A Strong Tower

scrabo tower

You are in a bad predicament. Your enemy has you surrounded and is closing in quickly. What should you do? Run!

Me, run?

Yes, you! Run. Run to the nearest fortified protection.

But that’s retreating. I don’t retreat, I fight!

So you are going to fight an enemy that is always more powerful than you are? An enemy you can’t always see?

Well, if I try and apply myself hard enough, I’ll surely make some kind of headway and then I’ll round up some reinforcements.

But you will not be retreating in defeat and you won’t need any reinforcements if you’ll do what I just said!

But where do I run? I don’t see anything but some tower nearby.

That’s it, exactly!

It looks so isolated and I’m sure I’m going to be trapped when I get inside! Oh, now I see—a trap! Some help you are, sending me into a stuffy old tower in the middle of nowhere with an impossible enemy bearing down on me!

It’s not a trap. Are your plans any better? How are you going to fight with nothing but your bare hands?

I’ll make some kind of weapon with whatever is around me. I’m really a very resourceful person, you know. Look, rocks and pebbles! Yes! That’s what I’ll do. I’ll gather up lots of these and pelt the enemy in the eye, the face, or wherever I can do some harm. That’s it! I’ll be like David in the Bible, where he took some stones and knocked the life out of a giant! You know, I do have a rag in my pocket that would make a perfect sling.

Well, you could do that if you were relying solely on God first.

Oh! that is so difficult and complicated, and, besides, I’m pretty sure my aim is sharp, and I can throw really fast and… and…just how strong and secure is that tower up ahead?

Stronger than anything any enemy could use to come against it. In fact, no enemy will ever be able to overcome it. Period.

It doesn’t look that secure. Who designed and constructed it?

Jesus.

Jesus? You mean the One who died on some beams shaped like a cross thousands of years ago and miraculously rose from the grave a little while later? The One I accepted into my heart and surrendered my life over to sometime ago?

He’s the one! He not only is alive, He now sits at the right hand of God His Father in Heaven victoriously! You see, when Jesus died on the cross, He not only made it possible for anyone who believes on Him to have eternal life, He also took away the legal right for the devil to have control over them as well.

OK, so now how do this tower and I fit in with all of this?

stone tower

Well, when you put your faith and trust in the victory that Jesus won over the enemy (the Devil) through His sacrifice on the cross, then that victory becomes your victory. He is that strong tower that keeps you safe. The Bible says in Psalms 61:3, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” And in Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

Wow, you mean that all I have to do is just put my trust in Jesus to shield, protect and care for me?

That’s right. When you try to fight the enemy in your own strength and effort, defeat and failure result. There is nothing about you that will overcome the enemy. It is only in Jesus Christ that you can have victory.

But aren’t there some procedures, some rules or requirements that I have to follow first?

Just one. Believe (have faith) in Jesus, that He will take care of your enemy or problem. If you worry about the problem at hand, you doubt God. When Jesus was on this earth, He could have touched many more lives than He did if there had not been so much unbelief among the people. Even His own family and the people in His hometown refused to believe in Him.

Um, could we finish this conversation inside that tower? The enemy seems to be getting awfully close now, and an intense storm is brewing overhead too!

Well, do you believe that Jesus has the power to protect and shield you by that tower? Do you believe that His sacrifice on the cross has not only saved you from eternal punishment in hell, but has also set you free from the control of sin as well?

OK. OK. Yes, I do believe that, and I even believe that I can overcome the enemy only through Jesus and His victory at the cross. Now, can we go?

Don’t panic—we are already there!

Wow! This tower isn’t bad at all. I can feel peace, even though the storm is raging above and the enemy is charging all around us!

Let’s take a look outside.

Are you nuts? With all of the fury going on out there? Stop! Don’t push—I’m moving! Let me just look out this window here. Wait! Where is the enemy? What happened to the storm?

Jesus handled everything. Remember that He already fought the enemy and won the victory once and for all at the cross. We are to just rest in Him. Our victory over the enemy is only as good as the faith we put in Jesus Christ to take care of the problem for us.

This is amazing! So, by putting my trust in Jesus and the victory He won at the cross, He will be as a strong tower, a place of refuge? Yet, if I try to fight the enemy or solve the problem at hand on my own, then I will be like a deer in the midst of an open field with predators lurking all around?

That’s about the size of it!

Well, watch out world, because I’m looking now in faith for that strong tower whenever I find the enemy trying to overtake me!

————–

How about you, reading this right now? Have you put your faith in Jesus and the victory He won at the cross? Are you anxious over the problems overtaking you, or overwhelmed by the size of the enemy approaching? Is your worrying and lack of faith in Jesus Christ limiting God? The Bible says in Philippians 4:6, 7 “Be careful [full of cares, anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication [petition, asking in earnest] with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This is not a nice suggestion, but rather a command by God.

When the enemy comes at you, do you seek refuge in the strong tower of Jesus in faith, or do you try to fight the enemy, or take care of your problems in your own strength? Are you putting yourself first or God first? Jesus wants to be your strong tower from the enemy and your mounting problems, if only you will commit them to Him and let Him do the work.

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Coveting or Content?


(flickr photo by jaguarmena shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license)

Versus

“Let your conversation [lifestyle] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for [Jesus] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

Paul appeals urgently here to Christians to be content with what they have. Since we are still traveling through this world, we are still subject to the trouble it can bring. Coveting (an excessive craving or longing for some part of this world’s wealth) is the opposite of being content. It also includes envying anyone who has more than we do. But Christians should not find it hard to resist coveting, because God Almighty has already promised that He will not forget His children—He will take care of them. What possible reason could we have to covet, therefore? In fact, this kind of promise should keep us from worrying about anything, not just being fearful of doing without.

Let your life be free from covetousness…”
“Covetousness” is commonly called “the love of money.” …they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Don’t wish you could have more than God has already given you. And don’t fall into the trap of coveting what God has given someone else. Why not go and rob that person’s house and take what you want for yourself if you feel this way? This is how God sees it when we covet what others have.

Be content with such things as ye have…”
How can Christians keep from coveting? Let what you have satisfy you. Stop craving other things just because they are newer or different or you don’t have one of that kind already. People who covet are never satisfied with their present state of affairs. They are always looking ahead to see what else they can acquire, before they have even enjoyed what they already have. This kind of attitude gets worse and worse as the years roll on if nothing is done to restrain it. What do we really own here, anyway? We know that none of it will go with us when we go to be with the Lord. Whenever you confront tight circumstances or have a need, be confident that our God will be with you and He will provide.

God arranges it so that we have just enough money to use in this life as we make our way toward our heavenly home. We already know that we have treasures waiting for us in heaven. That should be all we need to know in order to be content with the ordinary things here.

Realize also—if we Christians can’t be content here, we won’t be content in Heaven either. Look at Adam—he was discontented in the Garden of Eden—Paradise itself!

But then look at Paul. The great apostle found himself with nothing and was held very low in the estimation of others in his time. But he had already learned to be content in any and every state he might find himself in. Christians have good reason to be content with their present lot in life. God promised that He “…will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God is not a man that He should lie (see 1 Samuel 15:29). If He promises something, He will follow through on what He said. If we truly believe in God, we know He will not only always be with us throughout our life, but even when we die.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [riches]. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:24-26).

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought…”
“Thought” here means “anxiety”—which is just what Jesus wants to protect us from. There is nothing wrong with giving thought to the future. It is appropriate to give some thought to the things of this life at times. But if we entertain thought as anxiety, or anything that causes care or concern or trouble, that is wrong. When we let our cares and troubles become our supreme concern, then anxiety arises and interferes with our devotion to God. We need to “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians. 4:6).

Jesus’ disciples were being warned in Matthew 6 not to be greedy, and not to be anxious about how their needs would be provided. What difference is there between God’s people and those of the world, if we worry all the time about how we are going to be taken care of, like they are always doing? Does this show that we trust our God? Can’t we depend on Him to provide our needs here, no matter what they may be?

“Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
“Meat” refers to all kinds of food when used in the Bible, while “raiment” refers to clothes. Jesus told His disciples to take “no thought” about how their wants and needs would be supplied. If God can give us life, surely the same God can see that the body He created is fed properly! And won’t He provide clothing for this same body as well? Or is our body merely a receptacle for receiving dainty food and wearing fashionable clothing?

The apostle Paul wrote: “…godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content…O man of God…follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…do good…be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for [yourself] a good foundation against the time to come, that [you] may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:6, 7, 11, 18, 19). Let’s be content with what we already have. If we have Jesus, we already have everything anyway! He is our source of supply or support—all that we need.

Never forget His promise to us: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

Does God Care?

anxiety graphic

Are you going through a situation where you feel like God doesn’t care about you? Does it seem like He doesn’t see what you are going through? Do you feel like you have to worry and fret over your situation, since God apparently is not interested in helping you with it? Maybe you think He does not even notice that you are having a hard time. What does God have to say about this?

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

This verse actually says that we are to cast all our anxieties on Him. Most of what we fear or worry about never comes to pass. God is like a shepherd watching over his flock. He is ever scanning the field where the sheep are, looking for impending trouble, or for one who has gotten himself into a bad situation on his own.

Have you ever been with children as they tried so hard to help bring the groceries in the house when they were very small? One would pick up a gallon of milk and struggle with all his might to get it from the front door to the kitchen. You probably watched, amused, that this little one thought he could carry it all by himself. Then you most likely went over and took the gallon jug and carried it for the child. Or you might have put your hand on one side to steady and lift it some, while letting the child think he was doing it all himself.

But you were there all the time, watching over the child, making sure he could handle whatever he took upon himself without hurting himself or utterly failing in the task. If he tried to carry something far too big or heavy or dangerous, you would intervene. The child was sure he could handle the situation. But you knew all along that he had a lot more growing to do, and that it was far beyond his capabilities or experience at this point in his life. Yet you did not stop him from trying. All the time, he did not know it, but he was not alone.

Does our heavenly Father care any less about us? We often take on more in our walk with God than He intends for us to handle. Or else we hang back and don’t try to do anything beyond what we have been safely able to accomplish in the past. And how easy it is to worry ourselves into a state of anxiety, to the point where we convince ourselves that there is no solution to our situation!

Does our heavenly Father heap weights on us that are more than we can carry, and then stand back and laugh at us because we are crushed under the load? Don’t ever think that way of our loving Father!

Only unbelief thinks it is our responsibility to be weighed down, both inwardly and outwardly. Why don’t you roll the weight onto Him that burdens you so much? He loves to bear the burdens that are too much for His weak children.

Does God care? Isn’t His word plain enough to us? Who drowned the Egyptian army when they chased after His chosen people in order to bring them back into slavery? Who opened a jail cell and set Peter the Apostle free while everyone else in the prison slept? Who sent His Son to die for us, to take our sins upon Himself because we were incapable of dealing with them ourselves? God knows, and He cares about you and every single situation you are going through. With loving concern, He continually watches over you. He is with you right now, whether you sense His presence or not. What should you do? Cast “…all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

–Alana Pangburn