Go in the Right Direction

For the good of your name, lead me and guide me. PSALM 31:3

Your Shepherd knows that you were not made for this place. He knows you are not equipped for this place. So he has come to guide you out. He has come to restore your soul. He is the perfect one to do so.

He has the right vision. He reminds you that “you are like foreigners and strangers in this world” (1 Peter 2:11). And he urges you to lift your eyes from the jungle around you to the heaven above you.

He also has the right direction. He made the boldest claim in the history of man when he declared, “I am the way” (John 14:6). People wondered if the claim was accurate. He answered their questions by cutting a path through the underbrush of sin and death … and escaping alive. He’s the only One who ever did. And he is the only One who can help you and I do the same.


The Heart of God

John 3:16-21

Judging people solely by actions can lead to inaccurate conclusions. Have you ever longed to look inside someone’s heart to understand what he’s really like and what his motivations and beliefs are?

Of course, we need never question God’s motives; divine righteousness requires that He do the right thing in every circumstance. Yet the Lord wants us to have an ever-deepening personal relationship with Him, which does necessitate our knowing His heart. To make that possible, our Father has revealed Himself through His Word.

But not everyone reads the Bible. As a result, we live in an age of misinformation about who God is, and confusion over His character, forgiveness, and gift of eternal security leads many to disregard Him.

If you want to understand God’s heart, look at the cross, where both His justice and mercy are demonstrated. The Father is perfectly holy; therefore, His just and fitting sentence for sin is eternal separation from Him (Matt. 25:41). However, He desires fellowship with man. So how does a holy, just God interact with sinful, rebellious human beings? He prepares a perfect, sinless substitute to bear not only mankind’s guilt but also the punishment each one of us deserves. Christ’s death made it possible for us to be declared no longer guilty—our sin debt has been paid in full, and that payment is applied on our behalf when we receive Jesus as Savior.

God’s justice demanded that His Son undergo the worst punishment possible: separation from the Father. Jesus’ sacrifice led to the greatest blessing—that God’s mercy could be poured out on us.

The Perfections of God

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Since God is Creator of the universe, all that He does is right, and all He says is truth, by definition. The world He created was perfect; the Word He inscripturated is perfect; every work He accomplishes is perfect; all the ways He follows are perfect, and the will He reveals is perfect.

His perfect world: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Of course, because of sin, the creation is now groaning in pain, but it was perfect as it came from God in the beginning. It will again be perfect in the ages to come, when God makes “all things new” (Revelation 21:5).

His perfect Word: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7). God has given us His inspired Word, providing perfect guidance for every need, “that the man of God may be perfect” (2 Timothy 3:17).

His perfect works: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Not only His work in creation but also His works of redemption and reconciliation—all His works throughout history.

His perfect ways: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). His ways may not be our ways (Isaiah 55:9), but always, they are the best ways.

His perfect will: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that . . . perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). His will is invariably right.

Thus God is our standard of perfection, and we must never set a lower standard for ourselves. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (our text). HMM

Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong, and of good courage

Thy God hath commanded thy strength, strengthen, O God, that which Thou
hast wrought for us
.—Psalm 68:28.
Fear not, nor be dismayed; be strong, and of good courage.—Joshua 10:25.

THEN combat well, of naught afraid,
For thus His follower thou art made;
Each battle teaches thee to fight,
Each foe to be a braver knight,
Armed with His might,
J. H. BOHMER, 1704.

HENCEFORTH my soul should fight with the prestige of victory, with the courage that comes of having striven and won, trusted and not been confounded. JULIANA H. EWING.

They have had their victories; and when the stress is hardest, it is wise to look back on these for encouragement, as songs of joy and triumph bring strength and support along a way beset with pain and sorrow and disappointments; which, when seen in their true proportions, are only as faint specks showing in a universe of infinite light. LAURENCE OLIPHANT.

Troubled on every side, Fight the good fight of faith

Fight the good fight of faith. 1 Timothy 6:12

We were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. — Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. — Strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. — God is my strength and power: … he teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. — Our sufficiency is of God.

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. — Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

The time would fail me to tell of [those] who through faith subdued kingdoms, … out of weakness were -strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

2 Corinthians 7:5. 2 Kings. 6:16. Ephesians 6:10. 1 Samuel 17:45. 2 Samuel 22:33,35. 2 Corinthians 3:5. Psalm 34:7. 2 Kings. 6:17. Hebrews 11:32-34.

O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me

O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. Psalm 38:14

Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God. — Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. — Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storms.

Christ … suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

Psalm 123:1,2. Psalm 61:1-4. Isaiah 25:4. 1 Peter 2:21-23.