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11 February, 2014

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 - Our God is a Changeless God!

Today I read Deuteronomy chapters 19 to 26. I got some verses I noted, that go right through the heart of God’s Salvation for the Israelites in the Old Testament time and global Salvation for all in the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 26:16-19
“Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly.  You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.  And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.”

As I read these verses above, I don’t know about you, but I am excited. Why? Because even the Israelites who were under the law were called to the same process we are called to. Personally, when I read the Old Testament I am overwhelmed with rules and regulations. Yet, it was never about the rules and regulations and it was always about making sure the word of God penetrated their hearts until the law became part of their inner beings to change their attitude and transform them.

I have goose bumps as I write this, because my God is a changeless God! Can you recognize when we do not understand God’s grace and hide behind this “man made kind of cheap grace” idea that has taken the Church by storm, God cannot be pleased? The Puritans, along with Paul and the other apostles would be disgusted with us today. Sadly, we forget, being under grace bring us to a point where we are more accountable to God than the Israelites were because through Christ death, He can live it out in us.

If Christ, who is in you, doesn’t change your attitude and your inner life as you watch yourself growing spiritually in a phenomenal way on the inside, then Christ’s death makes no difference in your life. I do not mean growing in Bible reading and taking on more work in the church to feel like you are doing something for God. We got to make sure we are right with Him on the inside first before we live it out on the outside. Anything that shows itself on the outside should be because of who we are inside. Otherwise, all that we offer to Him, day in day out will be in the flesh. From the Old to the New Testament God has never accepted anything in the flesh. For us Christians it is only when it is offered to Him through Christ who is living freely in our lives with no hindrances, no lip service, no manipulation, no camouflage and no reservation. We leave it all behind and go to Him just as we are. In our mind, will and heart, we are totally bankrupt because there is no free will left; Christ is lifted up and given His rightful place.  We go empty handed to the One who loves us. In the end, He wants our best, not the rest.

I love saying to people “get with the program” in reality, the Christian life is a life where we all need to get with the program. I don’t know about you, but this song that we sing all the time at Church when there is an alter call “Just as I am without one plea, oh Lamb of God I come!” I sing it all the time, not because I don’t have the assurance of salvation and not because it is my favorite song. But, when you learn what it means to wait for God for years and He keeps testing you day in day out, it is easy to lose patience. It is easy to pack it all up and say the heck with everything.  So, I need to sing this song to my Lord and Saviour, because every day is an opportunity to offer our lives to Him, just as we are. When my life is too heavy for me, when people keep hurting me, when I am misunderstood, used and thrown away, when I feel alone and He is so far away that it feels like He is a figment of my imagination. When I feel abandoned by Him and I am tired of waiting, I usually sing this song.

I get there, because I know, no matter how this life is painful, so painful sometimes, even the verse of Jeremiah 29: 11 does not do anything for me, if anything it sounds more like empty words with no meaning whatsoever in my life. Times like that, I know I am getting in over my head and if I give in, I will go through a pity party with a one way ticket. So, like a brainless child, I go back to Him with this song and dump it all at His feet. The song brings me back to what is real and to what I know. While my feelings can betray me, I know how real He is even if I cannot recall it now. I know for sure for the past nine years or so, the most I have spent without seeing a spiritual growth spurt, is about two months. Strangely, when I feel I am at my lowest that is when I grow almost daily. Using the song to bring myself back to a level where I can endure is His grace at work in me.

Another reason for me to go back to Him in faith and humility, is because I believe in His promises, I can claim them, own them and hang on to them with every fiber of my being, because KNOW I am living the life He put before me. Like David in Psalm 119:9-60 “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” I live to do His will alone, to bring Him glory to worship Him with all that I am and to know Him. So, I delight in His word. His word is truly a lamp unto my feet; so, I can stand before Him with no shame, doubt and fear knowing that, this is my life before Him.  As I read psalm 119 today, many of those verses brought tears to my eyes because I can see myself so much.

One thing with God is that even though there is so much pain in the offering. You feel like an idiot because it is almost like there is something within you that is driving you right back to Him, in spite of it all. Incidentally, I know it is the life of Christ within.  But what is strange, is that if people could see into your heart, and knew the pain God testing has brought into your life. If they truly knew your business in a much deeper way, they would plainly accuse you of believing in pain because you keep going back for more of what look like on the outside “more pain.” But, it is part of being one with Christ, having a life set on Him at any cost by any way He leads, He then restrains you through His grace. 2 Chronicles 16:9a “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. He then restrains you through His grace. While you are in pain, instead of running away, you run right back to Him even though you know it means “more pain”

So, if the Lord is your God, and you have promised to walk in His ways, to obey His decrees, commands, and regulation, then do everything He tells you to do. Stop lying to yourself, life is too short.

Psalm 119:97-109
Oh, how I love your instructions!
    I think about them all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
    for they are my constant guide.
99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
    for I am always thinking of your laws.
100 I am even wiser than my elders,
    for I have kept your commandments.
101 I have refused to walk on any evil path,
    so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102 I haven’t turned away from your regulations,
    for you have taught me well.
103 How sweet your words taste to me;
    they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
    no wonder I hate every false way of life.
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.
106 I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again:
    I will obey your righteous regulations.
107 I have suffered much, O Lord;
    restore my life again as you promised.
108 Lord, accept my offering of praise,
    and teach me your regulations.
109 My life constantly hangs in the balance,
    but I will not stop obeying your instructions.

Just as I Am, Without One Plea

Text: Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871 
Music: William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868 

        Just as I am, without one plea, 
        but that thy blood was shed for me, 
        and that thou bidst me come to thee, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
2.      Just as I am, and waiting not 
        to rid my soul of one dark blot, 
        to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
3.      Just as I am, though tossed about 
        with many a conflict, many a doubt, 
        fightings and fears within, without, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
4.      Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; 
        sight, riches, healing of the mind, 
        yea, all I need in thee to find, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
5.      Just as I am, thou wilt receive, 
        wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; 
        because thy promise I believe, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
6.      Just as I am, thy love unknown 
        hath broken every barrier down; 
        now, to be thine, yea thine alone, 
        O Lamb of God, I come, I come.