In The Midst of the Fray: Psalm 91:15, and Share Your Story

“He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”

Phyllis Nissila

public domain image of blue ribbonTheir Honor

“Honors” aren’t what they used to be. Awards abound. Medals, trophies, and ribbons for achievement are no longer given just those who “exceed expectations.” Minimal “mastery,” it seems, is now acceptable to win the prize and for multiple new reasons.

I read a few years ago, for example, where all members of a pre-school class were given a blue ribbon at their “graduation” for being “the cutest kindergarten class ever.”

For another example, a trophy for mere participation in some event has become a national joke, at least here in the U.S.

My final example has to do with international “honors” now suspect when it is not even newsworthy that some recipients lack either the expertise or the achievement—or perhaps both–assumed by the awards; rather, they seem merely members of some favored social or political class.

Her Honor

Even if an award is duly achieved, it soon collects dust as the next prize is eyed.

This calls to mind a short conversation I once had with Bertha Holt, co-founder along with her husband Harry, of Holt International Children’s Services [1]. I worked at the agency for several years.

“Grandma,” as we affectionately called Mrs. Holt, was in for her weekly hair appointment and office work, even then, in her nineties. We were taking care of some business at the front desk and she pointed to the awards display case set in a prominent place in the lobby.

“Look at that one,” she said, pointing to a beautifully formed glass sculpture. She described to me why it was unique of design, not even mentioning that it was a high award from Korea for her work there. She commented briefly on one or two others.

“But these things just end up collecting dust,” she concluded, with her characteristic little chuckle and a dismissive wave of her hand.

Of course, I knew what Grandma prized most: every single small or great, one-on-one or to-an-international-audience opportunity to evangelize. It seemed Grandma waited only for the chance to ask you (usually within five minutes of greeting), whether you were some dignitary from overseas or new, entry-level hire, “And do you know the Lord, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior?” That, I believe, was her “prize,” so to speak. Her raison d’etre, that for which she lived and worked among us. And Grandma was eager to share it.

But back to that which merely collects dust and rust with little import. Some think, why go for the gold? Might as well shed the stress and shoot for “satisfactory” or join some “in group” and play the one-upmanship game.

And the shine fades from progress…

Our Honor

God’s honor,” on the other hand, is not a dime-a-dozen blue ribbon or plastic statue or even a merited trophy or shiny, real gold medal awarded to VIPs in just a few fields of human endeavor.

Nor is His honor bestowed for trivial reasons, given on the basis of some once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, or awarded on the basis of some politically correct criteria.

God’s honor as noted in verse 15 comes to us at the highest cost: the literal shed blood of Jesus Christ, “through Whom all things [2] were created (formed, shaped, changed, transformed)” [3], including the highest “spiritual award” of all: salvation.

The honor of salvation, bestowed by faith in that price paid by Christ, is also multi-beneficial, as in “deliverance, prosperity, security, and victory” [4] and the benefits are available 24/7.

But isn’t this, some might say, like the awards described above that are not really earned, as in Somebody else did all the work for us?

Yes!

(Cue the sound of the hallelujah chorus and the praise and thanksgiving of saints from every era, from palaces and prisons, from the “best” and the “least,” from the talented and gifted and those not so much.)

But here is the grand difference, the truth that keeps believers close to Christ, humbled, grateful, and anticipating with great joy seeing Him face-to-face: this honor is bestowed via un-earned favor (grace) from a “Judge” who is not only just but also, loving.

Words from an old chorus put it well:

He paid a debt He did not owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed someone to wash my sins away.
And, now, I sing a brand new song,
Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay. [5]

Grandma Holt, though duly honored among the world’s elite, knew this.

And we, too, who call on God continually for help, deliverance, healing, and transformation, and whom God honors by answering our prayers, know it, too.

Invitation

Share a story of your own of a time you turned to God for help and He honored you and brought you out of your trouble.

***

[1] http://holtinternational.org/about/historical.shtml

[2] http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/pas.html.

[3] ktizo (Strong’s concordance, # 2936) as used in Colossians 1:16.

[4] http://biblehub.com/hebrew/3444.htm

[5] http://www.touchjesussongs.net/lyricspage15.htm

Image from the public domain.

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This entry was posted in Devotionals, encouragement in hard times, end times spiritual survival, most recent posts, Psalm 91 devotionals, spiritual survival, spiritual transformation, survival tools and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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