Destroyers of True Intimacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Stability (vv. 5-6)

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

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

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

Who Walk Righteously (vv. 13-16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Lord Is

Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 2:52 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 145 (Select vv. ESV).

He is Merciful (vv. 8-9)

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

When God shows us his mercy, oftentimes he comes to our rescue to deliver us out of something, or he is patient towards us and he does not discipline us immediately as our sins deserve. The Bible says that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and so he waits for us to accept his invitation to his great salvation, yet he will not wait forever, so don’t delay in putting your faith in him. Tomorrow may not come.

His mercy to us is based in his lovingkindness and in his compassion towards us. God demonstrates his mercy to us just by the mere fact that he desires a relationship with us, when we are so undeserving of his love and grace. He loved us and he died for us while we were yet dead in our sins, not because we were so righteous, which we weren’t, but because he is love and he is merciful. He provided deliverance to us out of slavery to sin so that we could become servants of his righteousness. He, as well, shows his mercy and grace to us by his faithfulness to us, even when we are not faithful to him.

Yet, God’s mercy can also be shown to us in his divine discipline and correction in our lives, for he says that those he loves he disciplines for our good (for our benefit) that we may share in his holiness. Those who have been trained by his discipline should, thus, yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness (See: Heb. 12:1-11). In other words, sometimes his mercy to us is to allow us to go through hardships, pain and suffering, because it is for our good, to draw us closer to God, that we may learn to rely on God, and not on ourselves, and that we may be purified, made holy, and conformed to the image of Christ, God’s Son.

He is Compassionate (vv. 14-16)

The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He did this in order that he might be our compassionate and merciful high priest in giving himself as the sacrificial Lamb for our sins so that we might be reunited with God in pure fellowship, and have our sins forgiven (See: Heb. 2:14-18; 4:14-16). But, also that he might feel what we feel, i.e. that he might sympathize with us, and so he might help us when we are going through tough stuff, or when we are being tempted to sin.

It is certainly enough that Jesus Christ loved us so much that he was willing to leave his home in heaven, to come to earth, to become flesh, to make his dwelling among us, and to take upon himself the sins of the entire world when he died on the cross so we could be delivered from slavery to sin. Yet, it brings much comfort to me that he knows what I go through because he went through something similar himself, and that he cares when I hurt. He feels what I feel, and he is there to give comfort, healing, direction, compassion, hugs (emotional) and counsel. He will never leave me nor forsake me. And, he will provide all that I need to endure, to persevere, and to keep doing what he has called me to do, even against great odds.

He is Righteous (v. 17)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.

Our Lord is pure, moral, honest, honorable, upright, and blameless in all that he does. He is absolutely perfect. He is also just, i.e. he is fair, correct, and good. We may not feel like he is sometimes, because we don’t understand what is truly in our best interest, i.e. what is for our benefit; or because we don’t truly comprehend that he is God, and not some doting grandfather in the sky there to grant our every request, and to do what pleases us.

So many people today have an entitlement mindset to where they think God owes them whatever, and so they get angry with God when he doesn’t do things the way they would like, or the way they think he ought to, but God isn’t like us. He doesn’t operate like we do. He does not exist just to make us happy all the time. Yes, he is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice, and mercy, which means he will do what is best for us, but not necessarily what will make us feel good all the time.

He is Near (vv. 18-20)

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

Along with God’s promises to us are his stipulations or conditions. A lot of people like to preach that God does it all and that nothing is required of us at all, but that is not what scripture teaches. It isn’t that God does part and we do part, as though we are equal partners in our salvation, though. It is by his grace, through faith, which is the gift of God, and not of works lest any of us should boast, that we are saved from our sins (See: Eph. 2:8-10). Yet, we do have a part. We have to believe on him, but even the ability or desire to have faith in Jesus Christ comes from God, yet we must willingly appropriate this faith to our lives through our submission to Christ and via our cooperation with God’s work of grace in our lives.

If we want to experience the nearness of the Lord with us and in us, we must call on him, but we must call on him in truth. If we want him to fulfill our desires, we must walk in the fear (honor, respect, & reverence) of the Lord. Then, our desires will be his desires. If we want to have his salvation, we must fear (honor, respect & reverence) him via turning from sin and turning to walk in obedience to him and to his commands (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 4:17-24), and by not taking his grace for granted (See: Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Jn. 1:6). If we want to be preserved for eternal life, or to have his watch and care over us, we have to be in relationship with him. To know him is to love him, and to love him is to obey him (See: Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can never be good enough to gain God’s divine approval of us. Only by God’s grace to us, through faith, can we be saved from our sins. Yet, belief in Jesus Christ is not just an emotional experience, or an intellectual assent to what Jesus did for us in dying for us our sins. We must understand here that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Coming to Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. True faith in Jesus Christ means we cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives, not that we do nothing. So, call on him in truth (sincerity), fear (honor) him, and love (obey) him.

Praise Him (v. 21)

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Last of all, or perhaps first of all, praise him. Praise him for what he has done, and for what he is yet going to do. Praise him for who he is. Praise him in good times and in bad times. Praise him in the storms of life, and when things are going well. And, praise him by sharing with others the message of salvation from sin so that they, too, can be saved. Amen!

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
(Repeat 1st 2 lines)
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
(Repeat 1st 2 lines)
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
(Repeat 1st 2 lines)
I can count on Him.