Psalm 23:1-3 ESV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Life has its ups and downs. Trials come, and trials go. And, our enemy Satan (the devil) prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
So, if we are walking closely with the Lord, doing what he says to do, we are bound to come face to face with his attacks regularly. And, he uses other humans to do his dirty work, and to come against us, too. So, that hits close to home. And, so we may be tempted to fear. Or, Satan may attack us with feelings of fear, even though we are not giving way to the fear.
Yet, if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, through genuine faith in him, then we don’t have to fear our enemy or what he might do, or what his servants or those being deceived by him might do to us. For, our God is with us, and he will not leave us or forsake us.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, is our divine shepherd. He is completely sovereign over all of creation, and over all powers and authorities in the heavenly realms and on the earth. And, he is all powerful, all knowing, and ever present everywhere. So, nothing we are going through escapes his notice or is out of the realm of his control and power.
So, that means we are also not powerless over our circumstances, either, for if Christ lives within us, we can rely on his power and strength to get us through every trial and every difficulty, and to come out victorious. But, the victory is not necessarily in the escape from the trial, but in the courage and strength God gives us to endure the trial and to not let it take us out.
Also, even when things get really heated, and Satan and his hordes are fiercely attacking, we can be at peace, for our Lord leads us to peace in him. Yet, I am not saying the peace will always immediately come, though. I had a really bad battle the night before last with being attacked of Satan with feelings of fear, and it did not let up for a couple of hours. But, I kept praying and quoting scripture and singing songs, and eventually the peace came.
So, we can’t give up and we can’t give in when we are attacked, even if the attacks persist for some time. But, we have to just keep trusting the Lord, keep on resisting Satan, and keep on fleeing the temptation to cave to our enemy’s evil tactics against us, for he has many tricks up his sleeves, too.
But, we must follow our Lord’s lead to those still (or quiet) waters where he restores our souls. And, we have to follow his lead, too, onto those paths of righteousness.
For, our Lord often allows us to go through trials and difficulties as a way to draw us closer to himself, and in order to purify our hearts and to make us even more holy. So, rather than letting these trials take us out or to make us afraid, we need to allow our Lord to grow us through them, for they do serve God’s purposes in conforming us to his likeness.
Psalm 23:4 ESV
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
For one person this valley of the shadow of death may be very severe, yet for another it may not be nearly as severe, and yet for both of them it is still the valley of the shadow of death. It is still a dark time. It is a time when they are experiencing potentially crippling attacks from the enemy.
So, they are hurting and/or they are battling feelings of depression because of what they are going through. And, they may even be tempted to be afraid of what might happen to them further.
Some who are going through this may literally be at risk of losing their lives or of facing a real physical threat to their bodies or to their minds and emotions, for abuse comes in many different packages. Yet, for some, the attacks may never enter a physical realm at all, but are merely attacks on their minds and on their emotions, but that is severe enough right there.
And, it isn’t as though having no fear of evil means nothing bad can happen to us. It can mean bad is coming, and it can be over a long period of time, too. For, we read in scripture that we, as followers of Jesus, will be hated and persecuted because of our faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ.
And, some of us may even be put to death because we stand for what is right and we stand against evil. But, we are not to be afraid, not because it won’t happen, but because Jesus is allowing it and he will carry us through it all.
Psalm 23:5-6 ESV
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Our enemy’s goal is to make us afraid, to take us out, and to get us to turn tail and run. He hopes to make us fall or to get us to give up and to abandon ship. And, he is very skilled at what he does, too.
Yet, our Lord supplies us with everything that we need. He comforts and he helps us. He pours out his spiritual blessings upon us, too, and he shows us that he loves and cares about us. And, he does this in the presence of our enemies. Thus, they may even be jealous of us, or hate us because of it, like Cain hated his brother Abel and so he murdered him.
So, this is not a promise that bad stuff won’t happen to us if we follow Jesus Christ with our lives. But, this is a promise that our Lord will be with us through it all and that good will come out of it. And, that we will be blessed of God despite our suffering or in our suffering for righteousness’ sake.
But, since he does this in the presence of our enemies, then that may mean even greater persecution for us, because our enemies will be jealous of us and of our relationships with God. But, God will work all things for good for those who love (and obey) him and who have been called according to his purpose.
And, we must be willing to suffer whatever God allows us to suffer, for it may mean the salvation of human lives. Because of our suffering, others might turn to the Lord for their salvation. And, that is a very good thing!
And, God may use suffering in our lives, too, to prepare us for specific areas of ministry he has planned for us. And, if we had not suffered so, we would not be spiritually, mentally and physically ready for what is coming.
So, God is able to turn bad things around for good to make us who he wants us to be, to be used of him in a special way at a specific time in history, and for the glory of God, too. So, we need to follow His lead.
Give Me Courage, Lord
An Original Work / November 13, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Do not let your hearts grow weary,
For your work will be rewarded.
Be strong; let your hearts take courage.
Do not fear, but wait on Jesus.
Be strong and very courageous,
For your God will go before you.
Do not fear. He will not leave you.
Wait for Him. He’ll not forsake you.
Be careful to do what He says.
Do not turn away from your Lord.
Take courage! You’ll be His witness,
For God will guide and protect you.
So we are always encouraged.
We walk by faith and not vision.
We make it our aim to please Him,
So in Christ, we glorify Him.
Sunday, March 17, 2019