Psalm 119:57-60 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.”
The Lord is my all in all, my everything, my all sufficiency, my joy, my satisfaction, and my peace. He is my life, in other words. He isn’t just part of my life. He isn’t someone I spend a little bit of time with each day and then I go do whatever else I want to do. He’s it! I am his and he is mine.
His word is not something I read for five minutes a day so I can say that I had my devotions or my quiet time with God. His word is implanted in my mind and in my heart. I breathe it in each day, and by God’s grace, and in his power and strength, I am walking the walk and not just talking it.
I need God’s grace to make it through every day. I am human. I live in a flesh body. I face difficult situations. I don’t always know what to do with them. Sometimes I must reflect over something I did or said and ask the Lord if that was the right thing or not. And, sometimes I must make corrections. And, sometimes not. I need his wisdom to guide me always.
Yes, I must ponder my ways, too, to make certain they are in line with the word of God and that I am listening to him well, and that I am doing what he wants me to do, and that I am saying what he wants me to say, and that I am not going it on my own or following my own thinking or emotions.
And, as the Lord counsels me, and even corrects me, by his grace I do turn my feet to his testimonies, to the teachings of his word, to guide me in the right way so that I don’t go in a direction the Lord does not want me to go, which may not be his best for me, or which could be a trap.
I don’t hesitate to follow my Lord in obedience. Disobedience is not an option for me. It is not something that I play with. I can’t afford to, and I don’t want to. I don’t vacillate on matters of obedience, purity, truth, righteousness, and holiness. I am fully committed to obey my Lord. All glory to God – only by his grace.
Psalm 119:61-63 ESV
“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.”
Though the wicked lay snares (traps) for me – like the Pharisees did to Jesus, when they harassed him continuously and they tried to trip him up with his words – I hold on to the truth of God’s word. I answer lies with the truth. I answer the twisting of Scripture with the truth of God’s word.
For, my opinion doesn’t matter. My opinion could be wrong. What I think isn’t important when it comes to biblical truth. So, I diligently search the Scriptures so that I can answer with what the word of God says, not with what I think, unless someone is asking for my opinion, and then I may or may not give it, especially if giving it might lead to another trap.
So, all the time I am having to seek the Lord for wisdom to know how to respond to people so that I don’t react with my own thinking or emotions when I need to be responding with the word of God.
And, I am not saying I have arrived here. I am continually growing in this area, continually learning better ways of communicating. But I am learning, and I am growing.
Literally, I do rise to praise the Lord at midnight or in the early hours of the morning. I am his servant. I work for him full-time. So, he gets me up at different hours of the night when he has something he wants me to write, because what he has me write is going to people across the globe, and they aren’t all on the same time schedule as what we are here in SC (USA).
Oh, and I do so enjoy the fellowship with other believers in Jesus who are walking in the fear of the Lord, and who are walking in obedience to his commands, and who are not willfully and habitually living in disobedience to the Lord.
There is a sweetness of fellowship among believers in Jesus who are walking in the ways of the Lord, and who are desiring to follow him in his ways, and in his truth, to the glory and praise of God. We encourage one another.
Psalm 119:64 ESV
“The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!”
Our Lord is so loving. I have really been focusing much on his love of late, and on how he communicated that love to others. I have been having discussions with other believers about how Jesus approached unbelievers, and how he was not harsh with them, but he still spoke the truth to them.
Jesus wasn’t manipulative or charming. He was not a smooth talker. He didn’t water down or sugar-coat the truth of the gospel any to spare people’s feelings or to not offend them with the truth. But his approach with sinners was not harsh and condemning. He was kind and compassionate in how he presented the truth to the ones who knew they were sinners.
Now, he approached the hypocritical self-righteous leaders in the temple a different way. He spoke differently to those who were opposing him, and who were trying to trip him up with his words. He was more confrontive with them because of their positions in the temple, and because of their influence over the people, and because they were so full of themselves while they were secretly committing all kinds of atrocities. He was stronger with them.
But, to the woman caught in adultery, and the woman at the well, and the one who wiped his feet with her tears and anointed him with perfume, he was very gentle. He wasn’t harsh and condemning with any of them. He had great compassion on them. But he didn’t dilute the gospel, and he didn’t tell them that they couldn’t help themselves, to show that he understood.
Jesus never compromised the gospel message to make people feel good, but he also was not harsh with those who were broken, hurting, and who knew they were sinners, and who were willing to listen to what he had to tell them. He had no reason to be harsh with them. But that doesn’t mean he went soft on sin or that he didn’t tell them the truth. He always spoke truth.
And, we don’t need to be harsh with people to tell them the truth of the gospel, either. But this doesn’t mean we soften the truth, either. We can be both kind and truthful at the same time. For, the truth is kind. Lies are not kind at all. They never are!
We can proclaim the truth of the gospel, that Jesus died on that cross so we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We can even warn of divine judgment, and call people to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, and still not be harsh in our tone with them.
Yet, love is not about making people feel good about themselves. Love is about pointing people to faith in Jesus Christ so they can be free from their sin.
But, as we are out there sharing the gospel, we are going to be opposed. What surprised me so much the last couple of days is how much I got opposed because I said we need to be kind and not harsh with sinners. And, I was even accused of being soft on sin and of diluting the gospel because I spoke against undue harshness and I called for a loving approach.
Now, that was a new one to me. Usually I get attacked as being judgmental and unloving because I teach the full gospel message and I don’t water it down at all. So now I am getting attacked from both sides.
But, to God be the glory! I just pray that he gives me the wisdom and the discernment to respond to people as I ought, and that I don’t respond with my emotions. For, I want to represent my Lord well in all that I do, and I want to continue to love others the way in which he loves all of us.
Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm does bind the restless wave,
Who bids the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.
O Trinity of love and pow’r,
Your children shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire, and foe,
Protect them where-so-e’er they go;
Thus, evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
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