I Am Beginning to Understand

This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free, compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Lucien Accad (from Lebanon, Mr. Accad is a former director of the Bible Society in Beirut. During the war in Lebanon, his house was severely damaged many times.), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:

To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! (Revelation 1:5-6)

Although I do not always understand the things my God does, nor see the reasons behind the way He does them, I am glad that this is how He works. It is truly wonderful. I love the ways of the Lord.

Even though I ask questions; 'Why Lord?' from deep in my heart, and while I wonder how I can carry on, I have no doubt in my soul that He knows and loves and cares. He is described as the one 'who loves us', Jesus who 'freed us from our sins', and at what a price. Jesus who has made us to be priests to serve His God and Father.

I don't expect answers to all my questions, just the peace that comes from knowing that He loves me, the peace of being free to love Him. If I am to serve my God I cannot claim as my right an easier life than that of Jesus. No, it will be hard at times. Answers are not necessary. All I need is to know how to live righteously before Him and, through the sadness and trials of this terrible world, praise and glorify His wonderful, mighty name.

A moment of introspection: We live in an age of apostasy within and without the "church" of our times. We live in an age of silence from our churches who should be speaking out and positively opposing the decline of civilization, worldwide. If the church is silent, then on our shoulders falls the divinely commissioned roles of holding forth God's light in the darkness, of standing up for Truth in a world that denies divine truth, and of taking our part in the current war on faith, family and our freedom to believe. In the book of Daniel, God has recorded the following: "He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action." (Daniel 11:32) In 1 Chronicles 12:31-32, God’s Word extolled the men of the little-known tribe of Issachar, saying "Of the half-tribe of Manasseh 18,000, who were expressly named to come and make David king. Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command." May we similarly be people who understand the times and know what, each in our own sphere of influence, we should do.

William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania rightly said, "We will either be ruled by God, or we will be ruled by tyrants." Walking uprightly in a perverted generation is a subject that our Savior himself spoke for, and encouraged (Matthews 17:17). God's Word reiterates Christ's words (Philippians 2:12-16a; Hebrews 3:10) and speaks to us today, encouraging us to a life of righteousness that contrasts against the faithlessness in our world. Mr. Accad honestly acknowledged that it is sometimes difficult to "understand the things my God does, nor see the reasons behind the way He does them". Yet we who daily feed upon the Holy Bible and see within its pages the righteousness of God and of Christ, have a better chance to understand God's actions and the righteousness behind those actions. When we fail to understand, we acknowledge with Isaiah that our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8). Even so, we read God's Word, we pray and commune with God and seek His guidance. Jesus Christ did not promise immediate understanding (John 13:6); but we are to persevere and apply God's Word where possible. The Bible warns us to be distinct from the world (Ephesians 4:17-18)--who "are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them, due to their hardness of heart." So we walk ever more distinctly rom the world. This is not our home. We are sojourners here, redeemed by Jesus' death and resurrection, to a life of joyful service to our God and our King.

In the words of Mr. Accad, "If I am to serve my God I cannot claim as my right an easier life than that of Jesus. No, it will be hard at times." As part of the sermon on the mountainside, Jesus encouraged us to "not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34) In Paul's second letter to his co-worker, Timothy, the apostle Paul said that life will be "hard at times" (2 Timothy 3:12-15). Christians around the world can attest to the verity of these words. But in them, Paul also encouraged his readers, saying "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writing, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."  (2 Timothy 3:14)  To summarize, he exhorts his readers to remain steadfast in their knowledge of God's Word. In his writing (James 1:19-27), James adds, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." It is in the "doing" of our faith that we stand apart and distinct from the world. At times, like Mr. Accad, we too may have questions such as "Why Lord?"; we may also wonder how we can continue. Take heart, for Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33); in Him we, too, may be overcomers. Let us be glad that this is how He works. It is because of how God works, and how Christ works, that we have hope for eternity. I would second Paul's letter to the church at Colossae "...we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:9-10) At Christians in Crisis, we do pray for you, and we know that what God has begun in you, He will bring to fruition (Philippians 1:6). God sends us His Holy Spirit, to teach us "all things and bring to...remembrance all that" Christ has said to us through the Holy Bible. (John 14:26)

Mr. Accad ends his short writing with the encouragement that we may take to heart: "All I need is to know how to live righteously before Him and, through the sadness and trials of this terrible world, praise and glorify His wonderful, mighty name." God's Word again helps us to know what living "righteously" might resemble and mean. Let's take a look at some of God's helps:

Proverbs 4:4-7 - hold fast God's Word; keep His commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get insight, do not forget or turn away from God's Word.

James 1:5-8 - To receive wisdom, ask God--knowing that He gives good gifts to those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

James 1:12 - remain steadfast under trial; receive the crown of life, promised by God to those who love Him.

1 Peter 2:20b-23 - if when you do good and suffer for it, yet endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

Matthew 13:18-23 - let the Word of God speak to you, that when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, we hear the Word and understand it.

Matthew 5:6,10-12 - let us be blessed in our hunger and thirst for righteousness; let us be blessed if persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

Proverbs 1:2-7 - let us know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, and receive instruction in wise dealing and in righteousness.

Matthew 6:1-4 - be careful when practicing our righteousness, that we not do it for the praise from onlookers.

Etc. - God's Word contains much more to say on the subject of righteousness and the perilous times we live in. Seek them out, and learn from them.

As dangerous times come upon us, keep in mind that we are of inestimable worth to our Father in heaven. We serve a mighty God who does all things well. We are in the service to Him who did a miracle in us, and did it well. Below are the verse lyrics to an old gospel song. Be encouraged:

His Eye is on The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

Again, Mr. Accad affirms us in saying, "All I need is to know how to live righteously before Him and, through the sadness and trials of this terrible world, praise and glorify His wonderful, mighty name." So right, so challenging, so rewarding. So be it; amen!

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