For and Against

Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 4:22 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Before the Throne of God Above.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8:26-39 (NASB).

To whom are these words addressed? They are addressed to those of us who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and who have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life (born again), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Sin is no longer our master, because Jesus Christ put sin to death on our behalf, and because he delivered us out of slavery (addiction) to sin. So, now we are free to become bond-servants of his righteousness. We are now those who walk (in lifestyle), no longer according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. We aren’t perfect people, but we don’t make sin our practice. For, if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God (Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Our Weaknesses (vv. 26-27)

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

So, we no longer live according to the flesh, but by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, for all who are being LED BY the Spirit of God are the children (sons and daughters) of God. If children, then heirs of God and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, IF INDEED we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Yet, in our sufferings there is hope, first of all the hope we have of eternal life with God, which includes the promise that one day we will shed these earthly bodies, and we will have heavenly bodies free from even temptation to sin, sadness, pain and suffering. Then, we have the hope that, in our sufferings, when we have no strength to endure or to carry on, that the Holy Spirit will help us (See: Ro. 8:12-27).

So, what are some of these weaknesses he helps us with? Well, we don’t always know the right words to pray or even what to pray for, so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. Sometimes we don’t know the right things to do, because they are things not clearly defined in scripture. But, we want to make certain we are walking in the ways of the Lord and on the path he has marked out for us, and so we ask for help to know his will and to follow him in the direction he is leading us, and he gives us the guidance and direction we need, as well as he gives us the mental and physical strength and spiritual endurance necessary to complete the assignment (task) before us. Sometimes he just fills us with his peace, which is especially needed if Satan is attacking us with doubts and fears.

For Good (vv. 28-30)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

This is another wonderful encouragement for us when we are going through times of great suffering for Christ, or when we are being harassed by Satan’s lies, which we are needing to put off so that we can put on the truth. And, that is that God causes ALL things to work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.

So, what is this saying? Well, it is saying that our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made. There is nothing which we go through on this earth which escapes his notice or what he did not allow in our lives for a purpose. And, he will work it all out, not only according to his will, but for good (for what is best, as it ought to be). But, for whom? For those who love him. And, how do we love him? We love him by surrendering our lives to him, by dying with him to sin, and by following (obeying) his instructions to us. If we say we love him, but we don’t practice obedience, godliness, holiness and righteousness, then we don’t really love him. Again, this is not to say we will never sin, but that sin no longer rules our lives. God does!

He also works together for good all things to those called according to his purpose. And, what it is his purpose for us? It is that we are being conformed to the image (likeness) of Jesus Christ.

For Us (vv. 31-36)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

So, when Satan throws his fiery darts at us, and he tries to plant in our minds doubts and fears, we can be encouraged by these words. We will have enemies, for certain, because the Bible tells us we will be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake when we follow Jesus Christ with our lives. As well, Satan is definitely against us and he is working hard to try to trip us up, to get us to give up, or to try to persuade us to come to his way of thinking. Yet, Jesus Christ is on our side, he and the Holy Spirit are interceding for us, and God is not going to short-change us, but he will fulfill all his promises to us. We can take that to the bank (be assured of it).

So, if we are in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, we died with Christ to sin, were resurrected with Christ to new life in him, and we are now walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, we can be at peace with God even when the enemy is coming strongly against us, in knowing we are in the center of God’s will. No fiery darts from our enemy and no false accusations or persecutions from other human beings will ever be able to separate us from the love of Christ. He is there watching over us, helping us, giving us strength and endurance, and working his will and purposes in our hearts and lives, even when we can’t see him working.

All Things (vv. 37-39)

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, we never have to be afraid, because our Lord will never leave us or forsake us. And, we don’t have to get the point to where we are ready to give up because we lack the strength or endurance to keep pressing on, because God will give us all we need, if we will just rest in him and trust him fully with our lives, and with our circumstances, and if we will let him lead and we will follow his lead. We can be CONQUERORS through HIM who loves us, not in our own wisdom, scheming, power and strength, but in the wisdom, strength and power of God who is living within us. Amen!

Before the Throne of God Above
Charitie L. Bancroft

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is “Love,”
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart,
I know that while in heav’n He stands,
No tongue can bed me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased with His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, My Savior and my God.

@Public Domain

 

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Whatever Comes

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

Always Rejoice (vv. 4-7)

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

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

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

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

Dwell on These (vv. 8-9)

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

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

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

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

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

Content in Whatever (vv. 10-13)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Run to God

Friday, September 8, 2017, 6:37 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Cry for Mercy.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 143 (ESV).

Our Prayers (vv. 1-4)

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a shared enemy, who is Satan. His goal is to destroy us or to reform us to his ways, which also destroys us. The closer we walk with the Lord, and the greater impact we have for Jesus Christ in the lives of others, the stronger the opposition is against us. But, Satan does not act alone. He has a myriad of demons and humans who serve him, and who do his bidding, and they, too, will come against us to try to kill us, one way or another.

They will try to discourage and dishearten us, in hopes we will give up, or they will try to sully our reputations so that people will not listen to us. Or, they will attempt to trick, deceive, shame and persuade us into abandoning our commitments to Christ Jesus, and to forsaking the sharing of his gospel of salvation with others. Or, they will lock us up, drug us up, or do whatever they know how to do to hinder us from sharing the gospel, for that is their ultimate goal, to keep the gospel of Jesus Christ from spreading further, in hopes people will not turn their hearts over to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, when the enemy is coming strong against us, we need to look up. We need to not let him get the best of us, but we must keep our eyes firmly focused on Jesus Christ and the hope we have in him. Just because things look bad, in the light of this world, it does not mean God or his plans have changed or that he has abandoned us. He will never leave or forsake those who are truly his, and he will work all things for good for us who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose.

Thirst for Him (vv. 5-8)

5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

I think that, sometimes, when things get bad in the present, we have a tendency to forget all the times previously when God brought us through difficult circumstances. That is one of the reasons it is good to journal, or to make notes in our Bibles or somewhere that we can refer back to, so when things get tough, and our hearts begin to fail, we can look back and see how God moved in our lives before, and then it encourages and strengthens our hearts in the present. Many times I have read through previous journals and have just wept when I read how God ministered to my heart at another time when I was going through a time of trouble, and it just blessed my heart.

When we go through tough times, though, it has a way of drawing us to our Father’s bosom. When things are going well for us, we may have a tendency to get lazy or apathetic about our relationship with God, and to, perhaps, drift from our pure devotion to him. So, he allows us to go through difficulties, trials and tribulations so that we will call on him, and so we will draw closer to him, and so we mature in our walks of faith with him, and we learn greater dependency on him. It is for our good that he disciplines us, in other words, in order that we may share in his holiness, and so that it might produce a harvest of his righteousness in our lives (See: Heb. 12:1-11).

On Level Ground (vv. 9-12)

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.

It is good for us to be afflicted that we might learn his commands (Ps. 119:71). We often learn more through suffering, concerning following our Lord in obedience, than we ever learn when life is going forward without even a bump in the road. Jesus, who was/is God, and who was perfect (sinless), learned obedience through the things he suffered. So, how much more should we, mere humans, learn through the times of testing we go through how to follow our Lord in surrender to his will for our lives.

So, when we go through suffering, we should call on God, and we should ask him to teach us what we need to learn through our time of testing, instead of always wanting to be rescued out of it. If we are rescued too soon, we may not learn what we need for walking closer to our Lord, and for knowing his will for our lives. I think, as Americans, that we often miss out on all God has for us because we are prone more towards trying to relieve our suffering rather than learning what God has to teach us through it. I am all for relief, don’t get me wrong, but we should not so easily look for quick fixes that we miss the blessings God has for us in the process.

We should want (desire) to know and to do the will of God more than we want instantaneous relief from pain and difficulties. Too many people run to drugs for relief and never run to God. Or, they try to escape their pain in other ways, rather than trusting the Lord to see them through and to bring healing to their bodies, minds and hearts. So, if you are going through a tough time right now, seek God with all your heart. Ask him to teach you his way, that you may walk in it. Ask him to give you an undivided heart with which to serve him. Trust him to walk you through your circumstances, and believe him to accomplish his good for you through what you are experiencing. And, then believe him to fill you with his peace and joy.

My Cry for Mercy
An Original Work / October 31, 2013

Based off Psalm 86

Hear my prayer, Lord, I am needy.
Guard my life, for I’m devoted to You.
Save me! I’m Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.

O, Lord, have mercy on me,
For I call to You.
Bring joy to me, for to You
I will lift up my soul.

You are giving and forgiving.
You abound in love to all who
Call upon You. Hear my prayer, Lord.
Listen to my cry for mercy.

In days of trouble I call to You,
Knowing that You will
Do marvelous things,
Because You are my God.

Teach me Your way; I’ll walk in it.
In Your truth, Lord, You will guide me.
A pure heart, Lord, You will give me,
So that I may glorify You.

Turn to me, Lord, and grant
Strength to Your servant.
O, Lord, You are my help,
For You love and You comfort me.

Teach me Your way; I’ll walk in it.
In Your truth, Lord, You will guide me.
A pure heart, Lord, You will give me,
So that I may glorify You.

Our Merciful God

Thursday, August 24, 2017, 4:40 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 116 (Select vv. ESV).

Deliver My Soul! (vv. 1-4)

I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

We are able to love God only because God first loved us. We did nothing to earn or to deserve his love, for even while we were dead in our sins, Jesus Christ died on a cross to deliver us out of slavery to sin. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to him.

Thus, we love the Lord because of his great love for us and for all that he did for us in sending his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to die for our sins, and to be resurrected from the dead victorious (triumphant) over our sins. We love him, too, because he heard our cries for mercy when we were dead in our sins, and he saved us out of bondage to sin. And, he continues to deliver us from all that would hold us captive, or that would bring us down (low), when we call on him in truth, and when we accept his help and his guidance.

The Lord is Gracious (vv. 5-9)

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

While we are still in these flesh bodies, and we live on this earth, we will have trials, tribulations, heartaches, disappointments, pain, and sorrow, etc. We will have friends and loved ones who will abandon us, either physically or emotionally, or who will get ill and die, or we will face much persecution and rejection, even from those within the gatherings of the church. Or, we will experience financial troubles, loss of jobs, sickness, and death of children, etc. We will also be tempted of Satan to sin against God, and so we will have to resist him, flee the temptation, and draw near to God.

When we go through difficult times, we may be like Peter, and we may get our eyes off of Jesus and on to the waves (difficult circumstances) splashing all around us, and we may begin to sink. But, when we cry out to God in our distress, he will lift us up, if we will let him. And, I say “if” because many people will call on God for help, but then they will not accept his help, but will continue to go their own way. They may say “help,” but then they are not willing to let go of their problems and to put their complete faith and trust in God for him to work it all out according to his will, and for their good. So, we have to not only desire his help, but we have to cooperate with the help he gives us, and follow his lead, and his will, and in his way.

Your Servant (vv. 15-19)

Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has gone. The new has come. We are born again of the Spirit of God, and our lives are transformed away from living for sin and self to living for God and for his righteousness and holiness (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Jn. 3:1-21; Acts 26:16-18).

When Jesus walked the face of this earth, he talked much about the cost of following him. He said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose our lives for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will gain eternal life with God. Paul reiterated these words when he said that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, that 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). And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (sin), that we are liars (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Basically, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we (our flesh) dies with Christ so that he might live his life now out through us (Gal. 2:20). Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus Christ. So, we are to honor God with our lives (with our bodies). Now Jesus is our Lord (owner-master), and we are his bondservants. Now we are under obligation, but not to live according to the flesh, but to walk according to the Spirit in the power of the Spirit now living within us. We are to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ and of his gospel, holy and pleasing to God, which is our reasonable service of worship of him. And, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in the renewing of our minds of the Spirit.

And, we are to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he leads us, and to do whatever he has called us to do, no matter where that takes us or the cost involved. For, we were not put on this earth for our own pleasure, but to live holy lives pleasing unto God, and to do his will, and for his purposes, and for his glory and honor and praise.

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

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

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

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

The Goodness of God

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

My Salvation (vv. 1-3)

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

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

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

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

He Will Not Leave (vv. 7-10)

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

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

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

Teach Me Your Way (vv. 11-14)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Believer’s Prayer

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means so much more than just Jesus forgiving us of our sins so that we can go to heaven one day. When we trust Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we give our whole heart and devotion to him to obey him, to forsake our former lives of sin, and to follow him wherever he leads. He said his sheep hear his voice, they listen, and they follow (obey) him. When we invite Jesus to be our Lord (owner-master), it means he is now the boss of our lives, but not just the boss of our lives, for he is our very best friend.

When he is truly our Lord and our Savior, our desire is for him to please him in all that we are, and do and say. We want to be his forever. We yearn to know him better, and to understand what his Word teaches us, so that we can follow him in truth and in obedience to him and to His Word. The fellowship we have with him each day in prayer and in his Word is unmatched by any other. No one else will ever love us like he does. We can always depend on him to lead, guide, protect, nurture and comfort us daily. He will never abandon us. He is completely faithful. And, one day he will come again to receive us to himself.

A Believer’s Prayer / An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

Flaming Darts

Saturday, July 22, 2017, 5:53 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Do Your Best.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV).

The Evil Day (vv. 10-13)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Before the creation of the world, as we know it, there was an angel in heaven named Lucifer (Is. 14:12) (3). He decided that he wanted to be God, and so he rebelled against God, along with about a third of the angels in heaven, so he was cast to the earth (1). Lucifer, now called Satan (the devil, the dragon), is now considered to be the “god of this world” (or “god of this age”) (2 Co. 4:4). He is also called “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) (2). When we are outside of faith in Jesus Christ, we are under the power and control of Satan (and sin). When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are delivered from Satan’s dominion over our lives. Amen!

Yet, Satan is not God Almighty. The God who created this world and all living creatures is still completely sovereign over all that he has made (See: Eph. 1:15-23; Col. 1:15-20; Rev. 3:14; Col. 2:9-10; & 1 Pet. 3:21-22). Satan can only do what he does because God allows it, within limits set by God, and only for a predetermined amount of time, after which God will judge Satan and all his hordes (Rev. 19:17-21; 20:1-15). Satan has no real power over those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Yet, he can tempt, oppress and afflict us, and attempt to influence, persuade, and manipulate us, if God allows it, and for God’s purposes in our lives. So, that is why we are given this spiritual armor with which to fight off the devil’s evil schemes against us.

So, why does God allow Satan to rule (within limits) over this world? My thinking on that subject is that God wanted a people who would choose to serve and love him, not because we have to, but because we want to. So, he did not make us puppets (marionettes) on strings, which he controlled. He gave us free will to choose evil or good, lies or truth, wickedness or righteousness, self (and Satan) or God. When we are tempted to do evil, but we choose, instead, to obey God, God is pleased with that. And, this wrestle against these spiritual forces of evil helps to strengthen and mature us in our faith and commitments to Christ, to follow him in obedience and surrender to his will. It pushes us towards God, as we learn to call on our Lord for help.

Stand Strong (vv. 14-17)

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, …

So, since we have these spiritual evil forces working against us, we must stand strong in the Lord and in his mighty strength, and we must daily put on this armor of God. So, how do we do this? Well, for one, we do this by daily resisting Satan, fleeing evil desires, pursuing righteousness, and by drawing near to God in full assurance of faith, being cleansed of our sins (Jas. 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 2:22).

Yet, so many Christians fail to take up their spiritual armor daily because they are not resisting Satan, fleeing evil, or pursuing righteousness. Instead, they are playing with evil and are allowing themselves to be entertained by it on a daily basis, while they are neglecting the Word of God in the putting on of what they have learned into practice in their daily lives.

Another thing we need to realize here is that God/Jesus already won this battle for us. It is not as though Satan has power over us. He doesn’t! Jesus delivered us from the dominion of Satan. So, in the power and might of God living within us we CAN STAND STRONG in our faith and against these forces of evil, and we CAN RESIST SATAN and flee evil desires, and we CAN pursue righteousness. We are not defeated. Satan is! We just have to believe this, and we need to act on it by doing the things we have talked about here, and by putting on this armor daily.

When Satan lies to us, we combat his lies with the truth. When he twists the truth and mingles it with lies, we use the Word of God against him, like Jesus did when Satan tempted him in the wilderness. When the devil casts doubts into our minds, we put on faith (and truth), which will extinguish Satan’s flaming darts. When he tempts us with immorality, we reject it, and we put on Christ’s righteousness and holiness. When he tries to get us to be afraid, we put on faith, truth, and the Word of God, etc. If we want to live victorious Christian lives, we have to put off (reject) evil, and we have to put on (live out) Christ’s righteousness and holiness.

Keep Praying (vv. 18-20)

…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Prayer is not merely “saying your prayers.” Prayer is not something we do simply for a predetermined period of time each day, during which we list off our prayer requests and then we are done. Prayer is continuous conversation with God and listening to him speak to our hearts throughout the day (1 Thess. 5:17). It is having the attitude in mind that Christ is with us 24/7, living within us, and speaking to us his words of guidance, counsel, encouragement or correction. He may put a name of someone in our minds at any moment, and so we should pray for that person. Or, he may have something he wants us to do for or with that person, and so we need to inquire of him as to why that person’s name is in our minds, and what he wants us to do.

Often he speaks to me through songs throughout the day, and sometimes in response to what I am thinking about even before I voice it to him in prayer. He can do this with any of us if we are in this continuous attitude of prayer, i.e. in unceasing communion with our Lord to where, at any moment, he may speak, we may hear, and we would be able to respond. This is how he guides us and directs us throughout the day in any and every situation, and how he shows us what we need to do in response to temptation or in regard to Satan’s evil attacks against us. Yet, for this to happen, we must have open channels between us and our Lord to where he can speak to us at any moment, and to where we will respond to what he is saying to our hearts.

And, we need to be in prayer for one another. This does not always have to be done through making lists, though, for we can pray that the Lord would put names into our minds as he wants us to pray for them, and even that he would give us the words he wants us to pray, so that we are praying in the Spirit and not in our human flesh. Sometimes he does this through circumstances, where he burdens our hearts with a need, so that we will pray for that need. We do, most certainly, need to be praying for one another that we would be strong in our faith and that we would be bold in our witness for our Lord and for his gospel, for the times are short, and there is much opposition to the gospel of our salvation and to those who are spreading the gospel message throughout the world.

Do Your Best / An Original Work / November 7, 2011
Based off of 2 Timothy 2

Love You, Father, love You, Lord.

Be strong in the grace of Christ.
Endure hardship for your Lord.
Your commander, live to please.
You’ll receive the victor’s crown.
By the rules, run in the race.
Your Lord, you’ll see face to face.
Jesus Christ, raised from the dead;
Of your life, He is the head.
Endure all for the elect.

Love You, Father, love You, Lord.

If we died, we live with Him.
If we last, with Him we’ll reign.
If we disown Him today,
He will have to look away.
Even if we faithless be,
Faithful He’ll remain always.
He cannot disown Himself.
He’s our Lord and Savior, King.
He will reign o’er ev’rything.

Love You, Father, love You, Lord.

Do your best; present yourself
As one who’s approved by God.
Work as one who’s not ashamed;
Rightly share the Word of Truth.
Wander not from what you know.
Destroy not the faith of some.
God’s foundation; it stands firm.
The Lord knows those who are His:
Those who turn from wickedness.

Love You, Father, love You, Lord.

In a house are wood and clay,
Gold and silver, all array.
Some are noble, some are bad –
Cleanse your life, and you’ll be glad;
Useful to the Master’s work.
A pure heart – in righteousness,
Pursue faith and love and peace.
Bad desires you want to flee.
Gentle servant you must be.

Resources:

*Disclaimer: Not an endorsement or pledge of full agreement with content.

(1) https://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-fall.html

(2) https://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-god-world.html

(3) https://www.gotquestions.org/Lucifer-Satan.html