They Persecute with Evil Purpose

With my Whole Heart
Psalms 119:145-146 ESV

“With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.”

My heart is my inner self, my mind, my will, my soul, and the core or the essence of who I am as a person. It is also the center of my emotions where I feel love, compassion, caring, concern, and sympathy for others. So, if I cry out to God with my whole heart, I am crying out to him with my whole being, from the depths of my soul.

There is also a sense here that I am crying out to God in all sincerity, earnestly, and fervently, not half-heartedly or in form only. My whole being is involved in this prayer. I am fully committed to what I am asking of the Lord. I am not double-minded. I am being honest with myself and with God and I am not playing games with God.

Sometimes we need to be saved from ourselves, from our own flesh, that it might not overtake us. Sometimes we need to be saved from our enemies, although God doesn’t always promise physical deliverance from enemies. But he will deliver from their influence or from traps they lay for us or from the fear of them so that we can continue in him despite opposition.

Sometimes we just need to be saved from fear itself, for Satan loves to attack us with fearful thoughts. So we need to let go of those fears and trust the Lord completely with our circumstances and with the people who are in our lives and who may be those who are oppressing us. And we need to be delivered from fear so that we can continue to obey our Lord.

My Eyes are Awake
Psalms 119:147-149 ESV

“I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.”

The Lord does not promise us 8 hours of sleep a night or even continuous sleep throughout the night. Sometimes he gets us up very early in the morning or he keeps us up late at night, or he may even awaken us in the middle of the night to pray for others, or to write something, or so we will listen to him when it is quiet, and we are free from distractions.

And we need to be willing to be awakened whenever the Lord wants to speak to us, or when he has something he wants us to do. For, the middle of the night when others are asleep and nothing else is going on is a good time to get alone with God and to hear him speak truth to our hearts.

So, if you can’t sleep at night, or you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t get back to sleep, although you toss and turn, consider the thought that perhaps it is God who is awakening you and keeping you awake because he wants to have some undivided time with you when you aren’t distracted by all that is going on in the daytime.

And, instead of filling that time with the junk of the world or with restless tossing, inquire of the Lord and say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Quiet your mind and your heart before him, and listen to him speak tenderly to your heart, but always with a desire to obey whatever it is he wants you to do.

Far From Your Law
Psalms 119:150-152 ESV

“They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.”

Not all persecution is violent or physical. A lot of it is mental or emotional. There is something called “gaslighting” which a lot of people use to try to manipulate and control others. And it is usually done in private, not in the presence of others, and since there are no physical signs of abuse, it can’t be proven, and the abuser will just claim it is all in the person’s mind.

They will do such things as tell you one thing and then deny they said it, because they want you to think it is all in your mind. Or they will set traps for you to fall into or set you up to try to make you look bad in front of others because they want others to think ill of you. They know right where to hit you, too.

Gaslighting is not usually a one-time thing, but it is continuous, for the object is to wear the other people down, to get them to question their own reality. So, it is doled out in increments over time. It includes many lies, snide comments, hurtful remarks, denying wrongdoing, and treating others like they are crazy, etc.

Sometimes they will be kind, thoughtful, and caring, and then they will turn around and be hateful, nasty, and mean-spirited, for part of the goal is to keep you off balance. They want you questioning your reality always. And they will often blame you for their own sinful behaviors or accuse you of things you did not say, hoping to shut you up.

They want you living in fear, not knowing what to expect next, while they are plotting evil against you, setting traps for you to fall into, and while they are trying to keep you off balance. For, they are those who are lying, manipulating, using, and taking advantage of others weaker than them. So, be aware that not all abuse is obvious, but much of it is hidden.

So, if we are ever faced with people like this, we must not give in to their manipulation tactics. We must not let them upset us or define who we are, and we must not fear them or what they might do to us or say about us. But we must submit our situations into the hands of the Lord and pray for wisdom and discernment, so we don’t fall into our enemies’ traps.

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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