Saturday, November 5, 2016, 11:24 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 121 (ESV).
Our Help (vv. 1-2)
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Not one of us is truly autonomous. We all need help. We may not all admit that we do, but we all need assistance, support and service from someone or something. Even if you lived alone on a secluded island, and you were the sole survivor of a boat or plane crash, and you had to do everything now for yourself, you would still need the sunshine and the rain and the earth to plant food, and trees to give you shade or for wood for building a shelter. And, all of that is provided by God and is governed by God, so you need God just to live and to survive on this earth, even if you don’t acknowledge him.
But, we all have a need which is even greater than survival on this earth, believe it or not. We are all born into sin, without hope and separate from God, destined to die without God in our sins (See: Ro. 3:23; Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). So, we need a way to be saved from our sin, to be restored to God, and to have the hope of eternal life with God. So, God, in his great love and compassion toward us, provided a way for us to be saved from our sins, and to be restored to fellowship with him. He sent his One and Only Begotten Son to the earth to die on a cross for our sins.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) is also our creator (See: John 1). It is he who made us. He came to earth, took on human form, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Although he knew no sin, yet he became sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). In other words, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15). Through his blood, which was shed on the cross for our sins, he purchased us back for God so that we could be reunited in fellowship with God, be delivered from slavery to sin, and have the hope of eternal life with God. Our help comes from Him.
He Keeps Us (vv. 3-4)
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
So, if Jesus died for the sins of everyone in the world, is everyone now saved? No! We have to believe in him to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives. We have to die with him to sin, and be resurrected with him, of the Spirit of God, to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). And, then we have to walk (conduct our lives) in the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (without Christ in our sin), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).
You see, the whole purpose for why Jesus died for our sins was not just so we could escape punishment in hell and have the hope of heaven when we die. He died to deliver us out of slavery to sin so that we would now become servants of his righteousness, and so that we will walk in his holiness. He died to transform our lives, not just to save us from hell. He died to give us new lives in Christ, while we still live on this earth, not just to give us eternal lives in heaven. His purpose for us is that we no longer walk according to our sinful flesh, but that our desire is now for him, to please him in all things. So, we need to turn from our sins, and we need to turn to God to obey him.
Our Shade (vv. 5-6)
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
When we believe on the Lord Jesus, and we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are given new lives in him to be lived for his praise and his purposes, his Holy Spirit comes into our lives to dwell. Now God is living within us, and we are his temple, his body. We, collectively, are his church. His Spirit within us watches over us, teaches us his truths, and gives us comfort, encouragement, hope, counsel and direction for our lives. Through the Spirit now living within us, the living Word of God now dwells within us, showing us the way we should go. He also warns us against going the wrong way. He keeps us on the right path, and helps us to not go astray, if we will listen, and if we will heed his counsel, and if we will obey what he says.
Forevermore (vv. 7-8)
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, though, we do not become puppets on a string. We have to cooperate fully with his work of grace and transformation in our lives. Yes, he is there to protect us from all evil, but we have to do what he tells us. He has saved us, and he has freed us from slavery to sin, but we have to walk in that freedom, and no longer live to gratify the cravings of our sinful desires. It is true that we do this all in his power and strength within us, but we still have to do it. He can’t protect us from evil if we willingly choose to engage in (participate in) evil. In other words, we can’t expect to have victory over the flesh if we are daily feeding that sinful flesh, can we?
For instance, if we continue to overeat, we can’t lose weight. If we keep going to internet sites where we have fallen into sin before, thinking that this time it will be different, we shouldn’t be surprised if we fall into temptation once again. If we watch TV shows or movies or play video games or listen to music or go to internet sites where we know we are going to see and hear sexually immoral content, then how can we expect to keep our minds pure? God has provided the way out from temptation, but we have to take it. He has provided freedom from slavery to sin, but we have to want to be free from sin. If we keep playing with sin and temptation, and if we keep doing what we know is going to lead us into sin, then we have invited evil right back into our lives, and we can’t blame God or anyone else for not protecting us. He provides the way, but we must choose his way.
When we choose to go God’s way and not our own way, it is awesome! There is such peace, freedom and joy in the victories he gives us over temptation to sin against him, and over the tempter’s evil schemes which he works against us. Then, we truly sense God’s protection over us, because we are yielding to him and to his protection instead of fighting against it. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will for my life, doing what he has called me to do, and being who he wants me to be. When we walk in his Spirit, and we live holy lives, pleasing to God, and we follow him in surrender and in obedience, there is no greater joy than that ever!
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!