The four F-E-A-Rs of life

My Pondering

There are four fear of life, just as there are four types of love. People often confuse them. The four are:

False – Evidence – Appearing – Real

(See past lies to truth)

Contrary to modern popular thought, there is a real devil. His name is Lucifer, at least it was. Satan is the father of lies, deception and trickery. He is evil incarnate but he like a chameleon. He is alluring, sexy and powerful on the surface yet rotten, putrid and demeaning at his core. One moment of sinful pleasure leads to a world of forever hurt.

He duped Eve and complicit Adam. He fakes a lot of people out. Literally everyone at some point but not Jesus, thank God.

This type if FEAR is false. It’s fake. It’s not real; an illusion. We need to know the truth and punch through this type of FEAR. Positive affirmations overcome this kind of FEAR. Counting your blessings help overcome the stinking thinking. Don’t permit the devils thumb to keep you depressed.

Forget – Everything – And – Run

(Flee danger to safety)

This is a legitimate fear so that we don’t get hurt. Its about not to touching the hot stove, not running across the street without looking both ways, not disobeying your parents, not breaking the law. Flee from evil. Don’t place yourself into weakness and temptation. Think twice before speaking, think three times before doing.

It’s based on staying safe and plenty of NOTs. It also has plenty of to DO. Like being prepared. It’s practicing the 5p’s – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Think first aid kits, security systems, locking the doors at night, getting home off the streets before midnight.

In a spiritual self sense, we are sheep for the slaughter against Satan and his demons – without our Spiritual armor, without the support of our angelic host, with the power of righteous fervent prayer and with the Word.

So flee temptation and avoid weaknesses inherent in your flesh. Know thyself. Sometimes the best way to avoid losing a battle, is to avoid it…especially when outgunned.

Face – Everything – And – Rise

(Stand up and fight, be brave!)

When God calls and equips, fight the good fate. Hate what He hates. Love the sinner but hate the sin. When your back is up against the wall, stand and fight.

This especially when we need to armor up and join your band of brothers. There are no Lone Rangers, for even he had his trusty horse Silver and his friend Tonto.

There is a time and place for everything. A time for peace and a time for war. Sometimes, just by couraging up, these FEARS flee and dissipate.

Bear in mind, our greatest power comes from our ally in Heaven. Our prominent power comes by prayer.

Forever – Enthralling – Awesome/And – Respectful

Holy FEAR

Last but far from least is Holy FEAR. This is the beginning of all wisdom as Solomon and his father David spoke of much. God is almighty and it is a dreadful thing for a sinful person to encounter the supremely righteousness and holy God.

As CS Lewis wrote in the Chronicle of Narnia regarding Aslon, the Lion character representing Christ the Lord, “He is not safe but He is good.”

God is forever holy, righteous and just. He will not be mocked…for long. He who laughs last, lasts best. God doesn’t laugh at our woeful predicaments but He does laugh at our defiant foolery.

God is enthralling. He us mysteriously remarkable. He encompasses all that is good.

He is awesome to no ends. Mighty in power and wit. God is utterly invincible and worthy of worship.

God deserves our respect and awe for not only what He has done, is doing and shall do but more so for who He is. The Holy of Holy; the great I AM.

This person deserves and demands our full obedience and respect. This is what a Holy FEAR is.

Summation

As we stay fixed and focused upon what is essential TRUTH, as we move from temptation to SAFETY, when we are a BRAVE lion heart, all the while acknowledging God in a RESPECTFUL manner overcoming the negative debilitating FEAR skying to the HOLY empowering FEAR Whose core is LOVE.

Do not merely… – Paul, Philippians 2:4

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests,

but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4

Supporting Scriptures

Romans 14:19-22

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another

Matthew 25:40

The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’

Select Commentary

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Look not every man on his own things – That is, be not selfish. Do not let your care and attention be wholly absorbed by your own concerns, or by the concerns of your own family. Evince a tender interest for the happiness of the whole, and let the welfare of others lie near your hearts. This, of course, does not mean that there is to be any improper interference in the business of others, or that we are to have the character of “busy-bodies in other people’s matters” (compare the 2 Thessalonians 3:11, note; 1 Timothy 5:13, note; 1 Peter 4:15, note); but that we are to regard with appropriate solicitude the welfare of others, and to strive to do them good.


But every man also on the things of others – It is the duty of every man to do this. No one is at liberty to live for himself or to disregard the wants of others. The object of this rule is to break up the narrow spirit of selfishness, and to produce a benevolent regard for the happiness of others.

In respect to the rule we may observe:

(1) We are not to be “busybodies” in the concerns of others; see the references above. We are not to attempt to pry into their secret purposes. Every man has his own plans, and thoughts, and intentions, which no other one has a right to look into. Nothing is more odious than a meddler in the concerns of others.

(2) we are not to obtrude our advice where it is not sought, or at unseasonable times and places, even if the advice is in itself good. No one likes to be interrupted to hear advice; and I have no right to require that he should suspend his business in order that I may give him counsel.

(3) we are not to find fault with what pertains exclusively to him. We are to remember that there are some things which are his business, not ours; and we are to learn to “possess our souls in patience,” if he does not give just as much as we think be ought to benevolent objects, or if he dresses in a manner not to please our taste, or if he indulges in things which do not accord exactly with our views. He may see reasons for his conduct which we do not; and it is possible that be may be right, and that, if we understood the whole case, we should think and act as he does. We often complain of a man because be does not give as much as we think he ought, to objects of charity; and it is possible that he may be miserably stubborn and narrow. But it is also possible that he may be more embarrassed than we know of; or that he may just then have demands against him of which we are ignorant; or that he may have numerous poor relatives dependent on him; or that he gives much with “the left hand” which is not known by “the right hand.” At any rate, it is his business, not ours; and we are not qualified to judge until we understand the whole case.

(4) we are not to be gossips about the concerns of others. We are not to hunt up small stories, and petty scandals respecting their families; we are not to pry into domestic affairs, and divulge them abroad, and find pleasure in circulating snell things from house to house. There are domestic secrets, which are not to be betrayed; and there is scarcely an offence of a meaner or more injurious character than to divulge to the public what we have seen a family whose hospitality we have enjoyed.

(5) where Christian duty and kindness require us to look into the concerns of others, there should be the utmost delicacy. Even children have their own secrets, and their own plans and amusements, on a small scale, quite as important to them as the greater games which we are playing in life; and they will feel the meddlesomeness of a busybody to be as odious to them as we should in our plans. A delicate parent, therefore, who has undoubtedly a right to know all about his children, will not rudely intrude into their privacies, or meddle with their concerns. So, when we visit the sick, while we show a tender sympathy for them, we should not be too particular in inquiring into their maladies or their feelings. So, when those with whom we sympathize have brought their calamities on themselves by their own fault, we should not ask too many questions about it. We should not too closely examine one who is made poor by intemperance, or who is in prison for crime. And so, when we go to sympathize with those who have been, by a reverse of circumstances, reduced from affluence to penury, we should not ask too many questions. We should let them tell their own story. If they voluntarily make us their confidants, and tell us all about their circumstances, it is well; but let us not drag out the circumstances, or wound their feelings by our impertinent inquiries, or our indiscreet sympathy in their affairs. There are always secrets which the sons and daughters of misfortune would wish to keep to themselves.

However, while these things are true, it is also true that the rule before us positively requires us to show an interest in the concerns of others; and it may be regarded as implying the following things:

(1) We are to feel that the spiritual interests of everyone in the church is, in a certain sense, our own interest. The church is one. It is confederated together for a common object. Each one is entrusted with a portion of the honor of the whole, and the conduct of one member affects the character of all. We are, therefore, to promote, in every way possible, the welfare of every other member of the church. If they go astray, we are to admonish and entreat them; if they are in error, we are to instruct them; if they are in trouble, we are to aid them. Every member of the church has a claim on the sympathy of his brethren, and should be certain of always finding it when his circumstances are such as to demand it.

(2) there are circumstances where it is proper to look with special interest on the temporal concerns of others. It is when the poor, the fatherless, and the afflicted must be sought out in order to be aided and relieved. They are too retiring and modest to press their situation on the attention of others, and they need that others should manifest a generous care in their welfare in order to relieve them. This is not improper interference in their concerns, nor will it be so regarded.

(3) for a similar reason, we should seek the welfare of all others in a spiritual sense. We should seek to arouse the sinner, and lead him to the Saviour. He is blind, and will not come himself; unconcerned, and will not seek salvation; filled with the love of this world, and will not seek a better; devoted to pursuits that will lead him to ruin, and he ought to be apprised of it. It is no more an improper interference in his concerns to apprise him of his condition, and to attempt to lead him to the Saviour, than it is to warn a man in a dark night, who walks on the verge of a precipice, of his peril; or to arouse one from sleep whose house is in flames. In like manner, it is no more meddling with the concerns of another to tell him that there is a glorious heaven which may be his, than it is to apprise a man that there is a mine of golden ore on his farm. It is for the man’s own interest, and it is the office of a friend to remind him of these things. He does a man a favor who tells him that he has a Redeemer, and that there is a heaven to which he may rise; he does his neighbor the greatest possible kindness who apprises him that there is a world of infinite woe, and tells him of an easy way by which he may escape it. The world around is dependant on the church of Christ to be apprised of these truths. The frivolous ones will not warn the fools of their danger; the crowd that presses to the theater or the ballroom will not apprise those who are there that they are in the broad way to hell; and everyone who loves his neighbor, should feel sufficient interest in him to tell him that he may be eternally happy in heaven.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Look, not every man on his own things,…. Not but that a man should take care of his worldly affairs, and look well unto them, and provide things honest in the sight of all men, for himself and his family, otherwise he would be worse than an infidel; but he is not to seek his own private advantage, and prefer it to a public good; accordingly the Syriac version reads it, “neither let anyone be careful of himself, but also everyone of his neighbour”; and the Arabic version thus, “and let none of you look to that which conduces to himself alone, but let everyone of you look to those things which may conduce to his friend”; but this respects spiritual things, and spiritual gifts: a Christian should not seek his own honour and applause, and to have his own will, and a point in a church carried his own way, but should consult the honour of Christ, the good of others, and the peace of the church; he should not look upon his own gifts, he may look upon them, and ascribe them to the grace of God, and make use of them to his glory, but not to admire them, or himself for them, and pride himself in them, and lift up himself above others, neglecting and taking no notice of the superior abilities of others:
but every man also on the things of others; not on their worldly things, busying himself with other men’s matters, and which he has nothing to do with, but on the sentiments and reasons of others; which he should well weigh and consider, and if they outdo and overbalance his own, should yield unto them; he should take notice of the superior gifts of others, and own and acknowledge them; which is the way to submit to one another in the fear of God, and to promote truth, friendship, and love

My Pondering

A person wrapped up in himself is a very small package.

God knows we have needs. He wants us to have ambition, thrive, pursue excellent, win, conquer and have dominion. He also wants us to live and love for Him for God makes all things possible. He no doubts also wants us to be a giver, for givers gain.

The golden rule….rules Check this post out. CLICK

It is natural to put ourselves first. You don’t have to teach little children to think the world is all about them. God made it so. Yet, as we mature we need to share and grow. We should love because God first and foremost loved us…even as we were not deserving of love being ensnared in our sin state.

God made it so:

What goes around, comes around. Sooner or later, for good and greater or bad and sad. The choice is truly ours.

There is a lot we don’t control but there is plenty we do. Namely our Attitude and Actions.

So when we are deciding how to spend our time, talent and treasure we should filter all our thoughts and actions with these three questions:

  • 1. Does it glorify God? Is it within the realm of His provision and countenance? If it leads into eternity as a good deed, with a promised reward, even better.
  • 2. Does it contribute to what others want and need? (especially those nearest and dearest to the situation at hand)
  • 3. Is it an essential need or decent want of mine? Does it bring you closer to your goals? Does it empower a primary purpose of yours?

The more and better you, we, operate in the trifecta maximizing WIN – WIN – WIN the more and better.

We make a living by what we get,

we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

God is a God of eternal abundance operating in the natural and supernatural universe He created and manages to this day. There are both finite and infinite principles working simultaneously. As we need to think and act holistically with people and relationships and our wants, we also should with every aspect of life including:

  • the natural and supernatural of physics and spirit
  • the past, present and future of time
  • immediate gratification and deferred reward
  • and so much more…

Ponder that reader….

Share with us, what other dynamics may be prudent and wise for us to think and feel holistically about?

Delight yourself in the LORD… Psalms 37:4

My Pondering

This verse is key to the Judeo-Christian life, to long term fulfillment and happiness. It’s way beyond religion; it’s relationship.

First, we see we have an admonition >>> to delight. It’s signifies our ability to exercise our free will, our condition, our desire to seek God. From ultimate micro to ultimate macro, God is in it, on it and by it. This little verse is so mighty. What we truly delight in is what we like and more so love – the most important of all >>> LOVE GOD.

Then, in natural response as the parent of the whole universe, He gives us the desires of our heart. When we are enamored in God, our desires are divinely elevated and our senses are tuned to His.

The birds have a new song.

The sun’s rise is more beautiful.

The stars shine brighter. Our hearts are fuller.

Life carries more purpose.

God is closer.

More, more, more

He sure does. Oh what a tangled web he tricks us to weave, when we deceive…ourselves and others.

There is a healthy balance and harmony between contented and striving to be better, between abiding and striving to improve, to be a rest and working. Both are essential but always needing, “more, more, more” is an unhealthy addiction.

More, more, more” is usually a false idol. Outside of God, “more, more, more” is an empty promise that leads use away.

More money, power, sex, drugs,…

This song by Billy Idol extols that…though catchy and cool, it’s path is a dead end. No human or vice is that awesome.

From his name, ‘Idol’
To the lyrics, “more, more, more”
To the colors, “red and black”
It reeks, even though attractive and edgy, it’s path ends in destruction.

Oh, how we need discernment and clarity.

When we got God and He has gots us, we gots more than enough…forevermore.

Live at peace; as possible – Romans 12:17-19

My Pondering

This doesn’t mean don’t defend your loved ones and yourself from evil or harm. It means don’t be filled with vengeance.

In the latest Batman movie, Batman realized the vengeance he had to right the terrible wrong from his parent’s death was eating at his heart and making him not much better than the perpetrators.

Yes, everyone deserves justice. Ultimately, we have two options:

Remain bitter or get better.

I couldn’t but help notice the IF in v18. Some peeps are downright evil and we are called in other passages to hate what God hates. No doubt this should be the exception rather than the norm.

This really resonates with me: “Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody.”…aaah wholistic perspective. Get out of yourself, from behind your own eyes for a moment and see the BIG picture.

We are wise to understand that God’s ways are higher than our ways. We should rise high as possible and ‘kill ’em kindness’. A few verses later, Paul exhorts us to:

God obviously realizes we are human. He knows our imperfections. In the end and this present moment, God is best suited and most able to discern between rewards and wrath, grace and truth, and forgiveness and justice. So He tells us to leave the vengeance to Him, we can’t do it nearly as well as He.

Let’s Pray

God, you are mighty…outside of you, we are not. God you are all; ALL and AWE. We trust you. We know You got us. This world is hard sometimes but You are goof all-times. Help us dear Lord to overcome and persevere. We know some how, some way…You will make it all work out for Your glory and our best.

Governance and God – Benjamin Franklin

My Pondering

Franklin wasn’t a perfect man but he sure was a wise one.

He as an inventor, publisher, writer, statesman, ambassador and so much more.

This world we live in, this country of America is becoming more and more governed without the blessing of God and His political Providence .

We can create all the laws we want, scream to the clouds, march back and forth across the whole land but without God’s blessing, it is futile.

Without God, massacres will occur more and more.

Without God, babies will be aborted daily by the thousands.

Without God, their will be violence in the street, steadily increasing.

In the early 1960’s, some in this country thought it would be better to remove prayer to God in the classroom. They thought it smart to teach evolution as a proven science. They wanted to erect a new wall to keep God out government and their secular lives. They declared the Bible taboo and irrelevant.

Look what has happened since:

Franklin wasn’t a devoutly religious man but he was a keen student and very observant. America, we should heed his advice. God will NOT be mocked. We should not take His patience, long suffering and grace for granted.

Hey ‘Merica, Europe and most of the world, our society is out of order like this elevator.

Let’s Pray

There is ONLY one solution to our ills:

and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

The heart

I submit that the #1 problem in ‘Merica, the whole world for that matter is Heart Disease…and I am not even talking what kills more Americans physically….I am referring to emotional illness and all kinds of sin and evil from which comes mass shooters, abortion, divided families, unhealthy addictions, immorality, and a whole litany of issues.

This passage again tells us a lot.

Here is Jesus explaining it another way from Matthew 7:

14Once again Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “All of you, listen to Me and understand: 15Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him; but the things that come out of a man, these are what defile him.”

17After Jesus had left the crowd and gone into the house, His disciples inquired about the parable.

18“Are you still so dull?” He asked. “Do you not understand? Nothing that enters a man from the outside can defile him, 19because it does not enter his heart, but it goes into the stomach and then is eliminated.” (Thus all foods are clean.)i

20He continued: “What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. 21For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,j 22greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”

“Guard your heart with all diligence,

for from it flow springs of life”

Proverbs 4:23

“Their feet run to evil; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are sinful thoughts; ruin and destruction lie in their wake.”

Isaiah 59:7

Ultimately, we are our own worst enemies, at least the intrinsic sin we were born into, that we inherited by our flesh, from our hearts. There is no way on God’s green earth we can fix ourselves. We all are standing inside the bucket with no way to lift it sufficiently not permanently. Oh we have some partial remedies and surface level fixes. They may take the edge of for a few. Often times, we deal with the symptoms and not the core issues which ends up exasperating the original problem exponentially greater.

The mind of the flesh is death,

but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace,

Romans 8:6

We need to look outside of ourselves for the answer. The one and only ultimate answer lies within our Creator. He gave us His word for our help. He sent His one and only Son to fix the ultimate problem of sin. Yet, it is a work in progress to a most certain extent. When Christ went back to Heaven until the time is right for His grand return, the Holy Spirit stepped in to the world in a fresh, new way. We need to lean on the Spirit, impregnate out thoughts with Scripture and pray like our very lives depend on it. Check this verse out:

“And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Romans 8:27

We have been instructed how to live. I guarantee you these recent mass killer of innocent people all the way back to Cain did not do these two things, the #1 and #2 commands God gives us:

“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND;

AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

Luke 10:27

When we do that; love God and love others it all works out as we are promised in the passage following Romans 8:27,

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Romans 8:28

Please don’t overlook a key word in that above passage…love.

We can’t make sense out of this fallen world. There is no logic in evil. We can’t possibly make sense out of nonsense. We can however do this:

“To the LORD I cry aloud,”

Psalms 3:4a

and He doesn’t leave us hanging for long

“and He answers me from His holy mountain.”

Selah

Psalms 3:4b

Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Psalm 3:5-6

DAVID’S PLEA FOR PURITY – Psalm 51:10-12

(This is kind of long, full of rich words and packed full of spiritual wisdom… I need to read about 10 more times)

DAVID’S PLEA FOR PURITY

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Psalm 51:10 – 12

MacLaren’s Expositions:
We ought to be very thankful that the Bible never conceals the faults of its noblest men. David stands high among the highest of these. His words have been for ages the chosen expression for the devotions of the holiest souls; and whoever has wished to speak longings after purity, lowly trust in God, the aspirations of love, or the raptures of devotion, has found no words of his own more natural than those of the poet-king of Israel. And this man sins, black, grievous sin. Self-indulgent, he stays at home while his army is in the field. His moral nature, relaxed by this shrinking from duty, is tempted, and easily conquered. The sensitive poet nature, to which all delights of eye and sense appeal so strongly, is for a time too strong for the devout soul. One sin drags on another. As self-indulgence opened the door for lust, so lust, which dwells hard by hate, draws after it murder. The king is a traitor to his subjects, the soldier untrue to the chivalry of arms, the friend the betrayer of the friend. Nothing can be blacker than the whole story, and the Bible tells the shameful history in all its naked ugliness.

Many a precious lesson is contained in it. For instance, It is not innocence which makes men good. ‘This is your man after God’s own heart, is it?’ runs the common, shallow sneer. Yes; not that God thought little of his foul sin, nor that ‘saints’ make up for adultery and murder by making or singing psalms; not that ‘righteousness’ as a standard of conduct is lower than ‘morality’; but that, having fallen, he learned to abhor his sin, and with deepened trust in God’s mercy, and many tears, struggled out of the mire, and with unconquered resolve and strength drawn from a divine source, sought still to press towards the mark. It is not the attainment of purity, not the absence of sin, but the presence and operation, though it be partial, of an energy which is at war with all impurity, that makes a man righteous. That is a lesson worth learning.

Again, David was not a hypocrite because of this fall of his. All sin is inconsistent with a religious character. But it is not for us to say what sin is incompatible with a religious character.

Again, the worst sin is not some outburst of gross transgression, forming an exception to the ordinary tenor of a life, bad and dismal as such a sin is; but the worst and most fatal are the small continuous vices, which root underground and honeycomb the soul. Many a man who thinks himself a Christian, is in more danger from the daily commission, for example, of small pieces of sharp practice in his business, than ever was David at his worst. White ants pick a carcase clean sooner than a lion will.

Most precious of all is the lesson as to the possibility of all sin being effaced, and of the high hopes which even a man sunk in transgression has a right to cherish, as to the purity and beauty of character to which he may come. What a prayer these clauses contain to be offered by one who has so sinned! What a marvellous faith in God’s pardoning love, and what a boldness of hope in his own future, they disclose! They set forth a profound ideal of a noble character; they make of that ideal a prayer; they are the prayer of a great transgressor, who is also a true penitent. In all these aspects they are very remarkable, and lead to valuable lessons. Let us look at them from these points of view successively.

I. Observe that here is a remarkable outline of a holy character.

It is to be observed that of these three gifts-a right spirit, Thy Holy Spirit, a free spirit-the central one alone is in the original spoken of as God’s; the ‘Thy’ of the last clause of the English Bible being an unnecessary supplement. And I suppose that this central petition stands in the middle, because the gift which it asks is the essential and fundamental one, from which there flow, and as it were, diverge on the right hand and on the left, the other two. God’s Holy Spirit given to a man makes the human spirit holy, and then makes it ‘right’ and ‘free.’ Look then at the petitions, not in the order in which they stand in the text, but in the order which the text indicates as the natural one.

Now as to that fundamental petition, ‘Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me,’ one thing to notice is that David regards himself as possessing that Spirit. We are not to read into this psalm the fully developed New Testament teaching of a personal Paraclete, the Spirit whom Christ reveals and sends. To do that would be a gross anachronism. But we are to remember that it is an anointed king who speaks, on whose head there has been poured the oil that designated him to his office, and in its gentle flow and sweet fragrance, symbolised from of old the inspiration of a divine influence that accompanied every divine call. We are to remember, too, how it had fared with David’s predecessor. Saul had been chosen by God; had been for a while guided and upheld by God. But he fell into sin, and-not because he fell into it, but because he continued in it; not because he did wrong, but because he did not repent-the solemn words are recorded concerning him, that ‘the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.’ The divine influence which came on the towering head of the son of Kish, through the anointing oil that Samuel poured upon his raven hair, left him, and he stood God-forsaken because he stood God-forsaking. And so David looks back from the ‘horrible pit and miry clay’ into which he had fallen, where, stained with blood and lust, he lies, to that sad gigantic figure, remembered so well and loved by him so truly-the great king who sinned away his soul, and bled out his life on the heights of Gilboa. He sees in that blasted pine-tree, towering above the forest but dead at the top, and barked and scathed all down the sides by the lightning scars of passion, the picture of what he himself will come to, if the blessing that was laid upon his ruddy locks and his young head by the aged Samuel’s anointing should pass from him too as it had done from his predecessor. God had departed from Saul, because Saul had refused His counsel and departed from Him; and Saul’s successor, trembling as he remembers the fate of the founder of the monarchy, and of his vanished dynasty, prays with peculiar emphasis of meaning, ‘Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me!’

That Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, had descended upon him when he was anointed king, but it was no mere official consecration which he had thereby received. He had been fitted for regal functions by personal cleansing and spiritual gifts. And it is the man as well as the king, the sinful man much rather than the faulty king, that here wrestles with God, and stays the heavenly Visitant whom his sin has made to seem as if He would depart. What he desires most earnestly, next to that pardon which he has already sought and found, is that his spirit should be made holy by God’s Spirit. That is, as I have said, the central petition of his threefold prayer, from which the others come as natural consequences.

And what is this ‘holiness’ which David so earnestly desires? Without attempting any lengthened analysis of the various shades of meaning in the word, our purpose will be served if I point out that in all probability the primary idea in it is that of separation. God is holy-that is, separated by all the glory of His perfect nature from His creatures. Things are holy-that is, separated from common uses, and appropriated to God’s service. Whatever He laid His hand on and claimed in any especial manner for His, became thereby holy, whether it were a ceremony, or a place, or a tool. Men are holy when they are set apart for God’s service, whether they be officially consecrated for certain offices, or have yielded themselves by an inward devotion based on love to be His.

The ethical signification which is predominant in our use of the word and has made it little more than a synonym for moral purity is certainly not the original meaning, as is sufficiently clear from the fact that the word is applied to material things which could have no moral qualities, and sometimes to persons who were not pure, but who were in some sense or other set apart for God’s service. But gradually that meaning becomes more and more completely attached to the word, and ‘holiness’ is not only separation for God, but separation from sin. That is what David longs for in this prayer; and the connection of these two meanings of the word is worth pointing out in a sermon, for the sake of the great truth which it suggests, that the basis of all rightness and righteousness in a human spirit is its conscious and glad devotion to God’s service and uses. A reference to God must underlie all that is good in men, and on the other hand, that consecration to God is a delusion or a deception which does not issue in separation from evil.

‘Holiness’ is a loftier and a truer word than ‘morality,’ ‘virtue,’ or the like; it differs from these in that it proclaims that surrender to God is the very essence of all good, while they seek to construct a standard for human conduct, and to lay a foundation for human goodness, without regard to Him. Hence, irreligious moralists dislike the very word, and fall back upon pale, colourless phrases rather than employ it. But these are inadequate for the purpose. Man’s duties can never be summed up in any expression which omits man’s relation to God. How do I stand to Him? Do I belong to Him by joyous yielding of myself to be His instrument? That, my friends! is the question, the answer to which determines everything about me. Rightly answered, there will come all fruits of grace and beauty in the character as a natural consequence; ‘whatsoever things are lovely and of good report,’ every virtue and every praise grow from the root of consecration to God. Wrongly answered, there will come only fruits of selfishness and evil, which may simulate virtue, but the blossom shall go up in dust, and the root in stubble. Do you seek purity, nobleness, strength, and beauty of soul? Learn that all these inhere in and flow from the one act of giving up yourself to God, and in their truest perfection are found only in the spirit that is His. Holiness considered as moral excellence is the result of holiness considered as devotion to God. And learn too that holiness in both aspects comes from the operation and indwelling in our spirits of a divine Spirit, who draws away our love from self to fix it on Him, which changes our blindness into sight, and makes us by degrees like Himself, ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.’ The Spirit of the Lord is the energy which produces all righteousness and purity in human spirits.

Therefore, all our desires after what is good and true should shape themselves into the desire for that Spirit. Our prayer should be, ‘Make me separate from evil, and that I may be so, claim and keep me for Thine own. As Thou hast done with the Sabbath amongst the days, with the bare summit of the hill of the Lord’s house among the mountains, with Israel amidst the nations, so do with me; lay Thine hand upon me for Thine own. Let my spirit, O God! know its destination for Thee, its union with Thee. Then being Thine, it will be clean. Dwell in me, that I may know myself Thine. Seal me with that gracious influence which is the proof that Thou possessest me, and the pledge that I possess Thee. “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”‘ So much for the chief of these petitions, which gives the ideal character in its deepest relations. There follow two other elements in the character, which on either side flow from the central source. The holy spirit in a man will be a right spirit and a free spirit. Consider these further thoughts in turn.

‘A right spirit.’ You will observe that our translators have given an alternative rendering in the margin, and as is not seldom the case, it is a better one than that adopted in the text. ‘A constant or firm spirit’ is the Psalmist’s meaning. He sees that a spirit which is conscious of its relation to God, and set free from the perturbations of sin, will be a spirit firm and settled, established and immovable in its obedience and its faith. For Him, the root of all steadfastness is in consecration to God.

And so this collocation of ideas opens the way for us to important considerations bearing upon the practical ordering of our natures and of our lives. For instance, there is no stability and settled persistency of righteous purpose possible for us, unless we are made strong because we lay hold on God’s strength, and stand firm because we are rooted in Him. Without that hold-fast, we shall be swept away by storms of calamity or by gusts of passion. Without that to steady us, our own boiling lusts and desires will make every fibre of our being quiver and tremble. Without that armour, there will not be solidity enough in our character to bear without breaking the steady pressure of the world’s weight, still less the fierce hammering of special temptation. To stand erect, and in that sense to have a right spirit-one that is upright and unbent-we must have sure footing in God, and have His energy infused into our shrinking limbs. If we are to be stable amidst earthquakes and storms, we must be built on the rock, and build rock-like upon it. Build thy strength upon God. Let His Holy Spirit be the foundation of thy life, and then thy tremulous and vagrant soul will be braced and fixed. The building will become like the foundation, and will grow into ‘a tower of strength that stands four-square to every wind.’ Rooted in God, thou shalt be unmoved by ‘the loud winds when they call’; or if still the tremulous leaves are huddled together before the blast, and the swaying branches creak and groan, the bole will stand firm and the gnarled roots will not part from their anchorage, though the storm-giant drag at them with a hundred hands. The spirit of holiness will be a firm spirit.

But there is another phase of connection between these two points of the ideal character-if my spirit is to be holy and to preserve its holiness, it must be firm. That is to say, you can only get and keep purity by resistance. A man who has not learned to say ‘No!’-who is not resolved that he will take God’s way in spite of every dog that can bay or bark at him, in spite of every silvery voice that woos him aside-will be a weak and a wretched man till he dies. In such a world as this, with such hearts as ours, weakness is wickedness in the long run. Whoever lets himself be shaped and guided by anything lower than an inflexible will, fixed in obedience to God, will in the end be shaped into a deformity and guided to wreck and ruin. Dreams however rapturous, contemplations however devout, emotions however deep and sacred, make no man pure and good without hard effort, and that to a large extent in the direction of resistance. Righteousness is not a mere negative idea, and Scripture morality is something much deeper than prohibitions. But there is no law for us without prohibitions, and no righteousness without casting out evil that is strong in us, and fighting against evil that is attractive around us. Therefore we need firmness to guard holiness, to be the hard shell in which the rich fruit matures. We need a wholesome obstinacy in the right that will neither be bribed nor coaxed nor bullied, nor anyhow persuaded out of the road in which we know that we should walk. ‘Add to your faith manly vigour.’ Learn that an indispensable requisite of holiness is prescribed in that command, ‘Whom resist, steadfast in the faith.’ And remember that the ground of all successful resistance and the need for it are alike taught in that series of petitions, which makes a holy spirit the foundation of a constant spirit, and a constant spirit the guard of a holy spirit.

Then consider, for a moment, the third element in the character which David longs to possess-a free spirit. He who is holy because full of God’s Spirit, and constant in his holiness, will likewise be ‘free.’ That is the same word which is in other places translated ‘willing’-and the scope of the Psalmist’s desire is, ‘Let my spirit be emancipated from sin by willing obedience.’ This goes very deep into the heart of all true godliness. The only obedience which God accepts is that which gladly, and almost as by an instinctive inward impulse, harmonises the human will with the divine. ‘Lo! I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, and Thy law is within my heart.’ That is a blessed thought, that we may come to do Him service not because we must, but because we like; not as serfs, but as sons; not thinking of His law as a slave-driver that cracks his whip over our heads, but as a friend that lets us know how we may please Him whom it is our delight to obey. And so the Psalmist prays, ‘Let my obedience be so willing that I had rather do what Thou wilt than anything besides.’

‘Then,’ he thinks, ‘I shall be free.’ Of course-for the correlative of freedom is lawful authority, and the definition of freedom is willing submission. If for us duty is joy, and all our soul’s desires flow with an equable motion parallel to the will of God, then there is no sense of restraint in keeping within the limits beyond which we do not seek to go. The willing spirit sets us free, free from the ‘ancient solitary reign’ of the despot Self, free from the mob rule of passions and appetites, free from the incubus of evil habits, free from the authority of men’s voices and examples. Obedience is freedom to them that have learned to love the lips that command. We are set free that we may serve: ‘O Lord! truly I am Thy servant; Thou hast loosed my bonds.’ We are set free in serving: ‘I will walk at liberty, for I keep Thy precepts.’ Let a willing, free spirit uphold me.

II. Observe, too, that desires for holiness should become prayers.

David does not merely long for certain spiritual excellences; he goes to God for them. And his reasons for doing so are plain. If you will look at the former verses of this psalm, you will see that he had found out two things about his sin, both of which make him sure that he can only be what he should be by God’s help. He had learned what his crimes were in relation to God, and he had further learned what they indicated about himself. The teaching of his bitter experience as to the former of these two matters lies in that saying which some people have thought strange. ‘Against Thee only have I sinned.’ What! Had he not committed a crime against human law? had he not harmed Uriah and Bathsheba? were not his deeds an offence to his whole kingdom? Yes, he knew all that; but he felt that over and above all that was black in his deed, considered in its bearing upon men, it was still blacker when it was referred to God; and a sadder word than ‘crime’ or ‘fault’ had to be used about it. I have done wrong as against my fellows, but worse than that, I have sinned against God. The notion of sin implies the notion of God. Sin is wilful transgression of the law of God. An atheist can have no conception of sin. But bring God into human affairs, and men’s faults immediately assume the darker tint, and become men’s sins. Therefore the need of prayer if these evils are to be blotted out. If I had done crime against man only, I should not need to ask God for pardon or cleansing; but I have sinned against Him, and done this evil in His sight, therefore my desires for deliverance address themselves to Him, and my longings for purity must needs break into the cry of entreaty to that God with whom are forgiveness and redemption from all iniquity.

And still further, looking at the one deed, he sees in it something more than an isolated act. It leads him down to its motive; that motive carries him to the state of mind in which it could have power; that state of mind, in which the motive could have power, carries him still deeper to the bias of his nature as he had received it from his parents. And thinking of how he had fallen, how upon his terraced palace roof there the eye had inflamed the heart, and the heart had yielded so quickly to the temptations of the eye, he finds no profounder explanation of the disastrous eclipse of goodness than this: ‘Behold! I was shapen in iniquity.’

Is that a confession or a palliation, do you think? Is he trying to shuffle off guilt from his own shoulders? By no means, for these words are the motive for the prayer, ‘Purge me, and I shall be clean.’ That is to say, he has learned that isolated acts of sin inhere in a common root, and that root a disposition inherited from generation to generation to which evil is familiar and easy, to which good, alas! is but too alien and unwelcome. None the less is the evil done his deed. None the less has he to wail in full consciousness of his individual responsibility: ‘Against Thee have I sinned.’ But the effect of this second discovery, that sin has become so intertwisted with his being that he cannot shake off the venomous beast into the fire and feel no harm, is the same as that of the former-to drive him to God, who alone can heal the nature and separate the poison from his blood.

Dear friends! there are some of you who are wasting your lives in paroxysms of fierce struggle with the evil that you have partially discovered in yourselves, alternating with long languor, fits of collapse and apathy, and who make no solid advance, just because you will not lay to heart these two convictions-your sin has to do with God, and your sins come from a sinful nature. Because of the one fact, you must go to God for pardon; because of the other, you must go to God for cleansing. There, in your heart, like some black well-head in a dismal bog, is the source of all the swampy corruption that fills your life. You cannot stanch it, you cannot drain it, you cannot sweeten it. Ask Him, who is above your nature and without it, to change it by His own new life infused into your spirit. He will heal the bitter waters. He alone can. Sin is against God; sin comes from an evil heart; therefore, if your longings for that ideal perfectness are ever to be fulfilled, you must make prayers of them, and cry to Him who hears, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God! take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.’

III. Finally, observe that prayers for perfect cleansing are permitted to the lips of the greatest sinners.

Such longings as these might seem audacious, when the atrocity of the crime is remembered, and by man’s standard they are so. Let the criminal be thankful for escape, and go hide himself, say men’s pardons. But here is a man, with the evil savour of his debauchery still tainting him, daring to ask for no mere impunity, but for God’s choicest gifts. Think of his crime, think of its aggravations from God’s mercies to him, from his official position, from his past devotion. Remember that this cruel voluptuary is the sweet singer of Israel, who had taught men songs of purer piety and subtler emotion than the ruder harps of older singers had ever flung from their wires. And this man, so placed, so gifted, set up on high to be the guiding light of the nation, has plunged into the filth of these sins, and quenched all his light there. When he comes back penitent, what will he dare to ask? Everything that God can give to bless and gladden a soul. He asks for God’s Spirit, for His presence, for the joy of His salvation; to be made once again, as he had been, the instrument that shall show forth His praise, and teach transgressors God’s ways. Ought he to have had more humble desires? Does this great boldness show that he is leaping very lightly over his sin? Is he presumptuous in such prayers? God be thanked-no! But, knowing all his guilt, and broken and contrite in heart {crushed and ground to powder, as the words mean}, utterly loathing himself, aware of all the darkness of his deserts, he yet cherishes unconquerable confidence in the pitying love of God, and believes that in spite of all his sin, he may yet be pure as the angels of heaven-ay, even holy as God is holy.

Thank God we have such an example for our heartening! Lay it to heart, brethren! You cannot believe too much in God’s mercy. You cannot expect too much at His hands. He is ‘able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.’ No sin is so great but that, coming straight from it, a repentant sinner may hope and believe that all God’s love will be lavished upon him, and the richest of God’s gifts be granted to his desires. Even if our transgression is aggravated by a previous life of godliness, and have given the enemies great occasion to blaspheme, as David’s did, yet David’s penitence may in our souls lead on to David’s hope, and the answer will not fail us. Let no sin, however dark, however repeated, drive us to despair of ourselves, because it hides from us our loving Saviour. Though beaten back again and again by the surge of our passions and sins, like some poor shipwrecked sailor sucked back with every retreating wave and tossed about in the angry surf, yet keep your face towards the beach, where there is safety, and you will struggle through it all, and though it were but on some floating boards and broken pieces of the ship, will come safe to land. He will uphold you with His Spirit, and take away the weight of sin that would sink you, by His forgiving mercy, and bring you out of all the weltering waste of waters to the solid shore.

So whatever thy evil behaviour, come with it all, and cast thyself before Him, with whom is plenteous redemption. Embrace in one act the two truths, of thine own sin and of God’s infinite mercy in Jesus Christ. Let not the one blind you to the other; let not the one lead you to a morbid despondency, which is blind to Christ, nor the other to a superficial estimate of the deadliness of sin, which is blind to thine own self. Let the Cross teach thee what sin is, and let the dark background of thy sin bring into clear prominence the Cross that bringeth salvation. Know that thou art utterly black and sinful. Believe that God is eternally, utterly, inconceivably, merciful. Learn both, in Him who is the Standard by which we can estimate our sin, and the Proof and Medium of God’s mercy. Trust thyself and all thy foulness to Jesus Christ; and, so doing, look up from whatsoever horrible pit and miry clay thou mayest have fallen into, with this prayer, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God! and renew a right spirit within me, take not Thy Holy Spirit from me, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.’ Then the answer shall come to you from Him who ever puts the best robe upon His returning prodigals, and gives His highest gifts to sinners who repent. ‘From all your filthiness will I cleanse you, a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.’

My Pondering

MacClaren’s writing on this deep psalms is quite inspiring. I just need to ponder all of it.

My Prayer

What David said.

Be sober, be alert and cautious… 1 Peter 5:8

My Pondering

If you aren’t aware, there is a war going on. I am not referencing Russia unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but the war of the world.

Just in the past couple of months, there have been many tragic events going on including a niece of mine overdosing and dying likely due to drugs, a previously nice neighborhood friend of my daughters committing a home invasion, armed robbery and making death threats, another suburban neighbor girl who is now pretending to be and live as a boy and it goes on and on, that just in my limited space not to mention all the tragedies we see on the news…kid’s shooting up their schools, thugs just randomly killing strangers…such hate, such mental distress, such nasty violence and vile.

Yes, there are many complicated reasons the world is screwed up. The bottom line is our enemy, the devil is up to no good. If you aren’t even aware or care that he exists, your own casualty rate goes way up.

The ultimate war we face is spiritual in nature.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

Ephesians 6:12

The whole book of Ephesians chapter 6 is critical in mounting our defense.

The key is not to try to fight in our flesh but from God’s Spirit. Not our flesh, but using God’s armor. Of the spiritual armor at our disposal, there is one offensive weapon, the sword aka God’s word, the Holy Bible.

Here is a brief article to reference.

Here is another blog I recently wrote called SRG living you may find helpful.

Life is hard but God is good. We need all the good we can get.

Let’s Pray

Lord, we need you so much. Help us overcome. We trust and know You are ready, willing and more than able to protect us from the evil one.

In the mighty name of Jesus, cover us!

SRG Living – Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.

Titus 2:11-12

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE


Acts 17:30
Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all men everywhere to repent.

1 Timothy 2:4
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.


Matthew 12:32
Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come.

Acts 24:25
As Paul expounded on righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “You may go for now. When I find the time, I will call for you.”

1 Timothy 6:9
Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:17
Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but in God, who richly provides all things for us to enjoy.

2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Titus 3:3
For at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to all sorts of desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

SELECT COMMENTARY

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Teaching us,…. Not all men, to whom the Gospel appears in its outward ministry; for there are many who externally receive the Gospel, and profess it, who are never influentially taught by it to deny sin, or love holiness of life; they profess in words to know it, but in works deny it; they have a form of godliness, but deny its power: but the persons effectually taught by the Gospel are the “us”, to whom it was come, not in word only, but in power; and so taught them, not only doctrinally, but with efficacy, both negative and positive holiness, as follows:

that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; all impiety, or sin more immediately against God; or which is a violation of the first table of the law, as idolatry, will worship, superstition, perjury, and the like; and all sinful lusts, as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; which fill the world, and are reigning lusts in it, and which are common to the men of the world; and they are under the power of: to “deny” these, is to abhor and detest them, and to abstain from them, and have nothing to do with them: and this lesson of self-denial, or of the denial of sinful self, the Gospel teaches, and urges upon the most powerful motives and arguments; and when attended by the Spirit of God, does it effectually: so that

we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; not, only “temperately”, but wisely and prudently, as children of the light, on whom, and into whom the Gospel has shined; and “righteously” among men, giving to every man his due, and dealing with all according to the rules of equity and justice; as being made new men, created unto righteousness and true holiness; and as being dead to sin, through the death of Christ, and so living unto righteousness, or in a righteous manner; and as being justified by the righteousness of Christ, revealed in the Gospel: and “godly”; in a godly manner, according to the Word of God, and agreeably to the will of God; and in all godly exercises, both public and private, and to the glory of God: and that as long as

in this present world: which lies in wickedness, and in which there are so many strong temptations to a contrary way of living. The Gospel then is no licentious doctrine; it is according to godliness, and teaches and promotes it; it is an holy faith, yea, a most holy faith; wherefore it is a vile slander to charge it with leading to looseness of life and conversation.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
live soberly, righteously, and godly—the positive side of the Christian character; as “denying … lusts” was the negative. “Soberly,” that is, with self-restraint, in relation to one’s self: “righteously” or justly, in relation to our neighbor; “godly” or piously, in relation to God (not merely amiably and justly, but something higher, godly, with love and reverence toward God). These three comprise our “disciplining” in faith and love, from which he passes to hope (Tit 2:13).

Matthew Henry Commentary
The doctrine of grace and salvation by the gospel, is for all ranks and conditions of men. It teaches to forsake sin; to have no more to do with it. An earthly, sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling. It teaches to make conscience of that which is good. We must look to God in Christ, as the object of our hope and worship. A gospel conversation must be a godly conversation. See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer’s heart, with all their hinderances. It teaches to look for the glories of another world.

KIRK’S PONDERING

Because of the lavish grace of God we each have the opportunity and duty to respond accordingly to the good Gospel of Christ. We have the ultimate choice to completely ignore or partially embrace while living double minded as James warns so directly and unequivocally pronounces as ‘unstable’.

Is a carnal Christian a Christian at all?

Ultimately, that is God’s decision and based on a variety of factors. The Bible no doubt warns us repeatedly about a lack of holiness and living for worldliness. Yet we each are all infected by sin. Yet, the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome aspects of our flesh but more importantly He guides us into Christ’s presence and protection where safety abounds and grace is abundant.

Like John says 1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us”. Which is a sin in itself by living a lie.

Love, Trust, Obey and Repent. Repeat. Is this not the Christian mantra in a nutshell?
Love, Trust, Obey and Repent. Repeat. Lord willing, as we mature and are sanctified, we do more of the 1st 3…Love, Trust, Obey.

Inspired Titus urges us to love soberly, righteously, and godly.
That is SRG

LET’S PRAY

LORD, who know me better than I know me. May your Son and Spirit be readily present today and in my all time of need. Help me to effectively embrace Your gracious calling today and forevermore. Down with the old and up with the new.