Beholding Your Face

“As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness: I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

In Psalm 105 we are exhorted to “Seek His face (presence) continually”. The only way we can seek Him or “behold His face” is in righteousness as the above verse proclaims. As Christians, we know that we seek Him not in our own righteousness, but the righteousness that comes from the Lord through faith in His great sacrifice at Calvary. We know that this is what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus that “except a man be born again (born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ We are alive spiritually to the Lord in this way only.

“And being in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

We not only come to the Lord in this manner, but we are kept by the Lord in this manner alone. Our continued faith in the cross (Christ crucified) allows the Holy Spirit to work in our lives drawing us closer to the Lord (His Face) and providing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. This is the only way that we are to walk out our lives.

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith.” (1 Peter 1:5)

We are kept by the Lord by faith in His great sacrifice at Calvary. We are not only to believe this for our salvation, but also for our daily walk with the Lord. We should, of course, pray, read the Word each day, attend church and fast as we seek the Lord, but we are not to have our faith in these things to overcome the sin and failures in our lives. This is not the way the Lord intended for us to live out our Christian life, and these things, although good and beneficial, will not bring us the victory we seek. We are called to walk by faith and when we do, the Holy Spirit will bring the victory we seek.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the Divine Nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

We are to be partakers of the divine nature, this is accomplished by the Holy Spirit in us as we deny our own ability to walk out this life and place our faith totally in the Lord. I know in my own life when I first came to the Lord and was born again; it was wonderful. I had been forgiven and knew my savior had paid the price for me to be free. My faith was totally in the One that loved me and died for me. But then, in reading the Word or hearing it preached, I realized that I did not measure up to the Word in many areas of my life. I could see what my life should be like as a Christian, but I didn’t know how to accomplish it. I found myself failing in my walk with Lord and unable to get victory. The Apostle Paul also experienced this:

” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do (obedience to the Lord) I do not do but what I hate I do (fails in his own strength).” (Romans 7:15 NIV)

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh dwells no good thing (our own ability).” (Romans 7:18)

I thought if I prayed more and read more of the Word, then I would find victory. But that was not to be. What I had done without realizing it was I had transferred the faith I initially had in the Lord for everything, to faith in the things I was doing for victory. All these things (i.e. prayer, Bible reading, etc) we’re very good things and something we should do every day, but they will not bring victory in our life. The only way to walk a victorious Christian life is by faith in The One that died to provide the way. Paul learned this when he realized that the answer for victory over sin was not in himself but in a Person. When he came to this realization, he boldly proclaimed the following:

“O wretched man that I am (attempting to live for the Lord outside of faith in Christ crucified alone)! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death (he now realizes in himself there is no victory)? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord (the only way to victory in our lives through faith in Christ and Christ alone).” (Romans 7:24,25)

The only way to walk with the Lord in victory is to place and keep our faith in Jesus and Him crucified. We will have trials and battles in this life, but with our faith firmly placed in the Lord and His great work, we have found the anchor for our soul. If we move our faith from the Lord to other things, no matter how good they are, we will drift and could even lose our way.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7)

Praise the Lord for He has accomplished it all. He has provided a way, and that way is Jesus and the cross. Don’t be tempted to leave the way, it is our only path to victory.

“You (the Lord) have said, ‘Seek My face.’ My heart says to You, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’ Hide not your face (presence) from me.” (Psalm 27:8)

The Lord said, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. We, even as Christians, can labor outside of the Lord’s prescribed order of victory if our faith is not in His great work on the cross continually. The rest the Lord speaks of is both for salvation and our daily walk (sanctification) and is found in faith in His finished work. He will never turn us away or hide His face or His presence from us if we walk His way – and what a glorious way it is that He has provided. Let us behold His face and the wonderful salvation and victory He has provided for us. The following verse says it all, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (likeness) from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” As we behold his face (presence) through His righteousness (by continued faith in Christ and him crucified) we are changed into His Image (by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives). Glory!

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The Ziklag Blessing – God’s Grace In Our Time Of Need.

” …….But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)

David left Israel and went to Gath, the land of the Philistines, to escape King Saul’s continued attempts to kill him. Saul was the first king of Israel and he was the people’s choice and not God’s choice. He did not walk in faith in the Lord and tried to kill David on numerous. David was the man God had intended to be the first king of Israel. The prophet Samuel had anointed him as the Lord’s choice to be king when he was still a boy.

David, leaving Israel and going to Gath was not out of faith, but out of his fear that Saul would kill him. He did not seek the Lord’s will before making the decision and went to the land of the Philistines, an enemy of Israel. He dwelt in the land of the Philistines a year and four months. As we will see, it did not turn out well for him. Achish, the king of Gath, gave David and all those men with him and their families the town of Ziklag.

” And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites..”

While in the land of the Philistines, David invaded the surrounding nations and killed all the inhabitants of the villages he attacked. He may have felt justified in these actions as they were enemies of Israel. However, he was out of God’s will in leaving Israel and killing all those he came across was for the purpose of deceiving Achisch as to his whereabouts. He lied and told Achish that he was invading the land of Israel. And Achish believed him and said:

He (David) has made his people Israel abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever.”

In the course of time, the Philistines planned to invade Israel and Achish came to David and said that he, David, and his men, would go out with them against Israel. David agreed and responded in this way to Achish:

“And David said to Achish, surely you will know what your servant can do. And Achish said to David, therefore will I make you keeper of my head (bodyguard) forever.”

David, out of the will of God, had killed men, women, and children to cover up his escapades from Achish, and now agrees to go to war against his own people. He had certainly dug a deep hole for himself. We too can go far down the wrong road when we get out of God’s will. David went so far as to assemble with the army of the Philistines as they were preparing to depart for war with Israel. This certainly was not a high point in David’s life.

The princes of the Philistines were angry with Achish for allowing David to join them. So, Achish sent David and his men away in peace. Unbelievably, David tried to argue with him about not allowing him to go with them. However, the will of the princes prevailed and David and his men left Achish and made the three-day journey to Ziklag. The Bible tells us what they found when they arrived:

“The Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; and taken the women captives, who were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them way…”

David and his men found Ziklag burned and their families taken as captives. The account in the Bible says they wept until they could weep no more. David’s men spoke of stoning him. What an incredible situation that David found himself in. He had been out of the will of God since leaving Israel. He had murdered whole villages. He had agreed to go to war against his own people with their sworn enemies. And now, Ziklag had been burned and his family and the families of his men had been taken captive. What could David do? What would we do in a situation like this? While his men were angry and spoke of violence against him, the Bible says David turned to the Lord:

“But David encouraged (strengthened) himself in the Lord his God.”

It may seem somewhat incredible that the situation had to become so very dire before David sought the Lord, but in this account, we can see our own failures in seeking the Lord and His will at times. David, looking at the burned-out Ziklag and knowing his family and all the families of his men were taken captive, turned to the Lord. He knew that he had to make things right with the Lord and that the Lord was the only one that could fix the situation. He also knew that the only way to the Lord was by His mercy and grace through repentance. David knew that going his own way and not seeking the Lord’s will in all matters resulted in all that had ensued while in Gath. He made things right with the Lord and the Lord responded, even blessing David.

The Lord will never turn away anyone that comes to Him in true repentance no matter what they have done.

In the end, all of the families and goods were restored to David and his men along with all the multiple spoils of the Amalekites. When the Lord blesses us and we recover what was lost, he always gives us more. We can truly say that He is a blessing God.

We can learn from this that charting our own course out of the will of God will inevitably end in disaster. We need to seek the Lord’s will in all that we do. If we do find ourselves out of the will of God, then we should go to him in repentance and know that he loves us and He will bless us if we return to him in faith. We may wonder how the Lord could bless David after all that he had done, but His grace is there for us always and is the only way that we can receive from the Lord. David’s true blessing at Ziklag was the restoration of fellowship with the Lord.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of.” (Hebrews 4:16)

During this special Christmas season, we can clearly see the Lord’s mercy, grace and blessing towards us in His gift to us of His Son. We have much to be grateful for. The grace of God that was there for David and is there for us comes to us only through the price paid by Jesus at the cross. Jesus paid the price that allowed the grace of God to flow in our lives. David, by faith in the sacrificial system, looked forward to the Lord’s great sacrifice at Calvary. We, by faith, look back to that sacrifice. God’s grace can come to us in no other way. We are truly blessed during the Christmas season. It is a reminder of the love extended to us in God’s gift of His Son.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” ( Isaiah 9:6)

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He Knew Me Then….. He Knows Me Now.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

The Lord knows us and loves us. He draws us to Himself with an unfailing love. We have a choice in this life to come to Him and abide in His love, or to go our own way and reap the consequences. If the truth be known – we are in dire straits. We have a fallen nature and are unable to save ourselves.

The Lord saw our great need and in His love for us paid the price on the cross to make us free. He not only paid the price but draws us through His Word to walk through this life with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to seek His ways each day and to be with Him forever in eternity.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We receive His love for us as a free gift. He died on the cross to pay the sin debt so that we might be free. He calls out to all those on the earth that they may come to Him and not be lost. His love for us will draw us to Him as we walk with Him all the days of our life.

“Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door (the door of our heart) and knock: if any man (whosoever) hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

The story of God’s love for us is an incredible one with “exceeding great and precious promises”. Not only has His love paid the price for our sins, but He has said in His Word that we are to be “partakers of the divine nature.” We come to Him in repentance and faith and the Lord changes us by the power of the Holy Spirit and makes us partakers of His nature. And when our life here is done; He offers us a home with Him in eternity. An incredible love. An incredible God.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

We have a choice in this life. We can follow Him and be blessed or we can reject his love and go our own way. The world calls out to us to go it’s way. The Lord calls us to Himself through His Word, the Bible. We have only this life to acknowledge His great love for us and surrender to Him. Yes, He knew us then (before we knew Him). Will He know us now as His child – blood-bought, forgiven and on our way to be with him in glory? His Word says our earthly walk with Him is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Eternity calls. Are you ready? Does He know You now as His own?

“And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come (the Lord calling out to all those that are lost in this dying world) And let him who hears say, come. And let him who is athirst come (the lost soul crying out to the Lord). And whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely (all are welcome).” Revelation 22:17)

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God Will Make A Way

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

When we go through difficult times, it’s a comfort to know that the Lord is with us always and will bring us through these troubled times. Psalm 23 speaks of the Lord’s watchful care for us at all times. As the shepherd of his children, the Lord’s watchful eye continually watches over us for our good.

” The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” (verse 1)

“The Lord is my shepherd.” Jesus is our shepherd. He said “I am the Good Shepherd” and “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” We must come to Him in repentance and faith believing that He paid the price for our sin on the cross. This will cost us everything. The Word says this of the cost: “…. You are not your own (we belong to the Lord). For you are bought with a price (the precious shed Blood of Jesus on the cross).” He now says to those that will: “Follow Me.”

“I shall not want.” The Lord will provide for both our physical and spiritual needs. But it is more than this. In knowing Him, we have come into a rest for our souls, knowing that His love for us will never waiver and He will watch over us always. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, and, “… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We can believe and trust in Him because of the love he showed for us at the cross.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.” (verse 2)

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” This verse speaks of a bountiful supply. 2 Peter says of this, “According as His divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

“He leads me beside the still waters.” Whatever we are going through in life He gives us the refreshing waters that restore our soul. Jesus said this regarding the water He provides, “..Whosoever drinks the water that I shall give him shall never thrust; but the water that I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up into Everlasting Life.” What a promise!

” He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s.” (verse 3)

“He restores my soul.” In this life, we encounter difficulties, trials, and sorrows. At times, we become weary in our journey. We have the Holy Spirit to comfort us in these times and to lead us through all that we may go through in this life. Jesus called Him “The Comforter.”

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.” The Holy Spirit will lead us in paths of righteousness as we place our faith in the Lord and His great work at the cross.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and staff they comfort me” (verse 4).

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Satan is our mortal enemy. Satan’s attacks can be powerful and we can feel greatly threatened by them. The Lord says “fear no evil”. He is our great Good Shepherd and will see us through. A shepherd watches over his flock for their safety at all times. He would not call himself our shepherd if he would not see us through whatever might come against us.

“Your rod and staff they comfort me.” The only fight we are called to fight is “the good fight of faith.” The Good Shepherd will fight for us. With his staff (crook) He will pull us back to safety in times of danger. With His rod (club) He will beat back the powers of darkness that come against us. We need only rest in His care.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” (verse 5)

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” He is telling us that enemies will come against us in this life, but in the midst of these attacks, He prepares a table (of blessings) for us.

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” speaks of Holy Spirit and abundance. He is our divine “helper”. The Holy Spirit works mightily in us as we continually place our faith in Christ and Him crucified.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (verse 6)

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” All our needs in this life are provided for us by His loving hand. His mercy is afforded to us when we drift off the path. The Lord, as our Good Shepherd, watches over us with goodness and mercy in this pathway called life.

“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This speaks of eternal life. We are His, and we will be with Him forever. After all, He is the shepherd of our souls and will bring us through all we go through in this life. We can trust Him.

The Lord requires that we place our total faith in Him as our “Good Shepherd”. He has proven His love for us by His great sacrifice at the cross. We, as sheep of His pasture, prove our love for Him by trusting Him and submitting ourselves to His care. In so doing, we can be assured that His watchful eye will help us and protect us at all times.

“For the eyes of the Lord run and to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (having faith in our Good Shepherd) towards Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

“Behold, I Am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me.” (Jeremiah 32:27)

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He Is Risen!!

He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. (Matthew 28:6)

These three words, “He is risen”, should have an incredible impact on all those in the world that read them. The tomb is empty! He is risen! What other person in the history of the world can that be said of? There were many witnesses to the fact that the Lord rose from the dead including the Apostles, over 500 brethren, James (the Lord’s brother) and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:3-9). The world should see the Resurrection for what it is, and that is; proof that Jesus Christ is God.

The other three words that offer proof to the Lord’s claims are “As He said.” He said He would rise from the dead, and He did. Again, what other person that has lived has said that they would rise from the dead and has actually done it? All that He said while He was here should be studied by everyone. His words should take on great significance considering His resurrection. He said He came to die for the sin of the world. If He said that He would rise on the third day, and He did: should we not believe Him when He said he came to die for our sins? The world stands without excuse if they choose not to believe.

“And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Exodus 12:13)

The Resurrection was the result of the great victory gained by the Lord in the shedding of His Precious Blood at the cross. The Resurrection was dependent on the cross. If there had been one unpaid sin remaining then the Resurrection could not have taken place. The penalty for sin fell on the Lord and not us. We have victory because of His great sacrifice. The Bible says this of those that die in the Lord: ” We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” If we are born again; we will go to be with the Lord immediately upon death. At the cross, the sin debt was paid for all those that believe. Because of the cross, and only because of the cross; we have victory.

So, let us remember the great price paid by the Lord. He paid the price so that our sins could be forgiven. As John, the Baptist proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” As we have said, this great celebration of the Resurrection comes as proof that all sin was atoned for.

“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25)

What an incredible victory! The Lord is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He intercedes for us. Someday, we will go to be with Him, and will forever be with the Lord in glory. All this made possible by the cross. We can say “nothing I bring, to your cross I cling”. This we do knowing that the Resurrection is the proof that what He accomplished on the cross paid the price for our sins and that it is the guarantee that we too will rise one day – rise to be with the Lord in glory forever. Praise Him today: “For He is risen.”

“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28)

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But deliver us from evil

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8,9).

The title line above is from The Lord’s Prayer and it’s really what salvation is all about. The Lord came to deliver us from all evil by His death on the Cross. At the beginning of His ministry He announced to all the purpose of His coming by reading these words of prophecy about Himself from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them who are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” He came into the world to rescue us from the evil of sin and it’s consequences. Sin produces wretchedness and misery in our lives.

All the evil in the world is the result of disobedience to God. It comes to us through the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world and the world system are totally opposed to the ways of God. We have a fallen nature (the sin nature) and therefore cannot save ourselves. The Devil hates those that are walking with the Lord and will oppose us in every way. In this article, we will address our adversary the Devil.

We have a powerful enemy in the Devil, or Satan as he is also known. We can only resist (withstand, oppose) the Devil through faith. We cannot contend with him in our own strength. He is much too powerful. He comes against us in many ways and even masquerades as an “angel of light” (disguises himself so it looks like he stands for good), by using people (including false brethren), or coming to us with something that appears to be from God but is meant for our harm. As the above verse says of him: “As a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” Clearly, we are faced with a very powerful adversary. Ephesians Chapter 6 says this of that which we face in the spirit world: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (these foes are not human), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These principalities, powers, and rulers of this world work in concert with Satan.

The Lord gave Adam and Eve the command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan came to them and tempted them to doubt God and disobey Him. He comes to us in the same way. He seeks to get us to doubt God’s Word for he knows that our victory comes only through faith. He is a powerful fallen angel and opposed to God, and to all those that believe in the Lord and are living their lives for Him.

So, how do we resist the devil by faith? There is only one way. We must place our faith exclusively in Christ and Him Crucified. Jesus paid the total price for our freedom (“It is finished”) on the Cross. We must place our faith in His great work. Jesus said: “The thief (Satan) comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly.” The source of this “life” is Christ (“I am the resurrection and the life”). He keeps us as we place our faith in Him daily. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 says: “But the Lord is faithful (we can depend on Him), who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.”

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (within our ability), but mighty unto God (faith in Christ and Him Crucified) to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (pride), and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (only accomplished by faith in the Cross).”

The Apostle Paul said of Jesus in Galatians: “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world”. Truly, salvation (deliverance from all evil) is from the Lord. Victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil is found in Him, and Him alone.

Appendix A

Names of the DevilPrior to his fall (he served the Lord in righteousness for an undetermined amount of time) – Lucifer– meaning morning star (Isaiah 14:12), the anointed one that covers (Isaiah 28:14). After his fall (he led a revolution against God with one third of the angels)- Satan (Job 1:6), god of this world (2 Corinth, 4:4), Devil/ accuser (Matthew 4:1), tempter (Matthew 4:1), adversary (Job 1), dragon (Revelation 12:9), roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24), Belial (2 Corinth. 6:15), wicked one (Matthew 13:19), serpent ( Genesis 3:1), prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24).