“He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.”
—Psalm 23: 2-3
Last week I spoke about how to navigate through everyday life, which will prepare you for when it feels like the entire world has come against you. Today I want to share another principle that is specifically when your world IS coming against you.
The principles He gave to me right away when I wasn’t sure what was happening are these that would probably be wise to hide deep in your heart. If you do, like me, He will draw them out when you’ll really need them.
“Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today..." Exodus 14:13
"You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf . . . Do not fear or be dismayed . . . the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
Knowing I didn’t need to fight, but instead my Heavenly Father wanted me to simply stand and watch, I felt much safer and calmer. However, the enemy isn’t going to leave you alone and often without warning, he will strike again by sending actual messages or even by bombarding your thoughts.
Even though He taught me early on, way (way back in 1991 when RMI first began) to never read everything before determining if it was of friendly nature or something intended to destroy or discourage me. And if it was a voicemail or someone speaking directly to me, to make sure I’m speaking to Him (since you can’t really listen to both at the same time). Nevertheless, even the few words you do read or do hear can plop down like rocks in your gut. Yet, what He’d rather we do, instead of mulling these words over and over— basically “entertaining” them and giving credence and value to them—He wants you to Close and Lock the door.
Almost immediately my Heavenly Father then surrounds me with His love and His blessings, things like looking at the clear blue sky, luscious green grass, and gentle wonderfully warm breezes of His creation, but there would be a knock at the door of my heart. My attacks were coming in the form of emails. The few words I did read (because I trusted the sender) caused me to open the door of my mind, imagination and ultimately it soon began to restrict His love that had been flowing in my heart.
To remedy each, He would lead me to sing a song that would have me rejoicing, feeling light and happy again, because like the book Prison to Praise affirms— learning and applying the principle of “praise in all things” will bring results that can only be explained as miraculous. And who of us isn’t hoping for a miracle to come riding on the heels of a crisis?
Yet, like preventive medicine by eating healthy or preventive wrong morals by homeschooling my children, I wanted to prevent having to recover from attacks and be freed from the fear and imaginations that would run rampant in my head, squeezing my heart of His love and peace.
That’s when my Heavenly Father, for the second time, reminded me of something He’d taught me a long time ago. Rather than just fling open the door to my mind and heart, to instead just “Peek Out, but Don’t Open the Door” until I determine if whatever it is is something “worthy of praise” to me to “dwell on.”
As He says, only then, only when we “Rejoice in the Lord always” and focus our minds and hearts on what is “honorable, right, pure, lovely, and is a good report” should we dwell on it. It’s the peace that surpasses all understanding will help you to know if your heart is resting in Him.
“And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”
It’s not just for the sake of ourselves that we should “practice these things” but for HIS sake. As much as I want to introduce the Lord as each hurting soul as the true Savior and Brother, in order that he is healed and his life is changed, I also will never forget how often our precious Heavenly Father has been rejected and blamed and spat upon. It breaks my heart and though I can’t stop this from happening, like any son would, you can wrap your arms around Him and “love on Him” (a Southern term 😉 —LOVE HIM, the way He deserves to be loved and respected as our Father. Even as flawed and shallow as my love is when compared to His, I know how much He has to want this. Why else would God call us His whom He’s coming back for? This is the way we can prepare ourselves for His coming for us.
It’s this that we need bursting out of us—a heart so full that it shines in our eyes and in our smiles—His love that we can share with other hurting and confused men who need His love. Men who deserve to meet Him not just as a Savior but as their Heavenly Father too, for their sakes and for His.
Dear son of the Most High, guard this truth and be very careful before flinging open the door to your heart. Our Heavenly Brother is also a warrior battling on our behalf like any loving brother would do to protect what is His. And as His, we need to be just that— His and His alone—not entangled by sins of the flesh! Securely the one He can trust to be full of the love He’s given to us, which can’t happen if we’re “entertaining” negative or impure thoughts, leading to vain imaginations that we will need to tear down.
So instead, once you peek, only to see (or hear) something that has the potential to rob you of what He died to give you—experiencing His love—keep the door closed, bolt the door. Then turn around and begin looking at how His love has changed you. Sit down with a warm or cold beverage and “entertain” ALL He’s done for you, ponder them one by one, and soon a smile will spread across your face and His love will glisten from your eyes and heart again. And finally “love on Him”—giving Him just a small fraction of what He’s already given to you, given to each and every ONE His!!