A Refuge from the Storm

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall- Isaiah 25:4. Sometimes we cannot help the circumstance we may find ourselves in, but we can always be aware of God’s deliverance from any storm of any kind, because God is a refuge from our storms. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still- Psalms 107:29.” ~LMJ~

For I Believe God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the book of Acts, we have the record of the Apostle Paul traveling (as a prisoner) on a ship toward Rome. The ship was about to sail into a fierce storm. Let us pick up the story in Acts 27:

Acts 27:10-11:
-10: And {Paul} said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading {cargo, freight} and ship, but also of our lives.
-11: Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

Because Paul was a believer, God could inspire him, this is why Paul “perceived” that trouble was imminent. Paul was correct! The ship came into a great storm, and the reason that this happened was that they (the Centurion watching over Paul, and the ship’s owner, and ship’s captain) believed, but their believing was incorrect. They believed in something that was wrong, when they should have listened to a man of God, especially when that man believes God’s Word.

Acts 27:20-22:
-20: And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest {a hurricane} lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
-21: But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
-22: And now I exhort you to be of good cheer {I exhort you to believe with me now in enthusiasm}: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.

The ship and all the people went into that storm with Paul onboard as prisoner as well. But because Paul believed God’s Word, he was delivered from the storm, and the same is true for us today, whether the storms are physical, mental, or spiritual (Isaiah 25:4).

Acts 27:23-25:
-23: For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
-24: Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
-25: Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

Sometimes we cannot help the circumstance we may find ourselves in, like what happened to Paul, but we can always be aware of God’s deliverance from any storm of any kind, because God is a refuge from our storms.

Often our believing not only saves us, but even those around us. When and where we believe what is recorded in God’s Word, not only will we receive, but when we do receive from God it will be inspiring to others. On that ship the people lost all hope, but our God is a God of hope – and this becomes ever more realized as we believe in the recorded Word and will of God. When we find ourselves believing in God’s Word, our hearts will be “of good cheer,” for life itself becomes exciting, and we can say as Paul did, “for I believe God.”

Rejoice and Be Glad in Mercy

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

 Psalms 90:14: O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90 is a prayer written by Moses, and in verse 14, he is requesting in his prayer to be satisfied early with God’s mercy. The purpose for mercy is “that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Mercy means the withholding of judgments and/or punishments that are rightfully due us because all men are sinners. Yet God’s mercy can cover us, giving the believers reason to rejoice and be glad. Without God’s mercy upon our souls, life itself could become too stressful, but as we recognize His mercy upon us we can also reciprocate from our innermost beings our heartfelt joy and gladness.

In Psalms 31, David talks about a time in his life when he simply forgot about God’s mercy, thus he lost any joy or gladness until he remembered the mercy of God. Below we can read some of David’s thoughts:

Psalms 31:7:  I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou {God} hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

God knows the troubles that we go through in life, He knows us so intimately that the Bible says He has numbered the very hairs on our heads. Yet even though we do not walk perfectly, God covers for our shortcomings and sins by not only giving us mercy, but also showing mercy to our inner souls so that from within we may be glad and rejoice.

Psalms 31:8: And {God} hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Our God is a refuge from the storms of this life, and can rescue us, setting our “feet in a large room,” meaning the opposite of being grasped in the hand or encased with the devices of our enemies. This is the mercy of God upon our lives, thus David continues:

Psalms 31:9–10:
-9:  Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
-10:  For my life is spent with grief {without acknowledging and accepting Your mercy I am without joy and gladness}, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine inequity, and my bones are consumed.

This Psalm goes to the heart of so many Christian people who refute God’s divine mercy, when all the while God is beseeching us to accept His mercy (Romans 12:1–2), as David had finally done.

Psalms 31:21–24:
-21:  Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. {God’s “marvelous kindness” is His mercy, and in a “strong city” is being in a walled city with protection.}
-22:  For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications {prayers} when I cried {prayed} unto thee.
-23:  O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
-24:  Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

David finally realized that all he had to do was to accept God’s mercy and God could take his fears and anxieties from being encased by his enemy’s hands to placing him not only in a large room, but also in a walled and protected city. God’s Mercy gives us plenty of reasons to have Gladness and Rejoicing within our very souls.

Grace – Sought for – Leads to God’s Safe Passages Through the Storms of This Life!

“The birds are still out there making their nests just as they did in the Garden of Eden. Even though these days the birds may be using yarns, strings, plastics, twigs, pieces of wire, or an assortment of other trash to construct their homes, they are still working exclusively for the benefit of man, but with a continuously heavier workload as this earth continues to deteriorate. This work has nothing to do with evolution; rather it is survival and not simply the survival of the fittest, but survival of man.  This is all being done by them to give (provide) man the best possible chance to make their way back up to God’s grace, That they {you and me} should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us– Acts 17:27. You do not find grace by knowing or looking up its meaning, and cannot find grace just because you can read about it in your Bible, as anyone, even sinners of the highest magnitude can read the Bible (and often do), but you find grace when you feel its presence, begin enjoying its uplifting delights in your heart, and follow its path that leads you into its source at the harbor of your heavenly Father’s love for you, and discovers His refuge in Christ and God’s safe passages through the storms of this life (Isaiah 25:4), then grace, true heavenly grace appears in abundance and uplifts the human heart to His Majesty’s loving embrace and guidance through this life and into the next!” ~LMJ~

God’s Blessings

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The greatest things in life are free. A man may sell his soul, but he cannot buy eternal life, peace, joy, true inner happiness, or love. These are all gifts of God! We can stand in total awe of these gifts, and thoroughly enjoy them, for they far surpass any monetary value; as Philippians 4:19 reads “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The richest people on earth are those who have their needs supplied by God, day to day from the riches of His glory. Conversely, the people with large wallets may not be experiencing all the gifts and blessings of God in their lives. The Scripture in I Peter 1:8 informs us that we can “rejoice with joy unspeakable”; or joy beyond explanation, and this joy is an inner quality of life which is a spiritual manifestation of having God in Christ in our hearts while we are receiving and enjoying heavenly, God-given blessings.

II Corinthians 9:15:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Although we cannot fully explain our inner joy and the unspeakable gift of God, we certainly can enjoy realizing unmistakable revelations of having these divine gifts. As we begin experiencing the true treasures of life, recognizing from whence they come and Who gave them, then we will be totally unfettered to give freely from our heartfelt inner joy and thankfulness to God.

God desires that we receive and grasp the realities of our heavenly blessings and treasures which He alone freely gives to men and women who are meek and humble to His healing Word and will.

Acts 20:35b-36:
-35b: . . . {The Apostle Paul said that we are} to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
-36:  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

The word blessed means to be happy or to have happiness. These words that Jesus spoke were remembered and talked about by the believers and are not recorded in the Gospels, only here in the Book of Acts. The commentaries have always assumed that verse 36 was narrated back to the Apostle Paul who knelt down and prayed with those he was teaching. However, from the Greek Text verse 36 is a continuation of the words and action of Jesus: “it is more blessed to give than to receive, and when he {Jesus} had thus spoken, he {Jesus} kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” This completes and fulfills the true understanding that Jesus was explaining in the Gospels, and because of the prayer they were experiencing happiness, and thus, they were expressing inner thankfulness to God. We can find nothing to suggest that the Apostle Paul did not also follow through with Christ’s example and prayed with those whom he was teaching in Acts 20. “More blessed {happy} to give than to receive” does NOT negate the blessings of receiving, rather it is in reference to the more we give thanks to God, the more we then can receive to then have to give again out from what He gives.

God always wants His children to be happy, and as we learn to discover His true blessings upon our lives, then happiness follows, and the first, the very first thing that we do is to return thankfulness to God. “. . . a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).” The threefold cord as it concerns “giving and receiving” is that God first gives divine spiritual treasures to man, secondly man in return gives thankfulness, honor, and respect back to God, then thirdly God again returns to man the spiritual blessings in physical abundant realities. This is a threefold cord that God will honor and continue to reward. This is what Jesus and Paul were explaining by teaching and by example. “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 16:17). See how the blessing came first before any giving is even mentioned? This gives us a spiritual mindset on giving based on receiving blessings.

Psalms 146:5:
Happy {there is that word again} is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Let us look at Jacob in Genesis who sought God for his help and who spoke to Him in a way that at first blush would seem to be a little rude if not downright blasphemous (in the way some think, believe, and teach on tithing these days). Nevertheless, what he said to God was in fact following the theme of what we just read about from Acts and Deuteronomy, above, and the theme of God’s Blessings that we are looking at in this study and the reason for Jacob’s happiness that could be ours as well. “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If {IF, IF} God will be with me, and {IF You} will keep me in this way that I go, and {IF You} will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then {THEN} shall the LORD be my God” (Genesis 28:20-21). Wow, really? Yes ― really, IF God would, then he would ― and God did, and he did.

Jacob went to the source of abundance, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof” (Psalms 24:1), he went directly to the LORD God, Who “giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18) and said IF YOU SUPPLY ― THEN I WILL GIVE. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22); note, the only thing given here is a prayer, and a prayer is simply believing with thankfulness to God. It is from this request and understanding that Jacob not only lived an abundant life, but he concluded “of all that thou {God} shalt give me {of all things, whatsoever he asked in prayer and received} I will surely give the tenth {of what You give me} unto thee” (Genesis 28:22). See a Bible Byte study titled: Prayer with Thankfulness, which sheds light on this very subject of receiving from God in light of verses such as Matthew 21:22.

Psalms 46:7:
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Jacob would contribute only after his receiving, and his life was indeed blessed; he was praying and being honest with God and being true to himself for the prospects of his inner happiness. Since the God of Jacob is still our refuge in today’s world, should we not want to learn from him and follow his example and belief system? Jacob indeed was a principled man and wanted to know why it is more blessed to give than it is to receive, and as he received from God first, he then realized it is also blessed to give in return from out the blessings he received (because they were not his in the first place making his giving much easier, it is like playing with house money). This is the reasoning behind cheerful giving (II Corinthians 9:6-9) because one will manifest happiness! “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.”

It is not wrong to think as Jacob did — it is right to think as Jacob thought, it is not wrong to behave as Jacob did — it is right to behave as Jacob behaved, it is not wrong to believe as Jacob did — it is right to believe as Jacob believed, it is not wrong to say what Jacob did — it is right to say to God what Jacob said, in fact, God said of him “Jacob have I loved” (Romans 9:13). Furthermore, God did not curse Jacob for saying what he said, but blessed him. “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal” (Ezekiel 18:25), in other words God’s way is right and Jacob proved to himself that God’s way was very equal and abundantly pleasing to him. Man’s way is to give first, God’s way is to receive first; man’s way is unequal, God’s way is equal. Man’s way is unbalanced and although God’s way may at first seem unbalanced and narrow-minded in man’s mind, it is actually perfectly balanced, as Jesus stated “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). I ask, have we found God’s way, His equal way? God’s way turns the tables, so-to-speak, and rights one’s course into true godliness, “godliness is profitable {PROFITABLE} unto all things” (I Timothy 4:6).

Truth (which makes one free,― John 8:32) purposely inspires the joy of giving from within the heart; error drains the joy of giving from the heart to become an uninspired, compulsive and legalistic function.

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Sacrifice and burnt offerings were based on giving something in the prospect of getting something (i.e., a quid pro quo/tradeoff), while God desires mercy and knowledge which assures more. In fact, Jesus said of Hosea 6:6 “go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13). Mercy means the withholding back of that which is deserved, like a punishment and condemnation for a past sin, while God gives something so much grander, such as total forgiveness, love, mercy, peace, grace, and an abundant life; “no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11). These kinds of treasures we can come to know and experience and receive when we understand that it is He Who gives us not simply a tradeoff but more abundance because He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). A nutshell version: When your giving is a sacrifice, it is not what our God of love intended. “Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:7-8).

Who would not want to walk humbly with God and know for certain that He is blessing them personally simply because He loves them? “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn {called} thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Who would not want to give from their personal God-given blessings with which He has blessed them? We receive blessings in order that we may enjoy an abundant life that comes directly from the ebb and flow of receiving from God and therein we are enabled to enjoy a heart of giving without having shortage or making sacrifices. From a biblical perspective, Jacob’s spiritual joy and physical happiness opened up to him the flowing simplicity of godly abundance, and is the foundation of discovering why it is more blessed to give than to receive because it is the key to more of what is free from God.

It certainly is easier to give out of what God blesses one with than to give out of what you have to start with and just may need to live on in the first place. When God becomes your God as He became Jacob’s, then the true perspective of life with God in your life will become living and real and life becomes a joy worth singing about. It is more blessed to give and receive Jacob’s way, which just happens to be God’s way! Yes, this is why it is thankworthy to pray with happiness and thank our heavenly Father. Jesus and Paul never taught “with effort you have worked, so freely give,” rather they taught God’s children, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

Psalms 81:1:
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

When we, the children of God, live our lives in this perfect harmony of receiving and giving, then the greatest treasures in life become ever more available and real to us. Then God’s Blessings continue coming in and we can experience genuine spiritual happiness living our lives in all the joy God originally intended.

Psalms 35:27-28:
-27: Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
-28: And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

“We are justified, not by giving anything to God . . . but by receiving from God, what Christ hath done for us.” ~William Gurnall~

For more on this topic, see: The Seeds of Authentic Abundance (What Is Not in the Scriptures Is so Often Just as Important as What Is in the Scriptures!) and The Fullness of God (The First Principle)