What’s got a hold of your thoughts lately? What’s on your mind predominantly? As we’ve been walking through these past couple of months of this Covid Pandemic, I’ve seen an unprecedented amount of people living and walking in fear. You typically don’t see fear in others unless an emotional crisis or situation arises in their lives that causes the fear to emerge. I’m sure many of you have gone into a grocery store and had to cough or sneeze and been given dirty looks or even yelled at by other people. My immediate (carnal) reaction is to fire back at them and tell them to chill out or calm down and remind them it’s allergy season. But the Holy Spirit has reminded me and convicted my heart to see people as he sees them. To love others as he first loved me. To love my neighbor as myself. He reminds me of how I once was filled with a tremendous amount of fear and that I need to have the same compassion for them that he’s shown to me.
Yep, I had a huge stronghold of fear in my life. I use the word stronghold because that’s exactly what it was. A stronghold is defined as:
A well fortified place; fortress. A place of security or survival. A place dominated by a particular characteristic. A position that is strongly defended.
So in my situation, I had to confront the stronghold of fear in my mind. It was a place where I had accumulated emotionally hurtful experiences, fearful thoughts of the unknown, and lies that I accepted as truth and lived my life according to them. There were a lot of experiences over the years that contributed to the making of this stronghold of fear in my life. We’ve all experienced negative situations that have affected the way we think or react over time. We tuck those experiences away in our mind and if unchecked, we start making our decisions based on how to keep that from happening to us again. I’d say we either pull back from people or situations that could possibly hurt or harm us in some way, or we lash out in anger and retaliation when forced to do things we don’t want to do.
So we form opinions and emotional beliefs based on lies and they remain inside our brain and heart and we receive them as truth. Because these experiences are emotional and personal, we will often defend them to our core. But in Deuteronomy 8:3 it says, that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Jesus also used this same scripture to defend himself from Satan’s lies during his time in the wilderness in Matthew chapter 4. So just because we’ve accepted something as truth for ourselves, doesn’t make it true.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This verse pretty much says it all. It reminds us to take every thought that comes into our mind, every emotional truth we’ve clung to, and hold it up to the light of God’s truth to distinguish whether or not it really is truth. If it doesn’t line up with His Word then we need to get rid of it. Every thought, every emotional reaction, every impulse, every decision we make in life should be from a place of truth and not our own reasoning or experience. Some people look to self-help books, other religions, famous people, their parents, friends, the media, or co-workers for the information or validation they need to make up their minds about something. We’ve all done it at least some time in our lives. Our whole world view is based on what our parents taught us until we reach an age of reasoning and understanding. And it’s up to us to decide if we’re going to live according to their words or God’s Word. We make that choice but we also have to live with the consequences if their advice leads us down a path of disappointment and dissatisfaction.
So this same principle applies to us today when faced with the things that are coming at us from the news media and social media. We are fed a steady diet of fear particularly from the news media in regards to the pandemic. We see hatred and fear arise with the issue of race in our country. We hear one thing one day, only to hear it contradicted in the news the very next day. It’s very difficult to discern what is truth and what is a lie. How are we to know the difference? We’re bombarded daily with things we never even thought we’d have to face.
Intimacy with God is the key to everything in life. It’s a daily walking and talking with him. A daily time of taking everything you see, hear, and experience and setting it before him. You ask Holy Spirit to reveal how to think about these things, how to respond to the information you’re being fed and ask him to reveal his truth to your mind. Over and over it seems the theme for this year is fear. And each day I continue to be drawn back to read and pray Psalm chapter 91 over myself, my family, and those who come into my mind. I’ve looked up this chapter in several different translations and one in particular has become my favorite. It is found in The Passion Translation. I wanted to attach it to this post for you to read. I made a copy and printed it out for myself and sit it on my kitchen counter to see and read daily. It is a daily reminder that no matter what is happening in our world, no matter how scary things may look, the Word of God is Truth and can be trusted more than what is happening around you. The more we read God’s Word and research his character, the more it builds our trust him. The more we focus our eyes on his Truth instead of the television, the more we fuel our faith. Each time we open our bible and let his words penetrate our heart, it transforms us into his likeness. His Word reminds us not to be afraid or troubled. Let his word set in and tear down those false ideas that have taken a strong hold on your mind and be strengthened and refreshed for today and the days ahead. I’ve also added the commentary for this chapter for additional insight and understanding. Maybe when we look back on this year we will see it as the year of God’s great protection!
Psalm 91 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Safe and Secure
91 When you sit enthroned[a] under the shadow of Shaddai,[b]
you are hidden[c] in the strength of God Most High.
2 He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me,
the only God for me, and my great confidence.
3 He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy,[d]
and he will protect you from false accusation
and any deadly curse.[e]
4 His massive arms[f] are wrapped around you, protecting you.
You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.
5 You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night
nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.
6 Don’t fear a thing!
Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you,[g]
nor will the powers of evil launched against you.
7 Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed,
you will remain unscathed and unharmed.
8 you will be a spectator as the wicked perish in judgment,
for they will be paid back for what they have done!
9–10 When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High,
our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.
How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?
11 God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever you go,
defending you from all harm.
12 If you walk into a trap, they’ll be there for you
and keep you from stumbling.
13 You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness,[h]
trampling every one of them beneath your feet!
14 For here is what the Lord has spoken to me:
“Because you have delighted in me as my great lover,
I will greatly protect you.
I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face.
15 I will answer your cry for help every time you pray,
and you will find and feel my presence
even in your time of pressure and trouble.
I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.
16 You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you.
For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation!”
- Psalm 91:1 Or “O, you who sits enthroned.” The Hebrew word yashab is often associated with one seated as royalty. It is translated in Ezek. 27:8 as “leaders or rulers.”
- Psalm 91:1 Shaddai (šadday) is taken from a Hebrew root word with many expressive meanings. It can mean “God of the Mountain, God the Destroyer of Enemies, God the Self-Sufficient One, God the Nurturer of Babies, God the Almighty.”
- Psalm 91:1 Or “I endure through the night.” See Job 39:28, where the same Hebrew word is used for an eagle passing the night on the high cliffs.
- Psalm 91:3 Or “hunter.”
- Psalm 91:3 As translated from the most ancient Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint. The Hebrew word can mean “poisoned arrows.”
- Psalm 91:4 Or “wings.” Also found in the next sentence, “under his wings,” which speaks not of God having wings, but of the wings of the cherubim resting on the mercy seat. The implication is that we can always come to the mercy seat and rest without fear.
- Psalm 91:6 Verses 5–6 are seen by many Jewish scholars as a reference not merely to pestilence and natural dangers but to the realm of spiritual darkness that would come against God’s servants. These spirits are equated to “arrows that fly in daytime” or “a pestilence that walks” in the darkness. God’s sheltered ones are kept from the harm that could come from natural sources or supernatural sources. What a wonderful place to hide and be secure!
- Psalm 91:13 The Hebrew includes the words for “lions,” “snakes,” and “dragons” (Heb. basilisk) as the three great symbols of satanic power.
The Passion Translation (TPT)
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