“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.”
Amen! God’s word to us is our Bible (Genesis to Revelation), though granted not all of it is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, not directly anyway, but some of it is indirectly. Like for example, we have many stories in the Bible of people’s lives, and a lot of them did not live holy lives pleasing to God. But we can learn from their mistakes what not to repeat. Also, the Old Covenant ceremonial and sacrificial laws do not apply to us today.
As followers of Jesus Christ, most of God’s instructions to us are found in the New Testament, but many of them came directly from the Old Testament, for God’s moral laws have not changed with time. And what constituted genuine faith in God in the Old Testament is the same for faith in Jesus Christ in the New Testament, including the meaning of unbelief, which is disobedience, and the meaning of belief, which is obedience to God.
[1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10]
For genuine faith in Jesus Christ is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, it comes from God, and it is gifted to us by God. It is not of ourselves, of our own doing, for we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Luke 9:23-26; Acts 26:18; 1 Pet 2:24]
So our Lord’s instructions to us, his followers (disciples), are what we are to follow (to obey, to adhere to, to conform to). His word is to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path to lead us and to guide us in the way that we should go. And then we are to follow in that way. And we are to want to follow our Lord in obedience and not see obedience as a drudgery. For there is nothing more joyful or peaceful in this life than walking in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; etc.]
“I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.”
When we follow Jesus Christ with our lives we are going to go through trials and tribulations to test our faith. Our Lord will prune us and he will discipline us for our good so that we may share in his holiness, and so that we will bear the fruit of righteousness, and so we learn to rely on him and not on ourselves. For as followers of Jesus we are to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
So suffering produces endurance and character and hope. And the testing of our faith, if we pass the test, produces steadfastness which leads to maturity in Christ. And the testing of our faith is to prove the genuiness of it, or not, depending on how we respond to the test. But if we respond in faith and in obedience and not by retreating, hiding, and self-medicating (escaping), then the tested genuiness of our faith will result in praise and glory and honor at the return of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Part of this testing involves us being hated and persecuted for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, too. But we are blessed when others revile us and persecute us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on account of Jesus Christ, for great is our reward in heaven. And this also bears spiritual fruit in our lives in this life, too, for through suffering we learn humility, we learn to love as Jesus loves, we learn to love the Scriptures, and we learn to love obedience and submission to Christ as Lord, too.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]
“I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.”
Yes, if we are living godly and holy lives, in obedience to our Lord, and if righteousness is what we practice, and if sin is NOT what we practice, we are going to have enemies, and many of them may be within the gatherings of the church (or of what is falsely called church). We may be hated, rejected, and cast aside by pastors, elders, and other professers of faith in Christ. And some of them may indeed lay traps for us hoping we will fall.
For we are living in the last days and the hearts of many have grown cold and charlatans (fakes, pretenders, swindlers) are standing in many “church” pulpits today feeding the people half-truths, i.e. lies disguised as truth. And the multitudes are flocking to these liars and schemers who are leading them to their deaths. For they are not teaching death to sin and living godly and holy lives in obedience to our Lord Jesus.
What many of them are teaching is a “light and fluffy” version of the true gospel which tells people that they can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have their sins forgiven, and be on their way to heaven regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. So they are, thus, perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality and lasciviousness. For they are leaving their adherents still in bondage to sin and on their way to hell.
[2 Co 11:13-15; Php 3:2; Matt 7:15-23; Matt 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Tim 1:3-7; 1 Tim 6:3-10; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23]
“Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.”
So, we need to be people of faith who are following our Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways, who love the Scriptures, and who want to do what our Lord says we must do if we are to be his followers and if we are to have eternal life with him. The teachings of Christ and of his New Testament apostles should bring joy to our hearts, and our hearts should be in tune with God’s heart, and our desire should be for Him.
For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, to be one of his disciples, that he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Christ and in his power we die with Christ to sin and we live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24) then we have eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26).
Jesus also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For on the day Jesus returns many will stand before him and they will call him Lord, and they will tell him of the things they did in his name, but he will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23). Please take this to heart!
[Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
As the Deer
By Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1
As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You
To say Lord, that in everything we do this day
And every time we spend and every thought we think, Lord
And every meditation that we’re involved with, Lord
May it all be an act of worship
To Your great and glorious name
Blessed be Your name, O God
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