Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 91’

Protection, Provision, & Perception: Three prayer points

May 25, 2020
Psalm 91:1 expresses the deepest yearning of our hearts at this time.

Recently, Pastor Jim Critcher, one of the ministers at Grace Covenant Church, Chantilly, VA, offered words of exhortation and prayer points as we press into God during the current COVID-19 pandemic. He encouraged us to apply these focal points: Protection, Provision, Perspective and Perception.

Protection

We are to pray Psalm 91 over ourselves, our families and our friends. This Psalm of David provides great comfort and strength in the midst of the chaotic times in which we presently live.

Psalm 91 (NKJV):

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Provision

We are to pray for God’s provision to be made known around the world.

Psalm 23 (NKJV) reinforces this message:

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
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 runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Perspective & Perception

We are to ask God for an understanding of His perspective in this moment and a perception that would be tied to heaven and not to earth, as we ask God for that which He desires for us, expressed in Ephesians 1:15-17 (NKJV):

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your [c]understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

The email message from Pastor Jim inspired this response:

Protection-Provision-Perspective:
Three Ps to Ponder in these Stressful Times


When we dwell in the secret place of the Most-High,
We abide in the shade of the Almighty’s wings
In praise for His protection, our joyful heart sings
To Jehovah, the creator and Earth and sky.
In times of famine or fulness, God meets each need
With His generous provision for daily life.
The love of God sustains, His peace dispels all strife.
Despite countless failures, He helps us to succeed.
Once again, we pray: Open the eyes of our heart
That we might view life from a higher perspective
As we look to your Word with hearts more reflective
Of your unfailing promise never to depart.
We know you protect and provide but help us see
Your hand in making us all you designed us to be.

We close with Esther Mui offering a moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

Safely to abide: Psalm 91

June 21, 2018

The Verse of the Day for June 21, 2018 is taken from Psalm 91:1 (NKJV):

[Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God] He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

This well-known Psalm of David in its entirety provides great comfort and strength in the midst of the chaotic times in which we presently live:

Psalm 91 (NKJV)

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Reflecting on this psalm of safety and assurance, inspired these words:

Abide in Peace

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

Although fierce storm clouds threaten, I lie down in peace and sleep,
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.
Assured that every promise God will keep,
For God alone makes me to dwell in the land of safety.
Though deadly diseases may arise to ravage the land,
God will deliver from the hand of the enemy.
Healed and made whole by the loving touch of God’s right hand,
I abide in the secret place where I long to be.
Even though tens of thousands may fall on every side,
I shall abide under the shadow of His wing,
Knowing God is faithful to protect and to provide,
I shall see with my eyes all that salvation shall bring.
As a tree rooted and grounded, planted by the river,
I abide in peace, knowing God promised to deliver.

Esther Mui closes with a moving rendition of Psalm 91: “God, In Him I Will Trust”:

Our dwelling place

September 6, 2017

The Verse of the Day for September 6, 2017 comes from John 14:23 in the Amplified Bible:

Jesus answered, “If anyone [really] loves Me, he will keep My word (teaching); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him.

This verse begins with the conditional clause “if a man,” followed by the verb “love.” “If an individual loves Jesus Christ, he will adhere to the words that the Lord speaks. If those conditions are met, that individual who meets those conditions will be graced with the very presence of God, the Father and Jesus Christ, His son. John 14:23 establishes the conditions which, if met, will result in a corresponding action on God’s part.

In reflecting upon the Verse of the Day, a parallel verse also comes to mind, as we focus on Revelation 3:20 (Amplified Bible):

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

God has been seeking and continues to seek a dwelling place, a place of intimate fellowship with His creation. Likewise, as believers we are seeking to dwell in the presence of God.

The Psalmist describes this inner yearning to abide in this special place of intimacy:

Psalm 84:1-4:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.

Psalm 90:1 makes known this truth:

Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.

One of the metaphors used to describe born-again believers collectively is that of a building, an edifice, the Temple of the Living God, so described in Ephesians 2:19-22:

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Our heart’s deepest yearning for intimacy reveals our desire to abide in His presence, as we long to see:

Our Dwelling Transformed

 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

 

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,

We continue to learn that everything has its own price,

As we pursue the ultimate goal, a set apart life:

Joint heirs with Christ, presented as a living sacrifice.

With clean hands and a pure heart, we prepare a dwelling place.

To attract the Lord, we provide a pleasing ambiance:

As our songs of love flow from the depths of our inner space,

Our habitation designed and arrayed for God’s entrance.

To walk by the spirit of life, we are driven to pursue.

We dance to brand new music, softly playing in our mind,

And strive to understand that God alone makes all things new.

As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find

A dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,

As we offer all that we are and ever hope to be.

Esther Mui offers a tender rendering of Psalm 91 with its reference to God’s dwelling place:

Secure and at rest in the shadow of the Almighty

June 21, 2017

               Psalm 91:1 expresses the deepest yearning of our heart.

Since 2007 a World Economic Forum survey of about 750 experts has identified some of the mostly likely threats confronting the world. In the initial years of the survey, economic risks dominated the responses, but for the past two years, geopolitical, environmental and societal threats have risen to the top, particularly the threat of “large terrorist attacks.” The overriding the threat of massive terrorist attacks preoccupies the mind of countless individuals across the globe. Despite these threats, as believers we are comforted and strengthened by the words of the Psalmist who reassures us that we should have no fear when we abide in the presence of God Almighty. The Verse of the Day for June 21, 2014 reinforces this message:

Psalm 91:1 (AMP):

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].

In light of the seemingly endless list of global crises that arise, the entire psalm is especially meaningful:

Psalm 91 (AMP)

Security of the One Who Trusts in the LORD.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].
2
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”
3
For He will save you from the trap of the fowler,
And from the deadly pestilence.
4
He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions,
And under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.
5
You will not be afraid of the terror of night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6
Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.
7
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But danger will not come near you.
8
You will only [be a spectator as you] look on with your eyes
And witness the [divine] repayment of the wicked [as you watch safely from the shelter of the Most High].
9
Because you have made the LORD, [who is] my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11
For He will command His angels in regard to you,
To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service].
12
They will lift you up in their hands,
So that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone.
13
You will tread upon the lion and cobra;
The young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14
“Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him;
I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].
15
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16
“With a long life I will satisfy him
And I will let him see My salvation.”

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind a teaching entitled “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and it inspired the following which uses Psalm 91:1 as its introductory verse.

Our Dwelling Transformed

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,
We continue to learn that everything has its own price.
As we pursue the ultimate goal, we offer our lives
Of service presented as a living sacrifice.
With clean hands and a pure heart, we prepare our dwelling place.
To attract you, Lord, we provide a pleasing ambiance:
Our songs of love flow from the depths of our inner space,
A habitation designed and arrayed for your entrance.
Our desire is to please you in all we say and do,
As we are transformed by the renewing of our mind,
Striving to understand that You alone make all things new.
As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find
Our dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,
As we offer all that we are and ever hope to be.

Esther Mui offers this moving Christian Scripture Praise Worship song based on Psalm 91:

Faith and the presence of God

March 24, 2017

Psalm 91--1 new

In keeping with the recent series of the Quote of the Day, here is another quote related to faith for March 24, 2017:

“Wherever faith is, God’s presence is there.”

In reflecting on this statement, Psalm 91 came to mind, as to where believers desire to remain and ever abide:

Psalm 91 (NKJV)

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Our desire to ever remain in the presence of God is also expressed this way:

To Abide in God’s Presence

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

Psalm 16:11

To abide in God’s presence is our utmost desire.

So moved by compassion, we marvel and admire

This passion to pursue the Lord, in whom we delight,

Bringing such joy and peace to comfort us through the night.

Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ burns as a fire.

Clothed in righteousness, garments of praise are our attire.

We seek to do God’s will and all that He may require.

We meditate on the Word of God both day and night

To abide God’s presence.

Touched by the Master’s hand, we are whole and entire.

We have learned to trust God who is our sole supplier.

Challenges confront those who seek to do what is right,

But beyond the dark is the golden edge of daylight.

The dawning of each new day reveals our desire

To abide in God’s presence.

Esther Mui offers this moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

He who dwells in the secret place

June 21, 2016

Psalm 91--1

The Verse of the Day for June 21, 2016 is taken from Psalm 91:1 (AMP):

[Security of the One Who Trusts in the Lord.] He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].

This Psalm of David in its entirety provides great comfort and strength in the midst of the chaotic times in which we presently live:

Psalm 91 (NKJV):

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler 
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

A number of years ago I recall hearing a message “God is Looking for a Dwelling Place,” and I was inspired to write the following poem which uses Psalm 91:1 as its introductory verse.

My Dwelling Transformed

 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

Despite perilous times embroiled in confusion and strife,

I continue to learn that everything has its own price,

As I pursue the ultimate goal, I offer my life:

A first-born son, presented as a living sacrifice.

With clean hands and a pure heart, I prepare a dwelling place.

To attract You, I must provide a pleasing ambiance:

As your songs of love flow from the depths of my inner space,

A habitation designed and arrayed for your entrance.

To walk by the spirit of life I am driven to pursue.

I dance to my own music, softly playing in my mind,

And strive to understand that You alone make all things new.

As the eyes of the Lord scan this green planet, may they find

My dwelling transformed into a place of simple beauty,

As I offer all that I am and ever hope to be.

Esther Mui offers a moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

Ever striving to be God’s abode, special dwelling place

September 6, 2013

John_14-23

As I reflected upon the Verse of the Day, for September 6, 2013, John 14:23 in the King James Version, I also took a look at the verse in the Amplified Bible:

John 14: 23

Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.

The familiar hymn, “Abide with Me” also came to mind, and I discovered this moving rendition by the Antrim Mennonite Choir with beautiful accompanying photos.

My thoughts also turned to the opening verse of Psalm 91:

He who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.

Here is Psalm 91 offered as a song “My God, In Him, I Will Trust” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship Lyrics) by Esther Mui.

As I continued to reflect upon the Psalm 91, I recalled that I had made a blog entry related to God’s dwelling place back in 2011. Here is a link to that entry which also includes the lyrics to “Abide with Me” as well as an original poem expressing my heart’s desire to become a dwelling place for God: “Times of Visitation”

https://drlej.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/my-dwelling-transformed-he-who-dwells/

Toxic Fear and the Perfect Antidote–Love

February 10, 2011

A generous dose of love overcomes or casts out all fear.

We all recognize that fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that limits and inhibits. Proverbs 29:25 makes this clear:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Fear is a tool of the Enemy used as a barrier to stifle our confidence in God, as it attempts to limit our access to the Father’s throne of grace. Satan tries to instill fear in believers in the same way that a ferocious lion roars, seeking to instill fear that paralyzes its victim. We find a similar picture of the ways of our adversary in I Peter 5:8:

 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[a]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. [Amplified Bible]

It has been said that fear is the only thing that defeats the promises of God. Pastor Rick Warren describes fear    as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

The Bible addresses the issue of fear with numerous reminders that as believers we are not to fear. The comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear.

Isaiah 8:12 offers this powerful reminder:

Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

We also find great comfort in Isaiah 41:10, 13 from which the lyrics to another song are taken, offering these words of encouragement:

Do Not Fear

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

 I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

For it is I, the LORD your God, who holds your right hand;

It is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”

“Do not fear, I will help you.”

“Do not fear, I will help you.”

When we encounter stressful situations that cause us to respond in fear, we are encouraged to seek the strength to overcome any obstacle that attempts to block the path to success. Again the Psalmist offers this reminder:

Psalm 34:5

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

Some people are overly concerned about the future which can lead to anxiety. We are exhorted not to be overly concerned about the future or anything, for that matter, in Philippians 4:6-7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [Amplified Bible]

As with each of the toxic emotions of life, we want to counteract their harmful effects with the proper remedy. In terms of responding to fear in light of moving in the opposite spirit, we find that love is the perfect antidote. The love of God or agape is the highest form of love. It differs from eros or passion or sensuous love of the flesh and is even beyond philos­ or love of friends or family. The root of philos is found in the designation of Philadelphia, which is known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” There is a love which is “more intimate than friend, or kin or wife;” this close-knit love is known as agape. This particular term which is used exclusively in the New Testament, reveals the uniqueness of God’s love which is so clearly defined in I Corinthians 13, a passage of scripture that is often excerpted or quoted in its entirety at weddings. This section from verses 4-7 of the Amplified Bible illustrate the distinctive power of the love of God:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not  boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does  not act             unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self- seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

The first part of verse 8 reiterates that “Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”

With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in this poem by John Oxenham:

            Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

            And while it stands with open hands it lives.

            For this is love’s prerogative:

            To give and give and give

The book of I John also reveals the “perfect” connection between fear and love, particularly in 1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this know that we are in Him. [NKJV]

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting in nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end. This concept is further discussed in chapter 4 verse 12 which reminds us:

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

Verses 13-16 go on to explain just how the love of God comes to abide or remain or dwell within us:

 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. Verse 17 elaborates on this reality:
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world

Verse 18 provides the basis for love being the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

Self-imposed Prison

“Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you

 from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

        – Rick Warren

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,

because fear involves torment. But he who fears

has not been made perfect in love.

I John 4:18

This self-imposed prison, not made with bars of steel,

Nor formed with bricks, yet each subtly constructed wall

Restricts the mind, scars the soul and cripples the will

And impounds us to a state of constant free fall.

Held captive by past mistakes that seek to instill

Fear: this deadly acronym binds, confines the heart,

So disguised as “false evidence appearing real”

Keeps us from being all God intends us to be.

But Christ, our sovereign Lord, pardoned each life sentence,

Commuted penalties, declaring not guilty.

With his blood, having blotted out every offense,

Displayed undying love: key to set captives free.

Pure freedom to serve awaits those with ears to hear,

For perfected love destroys all walls built by fear.

Throughout the New Testament believers are exhorted to walk in love, to demonstrate or manifest love, to put on love. Colossians 3:14 in the Amplified Bible puts it this way:

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which  binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

Every born-again believer desires to be fruitful, to be spiritually productive, and the Scriptures offer keys to living a life of fruitfulness. In 2 Peter 1:1-5 we are encouraged to “Add it all up and put on love which is the finishing touch”:

5For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),

6And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),

7And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.

 8For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

9For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, [spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins.    

 10Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall.  11Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Last year this passage was part of my Action Plan for 2010: Greater Growth and Development, and it still has application for this year and every year.

I recall learning about the love of God as a counteractant to fear in a very simple yet profound way. One of the first books that my wife and I used to teach our daughters about our Heavenly Father was My Little Golden Book about God. This was a kind of primer for our daughters who memorized the words and associated them with the illustrations long before they could actually “read.” Some of the most cherished lines were these words which closed out the small book:

“Do not fear. I am here. And I love you, my dear. Close your eyes and sleep tight. For tomorrow will be bright.

All is well, dear child. Good night.”

This simple response encourages all children of God to have no fear, for God is ever present, and He continues to say, “And I love you, my dear.”

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we walk in power of God’s love, we will recognize a notable change, not only  in our own lives individually, but we will also experience fruitfulness and favor upon our land, even in the midst of famine. The following poem expresses the two-fold blessing that God generates through “Perfected Love”:

Perfected Love

Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto His people,

Behold, I send you corn, and wine, and oil and

and ye shall be satisfied therewith, and I will

no longer make you a reproach among the people

Joel 2:19

Jehovah, creator, author and finisher,

Who initiates to nourish perfected love; 

Ever-abiding source and resource, publisher

Of declarations of genuine love to move

The soul of man to return to the place of his first

Love, the Beloved, whose heart overflows to give,

For only this passion can satisfy our thirst,

As you refresh us and teach us how we should live.

You have pledged your love through a sacred covenant.

If we maintain our vows of love, you will sustain

Our souls and feed us so that we shall never want.

You will shower with mercy as the gentle rain

And will bless and multiply the fruit of our land

With “corn, wine and oil” supplied by your gracious right hand.

To close this discussion here are three musical compositions based on three of my favorite Psalms that provide great comfort in times of trouble when we are tempted to shrink back in fear:

Psalm 121

Psalm 46

Psalm 91