Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Way of Truth is the Extended River of Peace

Remember those in prison [the persecuted Christians] as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3
Many of us have great sorrow in our hearts over the events surrounding the death of Tom White. The God of grace, mercy, and love encourages us to:
1. stand firm in our belief of the Gospel until the end
2. exalt Christ in our hearts
3. live by the Spirit
4. fear God with trembling and awe: HE SURELY WILL MAINTAIN THE GLORY OF HIS NAME

Dear Father,
      Nearness to You is our good. We know no other Rock besides You. Please continue to remove our blindness and the hardness of heart towards the Truth. Thank You for extending the River of Peace to us. Thank You, Jesus, for being the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). As the Truth conforms the desires of our hearts to be in accordance with Your will, our immoral desires are removed and all of our desires come from Your heart. As Your will for all eternity is fulfilled all of our desires are fulfilled. In this manner we are walking in Your Truth, yes, in Your love. The Way of Your Truth is Your extended River of Peace.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
   the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
   and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
   their young will lie down together,
   and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
   and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
   on all My holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the Knowledge of the LORD
   as the waters cover the sea. Is 11

     God's purpose is to encourage us in our pursuit of Him as we understand that the path of resistance that we daily face in the form of the temptations of the heart from the evil forces, the trials of living, and the persecution from the wicked world will be accompanied with a great peace because He works daily to conform us to the image of Christ. He is bringing us to a state of soul where we have so thoroughly believed the Truth that our heart's desires fall in perfect line with God's heart's desires: His will. Because every desire of God's heart will be fulfilled, as we grow in our resemblance of Him, we are granted our every heart's desire along with our King. In this manner we are contained in the Way of Truth and in the River of Peace that He has extended to us in love. 

12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled.” Jer 1

The Deceitful Path of Godlessness and the Torrent of Turmoil

     Since the devil was hurled down from heaven, he has been filled with fury and works with hatred against the will of God to sanctify and to redeem His people. His primary scheme is to make false promises associated with the "deceitful path of godlessness". He makes promises of peace in conjunction with his deceitful temptations thrown against our hearts. Our human hearts were the perfect target for his lies and temptations because "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9)Apart from God's intervention, we could only reject the Truth, even the Truth of God's existence revealed from creation and the Truth of the Gospel. 

 27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips. Jer 7

     The evil forces have chosen to take those very created things meant for the enjoyment of mankind in the Presence of God and with them to create monuments and idols within their hearts. For mankind had been cast out from the indwelling Presence of God because they were conceived in sin. And though eternity was set on his heart, the wickedness that dwelt within led him to succumb to these lies. We had chosen to believe the lie. We choose to "love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth" (Ps 52:3). 

15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, 
   with the grave we have made an agreement. 
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, 
   it cannot touch us, 
for we have made a lie our refuge 
   and falsehood our hiding place.”Is 28

     Though his heart had gone astray, his desire for peace had remained. Peace (שָׁלוֹם) is the state of contentment, soundness, safety, prosperity, and tranquility.  The evil forces have been working to cause us to seek the peace we desire through our worship of created things. Initially we have refused to repent and return to the source of true Peace: the Sovereign Lord. Walking in His ways of righteousness would have brought to us "peace like a river" (Is 48:18) and the delights of making Him our refuge would have brought us deep contentment. Our worship of Him would have brought us fulfillment and completeness. For the Creator had formed the souls of His children in such a way that they found their deepest satisfaction in the loss of the expending of energies and worship upon self and the directing of full worship and awe onto the Creator. When their mind and heart have been brought to focus entirely on God with no focus on the independent self, and all of their love is placed entirely on God and off the fallen nature and the world, then their souls find contentment and their hearts and minds dwell in peace that surpasses all understanding. 

 16 This is what the LORD says:
   “Stand at the crossroads and look;
   ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
   and you will find rest for your souls.
   But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,
   ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ 
   But you said, ‘We will not listen.’Jer 6

     The greatest man in the Kingdom of God, John the Baptist, has made his life's purpose: "He must become greater. I must become less" (John 30:3). He had risen to greatness among the children of God because he had come to achieve his state of inner contentment and peace by forsaking the fallen self and embracing the love, worship, admiration, and marveling of his God. But as we lived in turmoil, we had forsaken our "Spring of Living Water". Furthermore, we had exchanged our Glorious One for worthless idols: We had dug our own cisterns in our own attempts to attain peace. These cisterns were broken beyond repair and could not hold water, for the created things were never meant to be sources of peace and contentment (water) for our souls. They were created for our enjoyment as our souls drank from the "Spring of Living Water". But the created things were not the Living Water. They could not even hold Water as if the delights of God could be held in the worship of created things. We had been so deceived in our process of refusing to stand in awe of God, the "Spring of Living Water", that we channeled all of our efforts on behalf of inner peace into building our broken cisterns. Thus, we had committed two sins: 

1. We had rejected the "Spring of Living Water" by losing our awe of Him through rejecting the Truth about Him.
2. We have dug our own broken cisterns showing that we had believed the devil's deceitful promise that the worship of created things could bring us peace.
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
   (Yet they are not gods at all.)
But My people have exchanged their Glory
   for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
   and shudder with great horror,”
            declares the LORD.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken Me,
   the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
   broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
19 Your wickedness will punish you; 
   your backsliding will rebuke you. 
Consider then and realize 
   how evil and bitter it is for you 
when you forsake the LORD your God 
   and have no awe of Me,” 
            declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. Jer 2

     The rejection of God was based entirely on our rejection of Truth and our acceptance of falsehood. Though no fault could be found in God and there have been an infinite number of revelations of His love towards mankind revealed in His creation and in His leading of His people, we did not consider these Truths. We did not consider the righteous perfection of God. We did not consider His "awesome works on behalf of man" (Ps 66:5) and "His love towards all He has made"  (Ps 145:17) and the "rain that He causes to fall on the righteous and unrighteous" (Matt 5:45). In the worst state, some had rejected the Truth of the saving Gospel: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness and salvation of all who repent and believe. 

5 This is what the LORD says:
   “What fault did your fathers find in Me,
   that they strayed so far from Me?
They followed worthless idols
   and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD,
   who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
   through a land of deserts and rifts,
a land of drought and darkness,
   a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land
   to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled My land
   and made My inheritance detestable.  Jer 2

     Their rejection of Truth was present even among those who professed to be religious leaders among the people: the priests and prophets. These leaders had themselves chosen to dig broken cisterns and were utilized by the devil to lead the people astray. Ravenous for peace, in one accord, they pursued the objects of their sinful desires. 

5 Friend deceives friend,
   and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie;
   they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You live in the midst of deception;
   in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
            declares the LORD. Jer 9

     The prophets promise peace to the people even as they carried out their shameful deeds. They had rejected the Truth of righteousness to the degree that they were unable to feel shame or sorrow for their fallen state. 

8 The priests did not ask,
   ‘Where is the LORD?’
Those who deal with the law did not know Me;
   the leaders rebelled against Me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
   following worthless idols.
 9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,” Jer 2

14 They dress the wound of My people
   as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
   when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
   No, they have no shame at all;
   they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
   they will be brought down when I punish them,”
            says the LORD. Jer 6

     Among mankind, there were none who could receive the Words of warning from God. For they had chosen not to hear. Their hearts were corrupted so that God's Word was offensive to them. Though His Words were meant to be the delight of the soul of mankind, they were unable to find any pleasure in them.

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
   Who will listen to Me?
Their ears are closed
   so they cannot hear.
The Word of the LORD is offensive to them;
   they find no pleasure in It. Jer 6

     The Word of God was not the delight of their hearts because the Words prophesied their destruction under the just wrath of God. Thus our hearts were closed off to peace. We had rejected the source of peace. We had spent ourselves pursuing what cannot bring peace. And we closed off any hope of returning to the " Spring of Living Water " by our heart's conditions which rendered the Word of God as the sentence of judgement, condemnation, death...The Words that were meant to bring Life and healing were to us Words of offense that caused displeasure. We had "clung to deceit", "refused to return", "rejected the Word of God" and "rejected Wisdom" (Jer 8: 5,9). 

     The result of our rejection of Truth and our pursuit of peace from falsehood was a state of turmoil. No one could love sincerity. No one could put the interests of others above their own. No one could be filled with completeness though the quantities of created things that they acquired accumulated in heaps that reached to the skies. Nations have risen up against nations. The love of most had grown cold. Families have turned against their own flesh and blood. Friends spoke deceitful words of envy. No one spoke openly of their affairs of life and the meditations of their hearts. Man was meant to live in unity with his neighbor, but the pursuit of idols has closed him off from the intended union between men. 

8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
   it speaks with deceit.
With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor,
   but in his heart he sets a trap for him.
9 Should I not punish them for this?”
   declares the LORD.
“Should I not avenge myself
   on such a nation as this?”Jer 9

     Though they were united in their pursuit of what is not God, they dwelt in spiritual isolation and loneliness. They ran further and further from God and from one another. They could not pursue both God and mammom. They could not pursue true friendships with one another and mammon. This is why their love had grown cold.

4 The best of them is like a brier,
   the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day of your watchmen has come,
   the day God visits you.
   Now is the time of their confusion.
5 Do not trust a neighbor;
   put no confidence in a friend.
Even with her who lies in your embrace
   be careful of your words.
6 For a son dishonors his father,
   a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
   a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.Micah 7

     His wrath has been coming nearer and mankind clung heavily to his lie, to his false refuge. For even in the last days of the final Judgment of God, mankind will refuse to repent of their wickedness. The seven bowls of wrath poured out in the final judgement of God are: ugly and painful sores, the sea turning to blood, the rivers and springs turning to blood, the sun is given power to scorch people with fire (at this time men are seared with intense heat and curse the Name of God), darkness (at this time men gnaw their tongues in agony and curse the God of heaven because of their pains and sores), the water of the Euphrates dries up and three evil frog-like spirits gather God's enemies for the final war as they perform miraculous signs, and finally flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder and the severe earthquake that splits the great city into three parts and collapses the cities of the nations, Babylon is given the cup of the wine of the fury of God's wrath, every island flees away and the mountains are no longer found, and 100-lb hailstones fall from the sky onto men...(see Rev 17). And yet, mankind refuses to believe the Truth and is condemned. They refuse to repent. They refuse to acknowledge their sin.

25 Do not run until your feet are bare 
   and your throat is dry. 
But you said, ‘It’s no use! 
   I love foreign gods, 
   and I must go after them.’
35 you say, ‘I am innocent; 
   He is not angry with me.’ 
But I will pass judgment on you 
   because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’  Jer 2

     They continue to harbor wicked thoughts even in the face of the awesome wrath of God. They do not consider His judgment. They put the Day of the fury of the wrath of God out of their sight. They put His Words of warning behind their backs. How thoroughly have they believed the lie! They have refused to claim Jesus as their peace. For only as His greatness reaches the ends of the earth as men fear Him would He Himself become their peace (Micah 5:4-5).

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,
   His chariots come like a whirlwind,
His horses are swifter than eagles.
   Woe to us! We are ruined!
14 O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved.
   How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?Jer 4

His Extension of Peace

     Though we have all turned away from the Truth and we have rejected the "Spring of Living Water" from conception, His love for His children, chosen, called, predestined, justified, sanctified, and glorified before the world began, has persisted and prevails. His anger has forever turned away from them and He calls them to believe the Truth and so be saved from the impending judgement. His loving call to His own who hear His voice is to make peace with Him. "Though Your sins are as scarlet they shall be white as snow" (Is 1:18). He does not treat us as our sins deserve and thus He does not march against us in battle or set us all on fire, but instead He sends His Spirit to cause us to believe the Truth, make Him our refuge, yes, to make Him our peace: our contentment, our completeness, our deepest satisfaction, and inner delight. 

4 I am not angry.
If only there were briers and thorns confronting Me!
   I would march against them in battle;
   I would set them all on fire.
5 Or else let them come to Me for refuge;
   let them make peace with Me,
   yes, let them make peace with Me.”Is 27

     Now we have believed in His Words of Life, and we have been granted eternal Life in His Son, and we are called to trust in Christ's righteousness and resurrection power as we acknowledge the Truth. The continual belief in the Truth revealed in His Word prevents us from resorting to our former idolatry with broken cisterns: "the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains". 

22 “Return, faithless people;
   I will cure you of backsliding.”
   “Yes, we will come to you,
   for you are the LORD our God.
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills
   and mountains is a deception;
surely in the LORD our God
   is the salvation of Israel. Jer 3


 12 For this is what the LORD says:
   “I will extend peace to her like a river,
   and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
   and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
   so will I comfort you;
   and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
 14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice
   and you will flourish like grass;
the Hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants,
   but His fury will be shown to His foes. Is 66
 How the Belief of Truth Results in Peace

     Another fold of the manifold wisdom and mystery of God is the manner in which peace is brought forth when we believe in the Truth. As we have read, "they will neither harm nor destroy on all His holy mountain "  [PEACE] when the  "earth is filled with the Knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea" [TRUTH] (Is 11:9). Here we will go through the steps by which belief in the Truth results in our Peace. He Himself is our Truth and our Peace.

1. The Belief in Sin and Righteousness: Breaking up the Unplowed Ground

     The belief in the existence of righteousness is accompanied by the belief in the existence of sin. As simple as it would seem to believe in the presence of honesty, true unconditional love, justice, compassion, kindness, mercy...apart from Christ's sacrifice it would be a very painful belief. For along with the presence of such righteous elements is the existence of their opposing parties: deceit, hatred, injustice, cruelty, envy, mercilessness... Furthermore, along with the belief in a righteous and good God comes the necessary requirement for this perfect God to be just. He must punish all who break His law to any degree. For even those who stumble in one point are guilty of breaking the whole law (James 2:10). 

     We have often wondering why He calls us guilty if we had stumbled in only one point or why the harboring of a thought of lust or anger is equivalent to adultery and murder respectively. The reason is that the smallest inclination of an evil desire represents the rejection of God and the desire for independence from God. For the birth of sin accompanies a desire to hide from God and to be independent from Him: the blaspheme of the heart and the disbelief of the Truth. Thus the tiniest inclination of wickedness in the heart of man indicates a complete rejection of the Lordship and authority of God over his life. Though God in His mercy has often prevented it, a man left to himself with a thought of evil in himself, would be entirely given over to his wickedness. Without the Hand of God, sin can only grow and result in the massive crimes of the body and hands. As the song "Slow Fade" describes "The journey from your mind into your hands is shorter than you are thinking". 

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone;14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1

     Thus, the truth of the presence of [nothing but] sin within us and the truth of the righteous justice [that must be present] in the perfect God states clearly that we are doomed. The acknowledgement of this truth is the breaking up the unplowed ground and is the first event in the journey in Truth and in Peace. This process is often painful and there is a Godly sorrow that accompanies this breaking of if dirt were being tossed aimlessly around. And yet this event is necessary and continues to be necessary for repentance and salvation and the ongoing maintenance of the broken and contrite heart that God desires. In this manner, the belief in morality results in the impending need for the Gospel and for the blood of Christ to make peace between mankind and the Father. Those who cannot accept the presence of sin deny their wickedness and view themselves as righteous. They put their trust in their own righteousness and even claim to dwell within the temple of the Lord.

3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. Jer 7

     Those who deny a righteousness from God or the existence of God Himself seek to avoid His righteous justice which deems them condemned.

1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,
   look around and consider,
   search through her squares.
If you can find but one person
   who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
   I will forgive this city.
2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’
   still they are swearing falsely.”
 3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
   You struck them, but they felt no pain;
   you crushed them, but they refused correction.
They made their faces harder than stone
   and refused to repent. Jer 5

     For us who have believed the Gospel unto salvation, we are reconciled to God in Christ who took the wrath of the Father on our behalf. We are forever clothed in Christ's righteousness and the separation between the holy God and sinful mankind no longer applies to us. We have been bought at a price to be His holy and righteous children.

2. The Belief in the Truth of the Final Victory of God

15 See, the LORD is coming with fire,
   and His chariots are like a whirlwind;
He will bring down his anger with fury,
   and His rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For with fire and with His sword
   the LORD will execute judgment upon all men,
   and many will be those slain by the LORD. Is 66

     The devil knows very well that his time is short to work against the purpose of God on earth for he knows that the time of the end draws near. But it would appear that he has not been convinced that our Lord will be resoundingly victorious over him. His movements in the last days described in Revelations leading up to Armageddon suggest that he is not convinced that he has been crushed under the heel of Jesus. Those who are led by Satan walk in these footsteps, refusing to repent, as they believe the lie that God perhaps may not be exalted and victorious in the end. They are like the servant who buried the mina with the knowledge that his master was "a hard man who took out what He did not put in and sowed where He did not reap" (Luke 19:21). The wicked have no desire for the final victory of God and the reign of righteousness because their deeds were evil and they were unwilling to repent. Furthermore they disdained God's justice that condemned them.

12 They have lied about the LORD;
   they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;
   we will never see sword or famine.
13 The prophets are but wind
   and the Word is not in them;
   so let what they say be done to them.”
 30 “A horrible and shocking thing
   has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,
   the priests rule by their own authority,
and My people love it this way. 
   But what will you do in the end?Jer 5

     They refused to give glory to God because of their pride and arrogance. They hoped for light, but God has warned them that He is bringing darkness, the stumbling of their feet, and captivity. 

15 Hear and pay attention,
   do not be arrogant,
   for the LORD has spoken.
16 Give glory to the LORD your God
   before He brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
   on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
   but He will turn it to thick darkness
   and change it to deep gloom.
17 But if you do not listen,
   I will weep in secret
   because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
   overflowing with tears,
   because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive. Jer 13

     But for those who have been on the "side of Truth" the Words of Jesus are heard and taken to heart (John 18:37). Even as temptations come to the children of God, their belief in the final victory of God over sin, death, and Satan through the resurrection of Jesus Christ allows them to persist in their acts of goodness. The result is that they experience the effect of righteousness, peace, as they live within the Law of the Spirit.

7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal Life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the Truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Rom 2

    Along with the final victory of God that will be consummated in the End, there is a belief in the Truth of the fulfillment of the will of God with regard to the present day events. Even as we look to the events of the past recorded in Scripture from the creation of the world, the events of the Old Testament which pointed to the coming Messiah, the completed death and resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the establishment of the church, and the Spiritual events in our own souls and those around us, we know that the Sovereign will of God will surely come to pass. In spite of the remaining disbelief that we are tempted with daily we know that involved in God's victory is His certain refinement of our souls so that we may truly believe in Him and in Christ's righteous covering over us.

7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says:
   “See, I will refine and test them,
   for what else can I do
   because of the sin of My people? Jer 9

     Though we have often heeded and believed in the lies of the devil, our God's victory involves the teaching of His power and might to us so that we may know that HIS NAME IS THE LORD.

19 O LORD, my strength and my fortress,
   my refuge in time of distress,
to You the nations will come
   from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods,
   worthless idols that did them no good.
20 Do men make their own gods?
   Yes, but they are not gods!”
 21 “Therefore I will teach them—
   this time I will teach them
   My power and might.
Then they will know
   that My name is the LORD. Jer 16

     As we came to Christ, our deeds were exposed in His Light and we saw that every inclination and desire that we had was contrary to the will of God. Even now we are commanded to put to death the sinful nature with its evil desires and to "live by the Spirit" so that we will not "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:16). In this way, those who want to live a Godly life are persecuted not only by the world around them but by the sinful nature within them. We essentially are persecuted by our own flesh. As Paul states there is an "inward burning" in the struggle with sin (2 Cor 11:29) and Hebrews mentions "sin that so easily entangles" (Heb 12:1). Because of the constant contradiction between the flesh and the new man it would have been impossible for us to find peace even after believing in Him if it were not for the circumcising work of the Spirit. The Spirit's work is to remove from us the heart of stone and to implant within us a heart of flesh (Ex 11:19). His work is to "inspire us to fear the Lord so that we will never turn away from Him" (Jer 32:40). As we are conformed to the image of Christ, He brings our will, our desires, and our motives in perfect alignment with the Father. We are no longer "ask and do not receive because we ask with evil motives so that we may spend what we receive on our pleasure" (James 4:3) and we no longer believe simply "on account of miracles" (John 14:11). But our heart's desire is that we may see the Righteous King glorified, that He may be exalted, that Jesus Christ be lifted up as the Lord of the Universe, that HE MAY REIGN IN OUR HEARTS. For we remember that as we lose our earthly selves and wholeheartedly love and worship Him with everything we have, our heart, soul, mind, and strength, our souls drink REAL water. He has finally become to us the "Spring of Living Water". He is our Portion: all which is given to us and is able to sustain and fill us.

10 But the LORD is the true God;
   He is the living God, the eternal King.
When He is angry, the earth trembles;
   the nations cannot endure His wrath.
 11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’”
 12 But God made the earth by His power;
   He founded the world by His wisdom
   and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.
13 When He thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
   He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
   and brings out the wind from His storehouses.
 14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
   every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
His images are a fraud;
   they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
   when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
   for He is the Maker of all things,
including Israel, the tribe of His inheritance—
   the LORD Almighty is His name.Jer 10

     The state of true peace comes when we are finally able to rejoice in doing good, when our hearts are inclined to following the path of righteousness, and when we exult in obeying our Lord. The state of true peace comes when we no longer possess a double mind and seek to be friends with the world, but when we have cut off every prostitution of our heart and when we find our sole delight in following His command to love one another as the Father has loved us. Yes, our persecutions and trials continue to work against us, but our souls are being set free as He causes us to drink deeply in Jesus who is our righteousness.

 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in Him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”
 Jer 17

     For who can prevent us from being right with God? Who can kill the soul? Who can break the union that we have with our God? They may kill our bodies, they may inflict horrible physical wounds and slander us, but how can they prevent us from having clean and righteous hearts? How could they prevent us from praising and worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth? He is bringing us to conformity with His Son and His Words overtake our minds and our hearts. We then ask every request in accordance to His will. As we know His will in the Spirit, we believe that we have already received what we have asked. In this way we are granted all of the desires of our hearts and our JOY IS COMPLETE!

2 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me;
   His Word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
   the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over men in righteousness,
   when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
   on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
   that brings the grass from the earth.’
 5 “Is not my house right with God?
   Has He not made with me an everlasting covenant,
   arranged and secured in every part?
Will He not bring to fruition my salvation
   and grant me my every desire? 2 Sam 23

23 In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16

     He is bringing us to a place where His "commands are no longer burdensome"  because we who are born of God have overcome the world (I John 5:3-4). His commands to speak truthfully, to be just, and to love our neighbors become the very beats of our hearts. He is removing our lack of appetite and thirst for Him and the ignorance of heart as to the nourishment and pleasure of His Living Water and Bread of Life. There surely is a state, dear saint, that He is bringing us to where our "hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled" (Matt 5:6).

16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the LORD.
 18 Again the Word of the LORD Almighty came to me. 19 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”Zech 8

     He grants us His own desires and purposes to bring glory to His own Name. He knows how to uphold the glory of His own Name among His people and He surely will do this. He never lets dishonor come to His glorious Throne.

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?
   Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
   so that we cannot be healed?
We hoped for peace
   but no good has come,
for a time of healing
   but there is only terror.
20 O LORD, we acknowledge our wickedness
   and the guilt of our fathers;
   we have indeed sinned against you.
21 For the sake of Your name do not despise us;
   do not dishonor Your glorious throne.
Remember Your covenant with us
   and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
   Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is You, O LORD our God.
   Therefore our hope is in You,
   for You are the one who does all this. Jer 14

3.The Belief in the Love of God for His People

     As the children of God are taught to drink from the "Spring of Living Water"  the disunity among them disappears. For everything that brought division came from the digging of the broken cisterns that could hold no water. Every bit of strife came from the formerly insatiable desire for peace and the belief that the created things could bring this peace. But as the saints are taught to drink from the extended river of Peace through believing in His Truth, they find that there is more than enough Water for all of the people of God. The love of God for them is incomprehensibly great. The drinking of this Water results in increased love for the people of God and increasing disdain for the worship of the digging of the broken cisterns. The boast of the righteous becomes the knowledge of their God and their love for one another causes them to labor so that they all might know Him.

1 The elder,
   To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the Truth—and not I only, but also all who know the Truth— 2 because of the Truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:
 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in Truth and love.2 John 1

     Their High Priest is Jesus Christ, the Teacher of Knowledge and true Instruction. Their awe of God increases. There reverence for Him cultivates greater peace.

5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to Him; this called for reverence and He revered me and stood in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from His mouth men should seek instruction—because He is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. Mal 2

     Our path towards an increased belief in Truth by His sanctifying work through the Word and the Spirit will face increasing resistance from the outside evil forces. But as our will is aligned with His, we will always receive exactly what we have truly desired: His glorification, righteousness, and love. Our deepest desires for Him will be constantly fulfilled because HE IS OUR PEACE.

4. The Belief in the Need to Proclaim the Truth

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5

Excellent Seminar:
Tell Them Because Eternity is Forever (Paul Ridgeway)
presented at New Life Church 4/28/12

8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
   proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the LORD has brought me
   insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention Him
   or speak any more in His name,”
His word is in my heart like a fire,
   a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
   indeed, I cannot. Jer 20

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Effect of Justice and Righteousness

Dear Father,
      You are a sure Foundation for our times, a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of You is the key to this Treasure. Please forgive me for planting my roots in the wrong soil. Thank You that You are faithful to cut off all of our misplanted roots that we may be fully established in You. The effect of Your Justice and Righteousness is that Your people are filled with the full knowledge of Christ. Though it is impossible for us, please open our eyes to see the true Justice that You have purchased for us by Your blood. May we see that this Justice is exalted and supersedes the darkness that we are surrounded by. May Your Spirit reveal to us the heart-conquering effect of Christ's righteousness as we watch in hope for the movement of Your Arm.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

15 till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, 
   and the desert becomes a fertile field, 
   and the fertile field seems like a forest. 
16 Justice will dwell in the desert 
   and righteousness live in the fertile field. 
17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; 
   the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Is 32  

     God's message to us is that there is an effect of righteousness brought about by the fulfillment of His justice for His people that results in the unshakable satisfaction of our soul. He tells us that many of us have misunderstood the meaning of justice though we had called out to Him for it.

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”Luke 18:8 

     His purpose is that we may understand the meaning and result of true justice and righteousness. As we understand these effects, we are building our house on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and we will find that we are always secure in His righteous boundaries. For it pleases the LORD "for the sake of His righteousness to make His law great and glorious." (Is 42:21")

Misunderstood Justice

      As nations, kings, administrators, fathers, and individual human hearts have sought to establish principles by which they govern, respond towards, and treat others, justice is idealized in the hearts of many. We have often been led with the remnants of God's Law which is written in the hearts of all men. The remnant of the justice of the Creator is on our hearts; this remnant is that longing for all to receive their due payment for their deeds. Our notion of justice is that we ought to be treated fairly, that no one should wrong us, that we should live in tranquility free from the oppression of an agency or man. As we dwell among evil and Godlessness, we have found that there was no perfect justice anywhere. Each person has records of injustices committed against themselves and those dear to them. 

14 So justice is driven back,
   and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
   honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
   and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

   The LORD looked and was displeased
   that there was no justice. Is 59

     Even as we pursue justice, we fail to acknowledge that we did not consider what was the effect of justice that we had hoped for. Did we pursue justice so that we may have peace? Did we pursue justice so that we may know unfailing love? Did we pursue justice so that we may be filled with gladness of heart? Or did we pursue justice so that we all may be physically provided for? Did we pursue justice so that we may make earthly plans or advancements with regard to our financial estate or family status? Did we pursue justice to temporarily satisfy our ever-guilty a form of self-righteousness? Did mankind know the purpose, the effect, of justice? Have we sought the heart and mind of the Sovereign God with regard to His design for justice? What was the effect of justice that the Author of Justice had in mind?

     Even our attempts to carry out justice were entirely futile. For if justice refers to each man receiving the due payment for his deeds, we know that we all would only receive the wrath of the Father. How then could we seek to administer justice to one another? We were collectively a mass of people held directly under the cup of the full wrath of God. Even if we lived among a perfect world, a perfect Garden of Eden, our hearts were not righteous. The intended effect of His justice could never be brought forth from our efforts. And yet blindness of heart causes mankind to move on in their striving for justice. In the process they heap up words of conceit, aimless argument, malice, slander, deceit, and division. In the very pursuit of justice, mankind has committed atrocious injustices. Justice could not be born from unrighteousness. A condemned vine could not bring about the wonderful effect of God's justice: peace, quietness, and confidence forever. For we had failed to heed His teaching and direction. We paid no attention to His commands. 

 17 This is what the LORD says— 
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 
“I am the LORD your God, 
   who teaches you what is best for you, 
   who directs you in the way you should go. 
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands, 
   your peace would have been like a river, 
   your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Is 48

5 In love a throne will be established;
   in faithfulness a Man will sit on it—
   One from the house of David—
One who in judging seeks justice
   and speeds the cause of righteousness.Is 16

     The effect of justice that we sought, apart from the filling of His Spirit that came from the salvation of our God, was sinful indulgence, the satisfaction of the flesh, the feeding of the pride of the heart, the fulfillment of selfish ambition. Can we see, dear family, that everything we had hoped for in our pursuit of justice independent from His glorious Law and salvation was amiss? Not one one us had the clean and holy heart that would know and understand the effect of His justice. We were altogether useless in our pursuit of justice. For our heart's were misaligned with the purpose of the heavenly Father. No one could bring about justice. No one desired the true effect of justice; for we wanted the glorification of what is perishable rather than the glorification of the imperishable eternal God. And where man is glorified apart from God, there is only condemnation, guilt, shame, and futility. There is no peace, quietness, or confidence.   

True Justice

     Because of our unrighteousness there was no one who could intervene on behalf of justice. Therefore His own arm worked salvation for His people. Jesus put on righteousness as His breastplate, salvation as His helmet, vengeance as His garment, and He wrapped Himself in zeal as a cloak. In the act of His death and resurrection, His own blood removed the cup of wrath hanging over our heads. His Father's justice was fulfilled. His wrath was poured out on His firstborn son and we were justly spared. Furthermore, we are covered in the righteousness in Christ as our offenses are swept away like a cloud and like the morning mist. 

16 He saw that there was no one,
   He was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so His own arm worked salvation for Him,
   and His own righteousness sustained Him.
17 He put on righteousness as His breastplate,
   and the helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance
   and wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak. Is 59

 21 “Remember these things, O Jacob,
   for you are My servant, O Israel.
I have made you, you are my servant;
   O Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
   your sins like the morning mist. Is 44

     Now He calls His chosen ones to hear the Words of His salvation by which they are given justice. 

Return to Me,
   for I have redeemed you.”

 23 Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this;
   shout aloud, O earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
   you forests and all your trees,
for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
   He displays his glory in Israel.Is 44

     Even to us who have received by faith the gift of salvation, He calls us to watch His Arm bring justice to the nations. What is justice? What is our reward and recompense due us for our new standing as children of God, forgiven and clothed with righteous garments? The fulfillment of our justice is that we have be granted our inheritance: eternal Life. And what is Eternal Life? Jesus prayed, "Now this is eternal Life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17: 3)". 


     Dear saint, this statement has profound implications that only the Spirit surely will reveal to you. We will come to know Him as our Good Shepherd who tenderly gathers the lambs in His arms, carries them close to His heart, and gently leads those who have young. There is nothing else that we are granted, dear saints, and nothing else which can bring about the effect of justice and righteousness (peace, quietness, and confidence) than the knowledge of Jesus Christ: the perfect union with the Father in Him by the Spirit. For as we know Him we become righteous and pure as He is righteous and pure and we receive the effects of righteousness.

10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, 
   and His arm rules for Him. 
See, His reward is with Him, 
   and His recompense accompanies Him. 
11 He tends His flock like a shepherd: 
   He gathers the lambs in His arms 
and carries them close to His heart; 
   He gently leads those that have young.Is 40

     Our Lord has promised to us in His Word that the earth and the heavens will vanish like smoke, wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants die like flies, but His salvation and righteousness will never fail. 

4 “Listen to Me, My people;
   hear Me, My nation:
The law will go out from Me;
   My justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
   my salvation is on the way,
   and My arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to Me
   and wait in hope for My Arm.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
   look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
   the earth will wear out like a garment
   and its inhabitants die like flies.
But My salvation will last forever,
   my righteousness will never fail.Is 51

     As we contemplate the final destiny of the world and its worshipers, we begin to see the distinction between our notions of earthly justice and the true justice that brings about the effects of righteousness in us. For if the world is condemned, then any lasting justice must be derived from a source that transcends and supersedes all earthly things. 

5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; 
   He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. 
6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, 
   a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; 
   the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.Is 33

     As the Law of our God goes out, the people of the world are convicted of guilt with regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment. The children of God from every nation, and from the islands, are brought to repentance, covered in Christ, know Christ, and are destined to know peace, quietness, and confidence. Attacks against God's just payment towards His children come from the accuser who stands day and night to condemn the hearts of the beloved. Attacks come from lies from the enemy as to his standing before God. The demonic forces labor to fill the hearts of the beloved with dread, guilt, fear, and greed for earthly "justice". He tries to cause them to place their hope in created things that they lose sight of the Father and bring their fear of God to a halt. He tries to cause them to feel wronged and mistreated by the people and agencies of the world so that they will lose their justice of knowing Christ in His fullness. So dear family, when we cry out for justice for one another, we are crying out for God to remove blinders from the beloved that they may exult in their continuous acknowledgement that they are found in Christ's righteousness and receive its effect of peace, quietness, and confidence.

22 “Turn to Me and be saved,
   all you ends of the earth;
   for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By Myself I have sworn,
   My mouth has uttered in all integrity
   a Word that will not be revoked:
Before Me every knee will bow;
   by Me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of Me, ‘In the LORD alone
   are righteousness and strength.’”
All who have raged against Him
   will come to Him and be put to shame.
25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
   will be found righteous and will exult.Is 45

The Effect of Righteousness

     Justice delivered to us results in our being granted the effect of righteousness: peace, quietness, and confidence. Any one of us who has walked with the Lord in the Spirit for any amount of time can attest to these effects of righteousness. As we walk in His righteousness we find that there is a tremendous peace that comes in knowing that our unrighteousness and weakness is forever blotted out. As we love unconditionally with the love we have known from the Father, we find that there is a fearlessness, a confidence, that comes to us. As we put all of our hope in Him our hearts experience a quietness and a rest from above. As we walk humbly before our God, expecting no earthly gain or pleasure, we are filled with rest. For we have made Him our abode and our dwelling place. As we seek to please no man and to receive nothing from him but rather to unconditionally love others, and seek only to please our heavenly Father we plant our roots in the Author of Justice. He will never fail us. When the Spirit breaks off our every root that is planted in the soil of the earthly glories, our joy increases. 

His Way of Revealing His Justice

     If the true and complete fulfillment of God's justice for us is that we may know Christ as we are covered in His righteousness, God certainly has a plan for revealing this justice to His people and to the world. What if God chose to remove from His people earthly facets of justice and prosperity to show them that His justice of knowing Christ was truly great and glorious? For even the Savior did not come to establish earthly justice or to become an earthly king but rather to pour out His Life unto death so that He could purchase the gift of righteousness for His chosen people.  

   My chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put My Spirit on Him
   and He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
   or raise His voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
   and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
In faithfulness He will bring forth justice;
 4 He will not falter or be discouraged
till He establishes justice on earth.
   In His law the islands will put their hope.”Is 42

     What if He chose to remove from His people every secure foresight of the future in terms of earthly events only to show them that His righteousness would lead them down unfamiliar, dark, and rough places? What if He did this to show them that He would truly never leave or forsake them?

16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
   along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
   and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
   I will not forsake them. Is 42

      God's people are often surrounded by the Godless who appear to have the earthly future of their lives secured and planned. The Godless live by the false light of the world and their reason and judgment is tainted by the false light: the false sense of hope, perceived security, granted prosperity. But the children of God do not have this earthly light, and the Light of their Savior is the only Light that guides them. The only sure and granted destiny of these children is the righteousness and union with their God.

10 Who among you fears the LORD 
   and obeys the word of his servant? 
Let him who walks in the dark, 
   who has no light, 
trust in the name of the LORD 
   and rely on his God. 
11 But now, all you who light fires 
   and provide yourselves with flaming torches, 
go, walk in the light of your fires 
   and of the torches you have set ablaze. 
This is what you shall receive from My hand: 
   You will lie down in torment. Is 50

     Jesus told us before of the persecutions from the world that were destined for the people of God. In this sense are we promised justice that our lives may be spared from pain, suffering, and physical death? No, but His justice allows for His people to know His great love and joy in the midst of these fires and waters. 

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
   He who created you, O Jacob,
   He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Is 43

     What if He chose to place us in deserts where we had no hope of survival and where every earthly resource was exhausted only to show us that the Spirit's Water and Christ's Living Word would sustain us in His all-glorious way? Yes, His gift of eternal Life is far exalted above all all other things. His love and righteousness are promised to overwhelmingly conquer all other perceived deficits. Horrendous earthly atrocities may come upon the people of God, but their God is enough for them. This is justice! For the knowledge of Christ is so great in them that any disaster, desert, and storm can come their way and they are secure and hidden in the peace, quietness, and confidence of Christ! 

 17 “The poor and needy search for water,
   but there is none;
   their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the LORD will answer them;
   I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
   and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
   and the parched ground into springs. Is 41

     He will increase our knowledge in the days to come so that we may know Him in such a sustaining way. He truly is able to sustain us through the worst earthly trials. If He is not, then we have not received the reward of Christ that His blood has purchased for us even as the Father's justice is satisfied. Do we cry out for true justice? Then we do not cry out for the prevention or removal of earthly trials. We cry out for the increased knowledge of the Savior that is able to overwhelmingly satisfy us through the dry and barren dark world. He uses this revelation of the knowledge of Christ to show the people of the world that His Law and Salvation are glorious and exalted among the hearts of His people. 

19 I will put in the desert
   the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
   the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
   may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
   that the Holy One of Israel has created it.Is 41

     His promise of righteousness and justice are promised to His people and by them, His people are betrothed to Him forever in faithfulness. Even as He continues to reveal this to His people, we are able to acknowledge the Lord. Imagine the people of the world who are trusting in earthly prosperity and glory to behold the people of God rejoicing in peace, quietness, and confidence amidst a "hell-on-earth" because nothing can separate them from their Father's love! This brings Him glory as the infinite worth of knowing Him and His righteousness is revealed!

19 I will betroth you to Me forever;
   I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
   in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
   and you will acknowledge the LORD.Hos 2

Waiting in Hope for Justice

     God asks us, "My child, do you know Me enough to never feel at loss regardless of what else is taken away from you or what earthly trial comes upon you?" And many of us could think of a list of certain trials or losses that we feel incapable of standing up under. But in the same manner that we trust Him for our continued sanctification and purification unto the Day of Redemption, we trust that at the time when these trials and losses come to us, He will reveal Himself enough to sustain us. Indeed we know in our hearts and minds that the full revelation of Christ who is the glory of the Father would render us resoundingly victorious and firm in Him. But because our faith is weak, and we do not feel that we know Him as we ought to, He calls us to put our hope in His Spirit's power to reveal the righteousness of the Father to us. 

     Often we are tempted to complain and feel that our way and cause is hidden or disregarded by our God. But we are called to put our hope in Him so that our strength is renewed and we are able to soar on the wings of eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. 

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
   and His understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.Is 40

     As we are filled with increasing measures of the Father's righteousness, we walk in His power filled with His Spirit, and He enables us to act in righteousness and experience the effects of righteousness. He tells us that when we break every yoke of sinful oppression of others by delivering the love of the Father in us revealed in His Gospel, when we give the Bread of Life to the Hungry, share the Refuge of our God with the homeless, and to clothe by preaching the righteousness of Christ to those naked and guilty, to endear our Spiritual family to ourselves, spend ourselves on behalf of needy souls, satisfy the needs of the oppressed...then we experience the effects of righteousness: our light breaks forth like the dawn, our Spiritual healing comes quickly, the righteousness of Christ given to us goes before us, the glory of the Lord goes behind us as our rear guard, the Lord will answer and speak to us, our light will shine in the darkness, our night will become like the noonday, we will be like well-watered gardens whose springs never fail, and we will be called a repairer of Broken Walls and a Restorer of Streets with Dwelling: The Kingdom of God through the Spirit's indwelling of all His people!

 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
   you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.

   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
   He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
   Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.Is 58

     Could we ever do these acts of righteousness on our own? We know and have experienced that we cannot. But as we believe and receive His gift of the reward of justice, eternal Life and Christ's righteousness, we are granted the power to do these good works which God prepared beforehand for us. 

All the Afflictions of God's People (8 minute Puritan devotional by John Fawcett)

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