Colossians 1:12-14, Galatians 2:20, John 15:17-21, Joshua, Joshua 24:14-15, Luke 2:52, Matthew 17:5, Matthew 25:21-23, Matthew 3:17, Matthew 7:13-14, Philippians 2:5-11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 1:1-6, Psalm 37:22-24, Read Between The Lines, The narrow way, The Word
Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.20 Reading Between The Lines???
On of my favorite songs lately has been an old song, but one I hadn’t really thought about in a long time, and then God brought it to my mind. It has touched a place in my heart that needed stirring, and I have been singing it to the Lord on a regular basis: “Be Thou My Vision” (By Dallon Forgaill), is the song that has sparked a longing in my heart. It has created in me a longing to truly have eyes (both physical and spiritual), which see as God sees—to see things as God sees them. That sounds rather insignificant, but I am finding that there are adjustments that I need to make in my life when I see things as God sees them. It often calls me to change things in my life, to eliminate things from my life, to add some things to my life, and to refocus my life toward God’s glory and purposes, rather than my own. It also means that I’m to desire to ‘love’ what God loves, and reject the things that God would find offense in—in other words to avoid the things that are not “well pleasing” to my Heavenly Father and my Lord Jesus. While the verses below are words were spoken in regard to Jesus Himself, they are words that we all ought to desire to hear God speak about us.
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
“While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5
Twice God confirmed Jesus as His own Son, the Messiah, by declaring His pleasure in the work that His Son was doing. What less could we desire but to please God The Father, Jesus The Son, and the precious Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and to hear Him say that He is “well pleased” with us, and our service to Him. To do that, we must have His vision, and then we can walk right before God and man, which is what Jesus did in His earthly life and pursuits.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:52
We ought to be pursuing God’s favor, and to do that we must immerse ourselves in His Word and His presence. We must dig into the Word of God, to know the God of the Word. We must seek His face in prayer and grow in intimacy with Him! And that, my friends, doesn’t come cheaply! It will cost us time, effort, energy, passion and devotion to the things of God, rather than being deceived and weighed down by the things of the world. Are we willing to seek the face of God rather than the “bling” and “distractions” that the world offers? Only I can decide that! Only YOU can decide that! And to help us choose wisely, here are a few things to consider in our pursuit of God’s heart and His vision.
“Trust in the LORD
with all thine heart;
and lean not unto
thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways
and he shall direct
thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We must learn to trust our lives to our Lord and King, The Sovereign Lord of all, who loves us and cares for us. I must die to self and live to, for and through Jesus Christ my Lord.
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Jesus gave Himself for me, what else ought I to do but give myself for Him. And when we do that it will be seen in our life—our actions.
“For such as be blessed of him
shall inherit the earth;
and they that be cursed of him
shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man
are ordered by the LORD:
and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall,
he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the LORD upholdeth him
with his hand.” Psalm 37:23
God will direct our steps when we belong to Jesus, and truly trust Him in all our ways. For there is only one way to be a “good man”, and that is by the blood of Jesus, which saves us from the penalty of sin, and forgives our sins unto eternal life.
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
Jesus offers eternal life to all who will look to Him, and believe in the atoning sacrifice for salvation that He made with His own body on the cross. He died for you and me—so that we could live in, for and through HIS power and Spirit in us!
“For even hereunto were ye called:
because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example,
that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin,
neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again;
when he suffered,
he threatened not;
but committed himself
that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins
in his own body
on the tree,
being dead to sins,
should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep
but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25
While Peter is talking to believers who are suffering for their faith, He is also reminding us that because Jesus suffered, we are also called to suffer for Him (see 2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus told us the same thing when He reminded us that following Him has a price. Jesus gave His life for ours, what are we giving to Him? Are we reading between the lines, and seeing the world as Jesus sees it? Are we willing to die to ourselves and live unto Jesus? We can only do that by His power, grace and love, but we can do it, when we walk closely with our Savior. It is there that we will find the joy and reward that the Psalmist refers to.
“Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel
of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way
nor sitteth in the seat
of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in
the law of the LORD;
and in his law
doth he meditate
day and night.
3 And he shall be
like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit
in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so:
but are like the chaff
which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly
shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation
of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth
the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly
shall perish.” Psalm 1:1-6
A day is coming when it will be too late to “read between the lines”, for the lines will be totally revealed IN the One who searches the hearts and minds of men. And the standard will be The Word of God—both the written Word, which we have before us today; and the Living Word, Jesus Christ The Lord. I’d like us to consider two passages that remind us of His coming and His position. What Position, you might ask? His position as King of Kings, Lord of lords, and judge of the living and the dead! But there are two ways to know Him; you can bow before Him now in repentance and faith, and be born again by the blood of the Lamb, knowing Him as your Savior and Lord; or you can reject Him now and bow before Him ‘then’ as your Judge, with no opportunity for salvation. It’s a choice we all make. Choose wisely, there is a test at the end!
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be
equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient
even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name
which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
We who know Jesus and have been saved by His substitutionary, atoning sacrifice for sin (And all are sinners—See Romans 3:23 and 6:23), can read between the lines! The lines are heaven and hell—and Jesus is what’s written between those lines, and all who will believe in Him and the sacrifice that He made for sin (Our sin.), can have eternal life instead of eternal death in hell. The choice is yours, but remember there is a consequence to every choice.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be
which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be
that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
There is a ‘broad’ way and a ‘narrow’ way, and you get to choose which one you will take. But know that there is only one end, but not the same end, for each choice. One leads to life—eternal life with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)—and the other leads to death. One is crowded and large; the other is small and much less crowded. Choosing to follow Jesus will mean not every one will like you; it may mean that you will suffer as He did; it may mean that your situation in life will change; it may mean that your friends may change toward you; it could cost you financially; it could cost your life! But both the present and the eternal reward are beyond our imagination! He is always with us!
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained before the world
unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written,
Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us
by his Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things,
yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man,
save the spirit of man which is in him?
even so the things of God knoweth no man,
but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received,
not the spirit of the world,
but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know
the things that are freely given
of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:7-12
So which way will you choose? Will you choose the way that leads to life, abundant life, and glorious life beyond anything that we can imagine; or will you choose the way to destruction? And when we choose Christ, we must remember that when we “read between the lines”, and follow Jesus it will have a price tag!
“These things I command you,
that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me
before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world,
the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you,
The servant is not greater
than his lord.
If they have persecuted me,
they will also persecute you;
if they have kept my saying,
they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you
for my name’s sake,
because they know not him that sent me” John 15:17-21
So, keep your eyes on the prize, ask God to “Be Thou My Vision”, and walk on with and for the Savior! May we see with spiritual eyes and follow HIM in all our ways, and someday hear our Master say:
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord……23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:” Matthew 25:21 & 23
No matter how many ‘things’ the Lord has given us to be faithful over, may we one day hear Him acknowledge our ‘faithfulness’ when we see Him. Oh, that is the prayer of my heart. I fall so far short every day, but I’m pressing on for my king. How about you?
May we be like Joshua, who not only read “between the line”, but stood for the Lord and drew a line in the sand for others. May we ever be that light to the world—knowing that many won’t like us or believe our message, but He calls us to follow Him, not take a ‘popularity poll’ before proceeding. As an old song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus…..No turning back….no turning back…” ( ‘I Have Decided To Follow Jesus’, attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh). Let’s choose to stand with Joshua and “read between the lines”! May God bless, grow and encourage you in His Word this week, and I pray that His grace and peace will fill your heart as you “choose you this day whom ye will serve”.
“Now therefore fear the LORD,
and serve him in sincerity and in truth:
and put away the gods
which your fathers served on the other side of the flood,
and in Egypt;
and serve ye the LORD.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,
choose you this day whom ye will serve;
whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
Won’t you trust in the One “between the lines”?