Tag Archives: Nature of God

Sword, Shield, Reward

swordRecently the Lord spoke to me via a gentle thought, “God’s Word is a sword and shield to me.” Immediately, my intellect went to work correcting me, “No! The Word is the sword of the Spirit, but faith is the shield!” (Ephesians 6:16, 17). I recognized, though, that this was merely my mind trying to misuse Scripture to steal from me what God wanted to implant in my heart. (How many of you ever have this happen to you? I think it is probably more frequent than we realize.)

I asked the Lord to help me recall whether there were verses in the Bible which would connect the Word with a shield. And what came to mind was that Jesus and His Word are one, because He is the Word. John 1:1 and 14 reveal Jesus as the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….”

Jesus is also our shield: “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me…” (Psalm 3:3) and, “Behold, O God our shield. … For the LORD God is a sun and shield…” (Psalm 84:9, 11).

So, because Jesus is our shield, and the Word and Jesus are one, God’s Word can be seen as both a sword and a shield to us. Now, how do we apply that idea? Many of us are already familiar with using the Word of God as our sword. It is our offensive weapon, used to aggressively take territory from the enemy through declaring, “It is written …,” claiming what is rightfully ours and the Kingdom’s through our blood covenant in Christ Jesus.

But the Word is also our defensive shield. We use it to wrap protection around ourselves and our loved ones. We use powerful verses like those found in Psalm 91, or Psalm 140:4: “Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.”  Again, we might use it in an “It is written” declaration, or we might simply petition the Lord for His deliverance from evil, by praying the Word back to Him.

You may already be using God’s Word as both a sword and a shield, but sometimes an image such as this can solidify for us what we are doing, so that it becomes a more settled truth in our hearts. We increase in confidence in using God’s Word when we can picture it as our sword and shield.

crownThe next day, another of those gentle thoughts came to mind: “God is my reward. He is my exceedingly great reward.” I knew that was somewhere in the Bible, and sure enough, when I searched, Genesis 15:1 was the spot: “After these things, the word of the LORD came to Abram [Abraham] in a vision, saying, ‘Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward.'”

We often focus on the rewards we will someday receive for our faithful service to the Lord, but do we realize that He, in and of Himself, is the greatest reward we will ever have? Compared to the reward of Himself all other rewards are paltry.

Because he believed the Lord, Abraham was called the Friend of God (James 2:23). Jesus said of us, “You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. From now on, I do not call you servants, … but I have called you friends…” (John 15:14, 15). Abraham was God’s friend; we are His friends. He was Abraham’s exceedingly great reward; He is our exceedingly great reward. How amazing that we can participate in this blessing!

May these precious truths sink deeply into each of our hearts:

  • God’s Word is our sword and also our shield.
  • And He Himself is our shield and our exceedingly great reward.

nature of God

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

intercessor handbook

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Before Whom We Stand Is Here!

BeforeWhomWeStandbigElijah knew Him intimately as “The LORD … before Whom I stand.” 

Who is this mighty God Whom we love and serve? What does it mean that He is sovereign? Does He do miracles yet today? How can we be certain that He will do for us what the Bible says He will do?

In Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, I present simple, foundational explanations of God’s nature, as revealed in the Bible. You will discover His impeccable character, how the Persons of the Trinity function together, and the particular roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You will also discover how God’s nature affects the way He interacts with people.

Whether you are established in your faith, a new believer, or someone seeking to know more about what Christians believe, this book is sure to increase your understanding of Who the God of the Bible is.

Before Whom We Stand can be used for individual study, discipleship classes, as an evangelism tool for reaching seeking nonbelievers, or as a supplemental Bible class text for the older homeschooler.

Available in print from Amazon and Full Gospel Family Publications.

Available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, and other ebook distributors.

What God Doesn’t Know

One of the basic tenets of the Christian faith is that God is omniscient: He knows all of the past, all of the present, and even all of the future.  (Yes, open theology enthusiasts, He DOES know ALL of the future! — but that is another subject.)

But here are a few things God does not know:

  1. He doesn’t know how to go back on His word.
  2. He doesn’t know how to let you down.
  3. He doesn’t know how to be unfaithful to you.
  4. He doesn’t know how to abandon you.
  5. He doesn’t know how to lie.
  6. He doesn’t know how to not love you.
  7. He doesn’t know how to be untrustworthy.
  8. He doesn’t know how to betray you.
  9. He doesn’t know how to worry or fear.
  10. He doesn’t know how to lose the war.

— because these things are completely outside of His core being, His nature.

May you fully trust Him today, in the middle of whatever circumstances you are enduring, because He is fully trustworthy.

The Nature of God: The Spirit as Testifier

The Holy Spirit

John 15:26 shows us yet another function of the Holy Spirit.  He testifies of Jesus.  “But when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.”   

This is very important to know.  We live in an age when more and more people are craving anything of a supernatural nature, and sadly, even many in the Church are accepting without question every supernatural wonder that comes along.  God is releasing miraculous phenomena in the earth today — but the enemy also produces many signs and wonders with the intent to deceive even God’s people.

We should not throw out the supernatural simply out of fear that it might not be God.  Often, supernatural manifestations which truly are from the Lord are denounced by narrow-minded Christians who get nervous about anything outside their normal realm of experience.  Jesus warned the religious leaders of His day who accused Him of doing miracles by the power of the devil, that this was blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:22-32).

But we do need to carefully discern the true from the counterfeit.  The #1 line of defense is to make certain that whatever is going on does not contradict Scripture.  But deception can be so subtle that I believe we need to go beyond a surface examination of whether it appears to be OK biblically.  It is necessary to be so intimately acquainted with the Spirit’s whisper, that we will sense whether something is from Him or not. If the foremost focus is sensations, thrills, unusual manifestations, and being “drunk in the Spirit,” rather than Jesus, something is off.  The Holy Spirit always testifies of Jesus and glorifies Him above all.

The Holy Spirit not only testifies of Jesus to us, but also through us.  He testifies of Jesus to the world around us: “And when he has come, he will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8).  Jesus goes on to say that the sin the Holy Spirit will reprove the world for is the sin of not believing on Jesus (John 16:9).  How will He do this?  Primarily through the Holy Spirit-led testimony of Christians, accompanied by signs and wonders such as mentioned in  Mark 16:17-18: “And these signs shall follow those who believe: in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” 

In my series, Speaking as the Oracles of God, I talk about the necessity of speaking by the prompting of the Spirit, rather than from our natural understanding. When we do that, our speech will inevitably be filled with references to Jesus — and even when we are not directly speaking of Him, so much Christ-like grace and goodness will be evident that people will come to love Him by what they see in us and hear coming from our lips. 

We were never meant to testify of Jesus in our own power, but by yielding to the Holy Spirit, so that He could give us just the right words for the moment.  Jesus told His disciples, “But when they deliver you up, take no thought for how or what you shall speak, for what you shall speak shall be given to you in that same hour. For it is not you who speaks, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matthew 10:19, 20).  This is why Jesus also instructed them to wait at Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to infill them, so that they would receive power to be witnesses to Him throughout the world (Acts 1:8).

 The Holy Spirit is the One who endows us with the nine spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, many of which are prophetic speaking gifts.  I find it interesting that Revelation 19:10 comments, “… the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  True prophetic gifts, coming from the Holy Spirit, the Testifier, will point to Jesus.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: The Spirit as Intercessor 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

The Nature of God: The Spirit as Intercessor

The Holy Spirit

In an earlier post, I talked about the Son’s role as intercessor.  Romans 8:26, 27 speaks of the Holy Spirit as an intercessor as well: “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities, for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” 

We see the tender love of the Holy Spirit for us in these verses.  He sees our weaknesses, especially our prayer limitations, and makes Himself available to help us in them.  He so cares for us that He intercedes through deep groanings within us. 

I find it most interesting that two of the three Persons of the Godhead are involved in intercession.  And, since the Spirit breathed into man the image of God at Creation, (Genesis 1:26 and 2:7), if we are sensitive to His leading, we will be attracted to intercession as we are progressively restored into the Lord’s likeness.

In His dual role as Intercessor and Teacher, the Spirit helps us to pray according to the Father’s heart — something for which we are entirely dependent upon Him.  It is not possible for us to pray rightly, apart from the Spirit of God guiding and directing us.  Perhaps the reason so many prayers go unanswered in our day is because they are prayed out of our own natural thinking, rather than by seeking the counsel of the Holy Spirit and depending on His assistance in intercession.

Praying in partnership with the Holy Spirit is really not so much about us praying as it is about yielding ourselves to allow Him to pray through us.  When we learn to do that, prayer becomes an exciting adventure.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: The Spirit as Comforter
Next: The Spirit as Testifier 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

The Nature of God: The Spirit as Comforter

The Holy Spirit

And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.John 14:16

As Jesus prepared His disciples for his coming death, resurrection, and ascension, He wanted to assure them that they would not be left alone and to their own devices.  In John 14:17-23, He went on to say that this Comforter would live within them, and that through Him, Jesus and the Father would also come to live within them.  How does that work?  It is part of the mystery of the Trinity, which we are not able to fully comprehend; it is because the three Persons of the Godhead really cannot be put into separate compartments from each other.  Remember, we serve ONE God, not three.

How does the Holy Spirit fulfill His role as Comforter?  He gives us peace.  It is interesting that at the time of Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit appeared as a dove, the universal symbol of peace.  After explaining about the coming of the Comforter, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).  He does that through the Spirit of Peace, Who now dwells within us.  Galatians 5:22 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ….”

Many Christians are not living in the peace that we were meant to enjoy.  We worry and fret, as if God had not promised to care for our every need.  The reason is that, in order for the Holy Spirit to release in us what He has been sent to give, we must yield ourselves to Him, and many of us are not yielding.  Galatians 5:18 says it is a matter of “being led of the Spirit,” while Jesus, when He promised to leave His peace with the disciples through the coming of the Comforter, continued, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Paul exhorted the Church to “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15).  It is a cooperative effort between us and the Spirit.  He will give us peace if we give Him rule over us.

The Holy Spirit fulfills His role as Comforter by imparting revelation to us.  Many times, as I have listened to the Holy Spirit speak about health issues, decisions, or other difficulties I was encountering, He has assured me everything was going to be all right.  And that revelation has always borne out to be true.  The Holy Spirit was comforting me by speaking about my future.  At times, He has warned me of an unexpected trouble on the way, but always with that information He has assured me, “I am with you in it.  You are going to come out of it OK.”

The Holy Spirit also manifests Himself as Comforter to believers by being the continual inner assurance that we are saved from hell and have been accepted into the beloved family of God.  Paul puts it, “You were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [deposit, as in earnest money; guarantee] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:13, 14).

We must learn to yield to the Comforter within us.  He desires to help us live victoriously, with unshakable confidence in Him, during these troubled times.

The Nature of God Index  
Previous: The Spirit as Teacher
Next: The Spirit as Intercessor 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

The Nature of God: The Spirit as Teacher

The Holy Spirit

A primary role of the Holy Spirit is to teach the saints of God. Jesus said of Him in John 14:26, “He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”

What does He teach us? He gives us knowledge of God’s ways and character, instructs us in how to live a life pleasing to the Lord, guides us in our decisions, makes known to us our personal destinies and how to walk those out, helps us to know when we are in need of repentance, and shows us how to pray (Romans 8:26, 27). We see Him already teaching God’s people under the Old Covenant (“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go; I will guide you with my eye.”Psalm 32:8), but now that He indwells us, He fulfills that role to an even greater degree.

He teaches us in a variety of ways, such as speaking into our hearts through the inner voice, visions, and dreams. But over and above all other means, He teaches us by enlightening the Scriptures for us. Our natural minds are not capable of understanding the Bible adequately without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, but when we invite Him to read the Word with us, amazing truths unfold.

He is called the Spirit of Truth, and, as such, He guides us into truth. In John 16:13-15, Jesus said of Him, “When he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth. For he shall not speak on his own, but whatever he hears [from the Father] he shall speak, and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive what is mine, and shall show it to you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore I said that he shall take of what is mine, and shall show it to you.”

As the Teacher, He is also the source of ongoing revelation to us. Jesus said He will “show us things to come.” Prophetic revelation of what is yet to happen is available to us through the Holy Spirit, Who reveals to us the plans of the Father for our lives and for the world we live in.

Through prophetic revelation He is able to guide our steps in detail. Expecting the Holy Spirit to give them specific direction was a normal part of the New Testament believers’ experience. One of many examples is found in Acts 16:6-10. There we see that Paul and his companions were “forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.” They then attempted to preach in other provinces in the area, “but the Spirit did not permit them to.” Finally, He sent Paul a vision, in which Paul was directed to go to Macedonia.

The Holy Spirit also fulfills His role as Comforter by revelation, which we will discuss in the next post.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: The Spirit as Fire   
Next: The Spirit as Comforter 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

BeforeWhomWeStandsm