Message of the Month

                                                         “Keep me as the apple of Your eye;

                                                          Hide me under the shadow of Your wings “

                                                                                                                         (Psalm 17:8)

Dearly beloved in Christ,

I greet you in the sweet name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today we do need protection in so many matters. David offered prayers for his safety from his enemies. He used a simile in his prayers. He compares his life to the apple of the eye. The eye lid acts fast to protect it from any foreign particles. He needed that kind of protection from the Lord. In our lives also we need protection in so many areas.

Dearly beloved in Christ, the Lord who protects us as the apple of the eye lives. He does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need His protection. Let us meditate on some of these areas where we need His protection.

I  Protection From What?

1. From Fear

“...Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.” (Psalm 64:1)

We think of the enemy as those who are opposed to us, hate us and act to spoil our peace. There is another enemy who acts against us, but is not visible to our eyes. He is Satan. One of the ways in which the enemy acts is through fear. He induces fear. Fear exists where there is no faith or hope, and there is suspicion and doubt.

When the Philistines encamped against the Israelites, they stood on one side and the Israelites on the other side, each on a hill. In between them there was a valley. Then came Goliath of Gath. He was of a gigantic figure. He challenged the Israelites daily saying: “Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us” (1 Samuel 17:8-9). He defied the armies of Israel. Saul and all Israel were dismayed and greatly afraid. Because of fear they were not able to select a person to fight against him.

Fear is agonising. A man who fears is not filled with the love of Christ. Job confesses, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25). Today the problems we have appear to be as big as Goliath. We fear the worst. This fear brings with it defeat and grief.

There are those who are slaves to the fear of death. A youthful girl from a good family was studying in a college. She used to move well with others. At the time Covid, she shut herself in a room and began to live in seclusion. She stopped speaking with others in the family. Fear changed her style of life.

2)  From Tribulation

“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.” (Psalm 22:24).

In a person’s life, afflictions affect the peace in him and changes and harms his thoughts and feelings. It spoils his capacity to take decisions. Not only that, it makes him think why others whom he detests are living without any affliction. It multiplies the problems in one’s life. But the Lord God is able to turn these afflictions into blessings.

David was upset why people detest him even though he had done good to them. Then he fasted and prayed. He says: “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart” (Psalm 35:13). Further in Psalm 31:7 he says, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities.” The Lord responds: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10). The Lord is able to change our lives and bless us with joy. There is always a purpose behind it. The Psalmist says: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). During the days of affliction, we are led closer to the Lord and have better chances to know His word. The Lord God knows our plight as He said to Moses  in Exodus 3:7, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7). In our lives too, He not only sees our affliction, but also delivers us.

3)  From Sorrows

“...You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!...” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

Sorrow arises for various reasons and turns our lives bitter and full of tears. It destroys peace and happiness in life and multiplies tribulations. David confesses, “. . . and my sorrow is continually before me” (Psalm 38:17). Worldly people seem to be happy with no afflictions. They have everything they wish. Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy” (John 16:20). The Bible says of Jabez, “his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain” (1 Chr. 4:9). Isaac was in sorrow because of the death of his mother. When he married Rebecca, his sorrows disappeared. Sorrows abound in the lives of very many persons causing afflictions and diseases. The Bible says, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Prov. 15:13). Mental disorders are caused by the sorrows of the heart that is unbearable. But if the Lord God becomes eternal light in a person’s life, that very moment his days of mourning come to an end. Isaiah in prophesy of the sufferings of Jesus Christ remarks: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (53:3). Surely He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows on the cross.

Beloved Brother/ Sister, are you dismayed and in tears because of the multiplicity of your sorrows? Are you worried about your future? Does it make you question why you should live? Today look up to the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes your life abound in joy by multiplying what is good and doing away with sorrows and sighing.

4)  From Reproach

“Deliver me from all my transgressions; Do not make me the reproach of the foolish.” (Psalm 39:8).

Those who live in arrogance think ill of others. Those who are placed in high offices do not have any regard for others under them. Goliath decries the army of Israel (1 Sam. 17). In 2 Sam. 16:7, we read how Shimei cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!” But David asks his servants not to harm him as the Lord had permitted him. He is also hopeful that the Lord would look on his affliction and do good for his cursing. He also says: “Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me” (Psalm 69:9). When we involve ourselves in the ministry or in the church, the reproaches of others will be there. There are such people around us. They misunderstand and reproach accusing others who involve in the ministry. “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults” (Isaiah 51:7). Our God hears all the words that proceed from our mouth. He says, “Then you shall know that I am the Lord. I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are desolate; they are given to us to consume.’” (Ezekiel 35:12). “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the insults of the people of Ammon, with which they have reproached My people, and made arrogant threats against their borders” (Zephaniah 2:8). Jesus Christ who came to swallow death “will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).

The Lord God who protects us from fear, afflictions, sorrows and reproaches is till alive. He will do as He has said.

II Who will be Protected?

1) Those Who Believe

 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

The Lord says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5). It is quite true. People suffer as they trust in men more than in God. Their end is miserable.

A married man had a child. On the advice of his friend, he went abroad with the intention of earning money. Whenever he thought of returning home, he postponed it saying that he should build a house before he returned. So he began to do the construction in the name of his wife. He regularly and eagerly sent money for the construction. After a few years, before departing to his native place, he sent all that he had earned to his wife. But when he returned home, he found a man open the house. He enquired him who he was. He heard the sound of children. Then his wife peeped out and said that she was living with that man and asked him to leave the place. He was terribly shocked and decided to commit suicide. At that time his friend met him and brought him to me for prayer. He believed his own wife and was cheated and was in trouble losing everything he had earned.

The Lord God delivers anyone who trusts in Him. Psalm 22:4 says, “Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them.” Dear Brother/ Sister, if you trust in the Lord God and trust in Him only, He will bless your life. Today this trust is lacking in many people and as a result they stumble and live in want, in defeats, sorrows and loss. Everything has an end. Trust in the Lord alone. He will bless you honouring your trust in Him. If your trust is true and full, He will protect you as the apple of the eye.

2)  Those Delivered

“Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4).

You need to be transformed as was Israel. It always pleased God to bless Israel. All those who are transformed into Israel are loved by the Lord. He blesses them. In birth we are like Jacob by nature. The very name means a cheater. He cheated his blind father saying that he was Esau and got all the blessing due to his brother. He had no real love for his brother. When he was hungry, he was made to part with his rights as the first born in the family in return for sharing the pottage he had prepared. There are such people who are self-centred and selfish. Such a person with several bad traits was transformed into Israel by the power of the Lord. Left alone, he wrestled with the Lord for His blessings. He then enquired his name and he gave his real name. The Lord then called him Israel, a transformed being.

Beloved in Christ, the Lord will preserve all those who have undergone this transformation when they pass through waters or rivers and they will not overpower them. When walking through fire, it will not harm them. This blessing is given in this very life. Whoever you may be! You may be hopeless and be sure to be lost forever in this problem. If you commit to be transformed into Israel, the Lord will be with you to lift you. The circumstance that threatens you will not overwhelm you as you have come under the protection of the Lord. Just submit to be transformed into Israel to enjoy the protection of the Lord at all times by His abundant mercy.

3)  Those Who Sigh

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” (Psalm 12:5).

There are those who oppress the poor. They have no help from anyone and sigh in a hopeless state. The Lord God is an advocate of the poor and downtrodden. He takes up their cause against the oppressors who have no fear of the Lord. They do not know the Lord or His judgement. They think that no harm would come to them. They are filled with haughtiness and filthy words of curse. They always scheme against the poor hapless people. They indulge in sorcery against them. The poor sigh in agony. They cry to the Lord. The Lord hears them and works for them to preserve them.

Once we were ministering in an area. There was a man who indulged in sorcery against the meetings there. He worked witchcraft to stop the meetings. The people who had gathered began to pray. The Lord who hears prayers heard their cry and met that man. He could not withstand the power of the Lord that came upon him. He fell and convulsed in the midst of the people. People seeing him began to flee as they knew about him and his activities. But the evil spirit in him left him. He came to his senses. He became a member of the church there. No weapon formed against you shall proper. Let this promise be fulfilled through our prayers. Victory is ours.

4) Those Who Show Pity to the Poor

“Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth...” (Psalm 41:1-2).

Our Lord God has concern on the depressed and the poor. The Lord has commanded: “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘you shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land’ (Deut. 15:11). He loves the poor. He loves those who consider the poor. He said of the Israelites: “Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously” (1 Chr. 17:9).

Dear child of God, the Lord blesses all those who have this heart to help the poor. He preserves them from all troubles.

5) Those Who Keep the Lord with Them

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” (Genesis 28:15).

This is the promise He gives to his children. He will be with you wherever you go to preserve you and to bring you back. He will not forsake you till He completes His promise. He is faithful to bless you if you keep Him with you. He has chosen you with a purpose. He has called you and chosen you to fulfil His purpose. If He has chosen you for ministry in a region, He will fulfil it by equipping and strengthening you. He will guide you to fulfil it. Till then He will not forsake you.

Today the Lord Jesus Christ will preserve all those who trust in Him, who are Israelites, who sigh from their hearts in tribulation, who have soft hearts toward the poor, and who keep Him with them.

May the Lord bless us!

In the service of Christ Jesus,

Bro. C. Ebenezer Paul.