Psalm 138:8 – I didn’t see it coming

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Have you ever thought that no one “had your back”? Did you ever feel that you were out there, in the world alone; a target on your back for others to take a shot at? I have felt this. Especially when out of nowhere, someone shoots and the arrow runs deep. You didn’t see it coming. You really had no fear but all of a sudden you’re left to pick yourself up, clean off your wounds, and move on. One version of this scripture says, “The Lord will vindicate me…”

Let me tell you, that God has your back. Our Heavenly Father watches over us. He sees what is about to happen. Nothing takes him by surprise. Scripture bears witness to God’s promises of guidance for his people. God’s desire is to keep us on the path that He has ordered. He always has our back. God desires His purposes and plans to be fulfilled. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV)

So what should we do when we are attacked, persecuted, or “thrown under the bus”? The Word of God is clear about this. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NKJV) Jesus was warning His disciples that trouble and persecution lay ahead. Believers ought to expect to suffer as an inevitable part of their calling. To believe is not to evade suffering; it is to face it with new confidence and hope. Rightly approached, suffering develops the character of believers, equips them for more effective service, draws believers closer to Jesus Christ and prepares them for eternal life.

Did what happened to me cause me to become more watchful? Yes. Not because that I thought I was alone, but rather more watchful because of the wisdom God imparts in us as we serve Him. I took some mental notes. I learned what to watch for. And I was encouraged by God’s Word when I went to Him seeking to hear what God had to say.

Friend, we will be taken by surprise from time to time. We will be targets for others to attach. We will suffer persecution. How we handle those attacks is what is important. Do we retaliate immediately with a counter-attack? Or do we seek our Protector and Defender and listen to what He has to say. When those times come, and they will, go to the Lord in prayer. Listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you and seek His Word for instruction.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

James 3:17-18 NKJV – Seeking the wisdom of God

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I can be scatter-brained every now and then. It’s true. My mind gets going in so many directions that it is hard to find my way out of a paper bag. I am not a person who operates very well by multi-tasking. I am the kind of person that has to keep my thoughts on a single point of interest. I find security in knowing if I keep my mind on the task at hand, I won’t get lost. When I try to do too much, I get frustrated and confused and don’t succeed very well. I wish I could be more multi-task oriented, but that is not how God created me.

So this brings me to our Scripture. The wisdom that God gives is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits and is without partiality and hypocrisy. That is what I desire. Because let me tell you, when I try to do things in my own wisdom, there isn’t much wisdom of what this Scripture promises. Just the opposite. And in all of this confusion, what do you suppose are the attitudes displayed for the world to see? Yeah. Not good.

Scripture illustrates a range of attitudes towards other people, some of which are commended, while others are condemned. Commended attitudes include love, forgiveness, helpfulness, kindness, hospitality, generosity, humility, patience, submission, gentleness, and unselfishness. Condemned attitudes include pride, jealousy, judgment, anger, hatred, and partiality. So you can see why pursuing the wisdom of God in all things is so important. I’ve been thinking a lot about living out my faith as Jesus did. What I mean to say is demonstrating “Christ Alive” in everything I do so that others may see the difference that is in me. Christ in me defines or should I say should dictate how I react, what choices I make, and how my attitude is displayed. It “should”. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I let things get to me? Yes. Do I let my guard down? Yes.

But Scripture says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8 NKJV) AND “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) Friend, I desire to live and demonstrate a peaceable life and manner, filled with the wisdom of God as I ask for it, always pursuing gentleness and a willingness to yield or submit to others. That is what we all should desire, but sometimes we will fail. How do we get back up when we realize the attitude we just displayed was not our best? We seek forgiveness; both from the affected people and from God. How do we seek the forgiveness of others and of God? First and foremost, humble submission. When we humble ourselves to those we may have offended or at least may have seen something in us that does not glorify God, we demonstrate an attitude that pleases and is commended by God. Secondly, spend some time in prayer seeking God to forgive your actions and to fill you with His wisdom in all things.

I spoke of being scatter-brained in the beginning. Maybe it’s not scatter-brained, but rather we sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world and we lose track of our identity. Let’s focus on living out the wisdom of God and demonstrate that Jesus is alive in us. Therein lies our true identity.

Dear God, we call upon Your Name and seek Your wisdom. Thank You God that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy when we fail and try to live out our life in our own wisdom. Help us Lord to live out our life in Christ Jesus. Guide and direct us to demonstrate Jesus is Alive in everything we do. For Your glory and honor. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me believe God!

Malachi 4:2 AMP – Neck-up Check-up

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

Reverence for God brings favor to believers as God responds to those who revere Him. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy and loving-kindness.” (Psalm 147:11 AMP) Scripture identifies a range of positive attitudes toward God and we are encouraged to adopt them. And one of those positive attitudes is Reverence. Reverence is the proper sense of awe, respect and wonder that is inspired and demanded by an encounter with, or meditation upon, that character and activity of a living God. And why wouldn’t we revere God? God, the Creator of all things, who knew us before time began, formed us in our mother’s womb to fulfill a plan that He uniquely created for each of us to prosper and find hope and a future. “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (Jeremiah 29:11 AMP)

Part of reverence is the fear of the Lord. “The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. (Psalm 111:10 AMP) This verse captures the right way to approach the Lord; the fear of the Lord. The Lord is God, inspiring our reverence and awe. We are to magnify God, that is to give glory to God through worship and through upright living. But there are times when we only magnify God on Sunday mornings or when we are facing crisis. So I have to ask, “Where is our reverence the rest of the time? Where is our fear of the Lord the rest of the time?” I’m not condemning anyone here. I have found myself at a point where my fear of the Lord is not focused on reverent service, but rather fear of hell. Ouch!!! Do we fear God because in our reverence we want to know more of Him or do we fear God because we know that hell is a real thing and that frightens us?

Sometimes we need to have a “neck-up check-up” in our love and reverence and fear of a living God. And we can begin our “check-up” in humble prayer. We can begin to ask God to reveal things in us that keep Him on the outside when God should be flowing from us from the inside. We can go to Him in prayer; another attribute that God finds favor with. “Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise [to God].” (James 5:13 AMP) God desires His people to turn to Him in prayer, individually or corporately, in times of need and to bring requests to Him as a Father. Prayer is an act of worship by those who depend upon Him and proclaim His name. That is why Prayer is part of our reverent fear of the Lord. We need to cultivate an attitude of prayerfulness; a constant relationship between God and us.

Friend, the diagnosis of our “neck-up check-up” is simple. Cultivate a reverence and fear of the Lord that positively reflects our love for Him and results in our service to Him. And God promises that the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings and beams and we shall be released from our stalls leaping for joy. Hallelujah!!!

Dear Lord, thank You for the promises of Your Word. Thank You that as we worship and revere You, You bring us out of whatever corrals us and bring Your healing to us. As we worship and revere You, You bring us strength, restoration, renewal, protection, and healing. Lord, thank You for Your Righteousness. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Lord, help us to see when we need to refocus our eyes upon You. May we never fear You with the wrong attitude. May we always fear You in reverence as we endeavor to know You more as we pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!