The Lord is Our Refuge

 

As we enter adulthood, we attempt to provide security and stability for our self and our family through our vocation, savings account, two jobs, marrying someone who is already rich, etc.

 

Yet, we often find that our choices oppress our life and cause us more trouble than they help (Psalm 9:9, 52:7). In this world of sorrows and trials, we need an anchor for our soul, a stronghold where we can take refuge (Psalm 18:2).

 

Once we realize that the Lord is our light in the darkness, and our only real salvation, we release our fear of the unknown and humbly go to Him as our defense (Psalm 27:1).

 

He gives us His strength to traverse any trouble we encounter (Psalm 37:39). Even when we allow the stress of our trouble to disconnect us from Him, He is still there waiting for us to turn back in Him (Psalm 43:2; Hebrews 13:5).

 

The Lord is strong enough to tremble the whole earth with His voice; yet He is a gentle refuge for those who trust in Him (Joel 3:16; Psalm 62:2). The Lord lives forever and is the Rock of our salvation (2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 18:46).

 

He desires that we meditate on Him and His goodness day and night, and that our thoughts, words and actions line up with His Word (Psalm 19:14). This proves our love for Him.

 

To those who stand against Him, He is a stumbling stone, a snare and trap for their wayward feet; but to His Saints, He is our sanctuary who offers us safety and shelter from any trouble we experience in life (Isaiah 8:14).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cry out to You in our adversity, knowing that You are our only Rock and our Refuge (Psalm 89:26). We cling to Christ as our cornerstone, who gives us stability and order in our life (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16). The world rejects You, but we stand firmly on the solid footing You provide for our life in every circumstance (Matthew 21:42).

 

You are our precious Savior and we put our faith and trust in You (1 Peter 2:6-7). You are a great mountain and You fill the whole earth with Your power and majesty (Daniel 2:35). You spoke through age-old prophets and then confirmed their words as they came to pass, even over centuries of time (Daniel 2:44-45). This builds our faith in Your faithfulness and we know that we can trust in You.

 

Thought for the Day:

We humbly pursue our Living Stone by faith and do not attempt to earn His love or salvation by our works; so He rewards us with inner peace and joy, which transcend our earthly existence.

– Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:4-8

 

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My Hiding Place

I have a secret hiding place. It is my safe house, my shelter and fortress, my place of rest and rejoicing. Whenever my soul is afraid, I run into it and find safety, balance and serenity.

My secret hiding place is called the spirit of man (1 Corinthians 2:11). Prior to our coming to Christ, this safe place is all boarded up and inaccessible. Sin destroyed it and it is uninhabitable.

Yet, when we surrender our life wholly to God, our spirit is born again. We meet God there. From the moment of our salvation, He dwells with us in our spirit by His Holy Spirit and He never leaves (Romans 8:9, 16; Hebrews 13:5).

As we mature in our walk with God, we no longer live through our body or soul – our mind, choices and emotions. We do not depend on our human skills, talents or capabilities, but we give God full reign in our life.

We walk this earth in our body in union with God’s Spirit who abides within us; but we function in life through our spirit rather than our body and soul (1 Corinthians 3:16).

God still uses our body and soul for His purposes in the earth. He transforms our personality and capabilities and makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We are no longer tied to the earthly realm, influenced by sin and hindered by human insufficiency. Our external world my fall down around our ears, or people and experiences may attack our thoughts or emotions; but like Paul, we rejoice in the tribulation.

We experience life from our safe place: our spirit within us (Galatians 5:25). Our carnality is dead and it is no longer us, but Christ who lives in and through us (Colossians 3:3).

We are controlled, guided and filled through our entire being with all of the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19). We experience eternal life as a reality even now, by intimately knowing the only true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent (John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, due to Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, we can leave behind the cares of this temporal world and touch the glories of Heaven. Our spirit is filled with Your Spirit and we feel safe and right at home there (Revelation 3:20). We live in step with Your Spirit from within our spirit, separated from our body and soul and viewing them as from a distance.

Regardless of what the world, the devil or our flesh attempt to entice us to participate in, or the amount of pain and grief they try to distract us with, they have no effect on us or lure for us, because we live in our spirit by Your Spirit and no longer through our flesh.

Thought for the Day:
Christ is our whole life and we live by His faith; He gave Himself for us, because He loves us completely and unconditionally.
– Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4

The Name of the Lord – Our Refuge

Faith in Jesus’ name will strengthen us; and the faith which comes through Him, often gives us perfect health through Him; so that Jesus may be magnified (Acts 3:16, 4:10, 4:30, 19:17 James 5:14).

God justly remembers the work and love we show in His name as we minister to one another (Hebrews 6:10). We give thanks and praise to His name, and exalt His name as He delivers us (1 Chronicles 16:35; Nehemiah 9:5).

We praise His name as we assemble, and to the ends of the earth, and as we pay our vows forever and ever (Psalm 22:22, 30:4, 38:10; 61:8). Even the oppressed and needy praise and give thanks to His great, lovely, and awesome name (Psalm 74:21, 99:3, 106:47, 135:3).

His is the only name, which we exalt and worship (Psalm 148:13). We praise His name with dancing and with instruments because of all the good things He does for us (Ps 149:3; Jeremiah 33:9; Joel 2:26). The fruit of our lips continually gives thanks to and boasts in His name (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 44:8).

God releases our soul from its prison here on earth, so that we may give thanks to His name (Psalm 142:7). Therefore, we exalt His name forever for His wonderful works, and His perfect plans, which He faithfully fulfills (Isaiah 12:4, 25:1).

Even in trials and persecution, we praise the name of the Lord (Ephesians 5:20; Psalm 74:21). Whatever we do in word and deed, we do it all in His name and for the glory of His name (Colossians 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, all the earth will one day worship You with the glory, which is due to Your name (Psalm 66:4). There is no god like You, and we eagerly await the revelation of Your appearing, because You are the desire of our soul (Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 26:8). We love and take refuge in Your name and sing for joy because of Your shelter throughout our life (Psalm 5:11).

We cling to You and hold fast to Your promises and ways as we enjoy Your deliverance (Deuteronomy 10:20; Psalm 5:11, 9:10). Thank You for securely setting us high upon the Rock of Christ, because we experience the magnitude of Your name (Psalm 91:14).

Thought for the Day:
Due to God’s marvelous works, let us continually offer words of praise, even if it is a sacrifice for our soul to use our last ounce of strength to do it. – Hebrews 13:15

The Problem with Revival

Ever since Adam’s failure to walk according to God’s precepts in the garden, God’s whole creation longs for the freedom, which God’s presence brings to our life (Romans 5:12, 8:19-23).

We all desire revival to bring us closer to God. Revival is a time of intense concentration on God’s truth and His Spirit. We sit still for several days cloistered with Christ’s Body.

God immerses us in His presence, because we take the time to rest at His feet. The music and the preaching of God’s Word brings life to the spirit and the soul – our mind, will and emotions.

The problem with revivals is that as the memories of the revival fade, the soul no longer feels the euphoria, which was present during the revival; therefore, our soul will look to the world for new feelings of elation, rather than to the Lord.

Israel is a perfect example of this issue. In their entire history as a nation, they always fell back into the world after every revival (Hosea 14:1; Psalm 78:10-11, 40-42, 56-57). The casual church member is no different in their behavior.

Only a remnant of Believers respond to revival in their spirit, as well as their soul. Our spirit experiences a deep immersion into the presence of God. His peace influences our attitude and outlook.

Authentic Believers gradually realize that our soul is even more satisfied as we spend more time with God than with the world. We find the joy of the Lord as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We wake every morning and luxuriate in the presence of God all through the day. Even at night, our spirit rejoices as we sleep; and when we wake, there is a song of praise flowing through our mind.

In times of trial, we maintain the peace and joy of the Lord, realizing that there is a seed for a miracle in every negative experience we encounter. We enjoy fellowship with our brother, Jesus Christ, by His Spirit who dwells within us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for keeping us as the apple of Your eye, and sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:8). When we encounter trouble, we are always safe in Your dwelling place, as You hide us in the shelter of Your sacred tent and put us high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5, 32:7).

Teach us that revival is an attitude of our heart, not a week of meetings or a group experience. We can dwell in a time of revival each day of our life, as You renew a right spirit in us and make us ever mindful of Your presence our life (Psalm 51:10).

Thought for the Day:
We have an advantage in our life over the Saints who lived prior to Christ, because we actually have the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us; and He is continually reviving, comforting, correcting and drawing us closer to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

God’s Perfect Plan

God has a perfect plan for every creature He creates (Matthew 6:28, Ephesians 2:10). He wants only what is best for us; yet, so many of us buy into Satan’s lie that He wants to restrict us and thwart our individuality and our freedom.

Freedom in Christ is the only true freedom (John 8:36). We no longer have the struggle of making something of our life, providing for all of our own needs, finding a mate or job or raising our children successfully.

Christ in us, by His Holy Spirit, guides each moment of our life, if we totally surrender all to Him. He may not provide exactly what we want, but His provision will be better than we ever dreamed possible (Philippians 4:19).

He provides the job He wants us to have. It may not supply the salary we want, or the perfect work, which we think we are suited for; but He will use us there for His glory and for His exact purpose for our life, as we walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

Our children may grow up and get so busy that they have little time for us. They may walk away from the Godly values, which we shared with them, and they may make life choices which grieve the Holy Spirit. As long as we did our best as parents, they are in God’s hands now, and we continue to pray for them.

We may live in a home, which is less than a worldly status symbol; but as long as we have a place to lay our head, we have more than Jesus had during His life on this earth (Matthew 8:20). Our clothes may come from a thrift store, but they are as beautiful as anything sold in the mall.

As we trust God with our life, we gain our identity from Christ in us. We no longer wonder why we are alive on this earth, but we see Him use us for His glory as we share a smile, a kind word or a helping hand as He directs our life.

Prayer:
Father God, give our heart Your peace as we walk in Your will each day of our life (Philippians 4:7). Fill us with Your Spirit and use us to bring as many people to heaven with us as are willing to humble their life before You (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Remind us not to pass up an opportunity to give someone a helping hand in Your name (Matthew 10:42). You faithfully provide for all of our needs according to Your plan for our day (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 2:10) and You comfort us in all of our afflictions (2 Corinthians 1:4). As we trust in You, You reveal to us Your heart and calm us by Your promises and faithful nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Thought for the Day:
As we rest in the palm of God’s hand, He shelters us from the storms and fearful places of life (John 10:28; Psalm 27:5); He stills the raging circumstances and quiets the waves of turmoil in our surroundings (Psalm 107:29).

The Greatest Gift of All

When we judge our self according to the scale, which the world uses to measure popularity and success, we may come up lacking. Life seems unfair, because other people have greater advantages than we do when we consider the temporal blessing they may receive. Yet, no matter how many possession we acquire, they never satisfy us.

Spiritually, the children of God have the richest of all blessings. We have Christ in us, who is both our hope and our greatest gift (Colossians 1:27). God is the hope of all people, from the ends of the earth and to the farthest seas (Psalm 65:6). He gives us more than this world could ever offer us (Psalm77:11-15). He gives us Himself (Psalm 89:1-2, 5-8).

We may fear giving up control of our life to God, because He may require things from us, which would further tarnish our earthly popularity and reputation. However, if we actually gain our personal identity and status for success from Christ in us, rather from our personal talents and achievements, we realize that our real worth is based on the love of Christ (John 3:16-17; Romans 8:35-39).

God’s greatest gift to us is His sacrifice of His own Son (Revelation 13:8). Jesus paid the price of our redemption and freed us from a worthless life of sin, giving us His free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23; Psalm 2:4). Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High God will rest in Him. He is our refuge and our strength in whom we can always trust (Psalm 91:1-2).

Prayer:
Father God, because we love You, You will deliver us. You protect us as we acknowledge You. You answer us when we call on You. You deliver us from trouble and honor us. You satisfy us with a long life of salvation (Psalm 91:14-16). We give You thanks for Your loving kindness, which endures forever. Your unfailing love produces wonderful blessings for us. You satisfy our thirsty soul and You fill our hungry soul with many good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us the greatest gifts of all; never forget His benefits and bless His holy name. – Psalm 103:1

Don’t Tread on Me

In our world full of people who have no respect for personal boundaries, we often live in a state of simmering panic. Sudden changes and fluctuations in our financial, marital and employment status, and in the conditions around us, compound our natural fears of the unknown. Trepidation and insecurities plague us and we struggle to know when to submit to these changes or when to assert effort to resist or to prevent them.

Living as victims in life is self-defeating. When we succomb to hopelessness and anxiety, this is a sign that we are not seeking our comfort from God. The Serenity Prayer taught me to find God’s courage to face challenges; and then to submit to or resist them, as He gives me the wisdom. I learned that the Lord actually achieves every area of life concerning us (Psalm 138:8). We trust in God’s faithfulness and grow in faith with each lesson we learn.

As we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 10:4), we can live a life of hope and fulfillment regardless of what happens in the natural world around us. We abandon human reasoning and rely totally on the Spirit of God for our direction and encouragement. When we shed all desires birthed by the finite, carnal nature, which is actually dead in Christ, we can then pursue the realm of the infinate and eternal instead, and walk by the direction of God’s Spirit.

As Believers, we recognize that the uncertainties of life have no power over us at all. We display the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which is the divine nature of Jesus expressed through our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions, which in turn influences the health of our body. Just like Jesus, we return love for hatred and blessing for cursing (Luke 6:28). As we realize that our old nature is dead in Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20), then God’s Spirit can exhibit His nature through us all of the time.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings as we traverse this life, which often frightens us. Help us to realize that our carnal nature is truly dead in Christ (Romans 8:2), and that Your Spirit in us will shine through us. You protect us from any of life’s surprises, because You ordain them in our life. Therefore, when we do experience some trial or tribulation, give us the wisdom to know what to embrace and what to resist, as well as the courage to experience anything You choose for our ultimate good.

Thought for the Day:
If we have the Holy Spirit in us through rebirth in Christ, we have all of God’s fruit abiding in our nature all of the time.