Bearing graciously with one another

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12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.  Colossians 3:12-13 AMP

We are God’s chosen people.  We are called to be holy because He is holy.  As we live our lives for Him each day our lives become a vessel of his glory.  Our lives have been set apart for His purposes.  As we walk with Christ we are sanctified on a daily basis.

We are called to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Simply put we are told to put on the character and nature of Christ.  As we seek the Lord and abide in Him our hearts are transformed.  Our hearts become one with His and we begin to see the world around us as Jesus sees it.

We are called to bear graciously with one another.  We live in a world of broken people and even in the body of Christ we are a people in process.  We have people who are at all different growth and maturity levels and because of this we must bear with one another.  God because of His grace and His mercy has poured out His love upon us and therefore we must pour out our love on one another.

We must be willing to forgive one another.  One of the greatest weapons of the enemy is offense.  He has used offense to create divisions in families, marriages, and churches.  But if we are to truly have the heart of Christ it is a heart of forgiveness.  It was Jesus who cried upon the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” as He hung upon the cross.  Let us love one another and be the sons and daughters God has called us to be.

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Enter through the narrow gate

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:13-14 AMP

We are commanded by the Lord to enter through the narrow gate.  Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  There is only one way to the Father and it is through Him.  What is interesting is that in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve could eat from every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But today on earth there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ.

Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will find it.  We live in a culture and day where people claim to believe all types of things.  Our culture will claim there are many ways to God or that God doesn’t exist at all and a person is simply their own god.  But the truth of God’s word has not changed.  Jesus is the only way to the Father.  What is very said about this verse is that Jesus says many will find the broad road that leads to destruction.  One of the reasons I believe this is is because to follow Jesus a person must be willing to make Him both Lord and Savior and where many struggle is making Him Lord.

But small and narrow is the road that leads to eternal life.  It is not an easy road.  A decision to follow Jesus Christ is a decision to die to ourselves on a daily basis.  Our sinful nature and our flesh desire to be comfortable.  They desire to chase after the lust and desires of this world.  But for us to live for Christ each day we must abide in Him.  It is only through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do this.  It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for all things.

No matter what the world and our culture claim there is only one way to God and that is through Christ alone.  For a person to be saved they must confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is truly Lord.  It is through Him alone that forgiveness can be found because of His precious blood that was shed at Calvary.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

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When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.  Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  God’s word is full of promises.  He is always faithful to His word.  He is our Good Shepherd and no matter where we find ourselves in life the Lord is always leading us.

As we draw near to Him each day we come to know His voice.  As we draw near to the Lord we grow in intimacy and maturity with Him.  It is vital in this day and age that we are able to discern and distinguish the voice of the Lord.  There are many voice out there trying to garner our attention.  But the one voice we must listen to is that of the Lord.

When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  Sometimes the challenges we face in life can seem like a mighty river that is simply trying to drown us.  We can feel overwhelmed and feel as if God has almost abandoned us.  But it is in these moments when the Lord is doing His deepest work.  It is when He is leading us through the river that we learn to stand upon His word and not rely upon our feelings.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  As I meditate upon this it reminds me of the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  In the face of opposition and under the threat that they would be thrown into the fiery furnace, they stood their ground and held fast to the faith they had in Jehovah.  They trusted the Lord and knew that the Lord would surround and protect them.  Even though the furnace was turned up seven times hotter they were not touched by the fire nor did their clothes have the smell of smoke.  But the soldiers who brought them to the furnace died as they themselves encounter the heat on the outside of the furnace.

It is vital that we study God’s word daily.  It is based upon His promises to us to sustain and lead us.  He will always meet our needs and He will always bring to pass His plans and purposes in our lives by His love, grace, and mercy.  In our most difficult moments we must simply fix our eyes upon Him and His promises for our lives.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength

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The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:19 NIV

The sovereign Lord is my strength.  The Lord is the strength of our lives.  He is the one who holds all things together by His mighty power.  He holds our very breath and moment in His hands.  So many times we allow our hearts to get focused on circumstances that are nothing compared to the God that we serve.  The Lord desires that we would cry out to Him and ask Him to move according to His will.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.  It is the Lord who enables us to do the impossible.  In a world filled with darkness, wickedness, and deception, it can seem that things are in chaos and out of control.  It can seem that it is impossible for the advancement of God’s kingdom.  But these are simple deceptions of the enemy.  The Lord desires that we would come to know His word and His heart.  That our prayers would be shaped by His character and His love.  Because we know with Him that nothing is impossible.

 

 

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty

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Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. – 1 Chronicles 29:11 NASB

God is the only one who deserves to be worshiped. So many times people in this world spend their lives worshiping celebrities, people in power, and even those in ministry. But when we examine God’s word and take time to meditate upon the greatness of God we see that He alone deserves our worship.

Satan’s greatest mistakes was in his pride he believed he deserved to be worship. He allowed pride to fill his heart and his eyes to become focused on himself. Today he still tries to steal the worship only God deserves. It is when our worship is given to God alone that we truly experience all that God has for us. And worship is not merely the songs we sing it is the way we live our lives. The more we come to know the Lord and grow in Him, the more He simply becomes our obsessions and our pursuit.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.