Sleeping While Angels Ride Chariots

Psalms 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

It is currently 3:42 in the morning. I have been awake for the past two hours unable to fall back to sleep. It is ironic to me that the verse of the day provided by the YouVersion Bible application is regarding sleep. The verse does not promise every time I lay down to sleep, I will have a peaceful, refreshing, and nourishing rest that will be undisturbed by noises and thoughts.

The verse reminds me of the story in 2 Kings 6. Elisha’s servant woke early in the morning and saw a fearful thing. A Syrian army with chariots and horses had come at night and was surrounding the city. Elisha was still in bed fast asleep. The servant yelled in fear, “alas my master! What shall we do?” Elisha prays and asks the Lord if he would please open up the eyes of the servant so that he could peer into the unseen realm for a moment. God grants Elisha’s request and the servant sees that the “mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”. Was there a reason for the servant to be afraid when he woke? Absolutely! Was there a reason for fear after his eyes were open and he could see he was protected by a mountain of angels? No! The sight would have brought a sense of safety and peace because of their total protection. And this is the sense of Psalm 4:8. If we are the Lord’s, we have nothing to fear. For the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them”. (Psalm 34:7)

May the Lord of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing upon Him this day!

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Encouragement And Hope

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

DEFINITIONS:

  • Instruction: learning, doctrine
  • Endurance: cheerful and patient constancy
  • Hope: expectation of obtaining good

In the summer time during my middle and high school years, both my parents headed off to work before I would wake up. My mom always left instructions for me on the kitchen counter. It was my chore list that needed to be finished before I could leave the house. It was written in former minutes, and for my instruction. I knew that if I, through patient endurance, pressed through and finished my chores, I could bike the five miles to town and go golfing with friends. The instruction gave me hope that what I deemed as good would soon come through my endurance.

When the apostle Paul wrote this text in Romans, he was referring to the Old Testament. We now have the entire Scriptures (both Old and New) for our instruction. The Scriptures are intended for our doctrinal learning, and to be our source of encouragement. It is the source of truth the Lord gave us so that we might not be tossed around in this world like a ship lost at sea.

In one sense, whatever was written, emailed, sent in a text, or tweeted in the past was written down for someone’s instruction. But only the Scriptures promise to give encouragement and true hope to those who read with endurance.

My Hiding Place

Psalms 91:1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty”.

DEFINITIONS:

  • Dwells: to sit and inhabit
  • Shelter: a secret hiding place or covering
  • Abide: to rest and lodge overnight
  • Shadow: shade; used as a symbol for protection or refuge

I thought of many songs this morning as I read this text. A Shelter In The Time Of Storm starts out by saying:

The Lord’s our Rock; in Him we hide, a Shelter in the time of storm; Secure whatever ill betide, a Shelter in the time of storm.

O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a weary land, a weary land; O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land; A Shelter in the time of storm.

HERE is a link to a video with the back drop of Selah singing Hiding Place.

Jesus is God’s hiding place for those who seek shelter and protection from the storms of life. He is also the only hiding place God has provided to shelter us from the judgement to come. None of us can seek shelter at Mt. Sinai. The Ten Commandments that came forth from that mountain are intended to crush us under the weight of our inability to fulfill any of those requirements. The commandments are intended to drive us to Jesus; our only hiding place. In Him we find our rest. In Him we find a secret place to lodge and find our refuge.

God Is Mine

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

DEFINITIONS:

  • Know: to learn, perceive, or be skillful (especially knowing relationally)
  • LORD: yhwh, the self-existent eternal one
  • God: Elohim
  • Faithful: established, trustworthy, and supportive
  • Keeps: to hedge about and guard
  • Covenant: agreement, treaty, or alliance
  • Steadfast love (from God): merciful and faithful kindness
  • Love (from us): to have affection
  • Commandments: law, precepts

Theology (the study of God) is so important. The more we know and understand about God, the greater chance we have of remaining steadfast as we journey through this life.

The Lord is eternal and self-existent. He has never not had existence. He needs nothing outside of himself to remain or continue to be. We on the other hand are dependent every moment of our lives. We do not keep our own heart beating, our mind thinking, or our eyes blinking. We are dependent upon him to produce air for our lungs, food for our bellies, and warmth for our living. He never tires or grows weary. His eye of love has been upon humanity ever since he first breathed life into our first parents. He knows everything about us, and everything to come for us.

This eternal God is faithful. It is impossible for him to lie or renegotiate a promise. He knows everything, and therefore can never “gain new information” which might cause him to change. What he says, he will do; he can not deny himself.

Our verse today encourages us to know, to learn, to have the skill of understanding that this self-existent, eternal, and faithful Lord of the universe is mine. And he is yours if you have come to him through faith in his son Jesus Christ. God always does what he says, but will not always do what we ask. He is faithful to himself and to the promises he has made to his children.

Steadfast Till Death

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

DEFINITIONS

  • Blessed: happy
  • Steadfast: patiently remaining under
  • Trial: a temptation or testing point typically proving, or testing one’s character
  • Stood: to begin to be. It is used of plants and fruits beginning to be produced (Matthew 21:19, 1 Cor 15:37)
  • Test: tried as metals are by fire
  • Crown Of Life: emblem of royal dignity given to the saints in heaven
  • Promised: to announce as true
  • Love: “agapo” to find one’s joy in someone or something
  • Him: the Lord / Jesus Christ

The trials in our lives are specifically intended by the sovereign Lord of the universe to test our love and our character; to produce Christ-like character and the fruits of the Spirit; and to increase our happiness and love as we patiently wait for the dignity and honor we will receive in heaven.

The text is calling each of us to have endurance until death. Trials are tests of faith. And the promise here gives the one tested more fruitfulness in their life on earth. But does not give the final promise (crown of life) until our last breath is taken.

Gather, Distinguish, Practice: The Beginning Of Wisdom

Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”

DEFINITIONS:

  • Wisdom: skill
  • Get: gather
  • Insight: distinguish or discern

The word “get” is used three times in our verse. We are called here to get or gather skill and insight. We live in a world filled with ideas, concepts, and truth claims. Whatever kind of information we gather during our day, we are called to discern it. To separate it so that we might know whether it is good, wise, and true, or evil, foolish, and false. Jesus Christ is the author of all truth, and the Devil is the father of lies. Becoming wise then is the continual practice of gathering, distinguishing, and putting into practice the insights we learn. Get wisdom, and get insight from whatever information we get throughout each and every day.

The Results Of The Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The law is against having any other god before the Lord. It is against making any carved images of gods. It is against taking the Lord’s name in vain, breaking the Sabbath, dishonoring authority, murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting. If you do any of these sins, the law and the Lawgiver are against you.

But when a person becomes a Christian, the Lawgiver’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) comes to dwell within the individual. And when the Spirit comes, He begins to produce what we call the fruit (or results / effects) of the Spirit. These are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When these qualities flow out of the person who is in dwelt by the Spirit, there is no longer any law which can condemn.

An apple tree produces the fruit of apples, a cherry tree produces the fruit of cherries, and the Spirit produces the fruits of the Spirit. May the Lord grant you to be filled with the Spirit today and forever more!

The Light Of The World

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. -John 1:9

Above my desk hangs a fluorescent trouble light illuminating my work space. It is not a source of light, rather it gets it’s power to produce light from the electric panel in the basement. The back light in my iPad gets it’s light from a rechargeable battery tucked somewhere inside. Everywhere I look around me is light that is far from being an original source.

In a few hours the sun will come up. It will give light to everything my eyes land upon. It is the nearest representation on our planet of the light John speaks about in verse 9. It is a light that does not need to be plugged in or recharged. It is a light which is given to everyone. Yet even this source of light ninety-three million miles away did not create itself. Genesis 1:16 tells us that God made the greater light (our sun) to rule over the day.

Jesus Christ is the original source of light. He is the true light which gives light to everyone. I do not tend to think the verse is specifically speaking about illuminating light, but rather the light of truth. John Calvin says the Apostle John is not distinguishing true light from false light in the verse. Rather John is pointing out that Jesus is the original source of light; illumination, and the light of truth (which lightens the soul).

2000 years ago, Jesus Christ (the true light) came into this world. He says “all that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” -John 6:37

Be Taught And Be Teaching

 

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

We are called here not to let the Word of Christ wander around homeless never finding rest. Rather to let Christ’s Word dwell inside of us finding permanent residency.

We do this through teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. It involves placing ourselves under the consistent doctrinal teaching of the Word, and overflowing our new found knowledge to some other person. Each of us are called to be taught and be teaching. Teaching could have a tendency of being general and abstract, but admonishing applies the Word of Christ directly to a person’s life. When this happens on a regular basis, we become wise. We become wise when the doctrine of Christ is applied directly to a specific area of our life, and we gain the skill and expertise of living out that truth of Christ in our day to day endeavors.

Another necessary way to root Christ’s Word in our heart is through song. We are called to sing psalms (sacred music), hymns (songs declaring the magnificent greatness of God), and spiritual songs (non-carnal, nor gross songs that are rational and consistent with the Spirit of Christ). We are called to sing these songs in community, and with thankfulness in our hearts to God.

Verse 1 of Chapter 3 assumes that all Christians will do what verse 16 calls us to. Paul says, “if then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.” Letting the Word of Christ richly dwell inside ourselves is what we are to do if we have been raised with Christ. It is how we set our minds on the things that are above, and not things that are on earth.

Abounding In Thankfulness

Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

All who received Christ Jesus as Lord, received him by faith. We are called here to walk in the Lordship of Christ by faith, with roots planted down, and a structure growing upward. We are to continue in the teaching and the doctrine of Christ, and abound in thankfulness.

When we become a Christian, we are receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are trusting that he has paid the debt we owe to God for our sin. We gain a righteous standing in God’s courtroom, and are also gifted with the Holy Spirit, who sets up his home in our heart and chisels us to be more and more like Jesus every day.

The verse calls you and me to abound in thankfulness. It seems quite impossible to abound in thankfulness if we know there is a judgement day ahead of us; a day coming where we will be found guilty for breaking God’s law. Our conscience is a continual reminder we are not holy, perfect, and just. But if we know at the judgement day our debt has been already been paid by Jesus at Calvary; it gives us a new perspective on life today. It enables us to begin abounding in thankfulness to Jesus for what he has done on our behalf. To abound means to be excessive. If there was a fixed number of thankful words you could speak throughout the day. The word abound would be the number of words leftover you would carry over to the next day. To abound is to exceed a fixed number.

May the Lord cause you to abound in thankfulness as you remember Calvary today.