Truth is a Refuge

He will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities; He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge: His truth is a shield and protection. – Psalm 91:3-4

Psalm 91 is a favorite psalm of many believers. In it, God has given us a powerful picture oftruth the protection that is ours when we take refuge in Him. This doesn’t mean we are exempt from suffering, however. More important than just physical safety, God is able to keep our soul from eternal destruction. Nothing can snatch us from His hand. Nothing can separate us from His love. He will deliver us from the schemes of the enemy when we put our trust in Him.

The enemy, who prowls around hunting for his next victim, cannot find me when I am hidden in the secret place of the Most High. I am also safe from the plague of calamities – circumstances that test, hinder, and try to defeat me; that steal my peace and joy. I am oblivious to them when I am hidden in Him, for He is all I see and am aware of. When trials come, keeping my eyes fixed on Him instead of my problems will enable me to stay at peace.

He will rescue me though it may often appear as if I will be overtaken. He will come and snatch me out before I am overcome. He is my God, in whom I trust. I must trust Him no matter what is going on around me or how things may appear. He will rescue me, for that is His promise and He cannot lie.

Pinion is another word for wing or feather. His wings and feathers cover me. His truth is a shield and protection; a covering and refuge. His truth is His Word, His name, His nature, and His character, for He is the truth. Truth is a person, and His name is Jesus. Truth is my covering, my shield and protection; it is my refuge where I am safe. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are kept safe.

When I live, walk, and speak truth I have nothing to fear from God or from man, for the truth sets me free. The enemy has no place in me when I walk in agreement with God, so I don’t fear what he could do to me either. Truth is the belt that holds all the other parts of the armor of God in place. To live in truth is to live in Him, and to live in Him is to live in truth. There is no darkness or deception in Him.

 

Advertisements

The Marks of True Spiritual Authority

I’m late getting this post done this week because of things I had going on this pastlion weekend, so, better late than never, as they say. I don’t normally feel inspired to write, but today I was soaking up some glorious sunshine in my back yard and had a thought hit me that I felt I should write about.

As with all of my posts, I write, not from the perspective of an expert, but from one journeying toward maturity. I have found that sharing the things I am learning not only often helps others, but it helps me process and take to heart what I am gleaning along the way. In fact, one key to discipleship, I believe, is to have some who speak into our lives, and others whose lives we pour into. It should be a circle, a cycle, of receiving and giving, receiving and giving, that continues until we reach the end of our lives. But this is not the subject of today’s post.

What came to me was a topic the Lord began to teach me about several years ago. In my spirit, I heard Him say, “I am going to teach you about true spiritual authority because what you have been taught until now has come from a spirit of control.” My initial reaction, as it usually is when He speaks to me, was one of bewilderment, like, “Huh?” “What do You mean?” But He had my attention, so I began to listen and journal what He showed me.

Many seek and/or claim positions of authority, but true spiritual authority is only given by God, the Ultimate Authority of heaven and earth. (Matt. 28:18) Those who confer authority upon themselves are often wounded and in need of healing. Their so called authority is a cover for their fear, pride and insecurity, and a vehicle by which they seek to control others. In order to gain authority, they will seek to usurp it from those having true God given authority. (See the story of Absalom and David in 1 Sam. 13-15) Spiritual hosts, both heavenly and demonic, recognize true spiritual authority. (Acts 19:13-16; Acts 16:16-18; Dan. 9:21-27)

Those God gives authority to will be humble, as seen in the examples of Joseph, Daniel, and Moses, among others. Rather than seeking to control, they will strive to spur those around them unto maturity and fruit bearing. (John 15; 1 Thess. 2:4-12) True authority is given for the purpose of pulling down that which is not of God, and building up that which is. (Jer. 1:10) This purpose is accomplished through intimacy with God and intercession, coming into agreement with His will, not ours. (Matt. 26:39, 42; 6:9-10) Those whom God gives authority to will face extraordinary tests and trials, as seen in the lives of Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus, to name a few. These afflictions serve to burn away selfish ambition, pride, insecurity, fear of man, arrogance and anything else that would hinder the purpose for which He conferred it.

Jesus is always our model for life and ministry. As Sovereign of all creation, He is the source of all true authority for He will rule and reign forever and ever. We should be wary of those claiming positions of authority that are not noticeably growing in Christlikeness, who are arrogant and boastful, prideful and controlling. Those who gather followers unto themselves, as Absalom, are also to be avoided. We can trust leaders who have the heart of our Good Shepherd for He will never, ever lead us astray. We must pray for those whom God has granted authority to, for the body of Christ will never become the bride without them.

The Jesus You Thought You Knew

As I continue to contemplate what God is doing in this season of my life, I recognize road-to-emmausanother “theme,” for lack of a better word. I am reminded of a book I read years ago by Graham Cooke called, Hiddenness and Manifestation. The gist of the book is how God reveals Himself differently in different seasons of life in order to broaden and deepen our revelation of who He is and what He is like. It also speaks of how, at times, He is easily seen and felt in our emotions, and other times it seems, He is a million miles away. We can’t see or feel His presence and it may be more difficult to hear His voice.

I went through an incredible eight year season of manifestation that began in 2004 and began subsiding in 2012. It was as if God was right beside me continually – I could feel His presence, hear His voice, sense His heart, feel His pleasure towards me. It was the most incredible season of my journey thus far! I was full of joy, nothing angered or upset me, I didn’t worry about anything…I had never before experienced this level of intimacy with my Lord. Even the difficulties I went through didn’t detract from the peace and confidence I felt.

About eight years later, the trials became more intense and seemed to multiply in different directions – health, ministry, relationships, finances; it seemed I was being bombarded from every direction. Gradually, over time, the nearness of His presence began to wane. It was more difficult to hear His voice and sense His heart. In short, He was transitioning me to see a new revelation of Himself. Job went through a similar situation. After the loss of his wealth, children, and health, he realized he didn’t know God as well as he thought he did. He said, “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.”

Mary Magdalene also received a new view of Jesus after His resurrection at the tomb. She first thought He was the gardener because He looked differently than He had before. When He says her name, her response is, “Rabboni,” (which means Teacher). Up until that time, that was the revelation she had of Him – a Teacher – yet here she saw Him in His glorified state as the One who conquered death and the grave.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus also saw a new side of Jesus. As He walked alongside them on their journey, “He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures  concerning Himself.” Yet they didn’t recognize Him as the Living Word until He broke bread with them and their eyes were opened.

There are many other examples, of course. What about you? Has Jesus revealed Himself to you in ways you didn’t recognize at first? Has He hidden Himself from your emotions? He does this to prepare you to see Him in a new way. Ask Him today, “Lord, open my eyes to see all You would have me to see, that I may know You and love You more.”

 

Truth is a Refuge

He will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities; He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge: His truth is a shield and protection. – Psalm 91:3-4

Psalm 91 is a favorite psalm of many believers. In it, God has given us a powerful picture oftruth the protection that is ours when we take refuge in Him. This doesn’t mean we are exempt from suffering, however. More important than just physical safety, God is able to keep our soul from eternal destruction. Nothing can snatch us from His hand. Nothing can separate us from His love. He will deliver us from the schemes of the enemy when we put our trust in Him.

The enemy, who prowls around hunting for his next victim, cannot find me when I am hidden in the secret place of the Most High. I am also safe from the plague of calamities – circumstances that test, hinder, and try to defeat me; that steal my peace and joy. I am oblivious to them when I am hidden in Him, for He is all I see and am aware of. When trials come, keeping my eyes fixed on Him instead of my problems will enable me to stay at peace.

He will rescue me though it may often appear as if I will be overtaken. He will come and snatch me out before I am overcome. He is my God, in whom I trust. I must trust Him no matter what is going on around me or how things may appear. He will rescue me, for that is His promise and He cannot lie.

Pinion is another word for wing or feather. His wings and feathers cover me. His truth is a shield and protection; a covering and refuge. His truth is His Word, His name, His nature, and His character, for He is the truth. Truth is a person, and His name is Jesus. Truth is my covering, my shield and protection; it is my refuge where I am safe. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are kept safe.

When I live, walk, and speak truth I have nothing to fear from God or from man, for the truth sets me free. The enemy has no place in me when I walk in agreement with God, so I don’t fear what he could do to me either. Truth is the belt that holds all the other parts of the armor of God in place. To live in truth is to live in Him, and to live in Him is to live in truth. There is no darkness or deception in Him.

 

Abundant and Lavish Grace

In union with Him, through the shedding of His blood, we are set free – our sins are forgiven; this accords with the wealth of the grace He has lavished on us. In all His wisdom and insight He has made known to us His secret plan, which by His own will He designed beforehand in connection with the Messiah, and will put into effect when the time is ripe – His plan to place everything in heaven and on earth under the Messiah’s headship. (Eph. 1:7-10)

We who are believers and followers of Jesus are one with Him – in union with Him – because of the willing sacrifice of His life and His blood. As a result, we are set free from the power of sin; free to live for Him rather than for ourselves – and free from its consequences which are death and hell; eternal separation from God. He no longer looks at or counts our sins against us; we are free from guilt, shame, blame, condemnation and accusation – free from punishment, for Jesus took it in our place.

This incredible gift He has given us is both in keeping with and an indication of the super abundant amount of grace He has given, or lavished on us.  These words are an attempt to describe the overflowing, abundant, excessiveness of God’s love and grace for us; it is more than we can even comprehend! This is just one of the blessings that make up the “every spiritual blessing” list that we have in and through Him.

He has and is all wisdom and insight, and it was His unlimited wisdom and insight to choose to reveal His plan to us – His secret plan. This plan was devised by the Triune God beforehand – before creation ever came to be. God’s ultimate plan is to bring all of creation into submission to the leadership and Lordship of Jesus. He reveals His will and plans to us not just so we understand what He is doing and why He is doing it, but also so we can cooperate with His plans and thus hasten the day of their fulfillment rather than resist them.

Mankind, being the last of God’s creation, will be the first to be brought under His Lordship as spoken of in Romans 8:19, for creation itself is longing for the manifestation of the sons of God. As we understand and step into our identity as His sons and daughters, walking in the authority He has given us, we will in turn spread His dominion throughout the earth, establishing His kingdom here as it is in heaven where He already rules and reigns as Lord over all. The complete consummation of this plan will take effect once Jesus returns to earth, but began with the birth of the ekklesia.