8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8
The peace of God is tangible. It is not something that is understood by the world. When our faith and trust is placed in Jesus Christ we know that the Lord walks with us where ever we go and He prepares every step. No matter what we face in this life the Lord will work all things together for our good. He uses all things to shape and mold our lives. He uses all things to grow and deepen our faith. But the key is abiding in Christ each day. As we spend the beginning of our day in the study of God’s word and prayer our hearts and minds are fixed upon the Lord.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Salvation is a free gift from God. It is not earned but simply received. It is received by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and living for the Lord each day. Placing our faith in Jesus is more than just simply believing in Jesus. To place our faith in Jesus means that our life is built upon Jesus, we have turned from our sins and turned fully to the Lord.
The only result of living in sin is destruction and death. Sin is deceptive and it would seem when we are living in sin and pursuing the desires of our sinful nature that we are truly living in freedom. But we are simply bound by sin and we are enslaved to the devil. But when our hearts are given to Christ we are set free from the bondage of sin and are no longer enslaved to the devil and this world. Each day as we abide in the Lord He leads and guides us one step at a time. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out. As we study God’s word each day our minds are renewed and as our minds are renewed our lives are transformed.
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
The scriptures were written long ago by those inspired by the Holy Spirit. All that we have in the bible today is the inspired word of God. Transformation takes place in our lives as we study the scriptures and meditate upon the scriptures. We are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Some will claim that the bible is outdated or simply a book filled with fairy tales. But it isn’t until we come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that we come to understand the power of God’s word. The more we study God’s word the more we are encouraged. This journey can be very difficult sometimes and it is easy to become discouraged. But when our lives are spent daily in the study of God’s word our hearts and minds will be fixed upon Jesus Christ.
Understanding God’s word comes as we fellowship with the Holy Spirit. As we seek the Lord in prayer and draw near it is the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts and minds to understand the word of God. It doesn’t require a bible degree to understand the word of God. It simply requires a heart that is hungry to know the heart of God.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
There is great blessing in enduring and persevering under trial. In this world we will face trials and the way we persevere is by abiding in the Lord and walking closely with Him. Throughout Jesus earthly ministry the disciples walked closely with Christ each day learning from Him in all things.
Today we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. Where ever we go the Lord is always with us. The Holy Spirit desires to teach us in all things. In every situation and in every trial the Lord is continually refining and shaping our lives.
The trials we face are like a chisel in the hand of the Lord. Through every trial and challenge the Lord is shaping our lives. He is shaping us into His character and His nature. When we are born into this world we are born into sin. We are driven by the desires of the sinful nature. But when we come to Christ and walk closely with Him each day the Lord is continually transforming us. But abiding in Him each day is the key because we will never overcome in our own strength. We will simply overcome in the strength and power of the Lord.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:10-11 NKJV
We are called to put on the whole armor of God. Every day we find ourselves in a war zone. The enemy continually assaults our minds with lies and deceptions and the way that we stand against the enemy is putting on the full armor of God.
Those who put on the full armor of God are those who have an attitude of readiness. The understand the nature and reality of the enemy they face. We are not called to live in fear or be intimidated by the enemy. We are called to stand against the wiles of the enemy. We are called to be the mighty ones and overcomers. Because the honest truth is the enemy we face is defeated and we are the ones who have been given authority.
We are called to be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. When we take time to simply meditate and focus on the power of Almighty God it shows us that His power within us is without limit and because of this it doesn’t matter what we face. We will overcome anything we face because it will be the Holy Spirit within us that will empower and enable us to overcome. Let us understand the reality we live in every day and be the warriors and soldiers God has called us to be.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV
There is great blessing in simply trusting in the Lord. In this life we will face trials and tribulations. We will faces many storms on our journey with Jesus. But through everything we face God will sustain us. He will sustain us by His grace and power. As we grow in Christ we learn to trust the Lord more and more in all situations.
Growing in Christ is a very uncomfortable thing. Because what God is continually doing is He is challenging us. He is pruning us and cutting away the aspects of our sinful selfish nature and He is replacing it with the character and nature of Christ. He has given us His word each day to feed off of because the enemy is continually trying to bombard our minds with lies and deceptions.
God is faithful in every situation. The dreams and desires He has placed within us, He will be faithful to complete and fulfill. Many times the enemy will fill our hearts and minds with doubts and fears that some how God has forgotten us or somehow we have missed it. But as we abide in Him each day and walk closely with Him we will be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river. Hold fast my friends, God is always faithful. He is leading and guiding us each day and preparing us for His glory.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3
These verse described prophetically what Jesus would go through at Calvary. He was despised and rejected because of us. He knew the price that had to be paid at Calvary and He knew the pain and suffering He would face. But it was His love for us that drove Him to choose to come to the earth and lay down His life.
Many in the world today despise the name of Jesus. They reject the existence of God and want nothing to do with Him. They want to simply live their lives to fulfill the selfish desires that exist within their hearts. But God in His grace and mercy continues day after day to knock on human heart. The Lord continues to advance the gospel throughout the earth.
When we understand the grace and mercy of God we will surrender our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. To follow Christ means to simply give Jesus all that we are. His will becomes the driving force in our lives. We simply live our lives to bring glory and honor to His name.
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:2-3 NKJV
As believers we need to desire the pure milk of the word. There are false teachers out there who will distort the word of God for their own selfish means. Many times they are driven by the love of money and will distort the word of God, appealing to the fleshly nature of people and be used by the enemy to deceive them.
We need to desire to move from the milk of God’s word to the meat of God’s word. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord we will come to a deep understanding of His word and who He is. This is a supernaturally process led by the Holy Spirit. As we open our hearts more and more our hunger for the Lord and His word will continue to increase.
It is through the study of God’s word on a daily basis that growth truly takes place in our lives. As our minds are renewed by the truth of God’s word, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord leads us one step and day at a time. He sets a table before us daily and bids us to come and dine upon the purity of His word.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is simply the character and nature of Jesus. It is simply a result of abiding with the Lord on a daily basis. As we fellowship with the Lord and walk with Him daily, we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As our minds are renewed through the study of God’s word our lives are transformed. There is a distinction between those who seek after the Lord and those who seek after the world. We can’t claim to follow Christ and not reflect the character and nature of who He is. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to become like Him and be filled with His love. This is what the fruit of the Spirit is all about.
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:12-15
We are called to endure temptation. It is not God who tempts us. We are tempted by Satan and his demonic army. We are tempted by the selfish desires of our sinful nature. Sin is very deceptive and if we give into temptation, we give the devil a foothold into our lives.
A crown of righteousness awaits all those who have endured with the Lord. Our decision to follow Jesus Christ is a decision to follow Him on a daily basis. If we decide to make Jesus our Lord and Savior we give our lives over to Him. We become bond servants of the Lord and we surrender our will unto the Lord. His will becomes the driving force of our lives.
When sin destroys someone’s life it is a progressive process. For in these verse James lays out for us the process. We are first of all tempted and enticed to draw away from the Lord. Then as we are drawn to temptation and sin, it begins to take root in our lives. If we continue in it it simply leads to death and destruction.
Why sin is so deceptive and so dangerous is because when we are indulging in it we think that we will never be accountable for our wickedness. But time and time again history has proven that we simply reap what we sow. If we continue to indulge and chase after sin, it will end up destroying us.
God has given us a freewill and there have been those who have begun following Christ but have chosen to walk away and return to the wickedness of the world. We simply guard our hearts from the deceptions of the devil by abiding in Christ daily. As we draw near to the Lord our hearts and minds will be guarded. We will be clothed in the armor of God.