Walking in Liberty

30 04 2012

Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.

  • Liberty: from the word translated “enlarge” in verse 32.
  • Literally: I will walk at large, in every direction
  • Seek: to tread frequently; to follow in pursuit

The way may be narrow in terms of worldly standards, but there is plenty of room to walk freely in pursuit of what our God has for us. This, I believe, speaks to who we are in our Christianity. God does not conform us to a cookie cutter, robotic likeness of Himself, but rather takes who we are (in all our individual personalities, mannerisms, and preferences) and makes us into something that is like Himself in all that we are. All snowflakes are made of the same thing, but none are alike. We are all children of God who have His spiritual DNA, but we are all different.

One cannot look at the men of the Bible and not see how true that is. From Abraham, to Moses, to Job, to Jonah, and then to Jeremiah, we see a vast difference in the personalities and how vastly different God uses them.

The truth will set us free… from sin, shame, and death.  Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life.  He provides the going, the knowing, and the living.  He is our freedom and without Him we remain imprisoned.  True freedom to be who we are is found in Jesus alone. Those who run hard the other way will find sooner or later that they are shackled by sin and shame.

The verse is united to that which goes before, for it begins with the word “And,” which acts as a hook to attach it to the preceding verses. It mentions another of the benefits expected from the coming of mercies from God. The man of God had mentioned the silencing of his enemies (Ps 119:42), power to proceed in testimony (Ps 119:43), and perseverance in holiness; now he dwells upon liberty, which next to life is dearest to all brave men. He says, “I shall walk,” indicating his daily progress through life; “at liberty,” as one who is out of prison, unimpeded by adversaries, unencumbered by burdens, unshackled, allowed a wide range, and roaming without fear. Such liberty would be dangerous if a man were seeking himself or his own lusts; but when the one object sought after is the will of God, there can be no need to restrain the searcher. We need not circumscribe the man who can say, “I seek thy precepts.” Observe, in the preceding verse he said he would keep the law; but here he speaks of seeking it. Does he not mean that he will obey what he knows, and endeavour to know more? Is not this the way to the highest form of liberty, — to be always labouring to know the mind of God and to be conformed to it? Those who keep the law are sure to seek it, and bestir themselves to keep it more and more. — C. H. Spurgeon

Lord, You said in Your word that the truth is what frees us.  I pray that You will fill me with Your truth so that I can walk free and at liberty in who You are and in what You have for me.  My freedom came at the cost of Your Son… may I never forget that kind of love so that I will never ever stop appreciating the Liberty You purchased.

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds feet and will make me to walk, not to stand still in terror, but to walk, and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 Amplified)

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Forever and Ever and Ever and…

27 04 2012

Psalms 119:44 So I will keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.

  •  Keep:  to hedge about, as with thorns, in order to guard or protect
  • Law:  God’s law in general
  • Continually:  to stretch on with undefined end
  • Forever and ever:  literally,  forever and ever and ever…

 The language of this verse is very emphatic. Perfect obedience will constitute a large proportion of heavenly happiness to all eternity; and the nearer we approach to it on earth, the more we anticipate the felicity of heaven. — Note in Bagster’s Comprehensive Bible.

Because God protected the word of truth in the psalmist’s mouth as he patiently waited and hoped in God’s judgment, the psalmist could definitively commit himself to keeping God’s law forever.  As the psalmist trusts God to keep His part of the bargain, so he plans on keeping his own and to not deviate it for a second, ever.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

 God’s grace alone can enable us to keep his commandments without break and without end; eternal love must grant us eternal life, and out of this will come everlasting obedience. There is no other way to ensure our perseverance in holiness but by the word of truth abiding in us, as David prayed it might abide with him. — C. H. Spurgeon

Obedience isn’t a one time decision and it is a done deal.  It is a moment by moment choice.  Failure is not fatal to the believer, but failing to let God pick us up and put us back on the right path is.  Paul writes of this principle in Chapter 7 of his letter to the Church at Rome.  We ought never to forget that committing ourselves to a whole hearted obedience doesn’t mean perfection; it means entrusting ourselves fully to the One who wills and works within us to complete that commitment.  We can’t keep the promise to obey forever and ever but He can and will, with our permission.

(Romans 7:14-25) For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. 

Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit of love, power and a sound mind so that I will commit myself to Your law of love and grace so that I will at times live to obey You.  And when I fail, don’t let me wallow in self-pity.  Pick me up and put me back on the path of obedience for I love You and long to walk with You where ever You go.

 





Leave the Word

26 04 2012

Psalms 119:43 And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I wait for Your ordinances.

What is left if the word of truth is gone from my mouth? Only lies.

The psalmist would rather sit and wait, having nothing, than to be left with only deceit. God’s job is to protect the word of truth in His people. Our job is to pay attention to Him.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Isaiah 59:21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.”

Isaiah 55:11-13) So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the LORD, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Do not prevent my pleading for thee by leaving me without deliverance; for how could I continue to proclaim thy word if I found it fail me? such would seem to be the run of the meaning. The word of truth cannot be a joy to our mouths unless we have an experience of it in our lives, and it may be wise for us to be silent if We cannot support our testimonies by the verdict of our consciousness. This prayer may also refer to other modes by which we may be disabled from speaking in the name of the Lord: as, for instance, by our falling into open sin, by our becoming depressed and despairing, by our labouring under sickness or mental aberration, by our finding no door of utterance, or meeting with no willing audience. He who has once preached the gospel from his heart is filled with horror at the idea of being put out of the ministry; he will crave to be allowed a little share in the holy testimony, and will reckon his dumb Sabbaths to be days of banishment and punishment…

God’s ministers are sometimes silenced through the sins of their people, and it becomes them to plead against such a judgment; better far that they should suffer sickness or poverty than that the candle of the gospel should be put out among them, and that thus they should be left to perish without remedy. The Lord save us, who are his ministers, from being made the instruments of inflicting such a penalty. Let us exhibit a cheerful hopefulness in God, that we may plead it in prayer with him when he threatens to close our lips. — C. H. Spurgeon

Reasons the word from my mouth might be taken:

  • 1. Disobedience
  •  2. Inattention
  • 3. Fear
  • 4. Despair
  • 5. Pride

Do not be used by others as a source of information, but challenge others to seek for light from the same source as you have received it. Do not try to be a substitute for My Word—either written or by prophetic message. Let the question be used as a challenge to Bible study and prayer, and be very reluctant to become the transmitter of quick learning. This poses innumerable disadvantages both for yourself and the person seeking help. Teach him how to establish communication personally with his God, so that he may “hear from heaven” himself—this is the greatest blessing you can ever give to another human being…

Do not be used as a substitute for God to anyone. Be a channel for the ministries of My Spirit, but never be a free giver of advice. Curb the impulse. Give to the other the source of your knowledge — even the Scripture passage where the answer may be found — so that My Word is constantly the first and the final authority. — Roberts, Frances J. (2009-08-15). Come Away My Beloved Updated (p. 187-188). Barbour Books. Kindle Edition.

Lord, only You can make my heart fertile enough to grow Your grace and knowledge there by Your truth implanted.  Bring a harvest that provides plenty of truth for my lips so that I will speak it and live it so that You will be glorified at all times through the words that come forth.





A Good Response

25 04 2012

Psalms 119:42 So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.

  • Answer: response
  • Reproach: to pull off, with the implication of stripping; to expose
  • Trust: to hide for refuge

The “so” refers back to the lovingkindness of the Lord and the salvation of His Word in the previous verse.

(1 Peter 3:14-17) But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

The psalmist knew that the only response for those who were striving so hard to expose him as a fraud or hypocrite was to trust solely in the One who could protect him through His love and grace. The Lord is faithful and we can trust His Word to save us, sanctify us, and to protect us. The Helmet of Salvation protects us from thoughts meant to drive us from the Lord in shame and despair, while the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) slices cleanly through the enemy’s assaults. Only the soul at rest in faith through the Lord’s grace and salvation can adequately fight the good fight of truth against the lies of the enemy.

What does that look like?  When anything is said about me, either to my face or behind my back, is filtered completely through the Truth, so that my response isn’t about me at all.  My response, in turn, is the Word of God, with which there can be no argument.

When those who reproach us are also reproaching God, we may ask him to help us to silence them by sure proofs of his mercy and faithfulness…   The Lord hath chosen faith to be the hand into which he will place his mercies and his salvation. If any reproach us for trusting in God, we reply to them with arguments the most conclusive when we show that God has kept his promises, heard our prayers, and supplied our needs. Even the most sceptical are forced to bow before the logic of facts. — C. H. Spurgeon

Lord, put Your word in my heart and mind so that I will answer reproaches with Your Truth and not with my own intellect or feelings.  You alone are my protection and I trust in You to do what I could never do on my own.

 





Bring on the Unfailing Love

24 04 2012

Psalms 119:41 Vav. May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD, Your salvation according to Your word;

This verse begins a new set of eight verses and with it, we see a new emphasis:  The Lord’s Lovingkindness.  The psalmist embraced the love of God and it changed his affections, his actions and his thoughts.  Any true revival begins with the work of love.

  • Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
  • Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  • Psalm 70:4 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”

The psalmist rests his hope on God’s faithful word, knowing that His promise guarantees both lovingkindness and salvation.  Too many of God’s people spend their time and energy looking for love in all the wrong places.  We look to the church, to other believers, and to the world and miss the real and everlasting source:  The Word of God.  It alone is a divinely inspired love letter that will never fail and how often we just take it for granted.

It isn’t easy to see in our English translation, but the psalmist seeks a multitude of lovingkindnesses. Not singular, but plural. A vessel filled to the brim with God’s lovingkindness only grows larger so that it can be filled to an even greater measure.   Too many of us become satisfied with just enough.  We receive the lovingkindness of salvation and are content with that.  The American Church is filled with nominal Christians because they don’t hunger and thirst for more.  And why would they?  We are so full of everything else, who ever has the opportunity to hunger for anything?

What a mass of mercies are heaped together in the one salvation of our Lord Jesus! It includes the mercies which spare us before our conversion, and lead up to it. Then comes calling mercy, regenerating mercy, converting mercy, justifying mercy, pardoning mercy. Nor can we exclude from complete salvation any of those many mercies which are needed to conduct the believer safe to glory. Salvation is an aggregate of mercies incalculable in number, priceless in value, incessant in application, eternal in endurance. To the God of our mercies be glory, world without end. — C. H. Spurgeon

Lord God, I am too so full of all that the world has to offer that I am not aware of my starving spirit.  Only You can give me a distinct taste for spiritual things.  Give me a deep aware of the hunger and thirst of my spirit so that I will desire more of You alone.  May Your lovingkindnesses come to me.  Feed me well on Your Word so that I will grow up into all You have for me.

So unlovely, still You love me

Needing You, yet You pursue me

Loving me since time began

Such love I’ll never comprehend

To me that greatest mystery

Is You in love with me.

(Mystery; Gateway Worship; Album:  The More I Seek You)





Wanted: Righteous New Life

23 04 2012

Psalms 119:40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness.

  • Long:  desire, covet
  • Precepts:  mandates; those things for which man is responsible
  • Righteousness:  right standing with God

The psalmist did not abide in the negative, but looked towards that which was good and positive. He dreaded his shame, but trusted in God to step over it in mercy. His desire was transformed from the necessity of being acquitted to a full blown renewal of adherence to the law so he wouldn’t have to endure the court room of shame again. But, again, he didn’t trust in his own ability; his need made him throw himself on the mercy of the court to exonerate him and his desire made him throw himself on the grace of the Savior to give him a new life so he could keep on living in that right standing.

(2 Corinthians 5:10-21) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

If we have not attained perfection, it is something to have hungered after it. He who has given us to desire, will also grant us to obtain. The precepts are grievous to the ungodly, and therefore when we are so changed as to long for them we have clear evidence of conversion, and we may safely conclude that he who has begun the good work will carry it on. — C. H. Spurgeon

As God works His amazing revival in us, it creates a deep hunger that is not satisfied by the things around us.  When we find ourselves longing for something more than the dust of the earth or the dingy baubles it offers, we must turn to God so that His Holy Spirit can renew our minds and hearts in the righteousness of God. The more we seek His righteousness, the more He gives.  The more He gives, the more we see our own lack for sin always stands in stark contrast to righteousness.   This continual cycle of recognition of sin (and the shame it brings), the confession and repentance, followed by a renewal of dedication and obedience, is vital and necessary until we breathe that first breath at heaven’s door. The enemy will always bad mouth the believer for the need to repeat it but the God of all Mercy all the more cries out: “Come! Come for more and I will pour out rivers of living water that will make you bloom in righteousness like never before!  Come!”  May we be like the psalmist and listen more to the Lord than we do to the enemy’s accusations and may His renewing grace be ours afresh each day.

My new life will become yours in direct proportion to your success in emptying your heart of self-will. I know you cannot do this for yourself; but you must will it to be done. And as you will it, I will work with you and within you to bring it to pass. You will know joy as never before, and as never possible any other way. You will have rest from inner conflict; yes, you must be delivered from the inner conflict in order to engage in the outer conflict with the enemy. –Roberts, Frances J. (2009-08-15). Come Away My Beloved Updated (p. 182). Barbour Books. Kindle Edition.

Lord, You are all I need.  Revive me with Your new life to want more and to want more and to want more, so that I am not ever satisfied with my new life in You until You complete the great work of More of You and Less of Me.





Going Beyond Shame

20 04 2012

Psalms 119:39Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good.

  • Turn away (same word as verse 37): indicates the act of crossing or passing over; figuratively the word means going beyond or overstepping
  • Reproach: disgrace or shame
  • Dread: fear, but not in general; fear of something specific
  • Ordinances:  judicial verdicts; judgments

The problem is not with God or His judgments; the problem is sin and the shame that comes with it. There was no shame before sin and once we are perfected in heaven, there will be no shame ever again!  However, even here on earth there is freedom from shame as our Savior is big enough and powerful enough to step right over our shame with His grace and mercy to stand next to us when we are feeling the conviction of sin or the accusations of the enemy so that there is nothing to fear from God’s judgment. Like the Children of Israel who did not suffer the loss of their first born because of the blood that marked their doorposts, we are covered by the blood of the Lamb so that judgment passes over us too.

“My children, it is not by grieving over your sins that they are forgiven.  My forgiveness is in constant operation and you need only accept it.  The cleansing of your heart and the restoration of your joy depend upon your full confession and willingness to repent and to renounce your sin. It is in this area that you need to exercise your soul toward the achievement of heart-purity, and until this work is accomplished (and maintained), you will not have inner peace.

Much of what distresses you is truly sin, but you do not even recognize it as such.  You are in truth plagued more by these unidentified enemies than by all the overt sins you have ever committed.  For the overt sins are readily recognized and sorely grieved over, and for most of these forgiveness has already been received.

Rejoice in knowing that the enemy would not trouble you unless you were of some value to Me…

In serving Me, you anger the enemy; he will not allow you to gain ground spiritually without hurling his poisoned arrows of doubts and accusations against you.

Resist him, as Scripture admonishes you…

Do not attack your discouragement, but resist the one who would burden you with it.  Do not doubt My forgiveness, but close your ears to the accuser.

” –F. J. Roberts

This side of heaven none of us will be sin free.  And when believers sin, shame is sure to follow in ways that unbelievers will never experience.  The Holy Spirit convicts of sin for the purpose of drawing believers to the fountain of Christ’s cleansing blood, but the Enemy uses it as an opportunity to put up a wall of deceit that prevents them from the grace of God.  Conviction says, “come and let Me clean you for I have already redeemed you”; shame says, “Get far away from Me because you are too disgusting for Me.”

The psalmist understood great shame as a result of great sin.  He was an adulterer and a murderer, and everyone knew it.  The psalmist took refuge in God’s Justice because when God pays a debt, it is ALL paid.  Only the mercy of God can triumph over judgment so that no shame is cast on the Redeemer or His children.  Shame rolls off the backs of those who are protected by the Blood to give a greater glory to the Savior.

Lord God, You are righteous and true to punish those who have transgressed Your Law.  Thank You, though, for making provision for mercy through the blood of Your Son.  There is nothing more terrifying than standing before a court of law, knowing you are guilty and deserve death.  There is nothing more wonderful than hearing that someone else has paid Your debt, and assumed responsibility for making sure that you are never condemned again.  May I ever dread the shame of unrighteousness and always keep Your righteousness as my measure stick.  Keep me protected by Your Redeeming Blood so that I will never fall victim to the Enemy’s lie that You no longer want me.  Oh, Lord!  It seems I can’t go a single hour without turning from Your ways; keep me close and cover my reproach with Your great grace!  In You alone I trust.

(Titus 2:6-8) Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.