O God, Who is Like You?

In You, O Lord , I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord G od ; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You. I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.” O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord G od ; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side. Also with the lute I will praise You— And Your faithfulness, O my God! To You I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; For they are confounded, For they are brought to shame Who seek my hurt.
Psalms 71:1‭-‬24 NKJV

Advertisements

We May Abound in Hope by the Power of the Holy Spirit

We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name.” And again he says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” And again: “Praise the Lord , all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:1‭-‬13 NKJV

All Things Work Together for Good to Those Who Love God

There  is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who  live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to  be  compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the  will  of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to  be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can  be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It  is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It  is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:1‭-‬39 NKJV

The Jews Dispute Salvation to the Gentiles

​And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. But when the Jews spoke against it,  I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ’ “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. Acts 28:17‭-‬31 NKJV

A Better Hope with a New Priest

Hebrews Chapter 7 speaks of Melchizedek and his greatness.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. Hebrews 7:4 NKJV

However, Chapter 7 also refers to a new priest that has come who belongs to another tribe, from which no man as officiated at the altar. Plus, if there was a change a priesthood, there was also a change of the law. That man was Jesus, who came from Judah. Jesus did not become a priest because a man appointed Him either. Jesus’ life is eternal. Man is held back by death and sin. Therefore, priests had to offer up sacrifices for their own sins and then for the people. Multiple priests had been established because they would die and a new one would be appointed.

We are so fortunate to live under Jesus Christ as our High Priest. He is without sin and does not need to offer up sacrifices. He made the ultimate sacrifice by becoming the perfect sacrifice Himself. Jesus can save all who come to God through Him. He does not die and can always make intercession for us. The law made nothing perfect. Jesus is the one who brought a better hope through which we can draw near to God.

For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:18-19 NKJV

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Hebrews 7:24-28 NKJV

Hope is an Anchor of the Soul

One of the most profound things I believe I have learned is that God’s promises are an anchor to our soul. In the past, I believed that hope was having faith in the “unknown.” In other words, we need to dive in to something believing that God will bless us no matter what – as long as we are doing what we “think” He wants us to do. If we are doing the “right” thing, why wouldn’t He bless our course of action and make it happen.

However, Hebrews chapter 6 speaks of God’s promises. God made a promise with Abraham, for example, that He would bless him and multiply him. The following passage reveals a lot about God and His promises.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:13-20 NKJV

First, I noticed that God can swear by no one greater than Himself. So, what does He do? When He made the promise with Abraham, He swore to Himself. Oaths are important. When we enter into an oath, we need to be careful who we are making that oath with and what promises we are making. Our words are a very powerful thing.

Second, it is impossible for God to lie. If that is the case, then we can have complete confidence in what He says. God does not lie to us. There is one who does speak lies. And, does he ever make his words sound like that of the Father God. It is important to know when God speak because His words are true.

So, we can conclude that when God speaks a promise, He cannot lie. Therefore, hope is created in us when we have heard His promise and have faith that God is who He says He is. God’s promises set hope before us and it is up to us to “lay hold of” it. Then, when adversity strikes (as it surely will), hope is an anchor to our soul in troubled times. Abraham had to “patiently endure” time before he obtained the promise of God.

The most obvious example of this in my life (where this lesson made such a profound impact on me), was when my wife and I lost our baby boy. We knew he had a major medical problem. We sought the best care we could at the time and we prayed for him.  A friend and teacher of ours helped us find the words to express what we wanted to pray. However, I personally never received a promise from God that our son would survive. He only live about 34 days.

However, after my son had passed away, I did hear from the Lord that my wife and I would have another child. I specifically heard that we were young and that we would have another healthy child. Now, that was a promise from God! That was something that gave me hope in what was to come because of faith (because I believed God spoke to me and that He doesn’t lie).

That hope became an anchor to my soul as my wife and I were tested shortly after my daughter was born. Here she was, the promise of God delivered. However, we received a letter in the mail that she had a life threatening condition detected by her blood work. Confronted with this news, the fear and pain began to swell up  again.  The only thing that held those feelings at bay was God’s promise. The anchor was there and I stood on the promise He had given me for this little girl. I prayed God’s protection around my family and I was standing on the power of the promise He had given me. We would not accept this lie because God’s spoken word was true.

We took our daughter in to be tested, hoping and praying for a negative test result. Talk about patiently enduring on a promise. The pressure was on. But, I will never forget the peace I felt because of God giving me a promise this time around. Sure enough, the test results came back negative and our daughter is healthy. That is one of the closest encounters I have had with the Lord. I am so thankful that He spoke a promise to me and I will always treasure that.