Our God, the One and Only True God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is absolutely amazing! His grace is amazing! He loves us so much that he, Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on a cross for our sins. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died, not just to free us from the punishment of sin, but to free us from our addictions to sin and the suffering caused by sin. By his stripes (his wounds) we are healed! Amen!
The Lord Jesus led me to read Psalm 118 (Select vv. ESV).
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
I am so thankful for God’s love to me. His love is perfect. It has no angle to it. There is no manipulation in his love. He doesn’t say one thing and then do another. He is not like us. His motivations are always perfect. His love is also not here today and gone tomorrow, depending on us, and on what we do. He loves us despite what we do, because he is love. He loves us in the good, bad and the ugly. Now, he is not always pleased with us, and sometimes he has to correct or discipline us, like a loving father, but his love remains always, and is steadfast, enduring, and never changing.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
We are all born sinners. We are separate from God because of that sin. And, we all come up short of attaining his divine approval on our lives, too. So, God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ, to the earth, to take on human flesh, and to die on a cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. So, through faith in him, our sins are put to death that we might live to him and to his righteousness.
But, it doesn’t end there. This is just the beginning of our faith journey. Now that we are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, it doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing from that point forward. And, it definitely does not mean we are done with suffering because of sin’s deceitfulness, either. But, it does mean that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives, because Jesus set us free. We should now be walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us.
Yet, in our walks of faith, empowered by the Spirit, we are still going to face opposition from enemies, particularly Satan who is our arch enemy. We will be tempted to sin again. Satan will lie to us. He will try to deceive us. He will try to make us afraid and he will attempt to get us to doubt God. And, other humans will betray, hate, reject, mistreat and persecute us, too. And, so we will now have those fresh wounds to deal with and to take to the Lord.
But, there is hope! We can be encouraged because Jesus died that awful death on a cross, not just to free us from slavery to sin, but to free us from the wounds caused by sin, either by our own sins or by the sins of others against us. And, he also died to free us from fear of our enemy, or enemies, and what they might do to us, too.
So, we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to walk in the fear of getting hurt again, either. This is not to say we won’t get hurt, but that we can give our pain to God and let him heal us, and let him fill us with his peace and joy, and we can not only survive, but we can thrive! We can live in victory over sin and over the pain caused by sin. We can let go and let God. It may be a battle some days, but Jesus won this battle for us! We just have to trust him with our lives, daily take up our spiritual armor, resist Satan, flee temptation, and walk in the Spirit so we don’t yield to our flesh.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
The Lord Jesus gave us the body of Christ in order that we might encourage one another, build one another up in our walks of faith, pray for one another, and speak truth to one another in love, etc. So, the Lord’s will is that we function in our walks of faith, not alone, but that we walk alongside each other, and that we help one another to be strong in the Lord and to not give way to the wiles of the devil.
But, all of us are still human. And, as humans, we can fail each other. We can sin against one another, and we can be hurt by others, too. So, our trust should not be in humans, but in God. Our refuge should not be largely in humans, but in the Lord. For only God will never fail us. Only God will not lead us the wrong way, nor will he let us down or sin against us. Only he knows us inside and out. Only he can bring true healing to our lives, and give us the counsel we truly need.
So, we need to rest in Him, believe Him, trust Him with our lives, call on Him, cry out our pain to him, and let him deliver us, and to fill us with his perfect peace. He will strengthen, help, counsel, guide and empower us to walk in freedom from sin and to walk in freedom from the fear of what others might do to us, too.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
the right hand of the Lord exalts,
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
No matter what comes our way, our God is our all sufficiency to help us in time of need. He is our deliverer! He is our strength and he is our song. In fact, one of the greatest antidotes to caving in to the attacks of Satan, which come against our minds, our hearts, and our bodies, is to sing songs of praise to our Lord, and to do so out loud, too. It is amazing how much healing can come through singing.
We absolutely have to go to our Lord with every heartache, every pain, every temptation, every trouble, and every difficulty in our lives so that we do not cave to the pressure to give in or to give up, and so we continue to walk in victory. We have to lean on him. He is the only one who can rescue us from Satan’s evil attacks against our minds, hearts and bodies, too. And, he will give strength, and he will empower us to walk by faith and not by sight; in freedom, and not in fear; in victory, and not in defeat.
So, we trust him, we rest in him, and we believe him, and then we obey him and we walk in his truth, and that is where we will find true peace and joy.
Near the Cross
Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Thursday, January 11, 2018, 5:53 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Heal our hearts, I pray. Amen!