Take Refuge

Sunday, September 25, 2016, 9:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 5 (ESV).

Prayer (vv. 1-3)

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

What is the purpose of prayer? It is our time when we commune with our Lord, i.e. when we talk with him and he talks with us. When we pray, we share with him our requests, we confess our sins, we cry out to him for help in our suffering and in our difficult circumstances, and we ask for wisdom and understanding. In prayer, we also give praise and thanksgiving to God for who he is and for all the things he has done, and for things promised which we know he is yet to do. As well, we seek his face for counsel and direction, and to know his Word and how it is to be applied to our daily lives. Sometimes, when we pray, all we can say is just “Help!” Other times we can articulate more clearly what we want to say. In prayer, we also grow closer to our Lord as we get to know him and his heart, and we begin to reflect that heart in our relationships with other people. In prayer, we also trust our Lord with our life’s circumstances, and we rest in his love and grace.

Evildoers (vv. 4-6)

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Sometimes we must cry out to God because of all the wickedness which is going on in the world. We pray for wisdom and understanding, so that we are not caught in a web of deceit and trickery. So much of what is being passed off as truth these days is total or partial fabrication, and for the purpose to deceive and to manipulate people via that deceit. So, that is why we must pray and ask God to show us what is truth and what is lies, so we don’t follow the lies, thinking we are following truth. We need to ask the Lord to give us discerning spirits, and to hear his voice clearly, and that we would not believe everything coming out of the mouths of our politicians, our government leaders, and many who call themselves ministers of the gospel. Just because it looks real or it sounds real does not make it real (truthful).

We also pray for the lost world to have their eyes and ears opened to the truth, so they may be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified through faith in Jesus Christ (See: Ac. 26:16-18). And, we pray for the church, much of which has been caught in this web of deception, and are following after humans when they should be following after God. We pray their eyes may opened, as well, and that they will discern truth from lies, and that they will repent of their sins, and will renew their walks of faith with the Lord Jesus Christ, for many are living in spiritual adultery against their Lord and are following after the idols of man.

Righteousness (vv. 7-8)

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.

I think that often, when we are faced with life’s difficulties, persecutions, and opposition to our faith and to the gospel of Jesus Christ, that it draws us closer to our Lord, and it makes us stronger and even more determined to follow our Lord in full obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. When things are going well for us, and we don’t face much opposition, it is possible to become more complacent or casual in our relationships with Jesus Christ. But, when we face trouble and hardship, it leads us to call on God in our trouble and to ask him to help us, and that is where we grow in our walks of faith and in our commitments to service to our Lord. We need this, so that when things get even harder, which they will, we will be prepared for the battle, and we won’t give up in defeat at the first sign of strong opposition, which has come, and is only going to get much worse.

No Truth (vv. 9-10)

For there is no truth in their mouth;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.

There are many liars and deceivers in our world today whose words cannot be trusted. And, it takes much godly discernment to see through all the smokes and mirrors, so that we can see clearly the truth which lies behind all the fabrications and dramatizations. So, I caution you quite earnestly to not believe everything you see and hear, even if it looks real to you, because just about anything can be faked, and is being faked. Remember, we were warned in scripture about a great time of deception to come upon the earth, and that even the elect would be susceptible to being deceived. And, remember that deception is called that for a reason, i.e. it is not obvious. Clever liars and tricksters, who are great actors, are able to make people believe lies are truth and truth is lies, so test everything in prayer and against the Word of God, and ask the Lord to open your eyes to truth.

Take Refuge (vv. 11-12)

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.

One of the biggest problems in our society and within the church is that this generation (post WWII) has grown up on television, and television has become central in many homes, even in Christian homes. TV can convince us that anything is real, even if it is totally play acted. Reality and make-believe now often overlap each other to where it is difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends. The world is, thus, able to manipulate human minds, via TV, so that we follow the lies instead of the truth, and we buy into the world’s system, values, thinking and way of behaving more so than we follow the ways of God – his values, thinking, and actions. So, if we, the people of this world, spend most of our free time in front of the TV instead of in the Word of God, logic says we are going to follow and believe more of what we see and hear on TV rather than believe what God’s Word teaches.

So, if we want to not fall into deception, and we are praying that God will open our eyes to the truth, then we, as the people of this world, need a serious break from entertaining ourselves with TV, smart phones, tablets, PCs, and the like, so that we can listen to hear God’s voice clearly without all that other “noise” interfering and shutting out his voice. If the world lost electricity, and we had to go without electronic instruments, I think that might just be a blessing from Almighty God, because the people of this world would then talk with each other, and they would call on God in their distress, and they would be able to hear God, because all these other things would not be muffling his voice. I have been without a TV for 8 years now, and I don’t miss it one bit! I would not want it back for anything!

Yet, just because we take a break from the world of make-believe does not ensure that we will call on God, or that we will grow in our walks of faith with Christ, or that we will have our eyes opened to the truth. We must take refuge in our Lord. We must seek his face, and desire him above all else, and want to know his Word and his will for our lives, and we must obey what he teaches us and not be hearers only. We must replace what was worldly in our lives with what is godly. In place of sitting in front of a TV every evening, and taking into our minds all the world has to offer us, we should spend that time in prayer, in God’s word, in ministering to the needs of others, in building personal relationships and communications with other humans, and in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost world. We should be sowing spiritual seed in other people’s lives, and we should be abiding in Christ and his word abiding in us, and we should be doing his will.

For Our Nation / An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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