Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 8:53 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 16 (NASB). I Take Refuge Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.” As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. Oh, Lord, watch over me and protect me from the evil one, for I put my trust completely in you. You are my Lord, my God, my Savior and my very best friend. Each day I find my refuge in you from life’s difficulties. Each day I come into your presence and sit at your feet to learn from you all that you have for me. I love you, Lord! You are awesome! You are the best that has ever happened to me. If I did not have you I would be completely lost. Thank you for loving me, for dying on the cross for my sins and for saving me from my sins. Thank you for lifting me out of that pit of despair and for placing me in your awesome care, and for taking such good care of me through all these many years. Thank you for all your tender mercies towards me and for never giving up on me even when I strayed from your presence. Thank you for your faithfulness and that I can always depend on you. You will never leave me or forsake me. I know that full well. Multiplied gods The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. My heart breaks, though, when I think of all your children today who have left your holy presence and your protective care in order to chase after other gods – the gods of this sinful world and of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. They have purchased them as a bride for themselves, i.e. they have united themselves with these gods as one unites himself with one he or she marries. These gods are multiplied – too numerous to even count. Some of them may be careers, reputations, status, sports, hobbies, entertainment (a Huge one), sexual promiscuity, porn (another Huge one), romantic affairs/adultery (increasing in numbers), independence, ministry, “church” organizations and structures, earthly “kingdoms,” houses, cars, toys, and all possessions, etc. Basically, a “god” is anything in our lives which takes the place of Almighty God in preeminence, is contrary to God’s word, and takes the rightful place of God in our hearts, passion, enthusiasm, loyalty and devotion. How many Christians will tell you that they don’t have time to have a quiet time with God each day in his word where they actually sit at his feet, listen to him speak, and then go out and obey what his word says? And yet they will spend hours on TV, movies, video or computer games, Facebook, the internet and the like? How many of these seasoned Christians will act like they have no clue what it means to follow their Lord in obedience and surrender to his will for their lives or they will make excuses for why they don’t have to, but they can tell you all about the latest movies, sports games, FB posts, news stories, etc.? Oh, how my heart aches to see so many of Christ’s disciples deserting their Lord and master to become disciples of the flesh all over again. Multiplied Sorrows As their “gods” have been multiplied, so will their sorrows. We can never be truly at peace when we are living outside God’s will and his boundary lines he has set for us. Freedom in Christ does not mean loss of boundaries. The whole of the New Testament is filled with commands and instructions from God on what we are to put off (get rid of) and what we are to put on (embrace) in our lives. We still have to live by rules, not as a means of earning our way to heaven, but as a love response to the God who saved us from sin. The New Testament is not just a bunch of happy-happy messages designed to make us feel good about ourselves. There are warnings, corrections, rebukes and instructions, as well as encouragements, blessings and messages of hope and healing. These boundary lines God has set for us are not to take away our fun, but they are there to keep us safe. So, when we step outside what we know are God’s laws for us to follow, and we decide we know what is best for our lives, and we decide to do what we want without regard for God and without regard for who we might hurt in the process, then we are no longer living under his safety net. We must remember that God says that those he loves he disciplines, rebukes and punishes, so be earnest and repent if you have left his protection and you have cast aside his boundaries and you have decided to follow after the flesh again. God will judge his adulterous people. Just because he hasn’t done so yet does not mean he will not. Don’t test him. Trust him. Don’t rebel against him. Rest in him. Don’t chase after the gods of this world. Make God your ONLY God and Lord! Boundary Lines The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. For me, there was a time when I did stray from his presence, and I was miserable the whole time, and I did much damage that can never be repaired except for the healing power of God in people’s lives. Yet, God didn’t give up on me. He brought me back, he lifted me out of that pit and he gave me a firm place to stand once more. Since then I have determined that, by the grace of God, that door to my past life will remain shut, never to be reopened. Nonetheless, only in his power and strength within me now will I be able to fight the good fight, and finish the course, and keep the faith, but that is the road I am now on and have been for some time. Praise His Holy Name! All glory to God and to God alone! Therefore, I know what it is like to live outside of God’s boundaries and out of fellowship with him, and I know what it is like to enjoy his sweet fellowship as daily I listen to his voice and I follow him in obedience and surrender to his will for my life. I can tell you that there is no joy like the joy of walking daily in his presence, and in knowing that I am in step with him, and that I am doing exactly what he had planned for my life, even before I was born. And, I can tell you, too, that there is nothing more miserable than knowing you are out of God’s will and that you are doing what is wrong in his eyes, but then you do it anyway. And, even worse than that is when you finally are faced with the reality of the consequences of your wrong (sinful) choices, not only in your own life, but in the lives of many whose lives your life has touched. You can’t ever go back and undo what you did, but you can change who you are now and where you go from this point forward. When we can see the boundaries God has in place for us, not as punishment, but as for our protection, then we can rejoice in those boundaries and in knowing that he cares enough about us to set limits for us. We will then be able to see them as something beautiful instead of something we want to discard in order to be “free.” We will desire his counsel and will find great pleasure in it. We will listen for his voice speaking to us even in the stillness of the night because we have set HIM always before us in all that we do, and we will no longer thirst after other gods to satisfy the deep longings of our souls. Then, when the enemy throws his darts at us, which he will, we will be able to stand secure and not be shaken, because we truly put our hope and our trust fully in God, and in God alone! Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion, Loving, forgiving, tender and kind, Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking the wandering sinner to find. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save. O to be like Thee! while I am pleading, Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling, Fit me for life and Heaven above. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.