Archive for June, 2010

Who Shall Deliver Me?

O wretched man that I am!  who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Romans 7:24

The Apostle Paul was one of the greatest Christians to ever walk the Earth.  If there was anyone in history who could look at himself with an approving nod, it was Paul.  If there was anyone in history who could maybe claim to be a “good person”, it was Paul.  And yet even the great Apostle Paul, who was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and imprisoned in his life of service to the Lord, here declares himself to be a “wretched man” and in need of deliverance from the “body of this death”.

If this was Paul’s saying, how much more should it be ours? This verse has been my meditation lately.  I am a wretched man – the more I live, the more I see this and understand it.  There is nothing good about me at all in any way.  “…in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” (Romans 7:18)  We are fighting a battle that we can not hope to win in our own strength.  Do we ever get weary of the struggle?  Do we find ourselves worn down and frustrated by our weaknesses and failings? Do we ever just long to cry out and be rid of our sinful flesh once and for all?  If so, we are not the first Christians to think and feel this way, nor will we be the last.

In answer to his own question, Paul continues in verse 25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Who can deliver me from my weak and sinful body of flesh?  Jesus Christ.  I may be wretched, but He is glorious.  I may be sinful and vile, but He is holy and righteous.  All that I am not, He is.  And it is He who will “deliver me”.  Praise His holy name!

Purge Them Away

Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

Psalm 65:3

I never cease to be amazed at the mercy and grace of God.  David says here that “iniquities prevail against me”.  I don’t know about you, but that seems to be me some days.  There are some times that, in my spirit, I just groan the words from Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am!  who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  Iniquities seem to prevail against me more often than not.  I want to hate sin.  I want to be rid of it in my life.  But sometimes it just seems to “prevail against me”.  And, when it does, the Old Accuser whispers in my ear, “it’s over for you.  There is no more grace.  There is no more mercy.  Just throw in the towel and be done with it.  Give up, you’ll never do right”.  It’s sometimes easy to see our iniquities getting the better of us.

But the verse doesn’t end there.  It ends with “as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away”.  The answer to Paul’s (and my) question “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” is simply this: Jesus Christ.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the only one able to purge our transgressions.  He alone is able to “subdue our iniquities”, in the words of Micah.  

Not only can He purge our iniquities- David says here that He “shalt purge them away”.  He will purge our iniquities. Our sins may be too much for us to handle, but they are not too much for Him to handle.  They may prevail against us, but they will most certainly not prevail against Him. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”. ~I John 4:4  What an encouraging truth!

Hills and Valleys

And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

I Kings 20:28

The Syrians were here preparing to attack the Israelites and they did have some fear of the God of the Israelites. They did say that “the Lord is God of the hills”. But they did not fully understand the Lord, because they also said “but he is not God of the valleys”. They wanted to attack the Israelites in the valley because they did not think that God could deliver them there.

The same is true of the world, the flesh and the devil today. They attack us in the valleys. When we are on the mountain top having a great victory in our Christian lives and praising the Lord, it’s easy to live for Him. But in the valley, when things aren’t going quite the way we think they should, it sometimes gets easy to take our eyes off of the Lord. When we are going through a tough time in life, we are more susceptible to an attack from the Devil or from our own flesh.

The thing that we must remember is that the Lord is the God of the hills AND He is God of the valleys. When you are on the mountain top, praise Him; when you are in the valley, trust Him.

What Will You Do With Jesus? (Hymn)

What Will You Do With Jesus?
Nathaniel Norton (1921?)

Oh, what will you do with Jesus?
The call comes loud and sweet;
As tenderly He bids you
Your burdens lay at His feet;
Oh, soul so sad and weary,
That sweet voice speaks to thee;

Then what you will do with Jesus?
Oh, what shall the answer be?

Oh, what will you do with Jesus?
The call comes loud and clear;
The solemn words are sounding
In every listening ear;
Immortal life’s the question,
And joy through eternity;


Oh, think of the King of Glory
From Heav’n to earth come down,
His life so pure and holy,
His death, His cross, His crown;
Of His divine compassion,
His sacrifice for thee;


This is a hymn that I have been thinking about quite often lately.  That one phrase just keeps popping out in my mind: “What will you do with Jesus?”.  That really is the question of the ages.  Every person who comes into the world must deal with that question.  Some will reject Him, some will ignore Him, but some will listen to Him and follow Him.  What you do with Jesus will determine everything.  That is the question of the day: What will YOU do with Jesus?

(All hymn lyrics are found on

Not the Only One

And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

I Kings 19:10, 18

Elijah here makes the same mistake that it is easy for us to make every day. Sometimes we start to think that we are the only ones who are standing for Christ. It’s easy to be in the world and go to work and think that there is nobody else doing what they should be doing. Any time we start thinking that we are “we are the only ones”, we start either sinking with despair (which is not good) or we start swelling with pride (which is probably even worse).

The truth is that there are a lot of good people out there. There are a lot of people who have not “bowed unto Baal”. God told Elijah that He still had seven thousand men who had not bowed to Baal. Seven thousand doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is quite a few more than one. And it is true that, in the world, we as Christians are outnumbered. But we aren’t the only ones. It always encourages me when I go on vacation or visit a church in another state or area and find a whole group of people that I may not know by name, but I know in Christ. I can walk into a church hundreds of miles away from my home and be with “my people”. Even in distant lands where I may not speak the language, there are people who are “family”. I have enjoyed “meeting” people through this blog who are wonderful Christians and who love the Lord and they have been a huge encouragement to me.  The world may seem overwhelming, but there are still quite a few people out there who are still following Him.  That is an encouraging thought, especially when it seems that the whole world around you is against you.


The Journey Is Too Great

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and nights unto Horeb and the mount of God.

I Kings 19:7-8

In these verses we have a wonderful picture of the Christian life. Elijah had been discouraged to the point of wanting to die, but an angel of the Lord came to him and gave him food and water and encouraged him. In these verses, the angel of the Lord appeared to him a second time to tell him to “arise and eat” because “the journey is too great for thee”. The journey is too great for thee. We who claim the name of Christ have set out to live a Christian life. No matter how strong of a Christian we are, the journey is too great for us. No matter how much we think that we can resist sin or have overcome sin, the journey is still too great for us. We simply can not live even the most basic Christian life in our own strength.

Because the Lord knew that the journey would be too great for Elijah (and us), He told him to “arise and eat”. We need to arise and eat every day. We need to eat spiritual food every day- the New Testament phrases it “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). When we go without eating food for even a day or two (or in some cases, an hour or two), we start to get weak. So it is with our spiritual food- if we go to long without it, we start to get weak and we start to stumble. We need our “daily bread” from God and His Word.

After Elijah ate, the Bible tells us that he was able to go to Horeb and he went “in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights”. The food that God gives us is supernatural. Now, I don’t think that we can get our spiritual food once every forty days and be fine, but the food that He gives us will sustain us. There are things in the Bible that I learned months ago that I am still meditating on and still “feeding on”.

What a blessing it is to have all the spiritual food we need available to us. And we need it, because the journey is always going to be too great for us.

We All Get Discouraged

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

I Kings 19:4-6

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets that ever lived. He was a mighty man of God who is famous for challenging the false prophets of Baal and convincing the Israelites that the Lord is God. He is famous for his mighty power in prayer. But in these verses we see a different side of Elijah. In these verses, Elijah is discouraged. He had just won a great victory for the Lord, but soon after, he finds himself discouraged.

If a man like Elijah can get discouraged, how much more are we prone to become discouraged? There is no person on the Earth who is immune to discouragement. It’s easy to get down as we go through life, but there is always hope. Elijah wanted to just die. But “as he lay and slept”, an angel touched him and brought him food and water to strengthen him.

How often has that happened to us (maybe not literally, but figuratively)? How often has the Lord given us just the little amount of encouragement that we need to keep us going? How often has He helped us when we were discouraged? He knows just what we need and He stands ready to help us if we will look to Him.

If you are going through a period of discouragement, look to Him. He knows just what you need.

Dead Men Walking

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

I am a dead man.  We are all dead men.  The question is this- what are we dead to?  There are only two options.  We are either:

1. Dead to Christ- Man in his natural state is dead to righteousness.  He is spiritually dead.  Ephesians 2:1 says “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.  Without Christ, we are dead to everything good, servants of sin and children of the Devil.  Fortunately, that is not the only option. We can also be…

2. Dead to sin and the world– When we receive Christ, we become alive in Him.   We are supposed to be dead to our sin and our flesh.  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)  Paul says in Galatians that he is crucified with Christ, and any life he has is only in and through Christ.  I am dead- Christ and Christ alone is my life.  This is a powerful truth- my body is not mine, it is Christ’s; my mouth is not mine, it is Christ’s; my eyes are not mine, they are Christ’s; everything is His and nothing is mine. 

You can really never take this truth too far.  A dead man has no possessions.  My money is not mine- it’s Christ’s.  My house is not mine- it’s Christ’s.  My time is not mine- it’s Christ’s.  It will be a wonderful day when we even begin scratch the surface of living this truth!

Isaiah 40:21-22

Have ye not known?  have ye not heard?  hath it not been told you from the beginning?  have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?  It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in

Isaiah 40:21-22

There have been many questions asked in this chapter of Isaiah; mainly to help us better understand the greatness of God and the smallness of man.  The answer to all of the questions, including those asked in verse 21, is in verse 22: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…” 

God sits upon the circle of the earth.  I’m not exactly sure what that means, but one commentator did say it meant that he sits on the heavens that encircle the earth.  Whatever exactly it is that He does, it is clear that we can not do it.  It is also clear that, in comparison to Him, we are “as grasshoppers”.  Compared to the greatness of God, we are tiny and insignificant creatures.  When the Bible refers to people as “grasshoppers” and “worms” and “dust” and things like that, it kind of puts a lid on our pride.  We tend to get puffed up about our own importance, but it is important to remember that, apart from Him, we are nothing.  It is only because of Him that we are anything.  It is in Him and through Him that we find our true worth and value. 

God gives us another glimpse into His vast power in verse 22 with this statement: “…stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in”.  I enjoy camping, but setting up the tent is not usually all that enjoyable.  Sometimes the tent is difficult to set up.  But while I struggle with setting up a small tent to sleep one or two people, God has no problem at all setting up His “tent” – the heavens.  God speaks His “tent” into existence (I wish that worked for me).  God is so great that the vast and innumerable stars and planets and galaxies are like a curtain or a tent to Him.  I am going to think of this verse the next time I’m outside in the dark and look up at the stars.  God considers them like I would consider a curtain or tent.  What a truly amazing God we serve!

Isaiah 40:20

On a personal note, I am back from church camp and we had a great time.  I learned a few things and I think I came home closer to the Lord than I was when I left.  I would like to thank my father in law, who posted my entries while I was gone.

He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

Isaiah 40:20

Continuing on in Isaiah 40 with all of the wonderful imagery of the Lord and just how great and powerful He is.  Verse 20 continues the thought of verse 19, in which false idols made of silver and gold are mocked.  In this verse, we get those idols of people who are too poor for gold and silver idols.

The poor people who can’t afford the silver and gold idols have to find a tree that “will not rot” (as it would be bad form for your “god” to be destroyed by termites or rain).  Then they find someone who can fashion the piece of wood into something that resembles an idol.  Then they worship it as a god, asking it for favour and for deliverance.  We can easily see the silliness of such a thing, but how many people over the ages have lived and died praying to an inanimate object?  How many people even today worship at the feet of something that can not hear them and has absolutely no power of it’s own?

Today, our idols are usually not made of silver or gold or even wood.  But, make no mistake, there are many idols around that keep us from wholly serving the true and living God.  May we root out everything in our lives that may be keeping us from Him.  Just as a piece of wood can not do anything for you, nothing that we put in front of Him can do anything for you.  Follow the living God, not the dead things of the world.