TV Transcripts

“Our Refuge, Right Now” Part One
Broadcast #1589
March 19, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1589 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I felt like this would be a good time to revisit a wonderful Psalm of David, and it’s Psalm 46. Praise God! The Lord has brought this to my mind the other day in a particular context, but I felt like He wanted to shed some light on it, and to encourage us in an hour where we…anybody here need encouragement today? Yeah, well, Praise God, so do I. Praise the Lord!

I’m just gonna go ahead and read it first of all. “God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (NIV).

Praise God! What an awesome passage of scripture. And how appropriate is it, all the time, but especially in this hour, because we certainly are in a world full of fear and uncertainty, and the devil wants to take advantage of that. He’s the one that the Lord is allowing to be behind all of the things that are…the upheavals in the world.

You know, this is an hour when Satan has been loosed, and we see the effects of it everywhere. And Satan would love to use all of that to hinder us, to bring us down, to limit us. And I believe God wants to teach us, in it, through it, to make us what He wants us to be. And I just praise the Lord!

And you know, the occasion, if you will, the condition that would give rise to a psalm like this is a single word that appears in verse 1, isn’t it? It’s ‘trouble.’ And we know that the Lord has not promised us a world without trouble. In fact, it’s the very opposite. He’s promised us that, “In this world you will have trouble.”

And, trouble is a lot of things. We tend to think of trouble as some exterior circumstance that causes us…you know, that interrupts our convenience, our comfort. But trouble can be a lot of things, can’t it? It’s anything that disturbs our inward peace, our rest in God, anything at all. It could come from within, it could come from without.

There are people who have no outward reason, if you will, to be troubled. They’ve got plenty of money in the bank, good jobs, good positions, and yet, they’re troubled. And they’re troubled because of what’s going on in here. So, trouble comes in all kinds of forms, doesn’t it?

And, the Lord wants us to realize, to reckon, that if there’s…whatever trouble there is, as was said earlier this morning during the song service, He’s allowed it, hasn’t He? We have no reason to complain to God, but God has a way. He is building a family.

You know, I’ve said this before from the pulpit. I said it to Sue, again. God has allowed the human race to come to know good and evil, but His plan is to build a family who knows good and evil and chooses good. And God is going to…God is rescuing a people, but in the midst of it, He is calling us in a world of trouble.

And folks, we’re living here, that’s what we can expect. We must through much trouble, difficulty, tribulation…different words, “…enter into the kingdom of God.” (KJV). And so, we need to reckon on that.

And, any kind of theology, any kind of expectation, any kind of idea that the Christian life is meant to dispense with trouble and just plow through it, steer through it, and have this glorious set of circumstances where everything is fine, everything is to our liking, that’s a fantasy. It simply is not that way.

And so, the preface, or the context for this particular Psalm is the reality that every one of us knows about, that this is a world of trouble and we have no reason to expect anything else. The question is, how does that fit in? What do we do about it? How do we handle that? And so, the rest of that is all about how we see it…so much of how we view…so much is how we view things is the problem…so much of the problem is how we view things. Let me get my words in order here. So much of what I say and the trouble I’m having to say is that I have to use words.

( laughter ).

But anyway, our problem is how we see it. And, if you and I are living in an earthly realm, we are reacting to what we think, what we see, what we can touch and all the earthly reality of what’s going on around us, it’s gonna be a rough ride! Folks, if that’s what we’re going by, if that’s what controls our every day…where we’re at spiritually, mentally, emotionally, if that’s what’s in control, boy, the devil has got a…he has a field day! He’s got access to us that he has no right to.

You know, what does…we’ve said this before. What does Satan have to work with? He’s already been defeated at the cross.

( congregational response ).

Yeah! Lies! That’s all he can do is tell us things that, in the light of God’s Word, are simply not true! Our problem is, we listen. We believe what he says. You know, it’s like, well, yeah, in a general, vague sense that’s not true. But, for me it is and I’m here and this is where I’m at, and where’s God, in all of this?

And yet, the reality is what David is expressing here. And he’s expressing this, not just as theory he learned in class, but this is learned in the school of hard knocks. He had a graduate, PhD, whatever you want to call it, a graduate degree in the school of hard knocks getting ready for the throne, didn’t he?

Do you suppose God might be getting us ready for things? Should we react to that and think it shouldn’t be this way? Something’s wrong, where is God? You know, I was sitting here Wednesday night, in the service, and not too unusually, feeling fatigued, and just not feeling great.

And of course, there are certain thought patterns you tend to fall into that the devil begins to drop in there, and there are habits of thinking. And some of those were trying to take root and trying to intrude on the service. And I suddenly had a thought. My mind went to verse 1 of this passage, and I suddenly realized that God is here, right now. It’s not like He’s off somewhere and I’m in trouble and I’ve got to get Him to come to me. He’s here!

( congregational amens ).

And everything He said is true, regardless of where I’m at and how I feel about it. And I have every reason to simply step into what He has given to me, because He’s not somewhere else. And all these things that seem to—seem, in the moment, in my flesh, to be true, they are not true in the light of what God has promised and what God has said is mine! I have every reason to step into that.

And you know, the Lord helped me, in just almost a moment, just to say, wait a minute, devil. The Lord is here. I died with Him. Everything that He says about me is true and I am…in this moment, I am resting in that.

That’s the problem. You know, we are creatures who were placed within the realm of something called ‘time.’ And time is a succession of events, if you will. It moves. Tempus fugit. We had the expression. Time flies. And, I remember somebody, jokingly, some scientist talking about…saying that time was invented to keep everything from happening at once.

Well, we think of time as, there’s the past, there’s a present, and a future, but what do we have to work with? The present! That’s all we’ve got! The past, according to Paul, we get to leave in the Lord’s hands. We don’t have to carry it with us. The future is not here. We may have expectations, we may have desires, and there’s nothing wrong with bringing them before the Lord, but that’s not here yet. I don’t have to deal with stuff that isn’t here.

And our problem is we are so distracted by the past and by our worry about the future, that we’re sitting here in a state of defeat, a lot of the time, right now! And I guess, if I put a silly title on this…maybe it’s not so silly, but, “Right Now” is the kind of understanding of God that you and I need. We need a ‘right now’ God! But we just need ‘right now!’

And that was the thought that came to me Wednesday night, as I was sitting there. Wait a minute! You believe all this stuff, but look at you right now. What’s going on? Well, that’s all I had to work with is ‘right now.’ So, okay Lord, is this true for me right now, or is it just theory?

That’s a lot to think about, isn’t it? How much of what we say we believe is really just theory? I mean, we may genuinely believe it. But do we walk, in a practical sense, with a lot of defeat? Ah…now, again, it’s gotten quiet, hasn’t it?

We need the Lord to help us with this simple thought. God wants to give us…wants to communicate with us that He’s here! There’s a sense, in this verse, of a present-tense God.

Well, first of all, we need to see everything that happens, everything we experience in this world, with God at the center. I mean, the first word of this is not, oh my God, all this stuff is happening! What are we gonna do about it? It’s God! There is a rock of hope and certainty placed at the beginning of David’s words! Basically, it’s I don’t care what happens, God needs to be considered to be the center of the equation!

You cannot approach life with trouble, plus me, equals defeat. That’s a bad equation! But God, plus trouble, equals victory! Equals a way out, a way through! And so, the beginning of all of this thought has got to be centered in God. If we cannot see everything in this world in the light of a God, who from all eternity has purposed that which He has purposed, and is able to do what He said He’s gonna do, if we can’t see the world that way, we are gonna have a tough time getting through it.

Oh, my God, I’d hate to be in the shoes of the people of this world right now. All the fear that’s going through…people’s, “…hearts failing them for fear….” Jesus said that would happen. Because their hope is here, and they’re desperately trying to come up with solutions and answers.

And the devil is playing…we’ve said these things many times, but the devil is playing everybody’s idea against everybody else’s until there’s just nothing but conflict, and hate, and anger. You’re not doing it my way so you’re the devil, you’re a Nazi, you’re something.

And, God help us! God help us to be able to step back and say, wait a minute. This doesn’t begin with the world and its terrible situation. It begins with God! My whole viewpoint of everything begins with the reality that there is a God who reigns! My life is not in my hands! I have given it into His hands!

Have you? That’s an awfully safe place, isn’t it? Praise God! To be absolutely in His hands. To know that the One in whom we put our trust has everything under His control. And yeah, He allows trouble—He allows trouble, doesn’t He?

But the second word of that Psalm is the one that got my attention, the other night. It’s not just God, but it’s ‘God is!’ You notice how much of the scripture is present tense? Do you think, maybe, we might need more of a reckoning on the present tense reality of what God has done and is doing?

( congregational response ).

It’s…yeah! I Am! It’s wonderful to think about, oh, the wonderful things God has done. The wonderful things He’s promised and somehow, some way, He’s gonna get me there. When God wants us to reckon on the reality of everything He is and has done, right this moment, right now, here, sitting this morning, but right when we step out and we go back into our lives and into the circumstances and into the things the devil has tended to feed and cultivate in our minds and our thinking.

Oh, do we need a present tense…we need a ‘right now’ God! Help us, Lord, to recognize the present tense! God is! I thank God that He will be! I thank God that He has been! But He is! This is what we need to take from all of this.

It’s so simple, but it’s profound! It’s not something we…I mean, it’s something we acknowledge, but something we don’t live out. I don’t. I’ve got a lot of needs in this area. Folks, if there is any unrest, any fear, any anxiety in your heart and your spirit, do you see the need? Is there any reason for that?

And I don’t say that in a condemning way. That’s just the reality of what we deal with. That’s what trouble’s about. It doesn’t matter whether the issue is something out here, or something that’s just happening in here that nobody knows about. It’s trouble and it brings unrest. It brings fear. It brings uncertainty. It brings so many other…unbelief, it brings so many things.

Do you think that’s what God…that Christ died so that we could live like that? Or does God long for us to enter into the reality that God Is? And that we have a resource…we don’t have to listen. We don’t have to just simply submit to every little fear that comes along. We don’t have to live in that!

But you know, learning how to exercise that, learning how to cultivate that consciousness, I get that it’s a process. But God help us to realize that. May He just so burn this into our minds so that it comes back to us when we need it! And the more we step into it, the more God’s gonna give us the peace that He has purchased for us, and promised us! But ‘God is.’

And there are two particular things that He mentions here. “God is our refuge and strength.” Now, refuge…you think of that as in connection with danger. You think of a refuge as a place that is safe. It’s a place that we can go and hide and be safe.

A lot of us were…came of age. Some of you are older than I am and I guess you came of age a little earlier but, basically, when I came of age, the big issue in the news all the time was the threat of nuclear war. And, here we had…it was out of Russia, but it was the Soviet Union then, led by Russia.

And there was this constant talk, back and forth, and fear. And so what were people being encouraged to do about that? Yeah, get under your desk, if you were in school, but I mean, seriously? You know, suppose a warning came over, the news. There’s a missile coming. What were we supposed to have in place in order to deal with that?

( congregational response ).

A fallout shelter. Now, some of us didn’t have the money and so we had ‘shell-out falter.’

( laughter ).

Never mind. I’m sorry about that.

( laughter ).

But seriously, the idea was you had some sort of a bunker, some sort of a place that had lots of earth between you and the radiation, and you could get there until the radiation settled out of the air and then you could come out. It’d save you. If you weren’t in the direct line of fire of a bomb, you could at least survive the radiation.

Well, you know…I mean, but how many of you remember when it was like that? When that was stuff that people talked about and did? And of course today, in the Midwest, you have storm shelters, don’t you? And there’s good reason for that, because there are tornadoes that come through and the only way to survive, many times, is just to get down in a bunker in the ground and just wait till it comes through and hope it doesn’t blow the house away.

But I’ll tell you, in this context, God is the refuge. And you know, I think we tend to…it’s easy to misunderstand that, because we have such an earth-centered point of view. We think in terms of physical safety. In other words, that nothing really bad should ever happen to us. We should always be protected and we should always escape from trouble.

But is that really how it is? Tell that to our brothers and sisters in the majority of the world today, who are suffering severe persecution. Do you suppose that kind of thing might be in our future? Does that do anything…does that do any violence to what David said? That, “God is our refuge…”? Depends on what we’re being protected from. If you think that God being our refuge means being protected from every earthly, bad circumstance, always got a place where we can go and nothing bad will ever happen, you missed the point.

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