Thy Hand

"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; 
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to thee, 
And my iniquity I did not hide; 
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord",
and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin."
King David in Psalm 32:3-5

God Almighty is the perfect Father to His children, the born again ones. In love He disciplines us for our good so we can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12: 5-12). He also desires to spend time with us, to fellowship with us. The Creator and Sustainer of all things wishes to spend time with us, His redeemed, yet still flawed creatures.

In this Psalm David describes how miserable he was when he did not confess his sins to the Lord. His body was wasting away through his groaning all day long. The literal translation says ” My life juices were turned into the drought of summer” (v4). All because “day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me” (v4).

Are you groaning? Is your vitality dried up? Are your life juices all dried up? Are you miserable? Is some unseen pressure bearing down on your soul day and night? Could Almighty God’s hand be heavy upon you like it was on King David?

If your a biblically born again believer, before you increase your daily vitamins/ supplements or tack on another 15 minutes of exercise in an attempt to relieve this miserable condition, answer this. When was the last time you confessed your sins to God?

Your choices are to stay proud, rebellious and miserable or humble yourself, confessing and forsaking your sins. I promise you, cleaning the slate will turn your groaning into joy. Do not let any sin come between you and your God. He wants to fellowship with you. We must fellowship with Him. He is our life.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

What say ye?

Carl

Reflections on Psalm 51 – A Repentant Heart

“This is the greatest of all penitential prayers, biblical and extra-biblical. Through the centuries men with a burden of guilt have been led to the very throne of grace by its words. The author is not only conscious of being a sinner in general, he is also conscious of being a heinous sinner in some specific way. Yet, he is not one of the habitually wicked who refuse to repent. The saint is the sinner who repents; the wicked man is the sinner who refuses to throw himself upon the mercy of God. It is no wonder that in tradition the Psalm was associated with David in his deep sin and soul-searching repentance (II Sam. 11-12).

“Even in the laws of sacrifice in the Old Testament there is no sacrifice for sins committed with a high hand. This means that for the one who was guilty of such willful disobedience there was no sacrifice. He must throw himself directly on the grace of God. Since this was true, it also stands to reason that no one of the legal sacrifices was adequate to express the psalmist’s heartfelt thanksgiving and praise for so great a salvation. The only sacrifice known to him under such circumstances was his broken and contrite heart.”

Layman’s Bible Commentary – The Book of Psalms- Arnold B. Rhodes (1960) p. 85, 88

Since we New Testament believers still commit sin, I encourage you to read Psalm 51 in the light of these comments and remembering that David was saved by grace just like we are. He was looking forward to the Cross and we are looking back to the Cross. No one has been saved by their good works or keeping the Jewish law. It is only by God having mercy upon us.

Therefore, we need to continue to confess our sins so we keep ourselves clean of defilement from sin, which makes it impossible to fellowship with the Father and Lord Jesus (I John 1: 4-10). The Lord Jesus said the following:

“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments and they will walk with me in white for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4

Some Sardis believers were serious about purifying their ways and were keeping their sins confessed and forsaken; therefore, He said these would walk (fellowship) with Him in white. He would not walk with the other believers because they were defiled with their “deeds” that were characteristic of “dead” or lost people, not saved individuals.

Yes, the sacrifice of Jesus paid for all of our sins; past, present and future. But He that paid for our sins on the Cross taught His disciples to ask daily that God the Father would “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6:12). He also told the New Testament believers in Sardis (Rev 3: 3), Laodicea (Rev 3:19), Thyatira (Rev 2: 21-22), Pergamum (Rev 2:16), and Ephesus (Rev 2: 5) to repent of their sinful ways. And that is just in the New Testament.

After reading Psalm 51, read Psalm 32 where David describes what he experienced when he did not acknowledge his sin. See if you can relate to it. I can. Then read on and see what he says after he confesses his sin. I can relate and I believe you can to.

Oh, saint how God loves us and wants us to walk with Him in white; to fellowship with Him and serve Him in practical holiness being separated from the defilement of the world and sin. The hope of his calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us and the awesomeness of His power toward us are so astounding and stunning and undeserved, shall we not prepare ourselves for the day we will see Him face to face? While we are on the earth, shall we not return His love that He has lavished upon us with eager service to Him and His cause?

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous ones. And shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32: 10-11

Merry Lord Jesus’s Birthday to you and your family.

Carl

Snares, Predators and Spiritual Truths

“Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped.” Psalm 124:7 NASB

A snare is a device used to trap animals or birds. As young boys and aspiring Boy Scouts, we built snares to catch rabbits, in my Grandfather’s briar patch. Needless to say there was no fear of us, in the rabbit community.

Fifty-five years later, I finally saw how deadly snares could be. We frequently visit a whitetail deer and exotics ranch, in the Hill Country of central Texas, where they use snares to control the predators (coyotes, foxes, etc.) that kill fawns and young deer.

The snare is four or five foot long cable, small in diameter. There is a loop on one end, which is placed in front of the predator’s access hole, under the high fence. A short lead on the opposite end of the snare, is then securely attached to the fence or the steel post. When the animal sticks his head through the hole, the forward motion of his body causes the noose to tighten around the neck. Since the lead is short, he cannot get enough speed to attempt to tear the end loose from the post or fence. No matter how much the animal fights, it cannot gain its freedom.

The final result is not a pretty site. A desperate struggle takes place in the dust to gain freedom, followed by suffocation or a slow death from starvation and thirst, in the Texas heat.

With this life and death scene in our mind, let us briefly look at spiritual snares that capture Christians.

Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2: 25-26, concerning people who are in opposition to the gospel, the following:

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the SNARE of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

To use the example of the ranch, Carl, the Christian, can stick his head under the fence of godliness to get into the devil’s ranch and be snared. The devil’s snare has a long lead which allows Carl to enjoy the pleasure of sin for awhile, until he hits the end of the lead. Hitting the end of the lead causes me to realize that I cannot get free from what I now realize is evil and is now controlling me. This is the wake up call. In my life, it is now as Paul said in Romans 7:19:

“For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.

At the end of the lead, Carl can twist, turn, struggle in the dust of my making and bemoan my lack of willpower to overcome the evil practice in my life, but it is too late. Satan’s snare is controlling my suppose-to-be-dead, sinful nature and me. I, a Christian, will be under the control of Satan’s snare until there is true, deep repentance. This will lead to “the knowledge of the truth” and a “coming to their senses” which empowers us to forsake our sin and escape from the devil’s snare.

How do we escape? After repenting, we yield ourselves to God, afresh and anew. This “yielding” comes with a mighty promise:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body], in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, FOR [THEN] THE SINFUL NATURE WILL NOT EXERCISE LORDSHIP OVER YOU…” (Romans 6: 11-14. Wuest Expanded Translation. Emphasis added)

Unlike the Texas predators, there is hope for repentant saints. If Carl wants to be stubborn, which in God eyes is equivalent to idolatry, Carl will remain snared. On the other hand, if I am repentant, though the devil means it for our destruction, God will teach me something, if I will listen.

The Apostle John tells us in I John 1 that our fellowship is with the Father and Son. In Revelation 3, our Precious Savior says that He is knocking at the heart of the believers and wants to come in and fellowship with us. Maybe you, like me in the past, are fellowshipping with something evil in God’s eyes. You need to experience God’s grace of repentance and restoration, to His fellowship. If you feel the Holy Spirit convicting, don’t take it for granted. Turn now. We are praying for you.

The Pure Creator of the universe longs to fellowship with you, His child. Don’t settle for something evil and base.

May the following be said of us:

“Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124: 7-8 NASB

Carl

Moral Excellence

 

 

Apostles-all-have-beardsNow for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, …”   (II Peter 1: 5)

Virtue or moral excellence is the manifestation of the “energy” of the Holy Spirit working in us, in response to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our response to this “energy” is to have “energy” in the outliving of our faith which will manifest itself as “change” in our behavior, resulting in increased moral excellence.

Now stop and read the first paragraph again before going on. Do you see this in your life?

Change” takes “energy” or power.  From whence does it come? Listen to what is on record and is just as true today as when it left Peter’s writing instrument 2000 years ago.  “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge  of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  (II Peter 1: 3-4) He has given us “everything” we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of God, which is found in scripture, and precious magnificent promises that are found in scripture also. Why did He do this? So His born again children could be partakers of His divine nature, which has been implanted in them,  escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust or passionate cravings.

“Change” always takes “energy” or power.  Our precious Lord Jesus told the disciples before His death,  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:8)  He sent His Spirit to come along side of us and to help us successfully live the victorious Christian life.  He, the Holy Spirit of God, is constantly releasing His energy so we will desire the sweet will of God and, then as we say “yes” and move our will to obey, He releases His power to make the change a reality.

Peter begins this exhortation of II Peter, by asking that sanctifying grace and sanctifying  peace be multiplied in the sphere of and by the full knowledge of our God, even Jesus, the Lord.  Listen to Wuest’s explanation of this knowledge:

“The particular word for knowledge here, epignosis, speaks of experiential knowledge, that is knowledge gained by experience. This knowledge of Jesus Christ possessed by the believer therefore, is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the facts concerning Him acquired by a study of the Gospels, for instance, but a heart experience of what and who He is, gained by such a study, including a personal association with Him, by means of the Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a person with Person knowledge through intimate fellowship.”

He has not left us as orphans.  He is wanting to fellowship with us. Reflect on that for a moment. Out of this fellowship will flow two things: 1. sanctifying grace, the work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded believer producing Jesus’ personality traits.  2. Also out of this fellowship will flow sanctifying  peace, the tranquility of heart which is the result of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our life.

May His “energy” be evident in your life.  May you be increasing in all the fruit of the Spirit as you fellowship with your Lord and Savior Jesus.

Carl