Faith, Health

Who is the Health of your Countenance?

Why art thou cast down, O My soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalms 43:5

Are you cast down and distressed? Do you have someone to lift you up from your oppression? Does your current situation have you tied up in knots? We are living in uneasy times since Covid arrived around the world. The way we function has changed due to Covid and robberies are now a common thing within our boundaries. It is unnerving to see vandalism, stealing, and destruction of property. We are witnessing this and hearing about it on a weekly basis. Carjackings is on the rise across the Nation. It’s not just the car they are after, but any items one could sell to make quick cash. Cars were broken into in our own neighborhood including ours. The one thing they took was the multifunctional Cup organizer in the middle of the car. Why? Because it held coins. A couple of weeks ago there was a string of vandalisms on one corner strip where they broke in and took the cash registers of businesses down the row. We are living in uncertain times, and this has brought out the negative side of humanity.

If you find people to be more withdrawn it is because of fear.  Fear causes us to think irrationally. Long term exposer to fear can cause one to be anxious most of the time. We are anxious about what will happen next. If you are in this state, turn off the nightly news cast on your devices. If you feel on edge, refocus your mind on God’s word of peace. Remember that there is another spirit at work in the world that does not belong to God. Hear the words of Jesus;

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Oppression, affliction, and distress are a part of this world’s tribulations. Humanity outward appearance reveals its nature of inward struggles of the heart. Therefore, we should question who the health of our countenance is. We question it because it will reveal where our hope is. King David was a man who lived in distress. He was hemmed in from all sides including from those to whom he thought he could trust. In Psalms 42 and 43, three times David asked himself why his soul was cast down, that He should hope in God, and praise Him, “who is the health of his countenance, and his God.” Our God being the health of our countenance. Can you imagine that? Look at the beginning of Psalms 43. David asked God to judge him and plead his case against an ungodly nation. He then asked God to deliver him from deceitful and unjust men. This should be our prayer as well. Do you think that David knew who his enemy was? Yes, my friend, David knew full well who the enemy was. He questions himself why he was mourning because of the oppression of the enemy [see verse 2 of Psalms 43].

We can learn to wait upon the Lord God who is our hope and our confidence. Just look at Psalms 62 and read it and know where your confidence comes from. We are not to trust in oppression. . .

Trust not in oppression and become not vain in robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God.

Psalms 62:10-11

David is having a conversation with God, and he heard God tell him twice that “power belongs to God.” Wow! Power belongs to God and not man. Think twice about those who are ruling countries today and pray for them. God will judge every man’s work. Not only that, but in Psalms 62, David also exclaims that God is his strength, defense, and refuge. We are to always trust in God and pour our heart out to him. Have you poured out your heart to God? This is refocusing your mind towards God and crying out to him how you feel. Let us be honest about our own fears and anxiety and talk to God about them. Let us sing praises unto Him to whom all power belongs. Let God be always the health of your countenance because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world [see 1 John 4:4]. If you are God’s children, He will hear you loud and clear. There is no doubt when you place your trust in God. David had full trust in God. David did not trust in his bow or his sword to save him. He trusted in God to keep him alive. Can we trust God to keep us alive during these times of uncertainty?

I pray that your answer is yes, amen. Like David we are not to trust in any form of oppression but to take it to God in prayer. Ask God to bring the truth and light upon whatever circumstances you may find yourself in. Remember what Peter said in chapter 5: 7-9. To cast all our cares upon him. To be sober and vigilant because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Resist steadfast in the faith. Resist fear, anxiety, and oppression in the name of Jesus. Allow his peace to rule your heart and have a clear mind. You are under His care for He cares for you. Always hope in God for He is the health of our countenance, and our God.

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Burden

Take my yoke upon you. . .

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29

Jesus said that His yoke is easy and not burdensome [see verse 30 in Matthew chapter 11]. In verse 28 of the same chapter, Jesus speaks to those who are heavy laden. Those that carry a heavy burden, or those that are oppressed. Jesus invites us to take His yoke, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Have you ever been burdened? Maybe you carry the weight of taking care of a family member, or you are under a harsh and authoritarian treatment. Whatever the case may be, it is time to lay down the weight you carry upon Jesus.

What is a yoke? A yoke is an ox bow, a pole or bands that is tied over your shoulders like what you see on oxen that plows the field. Sometimes the task master of the oxen can be harsh with whips flying to make the oxen move across the field. Thus, the wooden pole becomes the weight of the burden you carry. When David was hiding in the cave, he cried out in Psalms 142:4, “no man cared for my soul.” Unfair treatment from others can mean you have no one to turn to for help. David was praying and asking God to bring his soul out of prison. Are you feeling distressed or stuck in a cave like David?

A careful look at our burdens needs to be addressed, but whatever the burden, know that Christ can lift that burden when we begin to learn who He is and know him as a friend rather than just know about him. I googled “what does Christian mean today,” and the site came up with “A Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ.” If our behavior and heart is to reflect Jesus Christ, then we must know what His will is. It is more than just a confession; it is a way of living.

A person may carry a burden that may be given by an individual who is oppressing them to work for them as if that person was a personal slave. I personally went through this situation in my family where I had an extreme number of duties to perform at home. When I got a full-time job at the age of 16, I had to give up my wages to my parents. It became embarrassing when I did not have decent clothing to wear to work such as a skirt, dress, shoes, and even panty hose. A friend at work provided me with shoes, dress, and panty hose. It was not the fact that we were poor, but that greed had entered in the pursuit of wealth. When I prayed and talked to God about it, He told me that He would help me through it. I did not know how it all happened, but a social worker showed up at our home and spoke to my parents about the fact that I needed a certain dollar amount of wages for personal items such as shoes and clothing. My burden was lifted, and I could retain certain percentage of my wages.

I only share this as an example of how a yoke can be placed upon an individual. This is something that the scribes and pharisees did by putting heavy burdens and laying them on men’s shoulders in making demands into an obligation [see Matthew 23:4]. Whatever the demand may be or the obligation it becomes burdensome because it becomes the focal point that tears at the fabric of humanity. It brings strife into a situation rather than repairing the breach. Isaiah the prophet spoke about putting away the yoke that pointed the finger at those who are impoverished.

If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity, and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity.

Isaiah 58:9-10

Let us put away the pointing finger and not hide from the mirror of our own flesh/reflection. When we begin to see who Christ is, it is a pivotal point in knowing His genuine love for us on a personal level. This love is felt in our broken spirit. He answers our prayer and healing comes to all who were oppressed. Let us learn the truth and seek the Lord and find how to remove the yoke through prayer and find rest for our weary soul. Let each person voluntary help those who are in need and see the blessings of His love unfold daily in our lives.

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