A Safe Place

  

Terror, torment, trepidation is loose in this world. The extent to which it effects each of us may vary, but the bubble that is American society itself is under attack as never before. Our model is Israel whom the enemy sought to destroy over and over. Their own leaders and influential groups often brought on much distress by their rebellion to God, His leading and ways. Today, we see such groups and leaders in America calling for socialism, fascism, and absolutely insane ideas. The media spews rhetoric that mocks, ridicules and denounces God in general, and Christianity specifically. In this backdrop, there is good news. 

There is refuge in God. “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew. Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.” (Deuteronomy 33: 26-29). For King David this message was a recurring theme in more than thirty Psalms, He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me…As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22: 2-3, 31). 

What of the new covenant and Yeshua? Mary the mother of Yeshua proclaimed as she was pregnant, “My soul glorifies the Lord. and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1: 46-55). Yeshua is God’s greatest gift to humanity and when we take our position of faith in His word and promises we dwell in a peace that exceeds understanding through the Spirit’s presence. He said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14: 12-17). The Lord Yeshua is our refuge, help and much more. For Believers the concept of a safe place is in the Lord, by faith and the indwelling Holy Spirit. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, “‘he Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13: 5-6).

Yeshua’s final words testify to His Supremacy, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22: 12-17). Say, yes to Yeshua, believe Him and begin a worry free life grounded in the unfailing truth of His love and faithfulness.

Interview With a Believer

This is an interview with a believer who is typical, rather than ordinary, as no Believers life will be ordinary due to the supernatural influence of the Almighty God.  I put brackets around my questions to distinguish them from the responses.

[Your story is somewhat unique in that you never seemed to go through a period of open rebellion or what might typify a “lost” way.  Can you describe in your experience of being lost, your search for God, and his opening of light and truth.]

I did not go through a real period of outright rebellion.  I grew up in a strict, fundamentalist family and was basically a compliant young person.  However, although saved at age six, I did not really commit my life to God until my mid-thirties.  I lived a more or less Christian moral code before then and had a fear of God but did not put God first in my life.  I had a Dark Night of the Soul experience around age thirty-six where I was struck with an illness and faced a dark spiritual despair where I felt like God withdrew from me for a short season.  This led me to review my life and I found it spiritually wanting.  Thereafter, I rededicated my life to Christ and He returned to me and the despair left and joy returned.  The interesting thing about this dark time is that as I repented of not putting God first in my life I was given a hunger for the Word which was amazing.  All I wanted to do during this period was to get home from work and get back into the Word. The hunger has continued since that time although not quite the amazing way it was during that short period.

[During your Dark Night of the Soul, you “felt that God withdrew”, but which happened first, God’s withdrawal or your own ambivalence toward Him?  Can you expound on living a life that is “spiritually wanting”, more specifically, what changed, how did spirituality manifest itself in your renewal (other than your hunger for God word)?]

My own ambivalence toward Him came first, for sure.  I more or less ignored Him while going about my life and he withdrew from me for a short season.  Spirituality was manifest by increased participation in Church, including getting involved in regular Bible study groups.  I started going to Sunday School for the first time in years and getting involved in the Singles group and various ministries in Church including ministering with the homeless.  I also began lessening my involvement in softball which for me had become an idol.

[In the midst of your pilgrimage with the Lord, you were suddenly impressed with an insight into God’s Sovereignty.  How did that realization impact you?]

It happened during my dark night of the soul.  My increased hunger for the Word caused me to come to passages (and readings in associated commentaries) that showed me clearly that God was sovereign over all, including salvation.  Since that time my conviction and certainty in Gods sovereignty has only grown.  Really, I would be terrified if anything was in my or anyones control other than God.  I praise him continually for His sovereignty over all!

[I remember you sharing with me your new insight into God’s Sovereignty.  About the same time, I was given a book, “The Sovereignty of God”, by Arthur Pink, shortly before our conversation.  For me, it was an epiphany that unlocked an understanding of predestination and made sense in every context.  How did the peace and comfort you received through the knowledge of God’s Sovereignty affect your witness to those around you?]

My witness was affected by not letting my inability to initiate conversation with people (I am an introvert) prevent me from making myself available.  When I came upon a potential witness situation with a stranger I asked God to allow them to speak to me if He wanted me to witness to them and lo and behold they did at times and I witnessed to them.  Some times they did not speak and I took this as Gods sovereign plan that this was not the time for this person.

[The power of truth can not be overstated.  Lives are changed, hearts are healed, the bondage and burden of sin is lifted, peace and rest flow like a river into a dry and troubled soul, and Yeshua Messiah is exalted to the highest place where He belongs.  The Believer’s life is a testimony of God’s love and mercy.]  “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3: 18).

Trust and Obey

samuel_rebukes_saulSaul, first King of Israel is an example of what to avoid.   When Saul went to battle he was told to wait seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel was delayed and Saul’s men began to scatter.  So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.”  And Saul offered up the burnt offering.   Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.  “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling Continue reading