Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How to Defend Yourself

Enterprise = you. Shield = Psalm 91.
Sell your cloak. Buy a sword.

Last night, I wrote a Twitter thread about how the Democrats and the mainstream media are stoking fear and hopelessness during this season of rest.
I don’t think I conveyed how much it infuriated me, but instead of simmering in anger, I’d like to provide a counterpoint.

While everyone else talks about the China Virus/Wuhan Flu/coronavirus/COVID-19 and its effects on the world, I’ve been trying to keep my mind focused on Jesus the Christ, as has been so for the last 20+ years and specifically so since about 2008. Looking back to that year, I’d say that God has been drawing me closer to Him through personal tribulation.

I began calling myself a Christian in the mid-1990s but during the time period mentioned, God has been using tough times and tears to shape me and mold me; to change me into something that I was not prior to that (borrowing a concept from my pastor).

And that’s what He always does for those who He draws to Himself. Jesus the Christ said that no one is drawn to Christ unless the Father flips the drawing switch. However, I submit that this drawing business isn’t a one-time good deal, but something that happens continually throughout the life of the believer.

Trouble is a primary tool for the drawing, especially trouble of the seemingly insurmountable variety. But the thing is that God provides solutions to all problems. Sometimes the solution consists of only one thing, the assurance that He is God. That’s always the starting point, and, ultimately, the end point. But, more often than not, there is a lot of action between the beginning and the end.

I’ve faced permanent loss – of persons and things. I’ve felt like a trapped animal before. I’ve had radically reduced circumstances before. And then I remembered that God was with me and that He kept me. Each situation was a drawing to Him.

And now …

The fear of pestilence and the shadow of death – that’s what we all are facing.

God is drawing this world to Himself.

Several years ago, my pastor preached a series of sermons on Psalm 91. Simply, it is a prayer composed by David requesting protection from God. At the time of the composition, David was on the run from King Saul. I made it my business to memorize the psalm and after I did that, I personalized it.

Here’s the King James version.
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation
And here’s my personalized version.
When I dwell in the secret place of you, Most High
I will abide under the shadow of you, Almighty.
I will say of you, Lord, you are my refuge and my fortress. My God.
In you will I trust.
Surely, you will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence.
You will cover me with your feathers and under your wing will I trust.
Your truth is my shield and my buckler.
I will not be afraid for the terror by night,
Nor for the arrow that flies by day,
Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor for the destruction that wastes at noon day.
A thousand shall fall at my side and 10,000 at my right hand, but it shall not come nigh me.
Only with my eyes will I behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because I have made you, Lord, you who is my refuge, even you, Most High, my habitation.
There shall no evil befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling.
For you have given your angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways.
They shall bear me up in their hands, lest I dash my foot against the stone.
I will tread on the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon will I trample under feet.
Because I have set my love upon you, therefore you will deliver me.
You have set me on high because I have known your name.
I will call upon you and you will answer me.
You will be with me in trouble. You will deliver me and honor me.
With long life will you satisfy me and show me your salvation.
I’ve been praying this to God almost every day since I memorized it. While doing so, I try to keep in mind that I’m talking to a person and when I find myself merely reciting the psalm, I stop and begin again.

Notice that the request has conditions; notice that pestilence and deliverance are mentioned twice and plague once. And be advised that dwelling has many connotations. Your body, your house/apartment and your country are all dwellings.

And note the exhortations about fear.

The psalm can be dissected much more, but that's not my purpose here.

This is: to go on spiritual offense against the forces of fear and darkness and the human agents thereof.

I've used these weapons and God's other weapons before; they work. But only if you pick them up.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Going Nowhere

Fresh Air
Downtown Los Angeles. Gavin Heffernan. Undated.

Of course, I’m at home and I plan to mostly stay inside. I wanted to step outside for a bit when it gets dark just to see the effect of a nearly smog-free LA sky. But it looks like there will be cloud cover for the next week at least.

Recently, I was worried about getting evicted and/or having my electricity service shut off, but that danger has passed for two reasons: God has provided through private donors, one of which is Code of Vets.

The other reason is obvious.

There is a lot of fear out there, like unto my own. But I wonder …

Is God giving this nation --this world -- a season of rest and an opportunity to refocus on Him? He did that with me a few years back. Stripped me of almost every material thing and it seemed that He turned me into a beggar.

Let me rephrase that. He showed me that I and all the rest of us are beggars, whether we ask Him for things or not.

Many American Christians have been begging Him to cleanse our country and I submit that this is what’s happening. I know from experience, however, that, sometimes, when God answers our prayers in the affirmative, the answer will often come in a very unexpected manner. God likes radical solutions.

Is that not what this is? If it is, I think He's being merciful.

I plan on driving to church on Sunday, so if you want to get me some gasoline, that’d be great. But don’t feel obligated. God will provide one way or another.

And it will be to His glory.

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When you hit the Tip Jar, it helps pays for: A Roof Over My Head, Food, Gasoline, Car Insurance, the writing of My Next Book(s), and Utilities--especially Internet and COFFEE! Yes, coffee is a utility.