Boundaries

Life is organized by boundaries.
Borders define nations. Standards of behavior define morality. Boundaries express and enable covenantal agreements. Think of traffic lanes on the highway. On a two-lane road a thin boundary divides the road into the two lanes. Even if the white line is broken into short stripes, it rules the road. Because of this agreement, we are unafraid of traveling nine miles above the speed limit (ten miles over might get us a ticket) with oncoming cars just inches away. Covenantal boundaries and rules make our highways safe at amazing speeds.

This is the power of boundaries.
Even in these “anything goes” times, teens are able to manage their hormonal surges When they have behavioral boundaries—there are things they will not do. Perhaps the boundaries are set from an internal sense of propriety or by carefully taught moral principles from the home or the church, but these unseen borders can keep youth sexually pure until a marriage contract draws delightful new boundaries for them.

Boundaries are necessities on the Path of Life.
The ancient words of Psalm 16 praise the Lord for the life-boundaries His covenant people enjoy.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Boundaries are born in reality. I grew up in a small Delta town on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River–now there is a boundary! For more than a century of civilization people of the town of Helena had to cross the River by boat. When I was about 11 years old a magnificent bridge was built to span the mighty stream in all seasons of the year from the highest spring floods to the winter days when the temperatures and the waters were low enough for the river to freeze. Cars no longer needed to ride on the slippery decks if a dangerous ferry boat called The Pelican.

Another Dangerous River
When sin entered the human story, a wide and raging river carved a deep and dangerous boundary between our heart and the heart of God. For centuries the world had the nation of Israel as a witness to the One True God. The nation of Israel had the Law and a system of worship wherein the blood of innocent animals paid the high price of transit across the river. This ancient grace stood on pillars of the promise of some future Redeemer Who would come and build a bridge.

A Better Bridge
Jesus is that Redeemer. He has bridged the raging river for us and now we have ready access to the heart of God. Sin no longer needs to separate us from the God we need and love.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Indeed.

Scriptures:
Psalm 16:5-11 NIV
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 74:12-17 NIV
But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert. It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
John 14:6 NIV
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I owe You so much! My life, my salvation, my destiny, all come from You and through You. You are the bridge spanning boundary of my sin. Your Word gives me clear boundaries of behavior. Through the Bible I know what pleases You and blesses me and I can clearly see the sins that would grieve You and harm me. Your binding covenant marks the lane in which I should travel, warning me of curves and hills and hazards of all kinds. Your faithfulness to Your promises is my security. Yes, the boundaries of my life do occupy good and pleasant places. Thank You, Father, in Jesus’ Name.

Song:
Nothing Between

Words and Music: Charles A. Tindey

1. Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure,
Jesus is mine; there’s nothing between.

Refrain:
Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Keep the way clear with nothing between.

2. Nothing between like worldly pleasure,
habit of life, though harmless the seem,
Must not my heart from Him ever sever,
He is my all, there’s nothing between.

Refrain

3. Nothing between, like pride or station;
Self or friend shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there’s nothing between.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “February 6, 2017

    1. Brother Brock (Can’t seem to bring myself to call you Bob!)Thanks for such a rich response. We folks from Helena think a lot of that bridge. My mothers folks were from North Mississippi so we crossed that swirling boundary many times, on the ferry and over the bridge. I remember a prevalent attitude among teens when I was one of them–“What can I do and still be a Christian?” or “How close to the boundaries of hell can I walk and still make heaven?” Men like you, and Brother Yendrek, and my father showed me where the boundaries were, and you also echoed the call of the Holy Spirit to see how close I could live to Jesus instead of to the world. Thank you!

      Steve

      Like

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