“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” ~ Psalm 149:4
What a splendid thought that the Lord takes pleasure in His people! God is not some mean ogre sitting in heaven with a scowl on His face merely seeking to consume us. No indeed! He takes great joy and satisfaction in the salvation of His people. And why not? It was the glorious work of His own Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that accomplished it. Such marvelous truth and amazing love adorns and beautifies those who truly humble themselves and earnestly come before Him.
“Christ choosing solitude for private prayer, doth not only hint to us the danger of distraction and deviation of thoughts in prayer, but how necessary it is for us to choose the most convenient places we can for private prayer. Our own fickleness and Satan’s restlessness call upon us to get into such places where we may freely pour out our soul into the bosom of God.”
~ Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
“Thus says the Lord GOD: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations” ~ Ezk. 14:6
There is no room in your heart for both God and idols. The Lord desires to sit on that throne and does not tolerate any idol competing for your love, devotion and affections. We cannot serve both God and mammon (idols). The call to all true believers is to turn away from every form of idolatry and to turn heart, soul and mind to God in Christ. It is the doubled-minded person who tries to serve God and keep secret sins, desires and idols tucked away in their heart. Let us be willing and eager to repent from these things. And turn in faith, hope and prayer to the Lord and God of our salvation.
“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no Savior.” ~ Isaiah 43:11
Advent is a wonderful occasion to be reminded of the exclusivity of Christ as our Savior. God the Father sent His only Son into this world, to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect life, to die a perfect death and to be raised from the dead as the sole means by which mankind could be redeemed from their sins and have the curse of their iniquity lifted. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And He would go on to say no one comes to the Father but by Him (Jn. 14:6). So that what was foretold in Isaiah hundreds of years before the Messiah arrived is true… Jesus is Lord, and apart from Him there is no Savior.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”
~ Ezekiel 11:19
This was the great and glorious promise the Lord gave to Israel under the Old Covenant through the mouth of His prophet Ezekiel. God was going to restore His people, but in a new and refreshing way. He was going to place in them the drive and desire to listen, obey and serve the Lord by giving them a new undivided heart and a new revived spirit. Through this work of grace, God’s people would be eager to live for Him.
It takes a new heart and a new spirit to truly serve God. Through Christ, sinners become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). By faith in Him, we can receive that new heart and new spirit which is not only means our merciful salvation, but means we have the high privilege of serving Him. We owe the Lord an undivided heart. Our salvation cost Him His own Beloved Son whose heart was not undivided in His sacrifice for you. Let us then take our new heart and new spirit and wholly and undividedly give them back to Him.
“He who walks with integrity walks securely…” ~ Proverbs 10:9
Scripture often uses the concept of walking as a metaphor for our life. Our “walk” with Christ is literally our “life” lived in Christ. And as our Proverbs states here, he who walks, that is lives their life, with integrity, walks securely. Why is this? It is because God would have His people live by His character, His integrity. We should walk as “living sacrifices, holy and blameless” (Rom. 12:1-2). And as our life conforms more to Christ, there is safety and security knowing you’re walking in the will of God.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:24
What will He do? He will sanctify us wholly. See the previous verse. He will carry on the work of purification till we are perfect in every part. He will preserve our “whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ.” He will not allow us to fall from grace, nor come under the dominion of sin. What great favors are these! Well may we adore the giver of such unspeakable gifts.
Who will do this? The LORD who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, out of death in sin into eternal life in Christ Jesus. Only He can do this: such perfection and preservation can only come from the God of all grace.
Why will He do it? Because He is “faithful”–faithful to His own promise which is pledged to save the believer; faithful to His Son, whose reward it is that His people shall he presented to Him faultless, faithful to the work which He has commenced in us by our effectual calling. It is not their own faithfulness but the LORD’s own faithfulness on which the saints rely.
~ Charles Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook
“The LORD will not cast off His people” – Psalm 94:14
One of the most wonderful truths of sacred Scripture involves the beautiful doctrine of the Christian’s assurance. It is one thing to know you were once loved enough by God to save you through His Son Jesus Christ. But how sweet it is, that after many years, often filled with sin, trial and tribulation, that God loves you just the same and will never cast you away. His is abiding eternal love and His promise is as steadfast and secure as the God who made it. The Lord will not cast of His people. Are you one of those?
“Christ is to be answerable for all those that are given to Him, at the last day, and therefore we need not doubt but that He will certainly employ all the power of His Godhead to secure and save all those that He must be accountable for. Christ’s charge and care of these that are given to Him, extends even to the very day of their resurrection, that He may not so much as lose their dust, but gather it together again, and raise it up in glory to be a proof of His fidelity; for, saith He, “I shall lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day.””
~ Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
“What skill doth every part of our [the preacher’s] work require! – and of how much moment is every part! To preach a sermon, I think, is not the hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make the truth plain; to convince the hearers, to let irresistible light in to their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections; to meet every objection, and clearly to resolve it; to drive sinners to a stand, and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned – and to do all this, as regards language and manner, as beseems our work, and yet as is most suitable to the capacities of our hearers. This, and a great deal more that should be done in every sermon, must surely require a great deal of holy skill.”
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)