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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Precious promises for hopeful sinners

Precious promises for hopeful sinners

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet. 1:4).
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isa. 26:3).
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15).

We all are born separated from God. The warning came to Adam in the garden, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16, 17).

We disobeyed God and therefore have separated ourselves from Him. But, the promise is that the Lord will one day take away that division. “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.” (Isa. 25:7).

But, until then, without the powerful grace of Christ, we continue to choose to reinforce that separation throughout our lives, which causes a toxic environment inside of us. Although proper diet and exercise and rest can certainly cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit for our redemption, good food, work, and sleep alone cannot redeem us from the horrible effects of living apart from the great Life-giver. We can’t eat healthy enough, exercise enough, sleep enough, to undo all the damage to our mind and body caused by separation from God and His eternal love.

Look what separation from His Father did to Jesus. Disconnection from the King of love which He forced upon His Son dissolved Christ’s internal organs. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” (Ps. 22:14). The wrath of God upon Christ was like electrocution. “My tongue cleaveth to my jaws.” (Ps. 22:15). That torment we should have gotten; but Jesus it took for us.

“We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9). Tasting of our “blackness of darkness” (Jude 1:13) that seemed like forever to Jesus, “the mist of darkness” (2Pet. 2:17) was His to drink to the full.

Defilement, uncleanness

“Hear, and understand: not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matt. 15:10, 11). “Of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34).

The toxicity from our distance from the Creator causes spiritual confusion, physical degeneration and disease, mental derangements, and finally death. And God alone gives the cure. He alone is our deliverer. He is the master physician-surgeon-psychologist-therapist. “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.” (Isa. 57:19). “Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jon. 2:9).

There are many terms in the Bible to describe what this destructive toxic condition causes. I will list them and their related precious promises: “corruption,” “hell,” “this body of death,” “the chastisement of our peace,” “the flesh.” These are descriptions of horrendous internal strife that God has left to plague us every day as incentive to connect with Jesus. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36). “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” (Jn. 6:37).

But, beside these terms of our tortured condition that comes from Satan’s presence, we have as many promises that God has given us to help pull us out of our bottomless pit of sin. And depending how far a person has been falling into the bottomless pit of separation from his Creator, it could take a longer or quicker time for the Lord to pull him out of the abyss. We must be patient with our God. He has promised to accept us now and battle with the devil until He finally has us free from our tormentor.

“Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1).

“Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isa. 30:18).

And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (Dan. 10:11-13). For our complete riddance of Satan’s harassment, I wish it would only take 21 days! But, alas, it just isn’t so! It took Jacob 20 years. Is that more realistic? But, realistic is good better than a lie. No matter how pleasing the lie sounds to us, God cannot lie.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isa. 49:24-26).

Here are promises He has given for the toxic separation from our Creator. I hope they are helpful for keeping your mind stayed on Jesus. Be sure to read the context of each verse to reap a fuller blessing.

Corruption

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” (Matt. 6:19). The toxicity of this world of sin eats holes in and rusts out our heart and mind and body.

“Within [we] are full of extortion and excess.” (Matt. 23:25).
“Within [we are] full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” (Matt. 23:27).

But, “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21).

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1Cor. 15:53, 54).

Hell and Death
Without trust in our Maker we are living in hell, the walking dead. We “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev. 18:2). Our soul “beareth thorns and briers … and is nigh unto cursing.” (Heb. 6:8).
But! “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Ps. 16:10).

“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:1-7).

 “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will…. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:21, 24-26).

Chastisement of peace

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5).

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:36-39).

What did Jesus collapse under? It was that horrendous toxic anxiety caused by His Father separating from Him. He was experiencing what every human suffers under—the chastisement of our peace, a separation which, prior to this, Jesus had never known through His whole life, not even for a second. Every moment of life for the Prince of peace was the constant peace and joyful rest that He wants to give us, as David described of his salvation, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:11).

Jesus’ resurrection was God’s sealed promise to us all (see Rom. 8:11) that He could and will raise us also from our spiritual death.

The flesh

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:5-11).

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Ps. 16:9).

This body of death, Wretched man

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.… For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.… I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing m.e into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 7:8-11,18-19,21-23).

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Vs. 24).

Through Jesus”. (Vs. 25).

Loathing

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Ps. 32:1-5).

“Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.… Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Eze. 36:31).

“I the LORD build the ruined places.”
“I the LORD build the ruined places.”
No one else but the Lord can build our ruined places.

“So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” (Deut. 32:12).

Captives, Heaviness, Shame, Confusion

“We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.” (Dan. 9:5-9).

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.” (Isa. 61:1-7).

Reprobate

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5).

“Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.” (Jer. 6:30).

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10).

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” (Mal. 3:16-18).

Altogether good for nothing

“Profitable for nothing.” (Jer. 13:7). Good for nothing. “We are unprofitable servants.” (Luke 17:10). “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13). “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:12).

But, Jesus was made unprofitable for us. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor. 5:21). The Father treated Jesus, the righteousness of the Law personified, as if He were the embodiment of sin. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” “of Christ” (Rom. 8:4, 9). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Cor. 1:30).

A pound of cure

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” (John 12:3). “… she hath washed my feet with tears.” (Luke 7:44).

“Whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken.” (Matt. 21:44). Mary had fallen on Jesus’ love for her and she was broken. We can have what she had if we follow her example of sitting at His feet and hearing His word.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7).

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15).

“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.” (Isa. 30:19).

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” (Ps. 89:26).

“Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry.” (Ps. 106:44). “Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses…. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.” (Ps. 107:19,28).

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple…. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:4,13).

“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” (Ps. 28:1).

“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Ps. 34:15).The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Ps. 34:17).

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1).

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Ps. 55:17).

 “For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance…. Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Ps. 94:14,17,18,19).

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” (Ps. 103:13). If we fear God like a child does his parent, we will seek to obey His commandments with our whole heart. We will want to please Him in every way.

“All scripture” (that is, the Old Testament in Paul’s day) is given by inspiration of God and is good for doctrine, etc. (see 2Tim. 3:16). Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God (in the Old Testament). Therefore, all of the promises to Israel that follow below are also for you and I. Paul said we must apply them to ourselves. So did Peter, which we understand by the first verse above. They brought the Old Testament up to their day; the New Testament is all about the Old Testament. I see it is a beautiful way to walk in the Spirit by claiming the precious promises of the Old Testament. Substitute yourself as the object of the promises’ repentance, forgiveness, and blessing.

“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.
Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.
And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.
Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 31:8-20).

“He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” (Vs. 11). Is this for us? He scattered us? Yes, because, just as with Israel, scattering us to the 4 winds was the only way to save us. Then He keeps us, as a shepherd does his flock.

“For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9). After being scattered, once we are gathered again and safely in Jesus’ fold, our hearts are humbled, quiet, and satiated. Jeremiah was so relieved by this that he woke up, refreshed like never before. “Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.”

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1,2).

Precious promises! Every one of them!

“Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” (Zech. 1:12-17).

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jer. 29:10-14).
“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7,8).

“This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Ps. 34:6).
“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.” (Ps. 40:17).
“The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.” (Ps. 69:32,33).
“But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.” (Ps. 70:5).

“For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.” (Ps. 109:22).
 “The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 29:19).
 “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” (Isa. 41:17).
 “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3).
 “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.” (Zeph. 3:12).

“And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.” (Zech. 11:7).

We’re like the dog that feels an itch and automatically thinks its fleas. So it scratches and scratches. But in this case, the itch came from wet fur that is drying. The illusive fleas cannot be killed and the dog scratches itself raw. The poor dog doesn’t know to distinguish wet fur from fleas.

So are we with sin. Without the power of the precious promises, our vexing, loathsome flesh is invisible to our blind heart, but we feel compelled to rid ourselves of the vexation. Both the shame of our past and the power of a current sin do we wrestle with, instead of, in our great need, falling on the mercy of God for His help. So, we dig at our conscience instead of letting conviction be our Advocate’s job, which He always does with more mercy than Satan will let us do. We gnaw our flesh until we are at the verge of insanity. We never get any satisfaction, but relentlessly chew on ourselves; we cannot help it.

But, Jesus promises to take our vexation upon Himself and give us His peace instead. Our heart must fall on Christ, submitting to His unmovable will, and break. Otherwise, “on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matt. 21:44).

Let’s use Jesus’ provision and feed on His precious promises!

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