THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD…

Spiritual Blog - Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  NASU

 

I have heard many sermons, read many books, and heard many theories on the Armor of God and most of the time the omit the last few verses about Prayer and Perseverance.  I have heard sermons and theories that suggest that this is a formula to be done in a ritualistic fashion daily.  I usually resist spiritual formulas for I have found that frequently they result in trusting the formula rather than focusing on, seeking, and trusting God. That is tragic and troubling but human nature desires a simple 1-2-3 formula to make things both easy and convenient.  Christianity is neither and both depending on WHO we are trusting.

I believe that God’s Word, the Bible, is His infallible rule of faith and practice and it is GOD’S WORD, making it Truth of the highest order.  I also believe that God engineered every recorded passage in the order they were recorded for a reason.  I do not ascribe to random chance but that God had a plan and purpose and placed every passage in the place and order we find them for a reason.  Likewise, when I study things like the “Full or Whole Armor of God” I am convinced they are at the conclusion of Paul’s words to the Ephesians for a reason and to indicate their importance. I also believe that the order they are listed is of importance and it would behoove us to consider them in the order listed and seek to discover why they are listed and the purpose or significance of their order.  That is an impossible task in a short devotional and every time I examine this I discover something I had not seen before, so this is an ever, expanding journey for me, as is much of the Bible.

Let’s take my premise and theory that these pieces of armor are where they are for a purpose and in the order in which they are listed for a reason.  I also understand from a practical consideration of how a Roman Soldier would put on his armor the order listed is not necessarily the order he would follow.  Is that a discrepancy?  Not in my mind, but let’s consider what the armor is and what its function is as we consider the order and importance of each item.

The first piece of armor listed is the GIRDLE or BELT OF TRUTH.  The purpose of the belt for the Roman Soldier was to hold all the other pieces together and allow him to move freely as well as fight, without encumbrance.  I believe that this piece of Spiritual Armor is first because it is described as a covering for the loins rather than just being listed as a belt around the waist.  The latter could be exactly what is being described but it is my conviction that the loins were mentioned because of them being the source of reproduction and the BELT or GIRDLE OF TRUTH covers our sexual purity as well as is the source of Life that comes forth from us.  Therefore, ensuring that we are pure in our interpersonal relationships is critical to being a good Soldier of the Cross.  The Loins indicate the importance of reproduction and connecting it to the spiritual reminds us that all that is reproduced in us is to be filtered through TRUTH.  It also indicates the need to be READY and PREPARED for battle at all times!  The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is The TRUTH and Jesus made it clear that TRUTH is the Word of the Father.  We also know that Jesus is the Word of God and that Word was made flesh and dwelt among men.  It was through the Word that the worlds were framed and everything that was made was made or created.  TRUTH is the first piece of armor listed because of its importance.  When we put on the GIRDLE or BELT of Truth we are putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and He is holding everything together in our lives so that the rest of the armor can function and we can fight the good fight of faith.

We are told to SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and if we get first things first in our armament we will be able to more effectively receive and utilize the rest of the armor.  God is always about First Things First and if we allow that to become fixed in our minds we will become seekers of truth and truth is Jesus!

I have much more to say on this subject but will pause here and pray that the Holy Spirit will burn this in your heart and cause you to become a seeker of truth more than you have ever been.  God, bless you richly as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

 

FIGHTING ALONE IS A FLAWED PHILOSOPHY…

Spiritual Blog - Fighting

2 Timothy 4:16-18 – “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”  NKJV

 

In life, everyone has battles, everyone!  Some attempt to deny their existence but they exist.  Some, desire such anonymity and privacy they never confess their struggles or the need of help from anyone and fight alone.  Some have a false sense of their importance and strength and believe they need no one, so they fight alone.  In the spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, or political fighting alone is a flawed philosophy that results in defeat or delayed victory.  It produces hurt, wounds, casualties, and difficulties that might well have been avoided by being UNITED with others of like precious faith.

I am cognizant of the importance of developing ability, courage, confidence, and trust as we endure the struggles of life.  There are some battles no one can fight for us, although they can stand with us in prayer, the battle is ours.  David knew what it was like to stand alone, or without human help as a shepherd.  It was his responsibility to defend the sheep with his life, if necessary, and he did as he defeated the lion and the bear.  Those events, inspired trust, and confidence in his heart that God to be that friend of Proverbs 18:24, who ‘sticks closer than a brother.’  Thus, when he was faced with his epic battle with Goliath the Philistine champion his words express the root of his confidence and awareness that he was NEVER ALONE.  When Goliath expressed anger over being disrespected by Israel for sending out a boy to fight him, David, revealed the heart of a warrior who knew an inner secret many never know.  David said, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46).  David was alone but he was not alone!

Elijah felt that intense aloneness after his battle with Jezebel and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel and told the LORD, “I alone am left; they seek my life.”  God chastened him and said, “Elijah, Elijah, Elijah, you forget who I am.  I have seven thousand in Israel, who have not bowed their knee to Baal and they will stand with you.”  (Roy’s paraphrase).  YOU ARE NOT ALONE so STOP BEING ALONE!  You are not invincible so stop pretending to be. You are not superman or superwoman you need others.  Remember the counsel given in Ecclesiastes 4 that two are better than one and that although one may be overpowered by another, two united can withstand and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  When two horses pull in tandem they get the strength of a third invisible horse added to their efforts.  Yes, God is with us but there are times when we need to open our hearts and allow others to join our struggle and the multiplied power of unity brings victory.  In 2 Chronicles when King Jehoshaphat and Israel were facing sure defeat God said told him to not be afraid because “the battle is not yours, but mine!” 

In America, today, in the church, society, and government there is a war raging that is destroying individuals, many of whom, are trying to stand alone.  In life, we sometimes face battles in potentially deadly disease and we err if we try to fight that fight alone.  The Bible tells us to CALL for the elders.  It did not say for the elders to seek us out but for us to open our hearts, acknowledge our need and REQUEST HELP.  We need others to join their faith with us to fight the fight before us.  In matters, spiritual, if we try to stand alone, we may well be overcome by the immensity of the assault and become discouraged or even so fatigued that we give up and give in.  But, if we UNITE with others of like precious faith we form a threefold cord where the one that is down is encouraged, the weak is strengthened, the feeble hands or lifted up, and TOGETHER we win the fight.

In America, we are dangerously divided to the point that even people of faith are at odds with each other.  Lasciviousness, selfishness, independence, and pride often prevent our willingness to UNITE with others to combat the destructive plague.  When we fight a unified fight, someone must lead otherwise there is chaos but the ultimate head must be Christ.  When we fight a unified fight, we must keep our eyes on the true objective rather than succumb to personal preferences and desires.  When we fight a unified fight, we commit to the struggle to the end or death as America did in World War II where we determined that it was Victory regardless the cost, sacrifice, struggle, duration, or demand.

Standing alone makes one an easy target and the stress of the battle will fatigue even the hardiest of souls.  Discouragement is often the key to defeat but when UNITED one encourages another and the courage of one becomes the courage of all.  We, as iron, sharpen the iron of each other and whereas individually we have only so much strength, collectively we have incredible power.  That is emphasized in Deuteronomy 32 where we find that one can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight.  If you extrapolate that you discover that the threefold cord is enormous and the fourth man in the fire provides victorious strength.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE so STOP BEING ALONE.  We are the BODY of Christ and the UNITED States of America so whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or politically seek and receive the help and strength of others and most importantly the LORD.

God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire!

THE LOST MESSAGE – – Commitment… [Conclusion]

Spiritual Blog - Commitment

Matthew 16:24-27 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”  NASU

 

If commitment is as important as I am contending and the Bible declares then I must ask, “Why is it not more prevalent and evident in today’s church?”  That is a question that I hope sticks in your consciousness and propels you to conduct an examination of your own heart, life, and condition.  If it does that, God will bring you to a conclusion that will help you enter into a Covenant Relationship with Him that is anchored in COMMITMENT.

WHEN JESUS TAKES TOTAL LORDSHIP OF YOUR LIFE, YOU WILL FIND AN OVERFLOW OF SPONTANEOUS JOY…

In short, being a Christian who is totally committed to God will make you a fun person.  No, you won’t sit, soak, and sour but you will be filled with the oil of gladness and enjoy life.  You will become somewhat magnetic because of the excellent spirit in you.  There will be a Spirit of Joy in your life that will draw people like honey draws flies.  The presence of Jesus brings Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

I heard the story of a preacher who had been invited to speak at a college and in the course of events he was invited to a prayer meeting.  In that meeting one of the people praying kept praying for someone, describing their life, where they lived and called them by name.  The prayer was focused on this individual’s plans to leave his wife and family and run off with another woman.  He prayed, it over and over.  After the prayer meeting, this guest speaker got in his car to drive back to his hotel and encountered a man on the turnpike and felt prompted to pick him up.  The man got in the car expressing his gratitude for the ride and gave his name.  The name of the man targeted in prayer just minutes before.  The preacher exited the freeway and headed back to the prayer meeting area to the surprise of his passenger. The man asked, “What are you doing?”  The preacher said, “I’m taking you home.”  The passenger asked, “Why?”  The preacher said, “Because you are leaving your wife and children and you need to go home.”  The man was in shock and asked, “How do you know that?”  The preacher said, “God told me.”  There is no greater joy than knowing that your life is under the control of the Holy Spirit.

WHEN JESUS TAKES TOTAL LORDSHIP OF YOUR LIFE EXPECT TIMES OF SORROW AND SUFFERING TO FOLLOW…

One of the results of coming to Christ in total commitment is that your heart will be broken by what breaks His heart. The things that make Him cry will make you cry. You will have His heart and mind.  There are places in the world where children are intentionally crippled to make them better beggars.  Imagine standing in a bread line and having to tell the next person in line, “Sorry there is nothing else?”  We focus so much on ourselves that we are insulated from the plight of much of the world.  When we become possessed by the Lord in total commitment and His mind becomes our mind we will enter into His suffering and the suffering of others will impact our lives.  There is incredible Joy in walking in Jesus, but there is also Agony.  We are told to “Bear one another’s burdens.”

WHEN JESUS TAKES TOTAL LORDSHIP OF OUR LIVES WE WILL EXPERIENCE HIS ANGER AND IT WILL BECOME OURS…

We will hate sin and the ravages of sin.  I believe that political oppression, racism, sexism, abortion, homosexuality, perversion, pedophilia, terrorism, drugs, humanism, and apathy make Him angry.  1 John 3:8 tells us that, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil…  When you become a Christian, those things that break the heart of God and anger Him will do the same to you.  We will rise up and declare, “Lord, I am ready to join you in destroying the works of the devil and recovering our inheritance in Jesus.”

The Gospel is not simply that we go to heaven when we die it is that Jesus is here and now and He will enter into your life and remove those things that hinder and defile.  He will purge you of many cultural ideas and traditions that hinder.  The Gospel causes you to LOVE, to Love God and to Love People like you have never loved before.  When Jesus takes total control of your life He transforms you into somebody He can use to change your world and in so doing change the world.  That will never happen without COMMITMENT!

God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THE LOST MESSAGE – – Commitment… [Continued]

Spiritual Blog - Commitment

Matthew 16:24-27 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”  NASU

 

Continuing with the thought of last time I have a question.  ARE YOU COMMITTED?  I realize that this may make some nervous, and without apology, I ask the question, because I believe it is at the heart of the Message of Jesus and is Truth.  Are you committed in your finances, attitudes, and actions?  Are you willing to DO WHATEVER the Lord asks you to do?  Are you willing to BE WHATEVER He wants you to be?  Are you willing to GO WHEREVER He wants you to go?  Are you Committed?  Is He truly and demonstrably Number One in your life?  The key word is COMMITMENT and it is one of the most noticeable missing messages of today.

Preachers tell us repeatedly WHO Jesus is and WHO we are or can be in Him.  Yet, that knowledge is of little significance without COMMITMENT.  There is no cheap grace in God.  Yes, it is totally free, completely unearned, and unmerited but IT IS NEVER CHEAP.  He has not called you to be a nice, church-going, Sunday School teacher, choir member, deacon, elder, or singer.  He has called you to be a COMMITTED DISCIPLE.  (Matthew 6:33).  He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.  We are instructed that we are to be doers of the Word, not hearers only, so DOING what Jesus would do is at the core of our Christian Life.  I do not mean willpower and suicidal self-sacrifice, I mean allowing Him to LIVE HIS LIFE in and through us.  That requires cooperation and commitment.  You still have the ability to choose but your choice is HIM and HIS WILL.  Being a Christian and a Disciple is living out life as Jesus would, regardless of how difficult maintaining that commitment might be.  It is allowing Jesus to live IN and THROUGH us.  There is a vast difference between trying to live for god and allowing Jesus to live His life through us.

JESUS WANTS TO COME INTO OUR LIVES AND HELP US LIVE OUT HIS WILL IN OUR DAILY LIVES…

Let me make it clear that the Lord does not come and ask us to DO what He would do, He offers to COME INTO and ENABLE us to do whatever He wants.  That requires Commitment.

I don’t know how many reading this are old enough or have read the account of miler Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes but there is a great message in his story.  On one occasion, he pulled away from the pack and the crowd went wild.  He continued to pick up the pace and everyone knew that it would be a sub-four-minute mile.  When he crossed the finish line, the crowd exploded and while they were screaming in jubilation Roger Bannister was collapsing in exhaustion.  The point I want to convey is that in order to perform that feat which Bannister accomplished he had to have both ABILITY and WILL.  It required incredible COMMITMENT.  It is the same in living for and through the Lord.  We lack both the ability and will within ourselves but THE GOOD NEWS is that when we open our hearts and allow Jesus to come in and possess us HE ENABLE US and the life we live in the flesh is His life coming forth.  Remember Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.”

We must become COMMITTED to Jesus, not simply believe in His existence.  We need to say to the Lord, “Lord, I want you to come into my life and possess me, enabling me to do what I could never do on my own; to will what I could never will before; to live as I could never live in my own strength.”  THE GOOD NEWS is that when that happens, Jesus comes in and possess us and His Joy floods our hearts.  As you know His Joy, you know Joy like you have never known and could never know aside from Him.  It is Life Changing!

I need to track this truth a bit further so I will pause for now and pick this up in the next devotional.  Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you and guard you in all things and always.  

THE LOST MESSAGE – – Commitment…

Spiritual Blog - Commitment

Matthew 16:24-27 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.”  NASU

             

           When I preached from this text regarding Commitment and identified it as the Church’s Lost Message someone asked, “Roy, do you really believe that?”  YES, I DO and I’ll gladly explain what I believe about commitment, its importance and I believe you will understand why I consider it so vital for today and how I could conclude that it has largely been lost in our preaching today.

We have a world full of people SEARCHING.  Some are searching for themselves.  Some are searching for peace. Some are searching for fulfillment.  But people are searching even if they do not realize they are searching.  The Church has the message of hope and the answer to the societal problems existing today and is, too often, keeping it under wraps and treating it like it is a message that only the elite club members can access.  People are trying to find the REAL THEM and in their desperation, they have adopted many ideas, beliefs, practices, and religious trappings that are producing no peace and affording no real identity.

I heard a preacher tell a story about a student going to his professor and telling the professor that he was going to take a semester off from school. The professor dutifully asked why and the student informed him that he needed time to FIND HIMSELF.  He said, “Professor, I am tired of playing the societal roles that have been forced on me by friends, family, church, school, etc.  I am tired of trying to be what they expect me to be and I need time to peel away all the socially prescribed identities and find the REAL ME.”  The professor paused a moment and asked, “Just suppose that after you peel away each of those socially prescribed identities or selves you discover you are an onion?”  Think about that.  What happens when you peel away all the skins of an onion?  What is left?  NOTHING because an onion is nothing more than the sum of its skins.  The REAL YOU cannot be not found in philosophy it is found in CHRIST! Too many are hoping to find themselves while God wants us to BECOME what He has created.  The only way to create an identity and find meaning to life is COMMITMENT.  More specifically, Commitment to Christ.  Jesus is our ULTIMATE REALITY!

Years ago, I read the account of the famous tightrope walker named Charles Blondin, a Frenchman who in the late 1890’s decided he would walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  There were ten thousand screaming people cheering him on or watching to see if he would fall to his death.  The day came and he inched his way from the Canadian side to the U.S. side of the falls and the crowd erupted shouting his name, “Blondin, Blondin, Blondin…”  He reached the other side, raised his arms, and said, “I am Blondin, do you believe in me?”  They screamed, YES and began chanting, WE BELIEVE, WE BELIEVE, WE BELIEVE.  He quieted the crowd again and said, “I’m going to walk back across but this time I’m going to do it with someone on my back, do you believe I can do that?”  The crowd was delirious shouting WE BELIEVE, WE BELIEVE.  He raised his hands again and asked, “Who will be that person?”  TOTAL SILENCE fell on the crowd.  Finally, one man stepped out of the crowd and climbed on the shoulders of the tightrope walker and for the next three and one-half hours, they inched their way across the Falls.  Ten thousand people shouted WE BELIEVE but one man demonstrated FAITH.  Believing is not simply saying, “I accept the facts” it is GIVING YOURSELF into the hands of the one whom you declare you believe.  BELIEVING involves COMMITMENT!

I believe that one of the most alarming and serious issues in the church today is that it is filled with believers it is seriously devoid of Committed Disciples.  I find believers everywhere and that is good, but I wonder how many who believe or claim to believe are truly COMMITTED?  I contend that you could likely go to the local bar and nudge the guy next to you on the stool asking, “Do you believe in Jesus?” and he’d probably say yes.  That’s the problem.  Many know about God and believe there is a God and that Jesus is real, but that does not make them Committed Disciples of the Lord.  The thing that makes a person a Disciple isn’t just believing the Right Stuff it is COMMITMENT.  It is turning your total life over to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is becoming a TOTALLY COMMITTED DISCIPLE of the Kingdom.

Commitment, in my view, is a serious problem and one of the reasons Jesus asked in Luke 18:8, “…when the Sone of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?”  It is not enough to say, LORD, LORD we must fully surrender our hearts, minds, and lives to Him.  I want to say more on this subject so I will pause here and take this up in the next devotional.  God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire.

 

PSALM 46 REMEDY FOR BEING OVERSTRESSED… [Continued]

Spiritual Blog - Stress

Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”  NKJV

 

The Psalmist tells us in verse 10, “Cease Striving and know that I am God.”  The word CEASE in the Hebrew means “relax.”  You will never discover the tent of Power that God desires to build over each of us if we keep scurrying around, fretting stressed out with pressure.  Stress will ultimately win out and destroy you if you do not learn to “Cast all your care on the Lord…”  I read a Poem a few years ago, that I will share with you and hope it inspires and encourages you.

 

“Slow Me down, Lord.  Ease the pounding of my heart by quieting my mind.  Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.  Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.  Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.

             Teach me the art of taking minute vacations, of slowing down and looking at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to smile at a child, to read a few lines from a good book.  Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values, that I may grow toward my greater destiny.

             Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing speed.  Let me look upward to the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because  it grew slowly and well.”

             That resonates in my heart powerfully.  In order for God to counteract the incredible toll that stress takes, WE MUST SLOW DOWN!  It is MY STRESS countered by GOD’S STRENGTH!  Let me offer three practical thoughts regarding the matter of finding God’s Strength in our condition of Stress.

  • GOD’S STRENGTH IS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE.

Our trials are not superficial or irrelevant they are vehicles of Grace that God uses to produce growth in our lives.  I heard a humorous illustration that conveys a wonderful message.

A man went to his doctor, complaining that he was constantly having severe headaches.  The doctor inquired, “Do you smoke?”  The man said, “Well, yes I do.”  The doctor said, “Stop smoking.”  The man stopped but the headaches persisted so he went back to the doctor. The doctor asked, “Do you drink?”  The man said, “Yes, I do.”  The doctor said, “Stop drinking.”  He did but the headaches did not diminish.  He went back to the doctor and the doctor asked, “Does your job cause you to engage in any physical labor that would in some way put pressure on your back?”  The man said, “Well, yes it does.”  The doctor said, “Quit that job.”  He quit his job and took another lesser position, but the headaches did not go away.  Every day the pain pulsed through his head and finally he realized that he was wearing a size 15 collar on a size 16 neck.  Problem solved.

Superficial problems call for superficial solutions but the real-life stresses to the bone they touch every nerve and need a supernatural solution.  God is our PRESENT HELP in the time of need.

  • GOD’S POWER IS OVERPOWERING.
  • GOD’S POWER IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON OUR HELP OR ABILITY

             We need to remember we are WEAK but He is STRONG.  Have you felt your weakness lately?  Are the life changing units in your life nearing the 300 mark?  God is ready to assist.  Why are we insistent on carrying the Load Alone?  Why do we allow Stress & Pressure to destroy our lives?  Why are we content to be robbed of our Joy, Peace, and Happiness?  God is ready to come to us and operate in us and help us RELAX.  Jesus said, “Take My Yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”  If you can say, “I am Stressed & Pressured out of measure and I need God’s help and strength, HE OFFERS HELP.” 

Let me ask a few simple questions:  Do you Believe God is God and His Word is True?  Do You Believe that God can do what He said He would do?  THEN, come to Him, casting your care on Him knowing that He not only cares for you but has provided for you. He will cleanse your heart and mind.  He will renew your spirit and give you refreshing.  He will refill and refuel you.  CAST YOUR BURDENS ON THE LORD – – He Cares For You!

God, bless you richly as you enjoy this day!

PSALM 46 REMEDY FOR BEING OVERSTRESSED…

Spiritual Blog - Stress

Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”  NKJV

 

If you examine the biblical record and the historic evidence of what was transpiring at the writing of the Psalm you discover that it was in the context of EXTREME STRESS & PRESSURE.  It is a healing balm for everyone who is bowed down under the load of the Cares of this Life.  Martin Luther, a man constantly under pressure and satanic attack, found that Psalm 46 was a Powerful Comforting Promise of Peace and because of its message penned the hymn: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, A Bulwark Never Failing.” 

The first verses of this Psalm introduce the theme of the entire Psalm.  It could be paraphrased like this: “God Is Our Instant Help When We Are in A Tight Squeeze.”  The world TROUBLE in the Hebrew means to be restricted or tied up in a narrow, cramped place.  I know that Place!  There is the old saying we have all heard and probably used, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.”  That is exactly the spot the Psalmist was in when God inspired him to pen the 46th Psalm.  STRESS means that I am being pressed and pressured.  It is being squeezed in a tight place.  Stress, negative stress is doing a number on us.  The Psalmist is telling us that in those times GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH.

When you are STRESSED and under the heavy weight of PRESSURE and being PUSHED DOWN exposing your weakness and humanity that is a DIFFICULT PLACE.  But, the Promise of God is that IN THOSE TIMES He is building a Tent of Refuge for us.  He is protecting us.  He is surrounding us with His love, care, power, and might.  He has given His angels charge over us to PROTECT US.  In those times and at all times HIS STRENGTH is available for us IF we will learn to receive it and tap into it.

In this Psalm, the writer calls to mind three situations that can, do damage to our faith and cause fear to well up in our hearts.  He identifies these situations to help us to realize that Stress & Pressure is not the Final desired, Destination in God – PEACE IS!

  • Natural Calamities – – Psalm 46:1-3. When those come, the natural reaction is FEAR but for the one TRUSTING in God the reaction is or will become “I WILL NOT FEAR.’
  • Civil Disturbance – – Psalm 46:4-7. The city was under attack and the natural reaction is PANIC but for the one TRUSTING in God the reaction is or will become, “GOD IS IN THE MIDST OF HER, SHE WILL NOT BE MOVED.”
  • Post Battle Fatigue – – Psalm 46:8-11. In that moment when it would be easy to give up or go into hiding the attitude for the person TRUSTING in God, we declare that we will, “Cease Striving and know that God is God so, therefore, I WILL NOT STRIVE.”

We can conquer Fear and if we take God’s Promises to heart and believe them to be current realities and available then we can stand as the Psalmist and declare that even if the earth should change, the mountains quake, and fire roar around us, GOD IS OUR BRIDGE OVER TROUBLE WATERS! 

The question is, “IS HE?”  Is He to us personally?  We need to search our own hearts with total transparency and honesty and see where God fits in our lives in peace and in trouble.  I want to offer a few passages that I believe will inspire confidence in your heart.

Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God, has not given us the Spirit of Timidity (fear), but of Power and Love and Discipline (sound mind).”

Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and very courageous.”

Psalm 27:1 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense (strength) of my life; whom shall I dread?”

Psalm 27:10 – “For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.”

In times of heavy assault from STRESS & PRESSURE, God extends to us His invitation to COME TO HIM AND REST in His Loving Embrace and Protective Covering.  In those times, we are to STAND FAST as Psalm 46:5 declares, “God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved.”  MOVED in the Hebrew means to totter and shake.  The song “All Shook Up” was made popular by the late Elvis Presley.  He was born dirt poor in a little Mississippi town and was an only child.  He had little encouragement and no special skills. At the age of 18, making $14 a week as a truck driver, he decided to make a recording on a lark.  You know the rest of the story as he became the best-paid male entertainer in America.  But shortly before Elvis died he said, “I would give a million dollars for one week of a normal life and peace.”  MONEY cannot relieve Stress and Fame won’t cure it.  THE ONLY CURE IS GOD!

I want to pursue this at least one more time so I will pause here and say, May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and Guard and Guide you as you enjoy this day in Him!