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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God Will Help

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 9:47 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Why So Downcast?” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 46 (Select vv. ESV).

No Fear! (vv. 1-3)

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

Life on this earth has its ups and downs. Sometimes we experience relative peace and safety, and we are not seriously challenged with much in the way of adversity, trouble, or hardships. At other times, life’s circumstances hit us hard with difficulties, persecutions, heartache, pain and much sorrow. While some people seem to encounter more troubles than others, certain people appear to have life pretty easy, although appearances can be deceiving.

Yet we can be encouraged, for God Almighty – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, creator of the universe and all living things – is the refuge and strength of his people, i.e. of those of us who have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is our present (abiding) help in trouble. Although he does not necessarily remove us from our sufferings, though he may, and he sometimes does, he will carry us through them. For, he will give us all the wisdom, counsel, guidance, strength and endurance we need to endure, and he will also teach us what he wants us to learn through our troubles.

Not many of us like to be in pain, though, and so the tendency of many of us may be to immediately want to escape the suffering, yet we are called to suffer for the sake of Christ and his gospel, and we are destined to go through many trials and tribulations, because these are for our good. For, through our difficulties and troubles we learn perseverance, patience, and godliness; our faith is tested to see if it proves genuine; we mature in our walks of faith; and we learn to rely on God and not on ourselves.

As well, we learn humility, compassion, obedience and love; we share in God’s holiness; and for those of us who have been trained by God’s divine discipline, it produces in us a harvest of his righteousness. So, we should never fear, for God is doing good in us and through us for his glory.

Not Moved! (vv. 4-7)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

When troubles come our way, which they most certainly will, how do we respond to them? With fear or with faith? With travail or with trust? With rancor or with rest? And, when we are facing such difficulties, to what or to whom do we turn first? To our own resources, to other people, or to God? As well, do we believe that God is absolutely sovereign over our lives, or do we rather see God as impotent, rather than as omnipotent? And, do we see Satan as more powerful and God as not able to do anything to help us?

I believe that many Christians respond to their troubles as though they believe that God can do nothing to help them, or as though he is not completely sovereign over their lives, and as though Satan still has power over them. And, that is why they are afraid, and it is also why many of them feel as though they have to resolve their own problems. It is because they don’t see that God is in their midst, that he is their fortress (strength), and that he will give them all the help they need to make it through whatever it is they are going through presently.

Some people find comfort in believing that God is impotent to do anything about their circumstances, because then they don’t have to deal with the knowledge that God could have rescued them, but he didn’t. They, too, don’t want to believe that a loving God would allow them to suffer in such a way, or even that it is his will that we should go through trials and tribulations. But, I find that belief to be unbiblical and disconcerting, because that says that I am on my own, that Satan has full power over me, and that my God, who is supposed to be my strength and help, is absolutely powerless against Satan’s schemes. Therefore, it is like going into a battle without my armor.

Where I find peace is in knowing that my God is absolutely in control over all that he has made, and that nothing can touch me but what God allows it (or causes it), and that he does so for his purposes, which God will work for my ultimate good and for the good of others. I find peace, too, in knowing that whatever he takes me through, he will give me everything I need to make it through, and he will never abandon me. So, even though I may face much opposition, trouble or heartache, I can stand strong in my faith, for my God is with me, and he is my strength and purpose, so I will not be moved.

Be Still! (vv. 10-11)

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

God/Jesus is often saying to us, “Don’t be afraid,” “Trust Me,” and “Be Still.” And, he can say that because he is in control over all that he has made, he has us in his hands, he is carrying us on his shoulders, and he is holding our hands, and he will see us through everything we are going through. Even though Satan is throwing his darts at us, and humans are mistreating us, and the opposition is fierce, at times, we can be at peace in the midst of the storm. We can rest in our Lord and in his sovereignty and in his grace, believing that good will come from it all.

Although things may look pretty bad at times, and it doesn’t seem right now that God is being exalted among the nations, but rather evil often seems to triumph over good, one day every knee will bow before God, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

God will triumph! And, Satan is already defeated, for Jesus conquered him via his death and resurrection, and his doom is sure. Satan can only still exist and be allowed to do the evil he does because God has allowed it to happen, and for his purposes, but one day that will all end, and we will be taken to be with our Lord. Every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and we will no longer be in pain or suffer or be sad, and in that we can rejoice!

Why So Downcast? / An Original Work
December 21, 2012 / Based off Psalm 42

Why so downcast, O my soul,
And why so disturbed now within me?
Put your hope in Jesus Christ,
For I will praise His name.
He’s my Savior and my God,
So therefore I’ll remember Him through
Storms and tempests sweeping o’er me.
Still I’ll praise His name.
Put your hope in God.

By day the Lord sends forth His love.
In the night His song is with me.
I pray to the God of my life.
I will praise His name. I say to God my Rock,
“Why must I be called to suffer this way?”
Foes attack me; Satan sneering.
Still I’ll praise my God.
Put your hope in Him.

As a deer pants for the waters,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God who’s living.
When can I meet Him?
My tears have been my food at night,
When men say, “So, where is your God?”
I pour out my soul to my God.
I’ll still praise His name.
Shout with joy to Him.

 

Partiality to Wicked

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

Showing Partiality (vv. 1-2)

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

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

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

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

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

Rescue the Weak (vv. 3-4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arise, O God (v. 8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acceptable Worship

Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:18 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12:1-2 (ESV).

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A Living Sacrifice

Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on a cross for our sins, and in being resurrected from death, so that we could go free from slavery to sin, free from eternal damnation, and so that we could have eternal life with him, we should give of our lives (our entire being) to him as a living sacrifice. Living means we are alive, and sacrifice is something we surrender, lose, give up, not hold on to. For, Jesus 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 if we save (hold on to) our lives, we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), for his sake, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-17).

So, what should this look like, in all practicality? Well, first of all it means that Jesus is our Lord (owner-master), not in name or in title only, but as a living reality in our lives. He bought us back for God with his blood, shed on a cross for our sins, so our lives are no longer our own, but they are his, so we are to honor God with our lives. And, we are his bond-servants, who prefer what he prefers, and who obey him in his power. So, we don’t consider our lives to be our own, to do with what we want, but we regard them as belonging to Christ, and our desire is for him, to do his will, and to follow in his ways. Our salvation is not just about what Jesus does for us, but it is about living our lives for the praise of God, according to His will.

So, what should this look like when we get up in the morning, as we go throughout our day, and when the work day is done? If we have truly given our lives up for Jesus, to be lived for him, in his power, how would that look different from how we are living our lives now? Would we do all the same things? Have the same conversations? View the same material on TV, on the internet or in the movies? Spend our non-working hours in the same way? Live the same place? Read the same books? Or, have the same friends?

Our Spiritual Worship

What is worship? Someone told me the other day that all religions worship the same God, but can that be true? Or, can it be true that we can choose the way in which we worship God? Thus, one religion worships him this way, and another that way. But, is that possible?

Worship is defined here as giving up our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing (acceptable) to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds (of the Spirit). So, what is acceptable, holy and pleasing to God?

Well, first of all we must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, be crucified with him in death to sin, and be resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our God is Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. If we don’t all surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, making him Lord of our lives, then we don’t all worship the same God. And, holy means we are separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made to be like Jesus. And, what is acceptable to God? That we should believe on his Son and that we should no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, in the power of God.

In other words, true worship of God is not rituals or forms we go through, nor is it some emotional feeling we have about God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but it is giving him the respect, honor, esteem, reverence, and obedience which he requires of us, and which he so rightly deserves. It is to believe what he says, and to do what he says, which means giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to him. And, what is acceptable to him is that we love him with God-like love (agape love), which conducts our lives according to God’s will, obeys him, and loves others, too.

Transformed in Mind

We are to no longer be conformed (adapted, shaped) to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in the renewing of our minds. So, this means our lives should be remarkably different from people who make no profession of Christ as Savior of their lives. We shouldn’t do the kinds of sinful things we did before Jesus Christ set us free, either (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-17; Tit. 2:11-14). For, when Jesus died on a cross, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This should be reflected in our daily lives. Daily, by the Spirit, we should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, not entertaining them and giving in to them.

We shouldn’t be gossiping, overeating, lying, cheating, stealing, mocking people who are different from us, committing adultery, viewing pornography, and watching sexually charged TV shows or movies, etc. We also shouldn’t be wasting hours on end playing video games, reading novels, watching sports, or otherwise entertaining ourselves incessantly. Our Lord did not put us on this earth so that we would be entertained all the time. He put us here to worship him, to give him glory by our lives, and to do his will. And, he put us here to spread his gospel throughout the world so that many others might come to know Jesus Christ, too.

So, to be transformed in the renewing of our minds means we don’t think or act the same way we used to, and we don’t take the same junk into our minds on daily basis, like we used to, either. Instead, we fill our minds with the things of God, from his Word, and from our times of worship of him, and from times spent with other believers in true Christian fellowship, and also in times of service to our Lord in doing what he says, and in being who he has created us to be. In this way, we will no longer think or act or believe the same as we did, nor will we have the same attitudes, morals, and values, but those will be ever changing to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

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.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
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.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
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!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Deeply Despised

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 9:44 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “For Our Nation.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 49 (quoting vv. 5-10 ESV).

His Servant (vv. 5-6)

And now the Lord says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

The speaker is Isaiah, and yet this is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, so, in essence, this is Jesus Christ speaking. And yet, to a certain extent, this also applied to Isaiah and it applies to us, too, as the Lord’s followers, for we are his servants, who were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph. 1:3-4).

Jesus Christ called us to be his servants and witnesses. Part of our calling is that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet. 2:9). Included in that calling is that we should encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have wandered from their pure devotion to Christ, to come back to the Lord in submission and obedience to him. It is also to proclaim the truth of the gospel to those who profess Jesus Christ as Savior, but who have never been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and thus have not truly been born again of the Spirit. And, it is to share with the world around us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died to deliver us out of sin, in other words.

The Chosen (v. 7)

Thus says the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Our Lord Jesus, although he was God in the flesh when he walked this earth – i.e. he was fully God, yet fully man – and even though he did no wrong, but he taught truth, and he lived it, too, and he loved people and helped them, still he was hated, rejected, despised, persecuted, abandoned, mocked, spat upon, beaten and then hung on a cross to die. He came to save his own people, the Jews, but most of them turned away from him and would not believe in him as their promised Messiah. And, many of them called for him to be crucified, too.

Yet, it was God’s will that our Lord should suffer and die for our sins, and then be resurrected from the dead. For, when Jesus died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. Then he rose from the dead victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can be delivered out of slavery to sin, be set free from the ultimate punishment of sin, and be set free to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. For, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to him.

It is also the Lord’s will that we should suffer in this life, and that we should be hated, persecuted, abandoned, betrayed and even killed for our faith in Jesus Christ. Why? Because, through suffering we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ, we are being made holy, and we are maturing in our walks of faith. We are being humbled, we are learning to rely on God and not on ourselves, and we are learning grace, compassion, forgiveness, patience, endurance and perseverance. God is developing his character within us, as he carries us through these trials, in order that we will be his faithful ministers in sharing the love, grace and mercy of Christ with others.

Come Out (vv. 8-10)

Thus says the Lord:
“In a time of favor I have answered you;
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I will keep you and give you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages,
saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’
They shall feed along the ways;
on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
they shall not hunger or thirst,
neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
and by springs of water will guide them.

When we, the body of Christ, serve the Lord faithfully in being his servants and witnesses, in taking the gospel of our salvation to the ends of the earth, we don’t have to do this in our own strength or by our own resources. When the Lord calls, he also equips and empowers. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are indwelt by God’s Spirit who comforts, encourages, strengthens, helps, empowers, counsels, teaches, and guides us in the way we should go. He will give us all we need to be able to share his gospel with many people.

So, what is this gospel that we are to take to the ends of the earth? It is not only that Jesus Christ died, and was resurrected, and that he did this to conquer sin in our lives, but that he did this that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. So many people are teaching the gospel as though it is just a get-out-of-jail-free card and the promise of eternity in heaven with God when we die. But, Jesus didn’t die just to take our penalty for sin, but he died that we might be delivered out of addiction (slavery) to sin and so we might live in victory, and for him the rest of our days, for his glory.

So, our message to the people should not be merely that they should believe in Jesus Christ and accept what he did for us on the cross, but it should be that they should come out of darkness (sin) into the light of Christ’s holiness and righteousness. And, their lives should now be a light that shines forth to show to the world what it means to be truly “born again.” The Lord will now be their shepherd and helper, and he will guide them and lead them in the way that they should go. They just have to humble themselves before God, turn from their sin, and turn to follow Jesus Christ with their lives.

For Our Nation / An Original Work
September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

 

Flimsy Excuses

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 12:00 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Sacrifices.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Beginning of Knowledge

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

If we want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ to where we hear him speaking his words to our hearts, and to where we understand what he is saying to us, so that we can apply what he is teaching us to our daily lives, and so we can walk daily in intimate fellowship with him, then we need to begin with the fear of the Lord. So, we must understand what this means.

The fear of the Lord is us giving respect, honor, value, esteem, reverence, obedience, submission, worship, devotion, faithfulness and love to God the Father, and to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, our thoughts should not be solely focused on what he is going to do FOR us, but they should also be on what he will do THROUGH us as we submit our lives to him to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will. For, belief in Jesus is not just about him saving us from our sins so we can go to heaven one day. It is about him saving us so that we can honor and glorify HIM with our lives day by day.

If Sinners Entice

10 My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
14 Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
16 For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.

Believing in Jesus Christ means we are delivered out of slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, but it does not mean that we cannot or that we will never sin again, or that we won’t be tempted to sin. We most likely will be tempted, because Satan wants nothing more than to captivate us once again, and because we still live in flesh bodies, which still have the propensity to sin. So, it is likely that, at some point, we may sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). But, sin should no longer be our practice. It should not be the normal course of our daily lives, for we died with Christ to sin, so how can we live in it any longer? (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, what do we do when we are tempted to sin? The Bible says that no temptation has overtaken us but such as is common to man, and God is faithful, and he will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, so that we will be able to endure it (or to bear up under it) (1 Co. 10:13). So, what escape has he provided? For one, he put sin to death on the cross and he rose victorious over sin from the grave, so that we can also die to sin and live to righteousness. He, too, has given us the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) to put on daily, so that we might fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. And, he has given us much instruction in the NT on how to overcome sin. He also gives us much wisdom, if we will heed the wisdom and counsel he provides.

So, what are some of those instructions and wisdom’s gems? For one, the scriptures tell us we must resist Satan and flee temptation and sin, and draw near to God. And, it teaches us that we are to throw off the sin that so easily entangles and the weight that hinders so we can run the race God has set for us to run (our spiritual journey). And, it instructs us that, if something is leading us into sin, we should cut it out of our lives. As well, we are to put off what we know is sin (or sinful practices) and replace them with what is holy and righteous, such as we must put off lying and tell the truth, put off stealing, and work, and give to others, etc. So many people are still practicing sin because they are not utilizing the armor of God, the wisdom of God, and the instructions in God’s word in how to defeat sin in our lives.

Wisdom Shouts

20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you…
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

So many people claim ignorance when they are not ignorant. It isn’t that they don’t know what to do, but it is that they don’t do what they know, or that they ignore what they know and/or avoid learning what they need. Or, because they want to continue in sin, they willfully remain naïve, always claiming that they didn’t know or that they are just learning, when they have been learning a very long time – always learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. They willfully choose ignorance over knowledge in hopes that they can excuse away willful and continued sin against God, but their excuses don’t hold water. Their excuses are useless!

I hear so many Christians say that they are “struggling” with sin, but what does that really mean? Is that just another excuse for willful and continued sinful practices? We shouldn’t be “struggling” with sin, at least not in the sense of regularly and consistently yielding to the same sins over and over again, for Jesus set us free!

The bible teaches us that if we make sin our practice, that we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity, and this includes anyone who claims to believe in Jesus Christ, too. It isn’t that we will never repeat a sin, but it is that we should no longer be addicted to sin. It should no longer have dominion over us. But, for many who call themselves Christians, they are very much addicted to sin, but they will just say they are “struggling” as a way to gloss over it and make it not sound so bad.

So, wisdom is shouting out to God’s people, and it is asking them how long they will love being simple-minded. How long will they take pleasure in remaining naïve, in hopes that they will not have to take responsibility for their lives? How long will they continue to claim they are “struggling” with sin, while they don’t take the necessary steps to not give in to the sin? You see, we have to flee sin, and we have to resist Satan, and we have to cut out of our lives those things which trip us up and cause us to fall.

You can’t keep claiming ignorance. You must turn to God’s reproof, turn away from your sins, put them off, and put on Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and then you will experience the fullness of the Spirit of God in your lives, and you will be at peace in knowing that you are following the Lord with your lives.

Living Sacrifices / An Original Work
September 14, 2012

Based off Romans 12:1-2; 6:11-14 NIV

Oh, holy ones, I counsel you,
In view of God’s mercy,
To give yourselves to God in love
As living offerings,
Pleasing to God, holy in love.
This is your true worship.
Do not conform to worldly lives.
Let God transform you today.
Then you’ll be able to
Test and approve of what
God’s will is – His pleasing
And perfect will. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Offer yourselves unto God.

Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Do not be conceited.
Humble yourselves before your God.
Do not be self-righteous.
The strength you have to live in love
Comes from your Lord God, so
Live your new lives in pow’r of God.
Be changed in heart, mind and will.
Do this because of what
Christ did for you when
He died on the cross to save
The world from sin. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Humble yourselves before God.

Oh, holy ones, I counsel you –
Count yourselves dead to sin,
But be alive to God in Christ.
Do not let sin reign in
Your earthly lives so you
Obey its evil desires.
Offer yourselves unto your God
As those who’ve been born again.
For sin shall no longer be
Your lord and master.
Give of yourselves to God
For righteousness. Oh, holy ones,
I counsel you – Be alive to God in Christ.

 

For God Only

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 6:42 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Fully Ready.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 62 (Select vv. NASB).

My Soul Waits (vv. 1-2)

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

I wonder if we really grasp what this means. My soul, i.e. my person, my spirit, or the very core or essence of my being waits, i.e. it stays still and quiet before God, and delays action until I hear from him, and from him alone. When I am troubled in my spirit, or when I have to make a serious decision about something, or when I am seeking counsel or direction for my life, I go to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – as my ONLY source of salvation (deliverance, help, solution). He ONLY is my Rock (support, strength, foundation). He ONLY is my stronghold (sanctuary, fortification).

How many of us can say with all honesty that this is true of us consistently? And, that we don’t first try to resolve our issues ourselves, with our own logic and reasoning, or run first to our best friends or to Facebook or to some human counselor or doctor before we even consult God? Or, if we do pray to God first, that we don’t immediately then run to someone else or go ahead and make the decisions ourselves rather than wait on God quietly, until he answers? How many of us, when we are in pain, go first of all to the medicine chest or the pharmacy or to a doctor without even consulting God?

Over the years, I have been learning much about what this entails. I don’t claim to do this perfectly, but I have grown much in this area of trusting God first and foremost and waiting on him before acting. Whereas, years past, I use to run to the medicine cabinet or to a doctor first, now I trust God to see me through the pain and to give me the wisdom to know what I can do to help alleviate the pain, such as losing weight, exercising, eating healthier, consuming smaller food portions, drinking lots of water and avoiding food and beverages high in fat, sugar and caffeine. And, I feel so much better!

God made us, so he knows best what we need, so we need to ask him what to do and then wait on him to answer, rather than looking elsewhere for our help first. I am not saying that we should not go to doctors or that medicine does not have its place, but all too often we, as Americans, run there first, whereas we need to run to God and let him show us what is best for us.

How Long? (vv. 3-4)

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

Not only might we be guilty of running to other helps or helpers, in place of God, or before we seek His counsel, but we also might be guilty of having “other lovers” (spiritually speaking) which (or whom) we lean on for support rather than making God our only husband, lover, Savior and Lord. The first one that comes to mind, for us in America, at least, and which the Lord has been showing me these past 11 years, is the U.S. government. The vast majority of the church here in America has partnered with the U.S. government via the 501c3 not-for-profit tax exempt status. What this does is place the U.S. government in a position as head over the church, i.e. over the institutional church, superseding Jesus Christ as the true and only head.

But, it isn’t just that the church is committing adultery against her Lord with this “other lover,” but that she has partnered with the ungodly, which is forbidden in scripture (2 Co. 6:14-18), and she has turned the church (God’s house of prayer) into a marketplace, which Jesus abhors (See: Jn. 2:13-17). Jesus said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” But, this is what the church, for the most part, has done! The church is now a corporation under the headship of the federal government, and answerable to the government, and now it operates just like any other human-based business, fully incorporating business and marketing schemes in order to attract their customer base (the world) to their businesses.

The church, at large, has partnered with an evil government, which is under the authority of the wealthy and powerful (elite) of this world, who are forming a New World Order by going throughout the world conquering peoples, nations and Christians, killing at will civilians, soldiers, and even our own soldiers in order to bring in the rule of the beast and a one-world religion. So the church has, fundamentally, partnered with the antichrist, and has bought into its lies and deceptions. Rather than standing against what is antichrist, she is giving it her support and worship via the pledge (vow) of allegiance (fidelity) to the US government, and the singing of patriotic songs, and the honoring of our soldiers as our “saviors.” And, she will be held responsible (culpable) for all our government’s crimes against humanity, too, because of this partnership. She has blood on her hands.

God is Our Refuge (vv. 7-8)

On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

When we make God our only God, salvation, rock and stronghold, and we follow Jesus Christ and his lead in our lives, and our ears are tuned into his voice, and we walk in fellowship with him, we will live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being formed into the likeness of Christ. We will now walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We won’t partner with the ungodly and we won’t participate in their sinful practices. But, our desire will be for God, to serve him only, and to live holy lives, pleasing to him. And, we will take our stand on the Word of God, the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation.

Yet, when we do that, many people will reject, hate, ostracize, abandon, ignore, oppose and/or persecute us because we aren’t like them. They will think we are weird, crazy, fanatics, holy rollers, fuddy-duddies, extremists, judgmental, intolerant, legalistic and the like. And, many of our opponents will actually be inside the organized church, and among its leadership. But, we cannot let their opinions of us sway us from following Jesus Christ and what we know is right. Even if it means our deaths, we must stand on the Word of God and the gospel of our salvation (the whole counsel of God) as was taught by Jesus and his NT apostles. And, we must not compromise with the world in order to make peace with the world, either. Rather, we must share with the world the truth about the gospel, to win them to Christ.

So, what is this truth we must share? It is that Jesus Christ died on a cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just to forgive us our sins, to free us from punishment, and to promise us heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died to give us new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. His grace to us is NOT free license to continue in sin without guilt and remorse. His grace instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and to live upright and holy lives while we wait for Christ’s return (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).

You see, our salvation is not just from hell, but it is from addiction (slavery) to sin. Sin should no longer have dominion over us, because Jesus set us free! So, we need to live like we are free – all in his power, strength and wisdom, daily putting on the armor of God, resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to our God in full assurance of faith. Amen!

Fully Ready! / An Original Work / June 19, 2013

Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.

May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”

“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”