Saturday, January 17, 2015, 6:29 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Keeps Me Singing.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 146-147 (selected NASB). Not Trust Humans Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish. ~ Ps. 146:1-4 It is good for us to praise the Lord, especially during times when life kicks us hard. It lifts our spirits, and changes our perspective, and fills us with hope, encouragement, strength and healing. It helps us to get our focus of attention off of humans, and off of our trials and tribulations and onto the Lord. It also helps us to focus our trust on the Lord instead of on humans, or most especially when humans fail us, desert us, hurt us or betray us. Human beings live in flesh bodies, thus they are still subject to weakness, temptation and have the propensity to sin against God and against us, or us against them. Even Christians are still clay vessels who are weak and frail, and who sometimes lack strength, courage, wisdom and discernment. We are all capable of sin. We all have the ability to hurt and to disappoint one another. Humans sometimes lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, betray, and do all kinds of evil. Other times they do good and are kind, thoughtful, helpful and loving. Thus, we cannot put our hope and trust in humans in the same way in which we put our hope and trust in God. We should not depend on them to “save” us in any way. We should not look to politicians or to pastors or to our “heroes” to “save” us, because we may wake up one morning and learn that they lied to us, and what we thought was the truth was really one huge deception. The Bible teaches us that we are to test everything. We need to stop being so gullible in believing everything we read, hear or see, and we need to examine what people tell us against the Word of God and in prayer, asking our Lord for wisdom. Trust in God How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind… ~ Ps. 146:5-8a Our trust needs to be in our Lord God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is our ONLY Savior! He is the only one who truly knows us, and who is truth, and who will not lie to us or betray us. He is our creator. Even before he formed us in the wombs of our mothers he knew us and he had a plan for our lives (See: Ps. 139; Jer. 1). He is the only one never lacking in integrity, who keeps his promises, who will never fail or desert us, and who always has our best interest in mind. His motives are always pure. He will never tempt us to sin or lead (encourage) us to sin. He is completely righteous in all that he is and does. God/Jesus will not give us false hope. He will not butter us up and flatter us in order to make us feel good about ourselves just so we will like him. He will not entertain us and make us laugh just so we think he is a good guy. He will not tickle our ears with pleasing messages just so that we don’t get offended, or just so we will accept him and will want to be in meetings with others who call themselves Christians. He won’t be our buddy and sweet talk us and avoid telling us the truth about our sin in order to be “polite” and “kind.” No! God/Jesus will tell us the truth, because he wants us to be completely FREE from the weight and the control of sin over our lives. In order to free people who are in prison to sin and to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, he tells us the truth. He died on the cross for our sins, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died so we would die with him to our old lives of living for sin and self, so we would be born anew of the Spirit of God, and so we would live for him in his righteousness and holiness, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God to walk in the ways of the Lord in faithful obedience and surrender to God/Jesus (See: Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; & 1 Jn. 1-5). He Heals Brokenhearted Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant and praise is becoming. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. The Lord supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground. ~ Ps. 147:1-6 Our God loves those who are his very own possession; his people; his church. He cares about us and what we are going through. Yes, he allows us to go through difficult times and to face hardship and persecution and to be rejected and to face sorrow and grief. Yet, he does so because in this way he matures us, purifies us and he conforms us into the image of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as sinless and perfect as he was, learned obedience through the things he suffered. And we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer, if we are willing, and if we will submit to our Lord in our suffering instead of rebel in anger. Through all the suffering and trials of life we must endure, though, our Lord is ever present with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He allowed these situations to take place in our lives for a purpose, and he will work out all things for good (for our best) for those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose (See: Ro. 8:28). Although he may not remove us from the difficult situations, he promises to bring comfort and healing to our minds, emotions, and spirits. He will give us all we need to live godly and holy lives even in the midst of great turmoil. He promises to give us strength, courage, hope and perseverance, and some of that comes through our trials. When others forsake us, our Lord lets us know that he will never abandon us. When others hurt us, he provides us with joy and healing, and he gives purpose in it all. He is the best “survival kit” ever known to man, because he knows the end from the beginning, he is all powerful, and he is all knowing and ever present everywhere all at the same time. Since he created us, he knows us inside and out. He has everything we need to make it through these conflicts and complications of life, which are bound to come from time to time. He is with us and in us and he completes us. He is our all in all! We will never know a better friend than him ever! Fear Him He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness. ~ Ps. 147:10-11 Our God is love! He is our loving Father, compassionate Lord, and faithful friend. In relationship with us, he treats us just like we are his children, which we are if we have believed in Jesus as Lord and as Savior of our lives. So, when we think of our relationship with him, we should image a truly loving and just parent who does not spoil the child, but is willing to lovingly discipline when necessary, and to correct where needed, but who also offers much training, encouragement, affection, hope, comfort and healing, too. This parent sets reasonable boundaries for safety, sets rules, assigns chores, and expects obedience. The parent teaches the child to respect and to honor him or her, as well. Now, if we can just translate this picture of a loving parent over to our loving Lord, we will then have a good picture of what God is like in relation to us. Imagine with me for a moment a scenario where a parent tells his or her child to do something but the child decides to do something else instead. The child may even pick another good thing, in fact, but not what the parent required or requested of the child. A loving and just parent will desire the child to do what he or she asked. Well, it is the same way with God. So many people want to just “do” for God what they are willing to do, but then they don’t do what he asks them to do. They set their own rules, and they decide their own limits, and they control how much they will give to God and how much they won’t. Yet, that is not the way it is supposed to work, in a home between parents and children, or else the children might become spoiled and self-indulgent and disrespectful to their parents, or in our relationship with God, with us as the children, and with him as the parent. He does not want what we will do for him in our own strength and will power. He wants our obedience. He wants our all on the altar. He desires that we be surrendered to him, dead to ourselves, and living for him and for his righteousness. It does not matter how many good deeds we do. They will not save us. We are saved when we submit ourselves to the cross of Christ, repent of our sins, and we surrender our lives to the control of our Lord God. This is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, and this is what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord. Our lives are no longer our own. We were bought with a price. I am His, and He is mine. Amen! Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934 George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!