Solid Joy

“I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey Your Word.” -Psalm 119:158

 Transgressors who have never known God as their Father are to be most pitied. Christians rightly abhor all sin, first starting with our own. It grieves us, because this is what has separated every man and woman from God since the Fall in Eden. This is why God hates sin because sin ushered in death, the curse, which has touched everything. The psalmist is heartsick by the faithless people he encounters because it is to the ruin of their own souls, provoking God to judge. 

 Just as Heaven is a real place, so is Hell, and they are both eternal. We see and feel the effects of sin everyday, in the world and in our own lives. This world isn’t as it should be, which is interesting because even the unregenerate know this, striving to create their own utopia. Faithlessness and disobedience are the children of pride and human autonomy. As we live each day in a world that is not our home, interacting with others, still being tied to our flesh, may the children of God be on high alert to Satan’s schemes. If the devil cannot have our souls, he still seeks to tear down the fruit God has cultivated in us with disobedience. For what use is a paralyzed Christian? Dear Christian, rest in the work Christ has done on your behalf and war against the spiritual realities of evil as we pilgrim through this life. Walk worthy of the calling you have received through Christ with obedience. The faithless live for today, but the faithful live with the Living Hope of God’s past faithfulness, present graces and future promises. God’s holy, eternal judgement toward the faithless is what makes His unending mercy toward redeemed sinners so rich. We are the ones with solid joy. Praise God!

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Romans 8:5-14; Ephesians 5:8-17; 6:10-18; 1 Peter 1:3-16; 5:8-11

Do Not Be Overcome

“Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from Your statutes.” -Psalm 119:157

After focusing on the Lord’s compassion, petitioning Him to preserve his life, the psalmist circles back to his enemies as in verse 155. The writer is stating his case before God, as to what he is up against, yet the servant of God remains blameless. He has not retaliated, taking revenge in his own hands. Any faithful saint will have foes because our Master told us it would be so (John 15:18-25). Sometimes it seems even other Christians are threatened by another’s zeal for the things of God. Do not let that dampen your fervor for your Father in Heaven. Whether the antagonist be within or outside the gate, the heart He gave you to follow Him stays true. Paul encouraged the Roman Christians to not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. This is what happens when we entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly. What is our reputation in the eyes of man, so long as we are blameless before God? Taking the eternal perspective frees us to live before an audience of One and not live for the fear of man.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Romans 12:9-21; 1 Peter 2:9-25; 4:12-19

Filled with compassion

“Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to Your laws.” -Psalm 119:156

I am grateful for God’s compassion. What would it be like to serve an all-powerful Creator who lacked compassion on His creation? I think some view God this way from lack of knowledge about what the Bible actually says regarding the Lord’s character. It can also stem from an unfortunate upbringing where an earthly father was absent or abusive, projecting this understanding of a father onto our Heavenly Father. Whatever the reason, the truth of the matter is found throughout Scripture. The heart of God is made flesh in the heart of Christ. Just as God pursued Adam and Eve in the Garden after they sinned, Jesus sought out the outcasts, the self-righteous, the diseased, the weary- sinners.

The story Jesus told of the prodigal son is a picture of every redeemed sinner coming back to his true Father. And how is the father in the story portrayed? When he sees his wayward son coming home, while he was still a distance away, “his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20). God is perfectly compassionate, perfect in power and justice. He is able to preserve His people however He sees right. Spiritually speaking, His elect are preserved for all eternity because of His great mercy. It is His will to preserve us, so that not one sheep is lost. God blesses such a prayer like the psalmist’s, but it may not be answered in a way he (or we) expects. Our faith is made even more precious when we pray expectantly, waiting on His timing, not ours. Fear not, God is at work mercifully saving and keeping those who belong to Him. This is the second of three prayers in this octave requesting preservation from the Lord.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Luke 15:11-32; John 17:6-26; Ephesians 2:1-10


Come Home

“Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out Your decrees.” -Psalm 119:155

Salvation is far from those who reject God as Truth. Their hearts are hard, their spiritual eyes are blind. Oh that they might draw near to God, to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8). We all like sheep have gone astray, each determining what is right in our own eyes, forming ourselves and other things into little gods. But God, in His rich mercy, saved His elected saints, bringing His children into the Shepherd’s fold, adopted forever as His sons and daughters. We are the ones who are being made truly alive each day, to reflect our Eternal King. Christian, take joy in the gift of your salvation. This is the closest to Hell you will ever be. 

Those who have no appetite for God will be given over to their lusts. Sin, deceit and confusion will rule the rebellious heart (Romans 1:18-32). It should break the heart of every believer to see someone revel in lies. It was never meant to be this way. Yet because we live under a Curse, Jesus came to set us free. For those who belong to Christ Jesus, you are now no longer under condemnation, but grace. His set love is on you, His mercy is unending. 

But how will anyone know they are lost if they do not first hear about God? How will they ever know to seek Someone they have not heard? This is why evangelism is needed. Christians are to proclaim the Good News to others so they too might hear and repent. We cannot save, for this is the Lord’s work. We are simply called to be faithful with what we know to be true. Go and tell. Live out the Gospel truth that through Jesus’ sacrifice of His own body, redeemed sinners are forgiven, because of God’s mercy. Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal peace and fellowship with God (John 14:6). Jesus “has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). If you have never trusted in the saving and finished work of Christ I implore you to go to Jesus today. He is waiting for you to come Home.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Isaiah 53; 55; Romans 10:14-17; Ephesians 1-2:10


Christ our Advocate

“Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to Your promise.” -Psalm 119:154

Here is the first of the psalmist’s plea for preservation. Other translations say “revive” or “give me life”. It is a quickening. The writer asks God to sustain him during his trial. Whether he means physically to keep him alive or his spiritual vitality I do not know. Perhaps it is both. If David penned this psalm, then we know he was surrounded by Saul’s men constantly, hunted down as an animal. They were many in number and strong. Only God could protect him. We do need our bodies and minds to work properly in order to serve God. There is everything right with praying for God’s physical protection. Yet if we are spiritually stagnant, what use are we to God or anyone else? It’s like using a dull ax to chop wood. It is appropriate to pray for life abundant in Jesus- more grace, more love, more of Christ in us.

The psalmist asks the Lord to defend and redeem him. Why? This is not necessarily to save his own skin, but so that the work of God might continue in his heart, mind and soul. He is asking for further transformation and perseverance. If the psalmist is preserved, both physically and spiritually, he may continue on the pilgrim road. His work is not yet done which is to the psalmist’s benefit, as he is pruned little by little, to reflect his Savior. On this particular verse John Gill comments, “Christ is the advocate of his people, their Redeemer, who is mighty, and thoroughly pleads their cause against the accusations of Satan, the charges of law and justice, and the condemnation of their own hearts; as well as defends their innocence from the calumnies of wicked men, and rights their wrongs, and redresses their grievances;”. Paul writes in his letter to the Roman Christians, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) The psalmist can look forward to the future graces of his spiritual inheritance knowing God is on his side and will intercede for him. El Shaddai defends His beloved permanently from the invisible realities because He has overcome death and Satan. The Serpent Crusher is greater than the one who is in the world.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: John 15:18-27; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 6:12-13; Hebrews 10:5-23


“Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten Your law.” -Psalm 119:153

Praying for what we know the Lord can do and will answer in His time is a source of great comfort. We don’t know when or how the deliverance will come, but trust Him to be our help. Will He relieve our earthly pain in this specific case? Or will a reception from Heaven be our sweet welcome as we cast off the burdens of this life, delivered eternally from heartache? God already sees the psalmist’s pain and the writer knows this. Yet he asks for God to look closer, with compassion, and act. Whatever the outcome, the psalmist will not let go of God’s laws. He has resolved to live out his faith and worship the One True God no matter what. We cannot always understand God’s reasons or timing in events, but we can know His heart is for sinners and sufferers. This is why Jesus went to the cross, to take our place. No matter what happens this side of Heaven, those in Christ will be eternally delivered.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Job 17:1-9; 19:23-29; Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Corinthians 4:8-18

Preservation and Power

153″Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten Your law. 154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to Your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out Your decrees. 156 Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to Your laws. 157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from Your statutes. 158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey Your Word. 159 See how I love Your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to Your love. 160 All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal.” -Psalm 119:153-160 Resh

The psalmist prays for the Lord to preserve him three times in this prayer. He asks God to preserve his life according to His promise, laws, and love. This octave is similar to the previous Qoph (vv.145-152). There are parallels in the writer’s petition, reflection of the wicked, and praise of God’s eternal words. Verse 160 emphasizes what is said earlier in verses 151-152, proclaiming God’s words as true and eternal. In both octaves the psalmist is in distress, petitioning for the Lord’s deliverance (vv.145-149/153-154). He is surrounded by the wicked, who are God’s enemies, in verse 150 and vv. 157-158. Whether these prayers were written over the same affliction or separate matters, I do not know. But the psalmist once again places his cause and trust in God’s hands. He is asking for the Lord to be his defense, Jehovah Maginnenu. 

The psalmist’s prayer and example are ours to imitate. His faith brings him to trust in God’s promises, His law, which demonstrates God’s perfect justice, and His covenantal love, which knows no end. The same God the writer cries out to is the same Lord whose strong arm rules with complete power today. If we ever need to be reminded of God’s transcendence and sovereignty, especially in a world where wickedness and confusion rule the day, look no further than the Bible. Like in the days of Noah, right up until the flood, evil seemed to be winning. There were 400 years of silence from God’s prophets before the Light of the World broke through. Then everything changed. Jesus came in the silence of night, unassuming, as a baby. The King is coming again but this time, all the world will know it. He will come as a warrior on a white horse. In the end, the psalmist’s prayer is fully answered in the future deliverance of God’s people at the end of Time. This too, is our great hope, as we look back on God’s past faithfulness, His present help and future graces.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Isaiah 40; Matthew 24:36-44; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 19:6-16


His Robes For Mine

“Long ago I learned from Your statues that You established them to last forever.” -Psalm 119:152

One reason I began this blog was to tell of God’s faithfulness in my life. Through secondary infertility and parenting a child with autism, the Lord has taught me more of His character and promises which I continue to cling to. It is by the work of His grace I have faith to believe all of His ways to be good, but it is also through experience. If you’re anything like me, I tend to learn the hard way. I, like doubting Thomas, want to be shown. In His great patience and kindness, my Father has revealed Himself to me experientially through means of grace. I have also learned God is who He says He is by reading and observing other believers. Whether it is a person in the Bible, a Christian biography or someone I know, the Lord demonstrates His power and love through His people. 

We read in this verse that the Lord was faithful to teach the psalmist from a young age. Older saints likely poured into him by their example, as well as teaching him God’s statutes. Yet it was God who opened his understanding, allowing him to see his sin, and the layers of wisdom found in God’s law. They are not written just to keep our noses clean, but go much deeper, penetrating the thoughts and intent of the heart. The end goal of learning God’s commands is to lead us to the Gospel. The benefit of the law is in recognizing you and I can never measure up to its holiness. In my sinful nature, I cannot keep the entire Law. So God sent Jesus, the Righteous One, to exchange my filthy rags for His Robe of Righteousness. His robe for mine. This is the great wisdom and mercy of God. Further comfort is provided as God’s statutes are firmly set, which means His promises are also established, to be faithfully fulfilled to the end of Time. The Gospel message tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is a permanent payment for redeemed sinners. It is finished. Jesus and His words are eternal because God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Christian, you and I serve an immutable, everlasting Lord, Savior, Father and Friend. Take encouragement in these truths, rehearsing the Gospel back to yourself today. 

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:20-21

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Hebrews 4:12-16


A Pilgrim’s Progress

“Yet You are near, O LORD, and all Your commands are true.” -Psalm 119:151

It is for the psalmist’s benefit to remember these two important truths. God is always near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:17-18; 145:18) and all His ways are right (Deuteronomy 32:3-4; Psalm 18:30). God’s character and promises are eternally true, since He is unchanging and does not lie. These are essential weapons for the Christian solider. God did not create mankind to then separate Himself from us. The Lord made you and I for fellowship with Him, to worship Him. If God did not want anything to do with us, then He never would have sacrificed His Son for helpless sinners. Fear not. The Lord is with you. He is with every one of His precious saints through the Holy Spirit.

Knowing with confidence God’s Word as revealed Truth is a source of comfort and encouragement. When chaos ensues, and the enemy chases you, hold on to the Gospel. We read it, meditate on it, carrying God’s promises in our hearts, asking for His wisdom and help to obey each day. God has not left believers to themselves. Christians enjoy the gift of prayer, seeking an audience with our Creator at any time. He has given us His very words in the written Scriptures. Day after day creation proclaims God’s faithfulness and beauty. The Lord directs His love in the blessing of Christian fellowship as we image Christ to one another through our obedience. May He give us clear eyes of faith to see with an eternal perspective today. We have the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father and His Truth to guide us on our pilgrim way.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalm 19; John 14:15-21; 17:17


Perfect Justice

“Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from Your law. -Psalm 119:150

The psalmist’s enemies are within reach to do him harm. He cries out for the Lord to help him. Although physically the wicked close in around him, spiritually speaking they stand at Hell’s door. The unrepentant are far from their Creator. Choosing to rebel against God’s law, they subvert His authority for personal autonomy. Some evildoers even live among the sheep, disguised like one of them, but they are wolves to the core. Jesus said to be alert to these snares. The tares must remain with the wheat until harvest time. On that Great Judgment Day there will be threshing, to winnow out what is pure and lasting, from what will be burned up. God is Judge who will deliver His people in His perfect time. The Lord may provide relief with temporary deliverances now, but one day there will be a final reckoning when God delivers His Church from all that is unjust. Praise God!

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43; 1 Peter 2:21-25