Without Excuse

Without Excuse

lamb of God
picture courtesy of Pintrest

“What then could I do when God arises,

And when He calls me to account,

what will I answer Him?”

Job 31: 14, NASB

C-R-A-C-K!  Sarah and her friends stared wide-eyed and mouths gaping at her brother. Richie’s  face paled. He swallowed hard as he glued his attention to the small hole in the ceiling of their house.

“What are you going to tell Mom and Dad?” asked Sarah. “You know you’re not supposed to ever shoot a gun inside, not even a BB gun.”

Richie chewed on his bottom lip. “I didn’t think it would shoot. It hasn’t worked for years …”

Sarah put a hand on her hip. “That’s no excuse.”

Unlike Richie, Job’s record remained clean according to his heavenly Father. In chapter thirty-one he named several sins common to people. He didn’t avow his innocence but called down curses on himself if the Lord found him guilty. Job attested to God’s right judgment against any wrongdoing—knowing he would be without excuse.

Scripture is filled with people excusing disobedience to God beginning with Adam and Eve. Adam blamed God and Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Their excuses held no merit. They knew God’s will and chose to disobey him. People remain the same thinking we can hide our disobedience from the Father.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

  • because that which is known about God is evident with them;
  • for God made it evident to them.
  • For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,
  • being understood through what has been made,

so that they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:18-20, NASB

God revealed his judgment against all that’s not of truth when He poured out his wrath on Jesus Christ for our sin.

“The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations,

That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God …

  • So his appearance was marred more than any man,
  • And His form more than the sons of men …
  • But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
  • He was crushed for our iniquities;
  • The chastening for our well-being  fell upon Him,
  • And by His scourging we are healed … Isaiah 52:10; 52:14b; 53:5;

“So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified …

When Jesus therefore had receive the sour wine, He said,

“It is finished!”

And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.”

John 19:16, 30;NASB

When Job called down the Almighty’s wrath on himself, he did not fear. For Job trusted God to be just. Job didn’t need to make excuses before God but simply trusted in God’s grace. We can do the same. We don’t need to fear God’s wrath nor make excuses when we believe God unto salvation. We need only—

“to wait for His Son from heaven,

whom He raised from the dead,

that is Jesus,

who delivers us from the wrath to come …

For God has not destined us for wrath,

but for obtaining salvation

through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us,

that whether we are awake or asleep,

we may live together with Him.

Therefore encourage one another,

and build up one another,

just as you also are doing.”

1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9-11, NASB.

We all will appear before Almighty God without excuse. We will hear him say either,

“Come, ye blessed of my Father,

inherit the kingdom prepared for you

from the foundation of the world …”

 Or,

“Depart from me, ye cursed,

into everlasting fire,

prepared for the devil and his angels;”

Matthew 25: 34b, 41b, KJV

What will you answer the Lord when you stand before him? Better, yet, what will he answer you?

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Turkey & the Righteous

Turkey & the Righteous

person holding knife slicing meat
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

“Blessed are they

which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:

for they shall be filled.”

Matthew 5:6, KJV

“Amen.” Heads raised, hands grabbed forks, and forks pierced the exploding turkey. In moments a beautiful golden brown butter basted bird sat naked in the middle of the table. An onlooker would have thought our family hadn’t eaten for months. In fact, I don’t ever remember being really hungry, but by the time the meal ended—all of us were more stuffed than the turkey had been.

I’ve read somewhere if hunger is not satisfied our bodies forget what it is to hunger and starvation sets in. Watching the ways of our world, the same principle must hold true with righteousness. It’s for a fact we don’t see righteousness exploding over the earth, but Job gives us hope when he says,

“Nevertheless the righteous shall hold to his way,

And he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.”

Job 17:9, NASB

There will always be a righteous few who thirst and hunger for more. These are strengthened by the Spirit as they are filled, enabling them to hold to the righteous way. But who are these righteous and what is the way that strengthens them?

The Who:

Jesus told a story to some self-righteous Pharisees about two men.

The two, one a highly religious man, the other a hated tax collector, went to the temple to pray. The religious Pharisee prayed with himself, thanking God he wasn’t like the tax collector. The Pharisee continued by pointing out his good deeds to God.

All the while the tax collector couldn’t even look to the heavens but cried to God to be merciful to me a sinner.

The moral of the story:

“I tell you,

this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:

for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased;

and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Luke 18:14, KJV

The righteous are born out of knowing their need for righteousness, hungering for it, and finding the free gift to fill their hunger.

“Even the righteousness of God

which is by faith of Jesus Christ

unto all and upon all them that believe:

for there is no difference …

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;

and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation …

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Romans 3:22;10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV

Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God, took our judgment of sin to the cross, paying our debt, and filling us with his righteousness—

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Ephesians 1:6, KJV

These are the righteous.

The Way of the Righteous:

The way is endurance—“the righteous shall hold to his way …”

“They went out from us, but they were not of us;

for if they had been of us,

they would no doubt have continued with us …”

1 John 2:19a, KJV

The way is purity—“he who has clean hands…”

“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;

who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the LORD,

and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Psalm 24:4-5, KJV

The way is strength—“shall grow stronger and stronger.”

“The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.”

Psalm 118:14, KJV

The Response of the Righteous:

Rejoicing—

“The voice of rejoicing and salvation

is in the tabernacles of the righteous:

the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly …

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous:

and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

Psalm 118;15; 32:11, KJV

I know I’m a little early but—What will you be hungering for with Thanksgiving? Rumors hint there may be a shortage of turkey this year, but Christ never runs out of righteousness.

The Helmet’s Provision

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“Stand therefore … with truth … righteousness … the gospel of peace … the shield of faith …

And take the helmet of salvation …”

Ephesians 6:14-17a, KJV

Each piece of armor given to us, comes through putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, and is permanently put in place under the helmet of salvation. Our journey with the Lord proves the strength, need, and provision of each piece. Without the helmet of salvation, we have no hope, for we stand defenseless before the enemy under the judgment of sin and death. With—

THE HELMET OF SALVATION;

 We have freedom from fear;

“Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and not be afraid:

for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song:

he also is become my salvation.

Therefore with joy

shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2,3

We are put under God’s banner;

“We will rejoice in thy salvation,

and in the name of our God

we will set up our banners

the LORD fulfill all thy petitions.”

Psalm 20:5

God gives us blessing and righteousness;

“He shall receive the blessing from the LORD,

and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Psalm 24:5

We receive promises of the Lord’s strength during trouble:

“He is their strength in the time of trouble.

And the LORD shall help them,

and deliver them:

he shall deliver them from the wicked,

and save them,

because they trust in him.”

Psalm 37:39,40

God’s throne opens to us:

“I will take the cup of salvation,

and call upon the name of the LORD …

Let us therefore come boldly

unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need.”

(Psalm 116:13; Hebrews 4:16)

We have protection when the enemy accuses:

“O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation,

thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”

Psalm 140: 7

The Helmet of Salvation is available to all but—

Is found only in One:

“Salvation belongeth unto the LORD:

thy blessing is upon thy people.”

Psalm 3:8

Our helmet keeps us from falling:

“He only is my rock and my salvation:

he is my defence;

I shall not be moved.”

Psalm 62:6

Has taken my shame and given me glory:

“In God is my salvation and my glory:

the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”

Psalm 62:7

Salvation is found under the banner of our God, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation. The enemy may nip at our heels, but Jesus Christ is the rock that has crushed his head. We stand on the rock none can move us from. The helmet of salvation is our victory.

“Let all those that seek thee

rejoice and be glad in thee:

let such as love thy salvation say continually,

The LORD be magnified.”

Psalm 40:16

 

The Writer’s Heart: The Right Food

The Writer’s Heart: The Right Food

purple grapes
Photo by Luiz M. Santos on Pexels.com

“You are what you eat.” The longer I live the more truth this old axiom reveals. Eat too much fried foods, your arteries turn to grease, commonly called cholesterol. An overload of sugar may cause your liver to fill with fat and not be able to function well—not to mention what it can do to your heart, skin, and mood. You get the point. An abundance of these foods can lead to an early death. Disciplining ourselves to eat well improves our probability of living a healthier and longer life in this world. However, Jesus tells us there is a food that promises everlasting life in the world to come—

“work … for the food which endures to eternal life,

which the Son of Man shall give to you …”

(From John 6:27, NASB)

As writers, Jesus’ food promises what we write has the potential of showing others where they can find life beyond this earth. This food promises our work has worth through the power it contains to lead others to eternal life.

Our task is to write what our readers need, disguised as something they are already wanting and searching for. We have been given gifts, talents, and a power not our own to accomplish the work. Jesus tells us where this trio comes from in the parable of the vineyard, found in John 15:7-10.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,

ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

By this is My Father glorified,

that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Just as the Father has loved Me,

I have also loved you; abide in My love.

If you keep My commandments,

you will abide in My love;

just as I have kept My Father’s commandments,

and abide in His love.”

(NASB)

Jesus, the vine, contains all the nutrients we need to live an abundant everlasting life. We need to—

  • Abide in Him.
  • Digest His words.
  • Ask for more of Him.
  • He promises to will produce good fruit in us—good character and good works—that bring glory to the Father.
  • Continue in the knowledge of Jesus’ love—
  • by keeping His commandments (there are two summing up the rest … love God and love one another.)

Jesus, the true vine, produces the fruit in us to write material He can use to change lives. It begins by abiding in Him and eating the right food. Let’s feed ourselves and our readers the best food, that which endures throughout eternity.

Here Comes the Groom

pexels-photo-291759.jpegThe Song of Solomon relates the beauty found in marriage as our Creator designed it to be. Solomon portrays young love in courtship and the ever-growing love found when the relationship is consummated.

Women today might not appreciate some of the comparisons he uses to describe the beauty of his bride.

“thy hair is as a flock of goats”, “thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate”, “they neck is like the tower of David.”

But to his bride Solomon makes it clear she’s beautiful and to be desired.  In response 3 times she makes it evident she is secure in her bridegroom’s love.

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” (2:16;6:3; 7:10).

This song of marriage not only relates Solomon’s love for his bride but it also gives us a picture of 2 other love relationships.

Yaweh God with Israel:

“For thy Maker is thine husband;

the LORD of hosts is his name;

and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel:

The God of the whole earth shall he be called…Isaiah 54:5;

I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God,

and thou becamest mine…

And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty:

for it was perfect through my comeliness,

which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 16: 8b, 14.

Christ Jesus, Son of God, with the church:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy;

for I have espoused you to one husband,

that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ…

2 Corinthians 11:2;

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,

as unto the Lord.

For the husband is the head of the wife,

even as Christ is the head of the church;

and he is the saviour of the body…

Husbands, love your wives,

even as Christ also loved the church,

and gave himself for it…

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh;

but nourisheth and cherisheth it,

even as the Lord the church:

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER,

AND SHALL BE JOINED UNTO HIS WIFE,

AND THEY TWO SHALL BE ONE FLESH.

This is a great mystery:

but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

Ephesians 5:22,23,25,28-32.

In the days of Christ the engagement or espousal bound a couple by covenant. This lasted until the groom made a home for his bride, usually about a year. Then he would come and take her to be with him. When she heard of his coming she would take her friends to meet him.

Today the church, which is the bride of Christ, waits for her bridegroom. He promised to return for her, for us who are followers of Christ.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions:

if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again, and receive you unto myself:

that where I am there ye may be also.”

John 14:2,3.

What will that day be like when our Beloved Bridegroom comes for His bride?

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,

even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him…

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,

with the voice of the archangel,

and with the trump of God:

and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain

shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,

to meet the Lord in the air;

and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:14,16,17.

Then the celebration that never ends begins.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him:

for the marriage of the Lamb is come,

and his wife hath made herself ready.

And to her was granted

that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:

for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.

And he saith unto me, Write,

Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And he saith unto me,

These are the true sayings of God.”

Revelation 19:7-9.

When will our Beloved come for us? I don’t know. He tells me in his word, soon. That’s what I believe. He said He would and He will. In telling the parable of the 10 virgins, Christ says,

“And at midnight there was a cry made,

Behold, the bridegroom cometh;

go ye out to meet him…

and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:

and the door was shut…

Watch therefore,

for ye know neither the day nor the hour

wherein the Son of man cometh.”

(from Matthew 25:1-13).

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”

There was nothing of ourselves making us desirable, yet, He does, and clothes us in fine white linen. How amazing is His love towards us.


As this world grows more and more out of control, how can believing these truths give you comfort?

How do these truths effect the way followers of Christ live while waiting for His return?

A Beautiful Life

“The Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;516

To know wisdom and instruction;

to perceive the words of understanding;”

Proverbs 1:1,2.

Proverbs fills its pages with practical principles instructing us in the art of “skillful living”. The Hebrew word for wisdom means skillful as an art. Proverb teaches us the most fundamental skill of all: living righteously before God in every area of life. But we cannot do this out of our own wisdom, we don’t have the skill nor discipline. We need the wisdom of Jesus Christ. He is the Artist with the power and the skill to take something marred and broken and turn it into something beautiful.

Jesus God’s wisdom in a human body.

“And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said,

Whence hath this man this wisdom,

and these mighty works?”

Matthew 13:54.

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks,

Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:23,25.

“… In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Colossians 2:23.

The scriptures tell us of Christ’s wisdom and also show us the same, beginning with creation. Out of nothing He created a world of beauty, order, and abundance.

“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way,

before his works of old.

I was set up from everlasting,

from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”

Proverbs 8:22,23.

“For by him(Jesus) were all things created,

that are in heaven, and that are in earth,

visible and invisible,

whether they be thrones, or dominions,

or principalities, or powers:

all things were created by him, and for him:

And he is before all things,

and by him all things consist.”

Colossians 1:16,17.

Jesus is the skillful artist, destroying the marred vessel of death and molding it in life.

“For whoso findeth me findeth life,

and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul:

all they that hate me love death.”

Proverbs 8:35,36.

“Jesus said unto her,

I am the resurrection, and the life:

he that believeth in me though he were dead,

yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Believest thou this?”

John 11:25,26.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,

He that heareth my word,

and believeth on him that sent me,

hath everlasting life,

and shall not come into condemnation:

but is passed from death unto life…

The hour is coming, and now is,

when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God

and they that hear shall live.”

John 5:24,25.

Jesus covers a canvas of shame with His glory.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;

who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,

despising the shame,

and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2.

“and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: Saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

to receive power, and riches,

and wisdom, and strength,

and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Revelation 5:11,12.

In His infinite wisdom, God through Christ skillfully takes our marred image and molds each believer into the glorious image of His dear Son.

“This is the book of the generations of Adam.

In the day that God created man,

in the likeness of God made he him…

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years,

and begat a son in his own likeness,

after his image:

and called his name Seth:”

Genesis 5:1,3.

Adam’s sin marred the image of God in him as it did each one born after him. Death had entered the world.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,

Except a man be born again,

he cannot see the kingdom of God…

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,

he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh;

and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

John 3:3,5,6.

Jesus restores the image of God in those who believe.

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy,

we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

1 Corinthians 15:49.

For we can say with the apostle Paul,

“I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God,

who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

In Christ we are free to live life skillfully articulated by His wisdom.

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus,

who of God is made unto us wisdom…

we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 1:30a; 2:16b.

Wisdom is crying for someone to hear.

“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children:

for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Blessed is the man that heareth me,

watching daily at my gates,

waiting at the posts of my doors.”

Proverbs 8:32-34.

“And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying,

This is my beloved Son:

hear him.”

 

Luke 9:35.

Do you desire to live life skillfully as a work of art? The Father wants to be your artist. He has designed a beautiful life for His children and it begins when we hear His voice.

What do you believe makes a beautiful life?

How’s Your Life?

couple walking at pathway between trees
Photo by Heinz Klier on Pexels.com

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life:

in thy presence is fulness of joy;

at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Psalm 16:11.

In what way do you identify with this Psalm? Maybe you don’t at all. Maybe the chaos of the world, the covid virus, or just your own set of problems have left you questioning the path life has taken. Maybe you feel robbed of your joy and even the simplest pleasures.

If you don’t identify, you can. You can have it all. Ask and the heavenly Father will show you the path of life that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore. If you do identify, you are a vessel to show others the path of living life to its fullest no matter your circumstances.

So, why have I chosen the Psalms I chose this past week and today for our walk with Jesus? They show Jesus as more than the fulfillment of prophecy. They reveal him as,

“the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6.

Jesus is the way to the Father, the truth of God revealed in flesh, and the life giving Savior.

“In him was life;

and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness;

and the darkness comprehended it not.”

John 1:4,5.

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life,

and this life is in his Son.

He that hath the Son hath life;

and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

1 John 5:11,12.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them saying,

I am the light of the world:

he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,

but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12.

John 1:4,5- “In him was life”, implies apart from Him there is no life and life is the light that overcomes the darkness. The light of life found only in Christ, has overcome the darkness of death.

1 John 5:11,12-God has given us eternal life found only in His Son. Those who have Jesus have life. Those who do not, don’t.

John 8:12-Jesus promises those who follow His light-giving life have eternal life and will not walk in death.

Herein lies the problem and the solution. Multitudes walk through this existence in death, walking in fleeting moments of joy and pleasure, without understanding, without the knowledge their hope of life has been stolen by the enemy.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”

The solution: Simply stated follow Jesus. He is the life. Yes, upon receiving His sacrifice for our sin, believing He is the Son of God who died, was buried, and rose again, we receive at that moment eternal life. It will be fully consummated when He returns for us. Until then, we live life to the fullest as He says,

“I am come that they might have life,

and that they might have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10.

David echoes this truth with a fountain in Psalm 36:7-10.

“How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house;

and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

For with thee is the fountain of life:

in thy light shall we see light.

O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee;

and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.”

How can you have joy in a dark world?

  • Know God’s lovingkindness toward you. He offers mercy and life.
  • Put your trust in Him. He protects through the fiercest storms.
  • Know the Lord abundantly satisfies with His abundant love those of His household.
  • He refreshes the thirsty with His pleasures. Drink from His fountain.
  • Light not darkness is your companion.
  • Pray to continue receiving His mercy; to know Him and His righteousness. He gives it all to those whose heart trusts in Him.

*With that we finish our walk together with Jesus through the Psalms. But you don’t have to stop here. Go further with Him. See how many Psalms you see Jesus in. I’ve listed some below to get you started.

I’ll leave this quote for you to consider:

“Without the way there is no going;

without the truth there is no knowing;

without the life there is no living.

I am the way which thou must follow;

the truth in which thou must believe;

the life for which thou must hope.”**


*Numerous scriptures in Psalms(22 are listed in my bible) point to Jesus clearer than the ones shared in my posts last week and today. Such as, 5 in Psalm 22, 2 in chapters 35, 69, 110, and 118. If you would like all the references leave your request in comments and I will include them for you.

**(a’Kempis, cited by Bruce; Source: Blue Letter Bible; David Guzik, Study Guide for John 14.)

 

Where Are You Going?

IMG_0461“Do you know where we’re going?”

Tom unfolded the map (yes, this was before GPS, but even it has taken us to places we never intended to go.) My husband laid the map on  top of the van. 12 maybe 16 teenagers and a couple of adults got out of the van and the truck traveling with us.

He rolled his eyes at me. “Yes, I know where I’m going. I just don’t know how to get there from here because I don’t know where here is.”

I decided not to ask anymore questions. Between the other male adult, Tom, and the service station attendant at the two-pump-full-service gas station- sitting in the middle of nowhere but were thankful for,  we did find our way back to the interstate headed in the right direction.

In our many summer mission trips we have learned there are different ways to the same destination. In the Psalms a thread runs through the songs concerning only 2 ways, each leading to different but specific destinations. We are introduced to them in the first Psalm and again in Psalm 112:9,10.

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:

but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

“He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

The wicked shall see it, and be grieve; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.”

Jesus contrasted the 2 ways in Matthew 7:13,14 and after the teaching concerning the Gentiles coming judgment in 25:34, 42, 46.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

“Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:

but the righteous into life eternal.

Back in the Psalms we are told:

“As for God,

his way is perfect:

the word of the LORD is tried:

he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

For who is God save the LORD?

Or who is a rock save our God?”

Psalm 18:30,31.

Jesus says in John 14:6 and 10:9,

“I am the way…

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

“I am the door:

by me if any man enter in,

he shall be saved…”

He is God, perfect, and holy.

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee;

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee 

shall be called the Son of God.”

Luke 1:35.

I failed to mention, we did ask the Lord to help us find our way and keep us on the way. As always He is faithful. We made it home safe and sound. You can too.

For as we have seen there are only two ways to walk, that of the saved or the unsaved.

  • Jesus is the way that leads the saved to our heavenly Father and our eternal home with them.
  • The way of the unsaved leads to eternal death, the second death, forever separated from the Lord in a place of torment.

Who is leading on your way? Where is it taking you?

Heavenly Father, may all who read believe or come to believe, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Jesus is that name.

Where Does Desire Find Fulfillment?

What is your greatest desire in this life? Is it for riches for your own comfort and to share with the poor? Is it success in your personal field of interest? Is it to live in peace and health? In reading the Psalms it seems the greatest desire of those God used to pen its words was to know and draw near to their God.

blogpraise-1154566__340This book, filled with songs, reveals our need for God pointing us to the fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ. The challenge in writing this is choosing which ones to highlight.

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself…And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn with us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Luke 24:27,31-32.

their eyes were opened, and they knew him…

How can we know Him?

“Stand in awe and sin not:

commune with your  own heart upon your bed,

and be still.” Psalm 4:4.

Then you will…

“Know ye that the LORD he is God:

it is he that hath made us,

and not we ourselves;

we are his people,

and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

“he is God…”

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,

hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ…

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high….

If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”(2Corinthians 4:6; Hebrews 1:3;John 14:7.)

“he hath made us…”

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made…And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” (Psalm 33:6;John 1:1-3,14)

Jesus is the Word, “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18.

we are his people…

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works…

a peculiar people that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (Titus 2:13,14; 1Peter 2:9b.)

And we are,

the sheep of his pasture…

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine…

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (Psalm 23:1; John 10:14,27-30.)

Again the question is posed: What is your greatest desire? If it does not begin and end with God, it will never satisfy longer than a moment.

So may we,

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,

so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”

Psalm 42:1.

For,

“my God shall supply all your need

according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19.

 

 

 

Hope in Suffering

blogcross-792538__340

Job experienced a makeover in his life. He began adult life a prosperous man with a large family.

  • In the middle he lost all but his wife.
  • In the end he knew the blessing of the Lord in abundance. His family and riches increased, his friends learned what friendship means.
  • Above all he came to personally know the God he worshipped and trusted in.

Job knew 3 things which kept him going when he didn’t understand the why of his suffering. When tempted to curse God and die because of his suffering, he drew the line when he said,
“For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27.

He knew

His Redeemer lived…It gave him hope for help.

His Redeemer lived and would stand…It gave him hope for strength.

He would live to see his Redeemer…It gave him hope for victory over sin’s suffering and death.

Another passage tells us Job also knew…

His faith in God would be his justification.

“Behold, now, I have ordered my cause;

I know that I shall be justified.” Job 13:18.

It gave him hope for peace in pain even as the same promise work for us.

“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed,

if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;

by whom also we have access by faith

into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 4:24-5:2.

Two more things Job knew brought him to something he didn’t know before his suffering.

  • “I know that thou canst do every thing,
  • and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?

Therefore have I uttered that I understood not;

things too wonderful for me, which I knew not…” 42:1-2.

Job’s new knowledge through suffering brought him to a greater knowledge, a personal knowledge of his Redeemer.

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear;

but now mine eye seeth thee.” 42:5.

We can say the same with Job and with the Psalmist.

”Many, O LORD my God,

are thy wonderful works which thou hast done,

and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:

they cannot be reckoned upon order unto thee:

if I would declare and speak of them,

they are more than can be numbered.”

Psalm 40:5.

Job’s life ended with a greater abundance through his suffering.

“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” 42:12.

Ours can as well.

“Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes,

  • that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
  • For which cause we faint not;
  • but though our outward man perish,
  • yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 
  • For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
  • worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
  • While we look not at the things which are seen,
  • but at the things which are not seen:
  • for the things which are seen are temporal;
  • but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:14-18.

Suffering brought Job to a new personal understanding of his Redeemer. Suffering is  sometimes the Surgeon’s knife by which we receive our makeover.

It’s been said, “Beauty is skin deep”. Our Redeemer doesn’t look on the outer for it perishes. He works on the inner person.

As we grow older, the outer beauty of the physical fades no matter how many face lifts or body tucks we have. One day as Job said the worms are going to eat this body of flesh. But in suffering God beautifies the inner person, the soul which lives forever. In the suffering, the spirit grows and blossoms until when God’s work is completed in us it blooms in true holiness and righteousness.

When the flesh has died, the spirit that belongs to the Lord thrives and one day it will receive a new body, a glorified body, a body like its Redeemer.

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly…” 1 Corinthians 15:49.

“As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Psalm 17:15.

We can face suffering, survive suffering, and thrive through suffering because,

Our Redeemer Lives.

How do you find hope when suffering comes?