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Blessed is the One Who Makes God Their Refuge
What? I picture myself with death nipping at my heals, my knees torn and bleeding from stumbling, clothes ripped and ragged from racing through briars. I see myself squeaking through the opening into God’s refuge, bent at my waist, gasping for breath. All I feel is relief and suspicion that this God refuge will actually work.
But it does.
God, as my refuge, causes my roots to grow deep and wide so that I stay fruitful in times of distress.
I stay fruitful and, even, dare I admit, happy. Blessed is also translated as happy. “Happy is the one who makes God their refuge.” Happy: don’t we all need a triple shot of happy in our days?
The Sermon on the Mount
Making God my refuge brings to life the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted, blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled, blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:1-10 ESV
The Great Eight
- When my spirit is helpless, I discover God’s kingdom.
- I know comfort in my distress.
- Humility provides abundance.
- My hunger for righteousness is forever satisfied.
- I extend mercy when I receive mercy.
- Purity of heart brings clarity and I see God.
- There’s only room for peace in God’s refuge.
- The persecution that drives me to His refuge brings me to my inheritance.
I discover the kingdom of God when I make Him my refuge. I receive comfort in my distress and know my inheritance. When God is my refuge I am filled and receive mercy. Making God my refuge strips away my ability to affect change in my life and my heart is purified. When I step back and let God fight for me, I promote peace and am called the Daughter of God. Persecution drives me to make God my refuge and there I know his kingdom.
Blessed is the man or woman who runs straight into God’s refuge. Broken. Bleeding. Busted. If you want to be happy despite your circumstances, make God your refuge. You experience blessing. You will know peace in the midst of your fire.
On my Facebook profile, I reminded us that not only is God present to help us, but he is also well proved. He has proven himself over and over and over again that he loves and cares for us and never ever leaves or forsakes us. He is trustworthy. He deserves our devotion.
And as we devote our lives to him within the refuge he provides, we become blessed. Happy.
I could use a blessing, could you?
Let’s determine, together, to run straight into his wide, welcoming arms. We find our refuge, our peace, and our blessings in the sweet place of relationship with him.
Here’s a great resource on happiness and the dare we’re all dared to take: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
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You know that battle you’re in? The one where you need a rebel heart? Sometimes it gets ugly and you take a cheap shot and find that you’re bleeding through your tears. You search for the enemy and his location. Only you don’t see an enemy, you see yourself.
You see yourself wielding a weapon that kills your spirit and cuts out the good. Sometimes the good shines too much of a spotlight on your bad. The enemy of your soul tries to tell you it’s better to be bad than a mix of good and bad and you believe it. So you take your weapon and wound yourself. But not only have you cut the good out, but you’ve re-wounded the bad and your heart continues to bleed out. And your mind tells you that you’re worth nothing to nobody.
These types of heart wounds take place when we forget that we live a both/and kind of life.
We are the murderer and the acquitted.
The Guilty and Innocent
Without the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the unfathomable grace God give us, we are nothing more than destructive, sinful people. Our crimes, so to speak, are not limited to only hurting ourselves, but they spread out to those around us. There are times when the wounds in our hearts hurt us so bad that we find psuedo-relief when we hurt someone else.
The Refuge Series in my attempt to remind us that there is a place for our murderous and wounded hearts. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” 1 John 3:15
We don’t have to actually commit murder to murder. Hate in our hearts is murder. Without Christ our hearts stay wounded and broken. We are a mess. A mess that seems impossible to fix.
In the Old Testament, God created cities of refuge for all people who committed a crime of passion. This humanitarian option took vengeance out of the hands of the people. The elders determined innocent or guilty.
The catch? The person that found refuge couldn’t leave the city until the high priest died. In Old Testament times the High Priest bore the sins of the people (can you imagine that burden? It would make me cranky, crabby, and law-making). so this refuge actually became like house arrest. If the person left the city of refuge, he was fair game for his enemies, but safe if he stayed.
So how does this apply to us? I’m not a murderer you might say. And I would agree. But how many times have you used your words to cut off the life God wants to grow in you? How many times have I done it? Too many to count. How many times have we followed God until we grew uncomfortable, and then quit the growing process? This is like cutting off or murdering the life God grows in you.
Our City of Refuge
God is our city of refuge. But he’s also our High Priest. And Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins. So it’s a both/and kind of life.
We run our guilty hide straight into God’s refuge. He protects us from our enemies, which is often ourselves. And Jesus has already fulfilled the payment for forgiveness of sins. We confess. We get a fresh slate. Wiped clean. Brand new. When we leave the city of refuge, our enemies can’t touch us. Because we’re covered in Jesus’ righteousness.
This is the kind of refuge I need. I need it when my life blows shrapnel into my heart. I need it when the words I speak to myself destroy the good thing God is doing in me. Do you?
Do you need to run to God’s refuge today? Not because of some outward force of enemy, but because you keep sabotaging your Christian walk? Do you feel like you’ve messed up too much and God must be sick of you?
He’s not. He’s waiting with arms open wide to offer you forgiveness and grace and the strength to grow.
Run to Him. He is your city of refuge.
Escape. Retreat. Refuge. We all long for some type of relief at some point in our lives. For some it’s tragedy, health scares, or just the mundane everyday-ness of life. And sometimes in our day, we can be on top of the world to the depths of the pit all in one day. Our emotions run rampant and we feel ecstatic one moment and ticked off the next. Why is that?
Emotions are fickle, unreliable little tyrants who have far too much control in our life. Circumstances are those things that drive the emotions so if emotions are tyrants and circumstances are conductors, then what do we do with what we feel? How can we process our emotions and feelings and frustrations in the midst of controlling circumstances?
By living in refuge.
Refuge is defined as a shelter, protection, aid or relief. God is all of that. He shelters us. We find comfort in his love. He protects us by defending us. He offers us aid if we will accept it. And sometimes, he just plain offers us relief for a brief moment when we meet him in the secret place.
Living this life is a both/and kind of experience. We live in this world where we experience all the good and bad the world has to offer. We also live in God’s kingdom where we find peace and comfort that makes no sense when we consider our circumstances.
But back to those emotions. Process your emotions in the refuge that God provides. Show him your hurts. Scream your pain. Unfold your hands from your shame. He welcomes you with open arms. He pulls on threads that don’t belong and replaces them with vibrancy that makes your life nuanced with depth and color.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9-10.
Seek him. Seek him for relief from life. It’s easy to self-medicate ourselves with food, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, drugs, tv, pleasure, or hobbies. True relief comes when we bring ourselves, our messed up selves, to God and say: “Here I am. I can’t keep going. Help.” And he does.
He gently wipes your tears. You’re kindly pointed in the right direction, and he walks with you. He won’t forsake you if you seek him.
Seek him and find him.