A few days ago, I was reading Psalm 119 as part of my devotion. When I came to this verse, the Lord pointed out something that I had never noticed before.
God’s Word is a light to my path, enabling me to see where I am going. I see this as me understanding God’s overall plan of salvation, so that I can understand my entire path through life and eternity, from my sin in Adam all the way to my glorification in Jesus when He returns, and beyond. From the Light of God’s Word, I can see the overall path that God has designed for all believers.
But there is not only the general light, there is also a “lamp unto my feet”. I see this as much more focused. The lamp at my feet does not show me the broad strokes of God’s plan, but rather it allows me to see the next step that God wants me to take. Or maybe, if I peer deeply into His Word, I might be able to make out the next two steps. The lamp does not have a long-range, so it will not show me, except on rare occasions, what God wants for me a year from now, or five. But it will show me what He wants for me today. And, if I am living in faith and in trust of my Lord, being able to see today is enough.
I hope that you find this passage of His Word as much a blessing as I do.
Such a beautiful verse! God’s Word, His written Word, our Bible is a lamp unto our feet. And not just His written Word, but the Word that was with God from the beginning, our Lord Jesus.
I see from this verse that the Word has two purposes. It lights our path, constantly showing us what is ahead so that we may not stray from His way of righteousness. But it is up to us to stay on the path, and not veer off to the right or left, into the shadows and darkness that leads away from the way of our Lord.
His Word is also a lamp for our feet. The image here is interesting, and different from the overall lighting of our path. With a lamp constantly at our feet, we are able to see the next step we are to take, maybe even the next two, but the lamp does not light our way so that we can see the next five or ten steps we will be taking. No, the lamp is at our feet, lighting only the immediate way before us.
And the lamp that lights our way and lights our path is The Word of God. If we are not reading the Word, the Light will fade, and we will quickly find ourselves stumbling around in darkness. We could even think of His Word as oil for our lamps. The more oil we have, or the more we immerse ourselves in His Word, the more brightly our lamp will burn, and the more clearly we will discern the way that The Lord has made for us.
First off, I want to acknowledge the source of my title phrase, it comes from the “Be Better Not Bitter” Blog, and this excellent post. My thanks to Shenine and her excellent work! When I first read Shenine’s phrase about being married to Jesus I knew I had to expand a little on it, so, here goes.
Many Christians would like to believe that they can have their salvation with the Lord, and still play around with their favorite sins now and then. They want to profess a relationship with Jesus on the one hand, but still have a little fling from time to time, to keep things interesting. In other words, they want to be married to their Lord, but still maintain an adulterous relationship with Satan. Here is what the Bible says about that idea:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:10 (KJV)
The Bible does not leave us free to serve the Lord part-time and then turn around and serve Satan part-time. The Bible calls on us to choose, and choose today, who will we serve? This choice is not to be taken lightly, much is at stake here so it is up to us to choose wisely. The Bible says:
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lordthy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. – Deuteronomy 30:15-20
What will we follow? Will we follow life and good? Or will we follow death and evil? Jesus, or Satan? We can’t follow both.
The prophet Elijah asks the same question:
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” – i Kings 18:21 (NKJV)
We have a choice to make: Who is our God? Is it Jesus? Is it Satan? Is it our flesh? The world and its pleasures? But Jesus says:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 (KJV)
Notice, Jesus does not say that we are to indulge our flesh when we wish or take a little time away to keep company with the world? No, he said that we are to deny ourselves.
And finally, it is not enough that we call Jesus our Savior and then don’t do the things that He says. Jesus put it this way:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21 (KJV)
Remember, we are to:
Enter (ye) in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:13,14 (KJV)
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
At once, this verse is both a commentary on the desperation of Man’s condition before God and a prophesy about the sacrifice that was to be made by the Messiah in becoming the propitiation for our sins.
During worship and prayer this morning during church I was meditating on the love that the Lord has for His children. I don’t know about you, but I have wandered away from the Lord several times in my life. Whether by alcohol and drugs, of by engaging in immoral sexual practices, or by putting other things first in my life which are, if we are being honest, forms of idolatry, I have strayed far from the Lord’s chosen path for me on a number of occasions. On any of those occasions the Lord would have been more than justified to just throw up His hands and say, “Fine! If you like being apart from Me so well the just GO! I am finished with you!”
But He never did, and He never would. But today in particular, I was feeling enveloped by a love so strong that even my worst sin would never even dent His steadfast love for me.
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. – Luke 15:4-7
Today, I saw this parable in a different light. I believe that it not only refers to the person who strays in a bit way by falling into drug use or infidelity to one’s spouse or anything that may draw us away from our Savior’s love and guidance for months or even years. It also refers to the one, I believe, who falls into temptation and sin even for an hour, even for a minute. At the moment when we realize that we are engaging in sin, and that we are breaking our Savior’s heart, when we turn again to follow Him who bought us with His own blood, there is rejoicing in heaven that a wayward son or daughter, a wandering sheep, has turned away from the darkness of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has chosen rather to gaze into the eternally loving face of their Savior.
Lord, reveal Your steadfast love that I may choose the world less and less, and You more and more. Amen!
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Lord, if you are the ocean then I'm drowning! Sinking to the bottom of your love. I will breathe in you. I don't want to breathe the air of the enemy. For it pollutes my lungs. I rather swallow the living water that flows from you.
I put my trust in you and only you Lord. This world is wicked and I know it is not where I want to reside.
“The Motions” by Matthew West is a very thought-provoking song. West released this song on his album “Something To Say” which was the first album published after he underwent “voice threatening surgery” of his vocal chords in 2007. I have not been able to verify this anywhere, but I like to believe that he wrote “The Motions” during his 2-month period of silence and vocal rest following his surgery, while still unsure if he would be able to sing again.
Whether that is absolutely true or not, the story certainly gives me pause. West’s surgical experience, which took place very shortly after the problem, polyps on the larynx that were causing hemorrhaging, was made, reminding me that a life changing event could come at any time. So, I wonder, if such an event took place in my life, would I be comfortable knowing that, while I had the chance, I gave my everything to this Christian life, or would I spend the rest of my life asking, “What if I had given everything instead of just going through the motions?”.
11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. – Acts 19:11-20 (ESV)
What first impressed me was how Paul, led by the Holy Spirit was able to do “extraordinary miracles” to the point where handkerchiefs that he had merely touched could be taken to a sick or possessed person and that person would be healed
Next were the seven Jewish exorcists who tried to use the name of Jesus without knowing Him personally, and had no success at all. In fact, their experience ended in near disaster!
But notice the contrast!
First there is Paul, a believer in Jesus Christ, fully submitted to the will of the Holy Spirit. Paul was not motivated by pride, but by his eagerness to please his Lord, through obedience. As a result, he is blessed by God beyond measure!
Then consider the seven sons of Sceva. Now, Sceva was a Jewish High Priest, so the sons were almost certainly experts in the Law of Moses themselves, or at the very least, very well versed in the Law. These young men fancied themselves exorcists and, seeing Paul’s great success, saw an opportunity to be more successful themselves by invoking the name that seemed to make Paul successful. But unlike Paul, these men were selfishly motivated
Paul could contribute his success to the grace of God. The seven exorcists could contribute their “success” to works.
I think it is worth asking ourselves, are we fully submitted to the Lord Jesus, as Paul was? Or are we living our lives under our own power, and in our own strength?
Have we been saved by the grace of God? Or are we relying on our works to prove to God that we are deserving of His salvation?
Lord Jesus, I humbly thank you for providing for my salvation by your death, burial and resurrection. I am saved, not because I am worthy, but because You are. You are my Savior, and my Lord and Master. Therefore I bow before You and submit my life to You. Amen.
Recently, the Lord has been leading me to surrender certain areas of my life that I have been holding on to, so I have been placing those areas under His Lordship and acknowledging that He is Lord of all parts of my life and that it is all His to do with, to use, or to discard, as He wills.
So, in church this morning I came to realize as our Pastor was preaching on The Good Samaritan, that I had never surrendered this blog to Jesus’ Lordship. I quickly jotted a note so as not to forget and so I could let go the thought and listen to our Pastor’s message.
The Lord has been speaking to me for some time about spending more time with this blog but I never knew how I might accomplish that. I just have never had a steady stream of ideas coming that I should be able to write more frequently. Until today. The Lord showed me the way, and it had only to do with His leading, and was not dependent at all on me coming up with ideas. And it was only after that revelation that I realized that I had never truly given this blog over to the Lord’s care. It was always my blog. I maintained it, and I was the one responsible for the writing.
So, today I write for the purpose of dedicating this blog to the Lord. I will write as directed by the Lord, and respond to posts in the same way.
Lord Jesus, I bow humbly before you now as I dedicate this blog to You. From now on, may You be solely responsible for its content, and may the work that I do for it be always in keeping with Your will. Amen.
10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” – Acts 21:10-11
Paul’s response here is very important. He says, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13) The key phrase is “I am ready”. This tells me that Paul was already aware, at least, that something unpleasant was going to take place when he reached Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit had already prepared him for the event. Therefore, upon learning the exact nature of the event that would occur, his response is that he is ready.
Do you suppose that if Paul had learned on the road to Damascus that he would one day be turned over to the Gentiles and eventually killed that he would have so readily followed Jesus? That is a hard question to answer, but I have a feeling that he would not.
But over time, day by day, and bit by bit, as Paul’s faith grew ever stronger, the Lord revealed to him, a bit at a time, exactly what would be required of him, until, eventually, when he learns of his eventual demise, he is able to respond, “I am ready”.
And it is the same with us. Our God does not reveal to us what we will be enduring five years from now, or ten. But He does faithfully prepare us for what will happen today, tomorrow, or next week. And as we grow in our faith, the Lord will trust us with ever larger and more specific revelations about our circumstances and what we must endure for His sake.
So, what about you Christian, are you ready?
Lord, I bow humbly before you as I seek your will for me life, trusting that You will fill me always with your Spirit so that when asked, my response will always be, “Yes Lord, I am ready!” Amen.
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.
How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane.
All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won’t be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read.”
This story was found on Godvine (www.godvine.com) and was presented without attribution. So, Godvine is the only attribution I know to give.