Category Archives: Psalm thoughts

Psalm 119:153-160 – Resh

Look upon my suffering rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your instructions.
Argue my case;take my side!
Protect my life as You promised.
The wicked are far from rescue,
for they do not bother with Your decrees.
LORD, how great is Your Mercy;
let me be revived by following Your regulations.
Many persecute and trouble me,
yet I have not swerved from Your Laws
Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
because they care nothing for Your Word.
See how I love Your Commandments,LORD.
Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
The very essence of Your words is truth;
all Your just regulations will stand forever.
119:152-160 (NLT)

Ezra and the returning exiles faced many hardships not only from the mixed blood of Israel and the Assyrians, but from the local people who did not want them to return and reclaim the land. The things that trouble Israel today are no different. The things that face Christians today in the same lands are very much the same. We who live in “safe” lands take to much for granted. Yet we face a new persecution, that of people distorting the Word for power, glory, wealth and control. Many of the Law of Moses does not apply to our modern world, but the heart of the WORD still remains.
Ezra tried to instill a sense of order and religiosity among the returning Jews and enforce a custom of obedience to the people of the land to adhere to the Word of God. Yet he face many obstacles, least of all were the enemies at the gates. The real enemies were those who professed to be Jews yet did not follow God’s Law.

“Look upon my suffering” Those who are faithful to the word see themselves as victims of persecution by those who disagree with them. Ezra had to fight daily against enemies of Persia (who sent him back to Jerusalem to restore order and rebuild the Temple of Solomon) and the locals did not welcome the Jews but saw them as invaders. Today we see the “new” churches as invaders of our Faith. Many have strange doctrines, unclear teachings even things we consider to be heretical. But out of this come the “Old” Church and it is teaching new ideas as well. What are we to do? What if what we have been taught all these years is actually, the false teaching? God says, Jesus says, “Obey My Commandments.” What if we fail to understand that the Commandment are given as love? To share Love.
So we go to the LORD and we ask Him to take up our case,to examine us as to whether or not we trully Love His Commandments. As the Prophet Micah says, “I will be patient as the LORD punishes me,for I have sinned against Him. But after that He will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. …” Micah 7:9. AS Paul say, we all fall short of the glory, we are all still sinners. Then, having confessed how weak and failures we are we can say, “O LORD, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight me.” Psalm 35:1 (NLT) The question is are we fighting the enemies of God or are we contending with the Children of God basing our beliefs on bad understanding. When does our understanding become “legalism” even as we protest the very same.

Salvation does not come to those who ignore the Law, but to those who Love the Law giver. Even among the believers in God there are those who know nothing of His Love, who show no love. Truly these are the wicked. They are the one far from rescue, those who feign believe but in their hearts ridicule God with their words, deeds and thoughts. The ones who say, God does not care what I do, I once said I believe in Him and that is my ticket to Paradise. O foolish people, do you not know in the Day of Judgement, Jesus will say, I know you not? Those who do not even bother to obey? To follow the Commandments of Love and Compassion? For all of the commandments are of God’s Love and Compassion for us, to keep us healthy, prosperous, emotionally calm, spiritually, sound. If we use the Word to destroy,to demean,to bring down then we are not following or loving the Law, we are enemies of it.

God told the people, before the exile, “Listen to Me, you stubborn people who are so far from doing right. For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future,but right now!” Isaiah 46:12-13a (NLT) And He did, “He brought the Good News of Peace to you gentiles who were far away from Him and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.” Eph 2:17,18 (NLT). So are we to be stubborn? or are we to be willing to obey the heart of the Law? Proverbs 1:8 says, My child, listen when you father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instructions.” Proverbs 1:8 Is not God our Father? is not the Holy Spirit like a mother’s Instructions to us? Is not Christ’s Holy Church our unity with God? The Church who is Christ?

David cries out, ” O LORD, you are so good,so ready to forgive,so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help. …But you,O LORD, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 86: 5,15 (NLT) Let us be revived by His Law, not placed into bondage,as did the pharisees, but bonded in Love by
Christ. Let our cry be to the Father who revives us with great Compassion when we still in foolish pride, revile against His very Love. Let us find hope in the Law, Peace in the Law Love in the Law and Faithfulness in the Law. Let us not be like the prideful people of Jerusalem,who rebelled against Ezra and the Law. It is not enough to say I am Christian, we must fulfill the Word in our lives as Christ fulfilled the Promise to the Father. The Law of Love and Compassion, that Christ gave us,must be our life blood.

Unlikely as it seems, in most of the world, “You will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers. And many will turn away, from Me, and betray and hate each other.” Matt. 24:9 (NLT) So much for,once saved always saved. Yes even those who once believed will turn against you,we must be on watch that we do not in our own distortions of faith, turn against the will of God. AS the Jews turned against Christ Jesus so quickly, we in our pride turn against Him. We create lawlessness, and turmoil where there should be love and obedience. the sons of Korah write,(Psalm 44:21-23) “But for your sake we are killed every day; we are beings slaughtered like sheep. Wake up O LORD! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever.” One of the reasons for writing is to wake US up to the reality that Christians the world over are being persecuted and we sit around and contend with each other over minor things forgetting that the Law was given out of God’s Love for us. He does not want us to suffer persecutions but we will, partly because we have abused His Love in the treatment of others,failing to show Love and Compassion, rejecting His Law for our own.

Ezekiel warns us that the day will come when God’s Judgement will fall on people who once called him LORD, bu the makes a promise to those who remain faithful. “[God ] said to Him (the man with the writing case = Jesus), ‘walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.’ The he heard the LORD say to the other men. ‘Follow behind Him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked.'” Show no mercy,have no pity! Ezra says, the people of the city, the traitors to God, make him sick at heart. Can you imagine how sick at heart God is with us who mock His Law? Those who words say one thing yet in our hearts we live another more cruel reality? Yes God is merciful and forgiving but he hates mockery, falsehood and a lying heart.

Nehemiah was present in Jerusalem during this period of time, he was the governor sent by Cyrus to establish authority and order. He was give a free hand in the rule over the people. In it he dealt with each person fairly, and refused to be bribed,even take pay for leading the people. He was a part of the re-establishing the Law of Moses in the Land and at the end of it all, he said,”Remember me, O my God,all that I have done for these people,and bless me for it.” It is not what we do for ourselves, how holy we are but how we treat others, that God will remember us. If we want God’s Unfailing love, then we should be ready to give it to each other, If we want to be remembered as trustworthy, then we should be trustworthy in loving. The very essence of God’s Love is in His Law. The fragrance of His Love is in His Mercy. And His Law, Love and Compassion will last forever. While some things change, some laws are no longer applicable, the heart of the Law remains: The Law is given because God is fill of Unquenchable Love.

Three things never to forget: Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection ~ Proverbs 30:5
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s Law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” ~Matthew 5:18

Blessed is the Word of God.

Psalms 119:137-144; “Tsadhe” (also called Sade)

“Righteous are you O LORD,
and right are your rules.
You have appointed Your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget Your words
Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and Your Law is true.
Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but Your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever,
give me understanding that I may live.”

Psalm 119:137-144 (ESV)

These verses are nothing more than a reprieve from much that has been said before. The Psalmist want to jump right into it with praise and thanksgiving as he nears a pause in the lesson that he has been giving the People of Judea. Here is a reminder that the Ways of the LORD God is paved with righteousness. That the Law is filled with His Righteousness and that every thing contained in the law is filled with the Righteousness of God’s wonder, Power and mercy! As I go through the verses I am going to use the Jerusalem Bible translation, because in this case it offers more intent understanding of what was spoken to the people.

“Righteous, indeed, Yahweh! And all Your rulings, correct!” All the rulings of the Lord are Correct. Nothing he has ever said is to be taken away or disregarded. Even in these days when we are free from the bondage of the Law, we are not free to regard them as incorrect. In the book of Tobit (from the Apocrypha), “You are just O Lord, and just are your works. all Your ways are grace and truth, and you are the Judge of the world.” and from 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul speaks of his own righteousness, “And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return.” (NLT) As we know that the righteous judge, who sits at the right hand of the Father, is Jesus rewards His faithful we also know that the God of the exiled Jews is the same judge. We know that the Laws and rules on righteousness Jesus, who sit at the Right hand of God came from the Father to the people of Israel and Judea. God Rewards His faithful,and obedient people. We know that what God has spoken is truth, correct and unwavering today just as it was for the returning children to Jerusalem.

So We can give thanks to God for giving to these people a reminder just as he reminds us through the words of Jesus, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys Me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matt.7:24 NLT). Since Jesus is our Rock, we must build our house of faith on His foundations, and those foundation are built on the Righteousness of the Law, the Correctness of The Word of the Father to the children of Israel. But the Psalm continues with, “The decrees You impose, how righteous, how absolutely faithful!” Psalm 119:138. Look carefully at one word here, “impose”. The Law is not a suggestion or an rule to be taken lightly. God imposed them upon a unruled and contrary people, a people who would rather go back to the slavery of sin than follow the decrees God laid out for them. Today we try to wiggle out of the law by finding the excuse: “Jesus freed us from the bondage of the Law,” so we can sin without regard to the Righteousness of the Law and of the Lawgiver. We walk in unrighteous behavior, doing as we please and say that it is OK with God because He forgives my transgressions even if I don’t repent.

I think this was the attitude of the Remnant that was left in Judea and also of many who were returning to Jerusalem from captivity. God had abandoned them in their minds and they had forgotten how merciful He is. They were punished for their transgressions before the captivity, they had lived in a foreign land, picked up a new language, new culture and new bad habits and have forgotten why they were a people chosen of God. Perhaps they felt that because they were allowed to return to Jerusalem, their sins and the sins of their fathers were forgiven but they did not have to make changes in their lives. Is that not also what was taught by your churches, that won’t you said “I’m sorry” to God you didn’t ever have to worry about your future sins? Weren’t you told that all your sin, even those you would commit later in life were forgiven so you never had to worry about sinning again? That is like saying the Law of God is no longer applicable any more, that sin is justified by God condoning it. We have to remember that we are chosen to do good works, to live as Jesus lived, to preach the Good News of Salvation by living in the obedience of the Word, both the Oral Law of Moses and the Living Law of Christ.

But the Psalm writer has not forgotten. He knows the the Law is for the living and that it is perfect because it came from God. If I am right in my thinking that this was written by the instructions of Ezra and Nehemiah, the writer of this stanza is one who is devote and has a great love for God. In the next verse, I find the key to the stanza. If nothing else matters it is these words to the people of Judea and Jerusalem. “Zeal for Your House devours me, since my oppressors forgot Your Word.” Ps 119:139. And this is a problem today. To many people who claim to know Christ and His Word, are not consumed by it. They do not have a zeal for righteousness in their own house. When Jesus told the priests that they must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood to get into heaven(see John 6:52-58), He was speaking to the zeal that they did not have for the righteousness of God. Their zeal was for power, they did not have the zeal to consume all that was Righteous and True before God or they would have recognized that Jesus was the Truth, the Way and the Light of the Father. When Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to build the temple and establish the city, they faced three types of personalities. The first is the Assyrians and Babylonians who had lived in the nation since the fall of the city, people who had no knowledge of the God of Abraham, Moses and David. People to whom the Law was foreign. The second was the remnant who were left behind after the conquest, people who had no spiritual leadership, who had no temple to worship God in and who had no Law of God left with them. Even when the Maccabees claimed the land briefly and tried to restore the temple, they were basically untrained. Their own soldiers carried “good luck” idols with them, symbols of false gods, or spirits. Yet even in their misguided beliefs, God performed the miracle of the lamps. The third were a people they brought with them, some not so willing who also had lost their culture, their written language and their traditions. The one thing that each of these three groups had was the loss of the Word, the Law. Many who no longer could read the script of the Hebrews. To each of these people, Nehemiah brought order, and the Law. It was his mission and the mission of Ezra to establish a zeal and a love for the Word, the Law of God. The Word, the Law, had to be rewritten in the text of the very enemies who had conquered them.

Today we have churches that don’t teach from the Law, or even allow it to be spoken of. We have churches that have no Sunday Schools, no Bible classes, no teaching from the Word. We have many that the preachers are poorly schooled, who only know what they have been taught by unqualified people locked into doctrines that are not biblical. But most of all we have leaders who do not have a Zeal for the Word. But perhaps the saddest thing is that they don’t want to know what is right. They contest and confront those who delve into the Word with the zeal they do not have. Instead of being warriors for the Word they have become foes to the knowledge of the Spirit. Because there is a lack of teaching the Law and the benefit of God’s Love through the Law, we are left “lawless” in a culture of sin. I see this in those who claim that the Holy Spirit’s gifts and signs are no longer in the church yet the evidence is all around them. They have eyes but do not see, ears that will not listen, hearts that can’t not understand that God is today the same as yesterday. Perhaps it was the same for the remnant, who felt abandoned, and the exiles who saw nothing new but animosity from the others in the land. Did they also feel that God was no longer relevant? Did they disregard the Law as “old School” and no longer pertaining to their lives?

This brings us to the response of the psalmist to the lack of zeal, the turning way from the knowledge of God’s Law. “But Your Promise is well tested, and your servant holds it dear!” (Psalm 119:141) And it is still true today! God’s Promise of salvation, His promise never to abandon His Chosen is still true today. And like the Psalmist, we’re to hold the Promise dear to our hearts. We are to believe that the Promise is well tested. That Jesus came to fulfill all the Promises of The Father. What is understood here is that in spite of the loss of zeal for the Word and the Law, because of the rejection and persecution, the writer’s zeal is stronger. We need to look no further than to the persecuted Christians around the world to see that they also have that quantity of zeal and hunger for the Word. But the Promise of Christ is that the Law requirement is fulfilled. It does not replace the Law but shows us how to live in the Love of the Law, the Love in which it was given so that man could serve and know God. It is in the writing of Paul to Ephesus, I find a great zeal of the people for God, but then just a few years later, John records in Revelation 2:4, “But this I have against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” In many who came to Christ with great emotion, great zest and fervent love, they have become “lukewarm, tepid” and quite distasteful in God’s grace. They have set aside their love and returned to the pleasures of the world. They and their leaders have no zeal, no fire for the Word.

And I find that just as in the day of Ezra and Nehemiah, those who teach and love the Law are despised, they are thought as little and legalistic. Those who share that we are to live in accordance to the Word as taught to the exiles, the remnant and the new people in the land of Judea, that to have a good society, a healthy society, we must live within the Law of God. So when the psalmist says, “Puny and despised as I am, I do not forget your precepts.” I hold them dear to my heart. I may be despised, I may be thought of as legalistic, but I am bound with the Love of the Law giver. And statement that comes through in every passage of the law is that we are bound with Love to obey, not as slaves to a task master but as children to a loving Father. So it was with the spiritual leaders of the New Jerusalem. They presented a Old Law for a New People, but it is still the law that comes from Righteousness. To a people who condone divorce, adultery, exploitation of the people, the widows, elderly and the disabled, and yet lead our churches, I am weary. with a loud voice I cry out, where is the Law? Where is the teaching of the Word as God commanded? As Ezra complained about intermarriage (Pagans to Jews), and Idolatry (pleasure before God), and lack of intense worship with song and praise for the Law. We live in a world today that mocks devote worship and a zealous heart for the Word, the Whole Word.

The Psalmist says that. “Your Righteousness is eternal righteousness, Your Law holds true for ever!” Who then is man to tell me that because we are free from the bondage of sin, the LAW no longer has value? Who is it that reads the Christ Jesus came and replaced the covenant of Moses with a lawless one. What grace is there in rejection of God’s ever lasting, eternal law? Yes Righteous indeed is the Law and I will delight in it. As we read the bible, the Old and the new Covenant, we must take into our hearts that whenever God made a new covenant, He did not replace the old but refined it and expanded it. The Covenant with Adam was filled with promise, the Covenant with Abraham, with promise, the Covenant of Moses loaded with promise, the covenant with David, gave us Christ. And the Covenant of the Cross gave us life, but none of these covenants replace the elder. And while the atonement has been made by the Cross of Jesus, it did not exclude the responsibility of the believers to obey the commandments of God nor did it cause us to lose our zeal for the perfection of the love of God who gave us the Law. God gave Moses the Law so that man may know how to obey and serve Him. When Christ came we now know why to obey, we can understand the purpose of the Law and like Ezra and Nehemiah and the writers of the Psalms, we can understand to love it, not shun it as did the people of Jerusalem and Judea.

So while The psalmist laments the condition of the people, the lack of respect for God and his smallness before the people, he still cries out, “Though distress and anguish grip me, your Commandments are my delight.” Let our zeal for the Word and God’s Will through the Law be consuming in nature. Let is fill us with the desire to love and to serve God Forever! And his final cry is what drive us forward into the study and delight of the Word, “Eternally, your decrees – explain them to me,and I shall live.” Yes Lord, explain them to my heart! Let every part of me be filled with the law as an instrument of your Love. Let me see that I am not a slave to them but a lover of them as Christ loves me. Let me understand the depth of your Word, the greatness of you passion for me and your people. And let those who hear me share the Word and the Law, know that it is with the Love that Christ gives that I do so.

Psalm 119:129-136 “Pe”

“Thy testimonies are wonderful:
therefore doth my soul keep them.
The entrance of thy words giveth light;
it giveth understanding unto the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted:
for I longed for thy commandments.
Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me,
as thou used to do unto those that love thy name.
Order my steps in thy word;
and let not any iniquity have dominance over me.
Deliver me from the oppression of man;
so I will keep thy precepts.
Make thy face shine upon thy servant;
and teach me thy statutes.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes,
because they keep not thy law.” (KJV)

The Psalmist, whom I believe to be Nehemiah, or by Ezra’s instructions to the priests, in this case, begins this stanza with the delight in the Law, the Torah. After many years in exile, the Hebrew Children have returned to Jerusalem and found the city and temple in ruin. The remnant has forgotten the Law and adapted the ways of the Assyrians and Persians. They have forsaken the teachings of the LORD Yahweh and married out of the faithful, they have begun to worship idols and taken on the customs of the pagans. The recurring theme of the Psalm is that God’s Precepts are wonderful, they are not to be taken light-heartily but embraced with passion. David says; “The Law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7-8 -NLT). The people needed to be reminded of this. They have been in exile from the teaching of the Law for many years, they have forgotten the teachings, they no longer spoke the old language but now spoke Aramaic, the very written word has been lost to most and the Torah had to be explained to them in a new tongue and written down in a new script. They had to relearn the language of their fathers.

Today we have many translations of the text of the Old Testament, and many churches do not use the understandings of the Torah for teaching or for study. Yet to these people, they were as new words, new hope and a promise of God’s awesome might and glory. They received the instructions of Nehemiah as did Job when he said, “I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, when he lighted the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness,” (Job 29:2-3 NLT). Looking at Psalm 119:130 we read into it that God’s Law is like a morning dawning, as the light grows in the east so does the light of the Word grow and warms us. It comforts us, it drives away the darkness. The Word, the Law, the teachings make us safe in the love of the Father. As sin hides us from peace, God’s Word drives out that darkness, it overcomes it. As Satan tries to hide in the dark, Jesus exposes him and we can see what is evil and unjust in God’s sight. As Christians today,we see through light of the Holy Spirit, we have learned what great Love God has for us. Because we know the sacrifice of Jesus we “pant expectancy” as a deer when it comes to the water. For we have seen the Living Water (John 4:10-14). In Our purpose of life, are we still desiring to drink deep of the living water? Where are we walking? In a patched hot, dry desert or by the cool streams of springs of God’s Grace and Mercy? The message to the Children of Israel was to long for the commandments of the LORD, the desire of our hearts is to long for the Great commandment to Love with all of our being Our God and to love each other as equal to ourselves.

The Psalmist cries out for his people, “Come, show me your Mercy, as you do for all who love your name.” (Psalm 119:132 NLT). And God heard the prayer and he sent Jesus, His Son to die for us, giving us mercy. While the people were only looking for protection from their enemies, we see now that God has protected us fro the Great Enemy, Satan. And he has rescued us form eternal death and given us everlasting life. Yet in today’s temptations we surround ourselves with the very things that distract us, we justify our wrongness and pursue things that are ungodly and still call ourselves a people of God. Shame on us! We are no better than the remnant that lost their heritage while in captivity or exile. We have replaced the Wisdom of the Word with outlandish ideas of self-gain, self importance and into thinking we can dictate to God what is right and what is wrong. We justify our actions and tell ourselves that the Law of God is for us to desire what is good and what is evil. We continually sin against God and then deny that it is sin or we say that because God has forgiven us all sins, we can still commit them without recourse.

Because of the turmoil in the world today, because of the persecutions of Christians, because those in the West have taken on a god of wealth and perversion we are no different from the Children of Israel and Judea who return to Judea and Jerusalem to face the constant harassment of their neighbors. As the trials we face today to preserve the faithfulness, we cry out as did David, “With regard to the works of man, by the word of Your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to your path.” (Psalm 17:4-5 -ESV). Or have we? Do we still linger in the desires of the violent, those who seek to take and not give, to the desires of the flesh and the enjoyment of things not of God? Are we like David in saying to God, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous and let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13 ESV). There seems to me there are to many weak an senseless reasons to flee from God’s ways and to hide from faithfulness. But we are to stand up to these temptations, these aggressions and trials. We need to be as the Psalmist says to the people, let God guide you, let the Spirit of God teach you to overcome evil and to be protected in Righteousness from any and all evil and wickedness.

Paul told the Roman Christian community, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” Romans 5:6. And again he said “Do not let sin control the way you live! (or do not let sin reign in your body which is subject to death), do not give in to its lustful desires.” (Romans 6:12 NLT). We are in a battle to preserve our souls, to stand up to the weakness that prevails around us, to reject the sins of the world that corrupt our beliefs and our Salvation. Are we no different from the Jews returning from Babylon? Do we harbour wrongness in our hearts and claim that we are still faithful to Jesus? Just because we say we are Christians does not mean that we are faithful to God any more than it meant that the Returning exiles were faithful to the Law of Moses.

But now as was in the day of Ezra and Nehemiah, we are surrounded by evil and wickedness. Our Media, our neighbors and your enemies seek to destroy our resolve to follow God’s way. The psalmist shouts out to the people and to God, “Rescue me!…then I can follow Your commandments.” In the prayer of Jesus, “Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil” David called out to God (Psalm142:5-6 NLT), “Hear my cry,for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.” WE can not stand “Then I pray to You,O LORD. I say,’You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.alone or be brave enough to resist that which oppresses our soul. We need to cry out to God, “Protect – Preserve – Provide!” Lean onto God’s understanding, read the Word of God and learn from it how to pray, how to live and why to Love God.

This brings me to the point of the lesson, (NLT)”Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because the people disobey your Law.” Psalm 119:136. Throughout my life I have heard the heresy that we can continue to sin because we have been forgiven the sins we have yet to commit. But oh that is so untrue. We are still called to obey God, to not sin. We are told that those who claim to know God and yet continue to revel in the flesh will be dealt with more harshly than non-believers. As Jesus took our burdens to the cross, His sorrow was so great that He sweat blood, So great was the pain on the cross that he cries out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” It is like the psalmist knew that regardless of the reassurance from God not to foresake the people if they keep His Law, they would time and time again. And even after the death and resurrection, those who followed Jesus would run away and hide. And over the centuries that followed, men would distort His Word, abuse His Love and ignore His Laws. Oh what sorrow it must have been for Jesus as He hung there knowing that man would not keep their word to God, they would turn away from His Statutes, His Decrees, His Love. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasures, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everybody is wrong except those of your own little group.” (Galatians 5:19-21 (NLT) All these thing are the sins that violate the Law of God’s Love. All these attitudes cause our Lord Jesus to cry. For all these sins that filled the people returning to Israel and Judea from captivity still reign in the hearts of those who cry out “Lord, Lord!” and Our Father in heaven will not hear them for their sins revolt against the Love of the Cross. Add to these offences, Envy, drunkenness, sexual sins, wild living, and other sins. “Let me tell you again, as I have before, THAT ANYONE LIVING THAT SORT OF LIFE WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM GOD!” Galatians 5:22.

Joel told the people, in a Word from God, “Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the minister of the LORD weep…” (Joel 2:17a ESV). God has sent judgement to his people because of their sins. Micah laments the voice of God in saying, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” and he follows with the Words from God to the sinful, arrogant people of the land with, “The voice of the LORD cries to the city and it is sound wisdom to fear Your Name;…. ‘Hear the rod and Him who appointed it!'” (Read Joel 2:9-15) For these reasons, the Psalmist weeps, because the people have still not heard in their hearts the Wisdom of God’s Will. Why then, even after we have come to the saving Grace of Jesus, do we seek to destroy the gift by returning to the ways of our past? Jesus told His disciples that we must continue to forgive the repentant sinner, but I as read Luke 17:1, I see Jesus say, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!” And when it is our leaders, our ministers that tempt us with their sins, then woe be to them! When it is us who lead our children into sin because we struck down goodness with pride and envy and greed, then woe be to us!

For this we must also weep because Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The Slave does not remain in the house forever: the son remains in the house forever. So if the son sets you free, you are free indeed.” But are we to return to the slavery of sin? No we are not! we are set free by Jesus and His grace but if we return to sin then we are again it’s slave and a slave by choice. For this Our Lord must weep! Paul told the Roman Christians, both Gentile and Jew, “For all who have sinned under the law will perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. …For the Gentiles, who did not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even if they do not have the law. They show the work of the law on their hearts. …” (See Romans 2:12-16) the same goes for us today as Christians, if we who have the law of Christ, fail to abide are we then less than those who not knowing Christ abide in His teachings? Oh that I might cry for the many who claim Christ in the mouth but not in their hearts. We are to be careful in what we claims faith, because “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14-23b). But remember this also, “We who are strong have an OBLIGATION to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1). Those who are in leadership, who are the teachers of the Word must have the fortitude to lead, to encourage and to REBUKE and not to be examples of sin. We should be those who cry out for the sins of our brethren, to show the righteousness of obedience to the Word, to follow in every way the commandments of Love and service to the Word.

The psalmist weeps, tears gush down his face like a river because the people are tempted by the world to turn away from God’s instructions. Just as James wrote, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire when it is conceived give birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth DEATH!”(James 1:15). What then is there so enticing about sin? that is so grand that eternal life is worth placing in jeopardy? Oh I know that there are those who say that they have eternal life even as they sin, but is that really so? Did we ever have eternal life if we constantly turn from Christ and rejoin Satan in living with sin as our god? As I write this, I am constrained not to cry myself, because I see the world who says “I believe” yet with every breath they seek only the things that are not of god, but of the flesh. The Prophets wept for the people of Israel and Judea as they forsook Their God for the things of their neighbors, the false gods, the wealth of false prosperity and the oppression of their own. Today, I see governments who make claims that they represent God and godliness yet abuse the poor, the elderly, the weak and the infirm. So often we hear the politicians, “I am seeking after God” and then they reward the rich, line thier pockets with wealth from lavish gifts and take away from the working poor, the elderly and education, medical care and other important things in defiance of Jesus commandment to care for their neighbor. To many times I see churches close down ministries and give their leaders vast amounts of wealth and power, ignoring the needs of their communities wretched.

The Psalmist cries with tears like streams because they have forgotten to “…keep His word,in him is truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: WHOEVER SAYS HE ABIDES IN HIM OUGHT TO WALK IN THE SAME WAY IN WHICH HE WALKED.” (1 John1:4-5 ESV). But as the psalmist knows, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4 ESV). and we are commanded through John, “No one who abides in [Jesus] keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. WHOEVER PRACTICES RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS. WHOEVER MAKES A PRACTICE OF SINNING IS OF THE DEVIL, for the Devil has been sinning from the beginning.” (1 John 3:6-8 ESV). So this is the choice; be in Christ and resist temptation and sin or live outside of christ and continue to reject His grace by sinning. Are we to continue to live in the flesh, to ignore the Law of Love and the Commandments of God or are we to truly abide in Christ and live in every way for His wonderful grace and forgiveness by obeying the Testaments of forgiveness, service to each other and loving to obey His every command?

John tells us that “We know that every one who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18 ESV). But then, if we continue to sin then are we rejecting Christ? Are we then still held in control by Satan? Are we carrying the ways of the world and rejecting the ways of Jesus? Were we ever truly “Saved”? And Angels weep and all the saints in Heaven and the very Salvation of Jesus mourn because we have made a choice to follow after Evil rather than Righteousness. On This very sad understanding I leave you; Repent and sin no more! Go forth and do godly works, speak with godly lips and live in the most godly way seeking after the things of God and reject the desires of the world and the death that it can only offer.

God’s Dominion of the “god-kings”:Psalm 82

“I say, “You are gods and children of the Most High. but in death you are mere men. You will fall as any prince. for all must die.” Psalm 82:7 (KJV)

Psalm 82 is a song of the scribe Asaph, and while we may not know when he lived it can be assumed that this psalm is written for the benefit of the Children of Israel suffering from oppression either by their kings, abusive priests or by their neighboring kingdoms. As all the kingdoms surrounding Israel/Judea believed their kings to be gods it is fair to make such conclussion. The Psalm begins with, “God presides over heaven’s court.” (NLT) and that is a reminder that no god-king or false prophet or despot can create a law or rule that is greater than that of the Most High God. This Psalm is timely for every age because Israel has always been surrounded by those who set their own law above the Law of God.

We, as those who are the heirs of the kingdom by the blood of Christ, are also surrounded by unjust law, evil rulers and oppressive governments. If one of the children of God are suffering for His sake, we all suffer. If one of His People, Jew or Christian are endangered, all are in danger. There are three types of god-kings today. Those like the rulers of Zimbabwe, North Korea and Burma proclaim themselves as “gods” and demand to be worshipped. Others who created theocracies and impose ruling that impose hardships, slaughter and oppression on their own people and declare war on others who refuse to follow thier ways blindly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya other such nations are also ‘god-kings’ Those who repress all other religions or consider Religion to be detrimental to their oppressive ways have set themselves up as “god-kings”.

The Psalmist, Asaph, proclaims a message directly from God (YHWY), that is both blunt and cynical of them. Psalm 82:3-5 reads, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”(ESV). While this pertains to the rulers that have set themselves up as “gods” it also pertains to us as members of society. I have heard many good christians complain that it is not the responsibility of government to care for the elderly, sick, poor, orphaned or the weak and needy, this verse clearly speaks directly from the voice of God that it is the goal of good and godly government to be the caretakers of those who can not care for themselves. But the issue I write on is not about that but of the “god-kings” that are causing much harm to the Christians, Jews and even those who do not proclaim God. Asaph says from the voice of God, “They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness.” (Psalm 82:5 ESV). And it is in darkness that they live. They know nothing of the Compassion of God, nor do they understand that a people who live without fear and eager to serve their kings.

At each turn, nations, even those who proclaim freedom, seek to oppress Christ, to reject the Law of God, to oppress the weak and to steal from the poor. They refuse to obey the command of God to care for the elderly, the widows, the orphans nor to they care that they let their subjects go hungry and homeless because of their greed. While we look at nations like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, China and others as our “friends” we excuse their atrocities to their own people. We call Pakistan good neighbor even though they have oppressive laws that allow innocent people to be killed, women and children to be raped and their own subjects to be treated as slaves to Muslim thugs.

There are many verses in Psalms that tell of God’s retribution and His Justice. He will see that even the mightiest will fall. As has the leaders of land throughout history. In the end no tyrant, no despot, no villain as outlived God. All have died, most by the violence they lived by. The Psalmist finishes his song with a cry and a call to God to judge the earth for God (through Jesus) will inherit all nations. Remember the words of Paul, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:23-25(ESV)

To the many who live as the “god-kings”, you are doomed to die while we who live and serve Christ have life eternally with the True King.

Psalm 119:121-128: Ayin

Don’t leave me to the mercies of my enemies,
for I have done what is just and right.
Please guarantee a blessing for me.
Don’t let those who are arrogant oppress me!
My eyes strain to see Your deliverance,
to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
I am your servant;
deal with me in unfailing love,
and teach me your principles.
Give discernment to me, your servant;
then I will understand Your decrees,
LORD, it is time to act,
for these evil people have broken Your Law.
Truly, each of your commandments is right.
That is why I hate every false way.

As Ezra and Nehemiah struggle to rebuild the temple walls and to restore the sanctuary, the returning exiles are constantly harassed and attacked by the people living in Judea. The sad thing is that these people who were assailing them were those who were left behind and by blood the same as those building the temple. Their faith had been diluted and twisted by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. They no longer relied on the God of their fathers. Those people who should have welcomed the rebuilding of the Temple had rejected it and despised His People. Today we see the same twisted logic entering the churches. As the sins of the flesh are welcomed into the congregations we see a weakening of the Word of God. Fornication is O.K., Adultery is acceptable, Divorce is encouraged, homosexuality is ordained as right. “Don’t let those who are arrogant oppress me!”

Not to long ago, I was under attack by those who do not claim the Divine Nature of Jesus and who would use the Word of God as a weapon to destroy rather than to build up, encourage and edify Christ. In 2 Samuel 8:15 we read that David administered justice to all, that none were dealt unfairly. We know that David had a heart after God. As was Job, he was clothed in righteousness, yet he also failed sometimes. The psalmist knows of the heart of David and the righteousness of Job. He asks that he also do what is right and just with the Children of Israel. He asks that God pledge to him goodness and to protect him from his enemies. Do we seek what is right and just among the Children of Redemption? Are we judgemental and seek after unwise council? Or do we come to God with petition and contrition to do what is just before the Lord.

The psalmist cries out, “My eyes long for Your salvation and the fulfillment of Your righteous Promise.”(Psalm 119:123). But we live in the age that the Promise is made real. Jesus has come to redeem and to make right the ways of man. As we are the New Temple, restored by Grace, we are proof of the Promise given to David, Moses and to Isaiah. God has shown us His everlasting Kindness (Psalm 51:1), He has remembered His Covenant (Psalm 106:45), He has saved us with His unfailing Love (Psalm 109:26). By Christ, His Son, He has given to us everlasting Joy.

God’s Grace of the Spirit of Hope, the Divine Breath that breathed eternal life into our weariness, has fulfilled His Promise. Now we can truly be good and faithful servants to His Perfect will. Now we can have understanding that escaped the grasp of the ancients. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we can see the wisdom of God that eluded the sons of Adam.

“Now is the time for the LORD to act.”(Psalm 119:126). Not in the ways of Man but in His strength. And God acts not with a vengeance, even though it is in His Power, but with love. He turns away the sins of man and offers his love, forgiveness and His compassion. He did this on the Cross for you and for me who were once counted as enemies. And as was in the day of Nehemiah and Ezra, we still sin. We still take the Word of God and use it to justify our faults and our shortcomings. Can we not see that? Therefore work in us O LORD, Your righteous fire to burn away the dross, the things that separate ourselves from your love. We have continually broken Your Law of Mercy and Grace to continue living as enemies of righteousness while still claiming to be your faithful. We lie to you O God with our lives, untrue to your Grace.

And although we say that we love His commandment better than fine gold, we, in truth, love ourselves more than we love His Word. Repeatedly the Psalmist says in the Psalm, I love Your Precepts, Your Commandments, Your Law! But we still rebuke them, disregard them and ignore His Way. We say that we consider all the ways of the LORD to be fair, just and right but still we do not follow in them. We say that we hate every false and evil way but still we persist in living in the ways of the flesh without regard to His Holiness and His Judgement. We say the “magic words”, I am saved and live as do the unsaved.

Not only is this the time for God to act. It is the time for us to react to the will of Salvation, to live holy and blameless lives before God and man. It is time to live in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Now is the Day of the Lord to be walking straight and steady on the narrow Path of the Lord. Do not waver, do not lean right or left, but keep your eyes upon the Way of the Lord. Be as directed by Paul to the fellowship in Corinth; “…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV). To live in such is it deny God’s Word and the Redemption of Jesus. You will be counted as the “evil people who have broken the Law of God.

“I Shall Not Die, But LIVE, and Declare the Works of the LORD” Psalm 118:17

We live in trying times. Our religious freedoms are slowly being diminished and our right to speak of the ways of the LORD GOD are being eroded like the cliffs on the sea. The stone foundation of our nations are no longer secure as the enemies of Salvation reach out to strangle us. In the nations that once declared Christ as Supreme in their laws now find ways to say that Christ is irreverent and out of step with social progress and stifle our voice.

The media, the press and the law makers, all find ways to silence our right to speak of God’s Law and the Promise of Christ. They make mockery of our Faith and our fortitude, our resolve to stay faithful to the ways of righteousness. In these difficult and aggravating times I turn to Psalm 118 for comfort. From the opening verses of this procession hymn to the very last there is the song of Hope and Jubilation.

“Let Israel say,(that is the Nation)
His steadfast Love endures forever.
Let the house of Arron say, (The leaders of the churches)
His steadfast Love endures forever.
Let those who fear the LORD say, (Those who are faithful to God)
His steadfast Love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:2-4

When the world turns against us, we are to rejoice in the blessings of the Most High God. As a society, we are to declare God’s enduring love for us. Our priests, pastors and spiritual leaders are to live His Holy Name up. And we as the congregation of Christ, are to sing praises of His Salvation. As we are surrounded by the trials of the world, we are to rely on God and the Law of His Loving-kindness to see us through. We are His eternally and our life with him is forever. As a nation, as a priesthood of believers and as a congregation of love, we are to retain an attitude of praise to the Creator.

Psalm 118:5-7 says in part, “the LORD is on my side,…I shall look in triumph…” Nothing the world throws at true believers will sway them from the pleasure that God provides. Verse 8 tells us, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” With God on our side, the side that is surrounded with Righteousness, godly service, purity of body and spirit and abounding love for one another, how can the wicked ever prevail against our souls? The bodies we wear are of the world, made of flesh and bone. The homes we live in are of brick, wood and mortar. None of these things will last, they are of the world but we are not of the world, our souls are of heavenly things. Although the world may seem to triumph over us, that victory is short lived.

Every were we go, we are surrounded by the sinful nature of man. Wickedness and sin penetrate our workplaces, our schools and our homes (through the media). Even our churches seem to buckle under the weight of sin as leaders lead adulterous lives, condone homosexuality and extort poor people with false promises of prosperity. Yet under this barrage of ungodliness those who live in the rightness of God’s pure Law stand strong. Because we know that the true life began with Christ Jesus and is assured by the promise of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:3-14), we are held in the “Bosom of Abraham” and shall rest in the palm of His Hand.

We know that “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17). With the grace of God and our desire to live wholly and honestly in His Ways, we are already triumphant. As we see our brothers and sisters tormented and slaughtered in strange lands, we are confident that they are victorious by their Faith. As we see our ideals of faith weakened and dismissed by permissive courts under false notions that we have a duty to protect the sinful, we remain strong. When the final battle is waged, God will send the man with the writing case (Jesus) to place the mark of salvation on our foreheads and none pf the wicked shall withstand his harsh judgement (Read Ezekiel 9:1-11). We are always to adhere to His ways, His Words and His Love. “The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep Your words. …When I think on my ways, my feet turn to Your Testimonies.” (Psalm 119:57,59). In order to walk in the victory to the heavenly temple of the Most High, we are to keep our souls right with Him. Often I stress this little preached fact. Only those who obey God truly love Him. Only those who live to serve God in righteous living, are counted as the redeemed. To say Lord, I believe and not live in belief is to lie to God and deny salvation. Even Satan believes in God!

To get back on track, Psalm 118:19 and following tell us, “OPEN the gates of RIGHEOUSNESS, that I may enter through them…I thank You that You have answered me and have become my salvation.” And, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing…” (see Matthew 21:42-44; Acts 4:10-12; and 1 Peter 2:4-8). Jesus is the foundation stone that the Kingdom of God is built on. Through Him we walk in triumph over the true enemy of our souls. “Let us be glad and rejoice in it!” Are you living in triumph or are you coasting along on the seas of despair? Are you building on the foundation of Christ or are you stumbling over it? Are you singing praises to God’s Glory with thanksgiving or are you moaning on the wayside, lost and dejected? It is the time now to say with an open heart, filled with gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us, “You are my God,and I will give thanks to You. You are my God; I will extol You. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures FOREVER!” (Psalm 118:28-29

Psalm 119:113-120 (Sameck)

“I hate those who are undecided about You,
but my choice is clear – I love Your Law.
You are my refuge and my shield;
Your Word is my only source of Hope.
Get out of my life, you evil minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
LORD, sustain me, and I will be saved;
then I will meditate on your principles continually.
But you have rejected all who stray away from Your principles.
They are only fooling themselves.
All the wicked of the earth are the scum you skim off;
no wonder I love to obey Your decrees!
I tremble in fear of You:
I fear Your judgments.”

Psalm 119:113-120(NLT)

There are many who proclaim to love God and who are professing to be “born again Christians” who live in a double minded world. The author of Psalm 119 has come from Babylon only to find that the remnant who was left behind has adopted the religion and culture of the Assyrians and Persians and corrupted their faith in the God of their ancestors.

While claiming to be faithful to God, they have in fact, deserted Him and the Law of Moses. He has come to hate these people that want to corrupt his Faith and the Law among the returning exiles. The is choice is clear! The only avenue to follow is one that holds the evil in the land with great contempt (see Ezekiel 9:3-6) and to love the Law with a zealous heart. The writer is concerned that these people who have corrupted the word and joined with the “world view” will dilute and distort the faithful. Is that not also something that has happened in the churches today? Haven’t too many believers succumb to the teachings that divorce, abortion, sexual misconduct and homosexuality are not “sin”? All around us we see the Word of God weakened or outright attacked and the people who want to follow the Word of God and the teachings of Our Lord Jesus are mocked and persecuted.

But as for me and my family, we will stay in balance with God by obedience to the Heart of the Law, Jesus. As with the writer, I love the peace that God’s Law, his Word, gives me. My soul is secure not in the claiming to be a Christian but in the refuge and protection that living in obedience to His Loving Will offers me.

The psalmist tells the corrupt and deceivers, “Get out of my life!” Whenever we find those who condone, practice or promote sin in their lives and justify it by saying, “I am saved, God has forgiven me of what I am about to do,” we are to run to the nearest exit lest they corrupt us. Many times I have heard that contemptuous living is justified because, “Jesus forgave me and nothing I do is considered a sin.” That is not what Jesus said nor is it what Paul tried to convey to the early church. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you WILL obey my commandments.” In Matthew 7:21,23 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven. … I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.'” Then he continues with the illustration of the house built on rock (Faithfulness) and the house built on sand (foolishness). See Matthew 7:24-27).

David says in Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” It is better to live one day with God than a thousand anywhere else. It is wiser, surer and more blessed to be living in the Word of God than to dwell in the failings of the world.

The Psalmist cries out, “Hold me up that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!” (Psalm 119:117 ESV). While under the stress of the challenge of belief by those who would seek to justify falsehoods, he goes to the Creator to give him the strength and encouragement to withstand them. It is easy to say that it is alright to live a sinful life, Jesus has forgiven me, but the truth is that Jesus only forgives the contrite heart and those who seek to be true repentants thereby no long desiring to repeat the offenses against their Redeemer and purifier. “Uphold me according to Your promise that I may live [in grace]” is his desire. That is the dream of the faithful.

For it is by the Grace of the Father, given to us by the Divine Breath of the Holy Spirit as the result of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. In this we are forgiven and in this we are live in obedience of the Law of Christ’s Perfect Sacrifice. While many will use Paul’s Letter to the Romans to say that we can not earn our right to salvation (and I have no argument with that), he also says in Romans 8:9,12, “You therefore, are not of the flesh but of the spirit, if in fact the spirit of God dwells in you. … so then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh.” We are to die to sin and to reject all things that lead to sin.

The psalmist goes on to condemn those who reject the law of godliness and embrace the ways of the flesh, even to call them the scum of the earth! In verse 119 he claims that God has removed the wicked like dross, the film of waste that is left after refinement of metal. In verse 118, the claim that those who reject God are in turn rejected is made and we should take perfect note of that. When those who profess the faith yet reject all the teachings of moral behavior, who refuse to live within the Law of righteousness expect that God is so forgiving that he will allow them to be counted as the redeemed is ludicrous. Those who cry out “Lord, Lord,” and walked in the path of evil will not be counted as those who know the Lord Christ. As the New Living Translation says, “They are only fooling themselves.”

The choice is ours, to live in the loving care of Our Redeemer in obedience and service, or to live outside of His Grace by remaining in a sinful lifestyle. Will we love God’s testimonies by faithfulness to them or will we reject His love for us by disobedience? It is time, and long overdo, to stop the feel-good theology and return to the testament of godly obedience.

The final verse of this stanza, Psalm 119:120 reads, “My flesh trembles for fear of Thee, and I am afraid of Thy Judgments.” (RSV). The fear is the respect of God, the reverence of His Awesomeness. It is not a fear of a coward or of as from a bully, but the fear that we might cause sorrow to the greater among us. And God is among us, through the Holy Spirit. If a police officer was standing beside you would you break the law before his eyes? Yet we who claim Christ, daily choose to disregard His presence and continue to sin; deliberately and continually claiming that His forgiveness allows us to behave this way.

Christ came that we might be free from the sinful nature that rules the flesh. Seek to walk in the path of Jesus and flee from the desires of the flesh. Love the Testimonies of Faith, righteousness and clean living that we may not be as the dross, the scum on the melting pot of purification. Let us not be like the remnant left behind who added to their beliefs the ways of the pagans, the common law of self-indulgence, and remain faithful to the command of Jesus to obey the meaning of the whole of the Law. That is to Love God with our entire being and to love our fellow man as we love ourselves. Let us live in the loving-kindness to each other and the devotion to God as Christ has shown us.

Let our Faith be one-way, all the way and in the Way. Put out the double minded man and become single-minded for Christ’s holiness. Let us become Wholly devoted to God. Let us stand up to those who want to defile us with hypocrisy, decadence and the foolishness of sin.

God’s Idea of a Godly Businessman: Psalm 112

“Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in His commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generations of the upright will be blessed.”

Psalm 112:1,2(ESV)

The priority of a godly businessman is to stay focused on those policies and practices that reflect a trust, respect and regard for what is right in God’s eyes. The word used as fear in the Hebrew context is used to refer to a respect with awe and wonder for the might, majesty and involvement of God for mankind. God guards the minds and the actions of those who follow His ways with love and joy. The test of a righteous man is not in the trials and struggles to get ahead in the world but if he can maintain an attitude of respect and love of doing it in a manner that pleases God and provides for his fellow man. When a businessman places the principles of the Word of God into his dealings with his clients and deals with them as God has dealt with him, he will not use unjust ways. The actions of a truly godly man will not overcharge, do shoddy work or use his “religion” to gain trust. The very heart of God will be sufficient to gain trust and to guarantee good workmanship.

The godly man will treat all customers with respect, especially those who are not of the same faith so that they will see that God is in thier lives. Paul tells the Roman Christians, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do each other in showing honor…Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” (Romans 12:9,10,17). Good business practices demand that we deal fairly with each other. As honor is taught by fathers and elders in the business world to their children, so shall the offspring deal fairly and justly with their business interests. It is when the duties of enterprise cause them to defer or disregard the blessings of Godly work that greed, selfishness and injustice begin to rule the work ethnic. Then is when the children are not blessed but are cursed.

“Wealth and riches are in his house,
and the his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious,merciful and righteous.”

Psalm 112:3-4(ESV)

The New Living Translation reads: “…their good deeds will never be forgotten. When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come busting in.” In today’s cut-throat world of business, to many “Christian” businessmen have left their faith at the church door and entered into the work place with the zeal of a demon. Their interests do not lie in the goal of fairness, compassion or generosity but in “getting ahead of the “other guy.” The one question they never ask themselves is whether or not it is in the interest of Christ to behave like this. The Godly man sees the brightness of a good deed and a just dealing as a offering to God for His mercy upon us in his every action. the true wealth of a man is not in the bank but in the treasures stored in heaven. when a man goes out of his way to do a kind thing for another, there is a light that warms the soul. Proverbs speaks of godly wisdom as; “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honer. Her ways are the ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (Proverbs 3:16-17). Those who seek to do their jobs and bless others with the grace of the Father, receive for themselves blessing from on High.

James warns us to watch out for the destructive attitudes. He says, “..If you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambitions in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worse kind of lie.” (James 3:14). Paul tells us not be unequally yoked, “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness.” (2Cor 6:14) when men of powerful positions deal with ungodly people and accept their practices and actions as normal, they yoke themselves to darkness. And their Children will suffer from it. they will not learn what it is to be godly men. Our children need to know that the parents live the walk of Jesus in their business.

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends (freely);
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.”

Psalm 112:5-6(ESV)

There are several verses that tell us not to charge outlandish interest on loans. There was a time that the laws in America put limits on interest charged but as of late, it seems that the market has passed up fairness and godliness. As people become more desperate to have enough to survive, those who are the weakest, must pay the most. there is no generosity in the lending. I know of a man who qualified for a low interest loan backed by the government yet the bank refused to lend him the money and took away his home. Another person, a elderly lady, also lost her home because the lender would not give her an extension on her loan, even though they were aware that she was in the hospital. As a man of God, I refuse to yoke myself with such banks. Because they do not deal fairly with the weak, I will not deal with them. The righteous must stand up and rebuke the unrighteous. We must be moved to avoid the dealing with the ungodly. As a christian, I can not understand how those who call themselves lovers of God can work for them or be a part of shady businesses. Even in these economic times, if I worked for them, I would resign and offer my services to some other enterprise.

God judges us on how we treat each other. If we deal with one another as robbers and thieves, he will judge us accordingly. If we treat each other as beloved children, He will regard us as His Beloved children. We as a people of God are to be the examples of godly, blameless and holy dealings. The Word of God refutes those who practice usury, swindle their neighbors or causes them harm. To god they are not among the redeemed, but listed as the cursed. Their names are not in the Book of Life nor do they possess the mark of Salvation (see Ezekiel 9:3-9). The righteous are spared, they shall see the Glory of the God because they live, work and pray in righteousness.

“He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

Psalm112:7-8 (NIV)

Just today I read a essay in TIME magazine by Andrea Sachs on the success of Amish small business. (April 19,2010). In it the explanation of the the work ethic of the Amish community is based on the “Golden Rule” rather than on golden calf. They do not worry about how much money they can make or if they can compete on the “world market” but on the needs of their employees, family and the usefulness of the work. Plain and simple lives and plain and simple livelihoods. Because of this attitude, they do not fear hostile takeovers, market lose or strikes.

When our business ventures are done with integrity and honestly, they will prevail. When we work with the joy of the LORD in our efforts, even if all else fails, we win. As we practice godly principles in our work place, we are spiritually secure. “‘Be just and fair to all,’ says the LORD. ‘do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you’.” (Isaiah 56:1 NLT). As we have seen in the last few years, those men who took advantage of customers who put millions of people out of work. Who caused many people to lose their homes and then took money from the government. Yet they failed to compensate those they hurt and lost our trust. Even as they wallow in ill-earned profits, they are losers to the rest of us. The saddest thing is that many claimed to belong to Christ. even as they sang hymns in church, their hearts revealed themselves as villains of justice and foes of righteousness. In the end, they are defeated.

Those whose hearts are steadfast in the mercies of Chirst, rejoice in the presence of the Most High God. Those who live in integrity, do not fear the lose of mere money, because they are rich in the graces of God. They have placed their priorities on the Word of God and the hearts of the people. what is of the world, stays in the world, while that which is in God, returns to us and remains in us even to eternity. The great verse of Micah 6:8 tells it all: “He [GOD] has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” In all our dealings we are to walk WITH GOD! Not just on Sunday, but every day, Mondays through Fridays from our rising up in the morning to our laying down at night.

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.”

Psalm 112:9 (ESV)

Not only is the godly man an honest man, a fair man; he is a generous man who helps those who are in need freely. His heart is always extended to those who can not fend for themselves. He looks out for the widows, the orphans and those strangers in his midst who come to him seeking protection, food or clothing. He treats his employees as family, providing for their future, medical needs and the welfare of their families. That is the lesson of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.”

And the godly business man does not need to “toot his own horn,” because his actions are done quietly, privately so as to give glory to God rather than to himself. In my childhood, there was an old man who let us kids play in his yard anytime we wanted to because he loved children. He was the richest man I knew, owning several high end department stores yet he wanted to enjoy children playing among his very expensive manicured yard more than all the money he had obtained. When he died, most of his estate went to charities because his children where “rich enough without any more of this money.”

He was remembered not for his business practices as much as for his generosity and kind heart. This is the horn of dignity and respect that is raised in every corner of society. Many of us have similar memories of someone who went out of their way to be kind with no thought of reward for themselves. Their reward is recorded in the Book of Life.

The final verse of the Psalm is what is contained in the heart of the unrighteous businessman. The contempt of greed, the vileness of corruption and the disregard of righteousness toward others will end in spiritual ruin.

“The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!”

Psalm 112:10 (ESV)

I get visions of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz when I read this passage. Evil can not stand the pleasures of goodness. The cruel, selfishness of greed can not comprehend the joy and peace that is found in dealing honestly with others. They never find happiness because they can not grasp the meaning of sharing. The wicked only see power, wealth and destruction as rewards. Yet in the end, before the Judgement Seat of the Most High God, the will melt away into the eternal nothingness. The many lessons of Jesus repeat this theme; do what is right before God and love your neighbor or suffer the consequences of damnation. Those who fail to do right in the eyes of God will fall into the pit of fire with gnashing of teeth and with total despair.

The Godliness of good business and a heart of God toward others is a two fold reward. It makes you feel good as you do it and the blessings of God will be with you even into eternity. Let the principles of Godly behavior rule the practices of good business and let Christ guide you in every business venture. Let that be your reward and you will be blessed greatly.

Praising God in Times of Adversity: Psalm 62

I wait quietly before God,
for my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2

The power of God to be always in our presence is the sureness of Faith that endures in time of strife. We may never know how God interacts in our lives but we can be assured that the Present and Eternal God is there with us. David relies on that strength to hope for his salvation from the onslaught of his own son, Absalom. David knows that he was chosen to be the king of Israel and that God would not abandon him. His prayer is the continuation of the hope and faith in God to confirm His covenant with David.

In the conflicts we face daily and the attacks that assail us, we too can be confident in the value of God’s Word to protect our spirit. Knowing that God is in control and that Jesus is the Word of God manifested for our Salvation give us the Grace of Hope Divine in our struggles. Jesus is the Rock of Salvation promised to David, to Moses and to Abraham. In Him we have a true, strong Tower, a fortress against which the onslaughts of the flesh and the torments of the world can not prevail. In these times we face many reasons to give up on ourselves, but we should never allow the problems of the world to reflect our love and hope from God.

Think of those who first embraced Jesus as Messiah and how they faced the torment of families, neighbors and the government yet held fast to the faith in Jesus. As they saw their sufferings as blessing and rejoiced that they live in Christ because of the persecution, we to can accept that we must let the struggles fall upon us as rain. As the proverb says, “On each of us, a little rain must fall.” For David the rain was a torrential gale. His own son sought to destroy him and he led the people to reject the anointed of God. David comes to God with his faith as should. “As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him- you also like living stones are being built up into a spiritual house…” 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NIV). David had his faith in God’s Word, we have our strength in the foundations of Christ. We, “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1: 5 (ESV). We wait quietly for Our Lord and Redeemer to reveal Himself as the strong tower of refuge.

“So many enemies against one man-
all trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.”

Psalm 62:3 (NLT)

Because the ways of the world and the desires of the flesh are always there to torment us and to bring us down, it seems at times that we are easily broken. David saw the onslaught of the armies of Absalom bearing down on him, driving him from the Holy City. To him the whole world was out to destroy him and the tear down the kingdom sealed by God. All the snares of today reach out to knock us down as a crumbling wall. Yet God is there to fortify the wall of our resolve and to empower us by His Spirit and His Word. Isaiah says, “Because you despise this word… this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall.” (see Isaiah 30:12-13). The people who seek to rid the world of believers will themselves be the crumbling walls and the war fences they devise will not stand against God.

“My salvation and honor comes from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:7-8 (NLT)

Without God, there is only empty honor. Through Jesus we find honor that is worthy of God. David prays for his salvation and seeks not the honor given to mortal man but the honor to be given to His LORD. When we face the troubles the mortal world places before us, we are to give honor to God. We are to trust in the wisdom of God to see us through the trouble. And maybe the salvation is not of the world but the grace of God. God did not spare His Son on the cross so that we might be spared death that is eternal. Our refuge is not from the world but from Satan. It is he that we must seek sanctuary from. In every trial, decision and conflict pour out your heart to God. Call upon Christ and listen for the Holy Spirit to guide, correct and instruct you in how to go. Be as Paul’s desire, “…by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 1:2 ESV). Be determined to be one mind with Christ, one heart with the Father and taking refuge in the Holy Spirit.

All the weight of the world against us can not bring down the goodness that comes from trusting God. Our rewards do not come from the wealth, power or zeal of worldly things but from the heavenly pursuits of our souls. Placing all of our hopes, desires and fears in God and knowing that in spite of all the turmoils that we face, God is in control of our eternal lives (if we allow Him), we can withstand all the slings and arrows flung at us. The barbs of insult, the stones of ridicule or the poison of accusation will fall away from our spirit when we place God in the forefront.

“From the greatest to the lowliest-
all are nothing in His sight.
If you weigh them on the scales,
they are lighter than a puff of air.”

Psalm 62:9 (NLT)

We must never lose sight of the fact that in the eyes of God, we are as nothing yet he exalts us to claim an equality with Christ for His pleasure (See Ephesians 1:7-10). Jesus told His disciples who would be greater in the Kingdom of Christ, “Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in My name, welcomes Me; and anyone who welcomes Me, welcomes the One who sent Me.” (Mark 9:37 TJB). Paul exhorts the believers to, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in Love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV). And we are told by Peter that Jesus, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV).

If Jesus, who is the Son of the Father and One in the Same as the Father considered Himself equal with man and entrusted Himself to the Father as nothing, then we too should be able to rely on God in our nothingness to accept His mercy and justice. On the scale of things important to the scheme of the universe, we are as puffs of air. Yet because God created us and selected us to be heirs of the promise of eternal Salvation, we become greater than the angels.

“Don’t try to get rich
by extortion or robbery.
and if your wealth increases,
don’t make it the center of your life.”
Psalm 62:10 (NLT)

I was going to skip this verse but it brings up a pet grief of mine. To many “Christians” believe that because they go to church and have claimed to believe in Jesus, they are entitled to earn great wealth. The “Prosperity Gospel” is gaining support and my friends, that is a lie. Even David did not believe that his Wealth was a “reward” of being a believer. David understood that wealth distracted him from God. Placing importance on the material things rather than the spiritual things causes us to “worship manna” and that is the destruction of many souls.

Money and Power have caused the ruin of many who sought to serve as leaders of churches and communities. When churches and pastors become more interested in the wealth of their “empires” rather than spreading the Good News, they have replaced their God with a lesser one, one that will lead them to damnation instead of Sanctification. Jesus warns us that it is easier for a camel to go through the narrow gate than for a rich man to get to heaven. We are to want for only the Grace of God and not the pleasures that the world offers. Money can’t get you to heaven so why seek it. More importantly, do not seek unjust wealth. You can not sin your way into God’s mercy; cheating, overpricing and using your position in church to overcharge are sins against man and Christ.

“God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to You;
unfailing love, O LORD, is Yours.
Surely You judge all people
according to what they have done.”

Psalm 62:11-12 (NLT)

I know that David is saying to his enemies, “God will get you for this,” but he is right in the fact that God has the power of all creation in His control. All power, grace and mercy are His. The blessing is that we have Christ as our mediator to serve as our ram on the altar of atonement. The real question is; how plainly do we listen to God? Are we so busy with our lives and getting ahead in the world that we forsake the wisdom, love and instruction of the Most High God? The Power of God who created all things, the Ultimate being that set the universe into motion, breathed life into man and set apart a people that He would call His Own, sent His only Begotten Son to redeem and to offer us Sanctification.

Even though all power belongs to the Father, His mercy is for those who revere and love Him. In the Latin and in the Hebrew the word we use for Holy Spirit literally translates as Divine Breath. By the Breath of God we live, by the Breath of the Promised Son, we live eternally. God has judged us, and he found that we are worthy by His Grace to be called the sons of God. He has chosen not to rule His verdict by what we have done but by the grace of unconditional forgiveness. Through the blood offering of Jesus, we are held no longer accountable for our transgression but welcomed in to the courts of Heaven.

Surely God has judged according to His Mercy, and we who are unworthy do not face the retribution of God but receive the unfailing love. While David waits for God to rescue him from his enemies, we are offered the protection that comes only from the Most Loving Father. We who were once enemies of God and His Righteousness are now blessed as Children of the Promise. Seek to hear the Wisdom of God and live accordingly. Desire to live in the Righteousness of David. “It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan long before the world began – to show His Love and Kindness to us through Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT).

In Psalm 119:73 we hear a cry from the writer to the LORD Most High; “You made me; You created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.” As each day passes, we find it harder rather than easier to hear what God wants us to hear. We get caught up in the world and forget to go to the Lord in Prayer. David in his many hours of need, from the assaults from Saul to the rebellion of Absalom, always turned to God. Even when he was in great sin he still relied on God to provide the avenue of safety and salvation. Like David we should be always attentive to God and hear what He says to us. We should be open to His justice, mercy and always to His Love. Therefore, we are to “..wait quietly before God,” He is our Salvation and our hope comes from Him.

“Be of good courage,
And he shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the LORD.”

Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

These words are to give you strength in the Promise of God to each of us who seek His ways. Whether we suffer from poor health, abuse from employers, persecution form internal or exterior forces or form outright assault on our core beliefs, Gos is there with us. He says to us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV). And, “…they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be wear; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31(ESV). As Jesus died to lift us up, let us be lifted up in the knowledge that no mere mortal can deter What god has made righteous.

Psalm119:105-112; Nun

Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path.
I’ve promised it once and I’ll promise it again:
I will obey Your wonderful Laws.
I have suffered much, O LORD;
restore my life again, just as You have promised.
LORD, accept my grateful thanks
and teach me Your Laws.
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying Your Law.
The wicked have set their traps for me along Your path,
but I will not turn from your commandments.
Your decrees are my treasure;
they are truly my heart’s delight.
I am determined to keep Your principles,
even forever, to the very end.
Psalm 119:105-112 (NLT)

It has been awhile since I wrote on Psalm 119 and that is in part because I had written on the first verse and at the time didn’t have anything else to say at that time (see: “Lamp Unto My Feet!”, posted Oct. 29 , 2009). The power of the first verse is so great that I had to wait upon the LORD to guide me into an understanding that went beyond the opening of this stanza. Even now, I wonder if it is the right message that I should give concerning the remaining verses of the text.

The writer of the Psalm is conveying that even as those who set snares and folly in his path to prevent him from walking safely in the Law, God’s Word is the Light that keeps him safe. It shows him the pitfalls of man and the entanglements of the world so that he might avoid them. He starts with the promise to stay firm in the Word and that he is grateful to have the instruction of Moses to keep his life in order. To him, the Law of God is wonderful! For many years I was taught that as Christians, we were no longer bound to the Law, yet as I matured in the understanding of the Ways of God, I found that I was compelled to regard them with fondness because they kept the Children of God safe.

When the Children of Israel, the remnant of Judea, returned from Babylon they had lost much of their culture, religious practice and their faith as well as their language. Nehemiah had to teach them the Law all over again. The Word of God had to be explained to them in Aramaic because they had forgotten their own language, Hebrew. This is something that I did not know until just a few weeks ago. With this in mind, we can see that Nehemiah was grateful that he had retained the language, customs and history of his people and of his God. The writer tells us that he and the people of Israel have suffered much. In fact they had lost their land and their nationality and had been scattered over the empire. The only thing they have left is their Faith and their God. And with that comes the Law, the Word of God for them.

The question for us is: Does the Law of Christ give us light as we are scattered among the secular ways of the world? Do we retain our love of God’s Ways for our lives? Or have we accepted a watered down version of the Truth that lets us stumble and trip into sin? What Nehemiah wanted for his people was the promise of God restored to them. He was grateful for the blessings that they had received, the freedom to return to Jerusalem and to restore the temple. Now he wants the Faith of the people to be restored as well. This song of love, to be sung in the restored temple, was to give the people the same desire to seek the commandments of God, the Law of God’s Love for mankind. Our lives hang in the balance of God’s mercy. The very Mercy given to us by the Sacrifice of Jesus is the restoration that the psalmist prayed for yet could not conceive.

As the “Oral Law” was the Light of God given to the people, Jesus is the “Living law” given to us. The Light of the Lamp is the promise of the Testament of the Jews and we are told that Jesus is the Lamp of the World. Because we have suffered much, living in the sinful nature, when we turn to Christ, we are shown the Light and our path of righteousness is bathed in the glow of His Light. Our lives are restored in the Promise. We are dead to the ways of the Oppressor, Satan, and made alive and fresh in Christ. In this we give thanks.

Because of Jesus giving us the opportunity to be reconciled with the Father, our lives hang in the balance of His Mercy and Grace. (See Psalm 119:109). If we accept the Way of Christ as our way of life and srtive to live in harmony with the teachings of God’s Word, the balance tips in our favor. If we live outside of the will of God, teh balance it tipped away from His Love. To live as we are taught by the Love of God for us, is to live in harmony with Him. This is shown to us by the Law of Love given to us through the blood of the Lamb of God. Even as teh world sets the traps and snares before us, to trip us up into committing offenses to God, observing the commandments of Christ, given to us with the law of the Covenant of Abraham and Moses. Jesus does not give us something new but gives understanding to the Law that we may serve and obey fully the will of God.

Hosea says for us to; “Bring your petitions, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer You the sacrifice of praise.” (Hosea 14:12). In our trials and facing the temptations of the world, we plead to God to restore us to righteousness, to renew in us a clean Heart, a right spirit, that we may be worthy of giving praise to Our King. Through Jesus, we have the forgiveness that the psalmist asks for his people. Because of the Cross we are welcomed back into the family of God. Our lives hang in the balance of God’s Mercy and His Justice. We deserve nothing from God because we have done no good thing with our lives. Yet because of Jesus, the efforts in our lives are considered good. We are able to do good things according to the Spirit of God directing our thoughts. It is because of our Love for God that we are able to accomplish great things. And as the result of the Mercy given to us by Christ, we are never to stop obeying the “Living Law” and the “Light of the World,” Jesus. His commands are the commands of the One who Loves far more than we can.

The Words of Jesus and the lessons from the Law that cause us to live in righteousness are to be held close to our hearts and be the Breath of the Spirit of God be our breath. For like the psalmist, I also am “determined to keep Your principles, even forever, to the end.” One verse that I love and stands alone is; “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men , be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV). Because of the watchfulness of the Spirit of God within us, we are able to stand firm. We can act like true men of Redemption and weather the storms of evil that try and overtake us. We can determine to avoid the traps of men and to walk in right living according to the law that is given to us by the prophets and be the examples of Christ Jesus. And in all this we give thanks to God. We thank Him that we have the trials, the persecutions and the anxieties that confront us daily.

Let the decrees of God’s justice and His desire that we have the delight of His word in our hearts, guide us every day. As we grow in Faith and Love of Jesus, be determined to follow the path of Righteousness to the fullest. Desire only what is pleasing to the Father so that the Son of God may dwell in our every action and thought. Avoid the tricks of the Oppressor and the lies of the flesh that seek to destroy faith and love of God. Even forever to the very end of our days remain faithful and confident in His Word. When Paul wrote, “Don’t you realise how kind, tolerant and patient God is with you?….Can’t you see how kind He has been giving you time to turn from your sin?” (Romans 2:4) he is seeking of those false ideas, concepts and the folly that has led us into sin even as we profess our belief in Him. Gos has been merciful and by Grace has rescued us from our sins. For this reason, we should awaken to the Love of His law and the Love of Christ’s Way. We have what the Exiled Jews did not; the ability to understand the law as it was intended. The instrument of God’s Love to preserve us as His chosen children.

Each day I read of the persecutions of Christians around the world and I read the testimonies of those who have been imprisoned. They do not weep in fear but shout out in joy that they have Christ to live for and to die for. What little do we have to complain about in our sheltered lives, protected by laws and privilege? Nothing. Yet the Children of Israel, coming back to Jerusalem after years of exile, had much to fear. They were strangers in their own land, much as were the people who returned to Palestine after WWII. Today the Christians in Burma, North Korea, Egypt, Pakistan and many other nations face the same troubles as did the Israelites. Unwelcomed in their home lands. To them, the creed of Psalm 119:105-112 is a beacon of hope and of promise. Let it also be the beacon of Promise and of the reality of Salvation for you. Let God speak His Law unto your hearts that you will strive to serve and obey out of thanksgiving and love.