Does It Matter?

25 06 2013

DOES IT MATTER HOW WE LIVE?

It is unfortunate that sometimes the words we need to hear from the Lord are the ones that we are most familiar with and, so, we are quicker to dismiss them.  There is a deception circulating the body of Christ whose emphasis is Freedom in Christ, but whose end result is Freedom of the Flesh.

Are we free in Christ to do whatever we want?

In terms of losing our salvation?  Yes; yes, we are.

In terms of staying close to the Lord and maintaining the kind of anointing that furthers His kingdom, the answer is a solid “ABSOLUTELY NOT.”

(Titus 1:16)  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

(1 John 3:1-3) See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

When the Apostle Paul exhorts us that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery,” he is referring to slavery to the kind of legalism that says a person must add to what Christ did on the cross in order to be saved (5:4).  The key thought of the Book of Galatians is “Salvation by Faith.”

The people who perpetuate the notion that Freedom in Christ means that we can do whatever we want because we are saved, tend to not continue on past the first verses of the fifth chapter of Galatians, because it clearly shows that true salvation walks in the Spirit, where the Spirit walks, and how the Spirit walks, and therefore, bears the Fruit of the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:16-25) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 

There are clearly two options for the believer:  walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit.  And that is where our freedom lies.  You the direction you want to go, but we must realize that the direction DOES matter.

(Galatians 6:7-9) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 

The seeds of the flesh sprout quickly and bear fruit that satisfies momentarily.  The fruit eaten, though, quickly turns to poison and begins to produce death.

The seeds of the Spirit sprout slower, because the roots are going deeper to produce a solid stalk on which to bear the kind of fruit that satisfies permanently; it satisfies the soul, and continues to bear more fruit, so that it becomes a source of life.

(James 1:14-15) But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 

According to James, it is our very own desire that gets us into trouble.  We falsely assume that lust refers only sexual desires so as long as we aren’t having actual physical sexual intercourse outside of marriage, these verses do not apply to us.  Not so, the word means “a deep longing for anything, especially for that which is forbidden.”  It is our desires that bait us, they seduce us.  We enjoy the flirty, never really intending to go any further with it; but by the nature of bait, it gets its hooks in and does not let go until we are lying in a pan as dinner for the enemy.

(Titus 2:11-14 ESV) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, looking for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.

The grace of God saves AND instructs us.  It teaches us to “just say ‘no'” to behavior that isn’t characteristic of the Lord (1 John 2:3-6).  It teaches us to “just say ‘no'” to the seemingly tasty morsels the world offers us (1 John 2:15-17).  The grace of God also trains us to live in such a way that we control SELF and choose to live the kind of lives that reflect our Savior (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 1:5-9).  The focus is not on what we do as much as on WHO we are doing it for.

(1 Corinthians 6:12, 20)  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful to me, but I will not be mastered by anything… For you have been bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body.

Some would point out that there is no specific commandment from God regarding particular behaviors, and so they have freedom to exercise them if they choose.  That is when it is important to remember that sin is a direction, not a line that we cross.  Have you ever wondered how a solid believer can fall so hard and land so far from the things of the Lord without even seeming to care?  It is because they assumed they could dance so close to the line of sin and not fall victim to its lures.  This is foolishness and the enemy delights in it.

(Romans 13:11-14) Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Some will point out that they are very involved in church, that they love the Lord, and that they are still in their Word everyday, so a little smoking here, an inappropriate movie there, a tiny dip into the pool of fantasy through video games or daydreams… isn’t a big deal. What they don’t realize is that they have a tiny island of rock on which they have one foot standing, in the middle of acres of quicksand; and it won’t take but a little bit to blow them right off their foundation into the miry depths waiting for them (Matthew 7:24-27).

(Philippians 3:7-12) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 

Any area of behavior that we feel the need to defend with a self-righteous argument of freedom in Christ should probably give us cause to wonder if the enemy has inadvertently found a place in which to put a hook.

(Philippians 2:14-16) Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…

What does your behavior say to the world around you?  Does it scream to the lost that you love the Lord enough to follow Him, even when it means not being able to do the things that you’d really like to do? 

(John 12:25-26) He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

If you are truly saved by grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you were rescued from the land of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of God as His kid (John 1:12; Colossians 1:13-14); and you have the freedom to choose (Joshua 24:15).  Your choice in any given area reflects the whole of your choice.  Choose Life for your own sake and for the sake of those around you (Deuteronomy 30:15-17).

(Ephesians 4:1)  Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.

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Tears of Repentance

25 07 2012

Psalms 119:136  My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law.

  •  Keep:  to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to
  • Law:  a rule of conduct; refers to God’s law in general.

The psalmist was a soldier.  A special ops, take no prisoners, get ‘er done type of soldier.  He was also king, top dog, ruler of all the land.  He was not a whiney, prone to tears, weak little man.  He was a manly man who was hyper sensitive in terms of his love for his God.  He was brought to tears by his own personal failure to obey the One he served with devotion.  It pains us the most to know we have let down the ones we love the most.

Jesus gave an example of the same kind of repentance in contrasting the proud and the humble:  And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

Being made aware of our sins is good.  It gives us that clear picture of our need for a Savior.  I can’t say that I am super fond of it, though.  When conviction comes and I am overwhelmed by the grief of my sin, sometimes it is just hard to get over it.  I tend to want to wallow in it a while, beating myself up and thinking of all the things I should have done or could have done.  Tears of repentance are good.  And they cleanse when we choose to let them.  The tax collector in Jesus’ parable mourned over his sin and threw himself at the feet of a merciful God, then got up and went on his way justified by grace.  Guilt sets up bars that keep us from moving past the grief of our own failure to the cross where we can be washed and renewed.  The more we focus on the failure, the more the guilt holds us captive and it is equally as destructive to our spiritual natures as the sin was.

Thankfully, failure on our part does not require rejection on God’s part.  He is an omniscient God and my sin did not take Him by surprise.  It has already been factored into the sanctifying equation and its gift of humility will serve to bind my heart even further with cords of love to the Lord… if I let it.  That requires taking my sin to the Lord and agreeing with Him that it is wrong.  It means taking personal responsibility for it, and not justifying it or comparing myself to others.  It means giving it to the Lord, submitting myself to the blood of the cross to wash it away.  It means focusing on Him and His power of salvation.  It means being in the Word so that my thoughts can be washed of guilt and sin.  And it means choosing to worship the God Who Saves; for no one who worships can remain outside the throne.  We enter with confidence that He will accept us in the Beloved and will clean us up with His Loving Holy Hands, personally and effectually.

Sin happens.  And the closer to the Lord we become, the more we’ll be aware of even the smallest infraction.  But, the closer we stay to Him, the more that sin will be washed away and we’ll be white as snow.  And someday when we get to heaven all those tears of repentance will be wiped away and we’ll stand forever redeemed and new.  Oh!  I can’t wait for that day!

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart, O Lord, unless You show them to me.  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.  Keep Your servant from deliberate sins!  Don’t let them control me.  And as You reveal them to me, let my tears of repentance flow towards Your Presence so that guilt has no chains to hold me.  Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin, as You cleanse me and make me holy by Your grace and mercy.  May the words of my mouth, the tears of my eyes, and the things on which I choose to think on be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.  (Psalm 19:12-14)





Is it Time to Act?

16 07 2012

Psalms 119:126 It is time for the LORD to act, For they have broken Your law. 

The psalmist was ever focused on God and His word.  He did not say, “it is time for the Lord to act because I’m tired… I’m hungry… I’m sad… I’m being persecuted… I have a hang nail.”  His own comfort and welfare was not in the equation at all.  As I listen and hear all the predictions of both Christian and secular prophets, it is hard not to be a little concerned.  An economic collapse is inevitable.  A terrorist attack using biological warfare is just a matter of time.  The use of an EMP to cripple America is just around the corner.  Our government will implode.  And on and on and on… The news does not seem all that encouraging, quite frankly.  It was no different in the psalmist’s day when his enemies were both inside and outside his own kingdom.  He fought constantly and valiantly, and had to stay vigilant because the fight continued.  As does the Church.

So, at what point do we cry out: “it is time to act, Lord!”?  The psalmist based his timetable on the heavenly standard:  not us, but Him.  When God’s laws are broken, a nation is in big trouble.  And if there are godly men and women in that country, they will be in trouble also.  But, they are not without hope, for they can (and should) set their eyes on the Lord and His omnipotence to defend them, to move on their behalf and for His glory.

 (Psalms 11:1-7)  In the LORD I take refuge; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain; For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, They make ready their arrow upon the string To shoot in darkness at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face. 

We serve a faithful God who, though He is slow to anger and merciful over all His works (Psalm 103:8), has a limit.  (Genesis 6:5, 15:16; Deuteronomy 15:16)  His patience in waiting is evidence that He desires all to come to Him for salvation (2 Peter 3:9), but it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have the power, authority to judge and to punish.  We can be sure that just as His promises protect His children, so they also punish the wicked.

 Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

It’s time for the Lord to act when His law and His salvation has been completely rejected.  Until then, may we be faithful to do as Daniel did; he sought the Lord and His truth, and threw himself into humble prayer and intercession.

“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.  I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, ‘Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.  Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets… righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame… Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.  To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings… we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth.  Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice… So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.  O my God, incline Your ear and hear!  Open Your eyes and see our desolations… for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.  O Lord, hear!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, listen and take action!  For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because… Your people are called by Your name.”  (Daniel 9:3-19)

 Greater is the world than the Church if God be not in her. But if God be in her, she shall not be moved. May he help her, and that right early! — Enoch Mellor (1823-1881), in “The Hem of Christ’s Garment, and other Sermons.”





Upheld and Safe

9 07 2012

Psalms 119:117 Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.

  •  Uphold:  to support; comfort; establish; hold up; strengthen
  • Safe:  to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by implication) to be safe;
  • Regard:  to gaze at (for help)
  • Statutes:  appointments, decrees, laws; refers to definite prescribed or written laws (including the moral law written upon      our hearts in our consciences)
  • Continually:  to stretch out indefinitely

Set me up and hold me up so that I’ll be safe and free to look only to You for help.  The psalmist had great faith in his God, believing that he would stand or fall based on His willingness to provide for him. God never disappoints faith like that!

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Within this verse is the general principle of faith:  the more we exercise it, the more we CAN exercise it.   Faith is a muscle that decays when unused and is strengthened by much use.  The psalmist trusted God to support and strengthen him, and as the Lord met that faith with His omnipotence and faithfulness, then it was easier the next time to do the same.  The more we trust, the less our circumstances have control over our feelings.  We serve a big God who is most worthy of our faith at all times, but faith exercised in the small things gives a solid foundation when the big things come.  It is a life of faith that is free and safe.

 “The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you.  And that cannot be.  You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously.  We need this if we are indeed to be workers for God… An yet, we are some of us wanting God to give us a little help while we do our best, instead of coming to understand what God wants, and to say, ‘I can do nothing.  God must and will do all.’  Have you said, ‘In worship, in work, in sanctification, in obedience to God, I can do nothing of myself, and so my place is to worship the omnipotent God, and to believe that He will work in me every moment’?  Oh, may God teach us this!  Oh, that God would by His grace show you what a God you have, and to what a God you have entrusted yourself — an omnipotent God, willing with His whole omnipotence to place Himself at the disposal of every child of His!   Shall we not take the lesson of the Lord Jesus and say, ‘Amen; the things which are impossible with men are possible with God’?” — Andrew Murray

Lord, You have upheld me when I didn’t think that standing up was even possible.  You have strengthened me when I felt that I was at my weakest.  You have set me free from so many things that held me bound.  You, O Lord, are a great and faithful God, whose grace and mercy astounds me, even today.  Please continue to hold me up, to strengthen my faith, and to keep me free from the enemy’s traps.  May I continually keep my focus on Your salvation, on Your provision, and on Your love, continually and forever.





Living in A Foxhole

2 07 2012

Psalms 119:109 My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law.

The psalmist was not ignorant of the danger in which he lived.  Our existence is always fragile at best, but when one lives a life dedicated to the Lord and at odds with the world about him, he abides with a bigger target on his back.  The psalmist wasn’t depressed or angry about his situation, for he was a man familiar with the necessities of battle in order to ensure the security of his kingdom.  Believers ever live with the same necessity, but in a culture where we are too comfortable in the freedom bought by the sacrifice of others we are more inclined to surrender than to fight.

The psalmist, as always, let his spiritual foundation be the ground on which he walked, even in danger.  He also penned the magnificent 23rd Psalm in which he made the same commitment and faith:

 (Psalms 23:1-6)  The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 They say that all things are fair in love and war; but the holy man thought not so: while he carried his life in his hand, he also carried the law in his heart. No danger of body should make us endanger our souls by forgetting that which is right. Trouble makes many a man forget his duty, and it would have had the same effect upon the Psalmist if he had not obtained quickening (Ps 119:107) and teaching (Ps 119:108). In his memory of the Lord’s law lay his safety; he was certain not to be forgotten of God, for God was not forgotten of him. It is a special proof of grace when nothing can drive truth out of our thoughts, or holiness out of our lives. If we remember the law even when death stares us in the face, we may be well assured that the Lord is remembering us. — C. H. Spurgeon

While there may be no atheists in foxholes, but the Enemy has done a good job of fooling us into thinking our foxhole is summer cottage.  What is YOUR foxhole?  Where are you in the most danger?  Physically?  Emotionally?  Spiritually?  Our lives are continually being threatened because we have an Enemy who is relentless and never tires of finding ways to steal, kill, and destroy God’s kids.  Even so, we do not have face that threat unarmed.  Everything we need is in the arms of our Dread Champion.  We need only be strong in HIS strength, through His Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 (Ephesians 6:10-18) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

Oh, Lord, don’t let me be fooled into thinking my foxhole is a summer cottage.  May I always be aware that my life is continually in danger from the enemy’s influence and attack.  Draw me close to You and protect me.  Arm me with the best defense, the sword of Your Spirit.  Protect me with Your truth and holiness.  In all of it, keep my heart soft and warm towards others but steely cold against all unrighteousness.  You, O Lord, are a shield about me, You’re my glory, and the lifter of my head; and I trust You with my life.





Lies Don’t Need to Stick

29 05 2012

Psalms 119:69 The arrogant have forged a lie against me; With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.

The psalmist sandwiches the issue that is bothering him between the truth of God, where it belongs.  Our troubles ought never to have precedence over anything, otherwise we follow them down a path of destruction.  Nor should they bring up our rear, as if they are dogs nipping at our back side driving us toward depression and discouragement.  Properly placed, issues seem less intimidating (and, in truth, they are).  We will never be overwhelmed by troubles that are compared to the goodness and good work of God Himself in us, around us, for us, and through us.

The psalmist’s trouble comes once again from the mouths of the prideful.  Verse 51 spoke of the way they mocked him with great disrespect.  Later on, we’ll see that their lie is not accidental but a purposeful attempt to pervert him through their deceit.  The arrogant are naturally the enemies of the righteous.

  •  Ps 119:21  You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments.
  •  Ps 119:51  The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
  •  Ps 119:78  May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts.
  •  Ps 119:85  The arrogant have dug pits for me, Men who are not in accord with Your law.
  •  Ps 119:122 Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the arrogant oppress me.

Those who move forward in humility and service to God alone will always find opposition from the prideful, both in the church and without.  Humility automatically sets itself at odds with the arrogant:   Joseph experienced the barbs of the arrogant at the mouth of Potiphar’s wife who falsely accused him.  Daniel experienced them through the “wise men” who set him up as subversive to the King’s command.    Moses too experiened it through his own people who continually cast doubt on his ability and authority to lead them.  Jesus is the best example of the war between the arrogant and the Godly.  His very existence was a burr under the saddle of the religious elite of His day.

The primary weapon of the arrogant is deceit and its target is always those bowed humbly before God.  Those who are prepared for the assault will be better able to fight it.

  • Forge:  to stick on as a patch; to impute falsely.
  •  Lie:  an untruth; a sham

Do we not see the same tactic being circulated pervasively throughout our culture today?  Born again believers are continually being portrayed as radical, violent, bigoted, uncontrollable hot heads who are secretly harboring all sorts of perverted activities.  Good is called bad and bad is called good, and the lies are circulated so often that it gets harder and harder to discern which is which.

The psalmist’s return fire was to continue to live obediently to God.  We act out of our beliefs, so the psalmist believed God more than he believed the lies.  Truth of God’s Word is the only armor that keep the lies from sticking and it is the only weapon that extinguishes their fire.  Sometimes we mistakenly think that if we are put on the full armor of the Truth and keep the Sword of the Spirit in our hands that the lies and the battle will stop.  It won’t, this side of heaven.  But, having the proper armor and weapons will bring victory in the battle and peace in the heart of the soldier.

Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

 When slanders drive us to more resolute and careful obedience they work our lasting good; falsehood hurled against us may be made to promote our fidelity to the truth, and the malice of men may increase our love to God. If we try to answer lies by our words we may be beaten in the battle; but a holy life is an unanswerable refutation of all calumnies. Spite is balked if we persevere in holiness despite all opposition. — C. H. Spurgeon

When we trust the Lord enough to obey His marching orders at all times, we will find ourselves well armed for a victorious stand against the lies forged against us.  Deceit can’t stick to the Truth of God’s Word lived out.

Lord God, sometimes I just grow weary of the fight.  Raise up Your banner of Truth in my heart and mind, filling me with Your Holy Spirit of love, power and a sound mind so that I let Your Word stick and not the lies that threaten me.  May I go forth in the knowledge of Who You Are, humbly obeying all You have asked.

 





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)