Under the Shadow – 3/12/17

“You can live opposite of what you profess, but can you live opposite of what you believe?”
– Dallas Willard
 
Because the psalmist was convinced that there was security in trusting in God, he encouraged himself that he would be delivered from the various attacks of the wicked. He knew that the Lord had appointed His angels over him to protect him. The key to releasing the promises found in this passage is located in verses 9 and 10. When a believer makes the Lord God his refuge, his hiding place be trusting Him, he enters into a sheltered place of promise. The words of this psalm should be spoken over your life on a daily basis. It will build assurance that, no matter what you face, the Lord can be trusted as a safe dwelling place. We must find ourselves resting in Him and set our love on Him (v. 14). He promises to be with us and deliver us.
 
Psalm 91:1-16
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
 
I will remain in Your secret place and You will overshadow me with protection. I will not be afraid of sickness, or the night, or the enemy. You have given angels an assignment over me. You will keep me. I will set my heart on You and You will answer me, be with me in trouble, and honor me. I will love you all my days!


Bring on the Fruit – 3/5/17

“Language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade before the public.”
– George Crane
 
The words of Jesus recorded in John 15 are some of the most powerful and strong instructions given to the disciples of Jesus, current believers included. In this chapter, John, called “the beloved disciple,” writes of Jesus’ discussion of the union of Himself with His followers by parable of a vine and its branches. He encourages His followers to mutual love; He calls His followers His friends, and He promises to lay down His life for us. In this chapter, Jesus tells us to bear fruit even in the face of opposition. He also assures us of the promise of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit will be the Comforter.
 
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
– John 15:16
John 15:1-27
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. 18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
 
You will remain in a close relationship with me as I remain in a close relationship with You. I know I can do nothing without You. My life will bear fruit! I will produce disciples as I become more like You. I can do all things as I remain in You.


When I’m in Trouble – 2/19/17

“Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.”
– Oswald Chambers
 
The idea behind Psalm 46 is that no matter what happens in a believer’s life, the Lord’s people are happy and secure. This Psalm is often called The Song of Holy Confidence because of the great confidence the writer had in the Lord God no matter the circumstances he faced. The psalmist magnifies God as the believers’ sure Defense at all times. He explains that God’s presence makes us secure from all our enemies. According to this Psalm, God is our “very present help (aid) in trouble.” This means a help that has been found to be a reliable stronghold in the past so that any future challenge or problem is no reason to fear.
 
“Be still and know (see) that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
– Psalm 46:10
 
Psalm 46:1-11
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
 
God, You are my shelter and security. You give me aid in times of distress and anguish. When things are tight, You are faithful and I do not have to be afraid. You, Lord, are not moved, so I will not be moved no matter what comes my way. I remember Your works and I know You will not fail me.


Be a Doer – 2/12/17

“The soul hardly ever realizes it, but whether he is a believer or not, his loneliness is really a homesickness for God.”
– Hurbert van Zeller
 
First Peter was authored by the Apostle Peter as he addresses Christians living in various parts of Asia Minor who are suffering rejection in the world because of their obedience to Christ. We see Peter constantly reminding them of their heavenly inheritance throughout the book. 1 Peter 2 is packed with Peter’s exhortations to live godly, obedient lives and understand who we are in Christ. Jesus is the Cornerstone and we are chosen by Him to proclaim the Gospel of the Cross. We proclaim that Gospel not only in word, but in action. Peter speaks of submission to authority, honor, and following of Christ before others.
 
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;”
– 1 Peter 2:9
 
1 Peter 2:1-25
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
 
I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good! He is my chief Cornerstone. I have been chosen by Him and I am of a royal priesthood. I will proclaim His goodness. I will follow Him as my example, do good to others, and love my brothers. I will have reverential fear of the Lord.


Where It All Went Wrong – 2/12/17

“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him Who has all things safely in His Hands.”
-Elizabeth Elliot

Jewish tradition lists Moses as the author of the first five books of the Bible including Genesis. Jesus said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for He wrote about Me” (John 5:46). Genesis 3 records the fall of man. Two truths are made very apparent: (1) God is a personal and redemptive God, and (2) man is sinful and was/is in desperate need of a Savior. One will never totally understand the Bible until he or she fully grabs hold of these two truths. Satan, the deceiver, the enemy, is introduced in this chapter. We see him as cunning, tricky, and one who maneuvers with patience and purpose. As he conversed with Eve in Adam’s absence, a choice was made that impacted all of mankind. Still, in His love and faithfulness, God covered the sin of man and made a way to restore mankind back to Himself.
“Now the serpent was more cunning (crafty and smooth) than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…”
-Genesis 3:1

Genesis 3:1-24
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
 
I will be aware of the enemy’s voice in my life. I will know the Word concerning him and I will not allow him to have influence in my hearing. I understand that he is defeated and has no power over me unless I grant him power.


Why me? – 1/29/17

“Blessed be God’s voice for it is true, and falsehoods have to cease before it!
-Thomas Carlyle
 
James, the brother of Jesus, is believed to be the author of the New Testament book of James. He encourages his readers to demonstrate the validity of their experience with Christ by doing what Christians are suppose to do – live godly. Chapter one of James deals with trials and temptation and how a believer is to respond. The writer assures us that God can and will do a work in us during these times that will make us stronger and mature in Him. If, however, we do not respond properly to temptation and trials, we can “give birth” to sin in our lives. The remainder of the chapter encourages self-examination so that we are not deceived into believing we are something that we aren’t. Finally, James strongly implies that believers live and “do” the Word, not just hear the Word with no change in our lives.
 
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produced patience.”
– James 1:2-3
 
James 1:1-27
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: 10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. 11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
 
I will “Count it all joy” (remain calm in delight) when trials come my way. I know God will show me how to remain faithful and I will be approved (v.12). I will develop in maturity and my faith will increase during times of trial. I will do what God’s Word says, not just read it. I will examine my own heart and I will not be deceived by the enemy.


The Shepherd – 1/22/17

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalms 23:6
David’s 23rd Psalm is familiar to most people because it is so often quoted and read at funerals. Because of this, the chapter sometimes seems to take on a “sad” tone and it seems so final. However, at a close look, one will certainly determine that this is a Psalm of power, life, and promise! David’s intent in this chapter is to express his trust and peaceful confidence in God. This is not a “woe is me” message. This is a declaration of the goodness and the faithfulness of God and how He empowers, protects, and provides for His children. There is no way you feel defeated or weary as you read through each verse. This chapter lets you know that even in the face of death, Jesus will walk you through it all! Verse 5 of the chapter says that He even prepares a glorious table just for His children in the very face of the enemy.
“God will one day hold us each accountable for all the things He created for us to enjoy, but we refused to do so.” – Rabbanic Saying
Psalms 23:1-6 KJV
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
 
I will not ever want for anything because I have everything I need through Him. I will not fear because He is with me in every situation. The devil will not win in my life because Jesus made a public spectacle of him and took away his power through the work of the cross (Colossians 2:15).