Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Book Review: Biblical Minimalism: Following Jesus from a Life of Abundance to a More Abundant Life





What a wonderful, thought-provoking book! Author Cheryl E. Smith shares her own life-altering downsizing story, including the practicalities and rewards, all grounded in Scripture. This is a wonderful guide to contentment, a calmer lifestyle, and a peace-filled family life. This book would also make a great small group Bible study.
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Cheryl E. Smith is the author of the book, Biblical Minimalism, the story of her family's journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life. She is the author of the blogs: Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective; and Homespun Devotions, where she writes devotionals and conducts 'Inner Views.'  She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write. To purchase the book, click HERE.
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One very blessed, random commenter on this post will receive a FREE copy of Biblical Minimalism. Be sure that your comment has a link where I can reach you if you're the winner!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

I trace the rainbow through the rain


One year my Daddy, Eston Willis, who was a wonderful Bible teacher, led a small Bible study in our home. Each week, we would gather, open in prayer, open our Bibles, and he would begin by quoting the same Scripture, Romans 8:1, at least seven times before we began...”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Something about the repetition of those God-breathed words moved God’s Truth from my head to my heart. 

Pastor Harry Ironside is quoted as saying, “as Paul began this chapter with "no condemnation," he ended with "no separation." Blessed, wondrous consummation of the most marvelous theme ever given to man! May our souls enter more deeply into it, and find increasing joy and spiritual strength as we contemplate this blessed assurance.” 

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 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord—Romans 8:38-39”

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The verdict is final. The case is never going to be re-tried—irrevocable. On that we can rest—we are accepted on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

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Pastor George Matheson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1842. As a child he had only partial vision, and his sight became progressively worse, until it resulted in blindness by the time he was eighteen. Despite his handicap, he was a brilliant student and graduated from the University of Glasgow and later from seminary. He became pastor of several churches in Scotland, including a large church in Edinburgh, where he was greatly respected and loved. After he had been engaged to a young woman for a short while, she broke the engagement, having decided she could not be content married to a blind man. This pain led Matheson to write this beautiful hymn…

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O Love that will not let me go

I rest my weary soul in Thee

I give Thee back the life I owe

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be

O Love, that will not let me go.

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O Joy, that seekest me through pain

I cannot close my heart to Thee

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I trace the rainbow through the rain

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And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be

O Love, that will not let me go.

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O Cross, that liftest up my head

I dare not ask to fly from Thee

I lay in dust life's glory dead

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be

O Love, that will not let me go

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Word Study of Romans 8:37-39

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NASB: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Amplified: Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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NLT: No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Phillips: No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us. I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!

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Wuest: But in these things, all of them, we are coming off constantly with more than the victory through the One who loved us. For I have come through a process of persuasion to the settled conclusion that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things about to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

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Young’s Literal: But in all these we more than conquer, through him who loved us; for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things about to be, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, that [is] in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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A word study of the word, love, agape, reveals that it is an unconditional, sacrificial love and Biblically refers to a love that God is, that God shows, and that God enables in His children through the fruit of the Spirit. Biblical agape love is the love of choice, the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship. Agape is not based on pleasant emotions or good feelings that might result from a physical attraction or a familial bond. Agape chooses as an act of self-sacrifice to serve the recipient. From all of the descriptions of agape love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation. Agape love does not depend on the world’s criteria for love, such as attractiveness, emotions, or sentimentality. 

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Agape in the Greek classics spoke of a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved. This is the idea inherent in the Father's proclamation, "This is My Beloved Son." Agape is the love that was shown at Calvary. Thus agape is God’s love, and is the love that God is. It is not human affection but is a divine love, commanded by God, produced as fruit in the heart of a surrendered saint by the Holy Spirit, self-sacrificial in nature seeking the benefit of the one who is loved, a love which means death to self and defeat for sin since the essence of sin is self-will and self-gratification, a love activated by personal choice of our will, not based on our feelings toward the object of our love and manifested by specific actions not just to fellow believers but to all men everywhere.

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Kenneth S. Wuest describes agape love as follows..."Agape is a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the object loved...(it) speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in the object loved, an apprehension of its preciousness. 

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Agape is the love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in the heart of the yielded believer. The saint is to order his behavior or manner of life within the sphere of this divine, supernatural agape love produced in his heart by the Holy Spirit. 

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Agape love speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. God’s love for a sinful and lost race springs from His heart in response to the high value He places upon each human soul. Every sinner is exceedingly precious in His sight. The love in John 3:16 is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation of the preciousness of the one loved."

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Pastor Charles R. Swindoll writes: "The power of Paul's words here in Romans 8 when we are experiencing fiery trials in the furnace of affliction...God’s Word is like a log sitting on top of the ice on a frozen lake. When the ice thaws and melts, the log penetrates into the water and becomes a part of the lake. The trials that come along in life are like that thawing process. They melt the heart and allow God’s Word to penetrate and become a part of us."

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Corrie Ten Boom was at the Nazi death camp Ravensbruck where roll call came at 4:30 every morning. Most mornings were cold, and sometimes the women would be forced to stand without moving for hours in the bone-chilling pre-dawn darkness. Nearby were the punishment barracks where all day and far into the night would come the sounds of cruelty: blows landing in regular rhythm and screams keeping pace. But Corrie and her sister Betsie had a Bible, and at every opportunity they would gather the women together like orphans around a blazing fire, and read Romans 8: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Corrie later said: I would look about us as Betsie read, watching the light leap from face to face. More than conquerors. It was not a wish. It was a fact. We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute in an ever widening circle of help and hope. Life at Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.

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Pastor Donald Grey Barnhouse told a personal story that beautifully illustrates death’s powerlessness over Christians. When his wife died, his children were still quite young, and Dr. Barnhouse wondered how he could explain their mother’s death in a way their childish minds could understand. As they drove home from the funeral, a large truck passed them and briefly cast a dark shadow over the car. Immediately the father had the illustration he was looking for, and he asked the children, “Would you rather be run over by a truck or by the shadow of a truck?” “That’s easy, Daddy,” they replied. “We would rather get run over by the shadow, because that wouldn’t hurt.” Their father then said, “Well, children, your mother just went through the valley of the shadow of death, and there’s no pain there, either.”

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Heavenly Father, thank you for Your agape love so great, so awesome, so amazing, that You sent Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to take all my sin, my sickness, my condemnation on that cruel cross. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Christ, it is by His stripes I am healed, and there is nothing that can separate me from Your love, O Love that will not let me go . . . blessed assurance, I am loved by Your everlasting love and underneath are Your everlasting arms . . . all is grace—amazing grace—from the moment You knit me together in my mother’s womb until the moment I see You face-to-face, in Jesus' precious name I pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:37-39 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on Romans 8:37-39 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on Romans 8:37-39 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Thus far the Lord has helped me

artwork by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful artwork so inspired me that I felt led to do a word study of I Samuel 7:12

NIV: Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

AMP: Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer (stone of help), saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

CEB: Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The Lord helped us to this very point.”

NOG: Then Samuel took a rock and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer [Rock of Help] and said, “Until now Yahweh has helped us.”

RSV: Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jesha′nah, and called its name Ebene′zer; for he said, “Hitherto the Lord has helped us.”

What does Ebenezer mean? “Stone of help” or “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (I Samuel 7:12) One of the most catastrophic military losses in Israel’s history occurs when the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant at Ebenezer (I Samuel 4:1-11). About twenty years later (and after retrieving the ark), the Israelites engage the Philistines in another significant battle, only this time it is they who prevail (I Samuel 7:7-11). Unlike the first battle, in which the nation acts without consulting God (I Samuel 4:3), they choose to rely on divine intervention (I Samuel 7:8) and are rewarded with an improbable if not miraculous victory (I Samuel 7:10-11). This is a significant triumph as it marks the first time in the nation’s history that they defeat the Philistines. Samuel, Israel’s last judge, first prophet and de facto leader, commemorates the occasion by erecting a monument which he names: “Ebenezer” (I Samuel 7:12). Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (I Samuel 7:12) Israel now has a new religious symbol, a boundary with both geographic and spiritual meaning. Samuel sought to keep the memory of God’s deliverance current in Israel’s mind. He wanted Israel to remember the past and be thankful for God’s help. Remembering God’s help in the past also encourages hope for the future, and hope sustains faith.

As a part of Beth Moore’s Believing God Bible Study, which I completed several years ago, we were asked to complete a timeline of our life in ten-year segments, asking God to reveal to us all the spiritual mile-markers in our lives: broken places, hurts, disappointments, accomplishments, and joyful times--to help us see that God had been there all along and that His grace is sufficient. God has used this timeline process to heal me in so many ways. I learned the Hebrew concept of time is like a person rowing a boat. We see where we have been, we back into the future. I can clearly see that God has been there with me all along. I am not stuck in the past, I am rowing into the future, moving forward, proactive, with my focus, my mindset, on God, who is sovereign. He sees the past, the present, and the future all-at-once.

In the Believing God Bible Study, Beth Moore writes: “Ebenezer means “stone of help.” As we walk out the remainder of our timeline of faith, let’s keep memorializing God’s obvious interventions and spiritual markers through stones of remembrance. In the meantime, by faith, let’s walk with a (figurative) stone in our hand as an “Ebenezer” until we see the next astonishing evidence or spiritual marker and lay it on our timeline. You see, the “Ebenezer” stone constantly reminds us, “Thus far the LORD helped us.” In other words, with God’s help we’re making it so far, and we’ll make it some more.” Christ has taught me to live one day at a time, depending on Him alone to “give me this day my daily bread.” I can remember in the early days of getting through the withdrawal of addictive sin that I’d seek Him in the morning, then live on His sufficiency until noon. Then until dinner. Then until bedtime. Then the worst time of all: the black of the long night. Sometimes I’d sleep with my Bible open on my chest. Other times I literally slept with it open on my forehead because I knew that my biggest problem was my broken mind. I begged God to help me make it without turning back. How I pray I will never again look at life from the bottom of a pit, but all I know for sure is this: “Thus far the LORD has helped me.” With the writer of the familiar hymn, I too can sing:
 Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy great help I’ve come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood; O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
"I want you to picture picking up a stone from the ground presently beneath your feet, raising it high, and proclaiming, “Thus far the LORD has helped me.” And He’ll help you again tomorrow, the next day, and the next. If you tumble into unbelief, cry out to God, reach around you for another Ebenezer stone, stand back to your feet, and start walking again. Never forget that long-term victory happens one day at a time.”

My daily prayer using the Believing God Bible Study Five Statement Pledge of Faith:
1.               God is who He says He is.
2.               God can do what He says He can do.
3.               I am who God says I am.
4.               I can do all things through Christ
5.               God's Word is alive and active in me.
I'm Believing God.

God is Who He says He is.
You are Jehovah Ra’ah, You are my Shepherd, I lack nothing. You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me beside the still waters. You restore my soul. You lead me in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even when I walk THROUGH the valley of the SHADOW of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your Staff, your Holy Spirit and Your Word, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  

SEVEN NAMES OF GOD
PAIRED WITH PSALM 23:1-6
JEHOVAH-RA’AH
The Lord, my shepherd (Psalm 23:1)
The LORD is my shepherd;
 
JEHOVAH-JIREH
The Lord, my provider (Genesis 22:14)
I shall not want.
JEHOVAH-SHALOM
The Lord, our peace (Judges 6:24)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures:
he leads me beside the still waters.
JEHOVAH-RAPHA
The Lord, my healer (Exodus 15:26)
He restores my soul:
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU
The Lord, our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
JEHOVAH-SHAMAH
The Lord, ever-present (Ezekiel 48:35)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
JEHOVAH-NISSI
The Lord, our banner (Exodus 17:15)
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
JEHOVAH-RAPHA
The Lord, my healer (Exodus 15:26)
Thou anoints my head with oil; my cup runs over.
JEHOVAH-JIREH
The Lord, my provider (Genesis 22:14)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


God can do what He says He can do. Nothing is impossible for You, Lord Jesus, Absolutely Nothing!  I am casting all my cares upon You because You care for me. Supply the needs I have today to know You and believe You, to glorify You, to find my satisfaction in You, to experience Your peace, and enjoy Your presence...

Five Key Benefits
God Intends for His Children
Obstacles which stand in the way of the
Five Key Benefits God Intends for His Children
To Know God and Believe Him
Unbelief—I pray to roll away the obstacle of unbelief which is revealed in my doubt, fear, worry, and discouragement.
To Glorify God
Pride—I pray to roll away the obstacle of pride which is self-absorption, whether I am absorbed with how wonderful I am or how miserable I am. Forgive my self-focus. Worship is focus, help me focus on Jesus Christ alone.
To Find Satisfaction in God
Idolatry—I pray to roll away the obstacle of idolatry which is putting anything ahead of or instead of Jesus Christ.
To Experience God’s Peace
Prayerlessness—I pray to roll away the obstacle of praylessness. Prayerless lives are powerless lives; prayerful lives are powerful lives. Peace is the fruit of authority—let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince—the Prince of Peace.
To Enjoy God’s Presence
Legalism—I pray to roll away the obstacle of legalism with a heart which desires an intimate, personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, not rules, regulations, and religion.

I am who God says I am. In Christ, I am blessed with every spiritual blessing, accepted in the Beloved Son of God, adopted as a child of the King, chosen before the foundation of the world, redeemed by the blood of Christ, forgiven by His grace, loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting Arms, a love that will not let me go. 

I can do ALL things through Christ Who gives me strength. Lord Jesus, I cannot do this, but You can!  Won’t You give me Your smile?

God’s Word is alive and active in me...I’m Believing God.

During my study of scripture, I came to a place in my life where I wanted, more than anything else, to love God more. I began to pray, Lord, I want to delight in you! God is so inconceivably good. He’s not looking for perfection. He already saw it in Christ. He’s looking for affection. That’s why every lasting change will invariably be a change of heart. He’ll even supply the heart, if we’ll ask Him.

Lord Jesus, give me a heart which longs to be a planting of the Lord for the display of Your splendor. Give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, give me a heart that seeks Your forgiveness for past sins, and welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I surrender all. Morning after morning.

The verdict is final. The case is never going to be re-tried—irrevocable. On that we can rest—we are justified on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is a blessing to know that I am, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling. We love You, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Look up – Meditate on I Samuel 7:12. Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – Meditate on I Samuel 7:12. Pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is ______________, I will ______________.”

Look out – Meditate on I Samuel 7:12. Pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Saturday, March 21, 2020

unprecedented peace in Christ alone

artwork by Krista Hamrick


Krista Hamrick’s beautiful artwork inspired me during this time in which we are living, which is being called “unprecedented” in our lifetimes. The eyes of the connected world have simultaneously widened on a common enemy called COVID-19. What do we do when we feel threatened? When our normalcy is upended? Krista’s artwork reminded me of an old hymn I sang as a child, based on Psalm 62, and helps us look to God’s Word to shed light in these uncertain times.

As a little girl growing up in church, I can vividly remember holding the church hymnal with my parents, and singing, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” The lyrics which Krista illustrates so beautifully in her artwork, speak directly to our hearts in this unsettling time: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

This led me to a word study of Psalm 62:6:

ESV: He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

AMP: He only is my rock and my salvation; My fortress and my defense, I will not be shaken or discouraged.

CEB: Only God is my rock and my salvation— my stronghold!—I will not be shaken.

KJV: He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.

TPT: For he alone is my safe place. His wrap-around presence always protects me as my champion defender. There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?

The Message:
God, the one and only—I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.


Pastor Steven J. Cole writes: "
The difficulty with applying Psalm 62 is that very few of us have ever been in the desperate straits that David was in and so we cannot truly relate to what he says here. Evil men were threatening David’s life and scheming how, not only to topple him as king, but also how to kill him. They were trying to murder David. They were saying, “He’s like a leaning wall or tottering fence. Just push and he’ll go down!” Under that real threat of death, David’s mind was wonderfully concentrated to write this psalm. The message is: 
In life’s most threatening times, you will be at peace if God alone is your salvation and refuge.

The main theme of the psalm is the right and wrong objects of faith. If we trust in God, we’re secure. If we trust in men or in things, we’re depending on that which is lighter than breath (62:9). Interestingly, even though David was in a life-threatening situation, the psalm contains no prayer.

Pastor H. C. Leupold writes, “There is scarcely another psalm that reveals such an absolute and undisturbed peace, in which confidence in God is so completely unshaken, and in which assurance is so strong that not even one single petition is voiced throughout the psalm.” Of course, David experienced this peace through prayer, and he exhorts God’s people to pour out their hearts before Him (62:8). All of us want to have this same peace that David had in this crisis. At the heart of his peace is his confident trust in God alone.

The word “only,” which translates a little Hebrew particle, is also a recurring theme in this psalm. It occurs six times, four in reference to God. Each time it begins the sentence for emphasis. The word itself conveys emphasis and may be translated in different ways, depending on the context. Sometimes it is translated “but, it sometimes means “surely” or “certainly.” The most authoritative Hebrew lexicon and most modern translations translate it in Psalm 62 as “only” or “alone.” By repetition, David hammers home the concept that we will enjoy God’s peace in the midst of life’s most threatening moments when God only—God alone—is our salvation and refuge. Since we all struggle to get to that place—and as we’ll see in the psalm, David himself struggled to remain there—let’s focus on how to come to that place of complete trust in God.

While David begins with his calm waiting on God (62:1-2), it’s helpful to work our way back by looking first at the fierce enemies that were threatening him: Some think that David wrote this psalm in the context of Absalom’s rebellion, but we can’t know for sure. The attacks seem to have been prolonged, as seen by David’s cry, “How long?” The New King James Version translates verse 3b, “You shall be slain, all of you, like a leaning wall and a tottering fence,” making it David’s words against his enemies. But the ancient versions and most modern versions take it as David’s enemies’ words against him. They were counseling together how to thrust him down from his role as king by assassinating him. They were spreading falsehoods and using flattery, telling him that he was a great king, while inwardly cursing him. The Bible never promises exemption from such attacks. Rather, it shows us what to do when you’re under attack. David begins (61:1a), “My soul waits in silence for God only.” Commentaries helpfully explain what David means by “silence.” “The silence intended is, in short, that composed submission of the believer, in the exercise of which he acquiesces in the promises of God, gives place to his word, bows to his sovereignty, and suppresses every inward murmur of dissatisfaction.”

The key word there is “submission.” When difficult things happen to us, we can either angrily complain to God, “I don’t deserve such treatment!” Or, we can submit to Him, agreeing with His promises, giving supremacy to His Word, bowing before His sovereignty, and suppressing our tendency to grumble. There is no more remarkable demonstration of this than that of Job. When God inexplicably took his possessions, his ten children, and his health, Job humbly proclaimed (Job 1:21b), “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” While the rest of the book of Job shows how he wrestled through his pain and his complaints against God, by the end of the book we find Job again in a posture of worship, bowing before God’s sovereign hand (Job 40:4-5; 42:1-6). So, humbling yourself “under the mighty hand of God” (1 Pet. 5:6) is a key element in experiencing God’s peace when you’re under attack.

David adds (62:1b-2), “from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.” In this context, salvation refers to God’s deliverance from David’s enemies. And yet we’re not amiss if, with Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon, we apply this to God being the only source of our salvation from sin and judgment. He preached two sermons on this psalm. In one (“God Alone the Salvation of His People,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit he writes, “If anyone should ask us what we would choose for our motto, as preachers of the gospel, we think we should reply, ‘God only is our salvation.’” Then he adds, “I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. . .Tell me anything that departs from this and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rocky truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.”

If God alone is your salvation from eternal death, if He raised you from death to life and gave you the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, then you also can take refuge in Him from less threatening trials. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” So if you know God as your only source of salvation from sin, then when problems hit, submit yourself to His sovereign hand and trust God alone as your salvation and refuge from the problems.

In verses 5-7, David repeats what he already said in verses 1-2, with a few variations. Why does he do this? In verses 3 & 4, he has been thinking about his enemies and the extreme threat that they represented. So, he may have been a little bit shaken (not, greatly shaken, v. 2). “Here it is to be remembered, that our minds can never be expected to reach such perfect composure as shall preclude every inward feeling of disquietude, but are, at the best, as the sea before a light breeze, fluctuating sensibly, though not swollen into billows.” In other words, we never reach a place of perfect composure, where severe trials don’t affect us. And so we have to fight to regain our peace in God. But how?

First, David talks to himself (“My soul”). They say that talking to yourself is a sign of senility, but the Bible often tells us to do this very thing. In Psalms 42 & 43, the psalmist repeats (42:5, 11; 43:5) the refrain (43:5), “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” The opening chapter of Pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ wonderful book, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, is on Psalm 42. He asks, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” He goes on to explain that rather than just going along with the thoughts that come to you in the morning, which bring back all of the problems of yesterday, you’ve got to take yourself in hand, preach to yourself, and question yourself. You ask yourself, “Why are you cast down?” Then you exhort yourself to hope in God. Lloyd-Jones continues, “You must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”

That’s exactly what David does in Psalm 62. He piles up description after description of who God is. After telling himself to wait in silence for God only (62:5), he adds (62:5b-6), “for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be moved.” This time he does not say, “I shall not be greatly shaken” (62:2), but he advances to, “I shall not be moved” at all! Then he goes over it again (62:7), “On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.”

Don’t miss the pronoun, “my” (9 times in vv. 5-7). Also, God is either directly named or referred to with the pronouns Him or He five times in these verses. David knew God personally as his hope, his rock, his salvation, his stronghold, his strength, and his refuge. If we want His peace in severe trials, we must know God personally and experientially as our God and remind ourselves of who He is. David is fighting here, while under these life-threatening attacks, to put these comforting truths front and center in his mind. We say we’re trusting in God alone, but then we quickly scheme how to deliver ourselves, rather than waiting on Him! It’s not that it’s wrong to think about how to get out of a difficult trial, or to use methods to do so. In fact, more often than not we should use plans and methods in dependence on Him. But it’s wrong to give God a token nod of trust and then set Him aside while really, we trust in our schemes and methods. Rather, with David we must fight to make God our only source of deliverance: “He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold.” Then, “I shall not be shaken” (62:6). If we trust in plans and methods we’ll fail. But if God only is our rock, we will stand firm.

David can’t contain the joy of knowing God as his salvation, so he writes (62:8), “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” What a wonderful verse! David isn’t giving out pat, useless advice! He’s telling us how he endured this terrible attack on his life by these fierce, cunning enemies. He trusted in God; he poured out his heart to God; he took refuge in God. He’s telling us to do the same. What God was to David in his extreme trial, He can be to you in your crisis.

How does pouring out your heart to God (62:8) fit with waiting silently for Him (62:1, 5)? Obviously, they’re not contradictory. Waiting silently for God only, as we’ve seen, is to put our hearts in submission to His sovereign love in the face of trials that seem to contradict either His sovereignty or His love. It’s an attitude of trustful submission. Pouring out our hearts is to unburden ourselves in prayer, where we empty all of our anxieties and confusion and pain onto the Lord, while still remaining in submission to His sovereign love. As 1 Peter 5:7 puts it, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

How prone we all are to keep our troubles pent up in our hearts until we’re driven to despair. We show much anxiety and ingenuity in seeking to escape our troubles without God. But in so doing, he says, we only get ourselves into “a labyrinth of difficulties.” The answer is to pour out our hearts before Him, taking refuge in Him, because He cares for us. David has shown us that we can be composed or at peace if God alone is our salvation and refuge. He has reaffirmed it, showing that it is usually a battle to get to this place and remain there in the face of difficult trials. He concludes with a contrast, showing us what not to trust and repeating again who to trust."
The main reason that we should “fight” for God’s peace in threatening times is not so that we will be at peace, but so that God will be glorified and others will be drawn to Him through us. God’s peace comes to us in life’s threatening times when He alone is our salvation and refuge.

In this psalm David pours out his heart to God, describing his difficulties, the enemies that are trying to kill him, and the lies and curses others have spoken against him. But on the battlefield of life, in the midst of every trouble, David has a Godward focus. He is honest about his complaints and problems, but he has purposed to direct his gaze to the God of all faithfulness, putting his trust in the One who alone is his rock, salvation, fortress, and refuge. He then can wait quietly before God because he has put his hope, and his very life, in the Lord’s hands. He doesn’t trust in human nature because it is no more secure than a breath. He doesn’t put his hope in riches because he knows that wealth will not save him. His hope, confidence, and trust are in the Lord Almighty. If, like David, we are waiting for God to act when we are in the midst of trouble, we can wait frantically or impatiently. But to wait quietly in hope takes a deep confidence in knowing the One we are waiting for. He will never disappoint us. This psalm is an open invitation to be honest and deeply real with the Lord. It calls us to take our masks off and pour out our true thoughts and feelings to God, to be there before Him telling it like it is, not how we think things should be. How freeing it is to realize that we can be totally honest with God and express our sadness or joy, our fears, our faults and weaknesses, our pain, desires and dreams, and to know that the contents of our hearts are really safe with God, our refuge. This psalm also reminds us that although the specific patterns or formats for prayer are excellent principles for individual or corporate prayer times, we don’t have to follow them in order for God to hear us, nor do we have to hide our negative emotions and attitudes just so we’ll look good. God already knows all that we are feeling and struggling with, so we can come to him just as we are and pour out our hearts “at all times.” He invites us in the midst of conflicts, stresses, responsibilities, and frustration to seek him as our closest confidante, our intimate friend.


Heavenly Father, I lift my eyes up to you, my rock, my salvation, my fortress, and my refuge. Quiet my heart to wait on you, for my hope is in You. Help me to wait for You in this unprecedented time, in the storms, in the light, and in the darkness. Let my confidence not be shaken by what my heart may feel, circumstances may say, or my mind may think. I thank you that my confidence rests on the One who is my rock and that you will never be shaken. How thankful I am for the confidence and security that You long to hear from me and to comfort me. You know and understand all the thoughts of my heart better than I do myself, and you invite me to pour out my heart to you even now in this unprecedented time. I trust You with my eternity—I will trust You today with my next breath, my next heartbeat. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Psalm 62:6 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Psalm 62:6 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Psalm 62:6 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

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