Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 7:24 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 135 & 138 (ESV/NASB).

His Own Possession

“Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord,
give praise, O servants of the Lord,
who stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God!
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel as his own possession.” ~ Ps. 135:1-4 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ Jn. 3:16 NASB

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” ~ 2 Pet. 3:9 NASB​

It is God’s will that all should repent of their sins (turn away from them and to God) so that they might find forgiveness of sins and not die in their sins without God and without hope. This is why Jesus Christ died on the cross, so that we could be delivered from slavery to sin, from eternal damnation, and have the hope of eternal life with God beginning right now. He died so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us.

We come to faith in Jesus Christ by God’s grace, through faith (See: Eph. 2:8-10). This faith reveals itself by us dying with Christ to our old lives of living for self and sin, by us being born anew of the Spirit of God, and by us walking in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we cooperate fully with His work of grace in our lives. Coming to faith in Jesus Christ thus involves us submitting to the cross of Christ in our lives, surrendering ourselves over to the will of God for our lives, and walking in obedience to Christ and to his commands (his teachings and instructions). [See: Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5.]

We cannot come to faith in Christ, though, unless the Father first draws us to Christ. In other words, this is not something we can do in our own flesh. This is a mighty work of the Spirit of God in drawing us to himself. Even the faith to believe is a gift from God, but it is a gift we must put into action, i.e. we must receive it and use it for it to be genuine faith, yet not in our own power and strength, but only in the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we become his own possession. Through his shed blood on the cross for our sins he purchased us to be his own people so that we might be for the praise of his glory. He gave himself up for us “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14). We were bought with a price, therefore we are to glorify God with our lives. And, because of all that he has done for us in saving us from our sins, in delivering us from bondage to sin and eternity in hell, and setting us free to walk in his holiness, then when we come into his presence we should give him much praise.

Bold and Stouthearted

“A Psalm of David.
I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.”
~ Ps. 138:1-3 NASB​

In Psalm 135 we were encouraged to give praise to the Lord, “O servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord.” We were heartened to praise him because he had made us his own possession. Here we are inspired to praise him for his loving-kindness to us and for his truth; for how he has magnified His Word. I believe all of these thoughts expressed here are instrumental in understanding and applying this 3rd verse. Let me explain what I mean.

For the Lord to make us bold with inward spiritual strength, i.e. to make us stouthearted – strong of character, brave, determined and courageous – we must first of all be his own possession, and we must be his servants who love him and his word, and who take a firm stand on his truth. We must also be ones who will sing his praises before “the gods,” i.e. before kings, rulers and people in positions of authority, and before those who are idolized of humans. We must never fear humans over walking in the fear of the Lord. We must also be ones who are submitted and surrendered to the Lordship of Christ over our lives, i.e. we must acknowledge with our lives, and not just with our lips, that truly our lives are his.

Why do I say this? Well, for one, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ we don’t become puppets on strings with God pulling all the strings and us no longer having any say over what we do or say. We still have a free will. We still have to willingly surrender to him daily. God will not force his will upon us. He wants us to choose him, which is why he gave us free wills. So, he is not going to strengthen us in the depths of our souls and give us boldness and courage in standing for what is right and true if we are resisting him, and if we are more concerned with having the approval of humans than we desire the approval of God; or if we are standing on what is false, sinful and wicked instead of on what is true and right.

Yet, if we are his true servants, and we do love his word, and we live by it and stand on its truth and its trustworthiness, and if we are committed to following our Lord Jesus in being who he wants us to be, and in going where he sends us, and in doing and saying what he wants us to do and to say, then he will give us all the courage, boldness, determination and strength of character in spirit/soul we need to keep on speaking and singing his praises and his truth, even in the face of great opposition and much persecution and rejection.

In the Midst of Trouble

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
~ Ps. 138:7-8 NASB​

Our God is completely sovereign over every aspect of our lives. He created each one of us for a purpose. He has a plan for each one of our lives. His face is not hidden from us. He is not absent from our troubles. For those of us who are his own possession, he is always with us, and he will never leave us or forsake us. Nothing that comes into our lives catches him off-guard. Satan cannot touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. So, we should not allow the trials and tribulations of this life to unsettle us, but we should put our faith and trust in the Lord, and believe him to work out all things for good for those of us who love God and who have been called according to his purpose (See Ro. 8:28).

Yet, we must also know that trials and tribulations are part of God’s plan and purpose for our lives in order for him to purify us and to conform us to the image of Christ. Jesus said that we would be hated, persecuted, falsely accused, arrested, beaten, betrayed, despised, rejected, abandoned and killed for our testimony for him and because we keep his commands. Yet, these come into our lives to mature us, to strengthen us in character, to purify our hearts, to make us more like Jesus; to humble us, and to develop within us perseverance and steadfastness in our walks of faith and in our witness for Him.

The other thing we must know is that God/Jesus will see us through every one of these trials if we will but trust him, and if we will call on him in prayer, and if we will rest in him. He may or may not remove us physically from the difficult situations of our lives, but he will give us all we need to get through them and to obey him in the trials and to remain strong in our faith and to not yield to the temptation to retreat or to give in to our flesh. He will fulfill his purpose for us, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of all whose lives we touch by his grace and via his sovereign will. He will never abandon us! So, we should draw on his strength and courage, and we should be bold and stouthearted and keep on loving God and serving him, and loving others and ministering his grace to their needs. Amen!

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.