Vantage Point

Meditating on Psalm 144:

Blessed be the Lord my Rock…
2 My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge… (vv. 1-2)

David begins this psalm, like most of the others he’d written, with praise. He had experienced first-hand God’s mighty deliverance over and over again as he went to battle against his foes. From the very first day that he stepped on the battleground to take on Goliath, without armor and shield but only his sling – he had trusted fully in the living God. He had seen how God gave him strength to kill the wolves and bears that attacked the flock he tended with only his bare hands. His faith in God enabled him to convert those episodes of victory on the hills to the battlefield, toppling kings and princes of the heathen nations in his wake.

Surely, if we allow God in all areas of our lives – marriage, family, motherhood, work, etc. – He will show Himself mighty to us, too. If we run to Him, bearing our problems, broken hearts, sick bodies, unquiet minds, and all our other urgent petitions – He will also become to us a refuge, a strong tower, a mighty fortress, our deliverer, healer, shield, problem-solver, provider. He will become to us our everything as David had made Him his.

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?
4 Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow. (vv. 3-4)

Because of the Lord Almighty’s wondrous work in David’s life, he couldn’t help but marvel, “What is man that you’re mindful of him?” Because of the mighty deeds of the Lord in his life that were magnified many times over, David saw himself as small, a mere mortal. Though a mighty warrior, he possessed the heart of a humble servant and took the posture of complete humility before God. From this vantage point, he was able to see the highness, the majesty, the excellency of God as against his humanity.

This passage got me to thinking: It is because of where we have put ourselves that sometimes our vantage points propel us to demand of God, put the blame on Him when things don’t go our way, or even accuse Him when bad things happen. I know there are people who treat God as if He owed them anything! I think this is a most unfortunate place to be: to think that God only exists to wait on us at our beck and call. But if we shift our positions and take that low place, we will be able to see and appreciate what God is really doing in our lives. That He is actually at work for all of us, for all of humanity, 24/7.

If we have allowed Him into our lives and walk with Him everyday, we will be in that position to praise and glorify Him and be in awe of His salvation, deliverance, healing, and miracles. And you know what? We will know what David had known all along:

Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! (v. 15)

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Coffee for Your Heart.

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Faces of the Enemy

Meditating on Psalm 140.

Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men,
2 Who plan evil things in their hearts;

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who have purposed to make my steps stumble. (vv. 1,2,4)

Often in the Psalms, we read David’s cries for deliverance from his enemies. Being king and warrior, he had accumulated enemies, including one who came from his own loins. We read how he fled from them, how he pleaded God to subdue them for him, and punish them. He’s greatly distressed by them.

We may not be kings and warriors in this present age like David had been, but we never run out of enemies ourselves, including and most of all, our own selves. We did become warriors for the Gospel and God’s kingdom. And I believe that’s equally challenging. The enemy of God comes in many different guises to try to tempt us and make our lives miserable. He could be a neighbor, co-worker, or classmate who spreads lies and nasty rumours about us; a disease that makes us suffer; an affair that shatters a marriage and family. (A dear friend of my daughter had to face the “enemy”, being introduced to the woman and baby half-sister who wrenched her dad away from them. She said it was indescribably painful to the point of you just want to become numb. For a 13-year old to face her enemy like that… It’s beyond words).

I believe the hardest enemy to conquer is oneself. When we wrestle against unforgiveness, envy, bitterness, pride, lusts, disappointment, loss of hope. There are countless ways the enemy of our soul can attack us. That’s why like David, we are to watch unto prayer. He trusted in God in every difficult situation. He made God his strength, defense, a mighty fortress. All through his travails, he bathed his cause with zealous prayers ad supplications. We do have an enemy and he comes in tricky guises. The Lord knew this that’s why He warned the disciples:

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat. 26:41)

The Lord in His faithfulness will deliver us from the works of the enemy in our lives. What we need to do is pray unceasingly and with tears that He will crush our enemies: annihilate our diseases, heal our bleeding hearts, lift us up. Let Him take up our cause, fight our battles, defend and hedge us all around. He can and will do all that for us and more.

I know that the Lord will maintain
The cause of the afflicted,
And justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name;
The upright shall dwell in Your presence. (vv. 12,13)

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,

A Place to Hide

When I see the photo of the Philippine flag tattered but still flying, I can’t help but bite my lip and try not to succumb to weeping. Our tattered flag symbolizes a country and a people broken and battered by the continuous onslaught of evil: corruption, war in Mindanao, insurrection, floods, earthquake, and just recently, super typhoon that took lives and property, and maybe, even hope to some. With these sentiments and tears, I begin my post today.

There were news that, after Typhoon Haiyan devastated our country, a big and famous church refused to receive townsfolk seeking refuge to their sturdy building in the heart of Tacloban, Leyte, the hardest hit province, while the typhoon raged. Those people were desperate and ran to that church’s edifice, hoping that they would be received and find safety there. But they were cruelly turned away because they were not members of that church.

This is a homegrown and second largest church in the Philippines next to the Roman Catholic Church. They are called Iglesia ni Cristo (translated: Church of Christ), but most people call them by the name of the founder, Iglesia ni Manalo, which is just as well since it appears that they don’t have the right to carry the name of the Savior. Would the Lord Jesus Christ turn away anyone? They may boast of their sturdy edifices, their churches’ buildings high spires proudly reaching to the clouds, but if the Lord doesn’t dwell there, what good does it do? Absolutely nothing!

In 2006 when our family traveled to nearby provinces to attend crusades of our Church, I had observed this one thing: most, if not all, of our Church’s outreach stations’ buildings are not made of a sturdy foundation. I was barely three years old in the Lord and still had that worldly thinking in me. I was ashamed to feel dismayed seeing the unattractive and seemingly weak structures that composed the outreaches’ buildings. I was still in the worldly mode thinking that a church building should look magnificent. Our main church regularly holds worship service in a stadium which is not at all unusual for huge congregations.

But our Church’s outreach stations’ buildings symbolize the poverty and humility of Christ when He walked on earth. Not that they would rather keep it that way, but, in the provinces where life is hard, the Gospel is brought to the poor and the needy. They may be poor materially (some outreach stations have curtains for walls), but they are rich in faith. And I might have forgotten where the Lord delivered His sermons: on a hill, on the mount, on a boat, at the seaside, in someone’s house. Our outreaches’ buildings may be weak but our Church’s foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ.

News reached us that in one outreach station that was directly along the path of the super typhoon, when the outreach building was wiped out, the beloved brethren in Christ tried to flee but couldn’t stand up to the force of the howling winds and lashing rain, so they just lay flat on the ground in a vacant lot, their faces kissing the wet earth. They yielded their bodies to the mercy and protection of the Lord God Almighty.

(image source)

Where do you go when there is nowhere to hide? Where do you run to? For even the designated evacuation centers were swallowed up by the storm surge and the people who sought refuge there perished. Where do you go when there is no safe place to be? For even the mansion-like houses of Tacloban were not spared by the fierceness of wind and water.

This was what our family talked about after our nightly devotion around our table. I said, “The safest place to be is in the Lord Jesus Christ.” When buildings fail to harbor us, there is a cleft in the Rock where we are always safe. We are safe in the hand of the Savior.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

Psalm 91 was given to us so we will know who holds, covers, and protects us.

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you… (Ps. 91: 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, emphasis added)

And yes, He is able to deliver from any and all harm. Even from super typhoons. Our brethren in Visayas are all safe. Hallelujah!

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,