Psalms 138:1-3 ESV
“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.”
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, should be those who continually give thanks to our Lord in all things. Our thanksgiving must not be only at meal time, but throughout the day, even for the smallest of things. And I can tell you from experience that when we are called to suffer, and we face loss, and we know what it is like to do without, we learn to be more thankful even for the smallest things in life.
Now with regard to God’s holy temple today, we as the body of Christ are that temple, and Jesus Christ is that temple. Now we don’t bow down to ourselves, but to God who dwells within us. We surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and we bow down to worship him. And the worship of him which is acceptable to him is to give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God (Romans 12:1-2).
And we give thanks to our Lord for his steadfast love and faithfulness, for he has exalted above all things his name and his word. And Jesus Christ is that living Word (John 1:1-36), as well as we have the written word (the Scriptures), and we have the Holy Spirit of God living within us teaching us all things pertaining to our Lord, too. So we should be thankful to God for himself and for his word and for his steadfast love and faithfulness.
So God exalted Jesus Christ, the Living Word, through what Jesus suffered for us on that cross in dying that painful death in order to put our sins to death with him so that we might now die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And we show our gratitude to our Lord for what he did for us by submitting to him as Lord, and by surrendering our lives to him, and by forsaking our lives of sin to now follow him in obedience in walks of holiness and righteousness, in the power of God, and for his glory.
And when we who are daily (habitually) dying with him to sin and to self, and who are following him in obedience to his commands, in practice, call on him in prayer and in supplication, especially in times of need, our Lord hears our prayers, and he answers us. Now sometimes he is silent, but I take that as an answer that says, “Wait on the Lord.” And waiting is something many humans have a difficult time doing, but nonetheless, sometimes we just have to wait, but he will increase our strength of soul while we wait.
Psalms 138:7-8 ESV
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
Now, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are promised that we will suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of righteousness and for the sake of the truth of the gospel of our salvation. So, if you are not suffering for those reasons at all, perhaps it is because you are still worldly and your lives are not fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. For, when our lives are surrendered to the Lord, and we are walking in his ways, in truth, we will be persecuted, and even by others who profess the name of Jesus.
And why is that? Well, number one reason is because Satan is opposed to Jesus Christ and to his gospel message, so he is also opposed to all of us who are walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And his goal is to destroy our lives and the gospel message. And so he is going to come after us in many different ways, and he uses other humans to do his dirty work, so we will have other humans coming against us, too.
And those humans who are vulnerable to be used as tools of Satan in coming against us are those who are not partakers in Christ’s death and resurrection and who are not partakers and participators in the gospel of our salvation, in truth and in righteousness, even though many of them may profess faith in Jesus Christ, and some of them may even be pastors of church congregations (or of institutional churches).
But even though we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, our Lord preserves our lives, i.e. he carries us through it all, and he gives us the strength and the stamina we need spiritually and physically to endure and to persevere and to keep on living for him and sharing the truth of the gospel so that many will hear and will repent of their sins and follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) for the rest of their days.
And what is our Lord’s purpose for our lives? Well, we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10; cf. Titus 2:11-14).
And our calling is to be saints (holy), to be in fellowship (partnership) with Christ Jesus, called out of darkness into his marvelous light. And we are called to his own glory and excellence. All the days formed for us were written in His book before one of them came into being. We are predestined to be conformed to likeness of Jesus Christ. And he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him.
[Psalms 139:13-16; Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28-29; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3]
And yes, our Lord will fulfill his purpose for us provided that we cooperate with him and we do what he says. And if we are following him, he will not forsake us, for his steadfast love endures forever. But if we forsake him, and we go our own way, and we do not follow him in obedience, and we do not walk in holiness and righteousness, but we make sin our practice, instead, and if we do not repent and turn back to him in obedience, then in the end we will not inherit eternal life in him. And we need to take this seriously.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Praise the “I AM!”
An Original Work / February 24, 2012
Jesus, my Savior, full of compassion,
Glorious in power, mighty in strength;
Gracious Redeemer, mighty deliv’rer,
My heart adores Him. Praise to His name!
Perfect salvation my Lord provided
When He died for my sins on a tree;
Crucified my sins; conquered in vict’ry,
When He arose, so I could be free!
I am so thankful for His forgiveness;
Grateful that He chose to pardon me,
Giving me new life full in His Spirit,
So I can serve Him; His servant be!
Walking in daily fellowship with Him,
Obeying Him whate’er He commands;
Forsaking my sins, living in freedom,
I will endure with Him to the end!
He gives me peace and calm reassurance
In times of sorrow, or in distress.
His grace is sure, and oh, how sufficient
To meet me in my need for sweet rest.
Oh, how I love You, Jesus, my Savior.
My heart longs for You where’er I am.
Your word is precious; speaks to my spirit;
Brings comfort, healing. Praise the “I AM!”