Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
Incline Your ear to me,
rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me."
(verse 1-3)
In this Psalm are verses I have borrowed from time to time to be the voice of my prayers, words to patch up hurts of my heart and to be like David, a clinger onto hope.   Yes, I'll admit to taking refuge in God.  No one wants to be ashamed.  I want to pull God's ear down to my lips, as this verse means literally, and like a child whisper my cry.  You haven't done that?  Well, bless your little lying heart.  Rock of strength, stronghold, fortress: yeah, we need these sometimes. 

In this old weary world, full of hate and war, it is oppressive sometimes. God bless our soldiers who literally do the fighting while we are much safer at home.  But the truth of the matter is that there are wars within and without.  We must surrender our soul once and for all into His hands to find victory.

"I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, I may never fly over the enemy, but I'm in the Lord's army."   You see, if we are truly in the Lord's army, we are going to be shot at , traps will be laid, there will be lying lips against us, we will know grief, will be slandered, schemed against, held in contempt.  Yep, sounds like ministry. 

"Into Thy hand I commit my spirit."
These are some very familiar words spoken by Christ on the cross as well as Stephen when he was stoned: "Into Your hand I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46 & Acts 7:58).  It is the ultimate last breath, the last will and testament of a heart given over to God. "I give my soul to Thee, for it is Thine.  Thou hast redeemed it by Thy blood; it is safe nowhere but in Thy hand."  Actually, giving our soul over to God is the safest way to live, not just to die.  The weary conflicted person is the one who gives their soul to God, no, takes it back, no here it is again, and so forth, "being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:7)

"How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence ...
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me..."
(verses 19-21)
Don't you love it when you get to the good part?  "God's goodness is infinite; there is enough for all,--enough for each, enough for evermore.  It I laid up where neither devils nor men can reach it."

"The secret place of Your presence" is "with the covering of Thy countenance." "Their life shall be so hidden with Christ in God, that their enemies shall not be able to find them out.  To such a hiding place Satan himself dare not approach.  There the pride of man cannot come." 
"Thou shalt hide them in them secretly in a pavilion," "Thou shalt put them in the innermost part of Thy tent. (able to enter into the Holy of Holies?) This implies that they shall have much communion and union with God; that they shall be transformed into His likeness.
"O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! (His saints)
The Lord preserves the faithful...
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in (wait for) the Lord." 
(verses 23-24)

"It is only the saints (the godly ones) that can love God; they only are made partakers of the Divine nature.  Holy spirits can love God, who is the fountain of their holiness."  "Preserveth the faithful."  "Those who, being filled with the love of God, bring forth the fruits of that love;--universal obedience to the will of God: for to such person His commands are not grievous, --their duty is their delight; while a man is faithful to the grace he has received, that is, uses and improves the talents with which God has entrusted him, God's service is perfect freedom."

"Be of good courage."  "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith...They that hope in God, and are endeavouring to walk carefully before Him, may take courage at all time, and expect the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel of peace."
In other words, God has canned us up, made us His preserves, from the fruit of the Spirit.  It looks like I might make it out of this world without the skill of being able to can and preserve fruit, but I can't make it out of this world without being preserved by Him. 

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in, wait for, the Lord."
That about sums up my Christian life right now.  With the struggle for power in our nation right now, it gets a little dirty.  I must pray, act (fight), take courage and hope in God.  How about you?

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