When I am afraid, I put my trust in you

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?  Psalm 56:3-4

The Lord is our light and our salvation.  He is our rock and our fortress.  He is our sword and our shield.  We have nothing to fear. Often times in life as we walk with Christ we can face circumstances and situations which will test us and stretch us.  If we simply focus on the situation without seeing it through the eyes of the Lord, we can become filled with fear.

But when we view all things from God’s perspective we see He is simply in control.  He can work in any situation and circumstance and use it for our good and our glory.  He chose us before the foundation of the world and He has designed and ordered our every step.  Nothing is a surprise to Him and nothing with Him happens by accident or chance.  Everything is on purpose for an eternal purpose.  He has simply put us on this earth to bring glory and honor to His name.  May we fix our eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ and prepare our hearts for His soon coming.

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But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him

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17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.  Psalm 103:17-18

The Lord’s love is everlasting and eternal.  His love and mercy is lavish upon those who love Him and walk in obedience to His word.  Our relationship with God is one that is based upon a covenant that was established through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ.  To be able to be brought under this covenant requires a person to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

The door of salvation is open to all people.  When a person is confronted with the truth of Jesus Christ it requires them to make a decision.  For those who receive and accept Jesus their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life because their sins have been forgiven.  But for those who reject Jesus and reject Him throughout their life time, they will spend an eternity separated from God because they have no answer to their sin.

God’s love is far greater than we will ever understand.  He simply desires to pour His love out upon us.  We have been created in His image and He has created us with plan and purpose.  He has created us with destiny.  As we come to know Him and walk closely with Him, we come to discover who we are and why we are here.  May we draw near and abide daily in Him.

  Romans 12:14-16

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14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.  Romans 12:14-16

The way we live our lives is to be lived to glorify and honor the name of Jesus.  The world and culture of our day calls people to live self-centered lives in which they step on anyone who may stand in their way.  But in Christ this is not the case.  We are called to do all things in love.  When we are driven by the love of Christ we are willing to forgive.  We are willing to respond to those who persecute us as Jesus did.  We must remember as the Lord hung upon the cross He prayed that His Father would forgive them for they know not what they do.

Jesus is our model and our example.  He is the standard by which we are to live our lives.  We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn.  There are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ who are hurting and broken.  We are called to encourage them and to cry with them.  We are not only called to walk in intimacy with the Lord, we are called to walk in deep fellowship with one another.  Everything we do in Christianity is based upon relationship.

We are called to live in unity and harmony with one another.  The power and might of God’s kingdom is poured out when God’s people walk in unity and agreement.  We are also called to associate with those of low position.  When we examine Jesus life and ministry we see time and again that Jesus reached out to those who were forgotten.  Jesus reached out to the untouchable and poured His grace, love, and compassion on them.

We only have one life to live and may we use the life we have been given to love those we meet every day.  May we be an ambassador of God’s kingdom and bring glory to the name of Jesus in all things.  We are surrounded by people who are broken and hurting.  May we see all things through the eyes of Jesus.

Romans 15:5-6

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6 NKJV

We serve an awesome God.  He is full of patience and comforts us along this journey that we walk with Him.  We are called to walk in unity.  As we grow in the character and nature of who Jesus is this will be a natural manifestation of our growth in Christ.  We will view our fellow brothers and sisters as the Lord sees them.  We will see those who are lost as the Lord sees them.  The key to all things is growing in the character and nature of Christ.  This happens as we daily abide in the Lord and spend time in prayer and the study of God’s word each day.  We will simply find ourselves becoming more and more like Christ each day.

Hebrews 6:1-8

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.  Hebrews 6:1-8

This is a warning to believers of the importance of growing and maturing in our relationship with God.  We are called to abide in Christ on a daily basis.  We are called to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

Those who would begin with Christ and then begin to chase after the ways of the world and abandon the Lord, place themselves in danger.  Sin is deceptive and we are called to walk according to the Spirit.  For when we walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit we will not gratify the lust and desires of the sinful nature.

As we walk each day following the leading of the Holy Spirit our desire for the Lord and His kingdom continues to increase.  We are transformed into the image and character of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.  As this happens we desire to abandon the things of sin and the world.

But those who would begin with Christ and then turn back to the world play a very dangerous game.  For it is the Holy Spirit who draws us near unto the Lord and it is important we heed the drawing of the Holy Spirit because when we rebel and reject the leading of the Holy Spirit we begin to harden our heart towards the Lord.

Let us heed the warnings of the Lord in His word.  Let us take seriously what God’s word has to say.  The culture of our day rejects God and His kingdom.  We are not called to align ourselves with this world and its ways.  We are called to repent and turn from this world.  May we walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So you do not know the works of God who makes everything

As you do not know what is the way of the wind,[a]
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.  Ecclesiastes 11:5-6

There are things about God’s plan and His ways that remain a mystery.  When we look at circumstances and things we are facing often times we will look at things through our understanding or rationale.  But we must remember that God and His ways are above our ways.  He has called us to trust Him and walk by faith.  As we draw near to the Lord each day and study His word we are encouraged and strengthened.  God’s word is filled with promises and we know He who has begun a good work within us will be faithful to complete it.  Our journey with Christ is simply about growing in faith and trusting the Lord.  Our eyes must remained fixed upon the Lord in every circumstance.

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Galatians 2:17-21

The apostle Paul understood the grace of God.  The reason he understood the grace of God is because he knew the man he was before he came to Christ.  Before he came to Christ the apostle Paul was a pharisee.  He zealously followed the law of God, but understood it was impossible to keep the law.

Before he came to Christ he thought that Jesus was actually trying to destroy the law.  He zealously tried to destroy the early church seeking out directives from the religious leaders to hunt early Christians down and throw them in prison.  Paul even stood with approval as Stephen was being stoned to death.

But on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul had an encounter with Jesus Christ in which Paul’s life was turned upside down.  He committed his life to Christ and God used him mightily to write a majority of the new testament and to begin to plant churches and advance God’s kingdom.  The apostle Paul was sent as an apostle to the gentiles.

He understood that righteousness was through faith alone.  The purpose of God’s law was to govern the nation of Israel because it was a theocracy through a covenant established with God.  But the law was never meant to lead to righteousness.  The law reveals the righteousness of God and reveals man’s need for a savior.  For when one tries to keep the law perfectly it is impossible.

There is only one who was able to perfectly keep the law of God and that was Christ Jesus.  This is why He claimed He did not come to destroy the law, He came to fulfill it.  In fulfilling the law of God it makes it possible that anyone who would placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ would have the righteousness of Christ applied to them.  It is only the precious blood of Christ that is perfect and is only able to wash away our sins.

This is why it is no longer us who live, but we live by faith in the Son of God.  Daily we die to ourselves, decreasing that He may increase.  May we daily fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ and desire and seek to know Him in a deeper way.  He has made the way of salvation possible through the cross and it is through Jesus that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  Matthew 18:15-17

Jesus has established how we are to deal with brothers or sisters in the body of Christ we know are involved in sin.  We begin by going to them individually and bringing it to their attention.  When a person becomes off track they can become blinded by the sin they are involved in.  Their life style can also begin to negatively impact other members among the body.  This is important because young believers can easily be pulled off track.

If they fail to listen when we approach them then we are to bring along one or two witnesses and confront the person once again.  If they fail to respond we are then to bring them before the church.  This is a practice that is not carried out in many churches today.  Many churches fail to use church discipline as it is prescribed in God’s word.

But when the lifestyle of a member in the body of Christ begins to negatively impact the greater body of believers it is time to take action.  Everything should be done in love and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing should ever be done in a self-righteous spirit because that only comes from our sinful nature.  The goal of all church discipline is that the individual will repent of the sin they are involved in and return to a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.  The most important thing is the health of the greater body of Christ.  We are family and we are called to love one another, pray for one another, and encourage one another.  But it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to wickedness and sin.

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.  Psalm 51:1-2

It is to the grace and mercy of God that we appeal.  Because of His grace and mercy He has chosen to forgive us and send His Son to die in our place.  Jesus came to take the punishment and wrath that we deserve.  Because of sin in our lives it is only the precious blood of Jesus that can cleanse us from our sin.

In Christ our sins are washed away forever.  When we come into relationship with Jesus His righteousness is placed upon us and when we draw near to the Father the only thing that remains is the righteousness of Jesus.  This is why we are able to draw near to the Lord with confidence.  In Christ fear no longer fills our heart because we come to know the unconditional and eternal love of God.

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2 NIV

Through Jesus Christ we have been set free from the demands of the law.  The law reveals the righteousness of God and reveals man’s need of a savior.  Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.  Through faith in Christ we have received the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of Christ has been applied to our lives.

Condemnation only stands for those who have rejected Jesus Christ.  The only answer we have for sin is the precious blood of Jesus.  So to reject Jesus Christ is to reject the precious gift of salvation.  If someone rejects salvation the only option they are left with is condemnation.  This is why anyone who is in Christ is saved and anyone who rejects Jesus Christ is condemned.