In The Night

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Thursday, July 03, 2014, 1:01 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 26 (NIV).

In Perfect Peace

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

We have a strong city;
God makes salvation
its walls and ramparts.
Open the gates
that the righteous nation may enter,
the nation that keeps faith.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high,
he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
and casts it down to the dust…

The City of God used to be a physical city in which the physical temple of God dwelled. Now it is a spiritual city in which the presence of God dwells, by his Spirit. It is no longer protected and fortified by physical walls. Now salvation is its fortification, strength and protection. The gate to this city is no longer a physical gate. Jesus Christ is the gate (door) through which we enter this city. We do not enter through our own righteousness, though. We enter by way of the blood of Jesus Christ and his righteousness, which is then credited to our accounts by way of faith (trust) in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.

So, what does it mean to trust in the Lord Jesus? Well, when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and then was resurrected from the dead, he not only conquered sin so that we would not have to spend eternity in hell, and so that we could have eternal life with him in heaven, but he died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). He died so that we would die with him to sin so that sin would no longer be our master, but so we would be slaves of righteousness instead (See Ro. 6-8). And, He died so that we would leave our lives of sin behind us, so that we would be reborn of the Spirit, transformed in heart and mind, and so we would now walk in his righteousness and holiness (See Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; Gal. 2:20; 1 Jn. 1-5).

So, to put our trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ means that we submit to the cross of Christ, we surrender to Jesus Christ and to his will and purposes for our lives, we choose to leave our lives of sin behind us, and we choose to walk in his righteousness and holiness – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us and not in our own flesh. It means we humble ourselves before the Lord, repent of (turn from) our sin, forsake our idols, and we choose to walk in his ways from this day forward. Then we will experience this perfect peace, which is not necessarily freedom from conflict, but which is an inward peace of mind and heart, peace with God, and is a wholeness and wellness of mind and spirit, because Jesus Christ has turned us from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, he has forgiven our sins, and he has given us a place among those whom Christ is making holy.

Walking in The Way

The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord…

The way of the righteous, i.e. of those having faith in Jesus Christ, is level (straight; smooth), not because it is free from trouble, distress, conflict, persecution, etc., but because it is the Lord Jesus who takes us by the hand and leads us in the way we should go. His yoke is easy and his burden is light because he is the one who carries the weight for us. He guides our every step. He strengthens us and helps us. He upholds us with his righteous right hand. We don’t have to go this alone. He is with us every step of the way, and he is able to supply all that we need for our journey, too. He will not leave us comfortless. He will never forsake us. We just have to let him lead, and we have to walk in his ways, trusting him to smooth out those rough places so that we can keep walking.

Walking in the ways of the Lord should be a joy and a delight, not something we dread. The Lord Jesus and his ways should be the desire of our hearts, what we long for, what gets us excited about life, what gets us up early and keeps us up late, and what brings a song to our hearts and puts a dance in our steps. We should long (ache) for him in the night and in the morning. Do we? I have to ask myself that question, too. Is he even in our thoughts in the night or when we rise in the mornings? Is he even a consideration in our plans and what we do throughout the day? Or, is he an afterthought? Or do we block out a certain amount of time for him each day and the rest for us? Do we even know what it means to ache for him? Or, have we become too casual about our relationships with him?

What does it mean to walk in the way of his laws? Does this still apply to us who are under the New Covenant of God’s grace? His laws are his words; his teachings; his instructions. In the New Testament we are taught to keep (obey) his word. We are taught that we are not just to be hearers of the word but doers. His Word teaches us that Jesus Christ is the law, and we are to obey him and his word (See Ro. 15:18; Phip. 2:12; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-5; 3:22-24). Jesus Christ learned obedience through the things he suffered. We often do, too. Sometimes, when things are going too well for us, it might be tempting to slack off in our relationships with Jesus Christ, to take life and God for granted, and we might even fall back into some of our old sinful patterns. God disciplines those he loves. Discipline is for our good. Sometimes we need that to keep us focused on Jesus Christ and his ways.

What You Have Done

Lord, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.
Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone do we honor.
They are now dead, they live no more;
their spirits do not rise.
You punished them and brought them to ruin;
you wiped out all memory of them…

Amen! There are two great principles here. One is that we are not saved by anything we have accomplished in ourselves, of our own merit or in our own flesh. We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, by what he accomplished for us through his death and resurrection in conquering sin so that we could be delivered from slavery to sin. Only through faith in him can we have peace with God.

The other great principle here is that, through this great salvation, those gods (idols) which once ruled over our lives are gone, dead and buried. Amen! Sin once enslaved us, but no more, praise Jesus! He set us free from all that. Now it is his name alone that we honor or that we should honor if we have truly been set free from our sin by the power of his blood. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, we can be completely forgiven, cleansed, renewed, and given new lives in Christ, free from our old lives of living for sin and self, and set free to walk in the way of Christ. Praise Jesus!

To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.