Thursday, September 19, 2013

In the Presence of My Enemies...

"...He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though 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, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. my cup overflows." (Psalm 23:3-5)
In times when you are stuck in the "valley" and "death" overlooks you, waiting for an opportunity, God seems so distant, but He's so close you can't get a focus on Him. As I go through daily life, with vultures surrounding me because they smell Jesus on me (vultures thrive on devouring the blood of Christ), I shout His name silently in my heart, "JESUS, HELP ME!" It's in these times when it feels like life has taken a full circle back to where you were in the darkness, but I know its an illusion that the devil has created to make you think you've fallen back into that desolate place of helplessness. I know its not the same - GOD IS WITH ME.

As I paddle through my existence in a foreign land far from all familiarity, far from family, far from comforts, I am not immune to enemy fire. The devil works in universal patterns. He uses what looks safe to entrap you. He uses fellow Christians to stab you not only in the heart, but in the back. He does this because it hurts more when it comes from "family." My only resort is to stand still and pray. If I move, I will trip on his traps. I get on my knees and I shout a silent prayer. I don't want to lay any clues for the enemy. The other tactic of the enemy is to get you to hang yourself in some entanglement.

Lord, I am back on the edge of the precipice, waiting for you. My fellow neighbors of Christ sabotage me out of envy. I do nothing. Just the slight pretension in Christ's name is sacrilege. Oh, Lord, forgive them though they know not what they do. Lord, place a mirror before them and let them see the decay in their visage as deceit and envy, greed and fleshly hungers devour their faces. I'm reminded of the book, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, where the beautiful man of proper countenance and true vanity sees himself decay. Every love of self is like a virus eating away at his flesh. Lord, these Christians need your conviction. Please have mercy upon them.

I feel empty and afraid as they try to steal my livelihood. I grab onto my Lord and His Word like a lifesaver. Lord, I know you are in control. Hear my pain. Protect me from their stabs. Lord, anesthetize my heart that I would not bear the pain of their deceit. Lord, when the afflict me, they afflict you and vice versa. Lord, your living Word stands and I stand before it next to you. Lord, your Grace is sufficient for me! I know who you are and I stick by it, despite the dangers.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" (2 Corinthians 12:9a)
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ( John 14:27)

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