Tested by Fire

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 8:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, I Need You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1 (Select vv. NASB).

His Great Mercy (vv. 3-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

When we are all born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God, having come up short of attaining his divine approval (Ro. 3:23; Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). So, God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, to take on human flesh, and to die on a cross for our sins. Thus, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (2 Co. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24). And, when the Father resurrected his Son from the dead, Jesus rose victorious over sin, hell and death in order that we might live with him and to his holiness and goodness.

So, when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new life (born again) in Him, in which we were created to be like God (Christ-like) in true righteousness and holiness. Righteousness is what is deemed right in God’s eyes. It is what is pure, holy, godly, upright, moral, honest and honorable. It is the opposite of sin, which includes such things as hatred, idolatry, spiritual or physical adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, lust, and immorality, etc. And, holiness is being separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being transformed in Christ’s likeness, of the Spirit of God.

But, our salvation has only begun when we believe in Jesus Christ, for it is a lifetime process of being saved (sanctified) and then, when Jesus Christ returns for his bride, our salvation will be complete. While we live in these flesh bodies, we will still be tempted to sin, but Jesus made the way of escape for us out from underneath the temptation so that we don’t have to give in to sin. For, we are no longer under its control once we give our lives to Jesus, because Jesus set us free. Amen! And, one day Jesus will return, and he will take us to be with him forever, and then we will no longer be tempted to sin or be sick or have pain or sorrow, for he will wipe away all the tears from our eyes.

Various Trials (vv. 6-9)

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

We all go through trials, at times. Some of them are small and some are very big. Some are extended, while others are short lived. I have been going through a series of them, of late. They are not huge, but are trying just the same. It began with a recent development of a skin allergic reaction to cold. Then, when we had our new patient visits with our new doctor after moving here over a month ago, and I told him about it, he just wanted me to take an antihistamine for it, even though I told him I have been pharmaceutical drug dependent free for about 10 years now. So, he mocked me. But, I stood my ground against his insistence that drugs were my “savior.”

And, then he said I looked anemic, so he took blood, and the blood test showed I had low vitamin B-12, but I don’t take vitamins, either, because of bad reactions to them. But then I thought maybe if I could find something all natural that it would work. And I did, so I thought, but when I sprayed the first spray in my mouth my tongue swelled and my throat began to close up, which is a serious reaction (side effect), plus I got a headache and nerve pains, which is often my body’s reaction to drugs. The Lord, after I had taken this, warned me, I believe, of the dangers of this, so I stopped.

During all of this I was also constipated, and no foods or drinks I was taking in to help with that were working, so I was miserable. On top of this I had some kind of skin rash or something on my thigh, so I started putting Vaseline on that, and it is much improved. But, then we went away for the weekend, and we stayed in a hotel, and there were bad issues with the first 2 rooms they gave us, but the third one finally worked for us. Then, I got 3 bug bites in a cluster on my chest, over my heart, which were reminiscent of when we got bed bugs nearly a year ago to date (we had those for about a month then). Now, 3 days later, the recent bites (source unknown) are still there, but they are disappearing. And, then yesterday, when I was getting out of my car to get the mail, my foot caught in my purse and I took a fall down on the pavement. But, by the grace of God I was not seriously injured.

By the grace of God, as well, I have been able to bear up under these trials and not let them undo me. I have been daily committing myself and these situations to the Lord, praying for help and healing, and for much needed wisdom, and the Lord has been seeing me through them all, and other trials, too. He has been giving me grace to make it, to keep trusting him, and to keep smiling and singing despite the pain and misery associated with any of them. I believe God is absolutely sovereign over my life, and that he has allowed these trials to come into my life as a way both to test me, and also to mature and to strengthen me in my faith and in my resolve to make him my only Lord and Savior. When we go through such trials, they teach us to rely on God and not on ourselves. We learn that our dependency must be in Christ alone, and not in humans or in drugs, or in anything else but God.

Prepare Your Minds (vv. 13-16)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

So, because of all that Jesus Christ has done for us, in dying for our sins, in freeing us from slavery (addiction) to sin, and in giving us new lives in him, and because he is our helper, strength, counselor and guide, we should commit our all to him. We must lay aside all which hinders our walks of faith and that which leads us into sin, so that we can run the spiritual race he has marked out for each of us to run. And, then we must put on our spiritual armor daily with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks and schemes against us (Eph. 6:10-20).

What this means for us, in all practicality, is that we have to stop entertaining ourselves with the sins and trappings of this world, and we have to bathe our minds and hearts with the things of God – His Word, His Spirit, His Truth, and with His righteousness, goodness and holiness. And, then we have to obey what His Word teaches us, not merely being hearers of the Word only, but doers (See: Jas. 1). And, we should not live for the pleasures of this sinful world, but for the glory and praise of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Again, we are to be separate (unlike, different) from the world (holy) because we are being made to be like Jesus.

We need to take this to heart and not take God’s grace to us for granted, for if we continue in sin (in practice, in lifestyle) we don’t have that hope of heaven, but a fearful expectation of judgment. So, don’t be led astray.

Lord, I Need You
Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson /
Jesse Reeves / Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness…

 

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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.”

Prepare for Action

Thursday, June 15, 2017, 9:34 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Only to Be What He Wants Me to Be.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Born Again (vv. 3-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

What does it mean to be born again? First, we are born physically of a mother, and then, because of God’s grace to us, and by faith in Jesus Christ, we are born of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord. One is a physical birth. The other is a spiritual birth. So, how are we born again?

Well, first of all Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) had to die on a cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). He put our sins to death on that cross. And, when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. So, when we believe in him, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. We are born again of the Spirit of God, and Christ now lives in us.

Various Trials (vv. 6-9)

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

So, we rejoice in our salvation and in the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, our hope is not just that one day we will be with our Lord forever, but our hope is in the freedom he has given us to walk (conduct our lives) not after the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Our hope is that we have a Savior, who is our Lord, but who is also our friend, confidant, counselor, guide, helper, strength, healer, comforter, encourager, and teacher, etc. Our hope is that we are in a personal and intimate relationship with our God, which gives us not only future hope, but present and living hope day by day, which is what keeps us going when times get tough.

Our hope, too, is that God created us for a purpose, and he has given meaning to our lives, and purpose and direction, and that even our trials are part of his plan for our lives in order to purify us, to make us holy, and to prepare us for his service. Also, our trials are for the purpose to test our faith, to make it stronger and more resilient. When we suffer, it is for our good, to make us more like Jesus, and to teach us to rely on God and not on ourselves. We, too, learn patience and perseverance through difficult times. And, we grow closer to our Lord, mature in our faith, and increase in our seriousness of our walk of faith, when we respond to our trials with grace, with trust in our Lord, and with submission to his perfect will for our lives.

Prepare Minds (vv. 13-16)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In our minds we store memories, good and bad. In our minds we think, we believe, we discern, make decisions, and react to our circumstances. In our minds we entertain sinful thoughts or we dwell on heavenly things. Part of God’s saving grace to us is in the renewing of our minds, in the healing of past hurts, and in transforming how we believe and perceive things. Yet, we have a responsibility regarding our minds, in the renewing process, and that is in the putting off of the old, and the putting on of the new; in thinking about things which are pure, right, true, and beneficial, rather than thinking hateful thoughts or impure thoughts.

We also have a responsibility for what we take into our minds, to make sure that we are not feeding our minds with what is garbage, or what is immoral, wicked, and ungodly, etc. If we take garbage into our minds, that is what is going to come out in our words and actions and attitudes. If we entertain our minds with the sinful acts of others, this is what our minds will dwell on, and often our actions and words will follow suit. So, if we are going to prepare our minds for action, we need to keep our minds pure and focused on Jesus Christ and on the truths of his Word. And, we need to take God’s Word seriously and apply its truths to our daily lives.

Conduct Yourselves (vv. 17-19)

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

What does it mean to conduct ourselves in fear? I believe this is speaking here of the fear of the Lord, which is reverence, respect, honor, value, esteem, adoration, worship, obedience and submission to our Lord. Our conduct is the way in which we live, i.e. our daily practice. This is how we should live, day in and day out. Conducting ourselves in fear is also living on this earth as though we truly do not belong here, as though this world and all its stuff is really not our home, but with an eternal focus in mind. We are not here to build kingdoms on this earth, but to help, to work to advance God’s heavenly kingdom while we still live here. We are not here, in other words, to live to please and entertain ourselves, but we are here to give glory to God in all that we do and say and think and are.

It also means that we live holy lives, pleasing to God. Being holy means we are separate (set apart, unlike, different) from the world, because we are being made to be like Jesus. We should no longer be conformed to the ways (patterns, attitudes, values) of this world, but we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God in the renewing of our minds. Our new lives should not look like our old lives, and only slightly cleaned up to be more presentable. Our new lives should be radically different from our old lives, because we died with Christ to sin, and we were resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to him and to his righteousness.

Only to Be What He Wants Me to Be
Norman J. Clayton

Only to be what He wants me to be,
Every moment of every day,
Yielded completely to Jesus alone
Every step of this pilgrim way…

Don’t Mess Around!

Monday, March 27, 2017, 9:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 42 (Select vv. NASB).

The Chosen One (vv. 1-4)

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
“He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

Jesus Christ, our Messiah, is this chosen servant of God, yet he is also God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father sent his Son Jesus to the earth to be born of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus walked the face of this earth, he was fully God yet fully human. While in a flesh body, Jesus suffered like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Although he was God, yet he was also man, so God the Father put his Spirit on Jesus, so that he was also filled with the Spirit of God.

So, how did Jesus or how will Jesus bring forth justice to the nations? Another word for justice is righteousness. Well, first of all he taught the righteousness of God when he was on the earth. He confronted sin in sinful humans, warned of divine judgment, called for repentance, and promised the hope of eternal life with God for the repentant sinner. He also promised the blessings of God for the humble of heart, for those who have grieved over their sins, for those who show his mercy to others, and for the many who yearn after God’s holiness, purity, and uprightness in their lives.

Yet, not only did he teach it, and not only did he live righteously, but he provided the way in which we, also, can be righteous before God. Although Jesus knew no sin, yet he became sin for us when he was crucified on a cross (2 Co. 5:21). So, when he died, our sins died with him and were buried with him. When God the Father resurrected him from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Thus, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we can be delivered out of bondage (addiction) to sin, be forgiven our sins, relieved (set free) of eternal punishment, and be given the hope of eternal life with God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

Sometime after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he ascended back to heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts and lives of his followers. When we believe in Jesus, and we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life (born again), the Spirit of God comes to live within us to teach, guide, comfort, encourage, train, convict, counsel, strengthen and empower us to walk godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. And, one day Jesus is going to return to the earth to judge all humankind and to take his followers (his saints, his bride) to be with him forever.

Open Blinded Eyes (vv. 5-9)

Thus says God the Lord,

Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but he is God, and he is our creator (See: John 1). He is the giver of life. Not only did he provide the way for us to be made righteous before God, restored to fellowship with HIM, but he called us in righteousness to live righteously (godly, holy, and uprightly in purity and integrity). He, as well, was called of the Father in righteousness. So, although this is primarily speaking of Jesus, our Messiah, yet as his followers, this speaks of us, as well, for we are his body; his temple.

Where he was called to live righteously, so are we. Where he was called to be a light to the nations, so we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Where he was called to open blinded eyes and to deliver the captives out from their prisons, so we are called to rescue people out of darkness, and to snatch them from the fire and to save them. This is what it means to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people. We tell them that Jesus died to set them free from slavery to sin so that they can now live for Christ and walk (in lifestyle) in his holiness.

When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, which divinely persuades us as to God’s will for our lives, we are turned away from living for sin and self, and we are turned to Christ to live godly and holy lives pleasing unto him, empowered and strengthened by the Spirit of God now living within us. Our old lives of living to please self are done away with because Jesus put sin to death on a cross. And, we are born anew of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ now under the direction and influence of the Spirit of God. The old has gone. The new has come. Jesus doesn’t slightly clean up our old lives, but he gives us completely new lives!

Give Ear to This (vv. 17-23)

They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame,
Who trust in idols,
Who say to molten images,
“You are our gods.”
Hear, you deaf!
And look, you blind, that you may see.
Who is blind but My servant,
Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me,
Or so blind as the servant of the Lord?
You have seen many things, but you do not observe them;
Your ears are open, but none hears.
The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake
To make the law great and glorious.
But this is a people plundered and despoiled;
All of them are trapped in caves,
Or are hidden away in prisons;
They have become a prey with none to deliver them,
And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”
Who among you will give ear to this?
Who will give heed and listen hereafter?

Here, the servant being spoken of is not Jesus, but it is the people of God, i.e. now it is the church. Although coming to Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness, it is possible that believers in Jesus can be led astray from their pure devotion to Christ, and they can get entangled in sin once again (See: Rev. 2-3, for example). There can be a spiritual decline take place within the church when sin is left unchecked and undealt with, and when worldliness begins to take a foothold within the gatherings of the church. And, this is where we are in America.

So, God is now calling out to his church, i.e. to those who are living spiritually adulterated lives in one way or another, and he is, once again, confronting the sins in the church, calling for repentance, warning of judgment, but promising hope, healing and restoration to the repentant. He is pointing out such sins as idolatry, stubborn hearts, willful closing of eyes and ears to the truth, and disobedience to his Word. Although Jesus set us free from slavery to sin, many have allowed themselves to come back under a yoke of slavery (addiction, bondage). And, they have closed their minds to the truth, and have gathered around themselves preachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear, i.e. feel-good messages which do not convict of sin, but which allow them to remain in their sins guilt-free.

So, the Lord is calling his church to listen to him, and to heed what he tells them. God is not pleased with us no matter what we do, no matter who tells you that. He has standards for us. His Word is his standard for our lives, which we must follow. We are not bound by Old Testament laws and regulations, but we are still commanded to obey the Word of Christ, i.e. his instructions to us. He says that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (die in our sins). But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. Paul reiterated this message when he said that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the 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. 8:1-14).

So, don’t mess around. Don’t take God/Jesus or his grace for granted. God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

Give Ear to Jesus / An Original Work
Based off Isaiah 55 / February 16, 2016

Call on your Savior.
Seek the Lord while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way;
Turn to the Lord.
God will have mercy.
He’ll forgive you of your sin.
He will freely pardon you
And give peace within.
Turn from your sin, follow Jesus,
Be cleansed from sin.

Give ear to Jesus.
Come to Him. Your soul will live.
Listen to Him speaking to you:
“Eat what is good.”
If you are thirsty,
Come to Jesus, drink from Him.
Drink His Spirit given to you.
Be born again.
Listen to Him. Do what He says.
Rejoice in Him.

God’s Word, eternal,
Will achieve what He desires.
He is willing none should perish,
Saved by His blood.
Share now the gospel.
Jesus died so we’d go free.
Walk in vict’ry,
Free from your sin, eternally.
Die to sin, and live to Jesus.
In Him believe.

A Roadway of Holiness

Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10:32 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 35 (NASB).

From Darkness to Light (vv. 1-2)

The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
The majesty of our God.

Do you ever get heavy of heart over this sin-sick world? I do! I especially get burdened for my nation, the USA, and for the church here in America. I grieve and mourn over the spiritual condition of the church, overall, though not necessarily representative of all gatherings of the church in America.

Our nation is an affluent nation. Even some of the poorest of people here have cable TV in their houses, and not only do many of the adults in the household have smart phones, but many of the children do, too. People living on welfare or living in government subsidized housing often seem to be better off than those working for minimum wage. I think the vast majority of Americans have cell phones and cable TV. At least, it seems that way. And, many of them plan their lives around their TV shows, too. And, it seems most people have private (unrestricted) internet connection, too.

Now, I am not against these things, except for in the hands of young children who are being unsupervised by adults, or in the hands of those who are not mature enough or self-disciplined enough to choose good from bad. Yet, I can see where TV, movies, the internet, and private internet access via tablets (I Pads) and smart phones have been a great source of deception, mind control, and of spiritual decline of the church here in America. These devices have sucked in so many Christians and have captivated them to the point to where they take over their lives, and God has often been pushed into a corner and barely noticed. Yet, this is just a small picture of the spiritual wilderness that exists here in America.

Still, the Lord has been encouraging me that he has a plan of action in mind which will deliver his people out of this spiritual wilderness, and which will bring them into a time of great joy and of blossoming spiritually.

Take Courage (vv. 3-4)

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”

Sometimes, when I see all the evil going on all around me, and all the Christians (or professing Christians) living not much different at all from the people of the world, I get disheartened. When I see so much of the church embracing the world of sin in order to connect with the world, and seemingly so few truly seeking after God with all their hearts, it saddens me greatly. When I know that the Word of Truth is going out to the people, and that many are hearing the truth, though many are not, yet they seem to let the truth just go in one ear and out the other, so that they can continue on the same course they have been on, it tears at my heart, and I cry. And, when Christians see Christian fellowship as merely a church social where they eat and play games with each other, I groan inwardly to have true fellowship.

I am torn in my emotions because I want to see the church awakened to all the lies they have been buying into, and I want to see them walking in truth and purity, and serving the Lord with great zeal. But, from what I read in scripture, it does not appear that this is going to happen unless we, as the church in this nation, are put through some enormous time of suffering and great trials. It isn’t as though I long for this time, though, but what I hunger for is to see the church in America revived, and God’s people set on fire for him, and the Word of Truth going out from the revived church to the people in their communities, and people flocking to Jesus Christ (See: Isaiah 2). And, so I need to be reminded to “take courage,” and to trust the Lord, and to believe him to change people’s hearts, all in his perfect timing.

New Birth (vv. 5-7)

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

The Bible teaches us that God disciplines us for our good that we may share in his holiness, and that for those of us who have been trained by it, it will yield a harvest of righteousness in our lives. But, this isn’t light stuff here. He uses the terms “scourges” and “reproves,” and he says that the discipline is painful and not pleasant, but it is for our good. Sometimes when things are going too well for us in this life we can lose sight of eternity and we can end up focusing our time and attention on the things of this world rather than on the things that matter for eternity. We end up spending our time on what is going to pass away and on what has no eternal value whatsoever. And, so God has to discipline us in order to refocus our attention on what really matters, and so he can purify us and make us holy unto him.

So, there are times when we need this wake-up call in order to have our blinded eyes (or deceived minds) opened to the truth, so that we do follow the truth and we don’t follow after lies. And, when the church is awakened spiritually, they will be that light of the world and the salt of the earth. They will be sharing the gospel, so that the people of this sinful world will have their spiritually blinded eyes opened, too. Thus, they will be born again of the Spirit of God and be given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to him and to his righteousness. Where they were once in a spiritual wilderness (desert), now they have springs of living water flowing from within them. They have the Holy Spirit living within them empowering, encouraging, comforting, teaching, strengthening and guiding them into all truth. Amen!

Highway of Holiness (vv. 8-10)

A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

By God’s grace, through God-given faith, we can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. This God-given faith, though, is not like human faith. It is divinely convinced (persuaded) as to God’s will for our lives, and so it submits to Jesus Christ, and it chooses to walk in obedience to our Lord and to forsake the old (former) way of living to sin and self. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives with this kind of faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

The lives we live, we no longer live according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit of God who now lives within us, and who empowers us to live such godly lives. We walk by faith and not by sight. We live to please God in all that we do, or we should. Yet, if we continue living in sin, we don’t know God. If we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), yet we claim to have fellowship with God, we are liars. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, and if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the 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.

So, if you want to be on this Highway of Holiness, which leads to eternal life with God, then you need to believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which yields to Jesus as our Lord, and which submits to his will for our lives, and which cooperates with his work of grace in our lives. While it is true that we do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation, and that our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace, that gift means we die with Christ to sin so that we are “born again” of the Spirit of God to live lives no longer for ourselves, but for the one who gave his life up for us. In other words, Jesus didn’t die just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died, not just to forgive us our sins, but to free us from slavery (addiction) to sin.

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.”

By God’s Power

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 11:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1:1-5 (ESV).

For Obedience (vv. 1-2)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This letter is addressed to the “elect” of God. So, who are the elect? They are those chosen by God for salvation and for holiness before the world was created. We were predestined by God to be conformed to the image of his Son (Ro. 8:29). All the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before any of them came into being (See: Ps. 139).

Before we can even come to faith in Jesus Christ, the Father must first draw us to Jesus (Jn. 6:44). Then, he gives us the faith to believe in him, i.e. God divinely persuades us as to his will for our lives, i.e. he convinces us or he moves us to action; to change (Eph. 2:8-10). As well, God grants us repentance, leading us to a knowledge of the truth, so that we might realize the futility of our fleshly lives, and our need of Jesus to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and so we might call on him to save us (Acts 2:21; Acts 5:30,31; Acts 11:17; Ro. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Then, when we accept this God-given faith in Jesus Christ to be applied to our lives, and he turns our hearts away from sin and to God, to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will, we are then born again (spiritually) of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit comes within us to live, and then he teaches, encourages, empowers and strengthens us to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God.

Yet, we are not puppets on a string. We are not possessed of the Spirit of God in the same way someone is demon possessed. One characteristic trait of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. God does not just zap certain people and instantly they are his puppets and they no longer have control over their own minds, will and bodies. This could not be more obvious when we read the books of the New Testament. We do have a choice to believe in him or to not, i.e. to accept or to not accept this gift of faith and to appropriate it to our own lives via submission to Jesus Christ, to the cross of Christ, and to his Word (See: Jn. 3:11; Mk. 4:20; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

Born Again (vv. 3-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Not one of us can be saved of our sins by our own merit. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. It was while we were yet sinners that Jesus Christ died for us. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Only by God’s grace, in giving up his Son (himself) to die on a cross for our sins, can any of us be saved from our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, we must accept this free gift of salvation, by accepting this free gift of faith, by yielding control of our lives over to God, and via surrendering our lives to his will (See: Ac. 3:19; 26:16-18; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, why did Jesus die on a cross? He died to take upon himself our sin and our punishment for sin so that, by faith in him, we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, no longer condemned to die in our sin, and so we might have eternal life with God beginning now and forevermore. He 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, and that we might no longer walk (live our lives) according to our sinful flesh but according to the Spirit of God who is at work in our lives in purifying us and in making us holy (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 8:1-14). If we have believed in Jesus with God-given faith, “our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7).

Not only were we delivered out of slavery to sin, but we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness, free from the control of sin over our lives. That is a “living hope!” It is not living hope if all his grace does for us is frees us from eternity in hell and promises us eternity in heaven when we die. That still leaves us in bondage to sin. So, the real hope is that we have been set free, and we no longer are under the control of Satan or sin, but now we are slaves of Christ’s righteousness. We can walk in freedom! We are not destined to live our lives fighting for survival, regularly feeling defeated by sin, and thus giving in because we feel powerless to say “No.” God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

By God’s power we can resist Satan, flee temptation to sin, i.e. flee sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. This does not mean we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but it means we should no longer be enslaved to sin or feel as though we are powerless to defeat sin in our lives, because Jesus already won this one for us! He already conquered Satan and defeated sin on our behalf, and he has given and will give us all we need to put off the deeds of the flesh daily and to put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. He empowers us to live for him, but we have to appropriate (put into practice) what he gives us.

Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures

Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.

For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.

Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.

We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.

Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.

Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!

Because of His Mercy

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 5:34 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 3:1-11 (NIV).

Whatever is Good (vv. 1-2)

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be subject to rulers and those in authority over us, yet we are to never succumb to following after false gods, to compromising our faith and convictions, and to disobeying our Lord. If human authority requires us to disobey God and his Word, then God’s authority always trumps human authority (See examples of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel, Jesus and his NT apostles).

We should always live in obedience to our Lord, though. This is not saying we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but it is saying that our lifestyle, i.e. how we conduct our lives day in and day out should be reflective of those who are committed to obedience to Christ and to his Word. Our goal in life should not be to see how much bad we can get away with and not get caught, but our mission in life should be to do whatever is good by God’s standards, i.e. whatever is wholesome, moral, upright, godly and has the best interest of others in mind. We should not be in the practice of gossiping about others, especially if we tell lies about them in order to cause them harm. And, we should also be patient, fair and reasonable in our dealings with others.

Justified by Grace (vv. 3-8)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

If we ever get to feeling morally superior to others, thinking to ourselves about how righteous we are, and being proud of it, then we need to read this passage of scripture, for it puts things in the proper perspective for us.

We were all born into this world as sinners. We all came up short of attaining God’s divine approval. Not one of us can earn or deserve our own salvation. We are not saved because of our own righteousness. Only by God’s grace, through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins, can we be forgiven of our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. We can’t even come to Christ unless the Father draws us, and even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God, i.e. it is his divine persuasion to us of his will for our lives. We don’t believe in Jesus with human belief, but with spiritual faith. Because this faith is of the Spirit, it is in accord with (is persuaded of) God’s perfect will.

Even the ability to repent of our sins and to walk in obedience to our Lord is a gift from God, empowered by his Spirit at work within us. When we exercise this God-given faith, the Spirit of God transforms our lives away from sin and to God, to live to his righteousness. Our spiritually blinded eyes are opened, and we are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (purified, made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18). And, all this is possible because of God’s mercy toward us in delivering us out of slavery to sin so that we can now become bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness. All glory to God. Amen!

A Divisive Person (vv. 9-11)

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

A divisive person is “disposed to form sects, sectarian, heretical, factious.” Literally, a factious person is one who is “specializing in half-truths and misimpressions ‘to win others over’ to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions (used only in Tit 3:10)” (Source: biblehub.com). If someone is heretical, he is deviating, dissenting, and/or profane (irreverent, abusive and full of contempt regarding what is sacred). And, to deviate means to stray, depart, turn from, or wander, in this case, from the biblical standard for how we should live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, i.e. it is to be immoral.

We should separate ourselves from those who willfully tell half-truths and who purposefully give misimpressions to win people over to their misguided beliefs and practices, if they have been warned appropriately, and if they have not repented of their sins. We should not be party to what is heretical, i.e. we should not in any way give such people our support. And, what they teach and practice should not be the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ, either. If they are preaching a half-truth gospel which eliminates the necessity of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as part of our God-given faith, i.e. God’s divine persuasion, i.e. the persuasion of his will, then we should reject such teaching. Such teaching gives free license to immorality and to living sinful lifestyles while still promising its adherents the hope of eternal life in heaven with God, and this is deviant from God’s will.

The Word of God teaches us that faith in Jesus Christ involves dying with Christ to sin and being resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). Scripture teaches us that 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 himself up for us; and he died “to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” His grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14).

Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) 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), we will gain eternal life with God. Paul reiterated this message when he said that Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. He said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh (sin, wickedness) 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) (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness) that we don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6). So, we need to seek the Lord and his righteousness and not follow after liars.

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.”