You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
~Psalm 119:114, NLT
The LORD protects us that He might equip us to engage the enemy and fight the battle.
~Warren W. Wiersbe
If the life of faith consisted only of reading, studying and meditating on the word of God and loving God is the privacy of our study, life for the Christian would not be that difficult but when we take the gospel to the public arena, we encounter opposition. As Paul told Timothy, All those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Jesus spent entire nights alone with the Father in prayer but Jesus was no recluse: He interacted with people on a daily basis. He carried His message to the streets, markets, synagogues and even to the Temple and He encountered opposition. He was no coward and He doesn’t intend for us be either. Our assignment is to get the gospel to the world and any attempt to do so will stir the ire of the enemy. Retreat is a part of warfare but we are not to live in a constant state of retreat. He is our REFUGE and I thank God for it but He is also our SHIELD. You don’t need a shield in retreat, the shield is needed in combat. The monastic life sound holy and good but it is not what Jesus taught us to do: we are to go and make disciples.
The Psalmist does mention some problems with engaging the enemy. He says in verse 113, I hate those with divided loyalties. As soldiers of the cross, we cannot afford to be half-hearted in our approach: we have to make a full commitment in life or in death. Herein lies the problem, we have too much fear, too much love for the world, too much love for our own life, not to mention our vain motives. To prepare us for battle, God allows affliction. The affliction works like a refiners fire. During the intense heat of affliction, the impure motives come to the surface. When you refine ore, the heat separates the pure metal from the dross or slag. When you refine gold, the heat brings the scum to the top where the refiner skims it off. The truth is: we all have some slag, dross and scum in our life and although tribulation is not pleasant, it works for our long-term good because it brings these elements to the surface so they can be removed.
One other thing: the primary weapon of the enemy is the ‘lie.’ Bible study prepares us for battle because it renews our mind with the word of ‘truth.’ Jesus used scripture for our example when he faced Satan. Howard B. Grose must have had this thought in mind when he wrote:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth.
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave.
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.
- I finally made it to a volleyball game and I did not jinx them, they won. Matter of fact they qualified for the State. Then last night, I caught Lance Callahan’s football game. That might have won if they it hadn’t been for the officials. The umpire made one horrendous call that broke their momentum. Kelvin and Mr. Shaneyfelt were about to come unglued but I calmed them down. The entire crew was flag happy. We say more flags at that game than you do in a July 4th parade.
- Pat Vandiver has surgery today and Larry goes for a 5 hour treatment. LORD willing, I will be at the hospital today and in Ashville, Alabama tomorrow. Pray for old squeak to make the trip.
- I don’t know what the Sunday schedule is: Joe David will do a phone message Saturday. We will, Lord willing, get the biscuits and donuts. June and I will be at the historic Southside Baptist Church is Decatur.