Does your darkest secret scare Jesus away?

“… For he knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalms 44:21 ESV)

We all have those little secrets we hide inside our hearts. Some may be bright and reflect a side of us that remain unseen to the world. Others are locked down with as many locks of guilt and shame we can find.

You may have done your best to hide it from the world and from God, but to Him it remains as visible as can be. The reality thereof is not to make us feel more embarrased or ashamed but to be open before God. He desires for us to share our dirtiest, darkest little secrets and our deepest heart desires. He already knows all of them but therein lies the relationship we get to have with Him.

He wants to help you get rid of the dirt and polish the diamonds hidden inside you.

As you allow Jesus to wash you clean and bring worth your true value, you get to walk in His promise of 1 Corinthians 2:9-10:

… “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit who dwells in us searches our hearts. He speaks to us in a way that brings change. He touches our heartS to beat according to God’s unforced rhythms of grace. He opens our eyes to God’s presence. He opens our ears to hear His voice.

Nothing about you can scare Him away or keep Him from loving you and giving you the best He has for you. The secret lies in this: the darker your secret, the greater will you experience His love for you as you realise the only good there is, in you and in me, is Him.

Join me in prayer:

Lord Jesus, You know me inside out. You know my darkest secrets as they are tucked away in my heart. And You still love me endlessly. You know My deepest desires and You polish me and clean me to perfection so that where I go, I will leave Your footsteps in the heart of people. Jesus, I pray that You will open My eyes to see You in everything. Open my ears so that I will hear Your voice and touch my heart that it will beat according to Your unforced rhythms of grace. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Maretha Retief

Photo credit: Liza Grace Photography

{Psalm 91:16} – Does God want you to have a long life?

God satisfies you with a long life“With long life I will satisfy him, and show Him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:16 NKJV)

Is it God’s will for you to have a long and prosperous life?

Yes!

No matter what circumstances you are facing, let this verse take root in your heart that God’s will and promise for you is a long and good life. In Jesus, you are mighty and strong to take on and conquer any giant you may be facing in the future.

In Joshua 14 we read about Caleb who is a perfect picture of a long and good life. The older Caleb got, the stronger he got. He even said that he was as strong at the age of 85 as he was at 45.

And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. (Joshua 14:10-11 NKJV)

The long and good life God wants for us is not just in terms of quantity (the number of years) but also in quality in being healthy and strong.

Caleb was prepared to fight giants at the age of 85 to conquer and possess a mountain. In return, Joshua blessed Caleb for his obedience and gave him Hebron.

Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. (Joshua 14:14 NKJV)

The secret to a long life for Caleb was embedded in simply following the Lord. “Hebron” means fellowship or association that speaks of intimacy, closeness and connection with the Lord. As we follow Him, He promises us a good and long life. Our satisfaction sets the limit and according to our faith it will be done.

Under the new covenant of grace, we should aim high and settle for nothing less than God’s best.

Psalm 91 ends with a promise that God will show us “My Salvation”. The Hebrew word for “salvation” is the word yeshua that is Jesus’ name and means the One who saves us.

Verse 16 therefore says, “With long life I will satisfy him and show him My Yeshua”. God promises us a life filled with revelations of Jesus. As we see Jesus, we get wisdom, health, wealth, favor and the list goes on. Because of Jesus’ perfect work on the Cross, He unlocked all of God’s blessings and promises for us and gave us access to God’s presence and the gift of eternal life.

My prayer is for you that you will choose each day to follow Jesus with every part of your being and that He will be revealed to you in everything you do as you walk in the fullness of Christ Jesus.

I hope you enjoyed the study of Psalm 91 during this month as much as I did and that Jesus may continue to sow Himself to you as you continue your brave walk with Him.

The next Bible study on Finding Time for Jesus during the Fringe Hours will begin on 12 November.  There will be exciting resources made available during the course of the one week Bible study that will assist you on your walk with Jesus. If you have not previously indicated that you would like to join us, you can still do so by sending me an email at info@seasonswithchrist.com and I will subscribe you to that study.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

 

{Psalm 91:15} – Jesus is the answer for everything

Does God answer when you call upon Him?He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15 NKJV)

Do you sometimes wonder whether God has time for you?

He does.

He wants you to run to Him for anything and everything. He wants to protect you. He wants you to call on Him so that He can be everything to you as He intended to be.

God gives us three promises here: “I will…answer, be with us in trouble and deliver and honor us.” A verse jam-packed with the goodness of God. When life has you running on an empty tank, remember this verse, because if you call upon Him, He will answer you. There is no qualifying criteria for us to be heard by God, because Jesus was forsaken at the Cross so that we can get instant and unconditional access to God at all times (Matthew 27:46). Because Jesus was forsaken then, God will never forsake us now (Hebrews 13:5).

God does not only want us to call upon Him when we are in trouble but also to stay out of it. If we seek Him for wisdom, He will help us to side-step many unnecessary circumstances we would have encountered otherwise.

The biggest favor we can do ourselves is to seek Jesus’ wisdom every day. Christ has become our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30); so all we need is Him. Through His wisdom, He brings us into the right place at the right time and protects us from danger.

The challenge is yours: In everything you do, acknowledge Jesus and He shall respond, keep and direct you in all your ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:14} – When God’s love overshadows the danger

God loves overshadows me“Because he has set His love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.” (Psalm 91: 14 NKJV)

Do you believe you are qualified to receive God’s protection?

Psalm 91 must be read through the lens of the new covenant through which we have been saved by Jesus on the Cross.

God knew we would never be able to fulfill His law that we must love Him with all our heart, mind and soul, so in sending His Son, He was saying to us, “I know you are not able to love Me that way, but let Me love you with all My heart, mind and strength.” This is what the new covenant is all about:

In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.” (1 John 4:10 AMP)

Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law and qualified us for ALL of God’s promises and blessings. Even when we make mistakes and fall short, we are still loved by God and receive His protection as we are qualified in Christ.

Under the Old Testament and the old covenant, God’s protection was conditional upon people’s ability to keep the law. Then, protection had to be earned, but now under the new covenant of grace through Jesus’ perfect work on the Cross, we can receive our protection without having to earn it.

As we journey in our relationship with Jesus, the way we set our love on Him is by praying, worshiping, acknowledging Him, reading His Word, meditating on the Word and by spending time with Him in whichever way.

Because we are now the righteousness of God in Christ (1 Corinthians 5:21), we are lifted up in Him and seated with Him in heavenly places and enjoy God’s unconditional protection.

Be conscious of God’s unconditional love for you and receive His protection. If you wonder how you do this, try this way: think of the worst thing you have done and see how God still loves you irrespective of what you have done.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91: 13} – Your stance over the devil

Your stance over the devilYou shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13 NKJV)

Are you aware of your position in Christ and where that places the devil in relation to you?

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)

In Christ, you are above the devil and all his dark forces. Because of Jesus in you, no force of darkness can stand against you. Psalm 91 has many defensive elements: dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, making the Lord our refuge and fortress, we are covered under His wings and protected by His angels. Verse 13 calls us to action:

                “You shall tread upon the lion …”

We are to take authority over the devil that we have in Christ. It does not matter how you look or what you do, but because of Christ Jesus, you are stronger than you know. God uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise and mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Look further to the authority Jesus gave His disciples, which is the same authority we have today:

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:17-19 NKJV)

Romans 16:20 also tells us that our God of peace crushed Satan under our feet. The devil has no authority over us and we should not put him on an undeserved pedestal or give him power over us. The devil’s position in relation to us is under our feet.

In Christ Jesus, you are far above all principality and power and might and dominion (Ephesians 1:21). As believers, we have a spiritual armor we put on (Ephesians 6). Our defensive elements are the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and they serve to protect us.

The offensive piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Our authority and strength lies in God’s Word. When the devil attacked Jesus, Jesus fought back with the Word, “It is written…”

As we pray Psalm 91 we are using the sword of the Spirit and we are fighting with God’s Word. Meditate on your righteous position in Christ where the devil is under your feet and as your heart and mind fill with this truth, may fear find no stronghold or place in your life.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:11-12} – You plus God outnumber the enemy

You plus God outnumber the enemyFor He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12 NKJV)

The fears of life present themselves every day, but we get to choose how they affect us. If we can see what God has for us, it will be an easy and given choice. Have you seen the armies of angels that surround you?

When the king of Syria ordered his armies to pursue Elisha’s life, his troops, horses and chariots surrounded Elisha’s dwelling. As Elisha’s servant went outside, he was overtaken with fear and panicked. But for Elisha it was different. In spite of the danger lurking outside, he was calm and told his servant:

“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. (2 Kings 6:16)

The servant was overtaken by fear as he could not see the armies of angels that were protecting them. Only when Elisha prayed a single prayer, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see” (2 Kings 6:17) did the Lord open the servant’s eyes. He then saw that the hillside around them was filled with God’s armies of angels. As he moved his eyes away from the Syrian army but onto God’s angelic forces, his fear left instantly, as no worldly force can compare with God’s forces.

Whenever fear comes knocking on your door, ask God to open your eyes to see His angels around you and stand on the truth and promise that God’s armies are with you and that those who are with you are more than those who are against you.

Psalm 91:10-11 promise us that no harm shall come near us as God and His angels are watching over us.

It is interesting to note that Psalm 91:11-12 was quoted by the devil when he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:6) The devil deliberately misquoted Psalm 91:11 and left out “To keep you in all your ways”. There is a reason for that as he knows that if we acknowledge Jesus in all our ways, He shall direct our path (Proverbs 3:6-7). Our role is simply to acknowledge Jesus in everything and He shall keep us in all our ways and protect us against all dangers, known or unknown.

God does not only protect us when we are in danger, but He keeps us in all our ways as we go about our daily lives. The Hebrew word for “ways” is the word derek which means path, road or journey. This means as we take part in our ordinary daily activities, God gives His angels charge over us to protect us. In this way, I believe there are many dangers which we do not even know of that God protects us from as we just go about our days.

Remember, when Lucifer fell, one-third of the angels fell with him. Do you see the relevance thereof? The forces of darkness will always be outnumbered as two-thirds of angels remained with God. Our protection in Christ is always greater than any danger plotted against us, whether or not we can see them.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter tried  to defend Jesus against the Roman soldiers, but Jesus said to him, “Put your sword into its place … Do you suppose that I cannot appeal to My Father, and that He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53 AMP).

Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested and crucified. He gave up the divine protection available to Him and died a death He did not deserve so that we can enjoy God’s divine protection.

You are sitting with a powerful key to God’s protection as God’s angels heed “the voice of His word” (Psalm 103:20). Every time you speak God’s Word, you give voice to it and the angels act on God’s spoken Word.

Whenever you encounter fear, speak the Word of God and meditate on His promise of divine protection. It is yours!

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:9-10} – Being shut in by Jesus

Being shut in by JesusBecause you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling (Psalm 91:9-10 NKJV)

The promise of divine protection is endless. We, again, find the names of God in verse nine – the LORD (Yahweh) and Most High (El Elyon). Because you make the most holy God, who is ever present and all-sufficient your hiding place and the Most High your habitation and place of safety, you are secure. As you make your home with Him, you are shut in by Him and no evil plan of the enemy will be successful against you. No sadness or life-threatening disease can find you in God’s embrace.

In the Old Testament, God provided six cities of refuge to the Israelites. If they were guilty of unintentional killing, they could go to these cities and be kept safe. This was not for intentional, pre-meditated killings. Likewise, Jesus is our city of refuge as He keeps us safe and protected from harm’s way, but what makes Him better than the cities of refuge is that He keeps us safe and protected in spite of our wrong-doings.

As you make God your dwelling place where you abide, no sickness can come near God and therefore no sickness shall come near you as you remain in Him.

The Message translation says it like this:

Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.

Do not let the arrows that fly around you and the circumstances you see take your eyes off this truth. See yourself hidden and shut in Christ Jesus and when you hear bad reports, declare: No evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling because I am in Christ and He loves me.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:7-8} – The promise that you will remain standing

The promise that you will remain standingA thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:7-8 NKJV)

A promise that can change your life.

A promise that says even when you find yourself in the midst of darkness and evil times, no harm shall come to you. You will, however see, how evil’s way work against itself in the reward of the wicked, but you will remain untouched and unscarred.

A practical way of applying this to your life would be when you read newsletter headlines and observe the evil done on television, to not let fear take root in your heart, but to declare these words: “A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand, but it shall not come near me, because Jesus loves me”.

These words have power as they are spoken from God’s Word. We have learned from Jesus’ tribulation in the wilderness that when God’s written Word is spoken, the devil must stand down as he has no power against it. Now, if Jesus spoke the written Word of God to defeat the devil, so much more should we use it by declaring it over ourselves, our loved ones and our circumstances?

Verse 7 talks about thousand and ten thousands falling at your side, what relevance is there in that? This means that a multitude may fall around you but nothing shall cause you harm. If we can find ourselves in a place where we believe that regardless of who fell around us, it would never happen to us, we are walking in God’s victory and in the knowledge of His divine protection. See the powerful way in which these verses were translated in the Message translation:

Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.

The key lies in keeping our minds off ourselves and our circumstances and to remain Christ-occupied as then we operate in the sphere where the enemy has no hand to play against us.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:5-6} – When fear has no ground in your life

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. (Psalm 91:5-6 NKJV)

As you abide under the shadow of Almighty God, you can be fearless. You have divine protection at all times as you are hidden in Christ.

Romans 15:3 states: “Now the God of peace be with you all!” The Hebrew name for “God of peace” is Jehova Shalom, which is the way Paul would have pronounced God’s name here. Shalom refers to completeness, safety, welfare, tranquillity, contentment, health, supply and peace. As God manifests Himself to us as the God of peace, we can have all of the above and Romans 16:20 tells us further:

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

The Bible promises that our God of peace shall crush the devil and that includes every attack of danger, worry or fear that he may plot against us. It is significant that grace is also mentioned here as grace is the only thing against which the devil has no defence. If we rely on our obedience and works to have God’s cover, the devil will always have something to point towards which we have not done. But, if we point him to Jesus and rely on His grace for everything we have, the devil has nothing to use against us.

Grace and a complete understanding thereof also reveals to us how much we are loved by God. A love that cost God His beloved Son. God’s love for us is perfect and cast out all fear (1 John 4:18-19).

Do you still struggle with fear at times?

Do you understand how much God loves you?

Fear will not excuse itself from the platform of your life. In fact, it will try and force its way in and overstay its welcome at any opportunity given, but you have the key to close the door on it. As you focus on Jesus’ love for you when you read about the destructions of the world or look upon the uncertainties around you, you break the power of fear.

As you remain in His shadow and focus on His love for you and who God is to you, none of the enemy’s plots at night will come near you, none of his attacks during the day shall be successful, no disaster (known or unknown) that lurks in the darkness, or deadly pestilence shall prevail against you.

Speak out these verses over your life every day and believe them as you rest in Jesus, knowing that He has got you covered from all sides and therefore you have nothing to fear.

Maretha Retief

Illustration credit: Jeanne de Villiers

{Psalm 91:4} – Under the covering of His wings

He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge, His truth shall be your shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4 NKJV)

We dwell in the secret place of El Elyon. We abide in the shadow of El Shaddai. Yahweh is our refuge and fortress. We place our trust in Elohim. We are covered from all directions by God in various different aspects and roles. We rest in Him, we follow Him, we hide in Him and we trust in Him. A secure position in a secure relationship.

But there is more…

He shall cover you with His feathers…

The audience of Psalm 91, like the rest of the Old Testament was predominantly Jewish people.  They understood the significance of the reference to “His wings” and “feathers” that points to the Ark of the Covenant. In the illustration below you can see why.

The ark was placed in the Holy of Holies and typifies Jesus. It was made of incorruptible wood and overlaid with gold. Wood symbolises Jesus’ incorruptible and sinless humanity and the gold speaks of His perfect divinity and deity. Jesus was 100% man and 100% God.

The lid of the ark was made of solid gold and is called the mercy seat. Inside the ark was the stones with the Ten Commandments, a golden pot of manna and Aaron’s rod – all symbols of man’s rebellion against God’s holy standards, provision and appointed leadership. In the ark these are covered by the mercy seat that depicts God’s unmerited favor over us as His mercy triumphs over judgment.

We have a place of divine protection under His wings of favor, grace and mercy. As we abide in the promise that “He shall cover us with His feathers and the covering of His wings” we read about the rewards:

The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. (Ruth 2:12 NKJV)

The same truth that applied to Ruth, applies to us today in Christ. God rewards us for turning to Him for our covering and divine protection.

Psalm 91:4 ends with another promise that “His truth shall be your shield and buckler”. A buckler is a small shield used for close-contact battle, whereas a shield is much larger and behind which one can hide during a battle. The significance here being that it does not matter whether the enemy’s attack against you are small or big, Jesus’ Word (Truth) as your shield and buckler covers you completely.

No matter where you find yourself, even if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can still enjoy God’s divine protection as you place His shield of faith around you under the shadow of His wings.

Maretha Retief

Illustrations credit: Jeanne de Villiers