Psalms 119:17-20 ESV
“Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.”
Be Gracious to Me
“Be gracious to me,” he said. “Show me your favor.” For, he must have been in a situation where he felt he needed that extra grace to help him through something. He felt as though he was a stranger on earth, that he didn’t belong, and there were people plotting against him, so he needed help.
And there will be times in our lives, too, when we feel as though we need extra grace, where we need the strength of the Lord in increased measure. And one of those times definitely is when we are under enemy attack, and when foes assail us, and we are despised and rejected of men (and women).
Maybe you didn’t do something perfectly. You didn’t say all the right things in all the right ways, according to other humans. You didn’t do anything wrong in God’s sight. You didn’t deliberately sin against God or another person. Maybe you just said more than you think you should have said.
So, the enemy of your souls takes this opportunity to haunt you with all kinds of guilt feelings when there really is nothing to feel guilty about. Yes, if you had it to do over, perhaps you could have communicated better, but there is nothing sinful about not communicating perfectly.
But the enemy will look for every opportunity to try to make us feel guilty, as though we have done something wrong, when we did not do wrong. He will also try to plant ideas in our heads that may or may not have validity, like if someone is less friendly to us, he will try to convince us it is our fault.
For, the enemy of our souls goes after our minds. If he can’t get us to sin against God, then he will try to make us feel guilty for no wrongdoing, or he will try to accuse us of something we didn’t do or that may not even exist. And so, we have to fight off his lies with the truth, using the armor of God.
Sojourners on Earth
It is true, though, that we are strangers on this earth, and that we don’t belong. This world is not our home. We are just passing through on our way to heaven. Now, the Lord placed us here for a purpose, but we are not to be part of the world, but we are to be separate (different) from the world.
Yet, we have a purpose in being here, and that is to love God with our whole being, to give glory to God in all things, to be his servants and his witnesses, to share his gospel, to love other people with God’s love, and to encourage other believers in Jesus Christ in their walks of faith.
Our purpose in being on this earth is not to be one with the world, to fit in with the world, or to blend in with the world in order to be accepted by the world. We are to stand out as different. So, we aren’t going to do and say things in all the same ways as the people of the world.
If we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, and we are doing and saying the kinds of things he did and said, we aren’t going to be accepted by the world. We may if all we are doing is doing “good deeds,” but not if we speak the kinds of truths that Jesus spoke.
For, Jesus didn’t mince words. He was straightforward, direct, and totally honest. He was a no-nonsense kind of man. He didn’t try to impress people, nor did he sugar coat the truth so as not to offend people. Now, he wasn’t cruel, but he said what the people needed to hear, for their good.
But we live in a culture, especially in today’s modern church, where they don’t want to offend anyone with the truth, so they just tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. So, if you are speaking the truths Jesus spoke, you are going to be an outcast, and rejected.
Psalms 119:21-24 ESV
“You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.”
Those Who Wander
In today’s modern church (or what is falsely called church), at least here in America, there are many professers of faith in Jesus Christ who are wandering from the commandments of the Lord, the ones taught to us in the New Testament under the New Covenant.
They are not obeying God’s moral laws, because they are being convinced they don’t have to. They are being taught that they can “believe” in Jesus as Lord and Savior, but that they don’t have to submit to him as Lord, or forsake their lives of sin, or follow Jesus Christ in obedience.
For, they are being taught a cheap grace gospel which does not put sin to death but that pacifies it, and even endorses and encourages it, in some cases. They are being taught that their salvation from sin is their insurance from God so that when they keep on living in sin, they won’t be charged.
They have this idea of faith in Jesus Christ that is a one-time experience in their lives that secures them heaven when they die regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. But that is not the gospel Jesus taught, and it is not what the apostles taught.
They taught we must deny self, die daily to sin, submit to Christ as Lord, and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands and to his ways, and to his will for our lives. And they taught faith in Jesus as total surrender of our lives to Jesus Christ, that we are his to do his will, not our will.
But we are not to get our counsel and our instructions from the flesh of man. We are not to let books written by mere mortals, nor memes, nor sermons, nor devotionals be our total source of truth. But it doesn’t mean we read only the Bible, because God gifted the body to encourage one another.
What the Scriptures teach is that we need to test everything we hear or read or see (or think we see), and we test it all against the measurement of God’s word and his divine character and will for our lives. So, we must be students of the Word of God, but who study it in context. For, many false teachings come from Scriptures being taught out of context.
One of my concerns is the use of memes on social media. Memes are short little messages written by anyone which are usually intended to express some thought or belief, or they are used to extract information out of people, or they are used to suggest thoughts to people, which they in turn share.
The memes pop up on the screen, they are a quick read, and if something in the memes connects with people, they share them. But the danger is that many of them are manipulative, they can be mind controlling, and many Christians are using them to express their thoughts and beliefs rather than depending on the Lord and his word to express their thoughts and beliefs.
Some of these are a tool of the enemy, thus, to get Christians to accept beliefs that are not biblical or to express thoughts or emotions which are contrary to God’s word. And they are sharing these memes instead of sharing the Scriptures, and this is a plot of the enemy and of princes.
So, please get the truth from God’s Word and test everything you see and read and hear against the Scriptures, in context, and then share the truth of the Scriptures instead of memes which may or may not be true to the word of God. Let the Word be your delight.
Living by Faith
Lyrics by James Wells, 1918
v. 4 by Robert E. Winsett, 1918
Music by J. L. Heath, 1918
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return for His loved ones someday,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
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