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!

Take up The Shield

Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 7:21 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Courageous.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 62 (select vv. NASB).

Jeremiah 17:9 says this:

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”

When we come into this world, we are born with sin natures. We are fleshly. We are under the control (power) of Satan, slaves to sin. Our human hearts are easily deceived and are given over to deceiving, as well. We come up short of attaining God’s divine approval, because we can’t save ourselves. We can never be good enough. In and of ourselves, our hearts are incurable. So, that is why Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins so that we might be turned from darkness (sin, wickedness) to light (truth, righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who, by faith in Jesus Christ, are sanctified.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and 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. But, this does not mean we are no longer capable of sin. We are. Yet, if we are in Christ, by faith in him, sin should no longer have dominion over our lives, because Satan has no power over us. Jesus Christ set us free! So, we should walk in freedom! Yet, if we continue in willful sin, i.e. if we make it our practice to sin against God, the Bible says we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. So, it is possible to think you are saved and going to heaven but still be dead in your sins.

Blessing and Cursing (vv. 3-4)

How long will you assail a man,
That you may murder him, all of you,
Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?
They have counseled only to thrust him down
from his high position;
They delight in falsehood;
They bless with their mouth,
But inwardly they curse. Selah.

So, for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, but who have drifted away from their pure devotion to Christ, and have fallen back into sin, or for those who profess to know Christ, but who are living sinful lifestyles, or for those who have never claimed to believe in Jesus Christ at all, these questions are posed.

How long will you continue in sinful rebellion against God? How long will you continue to hate one another, and attack one another? How long will you accuse falsely and persecute those who are following Jesus Christ with their lives, or will you try to trip them up in order to bring them down with you? When will you stop being deceived and deceiving others with your lies? When will you cease speaking kindly to people only to their faces, but then stab them in the back when they are not in front of your face?

For God Only (vv. 5-8)

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Our only hope for overcoming sin is faith in Jesus Christ, but that faith must be accompanied by repentance and obedience to Christ and his commands. To merely acknowledge what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, but to never turn away from the sin, nor to turn to God to walk in his ways, will not result in eternal life with God, but only a fearful expectation of judgment.

Jesus/God needs to be our only hope. He needs to be the one we give our full allegiance to with all our hearts. Humans are going to disappoint us, reject us, persecute us, falsely accuse us, betray us and maybe even kill us, just because they don’t like us, because we are not like them. Humans will lie to us, too, so we need to be very discerning so that we don’t become deceived, too. We need to pray and ask the Lord for wisdom to recognize the lies so we can reject them, and to know the truth, so we can follow it.

When we are persecuted, because we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and because we follow him in obedience to his will, we need to rely on the strength of the Lord so that we are not shaken from our faith and give way to fear. People will attack us. They will hate us. They will try to bring us down, and they will lie to us and will try to deceive us. And, they will speak kindly to us to our faces all the while they are stabbing us in the back when we aren’t looking. Although they act like they are our friends, they may betray us. So, this is why our hope needs to be in the Lord, and we need to find our strength in him so we don’t cave in and lose heart.

So, we need to pour out our hearts to him. It isn’t as though he doesn’t know what we are going through, though, but he wants us to cry out to him in our distress, in our pain, in our sorrow and in our weakness, and he desires that we let him heal us, comfort us, encourage us and counsel us in the way we should go.

We need to keep trusting him, even if all hell breaks loose all around us. For, he is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made. And, he has a plan and a purpose for everything he allows into our lives. And, he will work all things together for good for those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. So, take refuge in him, be of courage, be strong in the Lord, and persevere in your faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Through the Fire

Monday, July 17, 2017, 10:02 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Am Willing, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NASB) on the subject of refining with fire.

Comfort in Affliction (2 Co. 1:3-9)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.

So, why does God allow suffering in our lives? There are many reasons, some of which we will cover here. One of the reasons is so that we can comfort others in their suffering with the comfort we received from God when we were in the midst of our trials. Yet, this word “comfort” entails so much more than just giving someone a pat on the back, or a hug, or a reassuring word, or a word of cheer. It can also mean a “holy urging,” and it is “used of the Lord directly motivating and inspiring believers to carry out His plan, delivering His particular message to someone else” (1). So, the Lord may have us give counsel, encouragement, warning, or assurance to someone going through trials, and in the same manner as which the Lord did for us when we were suffering. And, this is all part of his plan.

Another reason he allows us to be afflicted is so we learn not to trust in ourselves or in our own resources, but to trust in God in and for all things. When things are going well for us, we may become lazy about our relationships with the Lord and our spiritual walks of faith, and so we need affliction, at times, in order to get us to refocus our attention on what has eternal value and so we turn to the Lord for help, comfort, guidance and direction. We can become too self-sufficient, if we are not careful, and forget why we are here, and why God saved us and called us to his service.

For Our Good (Heb. 12:7-11)

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons… but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

When we go through life’s difficulties, which we will, it is not because God has no power over our situations, and it is not because God is not paying attention, or that he doesn’t care. He does care about us immensely! And, that is why he sometimes allows us to suffer pain and sorrow, for we were called to suffer for righteousness’ sake, and trials and tribulations are brought into our lives (or are allowed by God in our lives) in order to grow us in our faith, to make us holy, and to conform us to Christ’s likeness.

In other words, although suffering trials and difficulties is painful, it is for our good that we go through these troublesome times. We need them so that we share in Christ’s holiness. To be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world (of sin), because we are being made to be like Jesus. When things are going well, it may be too easy to blend in with the world so that people will like us and not reject us, but trials have a way of causing us to make a stand one way or the other. They help make us strong in our faith, too, because we must rely on the strength of the Lord. When we are trained by this divine discipline, it yields in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness, and being righteous has to do with “what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes” (2).

The Fiery Trial (1 Pet. 4:12-17; cf. Matt. 5:10-12)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Another reason we go through trials and tribulations is to test our faith, not because God needs this, but we need it. We need it because it reveals where we need to mature, where we still need to grow, and where we need to confess sin, or forgive others, or make things right. This that pruning process that it talks about in John 15. We go through this to cut away the dross so that we can be filled to overflowing with the fruit of Christ’s righteousness, and so we can bear much spiritual fruit for his kingdom.

It is also that we might share in the sufferings of Christ and become more like him in heart, mind, passion, attitude, values, morals and behavior. And, it is so we shine the light of Jesus through our lives even when we are put to the fire, and as a testimony of God’s amazing grace in our lives. Suffering connects us with Jesus, it draws us closer to him, and our fellowship with him becomes much more intimate as we learn to respond with grace, love, patience, endurance and forgiveness towards those who are our persecutors.

Various Trials (Jas. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; cf. Ro. 5:3-5)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

We learn a lot about ourselves when we are put to the test; to the fire. We learn where we are still weak, and where we need to be strengthened in our faith and in our trust in the Lord. We see where we lack perseverance, or where we are still vulnerable to giving in to the flesh. Trials have a way of surfacing any stuffed emotions, bitterness, unforgiveness, lack of faith, stubborn wills, or sinful addictions. And, they push us into having to make serious changes in our lives, although not everyone is moved by them, for some people stubbornly continue in their own way despite suffering.

If we respond correctly to our trials, and we turn to the Lord for help, our sufferings will work God’s will in our lives in producing within us godly character, endurance, commitment, passion for service, and spiritual maturity. And, this will result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, when he returns for us, his bride.

I AM WILLING, LORD / Joni Eareckson Tada

Sometimes when I am down,
And I don’t feel like You’re around, Oh Lord
Feeling so sorry for me,
Not knowing that all the while You’re working to see,
If when I’m put through the fire,
I’ll come out shining like gold,
Oh, Lord, please don’t ever stop working with me,
’til You see I can be all You want me to be.
I am willing Lord, I am willing Lord,
To be just exactly what You want me to be…

(1) http://biblehub.com/greek/3874.htm

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

Gladness and Joy

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 7:48 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The King is Coming.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 51:1-11 (NASB).

Look to the Rock (vv. 1-3)

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
“Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was but one I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him.”
Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.”

Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Lord, is the promised seed of Abraham: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” “And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.” “It is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (See: Gal. 3:16, 29; 4:22-31; Ro. 9:8). So, we who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives are Abraham’s offspring. We are the children of promise, of the free woman, not of the slave woman. We are the Jerusalem that is from above, not of the earth.

Through the promised seed of Abraham, who is Jesus Christ, ALL nations on the earth are blessed (See: Gen. 22:18). When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he died for the sins of the whole world. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (Gal. 5:21). When he died, Jesus redeemed us, i.e. he bought us back for God with his blood. Through faith in Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death. Amen!

One of the things Jesus accomplished through his death is that he destroyed the barrier that stood between Jew and Gentile. Jesus’ “purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility… For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph. 2:14-18). What this means is that the Jewish nation is no longer the children of promise. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can we be heirs of the promise. The division is no longer Jew and Gentile, but it is Christian (saved) and non-Christian (lost). The Jewish nation is now no different from Arab nations in that they are both of Hagar (Gal. 4:25).

So, our Rock from which we were hewn (fashioned) is Jesus Christ, the promised seed of Abraham. If we seek after God, we are to look to Jesus and to his righteousness for our consolation. He is our only hope of salvation. Only through his death and resurrection, and through God-given faith in him, can we be delivered out of slavery to sin and enter into God’s eternal kingdom. We who believe in Jesus Christ are Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, his temple. He will comfort us with his mercy and grace. Whereas we were once dead in our sins without hope, God made us alive in Christ. He forgave us our sins, and gave us new birth unto a living hope. Through faith in him we now are filled with inexpressible joy.

Pay Attention (vv. 4-8)

“Pay attention to Me, O My people,
And give ear to Me, O My nation;
For a law will go forth from Me,
And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
“My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
And My arms will judge the peoples;
The coastlands will wait for Me,
And for My arm they will wait expectantly.
“Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not wane.
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
A people in whose heart is My law;
Do not fear the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
“For the moth will eat them like a garment,
And the grub will eat them like wool.
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation to all generations.”

God’s people now are those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile by physical birth. We are his nation: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9). We who believe in Jesus with God-given faith – which is persuaded as to God’s will for our lives – have been given the gift of salvation from sins. Yet, our salvation is not complete until Jesus Christ returns for us and he takes us to be with him forever.

While we live on this earth we will see much wickedness and we will experience much sorrow. We who follow Jesus Christ with our lives and who bear witness to his gospel of salvation, as taught by him and his NT apostles, will be hated, persecuted, ill-treated, falsely accused, rejected, despised and even killed for our faith in Jesus Christ and his gospel. Although it is our joy to serve our Lord as his ministers on this earth, our time here will have many trials and tribulations, and we will often long for our heavenly home, and for the time of our Lord’s return.

So, this is an encouragement to be faithful, and to be steadfast in faith and in hope, knowing that the time when our salvation will be complete is not that far off. There is a time coming when God will judge this earth, and he will put an end to sin and to suffering. What we are going through now is temporary. Also, we must understand that our Lord is absolutely sovereign and completely in control over all things. So, we should never fear humans or what they may do to us. They can kill the body, but they can’t kill the soul. And, one day God will put an end to their injustices and their rebellion against him. Yet, our Lord, His Word and His Salvation will be forever!

Arm of the Lord (vv. 9-11)

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord;
Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.
Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces,
Who pierced the dragon?
Was it not You who dried up the sea,
The waters of the great deep;
Who made the depths of the sea a pathway
For the redeemed to cross over?
So the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

This is a call to the Lord to fulfill his promises, and to deliver his people out of this sin-sick world and to take us home to be with him. Yet, it is also a call for him to work miracles in our lives while we still live on the face of this earth. The call acknowledges that our God is the Almighty God, our creator, who is all powerful. It calls to remembrance all the many ways in which he delivered his people in times past, which includes all the many ways in which we, individually, have seen him work miracles of grace in our lives, too.

On the basis of what we know of God, and of his history with humankind, and on the basis of his promises given to us in His Word, we can pray for what we know is according to his will and his purposes for our lives. We can believe him for daily deliverance from the evil one, from giving into temptation to sin, and from the fear of opposition from sinful humans. And, we can trust him to be with us, to not forsake us, and to lead us through troubled waters while still filling us with his perfect peace and joy.

And, we can rely on the strength of the Lord and the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit within us, as well as his guidance, to lead us through every difficult circumstance and to make a way for us where there often seems to be no way. Nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and that he has a purpose for it, and that he will bring good out of it. We have to keep remembering that. We have to keep trusting, and not be afraid. One day he is going to return for us, and all the hardships we have gone through in this life will fade away, and will become no more. And, we will live in peace and safety with our Lord forever, and he will wipe every tear from our eyes.

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

I can hear the chariot’s rumble, I can see the marching throng
And the fury of God’s trumpet spells the end of sin and wrong
Regal rolls are now unfolded, heaven’s grandstands all in place
Heaven’s choir is now assembled, start to sing “Amazing Grace”…

Firm in Faith

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 3:36 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 7:1-9 (ESV).

Waging War (vv. 1-2)

In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

At this time in history, the Kingdom of Israel was divided in half. The northern half was called Israel or Ephraim, and the southern half was called Judah. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah. It was also the holy city where the temple of God was situated. Jerusalem was under threat of war from Israel (Ephraim) and Syria, and this made the heart of the king of Judah and his people shake with fear. So, how might we apply this to today?

Today the people of God are those who are believers in Jesus Christ. We are now his temple, for God’s Spirit now lives within us. We are heavenly Jerusalem. We, the people of God, are his holy city. We are spiritual Israel, the children of promise. The physical city of Jerusalem is no longer the holy city, but it is of Hagar, because she is in slavery to sin with her children (See: Romans 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18). And, we (spiritual Israel) are under attack, i.e. we face continual threats of attack from our enemy, Satan, and from human enemies, as well.

Collectively, the people of God are the body of Christ, his church (spiritual Israel), and we, too, are a divided kingdom. Part of the church has joined forces with the ungodly, and are living worldly lives, and are following humans instead of following their Lord Jesus, who saved them from their sins. They have bought into the lies of Satan, and have thus diluted the gospel of our salvation in order to appease the world. And many of them are at war (spiritually speaking) with the true gospel and its messengers. They teach a false grace gospel which does not put sin to death in the “believer’s” life, but rather just gives it a pass, i.e. carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt, without remorse, and without fear of punishment.

Last night I heard Max Lucado tell people, basically, that God’s grace merely means that Jesus took our punishment so we don’t have to pay for our sin, and that all we have to do is just receive his grace, and we have, in essence, bought our life insurance that guarantees we will never have to pay for our sin (1). Yet, there was nothing said about repentance. Nothing about being crucified with Christ in death to sin, or that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Lucado, instead, appeared to indicate that the whole purpose of “insurance” is so we can continue sinning without having our insurance cancelled.

He seemed to mock the whole idea of the importance of righteous living, and of walking in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. I guess he forgot to read the part of the insurance policy where it says that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). He forgot to read Jesus’ words where he says 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 Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25). I guess he also forgot Paul’s words where he said that if we walk (in lifestyle) in the flesh, to please our sinful passions and desires, that we will die in our sin, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh, we have eternal life with God (Ro. 8:1-14).

Do Not Fear (vv. 3-6)

And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it.”

King Ahaz and his people shook with fear because of the threats of war against them at the hand of the king of Israel and the king of Syria. Yet, God sent a messenger to them to tell them to be quiet and to not be afraid.

And, God is speaking that same message to us today. We don’t have to fear Satan’s threats against us, or those of humans. In the video presentation I saw of Max Lucado, of which I don’t have a copy, he charged those of us who preach the full gospel message with teaching legalism. Many of those who are teaching this false grace gospel try to discredit the full gospel, as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, by charging its messengers with teaching works-based salvation. Their goal is to get people to stop listening to us and to listen to them instead, and they have largely had temporary success. Many people are buying into their lies.

Yet, we are not to fear them or to be disquieted over their attempts to discredit the gospel of Jesus Christ and to lead others to follow their false grace message instead. Now, I will say here that not everything these teachers say is false, otherwise people would not accept it. They say things that are true, but they twist the truth to their own advantage, and they pull scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say while they ignore the bulk of the teachings on salvation in the New Testament. So, those who don’t know the Word of God will think they are preaching truth when, in fact, they are preaching lies (truth mixed with lies). But, they will not be successful in the end. They will disappear, but God’s Word will remain forever. So, we need to be students of the Word so that we are not easily persuaded by their lies, but so we hold fast to the truth.

Stand Firm (vv. 7-9)

Thus says the Lord God:

“‘It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.’”

This is not to say that our enemy will not be able to conquer us militarily, or that we will not face persecution, mocking, false accusations, mistreatment, rejection, abandonment, and the like. Jesus and his apostles warned us that, as followers of Christ, we will share in the fellowship of his sufferings. So, we need to be prepared to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel. We need to be prepared to be hated and mistreated and to be attacked because we hold fast to the Word of Truth. Yet, we don’t have to be afraid of any of this, because our Lord is with us, he will sustain us, and he will carry us through. He will give us all we need to stand firm in our faith and to not give way to pressure to compromise with the enemy in order to make peace with the world or to retreat (back down) in fear. God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all things. He has a plan and a purpose for everything which comes into our lives, and he will accomplish his purposes.

So, no matter the threats of the enemy against us, we must remain steadfast in our faith and hold firm to the Word of Truth and not run away in fear or compromise our faith in order to make peace with the world. Our God is in control! He is all powerful! He has a plan and a purpose for everything that is going on in the world, and he will come out on top! So, we just need to trust him, rest in him, and then follow him wherever he leads us. And, we need to go against our fears, and walk by faith and not by sight.

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

(1) http://www.sermonillustrator.org/illustrator/sermon6/cancelled_insurance.htm

Write These Things

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 9:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When I Am Afraid.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 1:9-20 (NASB).

A Fellow Partaker (vv. 9-11)

I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

I, Sue J Love, your sister and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus Christ, to those who are followers of Jesus Christ, and who are also suffering persecution for the sake of His Name, and for the gospel of Christ. I empathize with you in your suffering.

It was in a time of great suffering and persecution that God called me to this ministry. He used the passage in Habakkuk 2:2 in 2004 to call me to write what he teaches me from his Word, and to post it on the internet.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (NIV)

The “revelation” for me was whatever he taught me from his Word each day. To make it plain was to write it in such a way that it was practical and understandable and applicable to our daily lives, and to the church of today, and to the world in which we now live. I believe the Holy Spirit guides me in what to say. My “tablet” is a laptop computer, and the “herald” is the internet, which runs with it. And, thus, the name of my blog is “Run With It.”

I Turned to See (vv. 12-16)

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

In the years since God called me to this ministry, he has revealed so much of himself to me through His Word and through the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as well as through my own life experiences and tribulations.

I don’t see him in such a physical way as did John, though, but I have grown to know his character, his heart, his passion and his compassion. As he has allowed me to go through much suffering, I have learned to feel what he feels and to share many of his passions (zeal) for truth, righteousness, holiness, godliness and faithfulness. I have also known his comfort, encouragement, counsel, love, mercy, and faithfulness to me, his servant, especially during times when I was (or am) hurting deeply.

My God is a God of love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness, but he is also a God of justice and righteousness, and one who keeps his Word. He is completely faithful in all that he does. He has a purpose for everything he does in this life and in this world, too. And, he will accomplish his purposes in human hearts in His Way and according to His Will and His Timing. He demands obedience and repentance. They are not optional. He commands honor, respect, reverence and regard for Him and for His Word, too, and he does not take our sins lightly or smile at us when we rebel against him. Yet, he gives us all we need in order to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him.

Do Not Fear! (vv. 17-20)

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

I read a secular book a few years back titled, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” The title says it all! It is not a sin to feel fear. That is a natural human emotional response to troubling situations. Hey, I even jump out of my skin (not literally) when I hear a sudden loud noise, or when I am deep in concentration and someone sneaks up on me and all of a sudden I notice someone is there. I feel fear, but I then have a choice as to what to do with the fear. I can allow it to overtake me, or I can overtake it in the power of God’s Spirit living within me. I can even feel it, but then go against it.

I can recall numerous (too numerous to mention all) situations in my life where I felt fear but I went against the fear and did what was right and necessary anyway, and the feeling of fear then dissipated when I obeyed God and I didn’t let fear get the best of me. Sometimes we may obey God while “shaking in our boots,” you know. Fear has a way of humbling us and making us realize our absolute dependence on God, and not on ourselves, when in weakness we rely on his strength in order to do what he says.

Writing or speaking or teaching things that many people don’t WANT to hear, but that they NEED to hear, and that will get you rejected, hated, ostracized and persecuted (ill-treated) takes much courage and determination to obey God and to love people enough to share with them what they NEED and not necessarily what they WANT, i.e. what is best for them instead of what necessarily makes them feel good all the time.

The main antidote to fear, though, is to trust in God, even if the feeling of fear is still persisting, for a time. We must recall that our Lord Jesus is absolutely sovereign and in control over all things and all powers, including he has the keys of death and Hades, so we should never fear death or what humans may do to us, because God has it all under his control. We must continue to obey him, submitting our lives to his will, and to do what he has called us to do, which for me is to write what he teaches me, even if what he has me write is not popular and if only a few read it. Still, I trust Him!

When I Am Afraid / An Original Work
October 17, 2016 / Based off Psalms 56-57

When I am afraid, Lord, I will trust in You.
Your Word, Lord, I praise. I yield my life to You.
Enemies pursue me, slandering Your Name.
Lord, have mercy. I trust in You. Hear my cry today.

Lord, I love Your Word. It comforts me today,
As I look to you, and bow my head and pray.
You are Christ, my Lord. You saved me from my sin,
That I may walk, Lord before You, purified within.

Steadfast is my heart, O God, I sing of You.
I will praise You, Lord. To You, I will be true.
Oh, how great Your love. Your faithfulness endue.
Be exalted, God of heaven. Glory be to You.

The Same Kind

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 4:17 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NASB).

His Divine Power (vv. 1-4)

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

So, if we receive the “same kind” of faith as Jesus’ New Testament apostles did, what kind of faith would that be? Can there be more than one kind? Well, let me answer that second question first. Yes, there can be more than one kind of faith. There can be genuine God-given faith (Eph. 2:8-10), and there can be faith which originates in human beings, which is really not the kind of faith which saves us. And, there can be faith (human in origin) in other deities (false gods and false religions) or in other things besides faith in the One and Only True God who created the world and everything in it.

So, what kind of faith is the “same kind” as that received by the apostles? As was already stated, it is God-given faith, i.e. it is God’s divine persuasion (convincing) of us as to his perfect will for our lives. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to him. And, the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God, not something we muster up on our own out of our own flesh. But, it is something we must appropriate (seize, adopt) into our lives via submission to God/Jesus. In other words, God does not just zap some of us and therefore we have faith. We have to accept this faith.

In addition to this, the kind of faith which is God-given is of the Spirit of God, not of the will of man, and thus it prefers what God prefers and it does not make up its own set of rules to suit human flesh. So, what does that mean? It means that if we have God-given faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin but made alive to God in Christ Jesus. Our old self was crucified with Jesus “so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7). So, Jesus didn’t die for our sins just so we could escape condemnation and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Thus, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, what else can we learn about this “same kind” of faith? For one, this is not a one-time experience, then we live our lives, and then we go to heaven when we die. This faith is continuous throughout our lives until the end of time. It submits to God’s will, and walks in his love, and it lives life according to God’s Word (according to the Spirit) and no longer according to the flesh. It is empowered by God and not by the flesh, so its works are not fleshly but are generated by the Spirit of God. Even repentance has been granted to us by God, and the ability to walk in holiness and godliness, as well. But, again, we must appropriate what God has given/granted to our individual lives.

So many people today are teaching that we don’t have to repent of (turn from) our sins, and we don’t have to obey God/Christ, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do. That is human faith, and it is not the kind that saves us or the same kind as that of the apostles, i.e. it is false. They try to convince us that repentance and obedience to Christ are fleshly works and thus we must discard them, but that is a lie of Satan. God has granted us everything we need for life and godliness, and repentance and obedience are part of that God-given faith, i.e. the kind which persuades us as to God’s perfect will for our lives. True faith dies with Christ to sin and it lives with Christ to righteousness, because it is of God, and not of the flesh.

If These Qualities (vv. 5-9)

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

Again, our faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time experience. It is lived out in our lives every day, moment by moment. True faith in Jesus Christ does not stagnate at the moment we believe in Jesus, but it keeps growing and maturing, and our lives keep changing as daily we die to sin and the flesh, and as daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. Every day we should be growing in love, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, mercy, integrity, purity, forgiveness, obedience, godliness, holiness, heart knowledge, self-control, and perseverance, etc. If we are still the same people we were 10 years ago, then something is wrong. We should always be learning and changing for the good.

If these qualities, and others like them, are not increasing in measure in our lives, then we can become stagnated, and usually we end up declining (going backwards) in our faith. Then we are not much use for God’s kingdom work, and so we end up being unfruitful in our spiritual walks and in our witness for Christ and for his gospel. Usually this happens because we have let sin back into our lives and thus we are being hindered in our walks of faith.

In other words, we can’t increase in godliness if we are willfully continuing to do what we know is against God and contrary to his Word. We can’t increase in kindness and love if we are practicing hate, cheating, lying, deceit, stealing, and adultery, etc. We can’t increase in purity, either, if we are taking in regular doses into our minds of what is impure. We can’t increase in faithfulness, if we are regularly in the practice of being unfaithful. We are opposing the very things we say we stand for when we do this. And, when we do this, i.e. the opposite of godliness, holiness and the like, it is because we have forgotten (willfully) that Jesus died to put sin to death in our lives.

Make Certain (vv. 10-11)

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

So, we need to be diligent to make certain of our calling and choosing. In other words, we need daily reminders, not just of who we are in Christ by faith in him, but of who God has chosen and called us to be. For, many people today are still walking in sin and yet are being encouraged, even in the midst of willful sin against God, to claim who they are in Christ, some of which is made up of man, and not of God, and not from his Word. And, this is all backwards. God does not approve of our sin, so we should not put his stamp of approval on our lives if we are willfully continuing to live in sin. Yet, many do this because they want to continue in their sin without guilt, i.e. they have bought into a false grace gospel which tells them they can live however they want and still have the hope of heaven when they die.

If we do claim who we are in Christ, first of all we need to make sure we really are in Christ by genuine (God-given) faith in him, which is convinced of his perfect will for our lives and thus submits to his will and purpose. Then, we should make sure what we are claiming is truly biblical, and that we are doing so to encourage ourselves to walk in holiness and purity, not as a cover-up for doing what we know is wrong. But, then we need to be reminded, not just of what Jesus did for us, but of what he requires of us in the way of holy living. We need to be reminded that he called us and he chose us to be his holy people, set apart from the world of sin because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. He has called us to repentance and obedience, and to walk in his Spirit and not according to the flesh, too. So, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we should walk in his holiness and righteousness, and not live to please our sinful flesh.

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

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

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

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