Holding on to Hope

Psalms 119:161-168 ESV

“Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.”

The Sword of the Spirit

If we are following Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion, we will be persecuted for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ and for our stand on his truth and righteousness. And to be persecuted is to be oppressed, hounded, harassed, bullied, and/or tormented, especially because we are not like the world, because Jesus called us to live holy lives unlike the world.

But when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we need to pray, and we need to turn to the word of God. And we need to stand on the truth of Scripture and not give way to fear or to intimidation. For, part of our spiritual armor God has given us to fight off the attacks of the enemy is the word of God, so we are to fight Satan’s lies with the truth of God’s word.

But we don’t use the Word of God to try to prove we are right, or to win an argument, or to try to prove that we know more than others. We use the word of God to go after Satan’s lies so that we do not cave to them and so that others are not led astray by them, either.

But the word of God is not just a tactical weapon to defeat Satan and his lies. It is life to us who love God and who love his word. It is like finding a treasure chest filled with gold, only much better than gold. For, the word of God is God speaking to us, and if we love to hear him speak, we will love the Scriptures.

I Hate Lies

I detest lies! I don’t like it at all when people lie to me. And I don’t like it when they tell lies about me. But most of all I don’t like it one bit when they lie about God, about Jesus, and about the gospel of our salvation, and when they tell people that God requires no repentance or obedience to him, so they can live however they want, but that they can still go to heaven.

For, lies hurt people. They betray trust. They get other people to dislike someone for no reason. They lead people to follow the wrong people and to reject the right people. They get people to attack good and to accept evil. They get people to be afraid and to not trust God, too. And they can get people to follow a “pied piper” to their deaths.

So, as followers of Jesus, we need to be discerners of falsehood. We need to pray to the Lord that we would not accept everything we hear as truth without first taking it to the Lord in prayer and in the reading of his word (in context) so that we can discern truth from lies. We need to pray that the Spirit of truth would make known to us what is truth and what are lies.

And the more we walk in close fellowship with our Lord, and we love his word, and we study it (in context), and we follow what it says, under the New Covenant relationship we have with God, the more we will have wisdom and discernment from God to recognize deception and manipulations of truth and trickery and to be able to confront the lies with the truth.

Hope and Praise

Life is going to kick us hard sometimes. People will lie to us. They will betray us. They will attack us and our faith. People will hate and dislike and reject us. And they may turn others against us. And people won’t like us because we are too serious about God, and we aren’t worldly enough for them.

But we must not let that get to us. We must turn that back into praise to God. Singing songs of praise and thanksgiving are great! Even singing songs of Spiritual warfare or of victory in Jesus and of what Jesus did for us is wonderful! Satan will fight us hard sometimes, for he hopes to weaken us, but we must keep looking to our Lord for our help and support.

The Word of God will give us much comfort and encouragement. In his word are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The word of God is filled with lessons on love, forgiveness, purity, sinful addiction, overcoming sin, living in victory, comfort in sorrow, praise, and thanksgiving, and most importantly it teaches us the gospel and God’s will for our lives.

In the word of God we find hope and assurance in Christ. We learn what God requires of us in the way of holiness and righteousness, by his grace, and in his strength and power. We learn the importance of obeying his commandments (New Covenant), and what it means to live holy and godly lives for the glory and praise of God.

If we love and obey God’s word (under the New Covenant), we have great peace, and we have great victory over sin, and we can walk in holiness in the power of God’s Spirit. And we have the hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God, all because of God’s grace to us which instructs us to say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God.

We know that we know God and that we are the Lord’s and that we have salvation by his grace, and that we are delivered from our bondage to sin so that we can now walk in his righteousness. So, we also know we have the hope of eternal life with God because of what Jesus did for us and because we keep his word, and we do what he says.

But many people are falling for the lies of Satan, and they are believing in a false gospel which gives people a false hope of salvation based on a lie. And the lie tells them that they can “believe” in Jesus and still live in their sins and that they don’t have to obey God or submit to Christ as Lord. But the truth of God’s word says if we walk in sin, we will die in our sins.

So, make certain that the hope you are holding on to is based on the truth of God’s word and not on a lie. For, if you sow to please the flesh, from the flesh you will reap corruption. But if you sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit you will reap eternal life. So sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh and you can hold on to the hope of your salvation and eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

Before the Throne of God Above

Charitie L. Bancroft

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is “Love,”
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart,
I know that while in heav’n He stands,
No tongue can bed me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased with His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, My Savior and my God.

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