“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. …” John 14:16-17, 16:8-11
As a Christian who believes Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I don’t believe I’ve seen anything that makes me sadder than this ideology pictured below that says there is no such thing as sin.
It is true that, apart from God, our conscience does not recognize sin. Our conscience is dead to God, separated from Him, unable to know His righteousness so we can see sin’s contrast and the judgment of God against it. For that, we must have the work of the Spirit of God, drawing us to God and empowering our realization of how our lives fall short of God’s glory, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
To believe that sin does not separate us from God is to believe the lie of Satan, “…You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
You see, they were already like God – we were created in His image, purely good, with no evil in them. Their conscience was pure, having no thought of sin, for they were like God in all His goodness, following Him in trusting purity. Then the devil led them to doubt the goodness of God and sin entered the heart of humankind, separating them from God and deadening the purity of our conscience.
Now, apart from the help of the Spirit of God, we cannot discern our sin or understand sin’s nature, because we cannot know God. The Devil will deceive us into thinking we know God, leading us to a type of god, a false god, if it will keep us from understanding our sin nature and our need of a Savior. Without God working to draw us to truth and His Spirit opening the eyes of our heart to discern sin in us, separating us from God, we cannot acknowledge need of the Savior when we refuse to believe sin exists and our conscience is deceived. We are lost forever, separated from God and doomed to an eternity without Him, never to know intimacy with the One True God.
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” John 16:8-11
“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22
Loving God follows Him at all cost, keeping all He deems right and true, knowing relationship with Him as great reward, holding Him as first, most vital need and necessity. Love of God desires to please and honor Him as of greatest importance.
Loving others sets an example of loving God that helps them know God and His ways, so they, too, grow to love Him above all.
Making disciples not only teaches others God’s priorities, but it lives a life that sets an example worth following, that helps them understand loving God above all and loving others as we love self.
Jesus is saving grace, and He is the perfect example of loving God first and foremost, loving others as we love self, and making disciples that follow the example of Jesus in keeping God first above all. Following Jesus’s example realizes the importance of righteous living according to God’s laws and directives. It also recognizes that “my” sin gives a false understanding of God that leaves others with the impression that sin is okay because God forgives. Loving God and others realizes that “my” sin sets a stumbling block before others that hinders their relationship with God and their understanding of loving God first and foremost, causing them to stumble in their following hard after Him.
Father, forgive me. Empower me to truly love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love others as myself. Make my life an example of discipleship in Christ that honors You as God and helps others know how to truly love You above all else. Empower my repentance in every area of my life that sets a stumbling block before others. In Jesus, I take up my cross of self denial daily and seek to follow hard after You in the example of Christ. Amen.
“O that you would be completely silent, And that it would become your wisdom! Please hear my argument And listen to the contentions of my lips. …Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes, Your defenses are defenses of clay (fleshly thought and comprehension).” – Job 13:5-6, 12
The wisdom of silence. Oh how difficult it is to learn: especially when we want so badly to help and to impact for good. I do believe this my greatest weakness. Knowing when to speak and when to just be silent with others is a challenge. (Resist that comment, please. 😂)
In the story of Job, we see two instances where silence is truly golden. One God has been working to grow me in for years! It is knowing when to stop speaking God’s truth to those who refuse to hear. It is extremely sad when God says, “Stop casting your pearls before swine.” When that happens, it is vital to practice the wisdom of silence and leave the wayward heart to God.
Job is very put out by his friends, who are judging his situation with eyes and hearts of clay. His ears are shut off to everything they are saying because he knows their judgment is wrong. And their ears are closed to him because they believe their understanding of the situation must be correct. Job’s words to them are pearls under their feet. Their words to him are proverbs of ash.
When we are speaking needed truth to someone who refuses it, God is the one they reject, and it is He, alone, who can deal with them. Stop casting the pearls of God’s truth and wisdom out for them to trample under foot. Turn, instead, to speaking to God for His mercy and grace to open their spiritual eyes and ears to receive Him-His truth.
Job keeps turning to God, pleading over his situation, knowing he’s done nothing to deserve his plight, and unable to understand it’s cause, but he fails to pray for his friends with understanding of their position.
“Be silent before me so that I may speak; Then let come on me what may. Why should I take my flesh in my teeth And put my life in my hands? Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation, For a godless man may not come before His presence. Listen carefully to my speech, And let my declaration fill your ears.” – Job 13:13-17
Too often we strive to make the other person understand instead of praying to Him who gives understanding.
The second situation in Job’s story where we see the need of wise silence is when our flesh-eyes are insufficient to see and know the whole story. We so want to help the hurting heart in seasons of extreme grief and turmoil, that the proverbial truths of God become ashes – burned up, insignificant truths to the hearer. Until there is greater understanding and the hurting heart is ready to hear, it is better to be silent, lest harsh, unrighteous judgment falls to us, as it did to Job and his friends. Job’s friends judged him guilty because of false understanding of God’s truths applied to him, and Job judged God with unrighteous harshness because of lack of understanding the purpose of God.
As I’ve shared before, God is always dealing with me before He has me share with you. This is an area He constantly works on with me. When I read Job, I’m always struck by the friends reactions to Job’s pain in chapter 2:
“Then they sat down on the ground with him for SEVEN DAYS AND seven nights WITH NO ONE SPEAKING A WORD to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.” – Job 2:13
To slow down and just be with someone in their extreme grief, saying nothing, only listening. To practice the wisdom of silence and wait for God. It is a vital wisdom to develop. I’m working at it. These harsh, hard, and pressing days, when there is much grief and pain in the world, and when so many have hearts closed off to God and His truth, I find myself on constant training ground.
It was not until the end of Job’s journey of trial that he prayed for his friends, and then only at God’s instruction. With that I pray:
Father, bless me and those with me to have wisdom to understand and comprehend from Your viewpoint. May we have wisdom to know when and how to speak, and when to practice the wisdom of silence. May we have ears to hear clearly and discernment to understand fully. Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, useful to You for building up and not tearing down O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. In Jesus, make it so. Amen
Declaration: By Your grace, O God, “My mouth will speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.” – Psalms 49:3
“THE Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. …You anoint my head with oil….” Psalm 23:1, 5 AMPC
Our good shepherd anoints His sheep because they are important to Him. In doing so, He honors them individually as the object of His great love and care, marking them as His own with His healing, life giving, anointing oil. That is exciting to me. Looking at the purpose of a shepherd oiling a sheep’s head and applying it to us as God’s spiritual sheep, we find:
1. Oil protects our heads as we butt against the opposition found in this world, and even against differing viewpoints and personality issues in the church.
2. Oiling protects against enemy attacks set to steal, kill, destroy, hinder, and irritate.
3. Oiling protects against sickness of body, soul, spirit, mind, and strength.
4. Oiling softens and heals cuts, scrapes, scabs, and scars.
The Good Shepherd loves us, therefore He tends our individual need, lovingly, watchfully, and carefully anointing our heads with the oil of His healing balm.
Cast “the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:7 AMPC
God made wonderful promises to Abram that led him to journey to the promised land. There God reaffirmed His promise and Abram built an alter of remembrance and worshipped the Lord.
Famine struck the land, moving Abram to Egypt, away from the physical reminder of God’s promise. Forgetting God’s Word to Him, Abram’s thoughts turned to fear and some bad decisions, but God was faithful to His Word, and Abram saw first hand the effects of God’s faithfulness.
When Abram returned to the place of the altar of remembrance, he worshipped the Lord anew, remembering God’s promise with the added benefit of experience.
Wayward thoughts of fear and doubt are dangerous to us, leading us to bad decisions. It is vital that we remember God’s promises to us wherever we are and treasure in our hearts every fulfillment of them.
This is the example of Christ to us. He kept God’s Word and the destiny of God’s promises, purpose, and plan ever before His Eyes. Knowing His time was in God’s hands, and that God’s plan was best and His faithfulness was sure kept Him safe and on course to destiny. The same is true for us as we Hide God’s Word in hearts of faith, trusting His faithfulness to complete it.
Father, begin with me. Search my heart. Father, reveal yourself to me. Make me know Your ways. Reveal to me every place in my life where my ways do not align with Yours. Instruct me in righteousness and cleanse me. Adjust my course to walk in Your ways and have Your favor. May Your light shine through me to reveal my God to all around me.
Father, I pray You for me and for all I love and care for: from self, to family, friends, church, and work associates; to city, state, and nation; and, indeed, to all throughout the earth. Let us know Your ways that we may know You, so that we may find favor in Your sight. Consider Your people, Lord, and lead us in Your presence, for apart from Your presence, how can it be known that we have found favor in Your sight, and that we are Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?
Lord, I pray You, show us Your glory! Make all Your goodness pass before us. Proclaim Your Name before us. Be gracious to us and show us Your compassion. Grant us to seek Your face with wholehearted fervor and to find You watchfully and affectionately caring for us.
Be gracious, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from all iniquity and cleanse us from all sin. Make us to know our transgressions, and that our sin is against You. You alone, we have insulted as we have willfully sinned and done what is evil in Your sight. Make Your people and the nations in which we reside know that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. You, Lord, desire truth in our innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make us know wisdom so that we may repent, make amends, and turn to walk Your way.
I, alone, stand before You, with hope in Jesus, my Advocate, The propitiation for my sin. I cry out to You, trusting You through Christ, to purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me, but draw near to me as I draw near to You, and fill me to overflowing with the power of Your presence. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit of obedience. Then use me, O God, to teach transgressors Your ways, and turn sinners to You.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; that my tongue may joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it. You are not pleased with burnt offering, thus You gave my Jesus, once and for all; Your Son for me, because You love me. I stand amazed! And, OH, so grateful. Thus, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
By Your favor do good to Your humbled people. Build the walls of our cities and the nation in which You make us to dwell in safety. Grant provision to our dwelling places, for in its provision of rains in due season and productive work for our hands, Your people live in welfare: possessing health, happiness, and good fortune; well-being. Delight Yourself in us as we humbly walk in the gift of our Jesus.
Father, fill Your people with peace that passes understanding and umpires life. Grant us to so greatly trust You as to remain in Your rest, despite the turmoil of evil in this world. Let us not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious toward wrongdoers. May they wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb, either surrendering to You in newness of Life, or falling to Your justice.
Grant us to trust in You, O God, and do good. May we dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. May we delight ourselves in You and be such a delight to Your heart that You may inspire and fulfill the desires of our hearts.
Father, I commit myself and all my ways to You, trusting with ever growing fervor in You, believing that You will accomplish all that concerns me. I ask You for all around me to have this full assurance and commitment to You, so they, too, may know You and experience Your faithful care. Bring forth our righteousness as the light and our judgment as the noonday. Increase us to rest in You and wait patiently for You. Rest us in You so we will not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Equip us to cease from anger and forsake wrath, refusing to fret, knowing that it leads only to evildoing.
Father, You promise that evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more. We will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. The humble will inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Though the wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth, You, O Lord, laugh at him, for You see his day is coming.
Lord, the wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct. May their sword enter their own heart, and their bows be broken.
Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to Yourself and helping us to know that better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. Thank You that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, made blameless in Him and by Him. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but You, O Lord, sustain the righteous. You know the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever, through Jesus Christ the Lord. May we trust in Your gracious Gift and not be ashamed in the time of evil. In the days of famine, be our abundance.
The wicked will perish; and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures, they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. For those blessed by You will inherit the land, and those cursed by You will be cut off.
Lord God, I cry out for those in danger of being cut off. I pray You, open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their minds to know, their hearts to understand, and grant them a spirit of repentance before it is too late to know Your gracious favor. Draw them to Yourself while there is still time.
We cry out for a great spiritual awakening to You in our land, and a great revival in Your Church. Deliver Your people from love grown cold and lukewarm commitment, to the heat of abundant fervor for You and Your ways. Empty us of self and ungodly, worldly, fleshly desire. Fill us up with the Power of Your Presence and spill us out to Your glory and crown: to the glory of Your great name.
Establish our steps, O God. May You delight Yourself in our way. When we fall, let us not be hurled headlong. Hold us by Your righteous right hand and do not forsake us nor let our descendants be found begging for bread. Grant us supply, including a heart that is gracious and lends, and make our descendants a blessing. May we depart from evil and do good, abiding forever in You.
You love justice and You never forsake Your godly ones; they are preserved forever. We cry out for the generations: draw our children to Yourself. May they be numbered among the righteous who inherit the land and dwell in it forever. May their mouths utter wisdom, and their tongues speaks justice. May Your law be in their hearts so their steps do not slip. Do not leave them in the hands of the wicked or let them be condemned when they are judged. May they faithfully wait for the Lord and keep Your way, that You may exalt them to inherit the land; and may our eyes see it.
Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; that the man of peace may have a posterity. The salvation of the righteous is from You, O Lord; You are our strength in time of trouble. Lord, help us and delivers us. Delivers us from the wicked and save us, as we take refuge in You.
In the name of Jesus, I pray You, regard us as good and restore our land. Set Your eyes on us for good, and bring us back as a great nation of people who seek hard after You. Build us up and do not overthrow us. Plant us and do not pluck us up. Give to us a heart to know You, for You alone are the Lord. Make the US to be Your people, and You be our One and Only God. Only by Your grace will a whole nation turn to You with their whole heart. This is what we cry out for, knowing that NOTHING is too difficult for You, and that it is Your desire that none perish, but all come to repentance. Thus we pray with believing hearts in the blessed and holy and honored Name above all names, Jesus, the Christ, amen.