Becoming Complete

Monday, October 16, 2017, 10:13 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Trust Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 19 (Select vv. ESV).

God’s Word (vv. 7-11)

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

We read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

So, even though some passages of scripture may not directly apply to us, given to whom the words were originally addressed, and whether or not they were written under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant, still there is something we can learn from all scripture (Genesis to Revelation). We can learn from the examples of other people’s lives, and from historical events, and be taught God’s divine character and will for our lives, especially regarding his holiness and righteous, as to be applied to our daily lives.

The scriptures are God’s words to us, his instructions, his teachings and his divine counsel for our lives. Through the reading of God’s Word, we get to know him, we hear him speak his words to our hearts, and we gain understanding into his will and his purposes for our lives. When we drink in the Word of God into our daily lives and practice, we are encouraged and strengthened of heart, we are spurred on toward love and good deeds, we are guided into all truth, and we are given specific direction for our lives.

When we are downcast, we are lifted up, when we are sad, we learn to rejoice, when we are confused, we are enlightened, and when we are contemplating going a particular direction, or making a specific choice or decision, we may be warned to not go there.

The beauty of God’s Word is that it is how he primarily communicates with us his will and his directives for our lives, his mercy and his grace, his love and his kindness, his holiness and his righteousness, his justice and his judgment, his gentleness and compassion, and his passion and his concern for us that we live holy and godly lives, pleasing to him, for his glory. So, we should desire his Word, we should study it so we know what it teaches, we should open our hearts to hear God speak, and we should walk in his truths.

No Dominion (vv. 12-13)

Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

Can we do what is displeasing to God and not be aware of it? We can, because we may be blinded to our own faults, at times.

Yet, certainly this is not speaking of hidden sins, in the sense of secret sins that we fully know we are doing, and which we are purposefully hiding from others, though. God is not going to declare us innocent of such sins which we consciously commit and then hide and even cover up with lies so as to deceive others. These sins may fall under his grace, and therefore we may not be eternally condemned because of them, if we are not walking in them, but God is not going to excuse them away or look the other way, and then not address these wrongs to us. For, his goal is that we walk in holiness and righteousness, and not according to our flesh.

Yet, it is possible to sin and to miss it. For example, we may have a wrong attitude concerning something God has placed in our lives, or unkind thoughts about someone, or God may be trying to tell us something, but we are missing the cues, maybe because we are distracted with other things. Or, perhaps we are taking stuff into our minds which are not spiritually healthy for us, but we are just not sensitized to it. But, the more we mature in our walks with the Lord, and the more we respond to his Word and to the Spirit’s voice, speaking God’s words to our hearts, the more aware we will become regarding what is pleasing or what is displeasing to our Lord, so that we can correct those errors and then do what is right in God’s eyes.

Definitely we want to be kept back from presumptuous (bold, arrogant, insolent, willful) sins, for if we walk in them (make them our practice), we will not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment. But, if we walk according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit we are putting sin to death, then we do have that promise of eternal life with God.

For, when Jesus Christ died on a cross to deliver us from sin, it was so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. In fact, his grace to us is not merely forgiveness of sins, but it is deliverance out of slavery (addiction) to sin. His grace is also not carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin, but it instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross, in other words, so that sin would no longer have dominion over us, but that now Jesus Christ would be truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and us his faithful servants.

My Mouth (v. 14)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

If we have been born again of the Spirit of God, and have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and have been made alive to God in Christ, to the glory and praise of God the Father, then our desire should now be for God (for Jesus Christ), to please him in every way. The closer we walk with him, the more sensitized we will become to not doing what we know is contrary to his Word, and the more we will want to do what is right in God’s eyes. Thus, we will join with the psalmist in this prayer that our thoughts, our hearts, our attitudes, our actions and our words would be acceptable to God.

And, no matter where we are in our Christian walks, or what we are presently going through, we will look to our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and to his Word for our strengthening, comfort, encouragement, counsel, instruction, hope, healing, guidance, peace and security. Thus, we will put our trust and our hope in Him and in His Word, and not in ourselves or in our own resources, or in humankind, who are bound to fail us.

Trust Him / An Original Work
August 15, 2012 / Based off Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be of courage;
Be strong and take heart today.
Do not fear when foes attack you.
Trust in God always.
He will rescue you in times
Of trouble and distress,
He’ll comfort you in all ways
As you trust Him with your life today.
Trust in Him always.

God is with you; He’ll not leave you.
You can always count on Him.
He will fulfill all He promised
Before you began.
His word teaches you
All that you need for this life.
Let Him lead you. Open your heart;
Let his truth envelope you today.
Listen and obey.

Love your Lord God; follow Jesus.
Repent of your sins today.
Make Him your Lord and your master;
Trust Him and obey.
Follow Him where’er He leads you
In His service; be His witness,
Telling others about Jesus’
Price that He did pay
For your sins always.

 

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That is Grace!

Sunday, October 8, 2017, 8:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Power of The Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 43:8-13 (NASB).

Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes,
And the deaf, even though they have ears.
All the nations have gathered together
So that the peoples may be assembled.
Who among them can declare this
And proclaim to us the former things?
Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified,
Or let them hear and say, “It is true.”
“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And My servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
And there will be none after Me.
“I, even I, am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
“It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed,
And there was no strange god among you;
So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“And I am God.
“Even from eternity I am He,
And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;
I act and who can reverse it?”

Eyes and Ears

People who are blind, for the most part, have physical eyes. They just can’t see out of them, because their eyes are defective in some way. The same is true with those who are deaf. They have ears, but they just can’t hear out of them, because their ears are malfunctioning. Yet, this is not talking about the physically deaf and blind, but concerning the spiritually deaf and blind. It isn’t that they can’t see (have understanding) or that they can’t hear (perceive and learn), but it is that they choose not to (Ro. 1:18-32). Their spiritual eyes and ears are defective (malfunctioning) because of willful sin and/or stubborn rebellion against God. Yet, sadly enough, some of these deaf and blind claim to know God and/or to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives.

In other words, these deaf and blind have knowledge of God and/or of his Word and/or they have heard some form of the gospel preached with their physical ears. Some of them have even grown up in the gatherings of the church, i.e. they have attended church gatherings possibly from birth to adulthood. They, if they have confessed Christ as Savior, may even be in possession of a Bible, or of multiple Bibles, and they are quite free to read it, at will. Some of them may even have Bible college or seminary degrees, and a few of them may even be pastors and elders of local congregations. You don’t have to be ignorant of God to be blind. Some of the blind have massive Biblical (head) knowledge. They just have never applied it to their hearts.

So, this is the difference between the blind and the one seeing, or the deaf and the one hearing. The one has the knowledge, but lets it go in one ear and out the other, or else he uses that knowledge strictly for intellectual purposes. The other, the one seeing and/or hearing, has no more advantage than the blind and the deaf. He just does what the Word says, instead of walking away from the mirror, forgetting what he looks like (Jas. 1:22-25). Our God is not satisfied with us merely knowing his Word, but he requires that we obey his Word by doing what it says. His salvation for us is not just so we can be forgiven our sins and have the hope of eternity with God in heaven, but he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He saved us not just out of the punishment of sin, but out of addiction to sin.

False gods

This is a call of God to assemble all the deaf and blind (spiritually), who have ears to hear but don’t listen, and who have eyes to see but do not receive. The call is to examine their idolatrous ways and to account for them and for their idols (the gods of men). What good are they? Are they able to save, bring healing and deliverance, or bring perfect peace, fulfillment and joy everlasting? Are they able to lead and guide in the ways of God, and in his righteousness? Or, are they useless, but more than useless, but do they, instead, bring you down, trap you, steal your joy, lead you into sin, ruin your life, and destroy your relationships with others? And, lead you to hell?

So many people, including Christians (or professing Christians) are led down a path of self-destruction or complacency, regarding spiritual matters, because they are following after their own fleshly desires, and because they are followers of humans rather than, or over and above being followers of God. So, their itching ears want to hear messages which tell them that all they have to do is just accept Jesus’ forgiveness of their sins, and now they are guaranteed heaven when they die, and their spiritual maturity is wholly in the hands of God, and they have nothing to do with it at all. Nothing is required of them – no repentance, obedience or submission to Christ Jesus.

So, what good is salvation to them then? If we are not saved out of slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, then we aren’t really saved, because we are still dead in sins, walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit. For, the Bible teaches that if we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) in sin, we don’t have the promise of heaven when we die, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of eternity in hell, no matter what prayers we prayed to receive Christ and his forgiveness of our sins (See: Lu. 9:23-26; Ro. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9). So, don’t be fooled! Don’t listen to those liars and deceivers who are telling you that God requires nothing of you other than to accept Jesus’ forgiveness of your sins, and who say that heaven is guaranteed you, no matter what. Read God’s Word, and believe and follow the truth!! Your life and eternity depend on it!

No Other God

Our God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – the creator of the universe and all living things, is the one and only true God. His written Word can be found in the Bible (Genesis to Revelation). This is where we will find truth and righteousness and God’s plan for our lives and his purposes and will for each one of us. Though there are godly men and women in this world who are teaching the truth, as best as they understand it, there are many more who are teaching outright lies, half-truths (lies) or who are twisting the truth (lies) to their own advantage, but to your demise. It may sound good, especially to itching ears, but it isn’t good, and so we must be very discerning so that we don’t get trapped and tripped up by such deceptions.

There is no savior (rescuer) besides the one true God. No drugs, alcohol, TV shows, movies, recreation, games, sports, automobiles, houses, lands, possessions, fame, or fortune, and no human being dead or alive can save you from hell and bring you into God’s wonderful kingdom. They will never fulfill the deep longings of your soul, which God put within you for him alone, but they will leave you empty, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, always craving more and more, hoping the next time will bring you happiness, but more times than not these idols only kill and destroy, ruin entire households, lead people to suicide, and ultimately end up leading people straight to the pit of hell.

And, not only is our God our only true savior, but his salvation is also not what many like to present it to be. Jesus came to deliver us out of addiction to sin, not to forgive the sin and then to do nothing to rescue us. Although it is only through faith in Jesus Christ, and not of ourselves, that we receive such a great salvation, the salvation we receive is freedom from bondage to sin and freedom to walk in Christ’s righteousness. So, to truly believe in Jesus, it involves death to sin and living to his righteousness, only not in our own power and strength, but in the power and strength of God’s Spirit now living within us. God’s grace to us is not him just forgiving our sin while we go on in sin. That is not grace! His grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. Now, THAT IS GRACE!

Power of The Cross
Shelly Johnson

Once in darkness now in light
Once blind now you see
Once a sinner now a saint
Once bound now free.

That’s the power of the cross
See the chains fall…

All For Him

Thursday, September 7, 2017, 4:59 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 1 (Select vv. ESV).

Jesus, the Sovereign (vv. 15-20)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

When we see or hear about all the evil that is going on in the world, and we experience, or witness, or hear about so much human suffering and heartache, we may be tempted to ask, “Where is God in all of this?” We may find ourselves thinking that God is on vacation, or asleep, or that he isn’t really paying attention to all the misery that is happening all around us. Or, we may, as some do, believe God can’t do anything about it, as though he is impotent (powerless) instead of omnipotent (all-powerful).

Many people reject the belief that our God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – is completely sovereign over all he has made, because then they would have to come to grips with the knowledge that God could have done something to stop it all, but he didn’t, not yet. Yet, it is not ours to question God, or why he does what he does, or why he allows what he allows. If he were to remove all evil from the world, wouldn’t he have to remove all people? What one of us never ever sins? Although not one of us should still be walking in sin, we still have the propensity to sin, and we are still tempted to sin, at times, and we may still sin in our thinking, attitudes, words or actions sometimes (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), as long as we are still in these flesh bodies.

The thing is, our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, who is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made, created an angel in heaven who then wanted to be God, and so he rebelled against God, along with a third of the angels in heaven. God, who is all-knowing, created him, even knowing he would rebel, and that he would take a third of the angels with him, and then that he would tempt humans, and that they would sin against God. In fact, God created humans knowing that we would sin against him, too. So, why did he do this? I believe it is because God wanted people who would love, worship and serve him on their own accord, who would be driven to his breast, who would need and want him, and desire him above all else.

The other thing is, we may never know until we get to heaven why God chose to do things the way he did, and does, but what we can know with certainty is that he is completely sovereign over all that he has made, and he is in control over all authorities and powers, and that nothing can happen in this world without his causing it or allowing it to exist, and but what he has a reason and a purpose for it all. He chose to allow evil to exist, and for us to be born into sin, and thus for us to need him to save us. Even before the creation of the world and humans, God had planned, I believe, that Jesus Christ, God the Son, should be the one to redeem us from our sins.

Now Reconciled (vv. 21-23)

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The truth of the matter is, since God gave humans a choice to believe in him or to not believe in him, to obey him or to disobey him, and that humans did choose to sin against God, we are all born into sin. All people have sinned against God, and we have all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval, in our own flesh, and so we need Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, and to purify our hearts, and to make us holy. So, Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God. And, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He purchased us back for God with his blood, shed on a cross, so that we could be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so we could love, honor, worship and follow (obey) our Lord in his power.

Yet, not everyone is saved. We have to individually trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. When we do, 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. Yet, this is not a one-time deal, and then we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven. We must continue in the faith we profess. It is the one believing (present tense) in Jesus Christ who has the promise of eternal life (Jn. 3:16). If we persist in continuing in (walking in) sin, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and eternal damnation (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Mature in Christ (vv. 24-29)

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, so that they can be saved from their sins, and we tell them the truth of what God’s Word says, we put our own lives on the line, for not everyone will accept the message, not even many who call themselves Christians. And, so we will be hated, rejected and persecuted by some, or by many people. Yet, we must not shrink back from proclaiming the whole counsel of God out of fear of what humans might do to us, or say about us. We have to tell people the truth, because that is the only hope they have. If we fill their minds with lies, and thus false hopes, just to make them feel good about themselves, or about us, we may be sending them straight to hell by our “kindnesses.”

The goal of us sharing the gospel, warning against rebellion against God, warning of judgment, and calling for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, or renewed faith in Christ, is not to be superior, self-righteous, know-it-alls who just want to look down our noses on others. Those of us who share God’s Word in all its truth, with sincerity of hearts, do so because we want to see people saved from their sins, set free from bondage to sin, and set free to worship God by their lives in living to his righteousness, and no longer according to the flesh.

We also want to see our brothers and sisters in Christ move to maturity in Christ in their walks of faith, no longer tossed here and there by every wind of teaching by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (See: Eph. 4:11-24). We want to see them loving God, doing what he says, and following him wherever he leads them, no matter the cost. For, this is the reason Jesus died, that we might live for him and not for ourselves.

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.

 

For Our Transgressions

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 3:34 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 53 (Select vv. ESV).

Who Has Believed? (vv. 1-3; cf. Rom. 10:16)

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, our God and Lord, came to earth and took on human form, begotten of God the Father, and born as a baby to a human mother. He suffered as we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. There was nothing about his physical appearance that anyone should be attracted to him. He did have some true followers (disciples), though. And, crowds did follow him, for he healed many, he drove out evil spirits, he performed many miracles, and he fed the hungry. But, when he spoke of the cost of following him, many who had been following him deserted him, never to return.

Many of the religious leaders within the Jewish temple did not like Jesus, and they made it their mission to destroy him. They hated him because he dared to be different, because he did not follow their human rules and traditions, because he healed people on the Sabbath, and he claimed to be God; and because he confronted sinful humans with their sinful conditions, warned of divine judgment and called for repentance and faith in himself. They were jealous of him because of his temporary and short-lived popularity among the people, and because they felt their own positions of power were being threatened by him. So, they plotted his death, and he was crucified on a cross for our sins (See: Jn. 1:1-34; Jn. 6:35-66; Phil. 2:1-11; 1 Co. 5:21).

We Are Healed (vv. 4-6)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

When Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He 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. In his death, he put sin to death, and when he was resurrected from the grave, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death for our sake. By God’s grace, through faith in him, via death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ, we can be forgiven our sins, released from the ultimate punishment of sin (eternal damnation), delivered out of slavery to sin, and released to walk in the Spirit and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and be given eternal life with God.

When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God and unable to attain God’s divine approval through human effort. So, that is why Jesus gave his life up for us, that we might be saved from our sins, walk in the Spirit, and have eternal life with God. Because he died, we are able to die to sin, and because he lives, we can live with him and for him for eternity. Yet, he did not come to earth, take on human flesh, and suffer for our sake just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might live for him, and he suffered that he might be our compassionate and merciful high priest in taking our sorrows upon himself that he might also comfort us in our sorrows.

The Will of God (vv. 10-12)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

It was God the Father’s will that his Son should suffer and die for our sins. This was planned for us even before the creation of the world, and that many of us would believe on him as our Savior and would become children of God, and followers of Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are not only made righteous in God’s sight, but we are able to live righteously for Him and for his will for our lives, for this is why he died. Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).

So, we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we have made a profession of faith in Christ Jesus. If we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), for His sake, we will gain eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). The true story of Jesus (the gospel) is not just that Jesus died to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and to give us new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Gal. 2:20). Amen!

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Fanny J. Crosby / John R. Sweney

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Who is He?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 8:30 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “More About Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 1:1-18 (Select vv. NASB).

The Word (vv. 1-5)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

As we read through this first chapter of John’s gospel, we soon realize that “The Word” is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He was in the beginning (of creation) with God, he is God, and he is our creator. He made us.

Jesus is the author of life (Acts 3:15). In Jesus is eternal life (1 Jn. 5:11). And, He is the eternal life (1 Jn. 1:2). This Life is the Light of mankind. He is truth and righteousness, and he reveals truth and righteousness to us. This truth (the light) shines (sheds light) in the darkness (sin, wickedness). He makes clear what is darkness (sin, lies, wickedness) and what is light (righteousness, truth, holiness). He exposes sin and lies for what they are, and he reveals truth and righteousness for what they are. Yet, many who are still in the darkness do not understand, because they do not receive or accept the truth, nor do they reject or deny the lies and the sin.

The Light (vv. 9-13)

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus Christ, the true Light, instructs and educates us in what is of God, in what is holy and righteous, and in what is true. And, he reveals to us what is false, what is not of God, and what is contrary to his Word. He exposes all that is called “light,” but which is false. But, we have to be listening to him, believing him, and applying what he teaches us to our lives, or else we may continue in the darkness, or we may find ourselves accepting false light as true light, and even rejecting the true light, as though it is false.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. He suffered like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. During his years of ministry on the earth, he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, encouraged the timid, and delivered people from demons. He also preached repentance for salvation and for forgiveness of sin, death to sin for eternal life, and living to righteousness. And, he said that if we love him, we will obey him (we will keep his word). John said that the way we know we have come to know him, is if we keep (obey) his commandments (his Word, his instructions to us).

Yet, even though Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Lord and Messiah, and even though he created the world, and he came into the world, those who were of the world did not recognize (know) him. Even those of his own household, his hometown, and of his own faith did not receive him. They did not acknowledge that he was their Lord and Messiah, nor did they accept (welcome) him into their lives as their Savior and Lord (owner-master). Even many today, even among those who call themselves Christians, truly do not welcome him as Lord (owner-master) of their lives nor as the one who died that they might die to sin and live to righteousness. They are ok with him forgiving their sins and promising them heaven when they die as long as he doesn’t require anything of them – no commitment, no vows of allegiance, no submission or surrender, and no repentance or obedience.

Yet, for those who truly do receive (welcome) him into their lives as their owner-master, recognizing that they are now his servants, who have repented of their sins, and who are reborn (spiritually) of the Spirit of God, they are now children of God. We are not God’s children merely because he created us, or because we pray a prayer to receive him, or because we acknowledge his existence or accept his forgiveness for our sins. We are his children when we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23). We are his children, too, when we are being led by the Spirit, and when we practice doing what he says (1 Jn. 2:3-4; Ro. 8:14).

Jesus Christ (vv. 14-18)

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Jesus Christ is God, as well as he is the only begotten Son of God, so his glory (renown, honor, worth) is that of the Father. Jesus is full of both grace and truth. And, as his followers, we also should be full of grace and truth. Grace has to do with God’s favor (his kindness to us). And, the way in which he favored us is that Jesus gave himself up for us on a cross so that we could be delivered out of slavery to sin and have eternal life with God forevermore. And, we give up ourselves for others when we follow our Lord in obedience in being his servants and witnesses in telling others the gospel of Jesus, so that they can be saved from their sins, because we know that this could cost us our lives, our reputations, and people rejecting us.

Jesus was also full of truth, and so should we be. Truth is the opposite of lies. And, it is defined by God; by his standards, not by the world’s standards or values. The Word of God – Jesus, and his written Word – is truth. We should live the truth, believe the truth, promote the truth, and tell the truth, and we should not be liars and deceivers. So, in order to do this, we need to know the truth and be able to distinguish (discern) truth from lies. We can do this in the power of the Holy Spirit within us, but we have to be listening, and we must be willing to have him show us what is truth and what are lies. Many people, even those who call themselves Christians, hold on to the lies, because they like the lies better than the truth.

But, as followers of Jesus, we should be those who love the truth, who drink it in, search it out, follow it, and who share it with others.

More About Jesus / Hewitt / Sweney

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.

More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.

No Attractiveness

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 4:17 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Lifted Our Burdens.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 53 (Select vv. ESV).

He Was Despised (vv. 1-3)

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

This is a good question for today: Who has believed what he has heard from us? That is to say, who has believed the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Who has understood that Jesus Christ wasn’t this do-gooder who everyone loved and admired, but that people despised and rejected him? They did not esteem him, but they hid their faces from him. He is not the model for today’s modern church movement here in America at all. He wasn’t attractive to the world so that the world should desire him. In fact, the world hated him, because he told them that what they did was evil. Even his own people of his own faith rejected him, and the religious leaders in the temple of his Father were the ones who had him put to death on a cross.

Yet, did he do good? Certainly! He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, encouraged the timid, delivered people from demons, and fed the hungry, etc. But, along with this he also preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. He confronted people in their sins, and he didn’t mince words. He always told the truth, and never did he tell people just what they wanted to hear, or what would make them feel good about themselves, living in their sins.

He told them, instead, that if they wanted to come after him they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow him. He told them that if they do not “eat his flesh and drink his blood” that they have no life in themselves, i.e. if they would not partake with him in death to sin, and in laying down their lives and in being willing to suffer for the sake of his name, and for the sake of the gospel, they had no part of him. If they put their hand to the plow, he said, but then looked back, meaning if they chose to follow him, but then they were not willing to let go of their former lives of living for sin and self, they were not fit for service in the kingdom of God (See: Lu. 9:23-25, 62; Jn. 6:35-66). This teaching does not jive with modern Christianity, at all. Jesus is rejected, even within the church today.

He Bore Our Griefs (vv. 4-6)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) left his throne in heaven, 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. Because he took on our humanity, he is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. He became our compassionate and merciful high priest to whom we can go at any time with our griefs and sorrows, who will comfort us with his love and mercy, but who will also tell us the truth, and who will counsel us in the right way.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. 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. When he died on that cross, he took upon himself not only our sins, but all our sicknesses, pain, sorrow and weaknesses so that by his stripes we are healed, not only spiritually, but emotionally, mentally and physically, according to his will, and in his own way, for healing comes in many ways.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely so that he would take the punishment of our sin, and so that we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He gave his life up for us that we might no longer live according to the flesh, but that we might walk in the Spirit, for if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with him for eternity. When we believe in him with God-given faith, which persuades us as to his will for our lives. We, thus, are crucified with him in death to sin so that we might live to him to his righteousness. The old has gone. The new has come.

The Will of God (vv. 10-12)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

It was God’s plan all along that Jesus Christ should suffer and die for our sins, because this was his plan to save us out of slavery to sin and to bring us into his eternal kingdom. Jesus, although he was fully God and fully man, learned obedience through the things which he suffered. And, it is God’s will that we should suffer, too, in order that we might learn obedience, humility, patience, endurance and perseverance, and in order to make us holy and to conform us to the image of Christ.

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, with God-given faith, Jesus’ righteousness is now credited to our account. Our sins are forgiven, and we are set free from the control of sin over our lives. Although Jesus Christ was never married and never had children of his own in the natural sense, all of us who put our faith and trust in him are his offspring. We belong to him and him to us. He is our Savior, Lord, friend, and brother.

Not only are we saved from our old lives (of living for sin and self), but we are given new lives in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are given joy, peace, love, compassion, assurance, strength and power to live godly and holy lives while we wait for Christ’s return. He blesses our lives with so many spiritual blessings that it is beyond measure. We can go to him in prayer any time of day, he listens, and he cares. As well, we listen to him, and we follow him wherever he leads us, and we practice doing what his word says, because we are in him and him in us, and because we love, worship, honor and adore him.

He Lifted Our Burdens / An Original Work / February 15, 2014

Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

His Own Arm

Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 9:00 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 63:1-6 (NASB).

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.
“I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me.
“I trod down the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

History First

In the year 2017, this is our present situation. Well, let me give you some history first. When the United States of America was created, I believe it was created to serve to aid in the transition of the world into a one world totalitarian rule of the beast (On the subject of the beast, see: Rev. 13). This notion (idea) is evident (supported) by our national symbols, in particular by our Great Seal with the All-seeing eye of Horus and the incomplete pyramid.

Many Americans believe we are and have always been a Christian nation, but truly our nation has been syncretistic from our founding days. If you do any kind of research on the founding fathers, you will find that many of them were Freemasons. Some of our national symbols are based in freemasonry, as well. In addition to that, check out the layout of our capital city, and note that many of our national monuments, statues and buildings are modeled after Roman, Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Thus, I wonder if our present form of government, at least what is on paper, was always intended to be temporary, until it was time for the beast to rule the world. Yet, for some time now, though I am not certain exactly when this began, the US government has only been loosely in charge of our nation. The De facto government for the USA has been and still is a shadow government comprised of the elite (wealthy and powerful) of this world. Our government, that we believe is our government, truly has no real power of its own, for it is subject to this group of Elite (the shadow government). Our government serves more like slaves to the Elite of the world, like the woman (the harlot) who rides the beast (See: Rev. 17-19). They are kind of like the right-hand man who does the bidding of this “beast” in conquering peoples, nations and even Christians worldwide.

Yet, they are God’s divine instruments of judgment on the people of this world and on his church. He is using them to exact punishment on nations, peoples and on his church in order to bring people to Jesus Christ and to bring his adulterous people back into proper relationship with him. And, the US government (in partnership with the US church, though not all), i.e. this harlot, will come under judgment, too. The US, as a sovereign nation, will (is being) also be transitioned into the “beast” New World Order. And, that is what is presently happening in the USA and in other nations. So, don’t trust what the news media, alias “fake news” (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, et al) are telling you, because they are all owned and operated by the Elite (N.W.O.).

When all nations are brought under the rule of this “beast” New World Order, i.e. when they are integrated into this global one world totalitarian rule, then the beast will be fully formed, I would imagine. What this means for each sovereign nation, including the USA, is that they (we) will no longer operate independently of other nations, for we will all serve the beast, if we do not put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It also means that people of all religions and all walks of life will be brought into unity, one with the other, and that there will also be a one-world all-inclusive religion, much of the likes of freemasonry. True believers in Jesus Christ will reject this, and thus they will be and are now being hunted down by this beast New World Order for either reprogramming or for extinction.

The Majestic One

As was already mentioned, God is using this New World Order “beast” of the Elite of the world and the Harlot as his divine instruments of judgment on the world. So, when this asks, “Who is this who comes from Edom?”, and the response back is that it is the Lord Jesus, God our Savior, it is because it is the Lord acting in judgment on the nations and the peoples, and these who are exacting his judgment are merely his instruments of judgment. So, when this also says that God looked, but there was no one to uphold with him (no man with him), it is not saying he does not use men, but that the nations did not uphold his righteousness, and they did not offer their support to his cause to lead their people to uphold his righteousness.

If they had, there would be no reason to judge the nations, at least not at this time, but they haven’t, and that is why God is bringing these judgments on the earth. So, God is acting alone, marching in the greatness of His strength, but not to obliterate us all, but in order to save, at least for now. The purpose of his judgments, at this time, is to save the people of the world, for through judgment many will turn their hearts to the Lord, and many who are already Christians, but who had strayed from him, will be brought back to a correct relationship with their God as their ONLY Lord.

Year of Redemption

Yet, I also see this in light of the gospel of our salvation. Jesus Christ is the one who took upon himself our punishment for our sins on a cross. God’s wrath was poured out on his Son, in our place, so that we might be redeemed (bought back for God with the blood of Christ). Jesus is the one who speaks in righteousness, mighty to save. He took our sins upon himself when he died on the cross. That was our lifeblood that stained his garments red. Yet, he did this that we might go free from eternal damnation. He did this so that we would have the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, he also did this that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.

When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures in the image (likeness) of Adam. We are separate from God, without hope. And, we can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can never be good enough. We will always come up short of attaining God’s divine approval (Ro. 3:23). The law was put into effect to lead us to Christ, but the law cannot save us, because not one of us can keep the law perfectly. So, through Jesus’ death on the cross, he destroyed that law of sin and death which condemned us to death so that we could go free. Yet, he did not do away with the law entirely. “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law” (Ro. 3:31).

What this means, I believe, although God’s people are no longer under the Old Covenant requirements, such as ceremonial and purification laws, we are still subject to God’s moral laws, as they are repeated for us to follow in the New Testament. In other words, grace does not mean lawlessness. It just means we can’t be saved by keeping the law. No one could – ever! Jesus, thus, fulfilled the requirement of the law for sin, which is death, and he did this for us that the requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. In other words, our salvation meant death to sin for Jesus on a cross, and it means death to sin in our lives, too, and living to righteousness (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Jn. 1:6).

So, Jesus/God is not willing that any should perish (die in their sins), but that all should come to repentance. Repentance means “a change of mind,” and yet it is almost exclusively used in scripture in the context of leaving our lives of sin behind us, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and turning to God/Jesus to follow him in obedience and surrender. Yet, many people today are not teaching this, and so many are being given a false hope of salvation, thus the Lord is sending out messengers to give out the truth so that people will know the truth, and yet many are not listening, and they are following after the lies, instead.

And, that, I believe, is why God is judging the nations and peoples of the world right now, because it is his goal to bring people to Jesus and to his salvation, and to turn the hearts of his wayward children back to himself, with him as their ONLY God and Lord. So, where does this find you today? Is this song the prayer of your heart? If not, I pray it would be today.

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.

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.