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God's Protection

God’s Protection

Do you remember when churches and homes were left unlocked, stores did not have detectors, and people left their keys in their cars without fear? Why, my first car did not even require a key to start it (No, I didn’t have to crank it). We did not worry about anyone stealing them. It’s a shame that we can’t live in that kind of security and peace today. And unless there is a major spiritual revival, things will get worse until God says, “Enough is enough!” and calls a halt to this sin-sick world. In the meantime, what can we do in the light of terror and evil in this world?

Eph. 5:15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

First, understand what the Lord’s will is and do it. Don’t do dumb things! You belong to the Lord, so take care of yourself so you can serve the Lord as best you can and as long as you can! And not only do you belong to the Lord, you also belong to your family members and your Christian family.

Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' “Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "

There is no sense playing into the hands of the enemy by doing things that could take our lives. We must be cautious in this world of evil and danger, but we do not need to fear! We must know God’s Word and obey it in order to avoid certain dangers and temptations. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must hear God and follow the Holy Spirit in every situation.

Luke 22:35-36 Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

On one occasion, Jesus sent His disciples on a mission trip with no provisions or protection. Now, Jesus is instructing them take those things with them. Every situation is different; listen to what Jesus tells you. Why take a sword? At Gethsemane, Jesus told Peter to bring a sword; then when Peter used it, He told him to put it away, for that was not the time to use it. He warned that those who draw the sword outside of His command will die by the sword.

Jesus wants us to take care of ourselves and others and to trust Him to lead us in every situation. Our purpose is to love God and to love others. Love would never selfishly harm another human, not even an enemy, but love also will not allow evil to harm others. The “sword” we should use every day is the Word of God.

So, what else can we do to avoid evil and danger? Most importantly, we can pray! Prayer is our most powerful weapon. Unfortunately, we don’t use it as often as we should.

2 Thess. 3:1-3 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

In Lincolnshire, England, a branch of the Christian Police Association is setting up a "Prayer Watch" to alert Christians to local crimes. As well as encouraging Christians to keep an eye out on their churches and each other, the police said their prayers would help catch criminals.

Retired London policeman, Don Axcell, the national executive director of the Christian Police Association, said God answers crime-busting prayers. He told the Lincolnshire newspaper, "I’m a great believer in the power of prayer, and all I’d say to the skeptics is that I’ve seen it work too many times for it to be a coincidence."

Thirdly, Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

It’s all right to trust certain people, but we all need to put our greatest trust in the Lord.

Ps. 46:1-2 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Our hope and help is in the Lord no matter what we face in life! He is our deliverer! He is our protector from all evil and danger! It is always right to follow Him, to trust Him, and to lean on Him!

Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you--the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

One of the clear teachings of Scripture is that if we are in Christ, nothing can harm us outside of God’s design. That does not mean that we can’t be harmed or won’t suffer, but we do know that God is never taken by surprise and He has a plan for our lives even through suffering.

1 Peter 3:12-17 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

The only good is God’s perfect will. Even if we do good, this Scripture makes it clear that God may allow us to suffer. Jesus taught that if He suffered and was called an evil man, we can expect the same because the servant is not greater than the master. Therefore, we can boldly follow God even in danger because we know that the only harm we can suffer is what God allows. He has also promised to be with us in suffering, and His grace is sufficient to sustain us.

Furthermore, the man or woman of God cannot be stopped from doing the will of God. If we walk by faith, we know that God is able to overcome any obstacle. For example, the enemies of God tried to kill the apostle Paul for many, many years. He freely went about preaching without any way of defending himself. God revealed the plots of those who sought to destroy Paul, preserved his life, and even used Paul’s enemies to give him the opportunity to preach to rulers. Paul was whipped, stoned, and left for dead; still, he arose and began to preach again. Forty men also took an oath not to eat or drink until they killed Paul. For all we know, they died in their oath for they never touched Paul. When traveling as a prisoner, a severe storm destroyed the ship, but Paul survived to get to shore and continue in his mission. He was snake bitten, but did not die. Satan did everything within his power to kill Paul because Satan knew God’s purpose for Paul. In spite of this, God used Paul to spread the Gospel across the Roman Empire and then to the world. All the schemes in the world were meaningless because God protected Paul for God’s own purposes. In the end Paul stated, “I have finished the race”. Shortly afterward, Paul was killed by Nero in Rome. Then Paul received his reward, the crown of life and the robe of righteousness, from his Father in Heaven.

The same is true in every believer’s life. Until we have finished the race, there is not any power in Heaven or earth that can take us out of this life or out of God’s plan. Of course, we do not always know when we have finished the race, but God does. Our confidence is that God is able to protect us so that we can complete our calling in this life.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

In both of these passages, we are told that we are given the peace of God. Even though the world around us may be in turmoil and everything may seem out of control, we rest in the peace of God. Human understanding cannot grasp the reason for this peace. When a believer truly trusts God and has faith in His plan for their life, peace will follow even if circumstances are everything but peaceful.

In both of these passages we are commanded not to be anxious and not to allow our hearts to be troubled. When events or circumstances threaten our security, we will initially have feelings of fear, but we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome fear by our faith in God. When fear wells up within us, we have the authority to rebuke it, and the choice to shift our trust to God and believe in His plan rather than try in vain to control everything.

This struggle is especially apparent in today’s climate of terrorism and persecution. The strength of terrorism is fear. Everything Satan uses is based on doubt and fear. People are afraid of failure so they never step out in obedience to God. People doubt that God is their Rewarder; therefore, they are willing to sin to fulfill their lusts. Wicked men use fear to manipulate others into submission, but God and His love are greater than our enemies. We don’t have to fear those who can destroy our bodies because we will be given a glorified body. God is the only one to be feared. He is able to protect or preserve us and His judgment is more to be feared than anything in this life.

Jesus warned that the time in which we live would come. He said in John 16:2, “Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”

Islamic terrorists fit this warning exactly. They are filled with wickedness and claim that Allah allows them to do evil to others as long as they are furthering the cause of Islam. They believe God is going to reward them for raping, torturing, and murdering innocent people, whom they label “infidels”. Revelation 21 says that murderers, liars, and sexually immoral people will never enter into Heaven but will be condemned to the Lake of Fire. Nevertheless, they destroy thousands of lives and believe they are doing God a service – just as Jesus foretold.

We don’t know exactly why God allows us to suffer or die for our faith. Obviously, we can only see life from our small perspective, but He can see the big picture and the complete perspective of His plan. In the first century, it did not make sense that all of the apostles were martyred (except John). In our immediate lives, it may not make sense when God allows us to suffer or even die. However, we have absolute confidence that suffering can only come for God’s purposes and harm can only come within His will. In light of eternity, death does not harm the follower of Christ. Our faith, during death, may be a witness to those who see us die and cause them to turn to Jesus Christ. So whether we live or die, let us glorify Jesus in whatever we do!

On one occasion, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus, and He was asleep while they were fighting to keep the boat afloat during a storm. Finally, one of the disciples woke Jesus and asked if He cared that they were all going to die? Jesus rebuked the storm and scolded them for their lack of faith. Their failure was not waking up Jesus or asking Him to intervene. Their lack of faith was expressed by their claims that He didn’t care they were going to die in the storm. They didn’t realize Jesus would not let them die until they had fulfilled their calling.

Therefore, we can enter into any storm with confidence, because we know that Jesus will protect us until we finish the race. Every apostle finished their race and each one of us will fulfill God’s purpose, unless we reject God’s call. No terrorist or enemy of God can prevent us from running and completing the race God has set before us.

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Our minds can fantasize all kinds of problems and make us unstable. However, the mind that is steadfast has its thoughts, purposes, and intentions focused on Jesus. If we daily spend time focusing on God by meditating on His Word and praying constantly, God will keep us in His peace. The person who steadfastly looks to God can know an inner oneness with Him, which makes them confident even in the darkest hours. That is peace and security far, far beyond anything this world offers.

God’s protection and peace begin when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. Jesus made peace between God and us by shedding His blood on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin. You first must make peace with God by accepting what Jesus did for you and deciding to follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Once you make peace with God, you can develop an intimate relationship with Him. You learn to let the peace of God rule in your heart by focusing upon Jesus Christ and yielding to the Holy Spirit. Through this growing personal relationship, you develop a deeper and fuller trust which eventually results in a perfect peace, whatever life brings your way.

1 John 5:4-5 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

The human heart by nature is fickle. Our mind is prone to waver and change with every shifting wind of doctrine if it has no firm foundation upon which to rest. However, true faith is not set upon the changing sands of human opinion and events, but upon God, the eternal and unchangeable Rock. When our lives are hidden with Christ in God, the storms of life are powerless to take from us the peace we have in Christ.

The believer who is confident of God’s protection, who rests in His grace, and who relies on His Holy Spirit to guide him, will experience the miracle of His perfect peace. When we keep our mind on God, God keeps our mind at peace.

Do you have this peace? Do you have confidence that you are running the race God has set before you? If you do not have His peace and are not confident in God’s protection, this is the day to submit your life to Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin and die to yourself in baptism. Jesus will give you a new life, born of the Holy Spirit. Then you can have confidence in God’s protection when times are hard or dangerous, and you can have faith in His promises. His perfect peace will be with you.