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Psalm 23 is about moving mountains?
It wouldn’t seem so, would it? But today, as we finish looking at the valley (or ‘dark and scary places’) of Psalm 23:4a, we see that mountains do enter into the picture because they surround the valleys. Let’s look:
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
A brief review
In my last post, we considered the low places, or valleys of our lives. Such places are surrounded by mountains and the one we pictured was a place from which there seemed no escape. But today, I want us to be careful about our concept of the word, ‘escape’ because it can come in many forms, not only physical. While personal experience has taught me how chronic pain blurs the mind from much beyond finding relief, I am reminded of Jesus’ experiences. He knows where we’re coming from and he made a way for us! Part of that way is found in the preparation I spoke of in my last post.
Relief can be found in setting aside time to slow ourselves and in welcoming the presence of Jesus. Then we are in a place where we can converse with him as if he is exactly who he says he is…Our friend. Rest comes with being mindful of the marvels of his creation, aware of the smallest evidences of his love and doing so with thanksgiving. As spoken in other posts, we can add more life to our ‘Christian Stew’ through the addition of spice. Uplifting music is one of the spices I like to recommend.
Preparation for relief in the valleys comes as we take these times, put them in words or pictures and store them safely for our ‘rainy days’ of need. However, while all these help to see us through the dark and scary lowlands, there’s another way of escape that goes beyond temporary relief.
In moving mountains, recognize counterfeits
Escape has many faces and when we are very desperate for it, we may find ourselves diving into the shallow end of the pool, breaking our neck in the process. I won’t go into the thousands of ways we can be misled into believing a path skirting Jesus is the right path. I think an entirely new blog would have to be created for that subject and that’s not where I choose to pitch my tent! Suffice it to say that any way that doesn’t keep Jesus at it’s center is a dive into the shallows.
I think of Facebook when I talk about ‘the faces’ of escape. Most of us understand that Facebook is about…face. What we see there is mostly about the outside, or surface. But we don’t want a Facebook experience in our escape, we want the real deal…we want it to be as real as the spirit of our being is real. Be careful not to settle for counterfeit claims! Pray for discernment and remember, there are no ‘super-heroes’ in Christianity!
Moving mountains requires a means of escape
Jesus told us that he is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Then in John 1:1, we see Jesus with the title of ‘the Word’. There are theologians much more studied than I who teach in depth on Jesus as the Word and Jesus as God (John 10: 30). For now, I want to look more closely at the Word. When I spoke in the last section about Jesus giving us a way of escape, I was thinking of escape through the Word, that mighty weapon of the Spirit described in Eph. 6: 17! We are given an entire arsenal of weapons but all the other weapons are defensive. The sword, however is made for attack.
There are times when we are surrounded and we are using all the other weapons. They keep us alive and safe, even in the shadowy valley places. But they don’t necessarily get us out. We understand that in it’s original context, when Jesus said, “I am the way…” he said so in referencing himself as the only way to the Father. What I am saying here doesn’t lessen that in the least.
I am suggesting that we consider Jesus as not only the only way in to God, but the only way out of our dilemmas. And if Jesus is the Word as the Word says, then the Word must be our way out of the dark and scary places! Further, if the Sword of the Spirit, our only offensive spiritual weapon, is the Word of God, then it is by this sword that we escape! And remember, we only need to take on one of the mountains, not the whole range! Which one? Take your pick!
When moving mountains, we first move the mouth
Today, we’d say he’s crazy, just like they did in the day he walked this earth as a man. You see, Jesus did some pretty bizarre things like ordering trees and wind, diseases and demons around…out loud. But a lot of people held their tongues and their judgements when they saw that all those things he spoke to did the even crazier act of obeying him! Then is was like a fight to get in line so he could say something out loud to me, too!
Today, if you walk up to a tree and tell it to die, folks are gonna talk. And it won’t die because your motive can’t be the same as Jesus’ motive was at the time! But he has given us the same spirit that raised him from the dead. This is Father and Son living right inside our spirts by means of the Holy Spirit! For this reason, we can “fear no evil, for you are with me!” We have the authority of God’s Spirit. (Luke 10:19) We have the supernatural power of his Word. And we have a mouth to speak it aloud, just like Jesus did, so it will not return without results! ( Is. 55:11)
Moving Mountains requires a specific Spirit
Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13, Matt. 4:1-11
Again, how did Jesus do battle with the Sword of the Spirit? By speaking it. He even got rid of the devil in the desert by speaking it. Do you think because he was Jesus, the devil left? Think again! Jesus was also fully man and he wasn’t using anything we can’t use in his desert battle. He used the Word and that was it. Other than his hours on the Cross, this was likely his weakest time….forty days without food or water in the desert! Satan came at him time and again, each time defeated by the spoken Word. Do you think it’s safe to say that hot, dry and sun-drenched desert was Jesus’ form of our dark and scary lowland places? I do.
Jesus spoke his way out of that battle, and so can you. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in YOU. (Romans 8:11) So follow his lead and use the same Sword Jesus used. The Word of God is your escape.
After Jesus defeated satan he was not without wounds, so ministering angels came to his aid. (Matt. 4:11)It is so important that we see and understand this. Smashing mountains is no easy task and we may need angels ourselves once the battle’s over!
I think this is where a lot of Christians go wrong. We want everything to be ‘back to normal’ and we jump ahead, rushing back to ‘our place in line’. Girl, you’ve just done mighty battle and you need to recover from your wounds! It wasn’t beneath the creator of the angels to let the angels minister to him. It wasn’t beneath the Creator of all mankind to let a prostitute clean his dirty feet. Who are we to disallow ministry to our escaped, yet broken bodies and the emotions entwined within?
Our winning the battle doesn’t mean we are super heroes whose wounds bind themselves. We need help. Don’t let pride be the current that pulls you back into the dark and scary lowlands. Be patient and humble, accepting the heart-felt help of others. Just as Jesus didn’t and you don’t, these human angels won’t come to you in masks and capes. But you can bet God is working through their hands.
2 gifts to help you in moving mountains!
1) ‘STAND ON ME’ Scriptures for speaking ALOUD Matt 17:20, Matt 21:21-22, Luke 10:19, Mark 11:23, Nahum 1:5, Habakkuk 3:6 I strongly recommend you copy and keep in a convenient place. I also recommend you do a study to find others and add them to this list!
If you have never looked into ‘Soaking’ music for Christians, I would like to encourage you to try this ‘spice’. It is beautiful, effective and God-centered.