Our Sanctuary

Thursday, February 13, 2014, 1:11 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song “I Do Not Seal My Lips” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 8 (quoting selected verses in the NIV).

Gently Flowing Waters

The Lord spoke to me again:

“Because this people has rejected
the gently flowing waters of Shiloah
and rejoices over Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them
the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—
the king of Assyria with all his pomp…
Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered!
Listen, all you distant lands.
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Prepare for battle, and be shattered!
Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;
propose your plan, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.

God’s people, as a nation, had rejected his rule and authority over their lives and had, instead, turned to human alliances for their security and support. They were dedicated to a path of trust in humankind, instead of in Almighty God – their creator God, Savior and King. God’s rule and authority over them was described as gently flowing waters by comparison to the rule they were about to encounter because of their rebellion against God – a rule which was described as mighty floodwaters which would overflow the banks of the river and would consume and overtake their land, i.e. evidently speaking of the Assyrian king and his army.

“Flowing waters” or “living water” is a phrase, or ones similar to it, used in scripture to describe the Spirit of God and his work in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus told the woman at the well that the living water he gives would become in the one who “drinks” it a “spring of water welling up to eternal life” (See Jn. 4). Our perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, is our shepherd who leads and will lead us to “springs of living water” (See Rev. 7:17). As well, Jesus said that he will give to the thirsty water without cost from the spring of the “water of life” (See Rev. 21:6). This living water symbolizes the Spirit of God, yet it also symbolizes our salvation. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, by God’s grace, through faith, he indwells us with his Spirit, and his Spirit within us springs up within us and gives us life in the Spirit; the very life and essence of God living within us.

When we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we submit and surrender to his Lordship over our lives. We willingly submit to the cross of Christ in our lives in allowing the Spirit of God to transform our hearts and lives away from the darkness of bondage to sin and toward a walk of faith and fellowship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and with God the Father - allowing his “living water” to now well up within us, and for Christ to live out his life of righteousness through us. We are saved by God’s grace, through faith, which is also a gift of his grace – a faith which submits to the working of God’s grace within us, and which yields to the leading, guidance and direction of the Spirit of God, and which does not resist God’s work of grace in our lives.

Yet, it is possible that those who have once submitted to the cross of Christ, and who have once yielded to the working of the Spirit in their lives, to drift away from that pure devotion to Jesus Christ and to be in great need of revival (See Rev. 2-3). And, it is possible, as well, that those who once trusted in the leadership of the Spirit in their lives to now move away from that sincere trust and to instead begin to put their faith in humankind, and in human leadership, over and above, and even in place of their trust in God. This grieves the Spirit of God, for we were bought with a price, and therefore we are to honor God with our lives.

Jesus Christ died so that we would be set free from slavery to sin and free from following after our own flesh, not so we would go right back to what once enslaved us. So, in essence, when we choose to trust (put our hope and security) in humans or in the things of this world over God, we are doing much the same as the people of God in Isaiah’s day, for we reject the authority and rule of our gentle shepherd in favor of a return to slavery and idolatry and the potential of choosing for ourselves another “King Saul” to rule over us.

Do Not Follow

This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:

“Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread.
He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.

So, the Lord God says to all his children that we are not to follow the ways of people, but the ways of God. He called us to be separate from the sinful world around us and to not adopt their ways as our own. Certainly we are to live in the world, we are to be lights for the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, we are to take the gospel to the world and to make followers of Christ of people of all nations, and we are to love the people of the world as God loves the world and gave himself up for the people. Yet, we are not to be on friendly terms with the sinful world, we are not to partner with the people of this sinful world, and we are not to live like we did when we were separate from Christ and still dead in our sins. We, as the church, are also not to become like the world in order to “win” the world.

We are not to pattern our thinking, feelings, emotions, decisions, values, attitudes, language and/or behaviors after this sinful world, but after God, and after the truths of his word. The world’s way of thinking has infiltrated the church BIG TIME to where many professing followers of Christ cannot differentiate between what is of God and what just sounds good, and so they often go with the flow and what makes people like them, and what makes them popular, accepted and included with the majority of folks. They think if it sounds good and it feels good that it must be of God, but it may not be. This is why we must be serious students of scripture, not just so we can spout off knowledge, but so we can follow in Christ’s ways and submit to his Lordship over our lives and not get caught up in following after the thinking and values of the people of this world. We are not to adopt the culture of our day into our lives in order to be “relevant,” but we are to adopt the teachings of Christ into our lives in order to be fruitful for God’s eternal kingdom.

We are also not to be afraid to be mocked, criticized, ostracized, ridiculed, despised, rejected, ignored, gossiped about and/or excluded from groups of people because we don’t think and act like the majority of people, and because we don’t adopt the ways of our culture, and because we do stand out sometimes like a sore thumb because we choose to follow the ways of God over the ways of humankind. And, we should not fear if they even try to convince us that we are somehow crazy, weird, strange or not with it because we believe in God and in the truths of his word and because we choose to do what he says, though not perfectly. Many people fear being rejected by others and so they conform their ways to the patterns of this world in order to fit in and to be liked. We should not fear what they fear, and we should not join them in their mockery of those who choose to be different.

I Will Wait

I will wait for the Lord,
who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

Instead, we are to wait on the Lord, we are to put our hope and trust in him, and we should continue to follow his ways, and to walk in the Spirit and in sincere faith, and to believe that God is fully sovereign above all things, that he has a plan and a purpose for our lives in all that we are going through, and that he will work all things in our lives out for good (for those who love God and who have been called according to his purpose). And, we are to keep on keeping on in loving our Lord and in loving God’s people and in ministering his love and grace to the people of this world, following Jesus’ example to us. And we, as well, are to continue sharing his gospel of salvation even in the face of great persecution or even at the risk of losing our lives. Instead of giving way to the fear of humankind or what they might think of us, and even to fear when they seem to succeed temporarily in their evil plans, we are to revere, respect, honor, value, esteem, praise, give glory to and submit our lives and our future to the King of kings and the Lord of lords, believing God’s will and purposes will be accomplished both in and through our lives for his praise and for his glory.

I Do Not Seal My Lips / An Original Work / January 13, 2014

Based off Psalms 37, 40

Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.

Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.

Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.

I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.

Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.

I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.