Partiality to Wicked

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 7:15 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Near the Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 82 (Select vv. ESV).

Showing Partiality (vv. 1-2)

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

God is addressing the judges (rulers) of the earth, and yet all of us make judgments of some kind every day, so all of us can learn from this passage of scripture. As well, we read in the New Testament that God does not show partiality in his judgments (Ro. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25), but he judges us all the same, by the same divine standard. So, we are not to show partiality or favoritism by human standards (Jas. 2:1-13), but we are to judge justly and righteously, as God does. So, how might we be judging unjustly today?

To show partiality is to give preferential treatment to one group of people over another, i.e. it is to treat some people better or worse than we treat others because of their social status, race, religion, culture, color of their skin, personality, and sex (male or female), etc. Yet, we have to consider how this better or worse treatment is to be defined, not by man, but by God, and what it means to judge justly and righteously, as God does, not as man.

For example, we don’t support or encourage sin in sinful humans and call that “being nice” and not showing partiality, nor do we participate in sin in order to not show preference to one group over another. Yet, we should not be guilty of placating (pacifying) some sins in people while we rail against other sins, especially to do so hypocritically. So, with regard to sin, we should treat all who are walking in sin the same, with the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, but also with his divine justice and righteousness.

The problem here for today’s modern church is that many do show partiality to the wicked by placating sin, by diluting the gospel in order to not offend, and by patterning their meetings after the ways of this sinful world in order to draw in the world (their customer base), so that the ungodly will keep coming back to their meetings. In order to do this, not only do they show preference to the ungodly, but they will sometimes treat the godly with disdain, and will even rail against them in public and will encourage them to leave if they cannot unify with the church’s worldly marketing strategy.

Rescue the Weak (vv. 3-4)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

So, instead of showing preferential treatment to the wicked (ungodly), so that they will like us, or so that they will come to our gatherings, and to do so by compromising our faith and the gospel message, we are rather to give justice to the weak, the needy, the fatherless, the afflicted and the destitute, etc.

So, what is justice? It is righteousness. It is what is moral, ethical, good, reasonable, honest, honorable, proper, fair and evenhanded. So, this means that to treat people honorably and fairly, we must also treat them righteously, which again says that treating people with kindness cannot mean that we compromise truth, the gospel, or our faith, because that is not kind at all, because then we, in essence, send them straight to hell. So, fair treatment must also be coupled with righteousness rather than being devoid of what is godly, holy and good (in the eyes of God).

So, as the body of Christ, we need to cease to show preference to the ungodly, which we do by participating with them in their ungodly ways, by being entertained by their wickedness, or by placating their sins in order to not offend them so that they will like us. And, we need to show honor, respect and value to those who are walking righteously, rather than treating them as though they are misfits who must be reformed or discarded. And, we need to be rescuing the powerless and the needy from the hand of the wicked, both physically and spiritually.

Basically, rather than showing partiality to the wicked, by pacifying them and entertaining them, we need to be rescuing people from the control of Satan and sin, and we need to be bringing them into the light of truth and righteousness. And, we do this, not only by treating all people equitably, but by telling them the truth, and by not telling them lies which leave them still enslaved to their sins.

We need to tell them that Jesus died that they might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin and that we are resurrected with him to new lives, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, we need to tell them that if they continue in sinful practices, they have no hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fire.

Arise, O God (v. 8)

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!

God is presently judging (chastening, reproving, censuring) the people of the earth, including his wayward saints, and yet more judgment (chastisement) will be coming. So, what is the purpose of this judgment? It is to punish, yes, but not just to punish, but to save. How so? When people are allowed to continue in their wicked ways, via favor being shown them, and without reproof, the Bible says they don’t learn righteousness. But, when God’s judgments are in the earth, the people learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:7-10).

But, it is not just the wicked or the wayward who need divine discipline, reproof, and chastisement. Even the godly need this in order that we may share in God’s holiness, and in order that it may yield “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (See: Heb. 12:1-13). Thus, when we go through trials and hardships, they test our faith, and they prove it to be genuine, if it is genuine, and they teach us to rely on God, and not on ourselves. As well, we grow in the grace of God, we mature in Christ, we learn perseverance, patience and endurance, and we develop godly character traits such as kindness, goodness, faithfulness and compassion.

So, we need to learn righteousness and justice and how to treat others with the love, grace, kindness, goodness, mercy, justice and righteousness of God. Yet, whether we will learn from what we suffer, or not, depends largely on us, not because we learn by obeying God out of our own flesh, but by yielding our lives to our Lord for him to live his life out through us. Amen!

Near the Cross
Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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Keep His Way

Saturday, August 26, 2017, 4:57 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 37 (Select vv. ESV).

Trust in Him (vv. 3-6)

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

What does it mean to trust in the Lord? It means we place our hope and confidence in him, and in what he did for us in saving us from our sins, and in what he promised us that he would do. It speaks also of assured reliance upon God and his divine character, sovereignty, holiness, righteousness, power, strength, kindness, grace and compassion towards us. It means, as well, that we are fully convinced that what God says is true, that it is just, and that it is righteous and merciful, and thus we commit our ways to the Lord, to do what he says, and to follow him in all of our ways.

If we truly put our trust in the Lord, we will delight (find pleasure) in him and in his ways. We will want to do what pleases him, not because we must, but because we love him, honor him and revere him. Thus, he will give us the desires of our hearts, because our desires will be in line (agreement) with his. He does not, nonetheless, promise that he will fulfill our every want, but he will fulfill all his promises, and he will provide all that we truly need. And, he does not necessarily work at the pace we might like, either. His thoughts and his ways are not the same as those of humans. His timing is always perfect, although we don’t always comprehend it.

While we live on the face of this earth we will have troubles and hardships. We will be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There will be those who will not like us, and who will speak evil against us. Not everyone will understand us, or why we do what we do, and they may reject us and falsely accuse us. But, if our way is committed to the Lord, to follow him in obedience, and to do what he has called us to do, we can trust him with our reputations, believing that one day we will be honored for our obedience and that it will be evident that we loved God, and that we were his servants.

Be Still Before Him (vv. 7, 10-11, 14-15)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

Because Satan, a fallen angel, decided he wanted to be God, and so he rebelled against God, and because he tempted humans to sin against God, from the very beginning, sin entered into the heart of man. And, thus wickedness of every kind imaginable now exists on this earth. But, God has allowed wickedness to continue, for a time, because he is very patient towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. If he cut off all wickedness, he would have to remove all of us from the earth, because we are all prone to sin at some time or another.

But, because of his great love for us, and due to his grace towards us, he has provided a way in which we can be saved from our sins, and be delivered out of bondage (addiction) to sin. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God), came to earth, died on a cross for our sins, and put sin to death on our behalf. And, then he was resurrected from the dead victorious over our sin. So, through faith in him, we can be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Thus, we are set free from our slavery to sin so that we can become bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness.

Because we are now in Christ Jesus, through faith in him, and our trust is now in him, and not in ourselves or in other humans, we can be at peace in this world even when all hell is breaking loose all around us. Although evil is allowed to exist, our God is still absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, he has all things under his control, and he has a plan and a purpose for all that he allows, and he will fulfill everything he said he would do. So, we can be at rest in him, and not fear when the wicked seem to prevail.

Wait for Him (vv. 34, 39-40)

Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Sometimes it gets really hard, doesn’t it? Sometimes we just have to cry it all out to our Father in heaven, and then rest in him, and wait on his perfect timing. We don’t see the end from the beginning. We only see what is in front of our faces. And, at times, it can get very discouraging and disheartening, if we let it. So, we learn to wait on God, trust in his sovereignty, believe in his promises, and trust him each and every day to just show us what he has for us for that day. And, then we do what he says, and believe he will work all things out for good for those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose.

While we are waiting, we keep his ways. God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin, nor is it merely an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. 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. Jesus Christ did not give his life up for us just to forgive us our sins, but he “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Eph. 2:8-10).

Although this Christian life is promised to have difficult times, and to know hardships, persecutions and rejection, our Lord also promises to always be with us, to protect us spiritually from evil, and to give us all the strength, wisdom and counsel we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. He has given us the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, too (See: Eph. 6:10-20). So, we have no need to fear humans or what they might do to us, for our Lord will carry us through every circumstance, and he will provide all that we need to endure, and he will bring us safely into his eternal kingdom.

So, we just need to trust him, rest in him, believe him, and do what he says, and know that what he says, he will do, all in his perfect timing.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Thomas O. Chisholm / William M. Runyan

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Above All Else

Friday, August 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “As the Deer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 101:1-5 (NASB).

I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

His Lovingkindness

God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Begotten Son to come into the world to die on a cross for our sins, so that anyone believing in him will not perish, but have eternal life. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Light that came into the world in order to show the way to God, and to provide the way for us to be saved from our sins. But, many people love the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds are evil. So, they will not come to the Light lest their evil deeds will be exposed (See: John 3:16-20).

Yet, if we want to come to the Light, Jesus said that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said that 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 him to sin), we will gain eternal life. Paul reiterated Jesus’ words 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, i.e. we will have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14).

For, Jesus did not die on that cross merely to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus gave his life up for us that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. When we trust in him as Lord and as Savior of our lives, 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. So, if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in the darkness (sin), we are liars who don’t live by the truth (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 5:15, 21; Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-25).

The Blameless Way

The purpose in Jesus dying on that cross for our sins was not to just forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and so that we might walk in (live to) his righteousness. And, his righteousness is what is approved in His eyes, i.e. what is deemed right by him, such as morality, purity, justice, decency, truth, integrity, uprightness, and holiness, etc. His grace to us is 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. So, if we continue in sin, i.e. if we make it our practice, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Gal. 5:19-25; Eph. 5:3-6; Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we die to sin. So, how can we continue in it? 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. So, we should consider ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Sin, thus, should no longer reign in our bodies so that we obey its lusts. Instead, we should present ourselves to God as instruments of his righteousness. Sin should no longer have mastery over us, because Jesus set us free from sin addiction. When we were enslaved to sin, though, we were free from the control of righteousness, but now that we have been set free from sin, we should have become slaves (bondservants) to righteousness, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life (See: Ro. 6:1-23).

So, our salvation from sin is something that is to be lived out in our lives day by day. God’s grace to us turns us from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness) and from the power of Satan to God, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Acts 26:16-18). And, “Lord” means “master-owner,” for we were bought back for God with the price of Jesus’ blood shed on a cross for our sins. Thus, our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, but we are to honor God by all that we do, say, are and think. We are to walk in obedience to his commands. And, this is how we know that we love him, and that we are his very own.

Integrity of Heart

So, what does this all look like? It means we walk no longer according to our sinful flesh, but we now walk (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. We conduct our lives in truthfulness, sincerity of heart, purity, faithfulness, lovingkindness, morality, and obedience and loyalty to God. We don’t seek after, long after, or look to (or at) what is evil and contrary to God and to his Word. This means we don’t let our eyes watch TV shows, movies, magazines, books, videos or still pictures or images which reveal even partial nudity, appealing to sensual lusts, or which glorify or present physically before us what is immoral, wicked and evil. We should never allow ourselves to be entertained by what is evil and by what is in conflict with God’s Word and his Spirit now living within us.

We should hate evil, in fact, and we should grieve over those who are caught in sin’s deceitfulness, praying for their deliverance. We should have no part with what is evil so that it does not get a grip on our lives once again. So, we must be careful concerning our close associations and with regard to those with whom we partner so that we do not surround ourselves with those who will only bring us down spiritually and morally. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. So, we can’t have true fellowship with those who are walking in darkness and who are conducting their lives according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit. Bad company corrupts good character, so choose your friends wisely.

Instead of longing after and running after and seeking after what is worldly, immoral, ungodly and contrary to the teachings of scripture, we should be those who seek after our Lord, and who run after him to follow him in his ways, and in his truth. We should hunger and thirst after righteousness, not after the things of this world. We should desire God with such passion that it would be like longing for water when one is parched and is thirsty. He alone should be our hearts’ desire. We should long to worship him in spirit and in truth by yielding our hearts, minds and souls over to him, to live holy lives, pleasing to him.

We should find our full satisfaction in this life in Him, and he should be the one to whom we go with our problems, our concerns and our requests. He is the one we should lean on, rely upon, and learn from. We should not trust in ourselves and in our own resources, thinking or reasoning. And, we should not follow other humans above God. Our full allegiance (commitment, loyalty, faithfulness) should be to him alone, and to no other gods should we give our worship, praise, adoration and devotion. Our Lord should be everything to us, and we should love and desire him above all else.

As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart’s desire…

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield…

Destroyers of True Intimacy

Monday, August 7, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 33 (Select vv. ESV).

A Destroyer (v. 1; cf. Psalm 2:1; Rev. 11:18)

Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
you traitor,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.

What comes to mind here is John 10, in particular v. 10, where it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

So, who are these thieves and robbers, i.e. these destroyers? They are the nations spoken of in Revelation 11:18 and in Psalm 2:1 who rage against Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, who persecute and martyr Christ’s followers, who kill innocents, and who overtake kingdoms, confiscate property not their own, and destroy lands and houses. The US government and their political allies are the ones who are doing this today.

Yet, they are also those strangers who have entered the gatherings of the church by a door other than Jesus Christ. They are false shepherds of the people, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and hired hands who care nothing for God’s people, but only for themselves. They have infiltrated the assemblies of the church for the very purpose to deceive, manipulate, lead people astray and to destroy the relationship between the church and their Lord.

Their goal is to pull as many people as possible away from the One and Only True God of the universe, who is the creator of the world and the people who live in it. And, it is to lead them to follow the world, the beast, the culture of society, and their own flesh. It is also to render spiritually powerless Christian men and women and church leaders, and to vilify those who are truly following Jesus Christ in pure devotion and dedication. It is to call evil good and good evil, to put darkness for light and light for darkness, and to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Is. 5:20).

These destroyers have been working at this for many years, to bring the church down, to emasculate Christian men, in particular, to destroy the gospel by diluting it beyond recognition, and by physically conquering peoples and nations throughout the world. They have reinterpreted key Bible verses to make them not say what they are saying, or they have ignored them and have focused on only a few verses which fit with what they want to believe, which fits with the lifestyles they want to live. As well, they have placed lewd images in grocery store checkout lines, in store windows, on TV, and on general sites on the internet to lure men and women into sexual sin.

They have redefined marriage, have stirred up strife among various people groups, have falsified information, and have persuaded many to believe their lies and deceptions. They also have convinced many to abandon the true faith in Jesus Christ in favor of a more lenient, acceptable and tolerant religion which accepts all religions as viable and sinful lifestyles as standard (customary). And, they have persuaded many to believe that repentance and obedience to Christ are not only not necessary, but not required by God at all, and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.

Our Stability (vv. 5-6)

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

A day is coming when the Lord will put an end to the work of these destroyers and it will be payback time. What goes around comes around. What they have done to others will be done to them. The nations which have destroyed others will be destroyed. God will judge them, and that includes the USA, most especially, for all the evil they have done throughout the world to others, and including within our own nation. And, this includes all these false shepherds of the people, too, who feed only themselves, and whose goal it is to bring down the church and to destroy the gospel.

For, the Lord is exalted, and he will revive his adulterous people and he will bring many to faith in Jesus Christ. Not only will he judge, but he will also save. He will judge not only to punish, but to revive his people. Yet, this judgment will bring hard times on many people. If what our nation has done to other nations is done to us, much of our country could be reduced to rubble, as well as we could suffer much financial loss, loss of liberties, and loss of human lives, too. Yet, our Lord God will be our stability. And, the fear of the Lord will be, if it is not already, our treasured possession.

Who Walk Righteously (vv. 13-16)

Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.

When judgment comes, which it will, those who are rebelling against God will be afraid, for they will not be able to stand in the judgment (See: Ps. 1:5; Rev. 6:17). Thus, the call of God is that all people would pay attention to what He has done (or will yet do) in judgment, and that they would acknowledge his might (power and authority), that he alone is God, and he alone is to be worshiped, sought after, and honored above all else.

Only those who walk righteously before God will be able to stand. They are those who, by God’s grace, have repented of their sins and are walking in obedience to their Lord, who reject evil, and who pursue what is godly and holy. Only they will be able to dwell in peace with God, who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29). Only they will be able to withstand the judgment and not lose faith, but will persevere and endure to the end, but only in the strength of the Lord, and empowered by the Spirit of God living within them.

Those who walk righteously, i.e. who conduct our lives according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and who prefer what God prefers, will live in God’s continual presence. We have the Lord as our security and as our provider. He will supply all that we need. The fear of the Lord is our treasure. He is our defense and our stronghold (fortress). So, even though the earth gives way, and all hell breaks loose all around us, and even though God visits our nation(s) in judgment, and supplies are scarce, and troubles and hardships are numerous, we can rest in the Lord, believe in his promises, trust in his mercy and compassion, and lean on his strength. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be our constant in a changing world. And, our desire will be for him, and to be like him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worthless Images

Sunday, June 11, 2017, 3:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The King is Coming.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 97 (ESV).

The Lord Reigns (vv. 1-5)

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

Our God is absolutely sovereign (in control) over all he has made. He is all powerful and fully capable of doing whatever needs to be done at any time. His hands are not ever tied. He will do all that he said he would do. We can absolutely count on his words to be truth and that, what he promised he would do, it will be fulfilled. Yet, for now, he allows evil to reign, although he puts limits on it. Still, he uses evil beings as his divine instruments of judgment on nations, peoples, and even on his wandering saints, in order to punish, discipline, correct and/or to revive them or to save them. So, even though all hell may be breaking loose all around us, we are not to worry, for all this was foretold thousands of years ago, and now we are seeing some of what was prophesied being fulfilled before our eyes. For, God’s “righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.”

Worshipers of Images (vv. 6-9)

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

What is an idol or an image? An idol can be a hero, an obsession, an ideal, or an icon. An icon is a symbol, image or an object of undying devotion. And, an image is an appearance, persona, impression, idea, view or concept of something, i.e. what we perceive it to be. It can be anything or anyone to which or to whom we give our undivided loyalty and support, our praise and adoration, our respect and honor, our trust and loyalty, and our commitment and fidelity (faithfulness); or to whom or which we give our time, energies, passion, desire, heart, faith (belief), blind obedience, and affection.

For example, many Americans, including many American Christians, give such loyalty and trust to their government, or to a particular political party. Such as, many people in America are looking to Donald Trump to save this nation out of the grip of the global elite and to return this nation to its roots, i.e. to nationalism, rather than globalism. But, that is faulty thinking, because Trump is one of the elite, and he is not against globalism, but is working their agenda under their leadership and direction. And, the US government has no real authority in this nation, anyway, for we are truly ruled by an Elite shadow government which is the de facto government of this nation and a precursor to or the reality of the New World Order beast.

What they have planned for this nation is some type of major crisis which will be the catalyst to advancing the New World Order agenda. It could come in the form of a financial catastrophe, a “terrorist” (home-grown) attack, or an unnatural (man-made) disaster, such as a hurricane or a super storm, or it could be all three of these. These crises will be the excuse they will need to promote and implement their global agenda and totalitarian regime. Yet, this will be the crucible (vessel, test, trial) for the spiritual revival of America’s adulterous and complacent church, and for purifying the saints of God and getting them ready for their Lord’s soon return, as well as for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus throughout the earth.

When this becomes clear that we are already a conquered people, and that this global New World Order is already running our country, and that they represent the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, then the image we had of our country will soon fade away, as reality sets in. We will also realize that what is coming to us is the likes of what the people of Germany faced under Hitler’s rule during WW2. People will be either of the wealthy and powerful, or they will be of the common people, or they will be of the despised and rejected who refused to cooperate with this New World Order beast and its one world religion. And, the uncooperative will then be targeted for extinction or for incarceration. There will be no more middle class nor will there be any more middle of the road Christians.

This all may begin with merely internet controls, which has been on the agenda for some time. It is in the works to clamp down on free speech and to control what can or cannot be said on the internet. They already consider those who are true followers of Christ and of his gospel as “religious extremists” and whose message must not be tolerated or allowed to spread any further across this nation or across the world. They are already gearing up to introduce draconian measures and to bring the internet and our world under a police state where they secretly supervise all of our activities. This will soon become our new normal. We, who are followers of Jesus, are already seen as a threat to global security, i.e. to the rule of the beast.

Another “image” that is worshiped in America is the news media and television, for Americans have been conditioned to believe what they see and read in the news, especially if it is on TV. And, our government, under the direction of this shadow government of the Elite, and our news media, continually paint for us the picture they want us to believe concerning world events and our nation’s involvement in so many other countries in the world, particularly their military presence or involvement. Yet, this image is going to come crashing down once reality sets in, which it eventually will, and then our “image” the people put their faith in will be (and is) worthless to them. And, I believe they are now telling us what their plan of action is (1).

They want to do away with the past so that out of the ashes of the old order the New World Order (the Phoenix) can rise. They want to recreate the world in the image of the beast and to do away with the Bible, Christ, his gospel and his followers. Yet, God will allow this for his purposes, one of which is to purify and get ready his people before he comes back for his bride. God will use this false trinity as his divine instruments of judgment on his adulterous church and on the people of this world, and in order to get many to turn or to return to him before he returns and before the end of time as we know it.

Love God, Hate Evil (vv. 10-12)

O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

So, what should our response be to all this knowledge of God and of his sovereignty, righteousness, justice and of his judgments? And, how should we react to all the evil that is present in our world and within our own governments and our church fellowships?

We ought to love the Lord our God, follow his ways, obey his Word, and live holy lives pleasing to him. And, we must hate all that is evil, i.e. we need to reject it, put it out of our lives, not entertain it nor accommodate it, but eradicate it. Yet, not all that is truly evil is all that obvious. Much of it is very subtle, hidden and masked as something else, so we need to pray for much discernment to know what is evil and what is good, so that we can reject the evil and hold on to the good, rather than the other way around, which is happening much within the church, sad to say.

The Lord will deliver his saints from the hand of the wicked, though this is not to say he will not allow us to be persecuted, abused or even killed by these evil ones. In fact, scripture teaches us we will be hated and persecuted and put to death for the sake of the name of Jesus, for the sake of righteousness, and for the sake of his gospel of salvation from sin. Yet, he will deliver us through these trials and testing of our faith in that he will give us the strength, power and endurance to remain faithful to him to the end.

The King is Coming
(Bill Gaither)

The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I’ll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me

(1) https://theintercept.com/2017/06/10/the-worst-of-donald-trumps-toxic-agenda-is-lying-in-wait-a-major-u-s-crisis-will-unleash-it/

Know No Evil

Saturday, May 20, 2017, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Keeps Me Singing.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 101 (NASB).

Integrity of Heart (vv. 1-4)

A Psalm of David.

I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.

I will sing of God’s lovingkindness towards us, i.e. I will sing of his love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, steadfastness, and faithfulness. I will sing about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died on a cross for our sins, and who took our punishment for us so we could be set free from the curse of sin, which is death, and be free from bondage (addiction) to sin. I will praise him for his great salvation provided for us, and for eternal life, which is with God, promised to all who would put their faith and trust in him as Lord and as Savior of their lives. I will sing, too, of his compassion, and of the encouragement he gives to those who are walking in his ways. And, I will praise him, too, for the comfort, strength, guidance, and empowerment he provides for us so we might live holy and godly lives, pleasing to him.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we all ought to say with David that we will be mindful to walk (conduct our lives) according to the way of Christ’s righteousness. We should also be committed to walking (in lifestyle) within our houses, our jobs, neighborhoods, or within our church gatherings with integrity (honesty, honor and uprightness) of heart. We should not set any worthless thing before our eyes, too. This means we should not watch anything on TV, in movies, on the internet, in books, magazines, or live and in person which would bring dishonor to God’s name, either by the watching of it, or by the content of what we are viewing itself. But, this goes even beyond this to say we ought not to put what is worthless (rubbish, useless) before our eyes, too. Some things are just a waste of time, and God has better things for us to do, which would be useful to his kingdom work.

In the New Testament we are told to hate what is evil and to cling to that which is good (Ro. 12:9). We, too, should hate what God hates and love what he loves. God hates idolatry, sexual immorality, lies, deceit, pride, murder, evil plots, false witnesses, child abuse and evil doers, etc. But, he loves the people of the world, mercy, kindness, truth, faithfulness, integrity, and righteousness, etc. Yet, many who call themselves Christians have reversed this to where they take pleasure in evil, via what they watch on TV, in movies, on the internet, or in person, etc. And, they reject repentance, obedience, and submission to God and to his righteousness. So, they end up calling evil good and good evil. And, they cling to evil rather than to good.

Yet, to become a follower of Jesus Christ, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. 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), for the sake of his name, we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). If we walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins without Christ, and without the hope of heaven when we die, or when we leave this earth. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of our sinful flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 8:1-14). If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, a perverse (obstinate) heart must depart from us, i.e. we must repent of our sin. And, we are to know no evil. What this word “know” means, in context, is that we are not to be intimately associated with evil. We should not be “in bed” with evil. We should not do anything that would show agreement with evil, including allowing ourselves to be entertained by it. And, we are not to be partners with or partakers in evil, at all, in any shape or form.

Workers of Evil (vv. 5-8)

Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.
My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.
He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.
Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.

What the Lord Jesus is showing me here is that there is a present evil, particularly here in America, which many Christians are partnering (participating) with, probably most of them without any knowledge or understanding, because they have been duped by master manipulators and deceivers into believing their lies. What the Lord has been showing me for many years is that the US government is not the actual government of these United States, but that they serve (bow to) a shadow government of the Elite of the world, which is the de facto government here in the US. And, they use our government and military and news media to work for them in bringing the world under the subjection of the New World Order (beast).

Our government and military, for years, have been going into other nations under false pretenses, usually via false flag operations and the creating (orchestrating, instigating) of chaos within these nations, thus giving them an excuse to go inside. Inside these other nations, and now somewhat inside our own nation, as well, they rape, pillage, confiscate property not their own, destroy and take over sovereign nations, and murder innocents, including Christians, and at will, with no conscience on the part of those making these decisions. They are forcing other nations to bow to the beast, and they are also forcing unity with the beast and with its new world order and its one-world religion. And, they are against all those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17).

This means we cannot trust our government, our mainstream media or our military officials to tell us the truth. Most of what we read or see in the news is fabricated, twisted, and/or completely orchestrated (scripted) from beginning to end, as is much of what we see in the political realm, as well. Our politicians, for the most part, are merely actors in a play who are just following their scripted roles, which is often for the purposes to deceive and to distract the American people, so they believe the lies and disbelieve the truth. For example, this whole “fake news” scenario is to get people to believe the mainstream media and to reject all other sources of truth, and they have been very successful in accomplishing their purposes, too.

So, Donald Trump has no real authority, nor does Congress, for they answer to this shadow government of the Elite of the world, i.e. the All-seeing eye which hovers over top the unfinished pyramid on our national seal; also on our $1 bill. Whether Trump gets booted from his office as president or not, I do not know, but I do know that who is getting the real boot is the US as a sovereign nation, and we are being taken over by this New World Order (beast). And, I know that the US was intended to be the instrument to bring about this N.W.O. from the very beginning, which is evidenced by our national symbols. Our forefathers were primarily freemasons, which is a false religion with a false god, and our nation was founded on syncretism, not on Christianity, which is also evidenced by our national symbols and the statues and buildings in D.C., including the layout of our capital city.

What this all means is that the US, or just our government, military and financial district, is the harlot which rides the beast and which sits on many waters, i.e. on peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues (Rev. 17). And, much of the church, via the 501c3 institutional church, is in bed with her, i.e. they are in bed with pure evil. They have partnered with an evil government in complete contradiction to God’s commands to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and against the teachings of scripture with regard to turning the house of prayer into a marketplace, and with regard to turning to a human government for their support and help. So, God is calling his church to come out of this Babylon so that she does not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (Rev. 18:4-10).

He Keeps Me Singing / Luther B. Bridgers

There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low:
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
In all of life’s ebb and flow.

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,
Discord filled my heart with pain;
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
Stirred the slumbering chords again.

Though sometimes he leads through waters deep,
Trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See his footprints all the way.

Feasting on the riches of his grace,
Resting neath his sheltering wing,
Always looking on his smiling face,
That is why I shout and sing.

Soon he’s coming back to welcome me
Far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown;
I shall reign with him on high.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.

Do Right

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 5:14 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Near the Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 56 (ESV).

Hold it Fast (vv. 1-2)

Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

In the book of James, we read that we need to not be just hearers of the Word, but we need to be doers of the Word. We need to not just read the Bible and then walk away and forget what we learned, but we need to be putting into practice what it teaches us. In Romans we read that Jesus died for our sins that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk (conduct our lives), not according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, 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. So, it is essential that we not only believe with our minds, but by doing what we say we believe, we show that we believe also in our hearts – in the center of our being.

We need to be people who practice righteousness, holiness, honesty, integrity, fair dealings with people, and impartiality. We must do what is righteous, i.e. what is pleasing (or approved) or is right in the eyes of the Lord, i.e. what is pure, upright, honest, moral, just, and decent, etc. Not only must we be people of integrity, living holy lives, pleasing to God, and practicing what is right in the eyes of God, but we must hold it fast. In other words, we need to stand on the Word of God, and on the truth of the gospel, and on the teachings of Jesus and of his NT apostles. It is absolutely necessary that we hold fast to godly character and to holy living, and not forsake these to run after false gods, but that we remain steadfast in doing what is pleasing to and approved by God, and is right in his eyes.

The book of Isaiah is in the Old Testament. The Jews of this time period were required by God to keep the Sabbath, which was every Saturday. This was to be a day in the week set apart for God, for worship of him, and for resting from their work (their labors). In the New Testament, believers in Jesus Christ are not given the same command. In fact, it appears that we are not to judge those who do keep it or those who don’t (Col. 2:16). Yet, we do read in the book of Hebrews about a Sabbath-Rest (Heb. 4:1-13). We enter into that rest when we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, with God-given faith. This rest is our salvation, and it is eternal life with God. And, it is conditional upon our obedience to Christ and to his Word, yet not in absolute perfection, but in regular practice, keeping our hands from doing evil. For, one day Jesus is coming back to judge and to take his bride to be with him forever. We need to be ready for HIM.

A House of Prayer (vv. 6-8)

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
The Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”

To a Jew, a Gentile (non-Jew) would be a foreigner, I believe. We, who are true followers of Jesus Christ, have joined ourselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love his name, and to be his servants. Thus, we are to live out the truth of the gospel in our everyday lives, keeping to (obeying) the Lord’s commandments (his instructions) to us, his followers. And, this is not just Old Testament. This is what the New Testament writers taught, as well. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth. If we don’t obey Jesus’ commands to us, we don’t love him, we don’t know him, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God. We have to be not just hearers, but doers of the Word.

When we walk in obedience to our Lord, we submit to his will for our lives, and we walk in his ways, and in his truth, abiding in him and in his Word. We, thus, experience much in the way of spiritual blessings. We are joyful in him, for we know there is no better place to be than right in the center of his will for our lives. We give our lives to him, as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable and acceptable worship of him. We no longer conform our lives after the pattern of this sinful world, but we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, so that by our lives we show what is God’s perfect and pleasing will (Ro. 12:1-2).

His house, which is now in our hearts, is a house of prayer, if we are truly following him with our lives. It may not be that we have formal times of prayer each day where we read a list of requests to him, but that we have hearts that are in an attitude of prayer all day and night. We can talk with him throughout the day, and this way our Lord can speak to us 24/7, as we go throughout our days, because we are in tune to his voice, and we are listening for him to speak, and we respond to what he says with obedience. Yet, again, this is not to say we will live in sinless perfection, or that we will never fail, but that our lifestyles should reflect Christ and our salvation from sin, and our commitments to him as owner-master of our lives.

All You Beasts (vv. 9-12)

All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
all you beasts in the forest.
His watchmen are blind;
they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs;
they cannot bark,
dreaming, lying down,
loving to slumber.
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
they never have enough.
But they are shepherds who have no understanding;
they have all turned to their own way,
each to his own gain, one and all.
“Come,” they say, “let me get wine;
let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
great beyond measure.”

Yet, not all who call themselves Christians live like we just described. Many make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but they are not doers of the Word; they are not doers of Christ’s righteousness, even though Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). They are not keepers of justice, nor do they hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. They don’t refrain from practicing evil. They don’t love the Lord and honor his name as holy. They don’t minister to him, but to themselves (See: Ez. 34). Their sacrifices to God, if there are any, are for selfish purposes, and not the kind God desires, anyway. Their hearts and lives are not given over to the Lord, but to please self, so the house of prayer does not live inside them. Their character has not been transformed of the Spirit of God, but has remained the same as before.

Some of their characteristic traits may be that they are charming, deceitful, entertaining, amusing, frivolous, shameful and vile. They come up short on submission to Christ, because they want to go their own way. They like to escape life via what is not real or via what is a cheap substitute for pure intimacy with God, rather than stand for what is righteous and holy. Some of the ways in which they are involved are crooked, twisted, immoral, abusive, and manipulative, while denying their sin, and covering it up with lies. They perform in order to try to appear righteous on the outside, while inside they are weighed down with sin, but they will not let go. So, they hide their sin, and do their evil deeds in secret, thinking no one knows, but God knows.

The Lord is pointing me particularly today to the US government and their political allies as fitting this description. The US government likes to present an image on the outside that they are the ones being persecuted by the nations of the world, but it is the other way around. They like to act as though they must protect us, American citizens, from terrorists and from wicked regimes, but they are the world’s worst terrorists, and the most wicked of regimes, for they go throughout the world killing at will, murdering innocents, attacking followers of Jesus, confiscating property and lands, and destroying and taking over other nations, and all in the name of good will and democracy, but that is a bold-faced lie! And, then they cover-up all their evil with made-up news stories which are to deceive the American public.

Our leaders are good at utilizing false flag operations, too, in order to have an excuse to bomb “the tar out of” other nations. They are using such tactics as this within the USA, too, in order to advance their New World Order agenda. The US government is not the actual government in America, anyway, for they are under the authority of a shadow government of the Elite of the world, who are the de facto government of the USA. Our leaders work for them, and much of what we read of our leaders in the news, or hear from them, are merely performances, carefully acted out by skillful actors who are just playing their parts in a play. All the while, they are in the process of handing this nation over to the New World Order “beast.” And, they will then desert us, the people, including Christians.

The message of this New World Order is one of UNITY, i.e. that we, as a people, need to rid ourselves of all which divides us, which includes the kind of commitments to Jesus Christ described in this writing, so that we can join together in harmony with people of all religions and all walks of life. And, the US government has served as this N.W.O.’s messengers in forcing compliance or pressuring people and nations and even professing Christians to bow to this “beast.” They want to stomp out individualism and for us all to think alike. They also want to stomp out “religious extremism,” which includes Christians surrendered to Jesus Christ. Yet, God plans a day in which he will judge these evil doers, so don’t be caught among them living a secret life of immorality, while hiding your wickedness behind a façade. Repent of your sins today, turn to Jesus, and follow him in obedience.

Near the Cross / Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.