Making God Your Strength and Shield in 2023

Psalm 28:7 is my mantra for 2023. This post breaks it down and reveals how to stay filled with the Spirit and draw on God as your strength and shield.

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Psalm 28:7 NLT

Recognize where your help comes from

In today’s uncertain climate, it’s easy to feel bombarded with negativity, strife, and conflict—whether it comes from the greater world scene, national politics, or closer to home in your personal life. Where can you turn to for protection and help?

1bWhere does my help come from?
2My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot stumble.
He who watches over you will not slumber.

Psalm 121:1b–3 EHV

Our help comes from the Creator of the universe—Christ Jesus the Lord, who sits on the throne, interceding for us. “So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved grace, and we will find help” (Heb. 4:16 CEV).

The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper (John 14:16–17). Have you been filled with the Spirit? If not, ask Jesus to fill you (see Luke 11:13).

The Lord is your strength

Psalm 18:32 says, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure” (NIV). Call on God to equip you with strength for your journey—wherever the Spirit leads in 2023.

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Ps. 29:11 NIV). Ask for not only strength, but peace. Be a peacemaker in the new year, and reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18 NIV).

Jesus said many times, “Fear not.” Come what may, remember that Christ is always with you and will never, under any circumstances, leave you (Heb. 13:5). “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10 NIV). That right hand will keep you from faltering.

Be joyful, for “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10c NIV). More about this in a moment…

Even if you feel weak and frail, tell yourself you’re strong: “Let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10).

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:10–11 NIV

The Lord is your shield

The full armor of God includes the shield of faith. But, when the enemy lets his arrows fly, you must use it. “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:6 NIV).

Remember, you have an inheritance:

4bThis inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

1 Peter 1:4b–6 NIV

Always remain in God’s love by praying in tongues:

20But you, dear friends, continue to build yourselves up in your most holy faith as you keep praying in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God’s love as you continue to wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, which results in eternal life.

Jude 20–21 EHV

Trust in the Lord

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5–6 NIV

Partial trust is untrustworthy. Trust God with every fiber of your being. Call upon the Lord and recognize His influence in every area of your life. Doing so enables God to chart your future through 2023 and beyond.

6Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
7They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

Psalm 112:6–8 NIV

“‘No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed. You will have an answer for anyone who accuses you. This is the inheritance of the Lord’s servants. Their victory comes from me,’ declares the Lord” (Isa. 54:17 GW).

Rejoice in the Lord

The joy of the Lord is your strength. But how can you be joyful in troubled times? By exercising your will to be thankful and happy for your blessings.

Be gentle in all your dealings with others who may also be struggling. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Php. 4:4–5 NIV).

The fruit of the Spirit is joy (Gal. 5:22). Continually sowing to the Spirit will ensure a continual harvest of spiritual good: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8 NIV).

Singing songs of praise is a good way to stay happy in the Lord.

18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:18–20 NIV

Look up

When the going gets rough, it’s easy to become downcast. But Jesus said that, as tumultuous events of the end days begin to play out, “‘…stand up and lift up your heads, because your deliverance is approaching‘” (Luke 21:28 ISV).

When Stephen testified about the Messiah, “[he], full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55 NIV).

Keeping yourself full of the Holy Spirit by looking up to Jesus and His victorious position enables you to see God’s glory. “We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Now he holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne” (Heb. 12:2 GW).

Look up for that joy which is your strength. Rejoice in the Lord in every situation. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. God will shield you and lead you to deliverance.

But you, O Lord, are a shield for me. You are my glory and the one who lifts up my head.

Psalm 3:3 EHV

Remember that God wants to bless you. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jer. 29:11 NIV).

May God bless you richly as you bless others in 2023!

Filled with Joy and the Holy Spirit

Joy in the Holy Spirit

Joy often accompanies the Holy Spirit in the NT. We see this as a fulfillment of prophecy in Jesus’ ministry that serves as a pattern for the charismatic, prophetic church.

Two Times Seventy Were Commissioned

Twice in Scripture, God’s prophetic leader commissioned seventy others to aid with the work of the Kingdom.

Moses asked God for help in leading God’s people. God answered by sending the prophetic anointing of the Spirit upon seventy elders.

25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again. …
29 …Moses replied, “…I wish that ALL the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!
–Numbers 11:25,29 NIV

Moses’ commission was attended by a prophetic anointing from the Spirit of God, foreshadowing Pentecost.

Likewise, Jesus dispatched seventy of His followers to “‘Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you”’” (Luke 10:9 NIV).

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them before Him, by twos, to go to every town or place which He Himself intended to visit.
2 And He addressed them thus: “The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few: therefore entreat the Owner of the harvest to send out more reapers into His fields. And now go.”
–Luke 10:1-2 WEY

Upon returning from their mission, they reported good news.

17 The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”
18 He said to them, … 20 “[D]on’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…”
–Luke 10:17-18a,20-21a HCSB

One thing that definitely makes Jesus happy is when the devil is defeated and demons are cast out (see Acts 10:38).

But this is no mere circumstantial joy. Verse 21 says, “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.”

Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit

“Rejoice” is the Greek work egalliasato. In the Septuagint OT, it is “usually found in the Psalms and the prophetic portions of the Prophets, and it denotes spiritual exultation that issues forth in praise to God for his mighty acts” (Robert P. Menzies, Speaking in Tongues [CPT Press, 2016], 24). This word appears in the Messianic Psalm 16.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
–Psalm 16:9-11 NIV

The Hebrew word for “rejoice,” gîl, means “to spin round, under the influence of emotion” (Strong’s H1523). This is Spirit-inspired ecstasy.

Did Jesus Speak in Tongues?

Luke 10:21 says, “Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit AND said…” (NKJV). Menzies indicates that two types of speech may be indicated here. This same “and” construction is used in Luke 13:12: Jesus “called her forward AND said to her, ‘Woman,…’” (NIV), the conjunction separating two distinct actions (Menzies, 49).

The verb [“rejoiced,” agalliaō], linked as it is to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may imply glossolalia; while the phrase, “and he said”…, introduces the intelligible words of praise described in the narrative. (Menzies, 49; emphasis mine)

“Rejoicing” (egalliasato) and declaring the acts of God “is particularly striking in Luke-Acts” (Menzies, 25). We see it in the joyful praise of the impregnated Virgin Mary, who prophesies at the overshadowing of the Spirit (Luke 1:47). Jesus in Luke 10:21. And David in Acts 2:26.

In Lk 1.47 and 10.21 the verb is specifically linked to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in Acts 2.25-30 David is described as a prophet. This verb, then, was for Luke a particularly appropriate way of describing prophetic activity. (Menzies, 25; emphasis mine)

In his Pentecost sermon, Peter refers to Psalm 16 where David the prophet says, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices” (Acts 2:26 NIV). This association of “tongue” and “rejoicing” occurs six times in Luke-Acts (Luke 1:64; Acts 2:4,11,26; 10:46; 19:6).

The Jews of Peter’s day would have understood his quoting of Psalm 16 as referring to the Messiah. In Luke 10:21, we see its fulfillment when Jesus, inspired by the Spirit with joy, proclaims inspired thanks and praise to the Father.

If Jesus did not speak in tongues, His experience is very close to it. In the context of Peter’s Pentecost sermon and what had just happened to the tongues-speaking disciples that day, “my tongue rejoices” could very well refer to Jesus speaking in tongues.

“You will fill me with joy in your presence”—the Greek word prosōpon (Strong’s G4383). This word is used in Peter’s next sermon: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NKJV).

Peter’s reference to Psalm 16 also refers to Jesus’ exaltation in heaven, but when compared with Acts 3:19, it points toward earthly charismatic expression when the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit falls.

The filling of the Holy Spirit results in joy and prophetic utterance about the mighty works of God.

Jesus, Our Pattern

Jesus’ experience in Luke 10:21 is repeated at Pentecost and becomes the pattern for the Spirit-baptized Church. Joy accompanies the presence of the Spirit.

  • “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52 NIV).
  • “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 NIV).
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13 NIV).
  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NIV).
  • “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6 NIV).

Let us follow the example of Jesus, fulfilling His prophetic commission to destroy the works of the devil, being filled with the Holy Spirit and declaring God’s works. Then we will bear the fruit of Christ’s joy.