The Lord Cares For You – January 16, 2023 (17-18/365)

I’m not in the mood to write, but I know I should be writing. I know I said this would be a Year of Movement but I didn’t expect things to move so quickly… and in so many things moving, I didn’t realize that there’d be so much I could potentially write about… So I’m in some sort of daze right now, trying to figure out where to start, and what to write about first… Making sure that I put everything down. But yeah, the prospect of the entire thing is just so intimidating.

So I figure… I should just go back to hitting the Scripture, to at least get my feet back into the game, and to establish my bearings.

*Cracks open Gideons’ Bible in the office, and turns to Psalm 16*

“Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You.'”

Well, isn’t that the truth. In fact, I would go further to say that there is no goodness in me apart from God. I’m led to remember the rich man who went with all the pleasantries when it was his turn to talk to Jesus. First thing that came out of his mouth, before any questions, was to call Him, ‘Good teacher’; to this, Christ responded, “Who are you calling ‘good’? There is nobody good besides God” (okay, that was straight out of my head so don’t quote me verbatim on that). The point is, even Christ said that the concept of goodness is not apart from God, and is therefore something that we could not totally grasp for ourselves.

Sure, we can have our own ideas about goodness, and consequently, badness. Just as we have our own opinions on right and wrong, good and evil. However, we especially in the body of Christ ought to realize that we have no monopoly on what is absolute good and absolute evil – only an infinite God could comprehend it. And with that said, we couldn’t say that there is any goodness to be comprehended apart from God. And we can certainly agree with the Psalmist – ‘my goodness is nothing apart from You.’; I’d say I can’t be good apart from God.

That adds some teeth to the general phrase we love to say around church – You know, the one quoted, and then sung originally by Don Moen?:

God is good, all the time.

And all the time, God is good.

And though this is nice, I couldn’t help but quote the bridge off of that one Cody Carnes song we led during the first Sunday, the first Day of the year 2023:

You’re good today

You’ll be good tomorrow

You’ve always been good on Your promise

I know that every good thing comes from You

From the mouths of today’s Psalmists we could expound further on that second verse: In consideration of the Truth – that is, the far-reaching benefits of our absolute salvation in Christ, we can say more than the original writer of Psalm 16 had in mind:

First, that Christ is the Son of God, who is our Savior by way of being our Lord, and vice versa. He who knew no sin became sin. John proclaimed that He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world… but I’m currently thinking that was just one way of seeing it. For just as the sacrifices of the Old Testament represented the nation of Israel, so Christ presented Himself a sacrifice, One that represented all humanity, for all time. He not only took on our form, but our entire being, which entails that He also took on what doomed us to death and oblivion: He became sin. And representing us all, He took the punishment and the measure that sin deserved – He suffered separation from God, who is Life, and therefore died the death we deserved.

But that was just one side of the coin; for 2 Corinthians 5:21 continues: He became sin, that we would become His righteousness. Just as Christ became united with us, so close to us that He became our sin and died, so we became united with Him, so close to Him that we became righteous, and therefore recipients of Life, and everlasting Life.

All this gives me a bigger idea of what it means to call Jesus Christ our Lord – as we discussed before, anyone or anything that has power, influence and/or authority over any aspect of our being is a lord… but Christ proves Himself as Lord of Lords over us, by having power, influence, authority AND intentional union with our entire being.

I mean, I know I sort of explained how any goodness we have cannot be apart from God… but I suppose by our calling Christ our Lord, we are essentially saying that we have the goodness of God in every aspect of our being, and in every perspective of our existence, because we are one with Christ, and Christ is one with us.

And, going back, what a goodness this is! It’s a timeless goodness that we celebrate! God’s goodness is present for us here and now, and we can be assured that God’s goodness will be with us tomorrow; He’s proven time and time again that He is good, because He has been good on His promises, according to His perfect wisdom and timing; Everything good comes from God!

Friends, we CAN trust in the Lord, because by Christ, we are not only preserved, but we are fully and completely saved. Amen!

“As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.’ Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips.”

The word ‘excellence’ has been eschewed by my team, of my own doing; I believe it’s because the word has been so abused by other ministries, as if to say that they have the monopoly of not only defining it but imposing it on others. They justify what they do by way of saying that it ‘creates healthy competition’ but what it’s really been doing is sow insecurity and endorse offense.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re talking about this verse today. I see that the cure, the best response to make is done by way of facing insecurity head on, with the knowledge and the resultant confidence in knowing that God delights over us. God delights in us, no matter what we’ve done, no matter what we haven’t done, no matter what people have done to us, no matter what people are forcing us to do so we would be called excellent in our eyes – Nay, more than our trying to be excellent according to our own definition or according to what others insist on as excellence, take that in – GOD DELIGHTS IN YOU.

And how can I say this? Again, look no further than Christ, who is the Lord of any other person or thing that may try to lord over our lives. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone because Christ has already made you worthy of God. Nor do you have to depend on anything else, to the point that you treat them with the same affection and awe that God alone not only deserves, but is fit to be in.

Take that in! There’s no need for you to toil, to the point that you literally sweat blood, to prove yourself to anyone! There’s no need for you to want someone else’s attention, or someone else’s validation; Call their names out! Scream at them if you must, but it will be as if you never say their names at all!

Friend, do not waste your time looking to anyone or anything in this side of reality to take the place of Lord over your life. Time and time again we have said that Christ paid such a dear price, if only for us to be reconciled to God. Therefore, because of Christ… run! Run to His throne of grace, in your time of need! If you need validation, run to the Father! If you need affection, run to the Father! If you need attention, run to the Father! God delights in you!

Friends, we CAN run to God. Believe in Christ, and receive His Spirit – the same Spirit that cries out to God, calling Him, ‘Abba, Father!’

“O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.”

We’re so grateful that we have been saved by Christ, and by way of His being Lord over each and every possible aspect of our being and existence. But try to take some time to appreciate that, as well! I mean, take in the fact and the Truth that you are deeply loved by God, because it doesn’t stop there: You see, once you not only know it in your mind, but believe in your heart that you are absolutely loved with an everlasting love by no less than the Creator of the Universe, much to the point that you are able to call your Creator your intimate Father… then it isn’t much of a stretch to take in the Truth that your cares are His cares, and that your concerns are His concerns as well.

And let me admit that this is as much for me as it is for anyone who comes to reading this – That when we say that God is for us, we’re saying that He did not stop at saving us eternally; No, He is with us, and He is present in the smallest of situations we may be in, just as He is in the largest of circumstances to ever affect us. He is with us NOW, and He maintains our lot – taking care of us in each and every situation involving us, from the ones that cause us so much grief, to the thoughts we gravitate to believing are essential to our pleasure and comfort, to the circumstances that we have no idea we’re involved in.

I mean, traditional religion has had too much of its way with Christianity, forcing us to know what we want in terms of our creature comforts in this reality, and having us naming and claiming them, or declaring them to be true – And sure, from a metaphysical perspective I could go ahead and give some consideration to the possibility of our words bringing things into being… but to be honest, I’m in awe, and I am already just so thankful that the Creator of the Universe cares so much for everything concerning us – and it doesn’t stop there, because He maintains us. Just as I have peace in the Truth that He is faithful to cause all things to work for good (according to His perfect power and wisdom, versus our limited minds), so I am also confident that, indeed, I have a good, great inheritance in Christ, who is my Lord.

And I think I’ll end there for now. The Psalmist began all this by calling on the Lord to preserve Him; but it seems as if he began to understand, and appreciate just how much he is cared for, as he kept on writing. And it’s the same with me, I suppose. By way of writing all this down, it’s like I meditated on it as well… and boy, do the floodgates burst wide, even if you nudge the smallest of openings.

I do join the Psalmist, for the rest of Psalm 16:

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.

I have set the LORD always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;

my flesh also dwells secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:7-11

Thank You, Jesus. In You I put my trust.

Until the next post, God bless you.

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