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.

 

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The Lord Knows

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 2:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 94 (ESV).

Their Arrogant Words (vv. 1-7)

O Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, under the control of Satan. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, God delivers us from Satan’s control and he brings us under God’s headship (Lordship). That enrages Satan, and so he declares war against us. His goal is to either destroy us or to try to persuade us to desert our Lord and to return to following him, instead. Thus, Satan uses other humans to accomplish his purposes by turning them against us in hopes that they might crush us and that we might give up serving our Lord.

God has a day in mind when he will repay the wicked for their evil deeds and for the unjust suffering with which they have afflicted God’s people. Yet, he is very patient towards us, because he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (See: 2 Peter 3). Yet, for those who are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and who are suffering greatly at the hand of these evildoers, they will cry out to God in their trouble, and they will pray for relief. God will then comfort them with the understanding that he knows what is going on, and that he has it all under his control. So, we are to trust him, rest in him, and pray for the salvation of the wicked.

The Thoughts of Man (vv. 8-11)

Understand, O dullest of the people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge—
the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath.

When the wicked are allowed to freely strut about doing their evil deeds, they can become arrogant, thinking that God does not see, and that he does not know, or that he is somehow impotent, and that he will do nothing. So, they may gain a false sense of security in all of that, thinking that they can continue in their evil ways and that nothing bad will ever happen to them. But, that is a false reality, for God does see, and he does know, and he is omnipotent (all-powerful), and one day he will repay them for their evil.

He Will Not Forsake (vv. 12-15)

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are not signing up for an easy life, nor does God promise us smooth sailing. In fact, he promises us that we will share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted. So, it should not surprise us if the world hates us and if the wicked strongly opposes us. God has allowed this in our lives for his purposes and for his glory. Through our difficulties God is pruning us, purifying us, making us holy, and conforming us to the likeness of Christ, as well as he is teaching us patience, endurance, and compassion, and that we need to rely on him and not on ourselves.

The rest that our Lord gives us isn’t always rest from suffering or from persecution, though he may do that, too, at times, but the rest he gives us is internal, in our hearts, minds and souls. It is an internal peace that he gives us even when all hell is breaking loose all around us. It is the belief that God is absolutely in control (sovereign) over all that he has made, and that nothing can happen to us but God has allowed it in our lives for a purpose, and that he will accomplish his will through it all. It is also the knowledge that our Lord loves us, that he cares about what is happening to us, and that he will never leave us or abandon us, but that he will carry us through every hardship until the day when he takes us to be with him.

The Lord, My Help (vv. 16-23)

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who frame injustice by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.

When the wicked are assailing us, we may sometimes feel deserted and all alone in this world, but we can rest in the knowledge that the Lord is with us, that he has a purpose in it all, and that he will help us through it. His steadfast love will sustain us. He will comfort us in all our troubles, and he will teach us his will so that we may walk in his ways, and in his truth. And, he will use us, if we are willing, in other people’s lives to encourage them in their walks of faith. Even when our troubles are many, we can sing with the hymn writer that “It is Well with My Soul.”

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.

Help in Trouble

Thursday, August 10, 2017, 2:32 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 46 (NASB).

God our Refuge (vv. 1-3)

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

Life is full of changes. There are no guarantees that life, as we now know it, will continue. Our jobs could go away. Our spouses could die, or they could leave us for someone else. The stock market could crash, and we could experience another “Great Depression.” Our present form of government, as we understand it to be, could suddenly disappear, and in its place the beast (one world government) could rule supreme. Our houses could burn down to the ground. A hurricane could sweep our houses (or apartments) away, or so could a major earthquake or a tsunami. We could suddenly be struck very ill, or we could be involved in a serious automobile accident. Or, our nation could suddenly be attacked, once more, by a foreign nation (or entity).

Yet, in all of these things, and so much more, God is our refuge and strength to help us in times of trouble, if our hope and our trust is in him, and in his salvation. He is completely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made. He is all powerful, too. Nothing catches him by surprise, and there is not anything which he cannot handle. He will see us through any and all changes in our lives or in our circumstances. He may or may not remove us from our difficult situations, but he will give us the strength and courage we need to endure, to persevere, and to remain faithful to him in all things despite the difficulties we are experiencing in this present world of ours. So, we need to rest in him, trust in his grace, believe his promises, and carry on in Him.

Our Stronghold (vv. 4-7)

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

When difficult times come our way, which they will, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not be frightened in any way by the waves of the sea crashing in all around us. God’s presence is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us if we are truly his by faith in Jesus Christ. His grace is sufficient to help us in times of need. And, not only that, but God allows difficulties to come into our lives to purify us, to prune us, to make us holy, to conform us into his likeness, to revive us, and to mature us in our walks of faith, as well as to correct and rebuke us, if we have gone astray, so that we will turn from our sinful rebellion to walking in his holiness and righteousness.

We don’t ever have to be afraid of anything. Nothing can happen to us in this life but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, and he will see us through it to victory. He will provide all that we need, but not necessarily all that we think we need, or all that we want. Especially here in America we have this idea that we need so much, but we don’t. We can survive on very little, in reality. We don’t need much food, either. Restaurants have been notorious for serving large portions of food, and to one person, which could probably feed an entire family in another country. But, we don’t need a lot of food, and, in fact, it is unhealthy to eat so much.

What comes to mind right now are the lyrics to the song “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” (by Henry F. Lyte):

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou, from hence, my all shalt be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition, God and Christ are still my own!

Cease Striving (vv. 8-11)

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Yet, it isn’t just that God allows troubles and hardships, but sometimes he is the one who brings them upon us. He is not only a God of mercy and grace, but he is a God of justice and righteousness. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, which is why he has delayed judgments, in many cases. Yet, he is a God who judges the people of the earth, too, and even his followers, and in order to bring those who have strayed from their pure devotion to him back to him as their Only Lord and Master. He warned of this in Revelation 2-3, among other passages of scripture. There he called his wandering saints (parts of his church) to repentance, and he warned of divine judgment if they did not repent.

God also judges nations and peoples who have come against his children, i.e. against those who have been born anew of the Spirit of God via death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ Jesus, their Lord. I believe much or all of the world is already under the judgment of God. I know that America is, and that what our nation (our government) has done to other nations, it will be done to us. And, what our nation has done to their own people, and to God’s laws, and to demoralize our nation, and to dilute the gospel message of salvation, God will judge, too. Yet, he will do this to stop all the evil, and so that the gospel message will go out to the ends of the earth before he returns for his bride, so that many more will be saved.

So, we are not to be anxious or worried or fearful when these things take place, but we are to put our trust in the Lord, and believe that he will work all things together for good for those who love him; for those who have been called according to his purpose. Instead of letting life’s difficulties get us down, we must recognize who God is, that he is God, and that he will be exalted (praised, revered) in the earth, and among the nations. He is still with us, he has not deserted us, and he is our stronghold. He will see us through to the end, and he will accomplish his purposes in all of our lives.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Of Faith

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 4:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “His Tender Mercies.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of faith.

Be Not Anxious (Matthew 6:25-34)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I think it is human nature to want to know the end from the beginning of a situation before we will venture into that area. It can be, in the natural, a fearful thing to step out into the unknown, not knowing what lies ahead or how things are going to come together. Yet, when we walk by faith, we learn to trust the Lord in all things, and we believe him to work it all out according to his plans and his purposes.

In the natural, so many things could go wrong, and our plans could fall apart. But, when we are being led by the Lord, and he is the one directing our paths, he will go before us, and he will prepare the way for us. This is not saying we will never face obstacles, but that God is completely sovereign (in control), and that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him; who have been called according to his purposes.

So, we learn to trust him, and to rest in him, and to believe him to supply all that we need for what he has called us to do. And, so we inquire of him to know what we are to do, where we are to go, and what we are to say. We do what he says, and then we leave the results in his hands. We follow him and his lead in our lives, and we trust him, too, with the people in our lives.

Of Little Faith (Matthew 8:23-27)

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

When we follow the Lord in obedience, it does not mean it will always be “smooth sailing.” Sometimes we will face storms, i.e. difficult and troubling situations which shake us, and which may be life threatening, as well. And, it may seem to us that God is asleep on the job, and that he is not paying attention to what is going on in our lives. But, he is still sovereign (in control), and he has it handled. Nothing escapes his notice. He has a plan and a purpose for it all, and he will see us through any and every situation.

So, we should not let the storms of life unsettle us or to make us feel as though there is no recourse or that there is no hope. We must be steadfast in hope and in faith no matter our circumstances. Walking by faith often means that we don’t know what lies before us, and how things are all going to work out. But, when we know God is in it, we have to know that he will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Why Do You Doubt? (Matthew 14:22-33)

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Sometimes, when things get particularly bad, which they will sometimes, we lose sight of Jesus and we get lost in the details of what we are going through. And, that is when we begin to fear and to fret. And, that is because we are looking at the circumstances and we are focusing on them rather than focusing on the God who is sovereign (in control) over our circumstances. So, we may begin to listen to the lies of Satan, instead, and begin to think that God can do nothing about what we are going through.

And, even though Jesus is right there with us in our circumstances, we may not recognize him, and so our hearts may begin to sink. And, when we cry out to him, he reveals himself to us, and he shows us how he is there. Sometimes it isn’t just that he is there with us through our trials, though, but that he is the one initiating the trials in our lives, because he has a plan and a purpose for them to mature us, to get us to rely on him and not on ourselves, and to teach us patience and endurance.

We might, at times, step out in faith, and be walking with the Lord in obedience, and then along the way get sidetracked by troubles or hardships and forget that our Lord is in control. And, then we begin to drown in our difficult circumstances because we took our eyes off Jesus. So, we need to refocus our attention on Jesus, be renewed in our faith, and keep going forward, even when we don’t know what lies ahead. We must walk by faith and not by sight, believing God to do his work in our lives, and in the lives of those we love, even if we don’t see yet what has been promised.

His Tender Mercies / An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.

Days Formed for Me

Thursday, July 6, 2017, 6:06 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Search Me, O God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 139 (Select vv. ESV).

He Knows Me (vv. 1-7)

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Our God and Lord knows us, the end from the beginning, inside and out, thoroughly and completely, because he is the one who made us. He knows everything we do. We cannot hide from God. Nothing we do is hidden from his sight. Even if we go into a dark place, he still sees and knows everything we are doing. Nothing escapes his notice! He is acquainted with all of our ways. We may be able to fool people, but we can’t fool God. He knows. He sees. So, if we are doing wrong, and we are trying to look good on the outside, while inside, when we are alone in the darkness, we are doing what is wicked, although humans may not see and may not know, God knows. And, what he says he will do will be fulfilled. We can count on it!

Yet, if we are doing what is right, this should serve to be a comfort and an encouragement to us that God knows us completely. Because he does, even if others misjudge us or reject us based on a misconception or on their own prejudice, God knows the truth. He knows our hearts, who we are, and what we do, and the reasons we do it, even if no one else does. And, he will comfort us with that knowledge, fill us with his peace, and assure us of his grace, strength, and the knowledge of his will for our lives. Even before we utter a word in prayer to him, he knows what we are going to say, and he may even begin to answer us or counsel us in our minds before we even vocalize our requests to him, or even before we even know what to ask.

In My Mother’s Womb (vv. 13-16)

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

None of us are here on this earth by chance or by mistake. God formed us in the wombs of our mothers. What this means is that he placed us in the families we were born into, even knowing what would happen to us – good or bad. He didn’t cause evil, but he allows evil to exist for his purposes. He doesn’t always protect us from harm, but he protects us emotionally and spiritually through the storms of life, if we trust him. He didn’t promise us we would never face adversity. In fact, he said the opposite. He said that, as his followers, we would be treated like he was treated. He uses our life experiences to mold us and to shape us into the people he created us to be. And, he is quite capable of seeing us through any and all circumstances, no matter how difficult, and to give us the wisdom and strength we need to endure, to persevere, and to “come out shining like gold” (1).

For those of us who know God, and who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we must know that even before God created the world, he chose us, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And, he called us to a holy calling in Christ Jesus, our Lord (See: Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). He has something for each of us to do. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He didn’t save us so we could live however we want, and so we could plan out our own lives. He has given us spiritual gifts and he has given us each assignments within the body of Christ which we are to fulfill for his purposes and for his glory (See: Jer. 1). This is my assignment, to write out what he teaches me each day, and to post it on the internet.

Lead Me, I Pray (vv. 17-18, 23-24)

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

God doesn’t think like we do, as humans. His ways are higher than our ways. What might not make sense to us makes perfect sense to God, because he knows the end from the beginning. He knows what lies ahead for us. Sometimes he allows delays and roadblocks because he has a plan that is greater than our understanding. So, what might seem like a failure to us may not be that at all. We need to learn to trust God and not lean on our own understanding, for our understanding is flawed (imperfect), whereas his is absolutely perfect. We also need to understand that God’s timing is not the same as ours. I think that in today’s culture, particularly here in America, we want everything fast, and we have lost the art of patience. But, God is very patient, and he is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So, we need to wait on God’s timing.

God knows our hearts and our minds. We sometimes think we know like God knows, but we don’t always, although we do have the mind of Christ (See: 1 Co. 2:16). Sometimes we even misjudge ourselves or we are self-deceived into thinking thoughts about ourselves which are not true. So, it is good for us to have God search our minds and hearts and to show us what we are not able to see about ourselves, so that we can be changed in heart and mind in conformity to Christ and to his will for our lives. We might think we are serving the Lord, and that he is pleased with us, but we might be missing the mark. So, it is good to have those soul-searching times alone with God where we pray and we ask him to reveal to us any sins or if we are going the wrong direction, and for him to guide us and to lead us in the way he would have us to go, because, again, he has a very specific assignment for each one of us which he wants us to fulfill, and so we need to fulfill it.

Search Me, O God / An Original Work / July 12, 2012

Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.

References:

(1) https://www.scribd.com/doc/101911488/Lyrics-I-Am-Willing-Lord-Joni-Eareckson-Tada

Worthless Images

Sunday, June 11, 2017, 3:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The King is Coming.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 97 (ESV).

The Lord Reigns (vv. 1-5)

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

Our God is absolutely sovereign (in control) over all he has made. He is all powerful and fully capable of doing whatever needs to be done at any time. His hands are not ever tied. He will do all that he said he would do. We can absolutely count on his words to be truth and that, what he promised he would do, it will be fulfilled. Yet, for now, he allows evil to reign, although he puts limits on it. Still, he uses evil beings as his divine instruments of judgment on nations, peoples, and even on his wandering saints, in order to punish, discipline, correct and/or to revive them or to save them. So, even though all hell may be breaking loose all around us, we are not to worry, for all this was foretold thousands of years ago, and now we are seeing some of what was prophesied being fulfilled before our eyes. For, God’s “righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.”

Worshipers of Images (vv. 6-9)

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

What is an idol or an image? An idol can be a hero, an obsession, an ideal, or an icon. An icon is a symbol, image or an object of undying devotion. And, an image is an appearance, persona, impression, idea, view or concept of something, i.e. what we perceive it to be. It can be anything or anyone to which or to whom we give our undivided loyalty and support, our praise and adoration, our respect and honor, our trust and loyalty, and our commitment and fidelity (faithfulness); or to whom or which we give our time, energies, passion, desire, heart, faith (belief), blind obedience, and affection.

For example, many Americans, including many American Christians, give such loyalty and trust to their government, or to a particular political party. Such as, many people in America are looking to Donald Trump to save this nation out of the grip of the global elite and to return this nation to its roots, i.e. to nationalism, rather than globalism. But, that is faulty thinking, because Trump is one of the elite, and he is not against globalism, but is working their agenda under their leadership and direction. And, the US government has no real authority in this nation, anyway, for we are truly ruled by an Elite shadow government which is the de facto government of this nation and a precursor to or the reality of the New World Order beast.

What they have planned for this nation is some type of major crisis which will be the catalyst to advancing the New World Order agenda. It could come in the form of a financial catastrophe, a “terrorist” (home-grown) attack, or an unnatural (man-made) disaster, such as a hurricane or a super storm, or it could be all three of these. These crises will be the excuse they will need to promote and implement their global agenda and totalitarian regime. Yet, this will be the crucible (vessel, test, trial) for the spiritual revival of America’s adulterous and complacent church, and for purifying the saints of God and getting them ready for their Lord’s soon return, as well as for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus throughout the earth.

When this becomes clear that we are already a conquered people, and that this global New World Order is already running our country, and that they represent the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, then the image we had of our country will soon fade away, as reality sets in. We will also realize that what is coming to us is the likes of what the people of Germany faced under Hitler’s rule during WW2. People will be either of the wealthy and powerful, or they will be of the common people, or they will be of the despised and rejected who refused to cooperate with this New World Order beast and its one world religion. And, the uncooperative will then be targeted for extinction or for incarceration. There will be no more middle class nor will there be any more middle of the road Christians.

This all may begin with merely internet controls, which has been on the agenda for some time. It is in the works to clamp down on free speech and to control what can or cannot be said on the internet. They already consider those who are true followers of Christ and of his gospel as “religious extremists” and whose message must not be tolerated or allowed to spread any further across this nation or across the world. They are already gearing up to introduce draconian measures and to bring the internet and our world under a police state where they secretly supervise all of our activities. This will soon become our new normal. We, who are followers of Jesus, are already seen as a threat to global security, i.e. to the rule of the beast.

Another “image” that is worshiped in America is the news media and television, for Americans have been conditioned to believe what they see and read in the news, especially if it is on TV. And, our government, under the direction of this shadow government of the Elite, and our news media, continually paint for us the picture they want us to believe concerning world events and our nation’s involvement in so many other countries in the world, particularly their military presence or involvement. Yet, this image is going to come crashing down once reality sets in, which it eventually will, and then our “image” the people put their faith in will be (and is) worthless to them. And, I believe they are now telling us what their plan of action is (1).

They want to do away with the past so that out of the ashes of the old order the New World Order (the Phoenix) can rise. They want to recreate the world in the image of the beast and to do away with the Bible, Christ, his gospel and his followers. Yet, God will allow this for his purposes, one of which is to purify and get ready his people before he comes back for his bride. God will use this false trinity as his divine instruments of judgment on his adulterous church and on the people of this world, and in order to get many to turn or to return to him before he returns and before the end of time as we know it.

Love God, Hate Evil (vv. 10-12)

O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

So, what should our response be to all this knowledge of God and of his sovereignty, righteousness, justice and of his judgments? And, how should we react to all the evil that is present in our world and within our own governments and our church fellowships?

We ought to love the Lord our God, follow his ways, obey his Word, and live holy lives pleasing to him. And, we must hate all that is evil, i.e. we need to reject it, put it out of our lives, not entertain it nor accommodate it, but eradicate it. Yet, not all that is truly evil is all that obvious. Much of it is very subtle, hidden and masked as something else, so we need to pray for much discernment to know what is evil and what is good, so that we can reject the evil and hold on to the good, rather than the other way around, which is happening much within the church, sad to say.

The Lord will deliver his saints from the hand of the wicked, though this is not to say he will not allow us to be persecuted, abused or even killed by these evil ones. In fact, scripture teaches us we will be hated and persecuted and put to death for the sake of the name of Jesus, for the sake of righteousness, and for the sake of his gospel of salvation from sin. Yet, he will deliver us through these trials and testing of our faith in that he will give us the strength, power and endurance to remain faithful to him to the end.

The King is Coming
(Bill Gaither)

The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding and soon His face I’ll see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me

(1) https://theintercept.com/2017/06/10/the-worst-of-donald-trumps-toxic-agenda-is-lying-in-wait-a-major-u-s-crisis-will-unleash-it/

Use It, or Lose It!

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 7:49 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, I am Resting, Resting.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ecclesiastes 6 (ESV).

Wealth and Possessions (vv. 1-6)

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

Some people have been blessed with wealth – either materially and with many possessions, or with knowledge and understanding, or with natural talent and much giftedness. They may have been given many aptitudes for many things. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are blessed with the riches of God’s grace, not only in our salvation from sin, but with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, and in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. We have been forgiven our sins, delivered from slavery to sin, given new lives in Christ Jesus, to be lived to his righteousness, and indwelt and empowered with the Holy Spirit, and granted eternal life with God (See: Eph. 1:1-14). God gives good gifts to his children (Matt. 7:11; Jas. 1:17).

But, what matters is not what we have, but what we do with what we have. Great wealth, talent, and knowledge means nothing if it is not used for good purposes, or if it is not shared with those who are in need, or with those who may benefit from it in some way. It also means nothing if it is amassed for future purposes, but the person dies before he gets to put it to good use, and especially if he has no heirs, and strangers then get his wealth. Or, if his country is conquered by a foreign entity and he loses it all, and the conquerors then take possession of it. He should have shared it with others while he still had it, for what good is it if an enemy now takes possession of it?

He may also lose it, too, because God takes it away, because he didn’t use it for good, to benefit others, but he squandered his wealth and just used it for his own selfish purposes. And, this can be true of spiritual blessings and giftedness, too. Many people have been given the gift of salvation, and, perhaps, initially they produced fruit in keeping with repentance, or seemed to, but since then they have gotten caught up in the world of sin, or have become lazy and complacent, and they are living their lives wholly for their own self-pleasure. Maybe they initially received the gospel message with joy and with enthusiasm, but as time went on, they went back to their old ways of living for sin and self, and they have forgotten that salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness. They are also ignoring all the warnings in scripture regarding how we will reap what we sow, and instructions which teach that our spiritual walk, or lack thereof, determines our eternal destiny.

Never Satisfied (vv. 7-9)

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

The things of this world will never satisfy us. They are like eating a meal. Hours later we need to eat again. They are also a lot like water that only temporarily satisfies our thirst, for then we get thirsty again, and then we need more. The treasures of this life do bring some temporary satisfaction and pleasure (enjoyment), but they are temporal. They are not lasting. One day they will all perish, too. But, since they are only temporarily satisfying, it is human nature to keep wanting more, thinking if we just have this or that, now we will be happy, but they never truly make us happy. And, some of them come with great debt because people buy what they can’t afford, and thus they come with a great financial burden, too. Or else they come with enormous responsibility, and thus they take a great amount of our time, money and energies just keeping them maintained, and for what?

When I think of the wandering of the appetite, it is not just in wanting more possessions, or more food than what we need to eat (to live), but it is going outside the boundaries of our covenant relationships with God or with our spouses. It is not being satisfied with what we have, or with the marriage covenant, or with God alone, and it is going after “other lovers,” thinking they will satisfy the deep longings of our souls. Yet, these are all just empty cisterns full of holes.

Regarding marriage, this adultery can take place via the mind only, lusting after those who are not our own, but it can also involve viewing pornography, and sexually charged movies, TV shows, and books or magazines, too. It can, as well, involve extramarital relationships, that may begin seemingly innocent enough, but which may lead to romantic and/or sexual relationships. As well, private chats or texts with people of interest with whom you might have intimate conversations, especially without the knowledge or approval of your spouses, and behind their backs, is another form of adultery and a “wandering appetite.”

Sovereignty of God (vv. 10-12)

Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

God knows the end from the beginning. He knew before he even created man that he would sin against him. He knew before we were even formed in the wombs of our mothers who we would become, what we would do, and whether or not we would believe in him. But, it is more than just knowing these things in advance. For those of us who know Jesus, or who will yet believe in him, God chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. He chose us even before the creation of the world (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4). All the days ordained for me were written in God’s book before one of them came into being (Ps. 139:13-16; cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5). God placed me in the womb of my mother, so he chose the home I would be raised in, even knowing the good, bad and the ugly of it all, because he made me who I am so he could use me in the way he is using me, and all for his glory!

The point here, also, is that there is no point trying to go our own way, or to resist God, because his word will stand true, and he will do what he says he will do. What we sow, that will we also reap. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. If we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we profess to believe in Jesus Christ. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. If we persist and insist on going our own way, and continuing in willful and unrepentant sin against God, and we make a practice of doing what is wicked, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment.

One other thing here is that it says, the more words, the more vanity. This is not saying that we have to be people of few words, though there is wisdom in that, at times, when we say more than is necessary, or more than we should. Yet, what this makes me think of is how words can be cheap if not accompanied by action. If a man or a woman proclaims to love his or her spouse but he or she cheats on the spouse and then covers it up with lies, they should not call it love, for it is not love. If we proclaim to know and to love God, as well, but we cheat on God with “other lovers,” i.e. with the gods of this world, and we go our own way, and we do what we want, and we think we are ok if we keep sinning, and we think obedience is not required, then all is vanity! Because, our expressions of love are vain, because they are just words.

So, we should not take God and his grace for granted. We should be satisfied with where he has us, what he has us doing, and with the blessings he has bestowed upon us, unless he moves us to something else, according to his plans and purposes for our lives. We should not wander outside our covenant relationships with God or with spouse, but we should be faithful in all that we do, think, speak and are (in character). If God has gifted us and has given us wealth, knowledge, talent, salvation, and spiritual gifts, we should use them for his glory, and for the benefit of others, and not hoard them to ourselves, or to use them only for our own pleasure. But, we should rest in the Lord, believe what he says, do what he shows us, go wherever he sends us, and use what he gives us – all for his glory!

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.