Of all the devotionals I have written, this is probably my favorite.  I would like to share it with you once again over the next month or so.  I hope you receive a blessing.

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psa 91:2)

How I love the Book of Psalms! I have to admit that this book is one of my favorites because it has brought me much comfort during trial and tribulation. It’s as though God knew His children would need uplifting and encouragement. I’m looking forward to doing this next set of 30-day topical devotionals on the Book of Psalms. I’ve had 30-days worth of teaching and chastisement and am ready for the Lord’s balm through the Book of Psalms.

In reading this Psalm this morning, I noticed that David began with stating “I will say of the LORD.” I believe David didn’t keep this information to himself but was telling others about what God was doing for him. He was bragging on his Lord. Do we brag on the Lord? Do we share the blessings God has bestowed upon us with those around us? It’s one thing to share a blessing during testimony time in church but it’s quite different to share what God has done for you with an unsaved person.

This is especially true when we are experiencing trials in our lives and the Lord has brought us through them. Sharing our experience with other believers serves to strengthen them in the Lord. Sharing our experience with the unsaved world shows them that we are sheltered and protected by our Heavenly Father and He sees us through difficult times. Speaking of God’s goodness is a testimony to others of His love and power.

David goes on to say that the Lord is his refuge and fortress. We all have a picture in our minds eye depicting what a refuge and fortress is. Oh my friend, doesn’t that just excite the spirit within you? Your Heavenly Father provides a refuge which shelters and protects you from danger, distress or calamity, and ole slewfoot!

When I think of a refuge and fortress, I think of Christ’s teaching about building our house upon a rock. I believe David built his spiritual house upon this rock through his faith in his God. His rock was God. There are countless Scriptures which show God as the rock. One that I love is, For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? (2 Sam 22:32) David knew this rock intimately because he ran to this rock, his refuge and fortress, in time of need. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psa 61:2)

When I was first saved, I remember reading, And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4) Christ is our Rock!! I noticed that the word rock was capitalized. So I did a word search in my e-Sword for the word rock to see if rock was capitalized anywhere else! At this point, I almost came unglued! Here are the verses for you! Be ready to be blessed as you see verses depicting our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deut. 32:4)

But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (Deut. 32:15)

Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. (Deut. 32:18 )

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? (Deut. 32:30)

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. (Deut. 32:31)

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (2 Sam. 23:3) (Christ speaking to the Father!!)

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)

A simple word search revealed that the word rock appears 119 times in 109 verses. Out of the 119 occurrences, it is capitalized seven times! Seven is God’s number for perfection! Christ is our perfect gift and the Jews’ spotless Lamb and sacrifice. Christ is revealed throughout the Word in total perfection! Rejoice, oh my soul! What lovely nuggets You have given to me this morning, Lord!! What better refuge and fortress can be provided than by the Rock of our salvation, the Lord, Jesus Christ!

Dear God…
I never cease to be amazed
At the truths Your Word provide
I run to my Rock and refuge
In Your fortress I do hide

Psalm 119.103 honeyPsalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey to my mouth!

Is God’s Word sweet to you, Christian? The great and wise Solomon asked God for wisdom and God allowed Solomon to experience everything in life in order to achieve wisdom. Much of that wisdom was penned into the Book of Proverbs and is there today in order for us to glean its goodness!

The Bible repeatedly “shouts out” to us that we should desire wisdom more than the world’s riches – more than gold – more than any material possession!

Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

 

Job 28:15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed [for] the price thereof.

 

Psalm 19:10 More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

 

Proverbs 3:14 For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

 

Proverbs 3:15 She [is] more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

God has given us His words to read, to study, and to glean wisdom. It is through His words that we learn about life and how to deal with everyday situations. We don’t need man’s wisdom – we don’t need Dr. Phil or Oprah! They are of the world, Christian. But what about those false preachers out there? They are wolves in sheep’s clothing – they add to the Scriptures by imposing their own opinions. They dilute God’s words and take away from their effectiveness. It is God’s words that pierce the heart and reveal the dirty sin that lies within. When they stand before God, whose words do you think will be 100% accurate? God will always win, hands down! His word is truth (John 17:17). I would rather put my trust in what God says than what man says any day. At least I know that God won’t lie to me … but man, well… that’s a whole other story!

Proverbs 16:16 How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

 

~Psalm 9:10And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The world says that a good way to know if you trust someone is to turn around and fall backwards into that person’s arms. We’ve all done this at one time or another, right?  We are so willing to trust another human being to this extent but do we trust God in this same way?  Do we trust God with what seems impossible in our lives?  What about with those day-to-day struggles?

This Psalm blesses me because it continues to say that the Lord does not forsake those who seek Him.  God is faithful and is not to be compared to a human being who makes mistakes.  God promises to never forsake us, therefore, He will never forsake us.  We can count on Him to help us through whatever trial, illness or difficulty we are experiencing.  What comfort this is to my heart!

Today’s graphic is Zephaniah 3:17 – what a beautiful way to show God’s love for us, amen? This same God who loves us, has provided us with salvation because He joys over His creation. He desires that you repent, be saved and grow closer to Him. What a wonderful God we serve!!

Psalm 121:1-8 [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Trials … they are as sure as taxes! How we deal with those trials all depends on how we prepare for them before hand. When you prepare for a long trip, what do you do? You make sure you have a full tank of gas, you check the pressure in your tires and all the fluids in your car. Shouldn’t we be as prepared when it comes to our spiritual walk? Shouldn’t we be fueling ourselves with the Word of God and putting on the full armour of God so we can be sheltered by the Lord during our trials? Why do we make it difficult on ourselves by not doing so?

I think of Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. What a trial for Abraham to experience! Yet, Abraham had so much faith in his God that he pushed forward in obedience! He didn’t have Psalm 121 to turn to as we do – his faith was developed by his experiences and trials. I am particularly fond of Psalm 121. I have run to this Psalm many a times to find solace and my Lord’s love. In my most recent trial, the Psalm meant more to me than it had ever meant. I noticed the different points the Psalmist had made:

1. I have to make a conscious effort to seek my help. God won’t force Himself upon me. But when I seek Him, He is there!

2. I have to recognize from where my help comes. I don’t rest in the counsel of my spouse or my friends, but I know that God is the One who will take care of my trial.

3. I realize that my Shepherd won’t allow me to fall. The more I am in the Word, the more my faith is built. Verses come to mind as I need them for encouragement. Each step is guided by my Shepherd.

4. I realize that my Shepherd never sleeps! Praise the Lord! This verse alone brings me to tears. Nothing happens that He’s not aware of. Nothing! My Shepherd is ever watching over me!

5. I have come to know that my Shepherd will keep me safe.The Lord keeps me – watches over me – provides me with shade when fiery trials are present. That shade is found when I sit quietly reading my Bible and soaking in what He has for me.

6. I trust that my Saviour will keep me from ole slewfoot and preserve my salvation. I know that everything that happens to me has been allowed in my life for my benefit so I can grow in my faith. There is great comfort knowing that my eternal security can never be removed because God is the One that preserves my soul, not me.

7. I know that my Shepherd will always guide my path. When I am in the Word, feeding my soul, my Shepherd can keep me from taking the wrong path in life. I cannot claim this if I am not in the Word.

~Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 

~Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 

Sometimes help just shows up … but on the most part, I must seek for my help and know where that help comes from; I must recognize that this Help will keep me safe when I abide in Him; and lastly, my Help preserves my soul – which cannot be said of any other help this world has to offer. Why not go to the Expert? Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness in my life. Teach me what I must learn from each trial.

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4,5

No wonder David was the apple of God’s eye. He did not seek man’s way to truth. He did not seek after men to solve his problems like many do. Instead, David knew that the same God of his salvation would be able to show him the way, teach him through His Word and lead him to truths. And because of this secure knowledge that David had, he would wait on God all day to get his answer.

Are we as confident as David? Do we wait on the Lord to answer our questions or work in our every-day problems? Or do we walk ahead of the Lord and try to fix things on our own? I know I have been guilty of doing just that and my solution is not usually the best solution. However, God’s solution is always the best solution. Why do we think we can do better than God can? His timing is not always our timing and so we run out of patience with His plans. This is yet another “trust” factor. Do we not trust Him enough to take care of things for us? If we did, we would not be so quick to try to do the work for Him.

This is why it’s so important to know the Word and to rely on it in times of doubt. When I solely lean on the Word to build me and encourage me, I find that I am not so quick to jump the gun and run into trouble. The Lord gives peace to those who seek His guidance and His will. Even if our answer is to wait on Him, there’s a calm assurance that He is working it out for our benefit. What a joy it is to be a Christian! I don’t know how the unsaved do it! I really don’t!

~2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

As I read this verse, it amazed me how consistent Paul was in his walk. Have you ever been troubled on every side of your life? Usually, we have troubles in one or two areas but there is at least some stability in the other areas. But Paul states that he was troubled on every side.

I’ve been in this situation once or twice in my Christian walk and it was a very difficult time in my life. However, I remember drowning myself in the Book of Psalms and feeling the Lord’s presence through it all. Psalm 27 was especially a blessing to me during these difficult times. My discouragement lasted but a short time and was replaced with that peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Paul said that although he was troubled on every side he was not distressed. The Lord brought him through – a peace was evident by his testimony in 2 Corinthians 4:8. Can you say that about your trials?

Paul continues to say that although he was puzzled and perplexed about the situations around him, he was not in despair. As he looked at his circumstances, he was not without hope because Paul knew that the Lord was in charge no matter how much chaos was in his life. Can you say that, dear Christian? What did Paul have that you don’t have? Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3) [underlining to stress my point]

There’s the word “trust” again. When we trust in the Lord to take care of each situation in our life, He provides us with a peace that is perfect. Isn’t that just like the Lord? He does not provide just a little peace or just enough to get by at the moment. The Lord provides that perfect peace. What do we need to do to receive that perfect peace? Our minds must be stayed on the Lord. Noah Webster says that the word stayed means “fixed; settle; sober.” That depicts a heart that is focused on the Lord; a heart that has been reading the Word and is not swayed by life’s billows. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

The Christian’s life is like an ocean. There are times it is calm and beautiful. There are also times of storm where the waves come crashing down. But remember, my friend, the Lord Himself calmed the seas (Mark 4:39) – He is the Creator of those same seas. He can and will calm the troubled seas in your life. You must trust in Him and lean on Him during these troubled times. Again, that word trust comes into play. When we try to figure out our circumstances on our own, we are overwhelmed by it all. We become consumed with our own problems. The Lord doesn’t want us to be in this state of turmoil. God will work in your situation – it may not be the way you think or expect, but He will work in your life! That is why He tells us to trust in Him and not try to figure things out for ourselves. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Remember that God’s ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Our Father in Heaven sees the big picture. I once read that if we viewed a train running down the tracks from an airplane, we would be able to see where the train had been and where it was going. This helps us to visualize how God sees our lives. He can see where we’re going – in fact, He knows the beginning, middle and end of our lives. It cannot get any better than that. The Lord wants to help us through our trials – He knows the outcome and is capable of providing just what we need to make it through! What great comfort that is!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

I cannot stress enough how discouragement can be alleviated in our lives if we just spend more time at the Saviour’s feet. How? Get in the Word, Christian! It is the Source for healing!

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~Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

Oh Lord, may my heart be so fixed that I do not hesitate to trust in You when the billows of life are raging!

Haven’t you ever seen a Christian who is old in “the faith” as he goes through a trial? He’s steady … he glorifies the Lord … his faith is not shaken.  He reached this point in his Christian walk because his faith rested in the Lord’s care.  This Christian knows that despite the storm, his Shepherd is ever vigilant. This Christian knows that what he understands about this particular trial is only a limited view … from one piece of the pie, if you will.  But his God sees all and knows the outcome! The Lord directs the Christian when his heart is fixed on Him.

~Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

~Psalm 61:2-4 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

Imagine yourself on the highest lookout point where you live for a moment. You can see for miles and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking! At this height, you have an advantage, don’t you? You are strategically located and you are able to see any dangers coming your way. Now with this scene in your mind, re-read Psalm 61:2.

As you are going through a difficult time in life, these verses can put things into perspective. We find the use of Jehovah-Jireh (the LORD will provide) in Genesis 22:14. Abraham was willing to offer his own son, Isaac, to God. Any parent can feel the anxiety that Abraham must have felt. However, Abraham trusted God – he loved God and knew that God would work this out. We know from this account that the LORD provided another sacrifice for Abraham. God provided a ram in Isaac’s stead. Our Jehovah-Jireh stands just as ready to provide us with the help we need during time of trial as He did for Abraham.

God has provided a place where we can meet with Him, if not a physical location, then one that leads us, through His word, and speaks to our minds and hearts. It is there in the Scriptures we can seek shelter from the storms of life. On this rock, this higher ground, we are higher than where we were at that moment in time during our trial. If we allow it, each difficult experience in our life will drag us to ‘ground level,’ if you will. However, throughout God’s word, it is evident that He desires that we seek Him and, in so doing, He provides a place, a ‘rock,’ that is higher so we can have that mountaintop experience.

After we have been lifted and refreshed, we can then be secure in the knowledge that Jehovah-Jireh will also cover us with His wings and provide protection from that trial that initially led us to Him. Don’t you find comfort in this? It’s as if God is telling us that if we come to His word, He will provide us with clear vision and peace. Then, as if that’s not enough, He places a cherry on top of the sundae and provides a covering (under His wings) so we can feel His arms around us during our trial.

Friend, wallowing in self-pity will not lead you to that rock that is higher than your circumstances. You will miss it if you are not looking up!

The picture above was taken by a sweet Christian lady, Connie Wentworth and used here with her permission. Her pictures are mostly taken in the State of Maine and depict God’s glorious creation! Thank you, Connie, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

Psalm 121:1-2, “[A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (2)”

This dear saint lived to be almost 100 years old!!! Could it be because she actually lived the words of this song? Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1863 in Wardle, England. She died shortly before her 98th birthday in Seattle, Washington.

Ms. Lemmel had a beautiful singing voice and gave many concerts in the United States. She later became the vocal music teacher at Moody Bible Institute. She retired in Seattle, Washington where she became a member of Ballard Baptist Church. One of the memorable things in her life for me was that Billy Sunday used one of her works, a hymnal, for over ten years in his ministry. In fact, her vocal group was part of Billy Sunday’s group at the height of his career as an evangelist.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Refrain

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Refrain

This hymn has been one of my favorites since I was saved in 1980! In my opinion, it should be the Christian anthem for struggling believers. I know it has been mine! I love how she turned weariness and burdens into focusing on her Lord, His word and winning the lost! What a wonderful recipe for the Christian life despite the circumstances!

Most believers who have done anything for the Lord have been those who are burdened and carry a heavy cross. Many do not even realize that their burdens are heavy because they walk so closely with their Heavenly Father. They have learned to leave their burdens at His feet! Helen Lemmel seemed to have perfected this in her walk.

Meditate with me this morning on this very fact, dear saint! Do we leave our burdens at the Saviour’s feet where they belong? Do we continuously take back our burdens onto our own shoulders? Why would we even want to? Isn’t it easier to give them over to the Lord and leave them in His quite capable hands?

I have a dear friend who struggles with worry. In fact, while we were in South Carolina last week, our motor coach had some electrical problems and we had to sleep with the coach idling all night to charge the batteries. My friend, a born-again Christian for many years, stayed awake most of the night worrying that gases would asphyxiate us! She shared this with me the next day because she saw that I had a great night’s sleep and felt convicted.

I remember being in her shoes. Fretting is just not fruitful to the believer. I was able to share: I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. (Psa 4:8 ) What kind of testimony are we to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords when we fret and worry about circumstances beyond our control? Why would the world want anything to do with our God if they see defeat and worry in our lives?

It is this very thing that weighs heavy on many Christians’ lives. They cannot control worrying when God’s word is filled with verses that encourage us to lean on Him. Sweet peace can be found in the arms of Christ, my friend.

So where are you today in your walk with the Lord? Do you really trust Him to care for your burdens? Do you desire that same precious walk that Helen had with the Lord? You can have this walk but you will have to train yourself. How does one train himself? As you turn a burden over to the Lord and reap the benefit of peace, write it down – remember it. When your next hurdle or burden comes across your path, remember the previous blessing of peace.

Train yourself to remember when God brought you through previous trials and trust that He will do it again this time. Count your blessings daily and that will convince you and prove to you that the Lord is always at work in your life. As a new trial or burden arrives, you will then be quick to remember how He came through for you and you will be ready to turn the burden over to Him.

Don’t be a fretter. The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. (Pro 29:25) My friend’s fear brought a snare into her life. She was trapped by this fear and did not sleep all night long. Notice that the Scriptures say that had she trusted Him, she would have been safe? Nothing happens to us that the Lord does not authorize. Look at Job! In searching God’s word for trust, I discovered many verses that just blew me away! God has so much to say in this area. Could it be that He really does not want us to worry?

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psa 73:28 )

Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. (Psa 115:11)

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psa 118:8 )

[A Song of degrees.] They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. (Psa 125:1)

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Pro 3:5)

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Jos 1:9)

Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. (Pro 3:25)

Our Saviour does not want us to be afraid!

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Mat 14:27)

And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. (Mat 17:7)

Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (Mat 28:10)

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mar 5:36)

For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. (Mar 6:50)

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. (Luk 12:4)

But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. (Joh 6:20)

Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: (Act 18:9)

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (1 Pe 3:14)

What an awesome Father we have! He does not want us to be afraid or to fret about things which are out of our control. He just wants us to trust Him – just as we would want our own children to trust us!

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Pro 3:5)

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. 1 Sam 1:6 (KJV)

Fear can be likened to dominos lined up one in front of the other. Once you allow fear to enter, you have knocked over the first domino in the row and down will come all the others, one by one. Fear not only creates havoc but reaches a point where it snowballs, then consumes us. We must confront the fears in our life, understand them and what God’s word has to say about the subject. Only then are we better able to deal with it.

FDR once said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-” But that was just part of the quote. I love the rest of that sentence: “- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Fear can incapacitate us and prevent us from moving forward.

He was right – I have experienced fear that was nameless; I didn’t know why I was afraid but I just was. I wasn’t afraid of a particular person – but an unnamed problem. As well, there is no reasoning with fear and it will fill us with terror causing us not to take action. I have been in these shoes and, no pun intended, it is a fearful place to be – a dark place! So what does the Bible have to say about fear? Does God teach us how to deal with it? I shout a resounding “YES”!

First, where does fear come from? The Scriptures tell us:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)

When we focus on our fears and become consumed by them, we are not being sober and vigilant. Peter tells us that the devil does not play fair. Have you ever watched a nature show about lions? They do not go after the fastest and strongest gazelle. In fact, they will go after a young one or an injured one. This is how the devil works, my friend. He will kick you while you’re down. He will eat you alive. So how does a Christian overcome fear? We know that God does not desire His children to live in fear.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:15-18 (KJV)

As we learn about our position with God and His love for us, we can realize the depth of His love. After all, He gave us His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take the penalty for a punishment that we so deserve. That is love! Once we are secure in God’s love through His Son, we must read, read, read! Reading the Scriptures opens our eyes to God’s love, His power, and how He guides His people. Do you recall all those men of Israel who were so afraid of Goliath that they all ran from him? David’s response was:

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 1 Sam 17:26 (KJV)

In the same chapter, we read that when David finally confronted Goliath:

David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 1 Sam 17:48 (KJV)

This does not sound like someone who was fearful. If anyone should have been afraid, it should have been David. Yet, he ran towards Goliath! David knew his God and he knew that he was not alone to fight the battle.

Neither are we alone to fight our battles! The same God who helped David with Goliath will help us with our giants – our fears! God’s word is filled with verses of encouragement in this area. This is how we grow in the areas of being sober and vigilant – we read God’s word and glean from its pages! Is there anyone in the Scriptures we can learn from better than David?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 (KJV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1 (KJV)

The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (KJV)

God desires that we rest in Him. (Matthew 11:28-30) We do not have to be afraid of upcoming circumstances because we have a Heavenly Father who is on top of the entire situation in our lives! When we become fearful, we become consumed with doubts and do not think clearly. (2 Timothy 1:7)

God wants us to rest in His care. What are these problems in life that the God of David cannot solve? (1 Samuel 17:26) This same God who helped David defeat his giant will help us defeat our giants: whether they are giants with flesh or abstract giants! Not all our fears are based on issues with people. Sometimes circumstances can stir up fears. These are giants nonetheless! The bottom line is fear. The Lord will not leave us or abandon us. He loves us! (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Chronicles 28:20) It’s always easier to go through difficult times when you have someone who will go through those times with you. We always have Someone with us. God promises us that He will never leave us or abandon us! (Hebrews 13:5) Praise the Lord!

Once we fully grasp God’s love for us, the fears are replaced with a trust that helps us to understand that nothing happens without God’s approval. Our fears will turn into child like trust and then will we be able to experience God’s power in our lives.

In the time when I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me. Psalm 56:3-4 (KJV)

Friend, are you afraid? Get in the Scriptures! Do you find yourself fretting over circumstances in life? Get in the word of God. In its pages are countless verses dealing with fear and courage. Each time I begin to fear, this is where I turn. I use different colored highlighters in my Bible. The color pink is the color I’ve designed for comfort verses. When I am afraid, I can easily open my Bible and spot the pink verses. As I turn each page in search of the pink highlighted verses and read them, I remember the circumstances which led me to highlight the verse in the first place. Each one is a testimony to God’s faithfulness!

If I don’t have the opportunity to open my Bible, I pray and ask the Lord to take my fears from me. I made Proverbs 3:5-6 my life’s verses about 20 years ago and have committed them to memory. Each time I cannot open my Bible when I am afraid, I quote these verses back to myself. They remind me of those times prior where I feared my giants and how the Lord defeated each and every one! I have lived Psalm 56:3-4 and the result has been the beautiful rest Jesus Christ told us He would give in Matthew 11:28.

Read, read, read your Bible! That’s the solution to fear! Your fears will be replaced with trust.

~Psalms 37:3-8

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Just like Psalm 1, this Psalm is believed to have been written by Solomon because of the way it is written like the verses in Proverbs.

~Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Israel used today’s Psalm for instruction, and rightfully so. It is filled with wonderful lessons for me on how to improve my walk with the Lord.

  1. Verse 3 – “Trust in the Lord and do good.” I thought of Abraham when reading this. God called Abram to pack up everything and move his family to a place that he wasn’t familiar with. Abram trusted God to pave the way for him and to work out all the details. Furthermore, God provided for Abram’s needs and all those who went with him. The land they lived in prospered and so did all that Abram touched. But this all began with Abram trusting God. Do I trust Him with my life’s needs as well?
  2. Verse 4 – “Delight thyself also in the LORD” How do I delight myself in the Lord? I cannot without first being a part of His family. After all, a total stranger cannot delight himself in my family because he does not know us. Therefore, if I am not a child of the King, how can I delight myself in Him? But as a child of the living God, I can delight myself in Him by reading His Word, talking to Him, sharing with Him every detail of my life, doing His will, etc. These all put together keep Him at the center of my life and He is a rewarder if I diligently seek Him.

    ~Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

  3. Verse 5 – “Commit thy way unto the LORD;” When I am uncertain of what path I am to take, I must commit it to Him and let Him lead me. After all, He has seen the future and knows what is awaiting. How comforting this is to me. Resting in God’s care and knowing that whatever happens is His will is the best place to be when I am unsure.
  4. Verse 7 – “Rest in the LORD,” There are times when I feel as though God is not working quick enough in a certain area. I see others moving forward but I am at a stand still. This is where the “rest” comes in! I noticed the second half of the verse says for me not to fret because of those who prosper. In due time, the Lord will work in my situation and to my benefit. Such rest is valuable when I am trying to defeat the devil’s attempts to discourage me or to cause me to worry.
  5. Verse 8 – “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:” Some things in life are a temptation for me to be overcome with anger. I see where the sinner prospers and gets what he desires while I am pleading to God for help or reprieve and not seeing His hand at work. But it shouldn’t be my concern as to whether another person succeeds or not. My thoughts should be focused on what God’s will is for my life. Whether or not I agree with God, His will is always best for me. It is not for me to disagree and be angry with God, although I can share my frustrations and doubts with Him. There is no rest in anger for me. However, there is rest when I trust Him as Abram trusted Him.

I’m currently unemployed – a state I’ve not found myself in for many, many years. Knowing the financial demands that we have as a family, I was beginning to take that burden upon me and fretting. Praise the Lord for today’s Psalm!

I noticed there were five areas in life that I need to focus on so I can keep close to the Lord.  Five is the Bible number for God’s Grace!  Praise the Lord that I can delight myself in Him and He lifts me upon a high place spiritually! There is rest in Him because He holds me in His hand. I am under His wings and I am His child to protect. His grace is sufficient!  Therefore, as Abraham trusted, I will learn to trust in Him!

Psalm 4
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David. 1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. 3 But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.

Picture if you will, King David, running from the battle rather than fighting a war with his own son! This is a continuation of Psalm 2. David’s own flesh and blood is waging war against him. What is a father to do? I try to put myself in David’s shoes and I can’t help but think that I would do the same thing. How can a parent enter a battle with his own child knowing that he could harm his child? I would rather run away from the situation than to chance killing my son! I can almost feel David’s pain as he penned these words, can’t you? What a broken heart David must have had!

~Psalm 34:18a The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;

I feel his pain and distress as he cries to his Heavenly Father! Can’t you feel it as well? He’s pleading with every fiber of his being, “Oh God, hear me, have mercy on me! But wait, look at what begins to happen after the first pause (Selah)! David begins to focus on God – he is remembering how the Lord has been there for him in the past and how God had never let him down. Notice his words: the Lord will hear when I call unto him! What confidence!  What results this Selah/pause had on David’s attitude!

~Psalm 37:7a Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:

It doesn’t stop there – next David’s meditations begin. It’s as if he is reminded just who God really is!  Stand in awe, David,  of your God and do not sin the sin of doubt. There is nothing like meditating on God’s Word, His works in my life, and His goodness when I am laying on my bed waiting to go to sleep. What a beautiful way to enter into rest for the night!  And here again, another rest is added in the Word (Selah). Hmmmm, I am beginning to see a pattern!

~Psalm 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

David recognizes that God wants the sacrifices of righteousness, not the sacrifices of animals. God wants the sacrifice of obedience (1 Samuel 15:22b). When I obey, I can confidently trust in the Lord and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will help me through… yes, even in the darkest of hours in my life. What can be darker than my own child turning against me?  Conflict in my family can easily take my thoughts where they should not go!  I can easily become overwhelmed!  This is the perfect time for me to get a hold of myself, lay on my bed of meditation and focus my thoughts on my God.  I must remember that my God is the same God who created the universe, after all.

As a result of his meditation on God’s goodness, David was able to say that God had put gladness into his heart and finally, David had that peace that only God can give. David finally found rest in his God!

~Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What does this beautiful Psalm have for me today? Am I confused? Am I at a complete loss as to what to do? Is my path foggy instead of clearly lit? Can I say with David that I have found rest in God? When I lay on my bed at night, what consumes my thoughts? Are they thoughts filled with worry and anxiety or are they thoughts focusing on what God has done for me up until this point? God has always “come through” for me. It may not have been in the timing that I had hoped for but it was always perfect! Why should this time be any different? From this day forward, I will lay on my bed at night and focus my thoughts on only those where my Heavenly Father held me in His arms. I will see only those events where I felt as though I could not walk one more step without fainting and yet there was my Father bringing me comfort and assurance! This is where my worries will be turned into faith and I will have songs in the night!

~Psalm 77:6a I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart:

~Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

I absolutely love this verse. It fully describes His nature!

  1. God is good
  2. The phrase, “the Lord is good” appears seven times in Scriptures. The number seven is God’s perfect number.

    ~Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

    ~Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

    ~Psalms 135:3 Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.

    ~Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

    ~Jeremiah 33:11 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

    ~Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

    ~Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

    There is no other who is good as our God! He is completely good. There is no goodness that exists except through Him.

  3. God is our fortress in time of trouble
  4. Can you picture it in your mind’s eye? The castles of the kings of old were surrounded by outer and inner walls which protected the inner sanctuary. It would take a lot to get through this fortress. Our God is likened to a fortress – except this fortress is impenetrable. When we are in trouble, we know that we can run to Him and He will be there in our time of need.

    ~Psalms 46:1 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

    I love how God repeats Himself in Scriptures. It is as if He wants to drive a point home to us!

  5. God knows those who trust in Him
  6. ~Psalms 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

    ~Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

    ~Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

What a blessing to read these verses this morning! We are never alone! Our Heavenly Father, who can only do good, loves us and stands ready to take care of all of our needs! What a comfort these verses bring!

~Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Oh that we would allow God to be our strength and shield in 2010! Let’s dedicate ourselves to this very thing this year. Why? Because the Psalmist explains that when his heart trusted in the Lord, he was helped! Who doesn’t want help from the Master Creator? No wonder the Psalmist continued and said that his heart rejoiced and he sang praises because of the Lord’s help!

Each of us is going to go through difficult times this year. There can be no denying it. Instead of fretting, turn to the One who can actually help! Turn to the One who has been to the future and knows the outcome. Turn to the One who can lead you through His Word to comforting words. What you read in God’s Word today will be exactly what you need for tomorrow. God loves you that much!

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~Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

There are days when I feel like I just can’t go on. No matter what I do or how I handle a situation, there are road blocks and closed doors. I’m thankful that I can run to my Father and seek His help and guidance. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will help me. He may not solve my problem but He gives me strength to go through my trial. He also gives me sweet peace in the midst of turmoil.

Thank You, Lord!!!

Gleaning Gold

~Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Nuggets of Truth

Isaiah’s words of having “perfect peace” are more meaningful than meets the eye. There can be no perfect peace without Jesus Christ. Without salvation, man is treading water in a sea of despair – searching for happiness through things and circumstances. However, Isaiah states that God will keep us in perfect peace. How?

It is wonderful how God’s Word perfectly explains itself. Verses are supported elsewhere making for a wonderful explanation of God’s plan for us. Jesus Christ gives peace to those who wish it.

~John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

He is the keeper of peace.  It is His to give!  No one can have true peace without Him. Why? Because He gave His life for us to have peace. He fulfilled the Old Testament peace offering for our sins. Only Christ could fulfill this offering as He was perfect and without sin. He gave His life, shed His blood so we could have this peace.

~Leviticus 3:1-2 And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.  And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.

This peace is provided by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed for our sins.  It is this acceptance, this trust in Him, that brings eternal salvation. No more do we need to worry where our eternity will be spent because Christ took care of it on Calvary. Now that we have the peace of knowing where we will spend eternity, we continue our Christian walk working for the Master.

Refining the Gold

Today’s verse says that we will also have peace if our minds are “stayed on thee.” When we are rooted and grounded in the Word of God, nothing can persuade us to move in another direction away from God. Our faith is firm – our beliefs are strong – our walk is straight and focused.

Nothing can convince us that salvation is dependent on anything else but Jesus Christ’s perfect work on the cross. We place our minds, hearts and lives on Him for salvation. It was His righteousness that paid that peace offering. It was He who was able to justify salvation because of His sinless life. It was His blood that was sacrificed for us. It was His blood that cleansed us and pardoned us. Without Him, we cannot even hope to be good enough to enter Heaven!

After we have trusted in His perfect sacrifice and peace offering on our behalf, He promises that He will keep us in perfect peace. There is nothing better than perfect. Perfect means no deviation. It is above all else and cannot be removed. Noah Webster defines it as:

1. Finished; complete; consummate; not defective; a perfect work; a perfect system.

Our Peace Offering was finished by Jesus Christ. His sacrifice was complete and not defective – it was a perfect work – His salvation is the perfect system for mankind! That is why there is perfect peace to those who trust in Him! Many pretend they have this peace but once left alone in the dark of night, they ponder and know in their hearts that they are a sham.  There could never be perfect peace if we had to depend upon ourselves for salvation. There could never be perfect peace if we had to depend upon ourselves to keep our salvation. Why? Because we are not perfect! We are most assuredly defective!  What peace He gives the true born-again believer.

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