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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Covering - Part Two


Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt

Mal 2:10 “Have we not all one Father ? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?”


Okay admit it! There isn't one of us that hasn't gotten offended by something someone said or did at one time or another. There is probably nothing that hurts more than when an offense happens but escalates to character assassination. Couples often fight that way. An argument starts over something small and pretty soon they are ripping each others character apart. It’s difficult to repair the hurt that's caused once this happens. It would be better if we could bridal our tongue at times like this and back off and cool off so we don't say what we will later regret.

I started talking about a covering last writing. I said a covering is some kind of barrier that at its best is meant to serve as a source of blessing and comfort. If the weather outside is horrible and you are waiting to catch a bus and there happens to be a shelter to cover you, that shelter is a barrier between you and the elements and it's a blessing and a source of comfort.

When I was a young adult, I rented a house that didn't have a garage. Because there was no covering over my car, my car deteriorated much more quickly than it otherwise would have. In Minnesota winters, if you have any intelligence at all, you learn to buy very warm clothes for our below zero temperatures. That down coat is a barrier - a covering between you and the cold.

God at a time when He was upset with His people Israel, spoke words to them about the covering - the plans and attempts they made to protect or shield or cover themselves. In Isa 30:1 we read, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.”

There is a covering, a protection of God's Spirit - a barrier of His protection that we by faith can bring into our lives. For a pregnant woman, there is a precious promise of covering of protection for your baby to take hold of in faith. It says in Psa 139:13 “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.” We stood on this scripture with all our hearts when the enemy was trying to take our future granddaughter’s life.

If I had a son in the military, I would be praying and standing on God's promise of covering in Psa 140:7 that says, “O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.” These are promises of protection.

Again the covering is supposed to be a barrier of protection and blessing. In the second chapter of Malachi, the Lord refers to the covering again. He refers specifically to it in marriage which I will talk about tomorrow. But He is referring to the covering or lack of it in today's Fresh Manna verse. He says, “Have we not all one Father ? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?”

The Lord is saying that as a Christian, we still have relational fallout amongst other Christians. Yet we all know we have the same God and Father. That makes us all family. That also means we are all in a covenant relationship with Him and each other. So, shouldn't we be a covering or protecting each other instead of getting into schism with each other? Of course the answer is yes, but like everything, it's easier said than done.

Today and tomorrow I want you to see, that the covering can be a covering of good or a covering of evil. The Lord was talking to His people about covering each other with thoughts of evil and schism and He was upset with them about it.

Prayer from a pure heart of love and faith is the strongest source of covering there is in the earth. A prayer in strong faith built on a promise from God changes and saves lives. God wants us to be a covering of prayer, love, forgiveness, and help to one another. This is a powerful force.

When we are mad at each other, our covering - our thoughts toward the person we are angry with, become what God calls a covering of violence. There is no real prayer of faith going forth. To the contrary, wrong or evil words and thoughts are spilling forth, the covering of God's protection is down, and those involved become open to Satan's attack.

God wants us to be led by His Spirit, always back toward the covering. Prov 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Prov 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” When we won't forgive, the good covering comes down and a harmful covering goes up. Psa 73:6 says “Therefore pride encompasses them about as a chain; violence covers them as a garment.” When we won't admit our part and do what's right, we hurt ourselves. Prov 28:13 says, ”He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

God wants our covering of protection from the spiritual forces of darkness up and protecting us. We can work toward love and keep that protection working, or we can get in pride and strife and become a sitting duck for Satan's trouble and at the same time, become useless in covering others. Which should we choose? More later…

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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