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Archive for the ‘the LORD’ Category

Sometimes as believers, we use terms that only we understand.  What some might call “Christianese”  Understanding these terms and being able to “translate” them to those who don’t speak our “language” is essential to effectively sharing the gospel.  What does it mean to be saved?  What happens when we are born again?

The Basics

  •  Salvation is a gift    (John 3:16)
  • The only Requirement is belief (John 3:16)
  • Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, satisfying all the righteousness requirements of the law (2 Corinthians 5:21)

What happens?

  • We’re made alive spiritually  (Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1)
  • The charges against us are dropped (Colossians 2:14)
  • We’re forgiven of  all our sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We’re purified for God to be His own (Titus 2:14)
  • We’re made new – a new creation in Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Old things are gone; all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We’re reconciled to God (restored to right relationship) (2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21)
  • We’re presented to God holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-23)
  • We receive the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:32)
  • We receive lasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
  • We have abundant life now (John 10:10)
  • We receive everything needed for life and godly living (2 Peter 1:2-11)
  • We receive the power of  the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
  • We receive weapons for warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)
A Word Picture to Illustrate
     If they still don’t get the idea, give them a picture:  “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18

May the One who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy keep you from stumbling  and present you to God as without fault (and only God can do that).

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As with everything worth conquering, fear is a worthy adversary.  Fear can be rational like when you fear for your life when driving in a snow storm and your car makes a 180 degrees turn, so you are facing oncoming traffic with just as little traction as you.

Or fear can be irrational, totally disproportionate to age, experience, or actual conditions.  Irrational fear is more crippling.  It keeps one from starting or finishing, from forgiving or leaving, from loving or risking, from living or dying (to self).

Joshua gives great encouragement,  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Whew . . . the LORD your God is with you wherever you go?!!  Problem solved.  Fear banished . . . for now.

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David tells us of his relationship with the LORD, I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4.  The things we learn about God from this verse are

  • God hears
  • God responds when He hears
  • God delivers us from ALL of our fears

One of the reasons God hears us is because He stays near to us.  God tells us in Jer 23:23, “Am I a God near at hand . . . and not a God afar off?”

Not only does God hear us, but He then does not leave us where we were.  God tells us, through the prophet Jeremiah, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jer. 33:3.  Some people like to say that this is God’s telephone number.

In Psalm 40:1-2, we read the Psalmist saying, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”    We learns some additional things from this verse including:

  • I may have to wait for God (I should do so patiently)
  • God moves closer to me to hear me and is not unmoved by my cries
  • God delivers me from the places that I have allowed myself to fall
  • God puts me on a firm spot, a rock (Jesus is the Rock)
  • God gets me started on my way and makes paths for me to walk in

In thinking over the scriptures that I wanted to use for this post, I realized that the God who hears makes the best deliverer.  The last thing you want in your time of trouble when you are calling out to God is a God who has a hearing impairment.   On the other side of the coin, having a God who hears well, but ignores me or makes my deliverance a low priority on His list is also distressing.  Praise God that He hears well, sees well and desires to deliver me out of my trouble and calamity.   Blessed be the name of the LORD!

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In Psalm 27, the Psalmist says (and we often sing), the LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?

The LORD is my light

  • He guides me as a beacon from a lighthouse guides a ship in the night away from the rocks.
  • He illuminates my life as candle gives light to a dark room.
  • He shows me things in my life like a searchlight reveals things or people hiding in the darkness
  • He dispels darkness from my life as light, by its very nature, must.

The LORD is my salvation.

  • He is the key to my life and relationship with God.
  • He is the key to me having eternal life.
  • He is the key to me living the abundant life.

Whom shall I fear?  If I have God as my light and my salvation, is there really any other significant area of vulnerability in my life?

I am persuaded as Paul was and as I pray you are, “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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In Deuteronomy 31, Moses teaches the strategy for overcoming the enemies in your life.  I believe this strategy can be applied to enemies of any kind including enemies from within.  Essentially, if you read Deuteronomy 31, you will immediately notice one important element of the strategy – God.

Deut. 31:3-6 “The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said.  And the LORD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them.  The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you.  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Almost all of the doing is being done by God:
  • He goes first
  • He does the work of rooting out the enemy
  • We just walk into the land He has already made ready for us to possess

This is a strategy I can live with.  All the heavy lifting is done by God.  He destroys all the enemies and gives me what they had.  He promises to always be with me.  I need only do what He has commanded – walk in the paths He has laid for me.

Remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!  Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew.  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.”  Deut. 33:27-29

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I re-read a journal entry that I had written about an extended trial I was going through.  In the entry, I was crying out to God asking how I would ever be able to go forward.  I was tired and out of strength.  The path was totally hidden from view by the fog of uncertainty.  The LORD showed me Psalm 20:1-6.  The message was that He would minister to me out of my existing relationship with Him.

I think the message for all of us is to always (whether in trials or in times of peace) be in close relationship with God.  Is God your BFF (Best Friend Forever)?  He should be.

Psalm 20:1 says, “May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you.”  To answer you, the LORD must hear you.  For God’s name to defend you, you must be associated with or be called by God’s name.  To be called by God’s name is to be in close relationship with God, even as close as a child.

Psalm 20:2 provides, “May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion.”  To send you help, He must know what you need and where to deliver it.  The Sanctuary was the Old Testament place where God was (c.f. the New Testament where God’s spirit dwells in the believer).  This statement can best be understood as a promise that God will send you help from where He dwells.  He will send believers to be your help, your brothers and sisters in Christ will be ministers of God to you.  Also God will minister directly to you by His spirit dwelling within you as a believer.

Psalm 20:3 goes on to say, “May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice.”  The offerings were part of the worship of God in the Old Testament.  It would be like saying today, “May God remember all the sincere worship in which you engaged.”  The burnt sacrifice was the sacrifice to deal with sin.  It is described in the Old Testament as “a sweet aroma to the LORD.”  God is pleased by the sweet smell of our offerings.  As we lay our lives down for others in obedience, as we practice gentleness, self-control, patience, long-suffering and love, we sacrifice up our flesh and what it wants.  That sacrifice is pleasing to God.  He promises to remember that.

In the next 3 verses, Psalm 20:4-6, we read the following:  “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.  We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.  Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.”   From the relationship with God, comes fulfillment.  This is not just the idea of getting what you want, but rather of having the one who hears, answers, claims, defends, helps, strengthens and remembers you bring to you the best things – things that will satisfy your deepest longing and fulfill your very reason for being.  That is what God does daily for those who are called according to His purposes and called according to His name.

May the God of all creation be your BFF!

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Promises of Hope

ISAIAH 58:11

The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.


This verse is filled with great promises that give hope.
The Lord will :
  1. guide you continually,
  2. satisfy your soul in drought,
  3. strengthen your bones,
  4. make you a flourishing garden, and
  5. make you a never-failing spring of water.

1) The Lord will guide.  He is not setting us on a twisting, curving path with a maze of roads to choose from without help.  He is with us.  He will guide us continually.  With God, the connection is never broken.  He is on task with us, ready to help us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  He takes no vacations.

2) The Lord will satisfy your soul in drought.  Before I was walking with the Lord, I sometimes felt a longing in my soul for something that would satisfy.   The emptiness was, I now know, my soul calling out to be filled by God, with the things of God, His Word, fellowship with God and other believers, and the Holy Spirit.  In times of drought which occur even after we believe and walk with God, God will bring satisfaction to our soul.  He feeds our souls with “God things”, e.g. His presence, His Word, and His blessings.

3) The Lord will strengthen your bones.  He will strengthen us physically, healing us and giving us the stamina to serve Him.  When we ask to be strengthened for His work, His call, He gives us the strength and energy to do good works in His name.  If we need healing in our bodies, He will do that work.

4) He promises to make us watered gardens, lush with fruit (of the spirit) and never lacking in the living water (Jesus Christ).   Psalm 1:3 says that the man who delights and meditates in God’s law “shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

5) He promises we will be springs of water that never fail.   In John 7:38, Jesus promised “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  He gives us what we could never give or obtain for ourselves.  What He gives to us, He will cause to bubble up out of us to overflow to those around us.  It is out of that overflow that we are able to minister His love and mercy to others.

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