On Level Ground

Thursday, February 06, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – As I sat down to have my quiet time with the Lord this morning, he put the song “He Reached Down” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 143 (ESV).

No One Righteous

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

In Romans 3 we read that no one is righteous - that is in our flesh nature not one of us can attain a relationship with Almighty God and have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. We did nothing to deserve our salvation and we can’t do anything to earn it. All of us have sinned, and thus we all fall short of giving glory to God with our lives, and of receiving approval from him. The only way we can be made righteous is by God’s grace, through our faith.

God the Father provided salvation for all humans when he sent his Son Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven, so that we could be set free from the bondage and decay of sin, and so we could be free to walk in HIS righteousness. Thus salvation is a free gift offered to us by God. He even gives us the faith to believe if we will accept his free offer. The way in which we receive this free gift is by surrendering our lives over to God and to his Lordship over our lives, by submitting to his will, and by cooperating with his work of grace and heart transformation in our lives – death to sin, alive to God (See Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6; Tit. 2:11-14; Ac. 26:16-18; and 1 John 1-5).

The Enemy

For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

Our enemy is Satan. And, he is in the business of pursuing and capturing human souls, yet, praise God, Jesus Christ conquered him in death, and in our Lord’s resurrection, so that we can be set free from his power and control over our lives! Amen! When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, we are delivered from the power of Satan and sin over our lives. Hallelujah! Satan no longer has dominion over those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. There is no longer a question of who will win the battle for our souls, because Jesus Christ already won, and we are secure in HIM! Amen!

Yet, that does not mean Satan now leaves us alone. He does not! In fact, he is angry that he has lost us, and so he pursues us with great vengeance (See Rev. 12). In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we read: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” And, in Jas. 4:7-8 we read: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

So, although we are no longer under Satan’s control, and we are no longer enslaved to him and to sin, he will still pursue us, attack us, tempt us, and he will try to fool us and try to trip us up so that we fall. The Bible says, “Take heed if you think you stand, lest you fall.” We should not get so cocky or self-assured now that we are under grace to where we are not alert to his tricks and to his deceptions. He watches us, or he has his demons watch us, like a lion which lies in wait for his prey, and so he knows our weak points, and he will go after them to try to devour us. So, we must be spiritually alert and be of serious mind with regard to God and to the reality of our enemy. We can’t play with fire and expect to not get burned! We need to be in the practice of daily putting on the armor of God (See Eph. 6:10-20) so that we can fight off the devil’s attacks against us.

The Remedy

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

Answer me quickly, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!

For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.

The remedy to Satan’s fury against us is that we must submit ourselves to God, draw near to Him, stand firm in our faith, and resist the devil. And, we need to rid our lives of anything that would pull us down and would lead us into sin or is sin itself (See Heb. 12:1; Matt. 5:29-30; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Jas. 1:21; and 1 Pet. 2:1). This means that daily we surrender our lives and our self-will to the will of God, that we choose to follow Jesus Christ wherever he leads us, and that we spend time in his word and in prayer, listening to him speak, and doing what he says. And, it means that we put into practice in our daily lives the things that he teaches us, and that we remain steadfast, faithful and committed to him no matter how much Satan tries to get us to fall. And, it also means that we actively resist Satan by not entertaining what is sinful in our minds and in our hearts, and by not being entertained by it via all forms of media and other sinful outlets. And, we do all this in the power, strength and wisdom of God via his Spirit living within us and out through us.

He Reached Down / An Original Work / February 3, 2014

Based off Psalm 18

How I love You, Lord,
My Rock and my strength.
My God is my fortress;
I hide in Him.
He is my shield and the horn of
My salvation, whom I praise.
I have found my refuge in Him.

He reached down from heaven
And rescued me;
Drew me out of waters
So deep, I’d sink.
He delivered me from Satan
And my slavery to sin;
Gave me hope of heaven with Him.

My God turned my darkness
Into His light;
Opened up my blinded eyes;
Gave me sight.
As for God, his way is perfect.
He gives strength to stand secure.
I have found my vict’ry in Him.

My Lord lives!
Praise be to my Savior God,
Jesus Christ, who died
On a cruel cross.
He is my Rock and the source
Of my salvation, whom I trust.
I will give praise always to Him.