Psalm 119:49-56 ESV
Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.
The promises of God, which are recorded for us in scripture, are dependable. We can count on them to be fulfilled. For, our God does not lie, and he is completely faithful in all that he does, and in all that he has said that he will do. His word can be trusted.
And, that is so reassuring to us, especially in an era where it seems not many people’s words can be trusted, for there is so much deception in the world right now. There is so much twisting and manipulation of truth even within the gatherings of the church. And, sometimes I feel like, “Does anyone tell the truth anymore?” I am sure some do.
But, especially since we live in an age of mass deception, it is so comforting to know that God’s words to us, his promises to us, can be trusted. And, we can find comfort in God’s promises, too, when the lies of Satan abound all around us, and via these lies many are turned against God and against us, his servants, and we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
But, God doesn’t promise us that life will be easy or without difficulty. He doesn’t promise us that we won’t have to suffer for his sake, and for the sake of his gospel. He doesn’t promise us a life of ease and comfort in this world. Instead, he promises us that following him means that we die daily to sin and self and that we take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him.
He promises us that we will be treated as he was treated, and that we will be hated and persecuted, just as he was, and by the religious, too, including by those who also profess to believe in the same God that we do. For, Jesus’ persecutors were not those who professed no faith in God. They were those who claimed to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And, they were rulers, leaders and teachers of the scriptures in the temple, too.
So, how is that for our comfort? It is for our comfort when we understand the divine purpose in it all, and what God is doing in and through our lives because of our suffering for the sake of his name. For, he is making us holy as he is holy. He is pruning us. He is taking us in his hands, and like clay in the Potter’s hands, he is molding us and he is conforming us to his likeness. He is breaking away our pride and selfishness, and he is making us loving, compassionate and caring people whom he can use for his glory.
Also, he promises us that he will not leave us or forsake us. He will strengthen and he will help us through every trial he allows to come our way. He will teach us to walk in his ways and in his truth, and he will put within us a desire for him and for his word. And, we will want to walk in obedience to his commands because we love him.
Also, through the things which we suffer for the sake of his name, we are getting to know God’s heart, and to feel what he feels. And, we are learning to love what he loves and to hate what he hates. What he feels passionate about, now we do, too, because of what we have experienced, and because that gives us insight into how God feels. Therefore, for those of us who are writers, we can more clearly express the heart of God because through our suffering we become personally acquainted with his heart and his passion.
Thus, this drives us to do what we do, too. Knowing God’s heart from personal experiences, through our suffering, helps motivate and inspire us, too, to speak his truth, and to share his heart with others. We want to get the truth out, because we know it is the truth which sets people free, not the lies which promise them freedom while they keep them still trapped in hell. For, we know that God’s truth is the only hope any of us have in this world.
Psalm 119:57-64 ESV
The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
A decision to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives is a decision to die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, and it is a choice to now follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, and in surrender to his will for our lives. So, it is a lifelong commitment to walk with Jesus day in and day out, in his strength within us, and under his guidance and direction.
Jesus described his relationship with his followers to the relationship between a husband and a wife. When we marry our spouses, we make lifelong commitments to them, too, to be faithful to them in purity, forsaking all others, and to love, honor and cherish them through thick and through thin, i.e. through good times and bad times.
So, we need to view our decisions to believe in Jesus like a marriage, like marrying the man or the woman of our dreams, and to see our faith in Jesus Christ much like the marriage vows we made to our spouses. For, this is no light matter. This is not an easy in, easy out. This is serious business. We have left our former lives behind us to now join with our Lord, to cleave to him, and to become one with him.
Even though we may be tempted to stray from his commands, as a husband or a wife might be tempted to stray from his or her vows of fidelity, we must resist Satan, and we must flee temptation, and we must draw near to our God in full assurance of faith. Even though wicked men (or women) might try to ensnare us, and to trip us up in our faith, we must remain faithful to our Lord by his power and in his strength at work within us.
We must also be those who praise our Lord in good times and in bad times. We must praise him and thank him for his goodness to us, for his mercy and grace, for his forgiveness, and for his watch and care over our lives. We need to even praise him for our trials, knowing that God is working all things for good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We also need to surround ourselves with other believers in Jesus Christ who are walking in the fear of the Lord. For, many who profess faith in Jesus Christ are not much different in character, in heart, and in practice from those who make no profession of faith in Christ. So, we need to be companions (close friends) with those who are walking by the Spirit of God and who are not living to fulfill the sinful desires of the flesh.
And, it is imperative that we are daily in God’s Word, studying it in context, seeking God’s face, and asking him to direct us in his ways and in his truth. We should not be those who are looking for loopholes so that we don’t have to obey the Word of God, but we should know the truth which sets us free, and then we should follow the truth and do what it says. For, we need to not be hearers only of the Word, but we need to be doers of the Word.
I Pray for Them
An Original Work / June 4, 2013
Based off John 17
“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”
“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”
“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”
“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”
“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”
Thursday, July 25, 2019