Blessed Refuge

Psalm 5: 11 – 12

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Let them sing with joy forever. Protect them, and let those who love your name triumph in you. You bless righteous people, O Lord. Like a large shield, you surround them with your favor.

I hope you are enjoying this sojourn through the psalms. David reminds us, today, that there is blessing, success, victory, protection, joy and favor for those who take refuge in the Lord.

David found his respite in the Lord.  He had a way of intertwining his existence with that of God and that was an uncommon space for the Old Testament believer. I love reading David for this reason. He had an enviable relationship with the Lord. We get to peer into this relationship through the songs written by David. Can’t you almost hear his heart soar as he sings, “Let them sing with joy forever.” As he wrote these words, I believe he was basking in the presence of the Lord. You can hear the praise and reverence in David’s lyrics but you also sense the deep intimacy he had with Yahweh.

As you read this psalm, you hear about the favor of God surrounding you. You may even rejoice at the simple acceptance that God blesses us, His righteousness. Most of all, though, today I hope that you will not only hear the substance of David’s song but even more so the tone of his conversation with the Lord. I hope that through these words, you will glimpse the heart and passion of David seeing the inspiration of his affection for the Lord. I think if we will take our time with these words, we will find our own hearts stirred. Maybe we will raise our voices or pen a beautiful lyric of our own. Maybe you can write a love song to the Lord. If you do, I hope you will share it with the rest of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Rejoice in Him.

Take Heart

Luke 10: 19

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

I have written to you recently about the authority of the church over the power of the enemy. This is a delicate and somewhat perplexing topic but by writing to you about it I hope to encourage clarity or at least inspired consideration. The problem is that as a body, we seem uncertain about our position relative to the devil. Does he have any power? Is he a defeated foe? Why is there any Biblical discussion about “the enemy” since Jesus marched into hell and took the keys from Satan?

These are all very good questions and important ones. If you actually have an enemy but are unaware that said enemy is plotting against you, then you are defenseless. If you are conscious of the enemy, is it possible to give him too much credit and subsequently fall victim to another deception, that of chasing demons? We are not naïve. We know by now, and the scriptures inform us, that there is an enemy and his name is Satan. He has been the enemy of humanity since the beginning. The real question seems to be, what power and/or influence does he wield today? The parallel question is, didn’t Jesus’ victory whip the devil forever? Good question – glad you asked.

Today’s verse encapsulates the answer. I will state it this way even though it is a bit of an overstatement, Jesus defeated the devil, but have you? What I intend to imply is that Jesus has done his part but there is still something we must do in order for his victory to be effective in our lives. Look again at today’s verse. Jesus said he has given power to us. Okay, that is easy enough to understand but why need he give power to us if he has already defeated the enemy? He said, “nothing shall by any means hurt you.” There is a huge assumption in this last statement though, the assumption being that we have employed the power he has given us.

Because of Jesus’ victory we too can stand victorious against the devil. Too many of us believe, erroneously, that Jesus’ victory gives us a free pass. That is to say, sometimes we think we do not have to do anything in order to live the triumphant life Jesus won for us. I thought the same thing as a young person. I thought being a Christian meant that I should live a, relatively, care free, trouble free life. Well, I learned better and frankly, that belief is not even scriptural. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16: 33). That is a clear statement of fact. However, it is not the end of the story and here is where Jesus’ triumph over Satan comes in. The end of John 16: 33 records Jesus saying, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In other words, yes, the world will bring you trouble and you will be troubled all the days of your life UNLESS you apply Jesus’ overcoming power. Jesus said being “in him” is the victory that overcomes the world. This is the key point we must come to understand. Jesus won the victory for us but it is we who must overcome using that which he has provided. In him is peace, perfect peace. So take heart and use all that Jesus won for you.