Reaching Forward

Friday, July 28, 2017, 7:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Philippians 3 (NASB).

Beware of Dogs (vv. 1-6)

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

So, what is meant here by “dogs”? The term “dog” is used of humans who are contemptible and spiritually unclean, and/or who are false teachers and persecutors of Jesus’ followers. It is used as a term of reproach. These are those who may profess faith in Jesus Christ, but it is profession only. They do not have the promise of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of hell’s fires. Yet, since they often disguise themselves as apostles of Christ, and as servants of righteousness, we must be very discerning so as not to get trapped in their snare, for they can be very charming and convincing.

Some of these dogs will add human rules on to the gospel message, and others will remove critical components from the gospel message. Whether adding or subtracting, still what they teach is based in human philosophy and not in the Word of Truth. They will include much of the truth, though, but will twist it to their advantage. But, truth mixed with lies is still lies. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of external works of the flesh can add anything to our salvation. Yet, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of God’s Spirit in our lives, which he prepared in advance for us to do (See: Eph. 2:8-10).

So, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or remorse. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return (1 Jn. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14).

Counted as Loss (vv. 7-11)

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

It doesn’t matter how smart we are, or how gifted and talented, or how much Bible knowledge we have, or our social or financial status in life. What matters to God is that we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin so we might live with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). For, this is why Jesus gave his life up for us on the cross. He did not die merely to give us the hope of heaven when we die or to deliver us out of the pit of hell. His purpose in saving us from our sins was that we would no longer be slaves to sin, so that we could now become bond-slaves of his righteousness.

Press On (vv. 12-16)

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives we do not become instantly perfect so that we never sin again (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). Yet, lack of perfection should never be used as an excuse for continued and willful sin against God, for if we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will not have the hope of eternal life, but we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14).

Our salvation is not a one-time experience where we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven when we die. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns to take us to be with him forever. We are being sanctified and made holy. We are being conformed into the likeness of Christ. Daily we die to sin and self and we follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives. By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And, we walk, not according to our sinful flesh, but we walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit. It is a process, yet if we keep practicing sin, we are not part of that process, for we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).

How we Walk (vv. 17-21)

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

It is a sad reality here in America that we don’t have many preachers of the Word we can emulate today. So many professing Christians, or those who are in positions of spiritual authority within the church, have fallen prey to deceiving spirits and are themselves teaching what is false, i.e. a diluted gospel and a false grace which gives free license to continued sin against God. So many of the “greats” of the faith here in America have died off, and there has been such a rise in the number of “dogs” now serving in positions as pastors (shepherds) of church congregations. So, we must be careful that we don’t follow the wrong examples, thinking we are doing what is right.

Those we want to follow are those who are walking (living) according to the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles. I am certainly not saying that they must be absolutely perfect, but that their lifestyles should be evidence of a walk of holiness and righteousness, i.e. that they should be above reproach. They should not be those who are caught up in the world or who are, themselves, captives (addicted) to sinful practices. And, they should not be those who are teaching people they don’t have to repent of their sins or that they don’t have to obey God, and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.

Yet, more importantly than finding human beings we can follow, and who will most likely let us down at some time or another, is that we need to be those who emulate Christ, who desire to be like him, to walk in his ways.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

A Forgetful Hearer?

Thursday, July 27, 2017, 8:29 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 1:21-25 (NASB).

Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Put Them Aside

Whether you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, or you are a Christian by profession only, or you have never believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of your life, this message is for you. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) died on a cross for your sins so that you could be delivered out of slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin and be set free to walk in his holiness and his righteousness. He who knew no sin became sin for us, when he died on that cross, so that we might become the righteousness of God. And, righteousness is what is approved in God’s eyes, i.e. what he deems right.

So, faith in Jesus Christ means that we die with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ to righteousness, for he was resurrected, too. It also means we walk (in lifestyle) no longer according to what our sinful flesh desires, but we now walk by faith – and in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit, now living within us – according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars. And, if we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, we need to repent of our sins by turning away from all moral filthiness and wickedness, forsaking them, casting them aside, and by turning to God/Jesus Christ to follow (obey) him in all his ways. If we continue to practice sinning against God after we have the knowledge of the truth, we don’t have the hope of heaven, but a fearful expectation of judgment.

In a Mirror

The Bible is filled with messages concerning what we are to put off, and what we are to put on. When we believe in Jesus, we put off our sinful lifestyles (our old self), and we put on our new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (See: Eph. 4:17-24). So, when we put off (or put aside) all moral filthiness and wickedness, then, in humility, we are to receive (accept, adopt) the Word of God ingrained into our lives, which is able to save our souls. Yet, it is only able to save our souls if we apply what we read to our lives.

God is not interested in how much head knowledge we have about the Bible, or if we can recite all the books of the Bible in order, or about how many scripture verses we have committed to mental memory. He is not impressed by Bible college or seminary degrees, or by how much Greek or Hebrew we know, or by ministry positions within the church as teachers of the Word. What God cares about is if we DO what we read, what we know, what we have studied, and what we teach others. We can be great expositors of the Word, but if we are not living what we teach, then it is fruitless.

Time spent with our Lord in His Word is to bring about change in our thinking, attitudes and behaviors. His Word should transform us and conform us into the likeness of Christ. If all we do is read it, and then we close the book, and we walk away, but we forget what we read, then our reading didn’t do us much good. We can say we had “devotions,” but if we go on living however we want, still gratifying the cravings of our sinful flesh, while we go through the motions of a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will not bear fruit in our lives in keeping with repentance, but it will be a meaningless and wasted effort, on our part.

An Effectual Doer

So, what pleases God is when we are DOERS of the Word and not hearers only who delude (deceive, fool) themselves. They fool themselves when they think God is pleased or that they have a relationship with him if they read the Bible every day, or if they are able to expound lots of scripture. It is not what we know that matters in this life, but it is what we do with what we know. And, yet, many people seem to think that knowledge or performance is enough to get a passing grade with God while they cheat on their relationship with God, or what could be a relationship with Him, if they would submit to his Lordship in their lives and would DO what He says.

So, we need to prove ourselves to be DOERS of the Word. In other words, there needs to be evidence from our lives (from our lifestyles) that we actually are putting into practice what we read in God’s Word. We can talk like we are doers, and we can put on an act in front of others, as though we truly are ones who are applying the truths we know, but if there is not enough evidence to corroborate our profession, then we are on pretty shaky ground. Words can be cheap if they are not followed up with action. Actions speak louder than words. If we say we love God, then we need to DO what he says consistently, persistently, and truthfully.

This is not a casual thing, though – this doing what the Word of God teaches. We need to look intently (earnestly and eagerly) into the gospel message of our salvation, and into the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, while not neglecting the Old Testament, too. And, we need to abide by (follow, obey) the law of liberty, i.e. the message of salvation from sin. And, that message is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. So, we are to forsake our sins and follow our Lord in surrender to his will for our lives. For his grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

Courage

Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 7:57 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Courageous.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NASB) on the subject of courage.

With Boldness (Acts 4:27-31)

“’For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”

When Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) walked the face of this earth, although he was loved and admired and followed by some, he was hated, rejected and opposed by many, but especially by the religious leaders in the Jewish temple. They hated him so much, in fact, that they plotted his death, which then they also carried out. Yet, this was God’s purpose that Jesus should suffer and die on a cross for our salvation from sin. So, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.

When Jesus lived on this earth, he told his followers that they, too, would be hated and persecuted, and for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel of our salvation. He told them that, as he was treated, so would they be treated. So, it should not surprise us when we are disliked, abandoned, rejected, strongly opposed and persecuted for our faith in Christ, and for our testimonies with regard to the gospel of Christ and of our salvation. Thus, we need to also pray that we might have courage and boldness to keep speaking in Jesus’ name and to keep sharing the full gospel message with all who will listen. For, we also have many who oppose us.

Yet, we can be encouraged, because God has a plan and a purpose for all that we are going through, as well. And, he will see us through to the end if we keep placing our trust in him, and we do not back down out of fear. He will give us all we need to be strong in our faith and to have the courage to keep pressing on in our walks of faith, and to keep proclaiming his name to the nations, for it will not be in our own power and strength that we are able to persevere, but it will be in the strength and power of God’s Spirit within us that we can remain strong and keep pressing on, despite all opposition.

Of Good Courage (2 Co. 5:6-9)

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

If we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, and we are proclaiming his message of salvation to a lost world, and we are encouraging the body of Christ in the faith, and we are urging our brothers and sisters in Christ to live holy lives, pleasing to God, there are going to be people who just won’t like us, and who won’t like the messages we are sharing. And, we may even face strong opposition from those closest to us – from our friends, from family members, fellow Christians, and even from leaders within the church.

Yet, we must maintain an eternal perspective always. God did not place us on this earth for our own comfort and enjoyment, and so that we would be liked by everyone. He placed us here to love, worship, honor and serve him with our lives. His will for us is that we deny self, and daily take up our cross and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin and self), for his sake, we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25).

This world is not my home. I’m just passing through. My home is in heaven with God, and that is where I am going one day, to be with my Lord forever. This body and this world in which I now live is temporary. So, if they take my life, it just means I get to be with my Lord. So, I should never fear what man (or woman) might do to me, because God is on my side, and he will give me all I need to endure to the end and to keep on praising his name and sharing his truths with all those who need to hear. My goal is to please my Lord, even if it means even greater persecution and rejection, or death.

Courage to Speak (Phil. 1:12-14, 18b-20)

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”

Sometimes, when we are going through difficult circumstances, we may get bogged down in the whole “Woe is me” syndrome, and we may lose sight of the bigger picture. All we see is what is right in front of our faces, and we don’t see that God is working in ways we cannot see, behind the scenes. He has purposes for what we are going through far beyond our ability to even comprehend, at times. So, what may look to us like something bad, he may be working for good in other people’s lives, or even in our own lives.

Persecution is certainly not pleasant. It is painful, whether physically or emotionally, or both. No one I know enjoys being hated or mistreated or falsely accused or gossiped about. Yet, sometimes it is a blessing in disguise. For example, in America we have had little serious persecution of Christians on a large scale, though it is certainly present here. And, in America we also have many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ whose lifestyles speak just the opposite. So, sometimes opposition and rejection can be a good thing in that they produce repentance, revival, and the salvation of souls, and they help to strengthen us in our resolve to live committed lives to Christ, and to be bold in our witness.

And, God is able to see us through any and every situation, for his purposes, and for his glory and praise. He will give us all the encouragement we need to keep pressing on, as we learn to trust him with our lives and with our reputations, too. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. So, we live for Christ to serve him, and to do his will, and to please him in all ways, and we commit our lives into his capable hands. We trust in his sovereign power over our lives, that he knows what is best. And, we believe that God will work everything out for good for those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose (Ro. 8:28).

Courageous! / An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

Hunger and Thirst

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 9:30 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NASB) on the subject of spiritual hunger and thirst.

For Righteousness (Matt. 5:6)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

To hunger or thirst after something is to long for, yearn for, strongly desire, or to crave it. There is a sense of urgency in this longing, too, as though without it you will not survive, or apart from it you will not be fully satisfied. Yet, we don’t do this just once and we have it, and it is done with. Literally this says that blessed are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, i.e. this involves actively pursuing righteousness, not just once, but continuously, and not because we are not satisfied, but because we are satisfied and we realize that we need to go after it daily, for Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It needs to be part of our everyday lives, in our conduct, speech, thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

So, what is righteousness? It is “what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes” (1). It is morality, justice, decency, uprightness, honesty, purity and holiness. And, to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. So, we are to be continually pursuing purity, honesty, uprightness, holiness and godliness in our lives, and we should not be chasing after what is ungodly, impure, deceitful or wicked.

Yet, many Christians, or professing Christians, especially here in America, seem to be doing just the opposite of this. So many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are chasing after the pleasures of this world and those things which will satisfy the cravings of their human flesh, rather than hungering and thirsting after righteousness as part of who they are and how they live their lives day by day. And, their relationships with God (with Jesus Christ) are often given minor attention, affection and passion or desire for what God deems right and good, and for what is approved in his eyes. Not only that, but if Christians are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, in today’s culture, they are often tagged as out-of-touch with reality, or too serious, or hyper-religious. And, even others who claim faith in Christ will encourage them away from taking God and his Word so seriously, and will tell them they need to “lighten up,” sit back, relax and enjoy life.

For Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:35, 51, 53-56)

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.’”

But, Jesus Christ wants us to take him very seriously, and those who don’t have no real life of the Spirit in them. Hungering and thirsting after Jesus Christ is not “gospel lite.” It is not “happy hour,” i.e. this is not about having a party and just having a good time (fun). This is not saying we do not have joy, we do, but we don’t take God and his Word lightly or casually. To hunger or thirst after him is to deny ourselves and daily take up our cross and follow him. It is to be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and to be resurrected with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It is sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, too.

When Jesus spoke about us eating his flesh and drinking his blood, he was not speaking literally of eating his physical body, but figuratively of partaking with him in death to sin and living to righteousness, which is what his body and blood symbolize. When he was crucified on a cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. So, when he died, our sin died with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose triumphant over sin, Satan, and death on our behalf. He put sin to death for us so that we would no longer be slaves to sin, but that we might be free to be slaves to righteousness.

So, if we want to have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when we leave this earth, then we must be crucified with him in death to sin, and be resurrected with him to newness of life. We must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh (in sinful practice), we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. So, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle, practice) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

For Living Water (Jn. 4:13-14; Jn. 7:37-39; cf. Rev. 21:6-7; 22:17)

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’”

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, by God’s grace, via death to sin and resurrection to new lives in Christ Jesus, we are indwelt, filled and empowered from on high with God’s Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God, thus, empowers, strengthens, encourages, and teaches us to live holy lives pleasing to God. We can die to sin and live to righteousness, not in our own flesh, but in the working of God’s Holy Spirit within us, as we yield to our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will, and as we cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives.

The Spirit of God teaches us all things regarding Jesus Christ and his righteousness and holiness. When we read the Word of God each day, the Holy Spirit speaks God’s words to our hearts to encourage, counsel, and guide us, or to rebuke, correct and warn us. We don’t live the Christian life in our own strength, or according to our own will and desire, but the Spirit of God provides us with all we need to walk uprightly and in purity and holiness. He gives us spiritual gifts, as well, to be used within the body of Christ to encourage one another, and to strengthen one another in the faith, so that we do not grow weary and lose heart, but so we are built up in the faith, and we mature in our walks of faith.

Because we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, God lives within us, and we are his temple (his church, Christ’s body). We can talk with him at any time, day or night, and he speaks to us, as well. We don’t have a religion, per se, but we have a relationship with our God which is real, personal and intimate. He is our God, and we honor him as such, and we stand in awe of him, and give him our respect, and yet he is our best friend and companion, and our husband and Father, and the more we spend time with him, and follow him wherever he leads us, the sweeter our relationship with him grows. He helps us through all difficulties, and he wraps his loving arms around us when we are hurting and in need of comfort and encouragement, too. He completely satisfies all of our needs both now and forevermore!

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

(1) http://biblehub.com/greek/1343.htm

Rejoicing the Heart

Monday, July 24, 2017, 6:23 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Touched My Mouth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 19:7-14 (ESV).

We read in the Bible that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What this is saying, I believe, is that even those scriptures that were written to or about specific people at a particular time in history, that may not literally apply to us individually, and as believers in Christ, are still profitable to us in order that we might learn from them in principle, if nothing else, as to God’s perfect will for our lives. So, we should not ignore the Old Testament, because there are many rich truths to be gained from the study of these OT books.

The Word of God (vv. 7-11)

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

When we read the Word of God each day during our personal times of worship and fellowship with our Lord, it should be more than just a religious ritual or something we do because we were told we should do it. Because God’s Word is alive, it still speaks to our hearts. The Holy Spirit of God quickens our minds and hearts to hear from God as we read, and he gives counsel in how to apply the truths of scripture to our individual lives. There will be general truths, instructions, warnings, etc. which will apply to all of us, but also the Spirit of God will speak to us individually concerning our life’s situations, God’s calling on our lives, and his direction for where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do and to say each day.

The written Word of God is the main way in which God, via his Spirit, speaks to our hearts, though he can speak to us through other people, through life’s circumstances, and via nature (Ps. 19:1-6), etc. Yet, what we believe he is saying to us must always be consistent with the teachings of scripture and not be in opposition to the Word of God. When God speaks to our hearts, he will speak words for our comfort, encouragement, strengthening, joy, refreshing, and wisdom, etc., yet he will also speak words of correction, rebuke, and warning, too. All this is for our good, so we should receive it all as from God, and not want to hear only what is pleasing to our ears.

Presumptuous Sins (vv. 12-13)

Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

The Bible is real clear about what is sin and what is not sin, yet humans sometimes add to or take away from what the Word of God teaches on that subject. So, we must know what the Bible teaches regarding sin, so that we can avoid or stop sinning against God. Some people like to try to find loop-holes, though, in order to excuse away what they know is wrong.

Some sins have a broader meaning than what some people might understand, at first glance, and so we need to understand the extent to which some sins might be interpreted, and be careful to not take any interpretation beyond the teachings of scripture, as a whole. For instance, Jesus said that it is said that a man should not commit adultery, but he said that for someone to even lust after another, it is committing adultery with him or her in his heart. So, some people, in trying to excuse away sin, may loosely interpret “lust” to not include pornography, for example, so that they could say when they are viewing pornography that they are not guilty of adultery, but for the married person, it definitely is adultery.

Then, there is something called “hidden faults,” which I believe also fits with this matter of correctly interpreting the full extent of any particular sin. For example, the Bible says that gluttony is a sin. Gluttony is excess in eating. But, what is the measure of the excess? By some standards, in other countries, all Americans might be considered gluttonous, for example. Truly we don’t need nearly as much food as most people think we need in order to survive. We can survive on very little, actually; a lot less than you might actually imagine, in fact. If we are willing to ask the Lord about our eating, and we listen, many of us would start losing weight. I know I have. And, I feel a whole lot better than I did before. But, just saying here that there might be some sins we don’t realize we are committing, because we don’t understand the full extent of what they entail, until the Lord opens our eyes to see what he considers sin, to its full extent.

Then, there are presumptuous sins, i.e. these are willful sins against God where we choose to sin, knowing full well that what we are doing is sinning against God, and yet we do it anyway, right in God’s face. When people commit such sins, they will make a path for them so that they will be able to do the sin, and they won’t make the necessary cuts in their lives to avoid the sin, because they want to sin. And, then some of them will try to claim that they didn’t know, or that they were caught off guard, or that they were blind-sighted, but they weren’t blind-sighted, because they knew when they went into the situation that they were vulnerable, and they knew there was a good chance they would give in to the temptation, but they made no plan to not go there, and so they planned to fail. This is arrogance!

So, if we want to be able to discern our errors, we need to be listening to God, and then we need to obey him and do what he says, and not resist his voice, or in pride and arrogance think we can handle a situation we know we can’t handle. Pride comes before a fall. And, if we don’t want to be guilty of hidden faults, then we need to pray that the Lord will show us when we are sinning against him, and to what extent he does call something sin, such as in the case of the measure of the excess of our eating, i.e. what truly defines gluttony, for example. And, if we want to be kept from presumptuous sins, then we need to stop making excuses for sin, stop rationalizing away sin or justifying what we know is wrong, and we need to call sin what it is, and make a plan and follow that plan for how to not be led into temptation. Jesus gives us the way of escape, in other words, but we need to take it!

Words of My Mouth (v. 14)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

All in all, we, as believers in Jesus Christ, should want to do what is pleasing to our Lord, and we should no longer crave the sinful desires of our flesh. Our desire should be for our Lord, and we ought to want to do what is right in his eyes, and to stop doing or not do what we know is wrong, or what he says is wrong. Our thoughts, our words and our actions and attitudes should all be brought into conformity to his will for our lives, and we should not excuse away what we know is sin, but we should surrender our all to HIM.

Then, he can use us in the lives of others to help them to be free from slavery to sin, i.e. to show them the way to freedom in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Then, he can put his words in our mouths that we may share with others to encourage them in their faith in Jesus Christ or to show them the way to salvation and to eternal life with God. And the freedom from slavery to sin that we have found in Christ Jesus, our Lord, we can then proclaim to others so that they might be free, too, and no longer walk in the ways of the world and of the flesh, but that they may walk according to the Spirit of God and in truth and righteousness, to the glory and praise of God. Amen!

He Touched My Mouth / An Original Work / June 13, 2012

Based off Isaiah 6:1-8; Jeremiah 1:4-9

Oh, I saw the Lord seated on His throne,
High and lifted up; Holy is the Lord!
The earth is full of His glory.
“Woe to me,” I cried,
“I’m of unclean lips.”

My Lord touched my mouth
With His cleansing pow’r;
Removed all my guilt, paid for by His blood.
He asked, “Whom shall I send;
Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Before I was born, God set me apart;
He appointed me to His servant be.
I said, “I don’t know how to speak.
I am but a child.” Then, the Lord replied:

“Do not say to me, ‘I am but a child.’
You must go to all, and do what I say.
Do not fear them, for I’m with you.”
My Lord touched my mouth;
Gave me words to say.

Life and Death

Monday, July 24, 2017, 7:23 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Unless You Are Born Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 6 (ESV).

Newness of Life (vv. 1-11)

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I believe there is a huge misunderstanding today of God’s grace. So many people are teaching grace as though it is merely Jesus taking our place on the cross so we will be free from the punishment of sin, and so we will have eternal life with God in heaven one day when we die. But, his grace, as taught by many teachers today, does not translate into a changed heart and life, of the Spirit of God. There is no new birth of the Spirit, because there is no death of the “old man,” i.e. of the old self.

The “grace” they often teach is a free license to continue in willful sin against God without guilt and without true remorse. In fact, many are teaching that God does not even require repentance or obedience, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, even while we are rebelling against him via willful and continued sin.

Yet, God’s grace to us is not just to deliver us out of hell and to assure us of heaven when we die. His grace to us is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace is for the purpose that we, who have died with him to sin, might walk (conduct our lives) with Christ in newness of life; with changed lives, transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God. God’s purpose in saving us from our sins was to put sin to death in our lives so that we would no longer be enslaved (addicted) to sin. Jesus died to sin and he lives to God, so we must also consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Death to Life (vv. 12-14)

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

So, sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. It should no longer have power or control over us or hold us in bondage. A truly born again believer in Jesus Christ should not be still living in addiction to sin, for Jesus set us free! He or she, by the Spirit, should be putting sin to death, so that he or she might have eternal life with God (See: Ro. 8:1-14). We should no longer be obeying our sinful passions or giving our bodies over to the lusts of our sinful flesh. If we have been brought from death to life, this should be evident in how we conduct our lives day in and day out.

So, what does this look like? Well, for one, we should no longer be feeling as though we just can’t help it when we sin. We can help it! Jesus paid the price for our sins, and he delivered us out of slavery to sin. If we choose to willfully sin against God, we choose to disobey what we know is right and to do what is wrong despite Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. And, we choose to not tap into the strength and power of God within us to resist Satan, to flee temptation and to draw near to God. Sometimes it is because we are not willing to go the distance with God in ridding our lives of those things which lead us down the path of sin, too. So, we end up playing with temptation and toying with sin, and of course, we will eventually sin.

So, we need to cut out of our lives those things which lead us to sin, and then we have to resist Satan and flee temptation and we have to pursue righteousness. For example, if your sin issue is pornography or sexually charged movies, and you keep going back to these time and time again, then it is time to cut the cord. Get rid of your TV, movies, cable, internet, etc. so that you don’t have the opportunity to sin in these ways. Ask for accountability, especially from your spouse. Don’t have private internet access. Do everything out in the open where anyone can see. So many, many people are bound in sin addiction because they have so many avenues to do so in the privacy of their own homes right from their own pockets or purses without anyone seeing what they are doing.

Leads to Righteousness (vv. 15-23)

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have to stop giving our lives over to what is sinful, and we have to give our lives over to what is godly and righteous and holy. We have to stop following the crowd or blending in with the world or immersing ourselves in our culture. The church and other Christians have helped encourage us toward worldliness for many, many years, but that is not acceptable to God. It is not the way he wants us to live. Our lives are no longer our own to live how we want, for we were bought back for God with the price of Jesus’ blood shed on a cross for our sins. He is now our Lord (owner-master) and we are his bond-slaves, slaves to his righteousness. So, we need to live in the power of God’s Spirit like we believe this is true, instead of compromising with the world.

We need to realize here that a mere prayer to receive Jesus Christ as Savior or a mere acknowledgment of Christ’s existence or a mere acceptance of his forgiveness of our sins does not guarantee us eternal life with God. If we remain slaves to sin, addicted to sinful practices, and we continue to live sinful lifestyles, we are not bound for heaven, but for hell. Slavery to sin leads to death, not life, but if we walk in obedience to our Lord, it leads to righteousness, which leads to sanctification (purity, cleanliness), which then results in eternal life with God. If we walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, regardless of what we believe about salvation and eternal life with God (See: Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

What benefit, then, do we gain if we remain in slavery (addiction) to sin? Nothing! We may get some temporary pleasure for our flesh, but at what cost? Sin not only hurts us, but it hurts those closest to us, too, and it hurts those with whom we come in contact, because when we walk in sin, it is what comes out in our thinking, speaking, attitudes and behaviors. And, this does impact the people around us, as well as it kills the good that was planted in our hearts when we heard the gospel message of salvation from sin. And, it results not in the hope of heaven when we die, but in hearing God say to us, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”

Unless You Are Born Again
An Original Work / November 3, 2013

Based off John 3:1-21

Nicodemus came to Jesus.
He acknowledged God was with Him.
Jesus said, “You can’t see heaven
Unless you are born again.”

“How can a man be born when he’s old?
Can he enter into his mother’s womb?”
Jesus answered, “Flesh is flesh,
So of the Spirit, you must be.”

Jesus said to Nicodemus,
“You’re a teacher, and yet you don’t
Understand of what I tell you,
Because you will not believe.

“For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and His only Son for your sin.
So, whoever believes in Him
Has eternal life in heav’n.

“Light has come into the world,
But human beings love the darkness,
Because their deeds are so evil,
So in truth, they stand condemned.

“Everyone who practices evil
Fears that the Light will expose his sin.
Yet, whoever lives his life by the Light
Does so through his God.”

Led to Repentance

Sunday, July 23, 2017, 3:13 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of repentance.

From Darkness to Light (Acts 26:15-20)

And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

Many preachers today are teaching that God does not require us to repent of our sins, or else they are just deleting (or omitting) repentance from the gospel message, or else they are teaching that repentance is simply having a change of mind in the sense of deciding to believe in Jesus Christ. Yet, is repentance required by God for salvation, and, if so, what all does repentance entail? What is this “change of mind” we are supposed to have? Is it merely to decide to believe in Jesus, or is there more to it?

Well, to repent certainly means to have a change of mind, but it is also a change of the inner man (of our inmost being, our hearts). This change is an indication of our acceptance of the will of God, too, after which we should think, believe and act differently than we did before. In the context of most biblical references to repentance, the indication is that one leaves his former life of sin behind him, casting aside his idols, and his rebellion against God, in order to turn to God/Jesus to follow (obey) him in all his ways.

And, this is made clear for us here in this passage in Acts 26 where Jesus called Paul to open spiritually blinded eyes, turning them from darkness (sin) to the light (Jesus Christ, truth, righteousness), and from the power Satan had over them to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy, purified) by faith in Jesus Christ.

So, Paul obeyed what Jesus told him to do (vv. 16-18) by telling the people that they must repent of their sins and turn to God, and that their actions from that point forward should, thus, reflect (reveal) their repentance.

Obey the Truth (Rom. 2:3-11)

Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

God’s kindness is his grace to us in sending his Son Jesus Christ to the cross to die for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross in order that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died on that cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; so that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When he died he put our sins to death with him so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. In fact, he died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14).

So, the purpose of his grace to us is not just so we can escape hell and have forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. His grace to us is to lead us to repentance. In fact, his grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. God’s grace is NOT carte blanche (free rein) to continue in willful sin against God without guilt and remorse. For, if we walk in sin, according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (1 Jn. 1:5-9; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

Thus, God’s grace should lead us to repentance, and that repentance should produce a change of heart and mind away from living for sin and self to faith in God/Jesus Christ, to follow him (obey him) in all our ways. Yet, if we continue living (practicing) sin, we should expect God’s wrath and fury, not his warm acceptance with open arms into his heaven. If we do not walk in obedience to Christ and his commands, but we go our own way, instead, we will die in our sins, not be saved in the end. Yet, if we follow our Lord in obedience, and we are, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity.

Flee and Pursue (2 Tim. 2:22-26)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

So, repentance is a change of heart and mind away from sin and Satan and to (toward) God and his righteousness. And, it results in a change of thinking, believing and behaving so that we don’t do the things we did before. Now our desire is for God/Jesus, to obey him and to walk in his ways and in his truth. So, it is a lot like making a U-turn in a road. First we were going one direction, and then we changed course, we turned, and now we are going in the opposite direction as we had been traveling.

And, it entails fleeing worldly passions and desires and pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace. If all we do is just try to stop doing what is wrong, but we don’t do what is right, then we are a lot like a thief in between jobs, because nothing has really changed. Our character hasn’t changed, nor have we truly had a change of heart and mind. True repentance means we leave the way we use to live behind us and we now live holy lives pleasing to God. This is not to say we will be instantaneously perfect, i.e. that we will never sin again (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but it is saying that being born again is a new life, not the old life slightly cleaned up to be more presentable.

When we come to repentance, via God’s grace to us, we come to our senses, we realize we were heading the wrong direction, we are broken and contrite over our sins, and we follow our Lord in the right direction. We escape (break free from) the snare of the devil, who had taken us captive to do his will, and now we submit to our Lord, and we are desirous to do his will. And, we continue on this path until the day we die or until Jesus comes back to take us to be with him forever.

And, all this is made possible because of God’s grace to us and due to his sustaining power in our lives. All glory to God. Great things he has done in granting us repentance and forgiveness of sins so that we can now walk in freedom from slavery (addiction) to sin, and so we can walk in the Spirit, by faith in Christ, and according to his righteousness.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”