Develop Your Rhino Skin!
By Pastor Jim May
Life is filled with circumstances that are all too often beyond by control. We often have to walk into some very rough paths. I thank God for the mountains, when I feel like I’m on top of the world and everything is going my way. But the problem is that the mountaintop experience only lasts for a moment for it seems that most of life is spent in either climbing out of the valley to reach the mountaintop, or going down from the mountaintop into the valley. The wondrous thing that I have noticed is that as faith grows and we learn to trust in the Lord, even though the mountains and valleys are still there, the valleys don’t seem to be so deep as they once were and the mountaintops are more like a plateau than a peak.
When I was younger in the Lord, spiritually speaking of course, since I’m not “old” yet, I would have some high highs and some very low lows. The roller coaster ride was a dizzying experience. From the ecstasy of victory at the top of the mountain, to the agony of defeat in valley of decision, to the ecstasy of victory at the top of the mountain, to the agony of defeat in the valley one more time. Then it would be time to get out of bed and face the day. I can’t say that every day is now lived on the mountaintop, but at least I can make it through most of the morning before the roller coaster starts rolling once again.
This world, with its tests, trials, sickness, death and sin, has a way of throwing you a curve ball pretty consistently. That’s why a prayer life is so very important. I’ve learned, through the school of hard knocks, that starting the day with prayer, and maintaining an attitude of prayer all the times, will help to dull the effects of the waves of negativity that are bound to come against me.
I’m so glad that I know God and my greatest desire is to know Him more.
But there have been times, and sad to say, there still are a few times, when I fall prey to the effects of this world’s troubles. I know that none of you fall into that trap, right?!! I’m not so foolish as to believe that I’m above falling into the devil’s traps from time to time, no matter how much I try not to let anything get under my skin.
Years ago I belonged to a club called “The Rhino Club”. It was nothing more than a group of men who came together to encourage one another and to help one another develop a “thick skin” against any outside attacks or negative influences. Someone with a “Rhino Skin” learned to take the blame for much of the troubles around them, even if they really weren’t to blame at all. They learned that the sharp arrows that fly from the tongues and the daggers from the eyes of people who tried to attack them just couldn’t have any effect upon them because their “Rhino Skin” wouldn’t allow those barbs to penetrate and change our attitude. Maybe it’s time we started a “Rhino Club” in the church! I know a lot of people who really need to develop a “thick skin” and get their feelings off the surface where everyone can hurt them.
A “Rhino Club” member learns that no one can hurt your feelings if you don’t let them do it. A “Rhino Club” member learns to take the best that the worst gossip in the church can dish out and just learn to ignore it. A “Rhino Club” member doesn’t have time to worry about what other people think about him, he’s too busy developing his own attitudes into the right attitudes. There’s just no time for petty differences, useless arguments, hurt feelings and discouragement. Life just has too much to offer to spend most of it in a pity party.
A “Rhino Club” member must always remember the source of his provision, his power and his joy. That source is in God and because it is in God, no man can shake it!
We must remember that the Lord God Jehovah, is our God!
In Exodus 17:8-16, my God is named Jehovah –NISSI - The Lord is my banner. I follow his banner and His banner over me is Love, a love that no man can destroy without my permission.
In Jeremiah 23:1-6, He is Jehovah – Tsidkenu – The Lord is my righteousness. I can’t earn righteousness. I can’t buy righteousness. But I am righteousness because of the Blood of the Lamb. Jesus righteousness is my righteousness and no man can take that away.
In Psalms 7:1,2,8,10 & 17, He is Jehovah – Elyon – The Lord most High. It is God who lifts my spirit above the petty things of this world. It is his power that lifts me out of the miry clay and sets my feet on the Rock. It is His mercy and grace that gives me the right to enter into the very throne room of Heaven in the realm of the Spirit and get the strength I need to stand against every fiery dart the world or the devil can cast my way.
In Exodus 15:22-27, He is Jehovah – Rapha – The Lord that Heals. When the devil occasionally manages to get under the “Rhino Skin” that I’ve tried to develop, the power of my God heals the hurt and makes the pain go away, so that it does not develop into a festering sore, red with anger, swollen with pride, and filled with poison that will destroy my body, soul and spirit in Hell. God heals the hurt, heals my sickness, heals my diseases, heals my bad attitude and then brings comfort once again to a wounded spirit.
In Genesis 22:1-19, He is Jehovah – Jireh – The Lord will provide. There is nothing too hard for my God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and when I need a financial blessing, He just gives me another cow. He provides my every need according to His riches in Glory, not according to my bank account. My bank account may be empty and dry, with Abraham Lincoln screaming for mercy from being squeezed so much, but if my “Faith Account” is full and I call upon the name of the Lord, He will hear my cry and answer my prayer.
John 14:13-14 says, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
Matthew 21:21-22, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Whatever “mountain” I face, it has to go! Whatever obstacle is in my way, it has to move! Whatever comes against me will not prosper! My God will provide a way for He is my Jehovah-Jireh!
In the 23rd Psalms He is Jehovah-Raah, The Lord is my Shepherd. He leads me besides the “still waters” where peace can reign in my soul. I shall not want for comfort. I shall not want for love. I shall not want for peace. I shall not want for provision. I shall not want for anything for Jehovah-Jireh has provided and Jehovah-Raah will lead me in His paths of righteousness and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever!
When I need a place to call home, He makes me lay down in green pastures. Green is a color that brings calm and peace to your heart. Green grass is a picture of perfect pastures for God’s sheep to dwell in forever. I might be walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death in this present world, but because of my Shepherd, death has no power over me for He has the keys of death, hell and grave. I don’t have to fear evil men, fear the devil or fear anything, the Shepherd is walking with me. His rod of power, his staff to guide me, and his all-seeing eye watching over me, will never let me fall. No man can take me out of my Father’s hand. He sets a table filled with blessings before me and all I have to do is pick them up and enjoy them for free. He anoints me with the power of the Holy Ghost and my heart is so full that it just keeps running over because of His mercy and goodness. What a Shepherd we have!
In 1 Samuel 1:3 He is Jehovah-Tsabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. All the hosts of Heaven are at His command and He has set his angels to have charge over me lest I dash my foot against a stone and fall. His name is above every name and all thing, in Heaven, in the earth, and under the earth must bow before Him and acknowledge that He is God above them all. The Lord of Hosts is His name and victory is His claim, and I have nothing to fear from the flame, because Jesus is my main thing! Glory to God in the Highest! He is the Lord of Hosts!
In Judges 6:1-24 He is Jehovah – Shalom, the Lord is my Peace.
When peace like a river flows over my soul, and all the billows around me cease, Jesus speaks sweet peace to me. With one word of this mouth, all the storms of life cease to blow.
What Have I to dread? What have I to fear? I’m leaning on the everlasting arms of perfect peace. God is my source and nothing can steal my peace if I just learn to trust Him through it all!
Through it all! Through it all! I’ve learned to trust in Jesus. I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all! Yes, through it all! I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.
Not one jot, or one tittle of that Word shall fail. What He has said, He will do, and I am persuaded that He is well able to keep that which I have committed to him against that great Day of the Lord! He will that mind in perfect peace which is anchored, or stayed, upon Him!
In Ezekiel 48:35, He is Jehovah – Shammah, The Lord is There! My God will never leave me nor forsake me.
David said in Psalms 139:7-10, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
Jehovah-Shammah was there with Israel as it crossed the Red Sea, then crossed the Jordan River, and into the Promised Land. He was in the beginning, and He will be there forever. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He never changes!
When the doctors bow their heads in surrender; when the church can do more; when life is ebbing away; when all else is lost and nothing else remains; Jehovah-Shammah will still be there. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and he will be you always, right to the very end of the world and on into eternity. My God is Always There!
Those are only a few of the names that describe my God. It is my God who helps me to develop my Rhino Skin. It is his grace that gives me the way to make it through. It is faith in Him that quenches every fiery dart of the devil. Thank God for Rhino Skin.
The next time somebody, or something, tries to get under your skin to steal your joy, ruin your day and wreck your peace, just remember the Rhino. Learn to develop your Rhino Skin. It takes time and practice. It takes prayer and dedication. It takes trust and building a relationship with Jesus, but you can do it!
Join the Rhino Club! Brush off the attacks of the enemy. Learn to trust in your God to make all things right. Remember, He is always there and your God never, ever, fails.