This Side Of Grace

Inspired by the Lord this morning and by Psalm 71

Published by, Deborah Negron

May 22, 2023

We took a detour this norning from our study of proverbs. We came to Psalm 71.

Obviously, this is a psalm Written before the time of grace.

During these days the psalmist is singing of how he will praise the Lord, since the Lord has been his refuge and has kept him since his youth.

As we chatted about this psalm, I shared with my child that, the Lord has kept me all my days. Even during the days of my faltering and my backsliding.
Though I, had strayed God’s mercy and grace followed me. They were my body guards, as it were.

Imagine that, we have body guards that pursue us. God’s goodness and mercy go with us every where.

The fact that we can even speak of God’s goodness and his favor on our lives is evidence of this truth.

The other side of this is also interesting. On this side of grace, we understand that our enemies are not carnal. Before Jesus died and rose again, the stipulation in the law was clear. It was a tooth for a tooth an eye for an eye.

But on this side of grace we understand that Ephesians 6 explains that our warfare is not carnal. That is,
It is not that teacher that is constantly against you and gives you the lower grade when the college level teacher, reviews it and tells you it is an  A material.
It is not that student who sees you walk by and rolls her eyes and wishes you harm.
Today the enemy is not a corrupt government or educational system that is the enemy. It is not that neighbor, that is so arrogant and mean. It is not that family member who wishes you were not even related to them. Your enemy is not that Employer, who finds the opportunity to make your job even more taxing.

Our enemies are the powers behind the people.  The powers of darkness that these people are trapped by.

A dead person cannot act on his or her own. They are spiritually dead. They cannot see the evil in their ways. And their minds are so convoluted by sin, that in their eyes, they are just going about their normal routines.

Ephesians 6 says,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:12‭-‬13

So, when we have a clear picture on the other side of grace, we understand, that we are to put our trust in the Lord. We are to pray for those who are trapped by the enemy. It is the devil who moves in their minds. Their actions are evil and they are in a state of captivity.
Eveey human being is capable of evil. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
None is holy. None is able to do good on their own.

An example,
They open a soup kitchen on the east side of town. The people serving, appear to love the feeling of helping others.
But eventually, pride creeps in. They begin to think somehow since they themselves are not on the other side of the receiving table getting a meal, they feel superior.
They begin to tire of the task of doing good.

This is our human carnal nature. We also want recognition and validation, when we do good. Being anonymous is not some thing most would like. They want to be known for their charitable work. Me included. All of us warranr this recognition. Is it awful? No, but it demonstrates our carnal nature. We need and crave to be c9nsidered valuable and worthy. But often times it is not what pleases God. When we glorify the flesh and make oursleves feel good our motives are not aligned to what God’s desire is. We are to love as he loved. Seeking nothing for himself but rather pouring our his life for all. He sought to do good for us.

Why else would Paul write the letter to the Galatians saying,
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:8

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 6:10

Look here, the Bible says the opposite. If we do good it is to be done inconspicuously.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Matthew 6:1‭-‬4

We are human. We become tired and weary when we are operating in our own strength.
But when the love of God is in us, the self is controlled. The carnal
desires are put down. The spirit man rises up and this born again person, we have become, in Christ, finds that the Lord has given us a function to serve for His glory.
It becomes an honor to serve the Lord in all functions being in manual labor or serving others or in preaching and teaching the Word.

Read it with me, when Jesus calles us unto Salvation and we are born again, this is what we find;
Jesus draws us to be like him. He was God and A Servant.
He served us grace. He was the main course. His sacrifice on the cross and death and suffering were the examples of love that is unfeigned. A love that goes above and beyond the clock. It transcends ethnic barriers, it trancends cultural differences. It goes beyond our ideologies. It goes as far as to the point where all sin is covered under his blood. Salvation is given freely for all.

What an amazing Servant! What a Loving Saviour!

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Mathew 11:29-30.

Doing good becomes part of who we are.

But outside of Christ we find that there is always an alterior motive to do things that serve others.

So going back to Psalm 71, when we look at the verses,

For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.” O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt.
Psalms 71:10‭-‬13

We understand that the enemy of all humanity is Satan. We understand that those who commit acts against us are blinded and captive by sin. We pray against the powers of darkness in their lives. We pray against the demonic spirits that drive them to be evil and to harm their fellow man.

On this side of Grace we tell of God’s amazing love. A love that caused Christ Jesus to take up on himself the sins of all of us. A Saviour that undertood that we could not save ourselves.
We had all been plagued by the infirmity that is sin. We were stained with this malady. The only remedy is Jesus.

So we pray for our Leaders and governments that those in power would see the error of their ways and turn to Christ. We pray blessing and not cursing over each one.

This is due to the Love of God that abounds in and through us.

So, we continue with  Psalm 71….

I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; For they are confounded, For they are brought to shame Who seek my hurt.
Psalms 71:16‭-‬21‭, ‬23‭-‬24

The Lord will take care of the evil around us.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:43‭-‬48

So, we sing and praise and worship the Lord for He is merciful. We praise God with understanding that His mercies are new every morning.  We praise Him that even though, we too were once, alienated from God and lost, He chose to save us. He brought us from darkness to light. He took the scales off of our eyes.
He allowed us the privilege to learn about the Manger, The Sinless Life, The Cross and The Empty Tomb of Jesus.

Today, we have been made anew. We are born again. Taken from the blindness that comes with sin and given the honor to be called Children of God.

Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.
1 John 3:1

So, we pray for those who persecute and speak against us. We pray for them to see Jesus. To turn from their wicked ways and find hope and forgiveness and a new life in Jesus Christ.

There is hope.
So I can once again say the words of thid Psalm 71!

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You. I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.
Psalms 71:1‭, ‬5‭-‬9

I will continue to Praise you till my very last breath. Though, the years behind me are much more than those ahead of me, My Desire is To Tell of Your Love and All that Came on This Side of Grace.

Lord I thank you for eyes are opened and for hearts that you cause to come to that place where understanding would be made known. I pray for us to grow as your word teaches us. That we may be empowered to serve you and pray for the Lost and reach souls for you.

Let us put the carnal down and rise us and live victoriously loving those you love and praying for those you have yet to save.

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