God Will Help

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 9:47 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Why So Downcast?” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 46 (Select vv. ESV).

No Fear! (vv. 1-3)

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

Life on this earth has its ups and downs. Sometimes we experience relative peace and safety, and we are not seriously challenged with much in the way of adversity, trouble, or hardships. At other times, life’s circumstances hit us hard with difficulties, persecutions, heartache, pain and much sorrow. While some people seem to encounter more troubles than others, certain people appear to have life pretty easy, although appearances can be deceiving.

Yet we can be encouraged, for God Almighty – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of the universe and all living things – is the refuge and strength of his people, i.e. of those of us who have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is our present (abiding) help in trouble. Although he does not necessarily remove us from our sufferings, though he may, and he sometimes does, he will carry us through them. For, he will give us all the wisdom, counsel, guidance, strength and endurance we need to endure, and he will also teach us what he wants us to learn through our troubles.

Not many of us like to be in pain, though, and so the tendency of many of us may be to immediately want to escape the suffering, yet we are called to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel, and we are destined to go through many trials and tribulations, because these are for our good. For, through our difficulties and troubles we learn perseverance, patience, and godliness; our faith is tested to see if it proves genuine; we mature in our walks of faith; and we learn to rely on God and not on ourselves.

As well, we learn humility, compassion, obedience and love; we share in God’s holiness; and for those of us who have been trained by God’s divine discipline, it produces in us a harvest of his righteousness. So, we should never fear, for God is doing good in us and through us for his glory.

Not Moved! (vv. 4-7)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

When troubles come our way, which they most certainly will, how do we respond to them? With fear or with faith? With travail or with trust? With rancor or with rest? And, when we are facing such difficulties, to what or to whom do we turn first? To our own resources, to other people, or to God? As well, do we believe that God is absolutely sovereign over our lives, or do we rather see God as impotent, rather than as omnipotent? And, do we see Satan as more powerful and God as not able to do anything to help us?

I believe that many Christians respond to their troubles as though they believe that God can do nothing to help them, or as though he is not completely sovereign over their lives, and as though Satan still has power over them. And, that is why they are afraid, and it is also why many of them feel as though they have to resolve their own problems. It is because they don’t see that God is in their midst, that he is their fortress (strength), and that he will give them all the help they need to make it through whatever it is they are going through presently.

Some people find comfort in believing that God is impotent to do anything about their circumstances, because then they don’t have to deal with the knowledge that God could have rescued them, but he didn’t. They, too, don’t want to believe that a loving God would allow them to suffer in such a way, or even that it is his will that we should go through trials and tribulations. But, I find that belief to be unbiblical and disconcerting, because that says that I am on my own, that Satan has full power over me, and that my God, who is supposed to be my strength and help, is absolutely powerless against Satan’s schemes. Therefore, it is like going into a battle without my armor.

Where I find peace is in knowing that my God is absolutely in control over all that he has made, and that nothing can touch me but what God allows it (or causes it), and that he does so for his purposes, which God will work for my ultimate good and for the good of others. I find peace, too, in knowing that whatever he takes me through, he will give me everything I need to make it through, and he will never abandon me. So, even though I may face much opposition, trouble or heartache, I can stand strong in my faith, for my God is with me, and he is my strength and purpose, so I will not be moved.

Be Still! (vv. 10-11)

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

God/Jesus is often saying to us, “Don’t be afraid,” “Trust Me,” and “Be Still.” And, he can say that because he is in control over all that he has made, he has us in his hands, he is carrying us on his shoulders, and he is holding our hands, and he will see us through everything we are going through. Even though Satan is throwing his darts at us, and humans are mistreating us, and the opposition is fierce, at times, we can be at peace in the midst of the storm. We can rest in our Lord and in his sovereignty and in his grace, believing that good will come from it all.

Although things may look pretty bad at times, and it doesn’t seem right now that God is being exalted among the nations, but rather evil often seems to triumph over good, one day every knee will bow before God, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

God will triumph! And, Satan is already defeated, for Jesus conquered him via his death and resurrection, and his doom is sure. Satan can only still exist and be allowed to do the evil he does because God has allowed it to happen, and for his purposes, but one day that will all end, and we will be taken to be with our Lord. Every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and we will no longer be in pain or suffer or be sad, and in that we can rejoice!

Why So Downcast? / An Original Work
December 21, 2012 / Based off Psalm 42

Why so downcast, O my soul,
And why so disturbed now within me?
Put your hope in Jesus Christ,
For I will praise His name.
He’s my Savior and my God,
So therefore I’ll remember Him through
Storms and tempests sweeping o’er me.
Still I’ll praise His name.
Put your hope in God.

By day the Lord sends forth His love.
In the night His song is with me.
I pray to the God of my life.
I will praise His name. I say to God my Rock,
“Why must I be called to suffer this way?”
Foes attack me; Satan sneering.
Still I’ll praise my God.
Put your hope in Him.

As a deer pants for the waters,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God who’s living.
When can I meet Him?
My tears have been my food at night,
When men say, “So, where is your God?”
I pour out my soul to my God.
I’ll still praise His name.
Shout with joy to Him.

 

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When Problems Arise

Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 4:36 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, I Need You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 27 (Select vv. ESV).

Be Confident (vv. 1-3)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

We all go through struggles, from time to time, whether they involve solely temptations to sin against God, or they involve hardships, persecutions, financial difficulties, physical enemies pursuing us, marital problems, troubles with our children, disasters, loneliness, or having to make difficult decisions, or plans not working out the way we had hoped. And, we may be tempted to respond in fear, doubt, worry, anger, frustration, disappointment or in retreating back to sinful habits as a way of numbing the pain.

Yet, whatever difficulty, trouble, hardship or temptation we might be facing, our God is all-sufficient to meet our every need, and to give us all we need to remain faithful to him, to rest in him, to trust him with our life situations, and to believe him for the strength and power to endure, to resist Satan, and to flee the temptation to sin against God. In fact, through Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins, he made the way of escape for us out of temptation to sin, for he conquered sin and death for us via his death and resurrection.

As well, we read in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. It isn’t to say that we don’t have physical enemies or that we won’t be hated and persecuted by other humans, for we will, if we follow Jesus. But, it is to say that the real forces against us are of Satan and his demons and that this is a spiritual battle that must be won with spiritual weapons of warfare, not with physical weapons or with human scheming. So, this is why God has given us spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-20) to apply to our lives every day so that we can fight off temptation to sin against him, that is the temptation to sin by telling lies, cheating, immorality, fear, and doubt, etc. So, daily we must put this armor on, if we are to be victorious in this battle.

So, how do we do this? How do we make the Lord the stronghold of our lives so that we don’t fear, and so we don’t give into temptation, and so we are confident in Christ in our battles? When we are afraid, we put off fear, and we put on faith. When Satan lies to us, we counter him with the truth, more specifically with the truth of God’s Word. Then, we choose to believe the truth and not the lies. And, when tempted toward immorality, we resist Satan, and FLEE the temptation. Too many people give into temptation to sin because they play with sin and they don’t FLEE. And, involved in fleeing is also being proactive by cutting out of our lives those things which lead us to sin against God. For, if we play with the fire, we are going to get burned!

Sing Praises (vv. 4-6)

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

When difficulties arise or when we are faced with temptation toward fear or toward immorality, etc., we need to immediately seek the Lord. We must call on him for help. But, it is pointless to call on him if we have no intention of listening to or obeying him, or if we are not willing to cut out of our lives what is leading us into sin. In other words, we cannot resist the temptation to have immoral thoughts or actions or to give in to fear if every day we are willingly taking into our minds and eyes what is immoral or which feeds fear and doubt, and for the purpose of entertaining ourselves. We have to decide if we are going to be serious about God and holiness or not. If we are serious, our Lord Jesus, via His Spirit, will help us every step of the way.

One of the best antidotes to fear, doubt and worry is to sing praises to God. Satan loves to whisper lies in our ears, or to get us to stay focused on the waves crashing in all around us, i.e. he likes to get us to think about all the negatives of a situation, and even to create non-existent ones in our own minds (paranoia). So, when we realize we are down in the dumps, and that our minds are dwelling on all the “what ifs” of a situation, we need to stop, pray, and sing songs of praise to our Lord, and songs which will strengthen us in our faith and which will combat Satan’s lies with God’s truth.

Follow Jesus (vv. 11-14)

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

If we truly desire God’s help, these words here have to be more than just words coming from our lips. Again, there is no point in asking for his guidance and direction if we are not going to listen to him and follow him. If we truly want to be taught his way, then we need to be willing to walk in the way that he shows us. So, don’t say it if you don’t mean it. God knows the difference. We can fool other humans, but we can’t fool God. He knows our hearts, and he knows who are serious about following him, and who are just playing games or are going through a religious exercise.

So, if you or I truly want to be taught the ways of the Lord, then we need to be willing to go the distance with God. We can’t pick and choose what we will obey and what we won’t, or to what extent we will be willing to obey. We need to have undivided hearts that don’t vacillate back and forth between what we want and what God desires for our lives. A level path is not a roller coaster ride. It is steady, even, sincere, committed and determined. And, we have to stay the course, but not in our own strength or willpower, but in the strength of the Lord and in his power and might.

I cannot stress enough that a godly life is a committed and determined life given over to God and to his service, and it takes sin and God and his Word seriously, and it does not take lightly his grace to us. His grace, after all, is not freedom to continue in sin without guilt or remorse. It is not carte blanche (free rein) to live however we want now that we are under grace. No! 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 his return. So, don’t give way to the enemy! Be strong in the Lord, and in his strength. Take courage and put your trust in God alone!

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…
My one defense, my righteousness…

 

Whatever Comes

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 1:10 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Philippians 4:4-13 (NASB).

Always Rejoice (vv. 4-7)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I read this passage of scripture this morning, my heart goes out to all those in the USA who have these past few days suffered either death of a loved one or destruction to property as a result of high winds, rain and flooding in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia, in particular. My heart also goes out to all people of any country who were in the path of this destruction, and who have suffered loss of loved ones and/or personal property, and who are without electric power, water, shelter and life’s necessities. You are in my thoughts and in my prayers at this time.

For those, in particular, who are going through such times of suffering, these words in this passage of scripture may be a “hard pill to swallow,” and yet this must be our attitude if we are to survive the onslaughts of pain and suffering which this life on this earth will sometimes deliver to us. It will only make matters worse if all we do is gripe and complain about our lot in life. Plus, if we decide to grumble and/or to get angry over our circumstances, it reveals lack of faith in God and in his sovereignty over our lives now existing within our hearts. For, whatever comes our way, God is still in control. And, none of this has caught him by surprise. So, we must yield to his control.

When we choose to rejoice in our circumstances, no matter what comes our way, the peace of God sweeps over us like a flood. Yet, it isn’t as though we don’t cry, or that these trials are not difficult for us. They are! The Apostle Paul expressed that often in his letters to the churches. Yet, God allowed us to go through these trials for a reason, so we need him to let him teach us what we need to learn through our times of difficulty. Sometimes he allows us to go through hardships because we have wandered from the faith, and we need to be brought back to God in purity of heart, and other times it is for our spiritual maturity, to learn perseverance, to share in God’s holiness, and that our lives might yield the peaceful fruit of God’s righteousness.

Dwell on These (vv. 8-9)

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

At all times, we should think (dwell) on what is pure, righteous, honorable, worthy of praise and true. But, not all that is true is worthy to dwell on, for we should not dwell on what is unrighteous, dishonorable or impure, even though it may be true. We should fill our minds with truth, though, and not with lies, deceptions, and manipulations. In fact, how we think or what we think on has a lot to do with what we fill our minds with day in and day out. So, if we are going to think pure thoughts, for example, we need to not take into our minds what is impure, especially willfully, and so to be entertained.

I live in the USA, so this is what I know, so I can’t speak for other countries and what the people there do, because I am not familiar with other countries. I have never even been outside the USA, not even to Canada. But, in America, I know that the vast majority of homes have televisions, and perhaps more than one TV, and it seems most Americans also have home computers, smart phones and/or tablets (like an I Pad). So, we are inundated with technology and all that that technology has to offer us in the way of bringing the world into our lives and into our homes.

There have been good things that have come from all this technology, such as the gospel of Jesus Christ has been able to go throughout most of the world via TV and the internet. Yet, TV and the internet has also been the downfall of many people professing faith in Jesus Christ. Many Christians take in daily doses of immorality, sexual perversion, lies, deceptions, manipulations, cheating, murders, thefts, and the like, and all in the name of entertainment, and they have become desensitized to all the evil contained within, as they make compromise after compromise with the world of sin. This should not be! So, we need to test everything we take into our minds, and what we put before our eyes, against Philippians 4:8-9, and then cut out of our lives what is leading us to think and to do what is sinful.

Instead of practicing sin, or being entertained by others’ sins, we need to practice what is holy, righteous and pure. And, we ought to do what God’s Word says, and not just read it and then walk away and forget what we read. And, we need to be holy, separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being made into the image of Christ. Amen!

Content in Whatever (vv. 10-13)

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Lately, in my devotions with my Lord, the Lord has been impressing on my heart to gladly forfeit all of earth’s treasures so that Jesus’ perfect likeness I would bear (“Oh, To Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer”), and to rather have Jesus than silver or gold, etc. I believe he has been preparing my heart for a time when we will not have much in the way of material wealth on this earth, but we will be rich in faith. And, we may be getting much closer to that time here in America, as we experience more and more in the way of destruction of property and loss of fortune, but all for the glory of God, that he may be our ONLY GOD and LORD. So, I must hold lightly the things of this life, and be willing to walk away from them all, at any time, in order to follow Jesus with my life in service to him and to his will for my life.

The point of all this, I believe, is that we learn to be content in whatever circumstances God places us, not that we have to enjoy our trials and tribulations, but that we are to be resolved to rejoice in the Lord despite our circumstances, and to praise him in good times and in bad times, too. We need to be ok in good times and in bad, and with sufficient accommodations, and with less than to be desired shelter, food, and circumstances, too. And, we must rejoice in the Lord through it all, give him all the praise and glory, and submit our lives over to him for him to accomplish his will and his purposes in our lives through it all. And, he will give us all we need to survive and to thrive, by his grace, and in his strength and power.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

 

Help in Trouble

Thursday, August 10, 2017, 2:32 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 46 (NASB).

God our Refuge (vv. 1-3)

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

Life is full of changes. There are no guarantees that life, as we now know it, will continue. Our jobs could go away. Our spouses could die, or they could leave us for someone else. The stock market could crash, and we could experience another “Great Depression.” Our present form of government, as we understand it to be, could suddenly disappear, and in its place the beast (one world government) could rule supreme. Our houses could burn down to the ground. A hurricane could sweep our houses (or apartments) away, or so could a major earthquake or a tsunami. We could suddenly be struck very ill, or we could be involved in a serious automobile accident. Or, our nation could suddenly be attacked, once more, by a foreign nation (or entity).

Yet, in all of these things, and so much more, God is our refuge and strength to help us in times of trouble, if our hope and our trust is in him, and in his salvation. He is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made. He is all powerful, too. Nothing catches him by surprise, and there is not anything which he cannot handle. He will see us through any and all changes in our lives or in our circumstances. He may or may not remove us from our difficult situations, but he will give us the strength and courage we need to endure, to persevere, and to remain faithful to him in all things despite the difficulties we are experiencing in this present world of ours. So, we need to rest in him, trust in his grace, believe his promises, and carry on in Him.

Our Stronghold (vv. 4-7)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

When difficult times come our way, which they will, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not be frightened in any way by the waves of the sea crashing in all around us. God’s presence is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us if we are truly his by faith in Jesus Christ. His grace is sufficient to help us in times of need. And, not only that, but God allows difficulties to come into our lives to purify us, to prune us, to make us holy, to conform us into his likeness, to revive us, and to mature us in our walks of faith, as well as to correct and rebuke us, if we have gone astray, so that we will turn from our sinful rebellion to walking in his holiness and righteousness.

We don’t ever have to be afraid of anything. Nothing can happen to us in this life but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, and he will see us through it to victory. He will provide all that we need, but not necessarily all that we think we need, or all that we want. Especially here in America we have this idea that we need so much, but we don’t. We can survive on very little, in reality. We don’t need much food, either. Restaurants have been notorious for serving large portions of food, and to one person, which could probably feed an entire family in another country. But, we don’t need a lot of food, and, in fact, it is unhealthy to eat so much.

What comes to mind right now are the lyrics to the song “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” (by Henry F. Lyte):

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou, from hence, my all shalt be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition, God and Christ are still my own!

Cease Striving (vv. 8-11)

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Yet, it isn’t just that God allows troubles and hardships, but sometimes he is the one who brings them upon us. He is not only a God of mercy and grace, but he is a God of justice and righteousness. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, which is why he has delayed judgments, in many cases. Yet, he is a God who judges the people of the earth, too, and even his followers, and in order to bring those who have strayed from their pure devotion to him back to him as their Only Lord and Master. He warned of this in Revelation 2-3, among other passages of scripture. There he called his wandering saints (parts of his church) to repentance, and he warned of divine judgment if they did not repent.

God also judges nations and peoples who have come against his children, i.e. against those who have been born anew of the Spirit of God via death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ Jesus, their Lord. I believe much or all of the world is already under the judgment of God. I know that America is, and that what our nation (our government) has done to other nations, it will be done to us. And, what our nation has done to their own people, and to God’s laws, and to demoralize our nation, and to dilute the gospel message of salvation, God will judge, too. Yet, he will do this to stop all the evil, and so that the gospel message will go out to the ends of the earth before he returns for his bride, so that many more will be saved.

So, we are not to be anxious or worried or fearful when these things take place, but we are to put our trust in the Lord, and believe that he will work all things together for good for those who love him; for those who have been called according to his purpose. Instead of letting life’s difficulties get us down, we must recognize who God is, that he is God, and that he will be exalted (praised, revered) in the earth, and among the nations. He is still with us, he has not deserted us, and he is our stronghold. He will see us through to the end, and he will accomplish his purposes in all of our lives.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

The Goodness of God

Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 5:13 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 27 (Select vv. NASB).

My Salvation (vv. 1-3)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

We are all born into this world with sin natures. We all fall short of attaining God’s divine approval, by human effort. So, God the Father sent his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ (God the Son) into the world to die on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that we might become the righteousness of God (1 Co. 5:21). So, when he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. But, when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death, on our behalf. He died that we might die with him to sin. And, he lives that we might live with him to his righteousness. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14; & 1 Pet. 2:24).

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, thus, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). The old has gone. The new has come. This is what it means to be “born again” of the Spirit of God. Our lives are changed, transformed of God’s Spirit away from living to sin and self and to living to Christ and his righteousness. Now we no longer walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, but we now walk (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, not necessarily in sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but in a consistent and persistent walk of faith, daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are given the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. The Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within us, and he lives within us to empower, strengthen, guide, teach, counsel, convict, rebuke and encourage us in our walks of faith with our Lord Jesus. Through our times of fellowship with our Lord each day in his Word, listening to him speak his truths to our hearts, and through prayer, talking with him and listening to him, we grow in our faith and knowledge of our Lord, and we are strengthened in our faith, and mature in our spiritual walks. We learn to know his sovereignty over our lives, and that we never have any reason to fear the enemy of our souls (Satan) or any of his servants and messengers, for our God and Lord will give us all we need to remain faithful to him.

He Will Not Leave (vv. 7-10)

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ does not mean we won’t face difficulties in this life, or that we won’t know trouble, hardships, pain, suffering or heartaches. In fact, Jesus said that if we follow him, we will suffer like he suffered, and we will be treated like he was treated. But then he, although he was perfect, learned obedience through the things that he suffered. And, we, as well, learn obedience, including patience, perseverance, love, faithfulness, trust, and humility, etc. through our sufferings and hardships.

Our Lord will never abandon or forsake us, though. He will remain faithful even if we are faithless. He will always be there to comfort, encourage, give hope and healing, and to counsel us in the way that we should go. He will give us everything we need to live godly and holy lives for him in this present world and to not give way to fear. We just need to keep seeking his face and his counsel, and we must trust him with our lives, and rely upon his strength and power, and then rest in him, and believe that he will work out all things for good for those who love him, who obey him, and who have been called according to his purpose (Ro. 8:28).

Teach Me Your Way (vv. 11-14)

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless
I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

The goal of our salvation is not merely that we should escape hell (eternal damnation) and have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. God’s grace to us is also not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we lie and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:5-9). And, if we continue to make sin our practice, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

The goal of our salvation is that we forsake our sinful lifestyles, and that we walk righteously before God to please him in all that we do, and think, and are, and say. Jesus becomes our husband, and we, as his church, become his bride. So, we forsake our former “lovers,” and we commit ourselves to him to faithfulness, obedience, and to making him our only Lord and Master. We do this because we love him, and because we are now in relationship with him, and our desire is now for him. So, we want him to teach us his ways, because we want to walk in them, and no longer live to please our sinful flesh. This is not to say we will never sin again, but that our desire should now be for him, to walk in his ways, and that we will now walk (in lifestyle) according to his Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh.

When we make that decision to follow our Lord in obedience, though, we will face opposition from our enemy and from his followers (his servants and messengers), and from those whom he has deceived with his many lies. And, there will be those who will bear false witness against us, who will slander us, and because they hate us and our testimonies for Jesus Christ, and our relationship with our Lord. They are those who are still bound in their sins or are those whom the enemy is deceiving that they can still be addicted to sin and that God’s grace covers it all. And, so they will find the true gospel and its messengers an offense to the lifestyles they choose.

Yet, we are not to fear them or their slanderous tongues, or their mistreatment of our bodies, for our Lord is completely sovereign over all that he has made, and he will see us through it all to victory. He will carry us through it all, and he will give us everything we need to endure and to come out shining like gold. And, one day we will get to be with our Lord forever, and all sorrow, pain and crying will cease. Amen! So, we just need to wait on our Lord, believe what he says, trust in his promises, take courage, keep on loving others, and keep on loving and serving our Lord with our lives.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Cry for Help

Sunday, August 6, 2017, 3:34 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “All Through the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 34 (Select vv. ESV).

All My Fears (vv. 4-7)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

This passage of scripture has a special place in my heart. I was abused as a child. My father was a big bully who picked on those weaker than him. He was mean and hateful, and physically and emotionally abusive. I was very much afraid of my dad, and I avoided him as much as was possible. And, in those days they did not have child protective services like they do today. And, no one counseled us in how to deal with the abuse or the pain we were feeling deep inside, and so all those emotions got stuffed. Yet, I prayed often to the Lord, and I did experience his comfort, yet I did not know that, by stuffing those emotions, I had built a wall of fear around myself.

Then, one day it all came to a head, but to make a long story short, I went to my best friend to ask for help. She didn’t know how to help me, either, but she did not give up, and I didn’t either, and then it was as though a light bulb turned on inside her head and she said she knew what my problem was. She said it was a spirit of fear. I asked if God could deliver me, and she said “Yes.” I asked if we could pray, and she said “Yes.” And, when we prayed I physically felt the weight leave my shoulders, and my countenance did change, and I had a smile on my face, and my face was radiant and no longer covered with fear (shame). Praise God!

I wish I could say that I never struggled with fear ever again, but that would be a lie. God had delivered me out of my troubles, but throughout much of my life Satan would try as best as he knew how to try to get me to be afraid again, and sometimes he was successful, when I caved to my circumstances rather than me trusting the Lord. But, God has been faithful, as he always is, and he has delivered me time and time again as I have faced many “giants” in my life, and he has safely brought me through to victory. Amen!

Fear the Lord (vv. 8-14)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

This word translated as “fear” in English can have at least two meanings. One is to be afraid, such as what I described in the section above, but the other is to show respect, honor, esteem, value, and reverence. We are not to fear people or our circumstances, in the sense of lacking faith in God and being afraid of what will happen. But, we are to fear God, yet in the sense of showing him honor, respect and reverence by following him and obeying him despite our circumstances or how other humans may treat us.

When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we honor him with our lives by submitting to his Lordship over our lives and by following him wherever he leads us, but not just physically, but with our whole being – with our attitudes, actions, words, thoughts and behaviors. We are committed to him and to his service, and we take him and his Word very seriously, and to heart, to follow him in obedience. He is truly our owner-master and we are his bondservants, and our lives belong to him, and are no longer our own to do with what we want. He is the one who now directs our steps, and our desire and passion are for him, and not for the things of this world.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected 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). Yet, it doesn’t end there. We are delivered out of slavery to sin so that we can now become slaves of his righteousness. Now we no longer walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, but now according to the Spirit of God. We are not only made righteous, but now we live righteously.

The Righteous Cry (vv. 15-18)

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we now live to his righteousness, and we walk in the fear of the Lord, other humans will hate us, reject us, and will persecute us for our faith and commitments to Christ. Yet, we are not to fear what other humans may do to us, or what difficult circumstances we may yet encounter. But, we are to trust the Lord in all things, believing that he is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made, and that he has a plan and a purpose for everything he allows into our lives. He will carry us through it all, and he will give us all we need to endure, to persevere, and to keep following him in obedience and in sharing his truth with all who will listen.

When we go through life’s difficulties, which we will, we are to cry out to God in our pain and suffering, and trust him to heal, to comfort, to encourage and to strengthen us. I believe we should also ask him to teach us what he would have us to learn through our suffering, and to use us for his glory in other people’s lives. He will hear our cries, and he will answer. He may not always answer in the way we would hope, or in our timing, but he will provide us with all that we need to remain faithful to him, and to be his representatives to others who are also in need of his love, comfort, mercy and grace.

When the Lord delivers us out of our troubles, it is not always physical deliverance, though sometimes it is. It isn’t that we always need to be taken out of troubling situations, but that we need to learn to lean on his grace through our difficulties. It is in these times that we grow in maturity in our walks of faith, that we draw closer to our Lord, and that our love for others grows, too. Sometimes what needs to be changed is our hearts, our minds, our attitudes and our actions, not our circumstances, and so God allows us to go through tough times to purify us, to prune us and to make us more like him. He knows what we really need, and he will always do what is truly best for us, and what will bring glory to his name. So, cry it out to him!

All Through the Night / An Original Work / December 7, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.

When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.

Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.

False Witnesses

Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 6:03 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Draw Me Close.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 27 (Select vv. ESV).

The Lord Is (vv. 1-3)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

Who are our enemies? If we are followers of Jesus Christ, crucified with him in death to sin, and risen with him to newness of life, our enemies are Satan and his many hordes. Satan has followers, too, and they do his bidding in coming against Jesus Christ, his Word, his gospel, and his servants. And, many of them have infiltrated the church, too. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, and as servants of righteousness, but truly they are among us to steal, to kill and to destroy. So, they might be pastors, teachers, elders, other professors of Christ, politicians, parents, children, neighbors, and/or website monitors.

They are there to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves again to depravity. So, they dilute the gospel message of salvation to appeal to human flesh and to appease the world. They preach (teach, share) feel-good messages which tickle itching ears, which say what people want to hear, not what they NEED to hear, for the truth offends. Many of them are part of the New World Order and are working together to bring the people of the world into unity with them in thought, word and deed. Their goal is to get us to forsake all which divides us as the people of the world, and to get us to compromise our faith and convictions in order to unite as ONE voice, ONE heart and ONE mind, across the globe, with this one world religion.

On a global political (or religious) level, they utilize the media to spread their lies and deceptions in order to deceive and to convince naïve minds. Because so many people regularly watch TV, and especially believe what they see on TV news (or on the internet), they are able to deceive people by the thousands or by the millions, or even greater. TV, especially, can be very hypnotic, and thus is one of Satan’s avenues for tricking people into accepting lies as truth, and truth as lies. So, we need to be very discerning. As followers of Jesus, we need to be wise, and not so trusting of humans, but we should take everything to the Lord in prayer, because not everything that appears to be real is real. So many things can be faked now days.

Basically, these enemies are out to destroy us either through trickery, deception, manipulation, setting traps for us to fall into, or via outright persecution, abuse, false accusations, imprisonment or through death. Their goal is to stop the spreading of the gospel as was taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. If they can’t stop us one way, they will try another until something works, or until they kill us.

Yet, we have no reason to fear any of them, because we know that our Lord is completely sovereign (in control) over all he has made, and over every power known to man. They may try to take advantage of us, but we don’t let them, and, instead, we turn to our Lord for help, for counsel, for wisdom and for discernment to know truth from error, and to know how to respond to the enemy’s attempts to take us down. We must rely on the Lord for our strength, and, if need be, we must stand alone against the mass of voices which may try to convince us to retreat. We have to stand on truth even if all forsake us and betray us, for the Lord is our light and salvation, not man.

Seek His Face (vv. 7-10)

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.

When our enemies come against us, which they will, instead of responding with our flesh, we need to seek God’s face. We need to cry out to God in our suffering, trusting him to give us all we need to endure and to keep pressing on. Yet, there will be times when we may not get an immediate reply to our cries for help, and we may even feel as though God is absent from us, but those are lies of the enemy to try to make us afraid. We must know that our God will never abandon us. He will never leave us or forsake us, so we should not fear those times when it feels like he is not near us, but we must persevere in what we know, and keep seeking his face. Then, we must trust him, rest in him, believe him, hold on to HIM, and not give up. Although others will forsake us and betray us, our Lord will take us under his wings.

A Level Path (vv. 11-14)

Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

So, how to respond to the enemy’s attacks against us? Instead of being afraid, we turn to the Lord, and we ask him to teach us his ways and to lead us on a level path. A level path is upright, honest, pure, and unadulterated by the world. Instead of yielding to these voices, which try to talk us into compromising our faith, we set our faces like flint, and we determine to keep on walking in the Spirit in following our Lord in his service, despite all opposition waged against us. We cannot let false accusations, tricks, traps or persecutions break us, but instead we must commit our lives to our Lord, pray to him for help, and trust him to work in and through our lives.

And, we must continue to hold on to the hope that is ours in Christ Jesus, keeping our eyes focused on Jesus and on the goal that is set before us, which is to live holy lives, pleasing to God, and which is to be the Lord’s servants and witnesses in ministering his grace and his love to all people. And, when things get tough, which they will, we must wait for God to move on our behalf, be strong in the Lord, take courage, and wait on the Lord.

Draw Me Close To You / Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again…

You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed…
Help me know You are near