What rights do Christians have?

When my children were still living at home they were free to help themselves to whatever was available. If they were hungry they could open the fridge and find food to eat, or cook themselves something if that was their choice. Their friends that visited didn’t have the same freedom, just as my children didn’t have at their friend’s homes.  I’ve often heard sermons that say that’s the same with God’s children. We should have access to everything that God has because we are His children. We aren’t visitors who have to ask permission to get something. So I started questioning what we are entitled to as children of God.

The first thing that comes to mind is security. As children of God we do not have to fear. In fact, we aren’t allowed to fear. We do not have to fear people, we do not have to fear being attacked or hurt because God said so.

2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Romans 8:15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Psalm 23:4 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.

Deuteronomy 20:3, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

We have the absolute right to walk in freedom. God said so in His Word.

We also have the right not to worry. Worry and fear aren’t the same thing even though worry is most often motivated by fear.

Matthew 6:31 – 34, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We also have authority. Just like our own children have authority in our houses, we have authority in our Father’s house.

Romans 8:14 – 17,  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

We have authority over the devil and his demons, but we do not just have this authority, we have the responsibility to use this authority. It doesn’t help one bit that we have authority but never use it. It’s like having a car and keeping it parked in the garage for one day. When one day comes the battery will be flat and we will have forgotten how to drive.

In verse 15 of Romans 8, it says we can call out “Abba, Father.” We therefore have the right to intimacy with God.  Abba is the term for father in the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke while on earth. In English it would be Daddy, and is not only used as a child-like term but an intimate name for a father. We can approach our Father the way a child approaches a loving dad here on earth; with confidence that we won’t be rejected.

We have the right to healing.

Isaiah 53:5, By His stripes we are healed.

I realize that not everybody is healed when they pray for healing and I really can’t explain it, but I do believe we have the right to be healed.

The last right I am going to touch on in the time I have available is peace. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and is also mentioned many time is the Bible.

Psalm 29:11, The Lord will bless His people with peace.

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.

This verse also touches on anxiety and fear. Our greatest enemy is fear. The devil wants us to live in fear so that we don’t claim the rights God has given us. Let us start to exercise these rights and become confident children of the living God.

You anoint my head with oil

I woke up at 3am and my eye was scratchy and irritated. I tried rubbing my eyes, which only made it worse. I got up, put my glasses on and tried to see in the mirror if there was something in my eye, but to no avail. I didn’t want to wake my husband up because he has to wake up at 5 to open the shop. Do you know how hard it is trying not to move your eyes? I decided to recite Psalm 23 (whispering under the covers so as not to disturb my husband). I eventually drifted off to sleep and my eye is feeling better.

Psalm 23 is very interesting and I don’t know at what stage of his life David wrote this psalm. I can only guess that he wasn’t very young anymore. He seems to have gone through quite a bit of trouble to have come to the conclusions he did. Firstly he says, The Lord is my shepherd. He is very sure of this and leaves no doubt.

I shall not want

God will provide and undertake. Whatever the problem is, whether it is a spiritual or material need, God is in control of it.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

This is interesting. He says God makes him lie down. I think if someone makes me do something them it’s as if I’m being forced to do it. Why would God make him take a rest? Because he needed to rest. Just like all of us. I don’t know about you, but for me resting is a bit of an issue. There’s always so much to do. Resting and relaxing are things that always feel like a luxury and I have often felt guilty about not working, even when I’m tired. I have been quite ill a few times in my life and been forced to rest. It really isn’t that bad, but once I recovered I very quickly got back into my routine of being hurried again. I believe we have to rest and we have to take time for it because running on empty and becoming burned out is no good for your health. You are also not going to mean anything to anyone in an exhausted state. Our bodies weren’t built for non-stop work. In the 10 Commandments we are commanded to rest on the seventh day. Even God rested. Jesus often took a rest when the crowds were threatening to overwhelm Him.

He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

More resting and restoring. I don’t think I could appreciate the still waters and be restored in my soul if I was in a state of exhaustion. It’s hard to be objective when you’re tired. The still waters put a picture of tranquillity in my mind. It makes me think of a happy place. A place where I can hear the birds singing and feel the coolness of the water. And restoring my soul sounds so enticing. It sounds like something I really want to happen. Like being renewed from the inside out. What an amazing experience. And why does God do it? For his name’s sake. Not for me! He needs my soul to be restored so that I can serve Him better and be a better representative. Wow!

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.

David went through that valley many times. His life was in danger often. He knew that valley intimately. But he knew that he did not have to fear being there. He knew for a fact that even when his life was in danger God was there with him. How often don’t people ask the question, “Where was God?” when bad things happen. David answers that question without hesitation. For You are with me.  Most of us haven’t had to go through a fraction of the hardships David had to endure. He could well have shouted at God and asked how He could let His anointed suffer like he did, but he didn’t. He accepted what he went though and wasn’t rebellious about it. David had quite a few faults, but rebelliousness wasn’t one of them. Then he says that God’s rod and staff comfort him. The shepherd uses these tools to goad guide the sheep. I think he’s referring to God’s laws here. We don’t normally see laws as comforting, but they give us boundaries and boundaries are comforting.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

This is what God does for us. He provides magnificently in spite of the fact that our enemies are watching, and not only watching, but right there. God doesn’t work the way we work and He doesn’t think the way we think. In the blackest, darkest of times He can suddenly present us with a feast. He can bless us beyond what we thought possible in a time you didn’t expect it. He does not do things the way we do things. We would never think of preparing a banquet while our enemies are watching us. We would rather wish we could disappear, but God will do something like that. He can show us His love and His power in the most meagre circumstances. I remember being awake one night and not feeling very sure of God’s love or his presence. I asked Him to show me His love and he did. I physically felt waves of His love go through my body. To properly describe the feeling is not possible. It was something I had never experienced before and it gave me so much peace. I knew then for sure that God was real and that He cares for me and would always care for me. He didn’t mind that there wasn’t an audience or that it wasn’t during a church service. He just showed me His love because that was what I needed.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

David had been anointed by Samuel as king. Many years and many trials and tribulations passed by before David became king. In the time before he became king, he never used the fact that he had been anointed to gain himself favour. He never used it against Saul. He always respected Saul as being God’s anointed, not even when Saul was being totally wicked. David had two perfect opportunities to kill Saul while he was being hunted down, but he decided to respect him instead. Can we say the same of ourselves when we get irritated or upset at people who treat us unfairly? David’s cup ran over with God’s love. He knew that God would be there for him. David didn’t always do everything right, but he always realized and recognized his own sins and repented. Often weeping bitterly before the Lord. Are we willing to repent before God or do we try to justify our actions? God knows what we are going to do before we do it, why are we so hard headed and hard hearted? It takes so little to be honest with God. We should also be able to live with our cups continually running over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

If I was David I might not have thought that goodness and mercy were following me. He went through tough times. Saul threw spears at him and pursued him his army for a long time. He had to live in the open and hide in caves. He pretended to be allied with the Philistines which was not a very safe place to be. The Amalekites invaded Ziklag, took all the women, including his two wives, and children captive. His friends were murdered, and his own son, Absalom wanted to overthrow him and take the throne for himself. Not exactly goodness and mercy in the traditional sense of the word. But David knew that God’s ways aren’t our ways and God’s thoughts aren’t our thoughts.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

David was assured of his salvation. He knew that he would go to God when he died.

Hebrews 11:32-34  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 

We are inspired to have the kind of faith that David had. To know that in spite of hard times, God is always there and that no matter what He will never ever abandon us.


He shall direct your paths

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Especially about crisis prayer. That kind of prayer when someone is badly injured and all of a sudden people who never pray start praying. Nothing wrong with that. Prayer can never be bad. So everyone prays and the injured person gets better and everyone says hallelujah and everyone stops praying because the crisis is over. Not? Really? Of course they stop because, after all, that’s what prayer is for isn’t it? For God to listen to us when we need something and then give it to us. At least that is what a lot of people seem to think. Why would we speak to God when everything is going well? What would we say?

We find the answer in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

In the Amplified version it says:

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge and recognize Him,

And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

If we trust in the Lord with ‘all your heart’, it means that every part of our lives must depend on God. Not just the parts that are convenient to us, or the parts that we choose. Every little part. The impatient part, the addicted part, the lazy part etc. We can’t decide from day to day what we are going to trust God with. “lean not on your own understanding…” Means can’t say, or tell ourselves, that we are trusting God, but we are still taking certain matters into our own hands by manipulating people and situations. Praying also doesn’t mean that we tell God what He must do and then sit back and wait for Him to do it. What if He doesn’t do it? Then we say prayer doesn’t work? The very first step is to give every little part of our lives, even the parts we aren’t so proud of, to God. Revelation 22:17 is an invitation to all, “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Whosoever means all of us. Not just the perfect and holy ones.

The next line, “In all your ways acknowledge Him,” says to us that we have to sit down and tell God what we are busy with. We have to let Him know what is going on in our lives. The fact that He already knows each little detail of our lives only means that He already has the perfect solution to all our troubles. He loves us so much that He desires a relationship with us. As we all know, relationships need words. So we have to use our words and tell our loving Father what is going on in our lives. Even the parts that embarrass us. No-one is so bad that God is going to reject a relationship with him. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke we find the story of the woman who had an ‘issue of blood’ which made her unclean. Despite this she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was made whole. The laws of that time meant that while she was menstruating she was not allowed to touch anyone. Because this problem had been going on for a very long time she became desperate and broke the law in order to be healed. Sometimes we have to break self imposed ‘laws’ in order to become whole. We have to change our way of thinking and even our way of seeing ourselves. We are not going to be rejected by God just because people might reject us. John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I wish I could put a whole row of smiley faces in here. This is the crux of it all. We accept Jesus as our Saviour, invite Him into our hearts, and because God then sees us through the holiness of Jesus – through the blood He spilled for us.

“And He shall direct your paths.” We come to God, redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus, and tell Him all about our lives. We don’t go around making our own plans to overcome our problems (we really trust Him) and He will lead us to do the right things. Just picture this: we are in trouble, irrespective of whether it is of our own making or not, and we put it before God, we can be secure in the knowledge that He will handle that trouble. He will give us the solution to the problem, and we will have peace of mind. The peace that passes all understanding (Philippians4:7) will belong to us. He will prepare a table in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5) and goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6). It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but we will have the assurance that whatever happens, when we bring it before God, we can have the peace of mind that He will handle it.