“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. (2) Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Psalm 119.1-2
Would it be correct to say that “the undefiled in the way” are those who have CHOSEN that path that is NOT defiled? I think so! When we make the CHOICE to “walk in the law of the LORD,” we have consciously chosen a path that denies self and puts God and His agenda for life above our own. That is not an EASY choice, nor is it a POPULAR choice. But as long as we are comfortable with EASY and POPULAR, God doesn’t really seem to matter. Throughout Psalm 119 the psalmist reminds us of God’s law, God’s testimony, God’s word, God’s way, God’s precepts, and God’s statutes. We would have to be blind not to notice that his obsession is in DOING whatever God has said. Sometimes we get so caught up in what Christians call “God’s rules” which in reality are just what WE have chosen to make as OUR rules and we attach God’s name to them. Man’s preferences will never become God’s rules.
The second verse gives us further direction: “Blessed are they that keep HIS testimonies, and that seek him with THE WHOLE HEART.” When my heart longs to know all it can know about God and wants to do what God declares is best, THEN I have found the path of “the undefiled.” When we take the time to be with God’s people and hear God’s Word, we find the practical encouragement to “walk in the law of the LORD.” I pray that will occur for each of us today. Just my thoughts …
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” Proverbs 30.5
Most of the issues that we have with God stem from not really believing the first words in this verse: “Every word of God is pure …” When I agree with God that EVERY WORD of His Book is pure (true), then the ball is in my court to find out all I can about this God who has chosen to reveal Himself to me. The more I learn about God, the more I learn about myself. The closer I draw to God, the more I realize His hatred of sin – not just in the world, but in MY life too. The more quickly I am willing to agree with God, the more quickly I am able to bring my life into a richer fellowship with Him. The ability to experience joy and peace in my walk with Him comes from a total acceptance of His Word.
The second phrase above flows quite easily from the first. If I can believe that EVERY WORD OF GOD IS PURE, it is easy to believe that “he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” When I realize that I NEED a shield to protect me from Satan’s constant attacks, then I need to believe that God alone is capable of being that shield. We must NEVER think that we can somehow protect OURSELVES from Satan’s darts. Solomon’s words here and Paul’s words in Ephesians 6 (about the armor of God) give us the assurance that we can be over-comers of Satan’s attacks when we ACKNOWLEDGE that God’s Word is pure, and that He is a shield whenever I put my trust in Him. Just my thoughts …
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4.1-3
“Walk worthy …” That is a powerful challenge. I read an illustration some time ago about Napoleon. He was reviewing his troops, and as he came before one young soldier, he noticed that his uniform was rather unkempt. He asked the young man to step forward and demanded, “Soldier, what is your name?” to which the young man replied, “Napoleon, sir!” Napoleon snapped back, “Well, son, change your ways or change your name!” After all that God has done for us, we should not have to be reminded to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith (we) are called.” But here is Paul URGING us, PLEADING with us to walk worthy. He encapsulates the characteristics of a worthy walk in these words: (1) lowliness, (2) meekness, (3) longsuffering, and (4) forbearing. Another word for lowliness is humility. This trait should be the dominant characteristic of every one of God’s children – not just a select few “super saints.” Meekness is gentleness. We should be characterized by a gentle spirit so that the life in Christ becomes DESIRABLE to those watching. When we attempt to hold an unsaved person to the same standard to which God holds us, we set them up to fail and consequently we are upset with them all the time. Longsuffering is patience. Patience is the opposite of demanding something right now. Finally, he asks us to exercise love toward one another. It should not be difficult for us to love other believers. Loving them is not the same of liking everything they do.
Vs. 3 is the REASON for the attitudes Paul asks us to manifest. Here it is: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Keep the unity of the Spirit – that is a noble step for us to take. It doesn’t matter what OTHER believers choose to do, it is your task and my task to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Such an atmosphere will bring a sense of joy for us when we are with God’s people. Just my thoughts …
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. ” Romans 8.6-8
Paul spends a substantial amount of time in his writings dealing with the battle between the flesh and the spirit. Here in Romans 8 he seeks to clarify that battle and how it affects us as believers. He is rather dramatic in his use of words, but these words are inspired by God. “For to be carnally minded is death.” As far as our positive influence in and for the kingdom of God is concerned, we might as well be dead. We CANNOT contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom, nor will be contribute to our own SPIRITUAL growth. Conversely, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” When God’s Spirit is in control of our spirit, we then ENJOY that life and we have a real sense of peace that comes from giving God control of our lives.
Verse 7 states that the carnal mind is at war with God and refuses to submit to what God wants. That is a DREADFUL place for any one of God’s children to be. If God has saved us, His goal is for us to want to please Him and in order to do that, we must place His Holy Spirit in control of our own spirit. Paul is not speaking theoretically here. He has just spent the entire 7th chapter of Romans describing his own struggle. The problem is NOT that God doesn’t want to be in control of our lives. The problem is that our own spirit, left to itself, refuses to give God control. The choice is clear and the choice is ours alone – we must daily give God permission to direct our lives – our thoughts, our desires, our choices, and our actions. The benefits of this right choice far outweigh the consequences of not making this choice. Just my thoughts …
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27.1
We are living at a time when this world has become a fearful place. One needs only watch a local or national news cast to be reminded of the evil forces that are at work in our world. The psalmist David’s words here are a refreshing reminder of the God to whom we belong. David’s life proved to be a life that was full of turmoil – everything from being chased by his king to having a son who wanted to take his life. So, when I hear him say, , I pay attention. If God is MY light, I don’t have to wander around all day like I am in s“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”ome kind of fog and don’t know what to do next. Fear is the product of the “unknown”. But when MY focus is on God, since HE knows everything, I don’t have to. Does that mean that I don’t CARE about what is coming? Not at all! But it does mean that I trust God more than I don’t trust the circumstances around me.
Then I hear David say, “the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” There is more than ONE kind of strength. It would be easy to become obsessed with sheer “physical” strength. But physical strength is not what I need to carry me through an emotional train wreck. I need a spiritual dynamic that is anchored to the One who is not moved by trauma of any kind. The strength to face what THIS day holds must come from the One who is my ROCK – “ the LORD is the strength of my life …” When my “fellowship” with God is what I long for it to be, then I can and do put my fears in His hands and I walk away knowing that there is no one “of whom I (should) be afraid.” Just my thoughts …
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.(6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1.5-6
How many times are we going to read these verses and not believe them? I think most who are reading this would agree that we need to come to God often for wisdom in many life situations. When we have need of wisdom, prayer is our vehicle to access God. James gives us SPECIFIC instruction in vs. 6 about prayer. (1) ask in faith; (2) do not waver; (3) wavering faith is not true faith at all because there is an element of doubt.
Why would we ask for wisdom at all if God had not promised it? Why would we pray if we DON’T think God will answer? When Satan is able to ATTACK our prayer life, the first thing he does is place doubt in our ability to get an answer from God. James’ comparison of faith to the waves of the sea brings a picture to mind of a wave that is up at one point and then it is down. The wind has dramatic effect on the waves. If we have EVER had God answer ONE prayer, we know He hears us and answers. If I waver in my prayer life because I am not sure God actually hears and will answer, that casts a doubt on God’s Word – why read it? It may not be true either. When Satan attacks us at these two points, he has rendered us useless to the kingdom of God. We must be aware of WHAT Satan is doing, HOW he is doing it, and take positive steps to STOP listening to him and TRUST God completely. God WANTS us to have wisdom. God WANTS us to pray. God WANTS us to trust and believe His Word. Stop Satan in his tracks today and pray like you have never prayed before. Just my thoughts …
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5.8-9
We often focus on the first verse in this passage, and rightly so, because our enemy is very real. But v. 9 continues with a call to recognize that Satan is after God’s children wherever they are. When we realize that truth, we don’t need to have a pity part for ourselves because Satan is “picking on us.” We need to grasp the magnitude of his attack and pray for our brothers and sisters around the globe. Do you have a copy of the missionaries that your church supports and the countries where they are located? If not, why not get one and then begin to pray for a different one each day, and for the ones they reach for Christ, because in many areas of our world, when someone turns to Christ, they are rejected by their families and friends. A diligent prayer life will enable us to build a hedge of protection around our missionaries and their families and their converts. That doesn’t mean that Satan will leave them alone, but our prayers will strengthen them to fight another day, reach another soul, plant another church, and baptize another convert.
our first area of need is to recognize the “realness” of our enemy, Satan. Once we realize that, we then can begin to pray for knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual power to be an overcomer not a victim. Then we can realize that others in our family of believers are also being attacked, and we can pray for them. And them, expand our circle to include our missionary families and their converts wherever they are around the globe. We have our hands full with these tasks but the victory is worth the effort. Just my thoughts …
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2.1-2
In the little epistle of 1 John we have a call to holy living – a pure life – a life above reproach. But John knows what we know, that we still have an old nature within us that wants to do nothing but sin. So, he brings hope to the struggling saint who says, “How can I do this? What do I do when I do sin?” We have an “advocate” – a go-between – a heavenly attorney – and He is Jesus Christ the Righteous. We couldn’t ask for better representation before the Father. He has already proven His commitment to us by giving Himself as our sacrifice for sin through His death at Calvary. Note the phrase in v. 2: “He is the propitiation for our sins …” One of the meanings of this word is “to stand up again.” Picture with me, if you will, the next time I sin, this Heavenly Attorney “stands up again” and says to His Father: “Father, “Father, I know Jerry just sinned. But remember I paid for that sin at the cross, so he is STILL perfect.” (1 John 4.17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he (Christ) is (perfect), so are we (perfect) in this world.”) As a saint of God, the Father sees you and me through the eyes of His Son and EVERY sin we could ever commit He paid for with His blood. So, the Father sees us as perfect. Take that with you today as you rejoice in sins paid for and live a life before God that is worth living. Just my thoughts …
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5.16-17
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “Why did I do that?” or “I wish I wouldn’t do that!” We look back at something we have done that we know doesn’t please the Lord, and we are disappointed with ourselves. Paul’s clear counsel for us here is to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” So, what does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? If I choose to walk in the Spirit, then I must make the deliberate choice to NOT give in to everything my flesh wants to do. That does away with selfishness. It forces me to focus on what God wants to do in me and through me rather than what I want to do to make myself feel good.
V. 17 explains the battle that goes on inside us between God’s Spirit and our own spirit (the flesh). This battle is an on-going battle. It is a daily battle, Sometimes it is a moment-by-moment battle. When you and I are willing to acknowledge that our lives are NOT about us, but they ARE all about Him, the choice to follow the leadership of God’s Spirit is much easier. For me, it is not worth all the “spiritual housekeeping” that I have to do to lose my focus on what God is doing and where God is taking me. So, I must daily make the choice to “surrender” all that I am and all that I have to Him. Remember, when one surrenders completely to God, there are NO OTHER OPTIONS! Just my thoughts …
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; (4) Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Ephesians 5.3-4
There are times when Christ-followers seem to get so accustomed to this world system and the way it thinks and behaves that we get swallowed up by its philosophy and begin to be “just like them.” In these verses Paul clearly draws a line in the sand when it comes to our behavior. He cautions us against buying into the things the world accepts as “normal”. He specifically names “fornication,” “uncleanness,” and “covetousness” in v. 3 and then continues in v. 4 with “filthiness,” “foolish talking” and “jesting.” As believers, we are called to a different standard of living than those who are not believers. It is NOT ok to be sexually active before marriage or outside of marriage just because the world accepts it. It is NOT ok to dabble in pornography and other habits that would make us morally impure just because the world accepts it. It is NOT ok to be covetous or greedy in trying to get ahead in life “because that is the way everybody else I know acts.” One translation gives v. 4 like this: “obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead let there be thankfulness to God.”
Paul calls God’s children “saints.” A saint is not some person who has been recognized by some high church who has called them “saints.” A saint is one of God’s children(.) Nothing else needs to be added. We are called to a life of “thanksgiving.” Let’s not compromise who we are as a “saint” of God just because the world behaves differently. Let’s allow them to see the difference Christ makes in EVERY part of life – including our speech and our behavior. Just my thoughts …