Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

God is My Fortress

Sarzana-citadel-fortress

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;**

Fortress

מָצוּד

matsuwd

a castle, defense, fort(-ress), (strong) hold, be hunted, net, snare, strong place

(And just for clarity, the word bulwark means a defensive wall, rampart, fortification
a person, institution, or principle that acts as a defense.)

God is my Fortress.  He is the place I run to and take refuge.  He is the fortification, the wall, the stronghold behind which I crouch and know I am protected.  He is the One Who places me in the cleft of the rock where I am sheltered.  Praise Him for tucking me into a safe place no matter what I am going through or feeling.  Right now, He is my safety net.  He is the wall behind which I hide.  Thank You, my Father, for You are so much more than I could imagine.  Thank You for protecting me and caring about and for me as I walk through this valley of the shadow of death.  Oh, thank You, Lord for protecting me. 

1 And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said,
“The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
3 my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation,
my Stronghold and my Refuge,
my Savior; you save me from violence.
4 I call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.   2 Samuel 22:1-4

God is all of those to me too.  David has given me a place to see just how mighty our God truly is.  The Rock, Shield, Stronghold, Fortress…all depicting strength and power and security.  This is the God Whom I walk with daily.  I feel His sheltering Presence all around me.  Oh, how wonderful!

For You are my Rock and my Fortress;
and for Your name’s sake You lead me and guide me.  Psalm 31:3

psalms-59-16

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My Refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in Whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

Lord, as I walk this journey, so much of it I must walk alone for grief is different for each one of us.  There are pieces and parts that may be similar, yet never quite the same whether it is the time, the circumstances, the way one died…so many factors.  BUT…I am never really alone for You are with me…always.  You guide me and comfort me, love me and hold me.  You are the fortress to which I come and find safety.  The world cannot touch me when I abide in You for the walls of the Fortress are deep and wide.  Walking obediently in You shelters me too.  O Lord, I am so blessed.  Yet, this road I am on is so hard, so difficult.  I miss Kenneth so.  He loved me like no one else.  Yes, Mom loved me dearly.  A mother’s love is so different than a husband’s love though.  So I sense I would be comparing apples to oranges if I were to compare my mother’s love to my husband’s.  Kenneth and I had a marriage with You, Christ Jesus, our Center.  You never left us.  Thank You, Father. 

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Although that threefold cord feels broken to me now, I do not believe it is.  Kenneth has gone on ahead of me, as he told me near the end of his life on earth.  I do not know anything about life after death, but I sense that this God-given marriage is still that…given to me, to us, by You, God.  Of course, I still miss my Kenneth.  I know now that he was on loan to me for 25 years for which I am so grateful.  His time to return Home came.  Now I am learning to walk this path with You, Lord, and without Kenneth.  Sometimes I have doubts and fears.  Then You remind me of the Mighty Fortress that You are.  I stand inside the walls and know that I am safe and protected.  I am filled with gratitude for Who You are.  I pray in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.  

bwturq sig

 

 

“Sarzana citadel fortress”:  https://www.cepolina.com/Sarzana-citadel-fortress.html

** “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”  Text: Martin Luther Trans. by Frederick H. Hedge
Music: Martin Luther Harmony from The New Hymnal for American Youth
Tune: EIN’ FESTE BURG

Psalm 59:16 – https://dailyverses.net/psalms/59/16

Christ-Centered Marriage photo: https://quotesgram.com/christ-centered-marriage-quotes/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Abased and Content…Pondering Together

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Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:11-12

“I know how to be abased….”  Abased As I read this Scripture, I understand, sort of, what that word means, but I want to dig deeper to really know what Paul was saying here.

In the Greek, the word, itself, can be interpreted in slightly different ways.

ταπεινόω

tapeinoō

Pronunciation:  tä-pā-no’-ō
 
  1. to make low, bring low:  to level, reduce to a plain
2.  to bring into it humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances; i. e. α. to assign a lower rank or place to; to abaseto be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded: to humble or abase myself, by frugal living; of one who submits to want; of one who stoops to the condition of s servant.
3. to lower, depress. humble: one’s soul, bring down one’s pride; to have a modest opinion of oneself, to behave in an unassuming manner devoid of all haughtiness; to confess and deplore one’s spiritual littleness and unworthiness, (he afflicted his soul), of persons fasting, to disturb, distress, the soul of one.

4. to humiliate: to submit oneself in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God; equivalent to to put to the blush

 

From several different Bible versions, this word, abased, is also translated:

NIV – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

ESV – I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

NASB – I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

NET – I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:  “To accommodate ourselves to an afflicted condition-to know how to be abased, how to be hungry, how to suffer want, so as not to be overcome by the temptations of it, either to lose our comfort in God or distrust His providence, or to take any indirect course for our own supply.”

So when afflicted, God wants us to know that this is part of living in and for Him.  This Christian life is not all perfect and beautiful.  There are hard times and lowly times.  When times look up, He desires that we know His ways through which we handle those, as well.
 

“To a prosperous condition-to know how to abound, how to be full, so as not to be proud, or secure, or luxurious. And this is as hard a lesson as the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are not less than those of affliction and want.”

Jesus is the Way through which we can handle every aspect of life.  Jesus is our Comforter and our Provider.  He is the One Who strengthens us from moment to moment.  No matter what situation we find ourselves in or put ourselves in, we need to look to the One Who is strong and will strengthen us in order to walk through each stage of life, each step in life.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

We are to learn to walk in this life, in this world content…in every situation, in all circumstances…content.  What now does “content” mean?  Verse 11 uses this word in one way or another to describe the way we should be in any and all types of life’s experiences whether good or bad, rich or poor, healthy or sick, etc.


Content
in the Greek:

αὐτάρκης

autarkēs

sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support

independent of external circumstances

accepting of one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest

Being content seems to come from within ourselves from these definitions, yet being able to handle all or any situation truly must come through Christ.

“But how must we learn it? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, v. 13. We have need of strength from Christ, to enable us to perform not only those duties which are purely Christian, but even those which are the fruit of moral virtue. We need his strength to teach us to be content in every condition. The apostle had seemed to boast of himself, and of his own strength: I know how to be abased; but here he transfers all the praise to Christ. “What do I talk of knowing how to be abased, and how to abound? It is only through Christ who strengthens me that I can do it, not in my own strength.’ So we are required to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus; and we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The word in the original is a participle of the present tense, en toµ endynamounti me Christoµ, and denotes a present and continued act; as if he had said, “Through Christ, who is strengthening me, and does continually strengthen me; it is by his constant and renewed strength I am enabled to act in every thing; I wholly depend upon him for all my spiritual power.'”  Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Philippians 4

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I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
 
Philippians 4:13

Father God, You have given us life.  Each precious breath is from You.  We are given those breaths one at a time just as we are given the strength we need to handle abasement and abundance.  You want us to depend upon You from moment-to-moment, breath-upon-breath.  You call us to lean on Your understanding and not our own.  You ask us to ask and pray.  You call upon us to live for You, loving and caring for others.  I pray that I am able.
 

Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!  Psalm 86:2 

May my eyes and heart stay upon You, and may I lean neither to the right or to the left but directly upon You.  I also want to be pleasing unto You, LORD, and to stay near to You.Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.  And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.  1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

In the Holy Name of Christ Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig