Put On the New

Friday, June 23, 2017, 7:51 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To My Beloved.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:17-24 (NASB).

No Longer (vv. 17-19)

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Our walk is how we live our lives day in and day out. It is what we think, do, say and believe, as well as it entails our attitudes, perceptions, philosophies, values and morals. It is also our habits – rituals, traditions and practices. Our walk is not to be like that of the ungodly. We are not supposed to think like this sinful world, nor adopt their attitudes, values and practices. When we were blinded by sin’s deceitfulness, we walked in that way. We were under the power and influence of the evil one. But, now that we have been saved from our sins, that old way of living should no longer be a part of our lives.

It is futile (useless, fruitless) to live like the ungodly. When we were in slavery to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. The outcome of those things is death (See: Ro. 6:1-23). We can’t serve two masters. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). We can’t live in the world of sin and follow Jesus Christ with our lives, too. These are in opposition to each other. In other words, you can’t walk left and walk right at the same time. They don’t parallel each other. Evil does not coexist with righteousness.

We also can’t walk in darkness and in the light at the same time. And, if we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), yet claim to have fellowship with God, we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). If we walk in darkness (in the flesh), we will die in our sins, i.e. we will lose our lives for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25). And, if we make a practice of sinning, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God (Gal. 5:19-21). We can’t be open to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, in doing what he says, and in following his lead, if we are steeped in sinful rebellion against God, have our ears closed, and if we refuse to listen to what is truth, just because it doesn’t fit our lifestyles.

When we close our ears to the truth, and we choose to go our own way, instead, because we want to hold on to our sin, then we harden our hearts against the Spirit’s voice, and his promptings, and we end up becoming unfeeling and insensitive to the Word of God speaking to our hearts. We do this through a continual practice of resisting the Spirit’s voice, and giving in to willful sin time and time again. The more of this sinful world that we adopt into our lives and put into practice, the greater we become desensitized (numb) both to evil, and to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and urgings.

When an individual gets to the point of hardening his heart, via resisting the Holy Spirit, and choosing sin over God, as a regular practice of his life, it naturally flows that such individuals would then give themselves over to sensuality and the practice of every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. And, then, to top it off, they alter the gospel of Jesus Christ to fit their lustful and impure lifestyles so that they don’t feel guilty for their lifestyles of sin. And, this is why so many people today are preaching and teaching a half-truth diluted gospel message, so that they can continue in their sin, and still claim heaven as their eternal destiny.

So, what are some of these impure and sensual practices? They are not limited to just what is sexual in nature, but they include whatever is fleshly (worldly, unspiritual, ungodly). They include gossip, overeating (gluttony), self-indulgence in worldly pleasure, and being engrossed in the culture of our societies; lying, cheating, stealing, filthy language, and idolatry, as well as the viewing of pornography, watching sexually charged TV shows or movies, and extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), etc. And, it is not just the personal involvement with these sins which is wrong, but it is allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, and/or to give approval to these sinful practices in other people’s lives, which is what we do when we watch them.

Be Renewed (vv. 20-24)

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

So, what is the crux of the whole matter here? It is that, if we have been taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus, we did not learn Christ in the way of free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. That is a false grace gospel.

The truth that is in Christ Jesus, which Jesus and his NT apostles taught, is that, with regard to our former way of living for sin and self, we are to lay it aside, reject it, and put it off. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. Daily we take up our cross and follow (obey) Christ. Daily we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh so that we might walk in the Spirit and no longer gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Jn. 6:35-66).

Our old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, should no longer be in control over our lives. We should no longer be enslaved (addicted) to our sinful passions and desires. Jesus Christ set us free from all that through his death on a cross, and via his resurrection from the dead. He delivered us out of slavery to sin so that we could become bond-slaves of his righteousness. He died 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. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Ro. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).

Instead of still groveling around in the mud (filth, lewdness, immorality), we should be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. This is the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to cooperate with that work via submission and obedience to our Lord, and to His Word. We must choose to leave our old lives of sin behind us to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives (Acts 26:16-18; Jn. 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:13-16). And, we must willingly put out of our lives what is corrupting our minds and our lifestyles, and put on what is wholesome, pure and righteous.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we are born again (born spiritually) of the Spirit of God, our old lives are put to death with Christ so that we might live our new lives, which are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our new lives are not supposed to be like our old lives, only maybe just slightly cleaned up. They are to be radically different! It is as if we were traveling west, and then we decided to travel east, instead. So, we do a U-turn, and we go the opposite direction. This is what takes place when we repent of our sins and when we choose to walk in obedience to our Lord. Our new lives are to be like Jesus.

We are not only made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, but we must live righteously. He not only purifies us and makes us holy, but we must walk in holiness. And, holiness means we live our lives separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. Too many people who call themselves Christians reject this teaching by their lifestyles, because they are still practicing sin and they are entertaining sin in their minds and by the things they choose daily to take into their minds, and many are convinced that Satan still has power over their lives, and that they can’t say “No” to sin, but that is a lie! Jesus set us free! We just need to live like we are truly free, if truly we are in Christ Jesus by faith in him. And, we do this in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.

To My Beloved / An Original Work / November 14, 2011

Based off I Pet. 5:6-9; Eph. 6:10-20; Jms. 4:4-10

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Put on His full armor in your fight
Against the enemy of your souls,
And resist him with all your might.
Take up the shield of your faith within you.
Salvation’s helmet – you put it on.
Put on the belt of truth,
And walk in the Spirit,
And you’ll not be ashamed.
Love your Lord Jesus; call His Name.

Call on your Lord and Savior, Jesus, and
Make Him Lord and King of your hearts.
Obey all of His teachings He has given
To you to follow in all His ways.
Repent of your sins. Return to your God.
Follow Him where’er He leads you now.
Humble yourselves in full
Surrender to His will
For your lives today.
Bow before Him, and humbly pray.

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Obey your Lord in ev’rything, always
Keeping His teachings in your hearts near you.
Walk with Christ in ev’ry way.
Resist the devil. He will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and He’ll be near you.
Wash your hands you sinners
And double minded.
Weep and wail o’er sin.
With Christ, your new lives begin.

Practicing Holiness

Sunday, June 18, 2017, 3:54 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “God Be with You till We Meet Again.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Philippians 4 (Select vv. NASB).

Don’t Be Anxious (vv. 4-7)

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

To rejoice means to be “glad for grace” or “to experience God’s grace (favor), be conscious (glad) for His grace” (source: biblehub.com). And, his grace to us is his favor, kindness, and goodness towards us in providing for us the way of salvation (deliverance) from bondage to sin, and for giving us new lives in Christ Jesus, free to now walk in his righteousness and holiness. And, if we are truly glad for his grace, I believe it would mean that we would walk in that grace and not live to gratify the desires of our sinful flesh.

A gentle spirit is forbearing, longsuffering, forgiving, and patient. It patiently endures lasting offense or hardship (M-W). It is also fair, equitable, and reasonable, and it follows the spirit of the law over the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is the true purpose or intent of the law (rule), i.e. what is really at stake (source: biblehub.com). For example, the letter of the law says to not commit adultery, but the spirit of the law says not to even lust after another in our minds and hearts. The letter of the law can be routine, ritual, ceremonial or habitual, and tends to be external only with no real change of heart, mind and attitude. So, if we are to let our gentle spirit be known to all people, it must engage our hearts, it must transform our minds and our actions, and it must be forbearing, forgiving, fair and reasonable.

We are not to be anxious (worried, fearful) about anything. If something is upsetting or disturbing us, we are to take the matter to God in prayer, seek his counsel, pray for wisdom, and rest in his love and in his sovereignty over our lives. And, we are to follow his leading, do what he says, and trust him with the results. Worry never changes anything, except to make matters worse. It is the opposite of faith. When we trust the Lord with our circumstances, and we lean on him in times of need, for him to supply all we need, then his peace will guard our hearts and minds against worry.

Practice These Things (vv. 8-9)

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

I think that one of Satan’s fiercest ploys against us is to get our minds distracted from God, and thinking about (dwelling on) what has no eternal value, what is against God and his Word, what is fleshly, and what is worrisome. He also wants us thinking thoughts that are evil, wicked, sensual, hypocritical, hateful, revengeful, bitter and unforgiving, etc. So, we have to rein in our minds by managing, first off, what we willfully allow into our minds. For instance, in 2008 my husband and I took all our movies we had purchased over the years and we compared the content in them to this passage in Philippians 4, no matter how innocent they may have seemed on the surface. And, we were surprised that the vast majority of them did not stand against this test, and thus we trashed them.

But, this isn’t just about the things we choose to watch, read, listen to, etc. This is also about Satan’s tactics against us in introducing thoughts into our minds to try to get us distracted, off track, worried, troubled over minor things, and to get us to be worldly in our thinking, i.e. focused on what has no eternal value, or on what is clearly sinful. So, we need to pray, and we need to guard our hearts and minds against these things by putting them off and by putting on the spiritual armor God has given us to fight off these evil attacks against us (See: Eph. 6:10-20). And, then we need to put on, in our minds, hearts and attitudes, what is pure, right, honest, honorable and worthy of praise. We need to train our minds to be godly – all in the power, wisdom and strength of God’s Spirit now living within us. Amen!

And, not only do we need to change the way we think and believe, and the attitudes of our hearts, but we need to change how we behave, i.e. we need to submit to our Lord, obey his Word, humble ourselves before him, and do what we know is right. Again, this is all in the power, strength and wisdom of the Lord that we are able to do this. Instead of making a practice of doing what is sinful, we need to practice what the Word of God teaches us we must do. And, practice involves repetition, training, habit, obedience, and regularly and consistently living what we believe and what we know is right. And, we have to be intentional about this, and work at it, by the Spirit of God, or we may easily slip back into some of our former ways.

Be Content (vv. 10-13)

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

God has all of us where we are for a reason, if we are walking in his ways and in his truth. He is completely sovereign over all our circumstances. None of what we are going through has escaped his notice or his concern. So, we need to pray and ask him to show us what he wants to teach us through our trials and difficulties, and then allow him to mature us through them. He is teaching me much through this lesson today. I needed this.

Being content in our circumstances, though, does not mean to be lazy, complacent or unconcerned over things which God would want us to learn, change, and put into practice in our lives, or remove from our lives. We should never be content with living sinful lifestyles or in spiritual mediocrity, in other words. That is not what this means! What this is speaking about is being content with having little materially or with having much. But, it can branch out into other areas, too, yet never to the point of being ok with living however we want, giving into sinful pleasure, and indulging in all kinds of lustful passions and desires, and then claiming God’s grace covers it all.

Being content in our circumstances also does not mean complacency or showing unconcern over those who are lost in their sins, or over professing Christians who are living not much different from the world. Gentleness, as well, does not necessarily equate silence and noninvolvement when we see injustices or abuse or when we see Christians practicing sin. We need to remember this: “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (Jas. 5:19-20). And, to cover a multitude of sins does not mean to excuse them away or to ignore sinful practices. It means to forgive the sins once committed but now repented of (turned from), and to not punish the offender, but to show him (or her) God’s grace.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I can, with the strength of the Lord, live righteously, walk in holiness, speak boldly, when needed, yet be gentle, too, and I can live with little or with much, by his grace.

God Be with You till We Meet Again
Jeremiah E. Rankin, William G. Tomer

God be with you till we meet again;
by his counsels guide, uphold you,
with his sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
neath his wings securely hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put his arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
smite death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Seek Him

Friday, June 9, 2017, 4:24 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, Lead Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 24 (ESV).

We are The Lord’s (vv. 1-2)

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Our God is absolutely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made. There is nothing which escapes his notice. What he allows, he allows for a purpose. He knows the beginning from the end. Much of what is going on in the world right now was prophesied about over (or nearly) 2,000 years ago. And, there is a reason for it all. It is by God’s design that many of these things should be happening, that they should be taking place, for they serve the ultimate end which God desires, which is the salvation of human souls.

Who Has Clean Hands (vv. 3-6)

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Who can come into God’s holy presence? And, be in relationship with God Almighty? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. So, how do we get such clean hands and a pure heart? Through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and in what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins so that we could be delivered from slavery to sin and become servants of his righteousness. So, what does this faith look like? It is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives, and it submits to those purposes. The one who has such faith dies with Christ to sin that he might live to Christ and to his righteousness. He no longer lives (in lifestyle) to gratify the sinful cravings of his flesh, but he now walks (conducts his life) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God (Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24).

Part of walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, has to do with honesty and integrity of heart. This person does not make a practice of lying, tricking, deceiving, using or manipulating others to his advantage, nor does he worship what is false. He does not give his heart, mind and soul, his devotion and passion, or his respect and honor to what is not of God, or to what is clearly antichrist and against the teachings of scripture. Nor does he allow his heart to be given in such a way as this, to the degree that it should be given to God, to anything or anyone other than God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for this would be idolatry or spiritual adultery. God is to be first and foremost in all that we do, think or are.

If we want to be blessed of the Lord and have his righteousness credited to our accounts, then we need to understand that faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness. 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 hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them (die in our sins). But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). For, Jesus did not die merely that we might escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died 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 (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God without guilt, and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches 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 (Tit. 2:11-14). Yet, many people today are rejecting this teaching, and are preaching feel-good messages intended to tickle itching ears and to give their adherents an “escape clause” from living righteously, by telling them that God requires nothing of them – no repentance, no obedience, no submission, and no surrender to the Lordship of Christ required, they say. So, they have diluted the gospel to a mere acknowledgment of Jesus Christ and a mere acceptance of his forgiveness of their sins, but this is not faith!

If we want to know God, and to be in relationship with him, to have our sins forgiven, and to have the hope of eternal life, then we need to no longer live according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit, reborn of the Spirit of God, and empowered to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. This is what God’s word teaches us: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Acts 26:16-18; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 2:20; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; & 1 Jn. 2:3-6.

Mighty in Battle (vv. 7-10)

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah

Maybe you have never believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life, although you have been thinking about it. Or, perhaps, you have a false faith in Jesus, which is no faith at all, because it is based on a lie which has told you that God requires nothing of you for you to have eternal life with God. Or, you may be a true believer in Jesus Christ, but at some point in your Christian walk you drifted away from your pure devotion to Christ, and you allowed the world of sin to creep back into your life. Yet, whatever your situation may be, Jesus is standing at the door, he is knocking, and he is asking to be let into your heart and life, or to be let back into your life.

Yet, know this: Jesus already won the battle over sin for you at the cross. You can do nothing to earn or to deserve your own salvation. We are not saved by our works, but we are saved to good works, which God planned in advance for us to do, that we should walk (in lifestyle) in them (Eph. 2:8-10). Yet, we are his workmanship, so He gives us all we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. He strengthens and empowers us. We just have to live in his power and strength and no longer give way to the flesh.

He gives us the way out from under temptation, so we can stand up under it. He teaches, counsels, guides and directs us in the way we should go. A walk according to the Spirit is just that – according to and empowered by the Spirit of God, and not of our own flesh or of our own making. He conquered our sin via his death and resurrection. He delivered us out of slavery to sin that we might live righteously before him. We just have to surrender to him and let him work his grace and his righteousness in and through our lives. We just have to say “Yes” to him, and do what he says, all in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us. His yoke is easy and his burden is light, because he carries us through to the end.

Jesus, Lead Me / An Original Work / July 22, 2011

Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.

The Faith We Profess

Monday, June 5, 2017, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Blessed Assurance.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 1 (Select vv. NASB).

Our Faith (vv. 3-8)

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, what should that faith look like? Well, first of all, where does this faith come from? And, do we generate this faith ourselves?

In the Bible we read, first of all, that no one can even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws him (Jn. 6:44). Generally, this is done through the preaching of the gospel of our salvation (Ro. 10:14-15). Yet, God is certainly not limited to depending on humans to tell people about himself; about Jesus Christ (Ro. 1:18-20; Ps. 19:1-6; Lu. 19:40; Rev. 14:6). Then, once the Father draws us to Christ, then he also gives us the faith to believe in him (Eph. 2:8-10). This faith is not the kind we might muster up ourselves out of our own human flesh, though. This faith is divinely persuaded as to God’s perfect will for our lives. It submits to God’s will, because it comes from God, and it is of God (of his divine character).

So, what is this gospel of grace? Where do we learn about it? We learn about it in the “Word of Truth.” And, it is “the grace of God in truth.” We learn about it, not just in the New Testament books of the Bible, though, for there are many prophecies of scripture concerning this gospel of grace in the Old Testament, too. And, it is the Holy Spirit of God who reveals it to us, who convicts our hearts of sin, and who convinces us of our need of the Savior.

What is this gospel? It is first of all that humans are born into sin, and thus they come up short of attaining God’s divine approval. They are bound for eternity in hell, without God, and without hope (Ro. 3:23; Ro. 6:23). And, there is nothing we can do in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. So, it is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, came to earth, became flesh, and dwelt among us. He suffered like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. And, he was hung on a cross to die, although he had done no wrong, but in his death he took upon himself our sins so that we could die to sin and live to righteousness (Jn. 1; Phil. 2; 2 Co. 5:21; Is. 53).

And, what should it look like when we believe in Jesus, and in his gospel? It should radically transform our lives. We are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). And, holiness means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the image (likeness) of Christ Jesus, our Lord. We are turned from darkness (sin) to light (Jesus Christ, truth, righteousness), and from the power of Satan to God, so we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (purified, made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:16-18). The old has gone, the new has come.

God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. If you believe that you can have faith in Jesus Christ, and that God requires nothing of you – no repentance, no submission and no obedience to Christ, then you are sadly mistaken. That is human faith, not God-given faith. We have to remember here that James said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. Sadly, many who call themselves Christians don’t even shudder, i.e. they have no fear (honor, respect) of God. Yet, God’s grace, which brings salvation, is not just about freeing us from hell’s fires and promising us heaven when we die. His grace teaches 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 (Tit. 2:11-14).

So, what should this faith look like? It should be surrendered to God, in death to sin and living to his righteousness. And, it should be bearing fruit and increasing, and not be stagnant and complacent. In other words, we should be growing in our faith, and we should be maturing in our spiritual walks. We should be denying the flesh, and by the Spirit we ought to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. We should be walking in the Spirit and no longer living to gratify the desires of the sinful flesh (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Jn. 1:6). And, we must have love for others, especially for other followers of Christ, for if we hate and devour one another, how, then, can the love of God be in us? (1 Jn. 2:11; 1 Jn. 4:20).

Worthy of the Lord (vv. 9-14)

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

First, we must have the correct foundation. If our faith is based in human flesh, and it is not God-given faith, then what follows will not take place, because we have a faulty base. If a house is built on a faulty foundation, it won’t last. When the storms of life come crashing in, it will fall. If we believe that all we have to do is acknowledge Jesus’ existence, and accept his forgiveness of our sins, but that nothing is required of us, then that is the wrong foundation, and our house will fall. But, if we believe the words of Jesus and those of the NT apostles, that coming to Christ means we die with Christ to sin so that we don’t live in sin any longer, and that repentance and obedience are required as part of believing faith (God-given faith), then by God’s grace, we can walk (in lifestyle) in a manner worthy of our Lord.

Then, we can be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, because we don’t have an attitude that we don’t have to obey him. Why would he fill us with the knowledge of his will if we are predisposed to ignore that knowledge, and to go our own way? Why would he show us anything if we feel we now have our ticket into heaven, that nothing can take it away, so it doesn’t matter if we still play around with sin, or if we make it our practice to excuse away willful sin as all covered by God’s grace. What he will show us is that we have the wrong foundation, and he will show us the correct way to him and to salvation. And, when we have responded to him with God-given faith, then he will increase our knowledge and understanding so that we can bear fruit in every good work.

Again, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means he rescues us from the domain of darkness (sin, wickedness, the power of Satan), and he transfers us to his eternal kingdom, to live to his righteousness and to his holiness.

Beyond Reproach (vv. 21-23)

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Here again we have the point of our salvation, which is to deliver us out of slavery to sin. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7). And, it is that we may live a new life – not like the old life. It is that he may present us before himself (God) holy and blameless and beyond reproach, not just positionally, but experientially. In other words, it is not just that Jesus’ righteousness is credited to our accounts, but it is that we live righteously in the power and working of his Spirit now living within us (Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Ro. 12:1-2; Lu. 9:23-25; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:24).

But, this is all conditional. We have to continue in the faith we have been given, firmly established and steadfast, not moved away from the hope of the gospel. And, this doesn’t mean we hold out hope that we will go to heaven when we die while we largely or even partially ignore God’s commands and do as we please in the meanwhile. This is not continuing in the faith of the gospel as was taught us by Jesus and by his NT apostles. This is continuing in human faith which promises a false hope of heaven, based in a lie, which is being preached to us by those who are false shepherds and wolves in sheep’s clothing, who are out to kill, to steal and to destroy the church. So, we have to continue in God-given faith, which produces love, obedience, submission, repentance and holy and godly living.

Blessed Assurance / Fanny Crosby

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Offspring of Deceit

Saturday, May 27, 2017, 5:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 57:1-13 (ESV).

The Righteous Perish (vv. 1-2)

The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
who walk in their uprightness.

Many Christians today are being martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ and for their testimonies for the gospel of our salvation. Others are dying of natural causes before they reach old age. Surely this is a tragedy that so many believers in Jesus are being killed for their faith. It may seem sad to us, as well, that many of them die while they are still young. Yet, they are being spared all the violence, hatred, immorality and evil that is going on in this present world. And, they have entered into their eternal rest. So, the real tragedy here is not that Christians are dying and that they are getting to be with their Lord, but it is the circumstances under which many of them are being killed, and it is that so many Christians are not even aware of those circumstances, and may be blindly supporting the ones doing the killing.

Offspring of the Adulterer (vv. 3-5, 8)

But you, draw near,
sons of the sorceress,
offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
Whom are you mocking?
Against whom do you open your mouth wide
and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
the offspring of deceit,
you who burn with lust among the oaks,
under every green tree,
who slaughter your children in the valleys,
under the clefts of the rocks?

Behind the door and the doorpost
you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
you have gone up to it,
you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
you have loved their bed,
you have looked on nakedness.

God is speaking here to his idolatrous and adulterous children who are the offspring of “the adulterer and the loose woman.” And, he is making application here to America. The adulterer is the US government, and the loose woman is the church which has willfully partnered with the government in an unholy union, and has chosen to bring the body of Christ under the government’s authority and influence (persuasion). The offspring are thus individual believers in Jesus Christ who have given credence to this unholy union, and to government worship, too, via pledging (vowing) allegiance (fidelity) to the US Republic, and with hand over heart.

The sense here is that these individuals are not listening to God’s rebukes, to his warnings, and to his calls for them to come out of “Babylon” and to be separate from her so that they do not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (See: Rev. 18:4-5). So, he is here bringing reality into the situation and is helping them collectively to see their spiritual condition through his eyes. He says they are also offspring of deceit. So, how does this fit with American Christians today?

The US government (our leaders) are not really the ones running this nation. They are under the authority of a shadow government of the Elite of the world which is the de facto (actual) government of these United States. This is pictured for us in our national seal, for this shadow government is depicted as an all-seeing eye hovering over top of an unfinished pyramid. It is my belief, from what the Lord has shown me over the years, that our nation was created for the very purpose of transitioning the world to the rule of the “beast” New World Order. And, that is what our government leaders have been doing for many years, maybe ever since the beginning.

So, our leaders are not our real leaders, so when they act as though they are, it is an act, a performance. They also created a history for this nation that is not fully factual (truthful). We are not a nation of the people, by the people or for the people. Our votes don’t really matter, because the shadow government decides (and God appoints) who is going to be in office. There is no such thing as Republican and Democrat. They are two sides of the same whole, and the presentation of the two sides is for performance, too.

As well, our leaders are not the saviors of the world going around the world on humanitarian missions or to protect American citizens from terrorists, for they are the world’s biggest terrorist organization. Our government and military are in many other nations in the world to take them over and to bring them under the rule of the New World Order “beast.” So, they rape, pillage, destroy, steal, kill at will, murder innocents (including Christians) and conquer kings and kingdoms. ISIS is supported by them. They are not going after ISIS, for ISIS is their creation. They are going after all those who do not bow to this “beast” New World Order, and who refuse to or who have decided to come out from under its influence and persuasion.

The real “climate change” accord is a New World Order agreement, for the real “climate change” is political, not environmental (of the elements of nature). So many of these “terrorist” attacks, as well, are orchestrated of the New World Order (Elite of the world), or are completely or partially staged productions, in order to brainwash the American people into believing the lies and to not question whether they are true or not. It is also to condition the American public, and the people of the world, as well, to a false reality that we need to be continuously policed and spied upon for our own protection. They are also indoctrinating the people of this nation, and of the world, to accept compromise of faith, values, and standards, and to accept global government rule as a means of keeping this world “safe.”

This is why we are hearing so much about “religious extremism.” First they create the scenarios of “religious extremism,” turned into “terrorism,” so they can convince the people of this planet that we all need to come together in the middle, in harmony and agreement with one another, to the point where we would get rid of all which divides us as the people of the world in order that we might have “world peace.” But, this is all a sham. “Peace” means we lose our rights as individuals and we have to give up our beliefs, and we have to accept this global rule (totalitarian), and we have to be willing to partner with the world by accepting all religions and multiple lifestyle choices as viable, which is what they call “tolerance.”

We must know here that when they say “religious extremists” they include all believers in Jesus Christ who hold to the notion that Jesus is the only way to God the Father, that there is no other way to heaven except through faith in Jesus Christ, and that we must turn from our sins, and we must walk in obedience to our Lord as part of our believing faith, if we want to have eternal life with God in heaven (See: Lu. 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9). The word “extreme” means “exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected; very far from agreeing with the opinions of most people: not moderate” (M-W). Another word might be “holy,” i.e. set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we are becoming like Jesus. We are not supposed to be “usual” or “ordinary.”

The chastisement here is that the adulterous church, in partnership with the US government, and the offspring of this unholy union, chose to come under the influence of the New World Order “beast” via this unholy union with the US government. They are tolerating without complaint much of what our government is doing here and abroad, and without question as to what truly is going on, too; and without questioning the truth of what the news media is spewing forth, either. They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing the performances of our leaders and into buying into their deceit. Thus, they do share in the sins of this “whore” which is forcing the people and kingdoms of this world to bow to the beast and which is persecuting and killing or destroying the lives of all who are non-compliant.

Fear the Lord (vv. 11-13)

Whom did you dread and fear,
so that you lied,
and did not remember me,
did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
and you do not fear me?
I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
but they will not profit you.
When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them all off,
a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and shall inherit my holy mountain.

So, God is calling out to his adulterous and idolatrous people, particularly here in America, though certainly not confined to just this location, and he is asking them to fear him and not the government or the New World Order. To fear God is to reverence, respect, honor, value and esteem him above all else. It is to take him and his Word (his commands) seriously, and it is to submit to him, surrender to his will, and to obey his precepts. He is calling them still to come out of Babylon and to repent of their idolatries and their spiritual adultery so they don’t share in the punishment of the whore. For one day he is going to judge this nation and the adulterous church here, and no idols of men or no government leaders will be able to rescue them.

Yet, for those who have put their trust in the Lord, although they may suffer persecution, false imprisonment, harsh treatment and even death for the sake of the name of Jesus and his Word (his gospel), they will be at peace with God and secure in the promise of their eternal inheritance. They will rest secure in the Lord through all suffering, and trust in HIM always.

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

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

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

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

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

For Our Healing

Thursday, May 25, 2017, 5:02 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Lord is With You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 58 (Select vv. ESV).

Lift Up Your Voice (vv. 1-5)

“Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?

God’s people are now the church, the body of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. We are the people of God who have repented of our sins, have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and who have turned to God to follow (obey) him in all our ways, at least initially. By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Christ Jesus, we were crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we were resurrected with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Jesus died, not just that we might escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

Nonetheless, faith in Jesus Christ does not mean we instantly reach divine perfection. We still live in flesh bodies, thus we still have a propensity to sin against God. Yet, by God’s grace to us, via Jesus’ death for us on a cross, we have been delivered from the power sin once had over us, so we are no longer under its grip. Jesus already won that battle for us against Satan and against sin, so there is no reason we should still be under its control. So, as followers of Jesus Christ, we should be walking in victory over sin, and we ought to be walking now according to the Spirit, not in sinless perfection, necessarily, but no longer under bondage (addiction) to sin’s deceitfulness.

Still, although Jesus paid the price for our sins so we could go free from sin, and live for him and to his righteousness, many have abandoned their initial faith in Christ and have wandered off to follow after the gods of men, their own sinful passions and desires, and have been engulfed once more in the ways of this sinful world. Much of the church here in America has adopted the ways of the world for how to grow their ministries, and they have partnered with an ungodly government, making it the head over the church. And, the Holy Spirit is grieved, and God is not pleased, so he is calling his church to come out of “Babylon,” for her sins are piled high to heaven.

So, when the church, or when individual Christians pray to God, and they pray to know God’s will, and they ask God for his blessings, and for answered prayers, thinking God will hear them, and that he will answer, they (we) need to first consider whether or not they (we) are walking in his ways and in his truth, or if we are just going through the motions, i.e. mere formalities of religious practice, but our hearts are truly not sold out to our Lord. Have we forsaken the ways of the Lord? Are we yielding to sin’s deceitfulness? Are we engrossed in the ways of this sinful world? Or, are we truly walking in God’s ways, in his truth, and in his righteousness?

Break Every Yoke (vv. 6-11)

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.

God is calling out to his wayward people, who have wandered away from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ, in order to immerse themselves in the culture of this sinful world. He is calling them to return to HIM as their ONLY GOD and LORD, and to once again make HIM the owner-master of their lives. He is calling them to return the ways he has marked out for them to follow, and to abandon their idols and their spiritual adultery against him.

He is letting his church know that the way of salvation from sin is a narrow road that few travel, not the broad road that many have made it, which only leads to destruction. He wants to remind us that he died to transform us, not just to forgive us our sins. We don’t come to Christ merely by acknowledging his existence and by accepting his forgiveness for our sins, although many would have you believe that is true. When we believe in Jesus, with God-given faith in him, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life. The old life of living for sin and self is gone, and the new life of living to Christ and to his righteousness has now been birthed in us of the Holy Spirit of God. This is what it means to be “born again.”

Jesus Christ not only desires that we walk in his righteousness and holiness, and no longer according to the ways of our sinful flesh, but his desire is also that we proclaim to the world around us that he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, so that others might be delivered from their slavery to sin and might walk in freedom, according to the ways of God. We need to be telling people the truth of the gospel, and the church needs to cease with soft-pedaling the gospel in order to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world. For truly, although they may like us in this life, for telling them what they want to hear, we are sending them straight to hell with our “feel-good” gospel messages, and this needs to STOP!!

Yet, one thing the modern church does seem to have right is that they do focus on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sorrowful, and ministering to the needs of the homeless and to those in prison, which is something many in the old-fashioned evangelical churches have often neglected, sad to say. Yet, the church which ministers to people’s physical needs often do this at the sacrifice of the truth to the gospel, for they don’t want to offend anyone in the process. And, that, as well, is sad indeed.

Yet, the other day I was in a Chick-fil-A restaurant, and nearly bumped into a man who was wearing a sweatshirt which had words about Jesus on its back, so I read them. It was a prayer to Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, and included in the prayer it said, “I repent and turn from my wicked ways.” I learned this was from a ministry which feeds the homeless. Amen! What this shows is that it is possible to hold on to the truths of scripture, and to not abandon the truth of the gospel, and still be able to minister to the poor, the needy, the helpless, and the homeless. Jesus never compromised truth to minister to people’s physical needs, and neither should we! It is never loving to tell people lies. We should be a people who make a practice always of speaking the truth in love, and be those who meet people’s real needs, too.

God is saying here, basically, that if we are people of integrity who live what we profess, not necessarily in absolute sinful perfection, but in life practice, and we are not those who are willfully yielding regularly to our sinful flesh and who are denying the truths of scripture, that he will hear us when we call to him, he will listen, and he will answer. This is not to say, though, that he will always answer in the way we desire, so we need to be willing to accept whatever he answers us, too. Yet, he is also promising us that we will then experience his healing power in our lives, and that our burdens will be lifted, and we will rejoice in what Christ has done for us. There is much healing that takes place in our lives through our obedience to His Word.

Your Lord is With You
An Original Work / August 14, 2016

Based off Various Scriptures

Fear not for your Lord is with you.
He will not leave you, nor will He abandon you.
When you walk through valleys of life’s rough ways,
You must fear no evil, for God is near.
Be of courage, then, and be not dismayed,
For your Lord is with you throughout your days.
Fear not for your Lord is with you.
He will not leave you, nor will He abandon you.

Trust Him with your life and witness.
He’ll go before you, and He will prepare the way.
The Lord is our helper, so we’ll not fear.
He will strengthen us. He sees all our tears.
Do not be afraid, but to God do pray,
And the peace of God will be yours today.
Trust Him with your life and witness.
He’ll go before you, and He will prepare the way.

My God, He is my Rock and my Shield
And the Horn of my salvation, whom I praise.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
Drew me out of waters so deep I’d sink.
My God turned my darkness into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes, gave me sight.
My God, He is my Rock and my Shield
And the Horn of my salvation, whom I praise.

The Safe Place

Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 6:31 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 57 (NASB).

Refuge in Him (vv. 1-3)

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
Until destruction passes by.
I will cry to God Most High,
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah.
God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.

When we trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, we become God’s children, and followers of Jesus Christ. We also become the Lord’s servants and his witnesses. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. So, we are to let our light shine before all people, and not hide it. Also, we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). We are his witnesses not only in word, as we share with others the truth of the gospel, but we are his witnesses by how we live our lives, day in and day out.

Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ has many spiritual benefits. Our sins were paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when he took our place on a cross, and he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Christ Jesus, we are delivered from slavery to sin, and we are set free to now walk with Christ in his righteousness and holiness. We now have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when we die. Yet, this is promised on the basis of that faith being continuous, and on the basis of us forsaking our former way of living for sin and self, no longer conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh, but now walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God.

Thus, when we walk in Christ’s holiness, and we are separate (unlike, different, distinct) from this sinful world, and we share the truths of God’s Word with the world around us, and with others who profess the name of Jesus, too, there will be those who won’t like us. They won’t approve of our lifestyles. They also won’t approve of the message. Some will think we are weird, crazy, radical, disconnected, strange, extreme, and just not normal. And, some of them may even make it their job to try to “normalize” us, i.e. to try to get us to be more like them, less solemn about our faith, and to not take life so seriously. Some will try, as well, to get us to compromise our faith in order to not offend people with the gospel, and they will attempt to convince us to “stay in our lane” and to not be concerned about others.

And, so, we will call out to God in prayer, seeking him for guidance, counsel, wisdom, strength, courage, and determination to stand on the Word of Truth, and to not give way to pressure from the enemy to cave in. We will pray for God’s spiritual protection over our lives, and we will trust him to watch over us, and to carry us through every difficult situation we face. We will trust in his sovereignty, and surrender to his will, and believe that He has a plan and a purpose for it all, and that he will supply all we need to endure and to persevere. As well, we will look forward to our future hope in eternity with God, when we know that all this evil will be done away with, and we will live in perfect peace with our Lord, free from all threats.

Soul Among Lions (vv. 4-6)

My soul is among lions;
I must lie among those who breathe forth fire,
Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows
And their tongue a sharp sword.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it. Selah.

Yet, while we still walk the face of this earth, we will have trouble and hardship. When Jesus sent out his disciples to minister to people’s needs and to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, he told them he was sending them out like sheep among wolves. He warned them that they would be handed over to the courts and scourged in their synagogues. He said that brother would betray brother to death, and that they would be hated because of the name of Jesus. Yet, they were not to fear their persecutors. What Jesus told them in the darkness, they were to speak in the light, and what he whispered in their ears, they were to proclaim upon the housetops. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [See: Matthew 10.]

Yes, we will be persecuted for our faith and for the sake of the name of Jesus and his gospel. Some of us may be severely beaten, tortured, imprisoned, starved, and killed for our faith. Others of us may face ridicule, betrayal, hatred, false accusations, gossip, mistreatment, mockery, rejection, being ostracized and otherwise cast aside or ignored. Yet, the message to us is still the same. We should not fear what man might do to us, but we must put our faith and trust in the sovereignty of God. These persecutions should only serve to drive us to call on God in our suffering, to make us even more determined in our walks of faith, and to inspire us to keep sharing Jesus Christ with the world so that many will be saved.

Heart is Steadfast (vv. 7-11)

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.

In all our sufferings and persecutions, thus, we must have steadfastness of heart, and not give way to fear. We must be unwavering, persistent, and committed to our Lord, to his service, and to his gospel, despite what others do to us, for God is in control. He will see us through, and one day he will take us safely home to be with him forever if we continue in Him to the end.

One of the ways in which the Lord helps me when my heart is troubled is that he puts songs in my mind which counsel me, encourage me, and which strengthen me in my faith, but which also give praise and thanks to God for his many blessings to me. We get down sometimes because we lose focus on Jesus Christ and we get our eyes on our circumstances, instead. So, singing songs of praise, worship and of spiritual encouragement help to lift our spirits and to get us refocused on Jesus and what is eternal, rather than on what is temporal. God has a reason for all that he allows into our lives, so we need to trust him, rest in him, and believe him to accomplish his purposes in and through our lives and through our times of trouble, too. When we do, his peace and calm assurance floods our souls. All is well!

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.