Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone ,And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant,And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word,Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Yes, today I will bless the Lord. Even though annoying things try to interfere, the words of rude people try to shake me, I will still bless the Lord. I feel like a memo went out to the world : “make her life difficult in every way” – that’s how the last two weeks have felt. How can I have so much interference everywhere I turn? Why isn’t everything going my way? Why are the simplistic things turning into long dragged out trials? Why am I dealing with so many problems? Whatever! I’m going to bless the Lord and refuse to be brought down.
I will bless the Lord, with all my soul and forget not His benefits. I will lift my head up and wait for my King. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases, He redeems my life from destruction and crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies. How awesome is that?!? He makes all my problems disappear as I refocus. I will rejoice for this is the day that the Lord has made. He will strengthen me and renew my youth like the eagles. Amen, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
I live in the shelter of the Most High
And I find rest in the Shadow of the Almighty
This I declare about the Lord on High,
He alone is my rock and my safety
He is my refuge and where I go to hide
When my enemies surround me
And a thousand fall at my side
Traps and snares try to grab me
But the Lord rescues and I rejoice gladly
Deadly diseases and a world of evil things
Yet My God covers me and protects me under His wings
His promises are yes and true
Our armour, protecting me and you
I will not be afraid of the terrors in the night
Though the world tries to fill each heart with fright
The Lord goes before me, He strengthens me with His might
No evil can touch me, my prayers reach His heights
For I know He hears each word I pray
Protecting me each night and every day
I have made the Lord my refuge, a shelter is He
Therefore He’s promised no evil can conquer me
Plagues cannot touch those I love
His angels protect me, commissioned from above
They hold me up with their hands
And protect me as I walk through this land
I love my God, whose throne is on High
And Jesus, His Son, on His right Side
He is with me through all my troubles and fear
Always besides me, always near.
Lessons I learned reading Deuteronomy 1-2
Don’t fear the giants nor be dismayed with their strength
- The Lord goes before me and fights for me
- I remember all He has done for me – and I strengthen myself as I remember His good works
- Deut 1:17: Do not be afraid in any man’s presence
- Deut 1:21 Do not fear nor be discouraged.
- Do not speak words of doubt or fear – nor allow yourself to worry and ponder on them in your thoughts
- Though the evil that has begun to show itself in the world seems powerful and mighty, we can trust in the Lord to fight for us- and protect each one of us from evil
- The Lord does not want us to be terrified. He goes before us and He will fight for us
- “and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you cam to this place” – and so he will carry us though the times that lie ahead, as a father carries his son.
- The Lord was angry with all those who worried, doubted and were full of fear. Fix your thoughts – Phil. 4:8
- Don’t fear – even if they are mighty and powerful
- Treat your brothers and sister’s right. Be fair and kind
- Stand up! For the Lord you God goes before you.
- ” This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you” Deut 2:25
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the
- belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the
- breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your
- feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the
- shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the
- helmet of salvation and the
- sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Piecing together the study of our armor, I have found that certain pieces of this armor must be paired with another in order for it to have the full effect. It’s truly amazing! The shoes must be worn along with the breastplate, the shield must be used with the sword and the helmet must be worn with the belt. You can’t just put on one piece.
Peace (shoes) and Righteousness (breastplate)
I previously did a study on Peace and Righteousness and found that they truly do protect us and they work together- in protecting us. Peace and Right living , together, are our spiritual armor that protects us. It was truly amazing to see the two paired together so often in scripture. You absolutely cannot have one without the other, you can’t have righteousness without peace and you can’t have peace without righteousness. Check out a few scriptures and see:
- Mercy and truth are met together ; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Psalm 85:10
- And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Isaiah 32:17
- O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: Isaiah 48:18
- To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Hebrews 7:2
- And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace James 3:18
Faith (Shield) and God’s Word (Sword)
Another interesting discovery! Just as Righteousness and peace work together and cannot work without each other, so I have found the same with the shield and sword. You cannot have faith without the Word, impossible! For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord. I cannot protect myself against the wiles of the devil and his tactics without the help of God and His word. Faith in our Holy Father and His word protects me. God’s word crushes and destroys the enemy’s plan of attack – that’s my sword. The bible says that our enemy throws fiery darts at us- those darts are thoughts, doubts, fears- we hold up the shield of faith knowing we can trust in God. All those darts fall and will not touch you BUT if you get lazy and forget the Word, all those wrong thoughts will settle in your mind, fall deep in your heart and it will become part of you- we can’t let this happen.
- Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places. Deut 33:29
Keeping scripture close at hand is key. When you trust in God, you trust in His word. When the enemy throws fears, discouragement, depression, wrong thoughts, and hopelessness your way you must hold up the shield of Faith- No weapon formed against you shall prosper! For this is the heritage of the saints of the Lord.
Speak it out- How interesting it is, I have found, the power of the spoken word. Notice that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Why doesn’t is say faith comes by reading and reading by the word of God? Maybe, or wait- not maybe- when we speak God’s Word and hear it – our faith grows and is strengthened. So I wonder, if we would begin speaking out in faith, we could really shake this wicked world up. If I can overthrow a mountain with faith just the size of a small mustard seed – whoa! Can you imagine what we can do in this world? I’m not talking about naming your Bentley, come on – I’m talking about making our world a Holy Nation. Instead of complaining about the wicked songs, lyrics, movies, shows, books – I will speak out in faith and prayer.
“God will protect my children, In Jesus Name, crush this wicked agenda that seeks to destroy our youth. Let every wrong and wicked movie crash to nothing and be destroyed before it touches the precious hearts of our children and….. here I go- May the new movie Divergent that is targeted at the youth be cast out and thrown into the sea”
Sidetrack: My daughter and I had a conversation yesterday about the movie ‘catching fire’. My husband and kids watched it while I fumed up a furnace. I prayed that God would take care of it so I didn’t act like an angry monkey on crack. The next day I was reading Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kemper with my daughter (part of her literary reading for high school) and it sparked a conversation
“Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may seem right and good…. And Whatever the mind sees as good, ask and desire in fear of God and humility of heart”
Me:“Look, just because you want to watch a movie and it seems good and right- doesn’t make it good and right before God”
She replies “there’s nothing wrong with it”
I say,” really? Killing? Sexuality? Kids slicing each others throats? Would you watch that movie if Jesus walked in here?
Then we kept reading the book:
“Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may seem right and good”
I said,” You see, not everything you desire and think is okay, is okay with God.”
She replied “but mom, what if I watch it and it doesn’t affect me”
I said ”The bible says everything you see, hear, think, and do goes in your heart. Of course it affects you- and everyone else who watches it. Everything in that movie went into your heart and the only way you can clean it out is through the Word of God”
Yea mom, your right…. and we continued reading. I thought this was interesting because #1God answered my prayer, took care of this for me and gave my kids understanding #2 I had faith God would take care of it when I prayed and tried my best to keep peace – and true enough, my prayer of faith went out and God took care of this better than I could have (and btw…. I’m quite well aware that I am one of the last standing Christians who oppose this movie and all the other stuff out there- I don’t have to agree with the world and I’m not going to – even if I’m the last person on earth who stands up to disagree, so if you like the movie, fine – I’m not judging you and you’re not judging me – I’m just saying it how it is, I know there is more to this movie -and I’ll tell you what else- I know without a doubt these movies (and books on child mutilation) that have become the new obsession and required reading in schools absolutely have an underlying agenda of molding, shaping and desensitizing our children)
Now where was I…. the reason I wanted write you today is about faith- can you believe this? 4 pages into this post and finally I’m getting around to the subject. I’ve got so much to tell you! Ugh, maybe I should rename this or start a new post…..I’ll have to put it in another post because now I have something new…..
If peace and righteousness must be paired together and now I have found that faith and the Word must be paired together ( or shoes + breastplate = protection, sword+shield destroys and kills your enemy and their attacks) Well then! Let’s see if we can find a link between the belt of truth and the helmet of salvation………
Truth (belt) and Salvation (helmet)
Yes! It’s true! You cannot have salvation without the truth- this is so cool! Salvation comes through the Spirit through our belief in the truth.- ( a tie in with faith). The truth and your salvation in Jesus keep you grounded, unshaken and standing firm!!! Wow, it’s all piecing together like a puzzle. Salvation comes through the truth and it helps you stand firm. Jesus is the truth of our salvation. The word of truth is the gospel of salvation. It’s Jesus! He is the truth and our salvation. Okay, here’s an overview of all our armor- Jesus , God’s Word and right living- those three together are the foundation of all this armor. I can see it! I’m jumping up and down- piecing a super cool puzzle together.
- [ Believers Should Stand Firm]As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5
- I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Psalm 40:10
- But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Psalm 69:13
- In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13
You see, God has given you 6 items for you to use in this war. (devil’s schemes, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms) Did you notice that complaining about the annoying tactics of the enemy is not a weapon or a shielding piece of armor? If it was, I’d be quite a warrior, but it doesn’t work this way ( I’m preaching to myself here) Are you just fending off the enemy or are you destroying the enemy with the Sword of God? We can march around with our helmet of salvation on and still get side swiped and crushed if we don’t stand firm on the Word of God. Get your sword out, remember who you are in Christ and don’t take any more garbage from the enemy because the name of Jesus is higher and more powerful than anything that may come against you.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.
19 So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”
Says the Lord. Isaiah 59:18-20
What’s the point? Why the armor and the sword?
(from Jeremiah 17:7-8)
Listen up! Blessed are you mighty and strong man of valor because you have put your trust and hope in the Lord. You have found your confidence and security in the Most High God. You shall be like a tree transplanted along the refreshing waters of the river that sendeth out its roots by the river. Because you have put all your trust in the Lord and not put your trust in your own strength or wealth, you stand unshakable, for the Lord is with you.
When heat or drought comes, you shall not be concerned or worried because you are always bearing fruit and your leaves will always be green. Attacks and storms may come your way, but not a branch shall be moved. You will prosper and flourish through all your storms, in drought, in valleys and through all the troubles that try to come against you. Even in times of drought or destitution, though the rain not fall for a period of time, you shall be unshakable, you will not be anxious or worried. You will prosper in perfect peace without fear. You trust fully in the Lord. You will not be sorrowful when troubles arise for you know that the Lord protects you. He is your rock and your fortress. Though these times come and go, you will never stop yielding fruit, you will accomplish all the Lord has planned for your life. You will always be provided for and your life will produce much fruit.
You count it all joy when troubles come and you know that we are destined for such troubles. You can rejoice in your problems and trials for we know they help us and strengthen us. We can remind ourselves as David did “ I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.”
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said,
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin, Selah
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found,
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
The story of Jonah and the whale is often dismissed by most as a Children’s story, but it really is not. It is one of the most important stories of redemption in the Bible. When God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and warn them to turn back from their ways, Jonah did not want to go.
King James Version (KJV)
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
What we see in Jonah is a man who thought that his way was the best and didn’t not trust in God when He had a plan for the future of Ninevah. Jonah did not believe that Ninevah deserved redemption, and did not want to be the messenger that gave them the opportunity. But one of the most important things that we learn from the story of Jonah is that God is in control!
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, OLord, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
We all know this part of the story, this is what we learned as children. But for so many the story stops here. Yet when Jonah gets to Ninevah is more important to the world of Jonah’s day. God warns them through Jonah that if they do not pray for forgiveness and turn from their ways that they will be destroyed.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Jonah was one of God’s messengers that rebelled from doing what God wanted him to do, and yet God used that very rebellion to convince Ninevah of His message. If Jonah had been a willing messenger, Ninevah probably would not have taken him seriously. And yet Ninevah still might have gone the other way. They might have refused to listen. If they had not listened God would have kept His promise to destroy them. We see from this story that no matter how bad things are that there are hopes for redemption, that God always keeps His promise, that He is in control no matter what we think, and that no matter how faulty we are as humans, He can use us to save others. We see an example of resurrection and redemption, a forerunner of Jesus Christ Himself.
No matter what we think about this world, we need to remember that things are not always what they seem, and that God is still in control and His plan is in place. We are not aware of what He is doing at any given time, and what we think is a failure, may just be another step in the process to the final goal that He wants. We have read the Book and we know the end. God’s time is His own and our time on earth is only important in fulfilling the objectives that He has given us and that is to “go forth and make disciples.”
God bless you all, have faith and trust in God no matter what you think should be the right path!
Christ and His gospel will always be spoken against. If you know a gospel that is approved of by the age and patronized by the learned, that gospel is a lie. Sermon 2396, C.H. Spurgeon 1895
People are always looking for the easy way, but that is not the path that a follower of Christ can expect. There is truly not much difference between the snake-oil salesmen in the days of old and preachers of today who promise eternity while lining their wallets with your money. If they had faith and truly believed in the word of God, they would follow His instruction and build up their treasures in heaven and not on earth!
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20