GOD’S PROTECTION

God promises to go before you as a warrior, and to defend you from your rear, where you cannot see! Find out how!

[SW168] 01/10/2015 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2015
“God’s Protection”

Isaiah 52:12  But you will not go out in  haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the LORD will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

God’s Almighty promise is that He will go before you —

Go before = halak to walk continually, be conversant, lead, march, run

As you go, He continually is with you, ahead of you!
— He is Almighty God, and nothing and no one can overcome Him or defeat          Him
— He leads you, and you walk in His way
— He converses with you, He talks with you as you follow Him
— He is on the march, a mighty warrior leading his troops
— He protects you from what lies ahead of you
— He moves obstacles out of your way
— He exposes and destroys enemy plots and traps

And He is your rear guard!

— No one will attack you from the rear, because of His presence. Enemy              defeat is assured!
— The Enemy’s most subtle attacks are from that position, but God is there!
— He defends you at your weakest point, because you cannot see behind              you as you walk forward
— He makes sure you stay focused as you march forward
— You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” when you turn to the right or the left (Isaiah 30:21).

You can’t lose, with God before you and behind you!

Let’s look at a King who had these promises, so we might learn a truth:

2Chronicles 17:4 Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, sought God.
— He treaded God’s way,
— frequented God’s presence,
— followed God
— Worshiped God,
— diligently inquired of God.

He did not seek the Baals or golden calves, like Ahab, King of northern Israel, who was one of God’s chosen people, but in name only.

2Chronicles 18:1 But Jehoshaphat took his eyes of God and tried to manipulate his circumstances.

He made an alliance with wicked Ahab, arranging a marriage between Ahab’s daughter and Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram (2Chronicles 21:6), to secure peace with Northern Israel.

The prophet Jehu rebuked him (2Chronicles 19:2-3), saying, “ Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? But   there is good in you, for  you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.”

Then, in 2Chronicles 20 —
— A huge army came against Judah (20:1)
— Jehoshaphat prayed to God (20:6-12)
— A prophet gave him a word that the Lord will fight for Judah (20:17)
— Jehoshaphat sent forth worshipers before his army (20:21)
— The Lord sent an ambush, without the involvement of Judah’s army,
and his enemies ultimately killed each other off (20:22-23)

What a great victory! The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, going before him, and being his rear guard, just as God promises in Isaiah 52.

But then:

2Chronicles 20:35-37
— He again took his eyes off God and tried to manipulate his circumstances by making another alliance with King Ahaziah, Ahab’s son who now reigned in Northern Israel.
— So he built ships with the rebellious King of Israel

But a prophet came and said, “The Lord destroys your works,” and indeed, the Lord destroyed what Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah had built.

The Lord says to us that if we take our eyes off Him, and try to manipulate our circumstances by making alliances with the world, with backsliders, with compromisers, He will not go before us nor be our rear guard.

Why? Is God a liar? May it never be! He is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2).

Look at Isaiah 52 again:

Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her,  purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the LORD.

AND THEN comes Isaiah 52:12, His promise to go before us and be our rear guard!

Jehoshaphat took his eyes off the Lord and made alliances with those who rebel against God in order to manipulate his circumstances. If you do the same, God will not go before you or be your rear guard. What you build will be destroyed by Him, O church, O Christian!

Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 to the Corinthian church:

2Corinthians 6:14    Do not be  bound together with  unbelievers; for what  partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  15 Or what  harmony has Christ with  Belial, or  what has a  believer in common with an  unbeliever?
16      Or  what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are  the temple of  the living God; just as God said,
“ I WILL  DWELL IN THEM AND  WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17      “ Therefore,  COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18      “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be  sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

How do we keep from straying, from being bound together, from making alliances that lift His protection off us, so He will not go before us and be our rear guard, be our Father, and make us His sons and daughters? We must read on!

2Corinthians 7:1   Therefore, having these promises,  beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
God. (NOTE: “Let us” is not in the original Greek. So this is a command, not a suggestion.)

This is a word for us, the answer to our waywardness. King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord most of the time, and trusted Him most of the time. But he could not perfect (complete) holiness. He could not completely fulfill or accomplish or finish it. He kept taking his eyes off God and trying to manipulate his circumstances, making alliances with the wicked that made God lift His protection off him.

When God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die and be raised again, to ascend back to Him and be glorified at His right hand, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit in a new way, so when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in the promise of protection because our hearts no longer wander!

We have the promise that He will make us holy, set apart for Him, when His Holy Spirit indwells us, but also the promise that He will make us no longer slaves to sin, to wandering, to manipulating our circumstances, to taking our eyes off God. Holiness is completed in us, so that we hate sin and backsliding and compromise just as He commands, and will not make alliances with those who rebel against Him — the world, and those in the church who give God lip service but their hearts are far from Him.

If you have been as Jehoshaphat, come into the truth today. Ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, and He will come and cleanse your heart from waywardness. And surely, the Lord will go before you always, and always be your rear guard!

 

THE WORD OF THE LORD

[SW161] 11/14/2014 message notes by Sister Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“The Word of the Lord”

As I wrote in a recent blog, the Word of the Lord (the Bible) is like a diamond — turned in His light, rays of revelation shoot out! Today, I celebrate the Word of the Lord!

But you are bent down today, struggling, downtrodden, depressed, oppressed, or distressed, stuck in sin, which destroys you and those around you — or all of the above.

You are unsure, you hesitate, you doubt, and thus are like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6).

Meanwhile, your Bible — the Word of the Lord — sits on the shelf in your home, collecting dust (just as mine did for the first 45 years of my life)!

Let me tell you about this Word of the Lord!!!

Psalm 33:4            Right!

Psalm 33:6            The heavens made, by it

Psalm 107:20        Sent to heal you (also, Mt. 8:8)

Psalm 119:83        Settled (established and stands) in heaven, FOREVER

Psalm 119:105        A lamp for your feet, a light for your path

Psalm 119:40        Very pure

Psalm 130:5          A source of hope

Psalm 138:2            Magnified above His name

Psalm 147:15        Runs swiftly

Psalm 147:18    Melts cold things

Isaiah 30:21        You will hear it, “This is the way, walk in it.”

Isaiah 40:8        Stands forever

Isaiah 55:11        Will not return to Him void

Jeremiah 23:39    Shatters hard things like a hammer

Ezekiel 37:4        Even dry bones hear it!!!

Matthew 13:8    When sown on good soil, fruitfulness results

John 1:14        Became flesh, and dwelled among us .  .  . and you will see His                 glory!

John 5:24        When believed and heeded, makes you pass from death to life!

John 8:31-36     The way to the truth that sets you free from the power of sin.

John 8:51        If obeyed (kept), you will never die!

John 12:48        If rejected/disobeyed, it will judge you, in the last day.

John 15:7        If it abides in you, then you will ask whatever you wish and it                 will be  one for you

2Corinthians 4:4, 6        A mirror through which you see Christ  . . .
the more you look AT the Lord,
the more you look LIKE the Lord!

Acts 6:2        Must not be neglected in order to serve tables!

Acts 6:7, 12:24    Keeps on spreading, when it is boldly spoken (Acts 4:29)

Acts 8:17, 11:1    Must be received, taken in, accepted, and submitted to

Romans 10:17     When heard and heeded, faith springs up!

1Corinthians 1:18    Foolishness to those that are perishing, but to those who are                 being saved, it is the power of God.

Ephesians 6:17    Is the sword of the Spirit

Philippians 2:16    Is the word of life that you are to hold out in the darkness, so                 you are like a star in the universe.

Hebrews 4:12    Living and active . . . judging the thoughts and attitudes of your             heart.

Let the Word of the Lord have its way in you. Submit to it, let it convict you regarding sin and righteousness and judgment, and the Lord will change your heart, and you will see Him!

This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord today!!!

Lift up your heads, and the King of glory will come in, and dwell within you (Psalm 24:7, John 14:23)!

Seek (search out, strive after, beseech, beg) the face, the presence, of the Lord!

Then you will be prepared to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place. (Psalm 24:3) Once you have truly seen Him, you will never look away again!

GO TO THE LOST

When Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep,” it is a command, and we are compelled by the power of His words to do it!

[SW144] 07/05/2014 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Going to the Lost”

Text: Matthew 10:1-8, 14-15, 40-42

We are compelled to go after a single lost sheep until we find it, and then bring it back, rejoicing. We are compelled to light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully for a single lost coin until we find it (see Luke 15). Then we and all heaven rejoice!

Going to the lost. Many in today’s church think He is saying, “Go to those who do not believe in Me,” but Jesus says, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel!”
God’s people? Lost? It is the same now as it was then. Many of God’s people were and are lost sheep.

Today, Jesus not only commands us to go to the lost sheep of Israel who do not see that He is their Messiah, but also to go to the lost sheep of the church.

Notice that the disciples did not question Jesus (What do You mean? We do not see any lost ones!). Nope. They knew there were lost sheep in Israel.

What signs do I see that there are lost sheep within today’s church? Many sheep in the church are:
— distressed     — oppressed     — depressed
— confused        — compromised     — afraid
Or worse:
— lulled to sleep OR
— slaves to sin, when Jesus came to set us free, indeed!

Why are the sheep lost? Do they not have apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11)?

Israel had priests and experts in the law of Moses, but Jesus found fault with them. He declared to them that they did many things to misguide His people.

He finds fault with the leaders of today’s church, too, who do many things to misguide His people.

Lamentations 2:14  Your prophets have seen for you
                False and foolish visions;
                And they have not exposed your iniquity
                So as to restore you from captivity,
                But they have seen for you false and misleading  oracles.

We should not be surprised. Jesus spoke of false shepherds, wolves among the flock (Verse 16). There were wolves in sheep’s clothing within the fledgling church (Acts 20:29-31).

But we in today’s church have not been on guard as Paul commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Acts 20:29.

And the people are biblically illiterate and therefore cannot discern — few know the Word of God. They are sheep that do not know the Good Shepherd’s voice.

As a result, they follow the voice of strangers, and even love it, as in Jeremiah’s day:

Jeremiah 5:31 The  prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!

What can be done? We obey the command of Jesus Christ, and go to them!

What does He give us as we go to the lost sheep of the church?

(Not as we sit, but as we go!)

In Matthew 10:1, He gives us authority over evil spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (also see Luke 10:19).

Why does He give us such authority? So people will know the kingdom of heaven draws near!

He commands us that as we go, we are to preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He commands us to preach repentance (Mark 6:12).

Then the authority comes into play, as the evidence that the kingdom of heaven is near: we heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

These are the accompanying signs (Mark 16:17), the attesting miracles that show the lost sheep that God and Christ are the true reality and not just philosophical ideas to which they give mental assent.

But we cannot preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand unless the kingdom of heaven is in our midst — within us. And when the kingdom of heaven is within us, we will have His authority, and we will heal, raise, cleanse and cast out.

FREELY we have received, and FREELY we give (Verse 8).

What do we FREELY give? FREEdom to the captives (Isaiah 61), to the lost sheep of the church!

We do it not give in our own power or by man’s wisdom, but in God’s power and wisdom and might! The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us!

What will be the result of our going to seek the lost sheep of the church? One of two things will happen, Jesus says:

#1 — We will not be received, and so we must do as He commands in Verse 14. Beloved, this will happen much in today’s backslidden church. It happened to Christ Himself, as He walked the earth! The consequence:
15 “Truly I say to you,  it will be more tolerable for the land of  Sodom and Gomorrah in  the day of judgment than for that city.”

#2 — We will be received, welcomed, accepted, and those who do it will receive a reward:
Matthew 10:40   “ He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
41 “ He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet [that is, as a prophet sent by the Lord] shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man [that is, a righteous man made righteous by the Lord] shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 “And  whoever in the name of a disciple [as a disciple of Christ] gives to one of these little ones [prophets and righteous men] even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [my interpretation in brackets]

Beloved, I am praying for today’s church to receive those whom Jesus is sending out even now.

I am praying that the lost sheep of the church will be found and carried back with rejoicing.

I am praying that the lost coin will be found and cause great rejoicing, in heaven and on the earth!

I am praying that many in the church will ask for the kingdom of heaven to be within them — that is, asking for God the Father to fill them with His Holy Spirit.

THEN they will receive authority. THEN they will proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near and their hearers must repent.

And I am expecting to see the attesting signs.

Amen, Lord. Let it be so!