My Fortress

Saturday, January 11, 2014, 8:57 a.m. – When I got up out of bed this morning, the Lord Jesus put the song “Why Are You Afraid?” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalms 27 (NIV):

My Strength

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

This Psalm of David is one of my all-time favorites. The Lord has given me much courage, strength and comfort through this Psalm time and time again. How so? I used to be a very timid and fearful person. I am not a tower of strength of my own making. In the natural, I scare easily. In the natural I would prefer to run and take cover rather than stand up against the giants. I grew up in a home environment as a child where I, my mom and my siblings were all severely abused by my father. I was very fearful of my dad. Although I knew God was with me to encourage and comfort me, and to give me hope, I was convinced that my circumstances were beyond God’s control, and I carried with me that belief into adulthood. So, whenever something in my life came down heavy upon me like an enemy advancing against me to devour me, I, in my flesh, frequently ran for cover instead of trusting the Lord with my circumstances, believing that I truly had nothing to fear.

I believe it was a close friend of mine who, thirty years ago, told me I should memorize this Psalm. I know I cried all the way through the first reading of it, and have cried many times since while reading it, too. I cry because the truth of it touches my heart. Although there will be those in my life who will advance against me to devour me, perhaps even thinking they are doing a good or a right thing, and although they may war against me, perhaps due to their own faulty thinking or misconceptions, or due to their own hatred, hurts or fears, I don’t have any reason to ever be afraid. Why?

Well, for one thing they cannot rob from me the one thing that is most valuable and that is my salvation. They may be able to seize me, arrest me, incarcerate me, even bring up false charges against me, beat me or put me to death, but I still have my Lord, and I still have the hope of eternal life with him in glory. Amen! The other reason I do not need to be afraid is that my God is absolutely in control of all aspects of my life, he is all powerful, and nothing can touch me but what he allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. He is my stronghold, my fortress. In him I take refuge, and in that place of refuge I find much comfort in knowing that the enemy cannot demolish that fortress, and that he cannot take me down spiritually, and he can only take me down physically if God permits. And, even then God will be with me to lead, guide, counsel, encourage and to give me all the courage and strength that I need to stand tall in the face of such opposition.

My Desire

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the Spirit of the Living God living his life within us and out through us. Because of that, we can come into fellowship with him in his house 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, those of us who truly trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives do dwell in the house of the Lord all the rest of the days of our lives. Amen! And, because of that, we can rejoice even when all hell is breaking loose around us. We can sing for joy because of our love relationship with Jesus Christ; because of our intimate relationship with Him as our Lord and Savior, realizing that he is within us, and he will give us all we need to stand tall even in the face of severe persecution. So, even if we are being falsely accused, mistreated, attacked mercilessly and are suffering much unjust treatment at the hand of our enemies, we can still sing songs of praise to our Lord. Amen!

My Comfort

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.

This particular part of this passage of scripture, when I first read it, brought many tears to my eyes, and yet much comfort. Even though I felt rejected and unloved by my parents, and even though my mom did not give me the love and affection I would have liked to have received from her in my childhood years, and even though my dad was a big bully who picked on those weaker than him, and so I felt deserted by both of them, my Lord did receive me. I cried myself to sleep many times in his “arms.” When I truly comprehended what this meant, though, the Lord used it in my life to bring much healing and forgiveness, and I was able, by his grace, to reach out in love to my parents, and my mom was then able to hug me and to tell me that she loved me. Awesome! And, through this healing of my wounded heart the Lord Jesus delivered me from many fears. To God be the glory!

My Hope

Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

We serve an awesome God! Through all the pain, all the suffering, and all the tears, not just in my childhood, but in many similar circumstances throughout the 64 years of my life, I have learned time and time again to put my hope in the Lord Jesus, to rest in his love and in his many promises to me, to believe that he will work everything out in my life for my good, and that he will teach me what he wants me to learn through it all for the praise of his glory. There were times, I must admit, when I strayed from the straight path because I ran and hid for cover in a refuge other than in my Lord, but that time is no more, praise His Name! Now I take my difficult circumstances to him in prayer, I trust in his provisions, and I lean not on my own understanding, but I let him speak his truths to my heart. And, teach me he does! And, by his grace and mercy I am able to follow his lead and to go where he wants me to go. He may choose to deliver me out of difficulties, or he may choose to deliver me through them for his glory. Yet, one day he will most certainly deliver me from it all when he takes me home to be with him forever, and there forever I will rest in his love.

Why Are You Afraid? / An Original Work / December 5, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Do not be afraid.
Your Lord is always by your side.
Serve the Lord in righteousness
Before Him all your days.

Those who hate the light
Will not come to the Lord.
They fear their deeds
Might be noticed.
So, they hate the light,
And they embrace the night.

Do not be afraid,
Although your enemy attacks.
Dare to share your testimony
Of God’s saving grace.

Do not fear their threats,
But honor Christ, your Lord.
Be prepared to give an answer
For the hope you have,
With gentleness; respect.

Why are you afraid?
For all that’s hidden will be shown.
What I tell you, speak in daylight.
Let the truth be known.

Do not be afraid
Of those who’ll take your life.
Fear the Lord with understanding.
Trust Him with your life,
And give not up to strife.

Do not be afraid.
Take courage, it is I, your Lord.
Bow before Me; now adore Me.
Oh, why do you doubt?

Listen to the Lord.
Get up, and bear His name!
Run and tell the world He loves them.
Jesus came to save.
Give Him your all today.