the army, and then they were sent back to Aram.

Providential Protection

When the king of Aram had heard what had happened, he realized that the land of the king of Israel was sovereignly protected by The Lord God Almighty.  And when the Lord God Almighty guards your nations’ borders, no enemy that comes against us will be able to  have any success in overtaking the land.

We would be well-advised by this historical record to seek the providential protection of the Lord God Almighty rather than trying to protect the land in our own strength with only our own intelligence, plans, weapons, and strategies:

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When I am in trouble, where do I turn first?

A short prayer of preparation

Father in Heaven, You have said that You would never leave me nor forsake me.  Give me comfort in that promise when my enemies surround me and threaten me with death and torture.  Give me strength that day to know what to say, and to speak boldly about You in the day of threat.  Grant me peace in my spirit, and help me to remember the protection that You provide.  For all that is required to wipe out an entire city is just one angel given authority to do so.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

The Sovereignty of God – Psalm 104:10-16

God’s Love Is Displayed In His Sovereign Provision

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate-
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

Sprouting Springs

Water is an interesting substance.  It sustains life through hydration.  When heated, it can be used to generate electricity, and when frozen, it is the only substance known to mankind that expands in size, rather than contract into a smaller space.  By forming ice, God protects the creatures beneath the seas and oceans from being crushed beneath the very fluid that enables them to survive.  Ice also protects the waters beneath from the ravages of cold weather.  Even the Eskimos use ice to protect themselves from the harsh winter winds.

Water apparently has a mind of its own.  In Genesis, we see the waters covering the face of the Earth.  It is not until the Lord God Almighty tells it that it must recede that it goes where it should underground.  It is the Lord who determines where the boundaries of the waters are by saying where they can go and go no farther.  Wisdom bears witness to the sovereign creation of God, and that God has set boundaries on the waters of the Earth.

And it is God who brings forth water from the Earth to provide for all of creation.

Creatures Content

The beasts of the field are provided with the liquid that keeps them alive.  The birds above build their nests around water to ensure that they have easy access to the life-sustaining liquid.  God shows his love by providing for the needs of every creature on Earth.  He does not withhold his blessing upon them, except when He is rebuking man through drought.

Even creatures in the desert, where water is scarce, are provided for by Almighty God.  He has given them the ability to survive in these areas and even to thrive.  His provision continually demonstrates His love for all that He created.  He shows wisdom in the careful planning that went into the design of all creatures that live during their appointed times and at their appointed places and provides for their every need.

Sovereignly Satiated

The Psalmist also indicates that the land itself is satisfied with the sovereign provision of the Lord God Almighty.  The mountains are watered by His hand and command.  The land is satisfied with water.  If you ever doubt this, go somewhere after an intense drought has ravaged the land.  The land forms deep cracks and looks terrible.  But once the Lord waters the land again, it softens and gives up its nourishment to the plants that God had placed upon it.  And when God continually provides for the land, the plants thrive, and the creatures abound.

Furnish Food

It is the Lord God Almighty that provides the grass for the cattle.  He continually provides the water that allows the plants to survive and thrive.  It is He who gives them their sustenance.   But God is the one who also provides us with plants for our food.  Prior to the flood (say, where did all that water come from, anyway?), God had given all of the seed bearing plants as food for man.  He is the one who provides for our every need and desire.  It is God who furnishes us our food, and satisfies us with nourishment from His Earth.

Supplying Sustenance

God does not only provide for our minimal needs of existence; He also provides for those things that make our hearts glad.  In the picture provided here, the Psalmist shows that it is God who provides us with wine to gladden our hearts, and oil to protect and soften our skin.  He also provides bread that fills our stomachs and noses with aromas and flavors that far exceed the minimum required to sustain life.

Imagine that the only thing available to eat was gruel with no salt (now imagine the Israelites eating manna for forty years without spices or herbs…).  Imagine eating that for every meal, day in and day out.  It is God who provides the seasonings for us to make wonderful meals.  The flavors and aromas of the vast cornucopia of produce and grains, let alone the spices and herbs, can provide a potential plethora of palatable provision.  And it is God who shows us how to make all of these different variations of meals to satisfy our hunger and thirst.

God does not merely want us to survive; He wants us to thrive, and to experience the majesty of all that He created so that we, in wonder of the work of His hands, would give Him all of the glory and praise that He so rightly deserves.

Provision for Plants

God not only provides for the land, and all of the creatures on it, He also provides for the plants.  Every time it rains, especially when we have more rain that we think we need, and while we long for the weather to break, and the sun to shine upon us again, God is providing the vital liquid that sustains the life of every plant.  And every time we see rain, we are seeing the supernatural provision of Almighty God for His plants, His creatures, and His land.  God waters His plants just as we do when they are thirsty.  And God replenishes the water in the rivers and lakes for all of the teeming life that He placed in them.

In everything, God is constantly providing for the needs and desires of all that He created.  He does not turn His back on us, His land, His creatures, nor His plants.  He continually refreshes them with the fruit of His labors, and watches in contentment as His creation thanks Him and returns praise for the mighty works of His hands.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I see the mighty provision of God in all that He does?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, the heavens declare Your glory, power, infinite wisdom and knowledge.  And I praise and rejoice in You that You have provided so much for me to have.  Even when I am destitute in money and worldly possessions, I have You, and with You I am rich beyond blessing.  Help me to recognize, as I contemplate the workings of Your creation, just how much You love me and all that You have made.  Help me to gain deeper insight into the greatest aspect of Your character that You display for everyone to see – that You love all that You have made, and rejoice in it.  Help me to remember that You and You alone are sovereign over all You have made, and that You do not abandon that which You start, but rather see everything through to its very end.  Give me wisdom that my eyes might see, and ears might hear, all that You are communicating to me through Your word and Your world.  This I ask in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

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

 

 

The Love of the Lord – Psalm 118:1-7

The Love Of God Is Forevermore

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.

God is Good

God is immutable – He cannot change.  His steadfast character is one of the many reasons that we can praise Him:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

God showers us with His goodness.  He does not withhold His goodness, but lovingly showers all of us with His mercy and grace:

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

God is good because He can be nothing else.  Men look upon God with the imperfect lens of their experience, tainted by sin, with hearts hardened by trials, and question the goodness of God.  Yet God still is good, regardless of our circumstances.  If we look at God through the lens of pain and suffering, we are likely to see something that is not correct.  Pain blinds us to the true nature of God.  We must remember that God sees everything clearly and with the proper perspective, while we see through a glass darkly.

Love of the Lord

The author of this psalm tells us three times in row that God’s love endures forever.  We can be assured of that because God is good, God is love, God is eternal, and God never changes:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

God lavishes His love upon everyone on the earth.  He provides all of us with breath in our lungs.  He does not withhold the rain or the sun from us (although the clouds might seem to do that…).  God pours out from His very nature a level of love, provision, and care that none of us would ever be able to do in His place.  God is so other-focused, that it would be impossible for Him to do otherwise.  God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to be a sacrifice for us.  Dying for someone is the ultimate expression of love.  And God so loved us, that He died for us while we were still sinners, in full rebellion against Him.  God’s love, if we can truly see even a fraction of it, is beautiful beyond description.

Royal Refuge

God hears our cries for hope.  All who trust in Him will find refuge under His mighty arms and in His character.  God is our shield:

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

God is our refuge and our strength.  He knows our difficulties, and invites us to come in to Him and allow Him to be our protector and shield.  He is able to shelter us through our storm.  He does not always make the storm cease, but rather is with us, protecting us, as the storm batters us and tears at us, trying to cause us to lose hope.  But God is able to calm the storm, and see us through any difficulty.  Even when God is disciplining us severely, He will provide a way to shelter us:

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

God’s refuge may seem odd, and may even cause us some distress, but God protects us in a fashion that brings the maximum glory to His name.  He will use everything that He does to bring glory and honor to Himself, which He rightly deserves.

Powerful Protection

God is sovereign over all.  No one and nothing can happen to us that He does not have the final authority to approve or veto.  We can see this throughout His holy word.  One of the best illustrations of this can be seen in the life of Job.  Satan, who was required to give an accounting of himself before Almighty God, had to request the permission before he could ever touch Job, his family, or the possessions provided to him by God.  There is nothing that happens to us that God has not sovereignly pre-approved.  God provides protection from men, from nature, and from demonic forces as He sees fit.  Anything that happens to us has been sovereignly approved, and God will protect us through it.

Total Triumph

In all of our trials, God is the one who makes us victorious.  God is our helper and our friend.  He will cause our righteousness to shine forth like the sun.  God will give us victory over our enemies, and exalt Himself through us while He brings shame upon those who would oppose Him, His plans, and His people.  God will give us victory, for we have victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.  No weapon formed against us shall prosper.  God will provide for our every need.  And even if we are to be martyrs – witnesses unto death – God provides for us in that in Him, when we are absent from the body, we are present from the Lord.  And once all is completed, we will live triumphantly in joy, with no more pain or tears, to always be in the presence of Almighty God.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Do I remember the steadfast love of Lord when I am in the midst of my trials?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You lavish Your love upon me every second of every day.  Help me to find strength in my joy in You.  Every morning Your mercies renew, and they humble me before You.  Grant me Your protection through my trials.  Provide for me as many years of gladness as You have given me in sorrow.  Help me to humble myself before You, and I pray that You would lift my head up.  You have already given me victory over the strongest enemy of my soul – the drowning chains of sin.  Father, help me to always praise You, for Your character is steady and displays Your love constantly and consistently.  Help me to turn my eyes upon Jesus, and look full in His wonderful face.  Lift my soul out of sorrow, and grant me eyes to see the wonders that You are doing even now, preparing for a day of miracles that surround me each and every moment.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Perspective of God – Genesis 9:1-3

Overpopulation Is A Myth

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Divine Decree

To set the stage, Noah and his family has just survived the planetary flood that God used to destroy the rest of the human race.  This is what scientists refer to as an E.L.E., an Extinction Level Event.  Nearly all life has perished.  And once Noah was on dry ground, God gave him some interesting instructions.

The first instruction was to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth.  Culture has this concern that we have somehow overpopulated the Earth.  It believes that the resources on this planet will not sustain life as it is, and that we need to somehow reduce the number of people on the planet to get to a “sustainable” number.  But God gave Noah a holy, divine decree – to fill the Earth with people.

Notice that God did not say,”You know, you need to be careful when you procreate, because you might become so numerous that you will strip every resource from the planet.”  Also notice that God did not say, “And when you become so numerous that you think there are too many of you, begin to back off of my decree to be fruitful and increase, for you will surely cause your own destruction through resource depletion, because I won’t provide for you anymore.”

God does desire us to manage the Earth – His creation – and all that is on it and in it.   We have a responsibility as stewards of God’s creation to effectively use what has been provided to us.  But God has not abandoned us, nor will He forsake us.  It is only those who do not believe that there is a God that have come to the conclusion that we are overpopulated.

It is greed, punishing governmental control, and other self-serving factors that limit human beings in their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  The restraint of creativity and production by powerful people who seek to control others, and serve money rather than God, is one of the greatest limiting factors in economic and resource suppression.

If everyone on Earth were submitted to Almighty God, do you think for even a second that He would refuse to bless their efforts at honoring Him through all that they did?  Did he refuse to provide manna to the Israelites in the desert for forty years?  Did he refuse to provide Elijah food when he was sequestered during the drought that he proclaimed?  It is folly to believe that God would abandon us as we seek Him and submit to Him.  Did Jesus starve to death during His ministry?  It is our own evil intentions and conclusions about the state of reality that prevent us, as a people, from enjoying the grace, mercy, and abundant prosperity of Almighty God.  And yet He still gives all of us rain and sunshine.

Change in Cooperation

From this passage, and from what we know about the original intent of the relationship between Adam and the animals of the Earth,  this was the first God-authorized decree in allowing the creatures to be food for man.  Prior to this, righteous men ate the fruit of plants and grains.  Adam was a vegetarian.  Noah, until after the flood, was a vegetarian as well.

But God then provided the animals and gave them to man as food.  This changed the dynamic of the relationship between man and animals.  We can infer that up to this time, man and animals were able to peacefully coexist.  But with this change, the animals no longer would be at ease with man.  After all, man had just become their predator.

Fleeing Food

And as any prey knows, when the predator is around, you flee.  This made it difficult for man, chasing down and domesticating animals who would then be in servitude to man.  Prior to the flood, was there cooperation between man and animal?  The Bible doesn’t say.  But we see in Genesis that the serpent talked to Eve.  God opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to talk to him.  And no one thought this was strange…

Why did no one think this was strange?  Was it because the animals could indeed communicate with man, and peacefully coexisted with man, as was established by God?  We can only speculate; but soon we will have the opportunity to ask the One who created all things that very question.  In the meantime, let us fulfill the command that God Himself gave to us to be fruitful and increase in number, to fill the Earth, and to take care of it.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are my conclusions based on God’s word or the words of men?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I thank You for providing me life this day.  Thank You for Your word, and the redemption of sin through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for showing me Your will through Your word.  Help me to always look to Your word when people declare anything to be true about the past, the present, or the future, for You and You alone know all these things.  Help me to not be led astray by the foolishness of man, but be strengthened in Your truth, power and presence.  Guide and guard my heart, Oh God, that I would be kept from the deception of sin.  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?

Faithfulness to God – Acts 14:19-20

Never Stop Doing What Is Right In The Eyes Of God

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Difficult Days

Most people have a really bad day every now and again.  But Paul had it a little harder than most people.  Even God said (about Paul’s life):

15 …”Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Paul had some interesting trials to undergo:

23 …I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Most of us have not had to face the threat of death even once for the cause of Christ.  We do not yet know the difficulties that Paul encountered.  But even if that should change, we should take heart; Paul has shown us the way to overcome.  He was stoned near to death at least once.

Faithful Friends

Paul had very good friends.  After he was nearly stoned to death, they surrounded him.  They too could have faced stoning as well.  When a mob begins to act in emotion, it is difficult to dissuade them from their course of action.  Look at the recent mob activity in the United States of America.  Once the mob engages in violence, then comes the fires, and the looting, the beatings of innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It takes faithful friends to join you when the mob turns its full wrath upon you.

Continue to Contend

Most people, facing a near-death experience at the hands of an angry, murderous mob, would “take a hint” and go elsewhere.  Scripture shows us Paul’s reaction: he went right back into the city to preach.  That takes great faith and trust in God.  In speaking about hardship, Paul said:

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Regardless of our circumstances, we should continue to contend for the faith.  God will provide our strength as we are faithful in His service.  We have no fear of this: whatever God calls you to, he will provide the means and resources for you to complete your tasks.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I being faithful even when I experience great trial?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are faithful in all that You do.  You keep every promise that You make, and do so in perfect timing and in Your methods.  We know that we can count upon You to always be faithful.  Strengthen me this day, Father, that I would show that same faithfulness to You, regardless of my circumstances.  Help me to rely upon You totally and without reservation as trials come into my life.  Help me in my weakness that You would be strong for me.  Carry me when I cannot walk, and protect me from my adversaries.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

Blessing of God – Psalm 5:11-12

The Lord Is A Shield About The Righteous

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Royal Refuge

God desires us to seek refuge in Him.  We are to go to God for all of our wants and desires.  It is God who is able to provide us with refuge from all things.  We can seek refuge from God in three ways:

Singing Songs

David was one of the most prolific song writers that we know of in the Bible.  Many of the Psalms were written by him.  David provided us with an example of joyful singing before God in praise and worship.  The Lord enjoys it when we worship Him in song.

Even for those who have not been blessed by God with a voice to sing, we are given a command to make a joyful noise to the Lord.  The Hebrew word eriou is a command and is literally translated “[raise a] shout you!”  Let your heart give praise to God in a shout for all He has done!

Bathed in Blessing

God blesses the righteous, and with the blood of Christ we are declared righteous before Him.  Oh, the many blessings of God!  We are blessed in that we are blessed!  If you ever want to see a short list of some of the most important blessings of God, read Ephesians chapters 1-3.

Sovereign Shield

God is a shield about us and the lifter of our heads.  He desires to gather us like chicks under His wings.  He is our refugeGod is our shieldNo one can snatch us out of His hand.  God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  Even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us.  He shields us from the second death.

There is nothing that God cannot sovereignly shield his people.  Yet we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  God may use you as a witness to the unbelieving.  If this is the case, do not fear the tribulation that God has appointed you to bear.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question: Am I praising God as I seek refuge in Him?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious and beautiful beyond description.  You shield us from so much more than we can possibly imagine.  Thank You for your vast and encompassing protection.  Help me, Father, to not forget all that You do in my life.  May my life be a blessing to You.  May Your praise be on my heart and my lips even as I suffer in this life, knowing that You will remove all pain and all tears in Your time.  Help me to endure and to faithful until You call me home.  This I ask and pray in the name of Your Perfect and Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, 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?

Combat Training with God – 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Prayer to Provide Potentates with Power and Protection

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Petition for Penitence

Paul urges Timothy to pray for those that God has placed in leadership over us. One of the best prayers that we can pray for ungodly leaders is that God bring them to salvation.  Many people who love God and hate evil have been asking the question, “What can I do?  All of our leaders are evil!”

The best thing you can do is to pray that God would soften their hearts, send faithful people to witness to them, and that they would give their lives to Christ.  It is only then that they can be the servant-leaders that God calls them to be and to do what is best for the people that they have been charged with overseeing.  This is the only way to break the cycle of selfishness where those elected by us seek to enrich themselves through laws that are designed to exempt them (or, as they see themselves, the “ruling class”) from the penalties that any one of us (or, as they see us, the “peasant class”) would be thrown in jail with the key thrown away.  Without the fear of God – including accountability to God – they will continue to do what is best for themselves rather than what is best for those entrusted to their care.

But we must pray for repentance of God’s people FIRST:

 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Prayer for Protection

As in the terrible recent days of violence in the United States of America, we need to be on our knees begging God for protection of those in authority over us.  The assassination of five police officers is a great example of why we need to pray this.  If, for some reason, a person has been treated poorly by those in authority over them, it is all the more important to pray for their protection, as it is a blessing to them.  And we are instructed:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;

If you encounter any message other than what you see above, whether it is from TV, Radio, in person, in a book, on the Internet, or from any other source – know that it is contrary to the Word of God.

The Interruption of Intercession

When we pray for the salvation of others, we are in effect asking God to sovereignly interrupt their life.  This can be quite disconcerting to our leaders, especially if their misdeeds are profiting them greatly, or they have committed acts of treason or treachery against the people.  Imagine what must go through their minds: “I have been sinning!  What will the people think?  How can I salvage my career?  What should I do next?  Should I give back all of the money that I received lawfully but wrongly?  Should I publicly announce my faith?  Will I go to jail for my misdeeds?”  There will be unbelievable pressure on these individuals to either keep quiet about Christ.  If they don’t, they will be eviscerated by the corrupt sycophantic media that not only approve of evil, but cater to the evil whims of the existing corrupt elite.  This will impact their lives for eternity, so any temporary loss now is minuscule compared to the great riches of knowing Christ.

Remember that this will be the most difficult issue they will ever have to face, and they will be doing so as a babe in Christ.  It is incumbent upon us to pray not only for their salvation; not only for their Godliness;  but also for the necessary strength to endure as their lives are turned upside down when they encounter the most cruel and insipid hatred that they will ever have to face.

Thoughtful Thankfulness

And in all things, we are to give thanks to God the Father, for this is His will for us.  Give thanks that God hears our prayers.  Give thanks that God is answering our prayers (in His timing in His way for His purposes for His glory).  Give thanks when our leaders come to repentance before God.  Rejoice as the angels do!  Give thought to your thankfulness so that you can be content in whatever circumstances you find yourself, regardless of who is in authority over us.

The Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question:  Am I praying for the spiritual success of my leaders or just for their Godly replacements?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are fully just, yet full of mercy and grace.  Please work in the lives of Your people, that we would have revival in the body of Christ.  Help all of us to get on our knees and beg You for forgiveness of our sins.  Help us as a nation to turn from our sins, seek Your face, and confess our wrongdoing to You, so that You can heal our land.  Bless those whom You have placed in authority over us that they would come to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.  Father, we know that this may very well not happen until we as Your people turn away from sin and towards You.  Give the faithful among Your people patience, grace, and peace, as we plead for the rest of the body to come back to reason.  Your blessing upon this country has clouded our minds, and like Sampson, we may go on thinking we are OK but not realize that Your Spirit is departing from us.  Bring Salvation to those in authority over us that Your Holy Name may be praised and blessed by all who hear it.  This we ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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