TV Transcripts

“Our Refuge, Right Now” Conclusion
Broadcast #1590
March 26, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1590 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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.

The reality is we are in a spiritual warfare. The devil has all kinds of plans to take you and me down, to hinder us, to do whatever he can to overcome us, to overcome our testimony, and folks, we need a protection…protection…from everything that the devil has planned to do. Don’t you need a refuge from that? I do.

You know, I guess this is a good time to talk about a lady who was famous in the last century, and that was Corrie ten Boom. We’ve mentioned her in a number of contexts before. But here was an ordinary unmarried 50-something lady and her sister who worked as watchmakers with their father who was a master craftsman watchmaker in the Netherlands.

And, if you had gone to her at that time and said, the day will come when you will be world famous. You will travel from nation to nation, speaking to Christian groups, she would have looked at you like you were nuts.

Anyway, you remember the story how the Nazis came in, and they began to systematically round up Jews. And the Lord put it on her heart and the heart of an underground movement to begin to protect them and hide them. Her story has been called, “The Hiding Place.”

And of course, it’s easy to suppose that the hiding place refers to the secret room that they built in their house, where they could hide Jews when they came. And, of course, in one sense, I guess that was. But literally, they had…Jews would be snuck in under all kinds of guises, and there was an alarm system, and if there was any danger, they knew instantly to head to a certain place. There was a particular hole in the wall, and they would step behind that, and it was just invisible to somebody coming and searching. And so, that was the hiding place in a sense.

But you remember what happened. Eventually, they got sold out. Somehow, they got found out. And all of them were arrested. And they immediately found themselves in terrible situations. I don’t remember all of the story, and I’m not going to try to go through all of it, but for weeks, at least, they found themselves in isolation cells.

There’s Corrie, this middle-aged woman, suddenly, she’s in a very uncomfortable cell, and her only physical companions were mice, as I recall, either mice or rats, but I think it was mice. And somehow, the Lord had miraculously allowed them to sneak a copy of the Scriptures in there. So, I guess she had that, and she would pray. She would fellowship with the Lord, but I mean, there she was in prison. Now, did that mean the Lord wasn’t her refuge?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, the Lord was still her refuge. And so, time went along, and they came to a point where they came before the authorities, and she and her sister hadn’t seen each other in a long time. They found out their father had died in the meantime. And in process of time, they were sentenced, along with a group of women who the Nazis didn’t like, and had run afoul of their government after they had invaded the Netherlands. And so, they were sent off to this brutal prison camp.

And, you remember…I guess, those of you who have seen the movie, you saw the character portraying Betsy, the other sister. She commented to her sister, “we are in hell,” and just talking about the condition, just looking around at the brutality with which people…the heartlessness with which people were treated. I mean, it didn’t matter whether the prisoners lived or died. They were just so much garbage. You just see the heart of the devil in all of that. And there they were, thrust into the middle of that circumstance.

And, in the account, it’s very evident that somehow Betsy, the other sister, had had an unusual relationship with the Lord. And somehow, in the midst of that, there was a peace that she had, and an ability to see that, God, You haven’t gone. You haven’t left us. You’re here.

Corrie was a…struggled with that a bit. And I’ve told you more than once, I think, about the time where the barracks in which they had been placed, with too many people in them, women from all over the area, all kinds of backgrounds, sitting in these desperate, hungry, over-worked conditions. People dying every day.

But on top of that, there were fleas in their barracks. And of course, Corrie, being Corrie, thought it was terrible. I mean, you know, it’s bad enough we’re here, but fleas! Seriously! I mean, what’s going on? But Betsy was paying attention to what was going on and said, you know what, thank God for the fleas! Because of the fleas, the guards won’t come in here. And so, we can have all the meetings we want to! We can share the Gospel with people. We can sing. We can pray, and they won’t bother us. Thank God for the fleas.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had that kind of a perspective on life? Praise God! And of course, time went along, and Betsy began to get weaker and weaker, and there came a point where she said…that she felt like the Lord had shown her that they were going to be released by year’s end. This must have been early December, somewhere along in there. I’ll have to go read the story again. Anyway, I don’t remember all the details.

But somehow…and of course, Corrie didn’t know what was gonna happen, and she had…her sister had a vision of a place where they were gonna be able to help people, or people were gonna get help, spiritually, after the war. We’re gonna be released before the end of the year.

Well, what happened was Betsy got sicker and sicker and went into whatever medical facility they had, which was pretty poor, and she died. Remember that? And yet, even in her death, there was a nurse who knew about their faith, and went out and got Corrie and brought her in and said, look. And there was her sister, not looking like death, but with this glorious smiling peaceful face lying there, just supernatural. And that lady, that nurse, came to the Lord as a result of that. But there she was…a testimony.

Now, did the Lord fail her? Was she released? Oh, yeah. Was she, in spite of the conditions in which she had to endure, was the Lord her protection all of that time? Did He bring her through? Did He accomplish things that were eternal? Yeah!

We need to have God’s idea of what a refuge is. The devil had all kinds of plans for these ladies in bringing them in there, but God has His plans, and they were in a place of complete divine protection from anything that wasn’t part of God’s plan.

Folks, that’s…I think we need a conviction along this line, because we have been so spoiled in America. We have no idea what it means to serve the Lord. You remember the scripture we’ve quoted so many times about overcoming, “…by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (NIV). But what’s the last part?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, “…they did not love their lives so much as to shrink back from death.” So, even death itself doesn’t violate what this verse is about. Praise God! You think about what happened.

So…and then, out of the blue, the only case like this that Corrie ever knew anything about, there was a clerk who made a silly error, and marked her for release! And all of a sudden, she’s called to the office and given her papers, and they take her to the gate and open the door, and send her out and close the door behind her.

And she’s like, what happened? She had been so traumatized by the experience, the first time she sat down at a dinner, someplace, she didn’t even know how to use the utensils. It had just been that traumatizing. But the Lord brought her through, and she looked back.

Now, to her, what was the hiding place? Think about that. Was it the place where they kept and preserved the lives of many Jews? Or was it the fact that no matter where they had been, they had been in the Lord’s hiding place? The devil had tried so many things, but he was unable to carry out his purpose and his will, because they were trusting in Him.

And the Lord took that lady, with no particular background, not even a whole lot of faith…she struggled through all of this. But oh, how easy it is to relate to somebody like that who’s been to hell and back, who’s able to go around the world and say, “No matter how deep things get, God is deeper still.”

And God used her. She called herself a tramp for the Lord. God just uses ordinary people, doesn’t He? But what was the secret to this? She was in the hiding place. Are you?

Folks, if we are in God’s hiding place, in one sense, it doesn’t matter what, in any sense, it doesn’t matter happens, because God will take whatever happens and use it in a way that will accomplish His purpose. And I’ll tell you, we will be better for it, and everyone we can influence will be better for it. May God give us His view of what a refuge is.

I mean, would you say that when Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den that the Lord was off somewhere and just didn’t quite…you know, was not quite hands-on with this thing? Or was he in God’s refuge? It didn’t matter whether he was in a lion’s den or up in his room praying. He, absolutely, was in a place of divine protection and safety.

You can go through the whole…all the scriptures. When Stephen was taken out and stoned for his faith, did that mean the refuge had been breached? Or was he right in the center of God’s heart and God’s will, able to give a testimony? Lord, don’t lay this sin to their charge.

And Saul, who was there agreeing with what was happening at the time, no doubt, remembered that later. I know he did. I know Luke, who traveled with Paul for so many years, included that in his account of what had happened. He mentions it, the young man, named Saul, was there, taking care of the coats of those who were stoning Stephen.

You can go through church history, you can go through the Bible, and you can see all kinds of things that God has allowed His people to go through, and brought them through with victory. And in every case, we need to be able to see with God’s eyes and say, that refuge is a place in the Spirit. It’s a relationship with a God who is in charge, who knows what He’s doing. Nothing the devil can ever do can possibly interfere with God’s plans. I am in the only place of safety.

Do you know where the place of safety was when Nebuchadnezzar wanted to throw…wanted to burn the people who wouldn’t bow to his idol?

( congregation inaudible ).

Yeah, the place of safety was in the fire! That was God’s refuge! Lord, I’m trusting in You! If I die, I die! If I live, I live! I’m just gonna…I’m going with this. Fear is not part of the equation here. I know who’s in charge! You know, I can say, with Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Once we have given our lives to Him, there is a refuge that is built around God’s people.

Don’t you see it, many times, in the scriptures of how the devil even had to get permission to test Job and to test Peter? Oh, my God, help us. I just feel my need of this, because there is so much fear that we deal with. There’s not a person here who doesn’t. Every one of us has to wrestle with anxiety, fear, feeling inadequate. You name it. Whatever it is, we see trouble, and we see inability, and worry, and what’s gonna happen, instead of seeing, yeah, there’s gonna be trouble, but God, God is at the head of this sentence. It doesn’t matter what comes after that, because God trumps everything!

If there is unrest in our hearts, and there is, it happens. If there are circumstances, whether they’re outward or inward, and there is an unrest in our hearts about it, we need this—we need this. If there is unrest, we’re kind of facing something in our own strength and with our own wisdom and all of that.

I need Him. I need to be able to be still and know that He is God. I need to exercise the knowledge, the things that I know to be true, but they need to be true right now, or what good are they doing me? God’s not gonna grade us on our theology when we get to heaven. It’s not about theological knowledge. It’s about change. It’s about being transformed into His image, and that only happens in life. God will order our steps, and I don’t know where they’re gonna lead. But I believe God’s preparing His people to stand in an hour of darkness.

But oh, do I need this. Don’t you? I need to see God first over every other circumstances. I need to be able to see and say what it says here, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

You wonder why the devil is upset? He knows his time is short. He’s just expressing his evil nature, just lashing out in every way. I mean, every day, the news gets crazier and crazier. The crimes that are committed, the conflict in the world, the devil’s doing everything he can to tear down human society to try to consolidate his power over the human race.

And I don’t know what all God’s going to allow, but I do know this. This verse, this Psalm is still true. I don’t care what happens, God is still the first. God is still the subject of the sentence that overrides it all. And so, that’s where I want to keep my eyes. Don’t you?

Wouldn’t that be a good place to keep our eyes and realize, hey, wait a minute, He hasn’t gone somewhere. Just because circumstances aren’t the way I like them, doesn’t mean He’s gone somewhere. He is present, and He is present with a vengeance. He is not going anywhere, and no devil in hell can make Him go anywhere, but He’s right there with me.

And when I have a need, I don’t have to, hey, God, where are you? I can just say, Lord, I know You’re here. I don’t have what it takes for this, but You do. And I’m just putting my faith right, in this moment, I’m putting my faith in You, and I’m gonna stand, and I’m gonna experience Your presence and Your strength.

That doesn’t mean you’re gonna have some phenomenal experience. But I’ll tell you, we’re gonna find out that we can cope with things that we can’t in human strength. And we’re gonna grow, and we’re gonna have a testimony, and we’re gonna be a light, and God’s gonna get the glory, and we’re gonna become like Him.

I mean, wasn’t that what Paul said? He wanted to become like Jesus in his death. Good for you, Paul. I want to be comfortable. No, God’s called us all to the same thing, hasn’t He? But over all of this, “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble.” To God be the glory! Praise God!

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