God’s Protection

Psalm 91: 1

One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty.

This psalm is the most often quoted passage regarding God’s protection, but there is something we need to understand about this protection as I find Christians are woefully mistaken about what it is and how to live in it.

This first verse tells us exactly how to live in God’s protection. It says we will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty. To lodge in God’s shadow means we live where we are hidden from trouble. However, this is not automatic. You don’t just say the sinner’s prayer and then the shadow of God follows you around protecting you from harm. No. This is a Christian lifestyle. You have to live in this and that means you make a choice to live in His shadow. To see this more clearly, you have to read the first phrase of the verse. That is where you see that this is purely elective.

Those who choose to dwell in the shelter of the Most High will be hidden in the power of the Almighty. Notice that the psalmist used names for God which reflect His awesome power. We are talking about power in this psalm. If we wish to fall under God’s awesome protective power, then we must choose to dwell in His shelter. What does that mean? We are talking lifestyle here. Where you dwell has everything to do with the lifestyle you choose. Do you live in the country, or do you live in the city? You have made a choice about where your home is. The same is true here. We must abide in the shelter of His Word, His teachings, and His guidance.

During the 911 crisis, there were stories about people who diverted from the towers that day. They had a funny feeling, heard God in their hearts, etc. They followed His guidance and didn’t go to their office. The point is that God leads us out of the path of danger. He constantly speaks giving us advice, counsel and wisdom.

Now, suppose you were one of those people headed to the twin towers that fateful day. In your heart you hear God speak, “Don’t go to that building. Turn around right now.” But you are a person of faith, right? So instead of heeding God’s advice and warning, you march on, in faith, to the twin towers. You say, “I have faith! God will protect me.” Please understand me beloved, as I say this with all the love of Christ in my heart. That is not faith. There is a word in the Bible for it, though. It is called foolishness. Faith is following God. Faith is the assurance that what God tells you is truth. If you went to the towers that day, you would be as dead as the worst heathen there. You have not availed yourself of the wisdom of God and are not abiding in the shelter of His protection.

Faith is not making a decision and expecting God to back it. Faith is only found in following Him. This psalm clearly speaks about our protection, but you cannot get past the first verse. The psalm and the protection promises only apply to those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High. We have to get out of our heads and submit to His wisdom, counsel and advice. Only those who will give their will over to God’s guidance will be under the umbrella of His protection.

Understand this clearly. God’s protection is for each one of us. Further, God gave us His Word so that we would understand how to avail ourselves of this gift. But be clear, the umbrella is there. It is your choice whether to stand under it or not. Do not blame God when you go your own way and fall into grief. If we step out of His protective measures, we may get hurt but that is our own fault. Not His. He has provided. It is up to us whether we will follow our “wisdom” and argue our positions or whether we follow the Father. Faith is not believing God will back our play. It is having the full assurance in our hearts that what He says, He is able to bring to pass. It is the complete confidence that if we listen to Him, He will guide us to safety and keep us forever in the shadow of His might. Let this be a revelation today.

Victory in Jesus

1 Corinthians 15: 57          Young’s Literal

And to God — thanks, to Him who is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This verse caught my eye today because of its tense. It does not say, as one might expect, that God gave us the victory in Christ. He is presently and perpetually giving us victory in every circumstance. Why is this important?

Some people think that because Jesus defeated Satan, we get to float through life as upon a cloud. This is not the case. The Amplified Version reads, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We become conquerors through Jesus. His victory can become our own. Because Jesus is victorious, we too can be.

This is the intertwined life. One can be a Christian and yet stand apart from the life in Christ. Then his victory is far removed from us. However, when we live in him and him in us as he discussed in the gospel of John, then we learn how to put on his victory in each circumstance of our lives. We are allowed to partake of his victory and claim it as if it were ours. And, it is ours, through a life intertwined with him.

So, what do I mean by this? First, you must know Christ as Lord and know of his victory. Then overcoming is through his blood and our testimony. In other words, we have to say something. That is how we put on his victory. We claim it with our words. For example, “By his stripes I am healed!” “I am blessed coming in and going out”. Whatever the Word says, when you proclaim that you are speaking Jesus’ victory into your life. Keep faith words in your mouth and meditate on God’s promises. You can put on Jesus’ victory because it was for you that he even came to earth. There would have been no contest and no victory but for God’s love for humanity. But, look around you. Are all Christians living in the victory of Christ? No. Some do and some don’t. It is not automatic. A faith stand speaking a testimony of belief clothes you with Jesus’ victory. Meditate on the promise of God. Speak it from a position of faith and don’t give in to doubt and worry. You will be a conqueror in Jesus.

Keep the Faith

Genesis 21: 4

Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

One of the observations that stood out to me in writing this week’s devotionals, was the faith and patience of the people we know as our Biblical ancestors. In yesterday’s passage from Genesis 12 we learned that Abraham was seventy-five years old when the Lord told him He was going to make a great nation of him and bless him. Then He told Abraham to pack up and go to Canaan. Twenty-five years later, God gave Abraham and Sarah the child of promise. How hard was it for them to stay in faith for twenty-five years awaiting a son when Sarah was barren anyway and they were already old? Moses waited forty years for his ministry to come to fruition.

In the book of Jeremiah, God told us that He has a good plan for us. Yea! But here is the rub, sometimes there is a gap between the revelation of the plan and its fulfillment. I wish it wasn’t so, but it sometimes is. When God gives us a vision or His plan for us, we expect the world to shake right now. When it doesn’t, there are two likely repercussions. The first if obvious – we lose our faith. We stop believing God spoke to us. Maybe we were deceived. Maybe we made it up with our own minds. That is dangerous thinking and leads to failure. We stop believing in God’s plan and make up reasons why it has not come to pass.

The other likely outcome when we do not see God’s plan unfolding right away is that we begin to help God. Abraham, Sarah and Moses all fell into that trap. They attempted to fulfill God’s plan through their own strength. This always leads to trouble. When we try to do God’s part through our own wisdom and strength, we end up with an Ishmael.

The good news is that although each of these Biblical heroes faltered, they hung in there with God and believed Him. Ultimately, they all changed the course of human history. You don’t have to be perfect. Just stick with it. Find out God’s good plan and then stay in faith praying that goal into being. Keep on praying and seeking God until you receive the promise. It may take longer than you think, but don’t give up on God because He most certainly is not giving up on you.

Science Made Faith

Genesis 1: 2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Do you believe this scripture? Why? Most of us came to accept the idea of God as the creator by simple faith. No one proved it to us. However, increasingly science is beginning to prove many Biblical precepts and events. I enjoy seeing the amalgamation of science and faith, but I begin to wonder. As we race headlong into a faith which, in fact, requires little faith, do we do ourselves and others an injustice?

In the old days, believers were just that, believers. They did not have empirical evidence to stand on. They believed because they chose to believe. That was called faith. They had to step out on unproven ground believing it would support them. I wonder if their faith wasn’t stronger because of this reality. I also wonder if God honored their faith because it was born in simple belief that He is who He says He is. Perhaps they drew closer to Him because they had to. They did not have the luxuries we enjoy so had to pull harder on those Biblical precepts and their resulting beliefs. Maybe they searched for help and for answers in the ancient scriptures and in their own hearts. Perhaps their longing for the Word was more eager because it was more desperate. They didn’t have preachers at their beck and call twenty-four hours a day. Sometimes I think the internet makes us like marionettes. Believers can have us preach at any time of the day or night and in that sense, believers don’t have to search the Word, or their own spirits as was once the case.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love seeing science prove what the Bible has taught for thousands of years. It is informative and strikes my funny bone. However, I think, perhaps, I must delve deeper into the Word this year and let it speak to my spirit. Moreover, in my seeking, I know I will find, and you know who I will find when I seek. I am still listening to what the Lord would have me tell you about 2021 but I know it is down this avenue. Seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and what you reap will be beyond, far beyond, knowledge. We will all find him in new and wonderful ways. I believe we will find a true faith that will sustain us through challenging times.

Paul’s Mission Statement

1 Timothy 1: 5

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Did you every wonder how the Apostle Paul perceived his mission? In order to complete the race the Lord has set before us, we must understand and accept our personal mission. Paul, in writing to Timothy, tells us wat his was. It is twofold. First is love, second is faith.

The first of Paul’s goals and the purpose of his instruction is to teach and lead us into pure love from both a pure heart and a good conscience. We are invited, in this little phrase, to check our hearts and our conscience. Does your conscience accuse you? Give that burden to Jesus. Ask for and receive his forgiveness. Ask him to work in your heart so that you are no longer vulnerable to whatever it was which tripped you up. How is your heart? Do you feel anger or compassion? Are you sensitive to the needs of others? Can you love others, or do you find yourself thinking mostly of your desires and needs? Check your heart and ask the Father for that which you feel you need in order to love from a pure heart. You can ask Him what your heart needs and He will help you.

Secondly, do you have a sincere faith. We have just read that Paul’s declared purpose in his writings and teachings were to lead us to a place in which we reside in a sincere faith. That means that reasoning does not take first place in our lives. Faith rises to fore. It also means that doubt meets its foe whenever it raises its head. Are you living in faith? Is faith your constant companion? Faith is a shield, and you need it in good shape.

Give attention to your heart and your faith today. Perform some First Aid on these two vital areas, if need be, or simply nurture them if that is what is called for. Don’t ignore them. Perform a check-up to make sure you are fortified and living the faithful life of a loving believer.

Fear, Faith and Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1: 30

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God.

My friend, Ann, brought up a really good point recently. She expressed concern over whether we are walking in faith or fear. This is always a good question but especially now during the corona virus situation. The virus is a real thing and has impacted every life. However, we must stand in faith if we are to eradicate it. Fear will undermine our fight. So, are you praying in faith or fear?

Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, (John 14: 23). If this means anything it means we walk in a way which is consistent with his teaching. This necessarily means we must walk in faith. This is where Ann’s concern lies. Are we praying about our health, the virus, etc. and feel that we are praying in faith but then cowering in fear in our daily walk? Do we expect God to protect us and our families or are our actions colored by fear? Jesus teaches us faith and wisdom and that is the model which will get us through.

No one is suggesting that any of us go expose ourselves to the corona virus intentionally and dare it to infect us. That is not faith. It is foolishness. We are to be led by God in Godly wisdom. When you walk in God’s wisdom there is no reason to fear. Fear contaminates faith. We are either in faith or fear but not both. If we pray in faith and then succumb to fear, it will contaminate our faith. So, we must build ourselves up on our most holy faith (Jude 1: 20), but how do we do build ourselves up in holy faith? Jude says it come by praying in the Holy Spirit (ibid). If you feel fear arising in your heart, pray in the Holy Spirit. Allow the Spirit of God to fill you.

Let’s be smart. Let’s walk in wisdom. Take your vitamins, eat a healthy diet of whole foods, drink plenty of water, wash your hands, wear your mask, etc. but don’t let those things be an excuse for failing to feed your spirit with the faith it needs. Then stand in your most holy faith knowing that your God is for you and with you. Let faith and wisdom speak to your heart and guide your prayers. Sing in faith and let not fear have a root in your heart. Your faith overcomes mountains. Let God guide your prayers and devotional time. Let Him speak to your heart and build you up. And, bless the Lord.


Colossians 3: 12 – 14

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

As you may have noticed, I am reading Colossians, the third chapter, and if you look at the digital Bible I am reading from, you will see that almost every verse is highlighted and the only reason it isn’t all highlighted is because I restrained myself. This chapter is a primer for the what the Christian life is to be. Today’s passage really spoke to me and I want to suggest that it is the seminal passage for this time in our history. However, we are so far from this paradigm right now, that I hesitate to speak what alit on my heart as I read it. Then again, many writers of truth have been shouted down throughout history and berated for speaking the truth. Just look at Paul, John and Peter for starters.

In trying times, and these certainly are, the kindness of God and His love are needed above all things. The language of love is what will resonate and it will resound above all else. Love is a hard thing, though, because it does not, under any circumstances, lie. Sometimes the truth is the hardest thing you will ever have to tell someone.

In trying to navigate the stress and to come to grips with a changing world, this advice from Paul resonates loudly. We must approach the changing dynamics from God’s perspective of compassion and love. Life is a challenged right now, I know, and that is why I want to offer this passage. I know some people feel trapped by the rhetoric. The political left has its message but on a different subject we are assailed by the right. Most people in the country can identify with some “ism”. Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and every other identifiable race, excluding whites, has felt the sting of racism. Women have been abused, neglected, marginalized and discriminated against the world over. Even white males get old and are no longer viewed as valuable. It seems most are either the wrong race, gender or age. Then there is the gay and transgendered community. Many people would not think twice about making derogatory comments about this group. Not long ago people were saying that God created AIDS to eliminate them. Wow!

The only real answer for any of this is the love and compassion of God. If we don’t take our stressors to God in prayer and wield the love and patience of God, I fear we will never make any meaningful change. God changes hearts. I want to bring this discussion to a broad market. In response to the corona virus challenge, we all need to apply the love, patience, compassion and gentleness of God. I am not advocating passivity or a lack in your conviction. In fact, I advocate just the opposite. I want people of passion. I just wonder if we are taking our troubles to the Lord or just ranting on Facebook. We are the answer to the problem. If the Christians will adopt today’s passage and marry it with a strong dose, and a continuing practice of prayer, we can effect real change. God can soften hearts and change the course of human history. Whether right or left, the answer is the same – God! Faith only works by love which is why today’s passage is so important.

Paul had to deal with a changing environment too. He lived in very tumultuous times. For goodness sake, the Messiah had just been crucified. Followers of Jesus were facing the same fate. Those are dire circumstances. Yet, he understood that the real power in the community was love, compassion and prayer. Love moves mountains.

There are lots of stressors in our lives right now. Some of you are on furlough and worried about feeding your families. The number of cases of Covid 19 is still rising in some areas. The economy is fragile. People want the economy open; others see that as a risk. We have racial tension, police brutality and in some cases, lawlessness. It is a fine balancing act at this time. And in the wings is a Presidential election with all the turmoil that interjects. We need help.

Please hear me clearly, I am not criticizing anyone’s reactions to the situations or stress in their lives. I am recognizing that people are under enormous stress. The purpose of this writing is to suggest that God is the way and that we need Him like never before. Regardless of our beliefs, there is one constant and one ultimate truth: our God. This, then, is an appeal to adopt this language from Paul as our refrain and further, to passionately and resolutely take our problems to God. As we meditate upon these ideals, what will God speak to our hearts?

There is no one on the planet who has not been affected by the circumstances of 2020. God cares what is going on in your heart. He cares about your pains and worries. He cares that you feel stressed to the point of breaking or that you have been isolated from friends and family for months. He knows of your anxiety and is compassionate. He wants to aid you.

Let’s just look at this one more time – “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Though I have not written, specifically, on them, let us not overlook the words kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and unity.

No matter where we stand politically or on any given issue, we are all those “who have been chosen of God.” We are the people God has in the earth. We have an awesome ability to take everything to Him in compassioned prayer. Let us not miss our calling oh chosen ones of God. Let us recommit ourselves to prayer and remember, that person across the aisle may not think like you, but they are, none the less, a child of God and valued in His sight.