The father of a righteous child has great joy

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The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Proverbs 23:24 NIV

It is a wonderful blessing when our children serve the Lord and walk with the Lord.  But this doesn’t happen by accident.  Every parent has been given stewardship over their children by the Lord.  Our children actually don’t belong to us, they belong to the Lord.  While they are under our care we are called to build within their lives a firm foundation of God’s kingdom.

This comes as we teach them how to pray and study God’s word.  It happens as we live our lives out before them on a daily basis, setting a Godly example for them to follow.  The ministry of any parent to their child is an essential one and sadly today many have allowed the enemy to hijack this through entertainment and other means.

Let us always remember we are not called to be our child’s friend and we are not called to make them the center of everything.  We are called to be their parent and to teach them to walk with the Lord and pursue Him all the days of their lives. We must guard against allowing things that have no eternal value to have a more prominent place in the life of our child then the Lord Himself.

If our children are to walk in righteousness and pursue God’s kingdom with their whole hearts then we must daily sow into their lives God’s kingdom on a daily basis.  As we pray with them daily and share the word with them daily, the Holy Spirit continues to work in their hearts shaping and molding them.  We must pray continually for our children that the Lord would watch over and protect them, that the Lord would lead and guide them, that every plan and purpose that God has established for their lives would be manifest and come to pass.

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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.

  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.

“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.

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:1-10
 
During this account in the gospel of Luke we are given some very important information about Zaccheus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was a man who valued money above all else and most likely cheated those he collected taxes from. Tax collectors were the most hated in Israel. Taxes were collected for the Roman empire and it was Jews taken advantage of other Jews.
 
Zaccheus was a short man and needed to climb a Sycamore tree to be able to see Jesus passing through the crowd. A sycamore tree can grow to be between 75 to 100 feet and be 10 feet in diameter. It is a very large tree. As Jesus walked by He stated to Zaccheus that He desired to have dinner with him.
 
The people grumbled because they didn’t understand how Jesus could spend time with such a man as this. But Jesus looked beyond the surface. Jesus looked into the heart. In Zaccheus He saw a man who was hungry for truth and it was the Holy Spirit who drew Zaccheus. When Jesus stated to Zaccheus that He desired to eat dinner with Him Zaccheus responded without hesitation.
 
Zaccheus demonstrates through his actions the faith he has in Jesus. He states to the Lord that he was willing to give half of all he had to the poor and to repay four times anyone he had wronged. The heart of Zaccheus had been impacted by the Living Christ. This is a contrast to the rich young ruler who when Jesus spoke to him about his wealth was not willing to depart with it and walked away from Jesus.
 
Jesus statement that He came to seek and save those who were lost sums up His mission. He came to earth to give His life so that anyone who would place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ would be saved. It is because of what Jesus has done alone that we have salvation.
 
Authentic saving faith impacts the way we live our lives. It affects every decision we make on a daily basis. It is impossible to claim that we are truly saved and not be transformed into the character and nature of Jesus Christ.

And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish

and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

John 10:28-30 NASB

It is God who has made the way of salvation possible.  We are saved by the grace of God and it is through placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ that we are saved.  We are saved by the grace and mercy of God.  It is not by works or by our own efforts.

No one can snatch us out of the hand of Almighty God.  We are not able to lose our salvation.  Many fear that some how they can lose their salvation and it has caused many to go through countless seasons of darkness and depression.  But we are saved by the grace of God and we are kept by the grace of God.  It is the grace and power of God that sustains us.

This is why Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  He not only saved us when He went to the cross and died for our sins, but He saves us on a daily basis.  We are led and guided by the Holy Spirit and it is the Lord who the battle belongs too.  The enemy will try to heap condemnation upon us, but in Christ there is no condemnation.  Our right standing before God is not based upon performance, it is based upon our faith in Jesus Christ because our righteousness is based on Christ alone.

This is difficult for some to understand because our culture is a performance driven culture.  If you desire to accomplish anything in the world it is based upon performance.  But this is not the case with God’s kingdom.  God simply calls us to be faithful stewards of that which we have been entrusted.  He calls us to abide in Him each and every day.  Let us fix our hearts and minds upon Jesus and His love for us.  May we fall deeper in love with our Savior each and every day.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,which can save you.  James 1:19-21

We are called to be slow to speak and quick to listen.  Many times we get ourselves into trouble when we simply speak without truly listening to someone.  Often when someone is speaking to us we are focusing simply on our point and not what the person is saying.  If we simply will listen to one another many of the issues that cause division and dysfunction would not exist.  This is why the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth.  When we take time to listen we will operate from a place of wisdom.

This includes listening to the leading of the Lord.  Often times we make decisions and make statements without truly listening to the Lord.  The culture of our day causes many to fail to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord.  But when we take time each day to get alone with the Lord we will develop discernment for the Lord’s leading and guidance.

We are commanded in scripture to rid our lives of all moral filth.  The culture and world we live in worships and glorifies the things of wickedness.  Our culture glorifies sex and violence.  But as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be set apart.  We are called to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord.  The Lord desires to move us from glory to glory but this requires us to walk in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  For when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit we will remove all moral filth from our lives.