Tag Archives: peace

The Promise

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Ps. 23:6

The Shepherd has taken us on quite a journey. We have lain in green pastures, drank from still water, walked righteous paths, and gone through the valley of the shadow of death. He has fed us, bound our wounds, and overfilled our cups. Now He wants to leave us with a promise to hold onto as we continue on our journey.

The first word “Surely” is the Shepherd’s way of telling us that we can count on this… just as surely as we can count on every thing else He has said. For the rest of my life — no matter the pain, sorrow, good times, or bad times — His goodness and His mercy will follow me. Oh, if we could only understand this concept. He is not ever going to leave you in need. He has walked the trail before many times with many sheep. He knows the danger and trials that you will face. He has provided His goodness as a gift to help us as we walk. He knows that we will struggle so He reminds us that He will always be there to provide good things for us.

It is so easy in the midst of a trial to think that God is taking a board and hitting you just for good measure. In our pain, we lash out and think that He no longer cares. Yes, the Shepherd will chastise a disobedient sheep, but He never strikes us for His pleasure. Our Shepherd is good and wants us to know His goodness is always there. We must go through trials and testing to strengthen and grow our faith. We tend to expect a Christian life in a bubble of protection; however, if you take a baby and place him in a bubble with no germs, nothing to learn, and nothing to stimulate him, he will die. As humans we need to get sick to build our immunity. We need to learn how to walk, talk, and live on our own. We need difficulty to stimulate us to persist and try again. The Christian life is no different. Just as we would provide goodness and encouragement to a child who is growing the Shepherd provides us that same goodness.

 Our Shepherd is good and He wants us to know that His goodness is always there!

As if it was not enough to have his goodness, He also provides His mercy. The Shepherd knows that we will fail Him. We were born falling short of His Glory, and salvation does not change the fact that we will fall short. Knowing this, the Shepherd has provided His mercy; not as a license to sin, but as a way to continue the journey. If not for His mercy He would strike us down on our first offense. We live our life each day in His mercy and with that mercy comes responsibility. We must rise after we have fallen. (Proverbs 24:16) “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” His mercy demands that we get up and go on. Satan will use your falling and tempt you to remain down. The Shepherd never intended you to fall and not get up. If He did, He would never have given His mercy.

Some may ask: “Can I run out of this mercy?” According to the verse, not until He takes you home. I do believe that some sheep go home early, but as long as He gives you breath you have His mercy. In my opinion, for what it is worth, I think that many Christians who quit do so over guilt of their sin. Satan uses past failures as burdens to hold us down, but His mercy allows us to stand again.

To close it all off and finish this journey the Shepherd has taken us on, He has one more thing to say. “and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” After the journey is complete and when the path has ended – Heaven awaits. The pain of today leads to the joy of tomorrow. The trials made us able to reach more people for Christ. Our faith in the Shepherd was built to its ultimate purpose: He awaits us with nail scared hands. No longer stretched out for our sin, but now stretched our to welcome us home.

I leave Psalms 23 with some words that Paul gave those Christians at Ephesus … and having done all, to stand. Stand…
(Ephesians 6:13,14)

Article by David Wagner

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What Does ‘Being Saved’ Mean to You?

While reading through a devotional book, my wife asked me this simple question, “What does being saved mean to you?” In a poor attempt to flex my spiritual muscles and show her how well versed I was in theology, I fired off a line of seminary answers that were sure to dazzle her mind. I made sure to mention key words like propitiation, sacrifice, imputation … you get the idea. After a nice display of verbal acrobatics, I sat back and waited for my pat on the back — it never came… She responded with an answer I wasn’t suspecting, “No, that’s what being saved IS… I’m asking what does it MEAN to YOU!” Howbeit, (a little embarrassed to say the least) I wanted to know her opinion and response to that question. The answer was so good I had to share it:

Being saved to me means having a peace about life and death and a purpose to living. It means acceptance and forgiveness, grace and mercy, but also responsibility and urgency… – My Much Better Half

I’m not entirely sure that I could say it any better, but then again, that was what being saved meant to HER … But what does it mean to ME? What does it mean to YOU?

What is unique about salvation is that it will always mean something different to each and every person. For those who have accepted and trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the reasons of what THAT truly means to them are no doubt as colorful as the people themselves! With that being said, I can’t leave you hanging — Salvation in its purest form is a reference to being delivered from something; so here are a few declarations I can make:

I can LIVE EACH DAY WITHOUT FEAR of tomorrow because I have been DELIVERED from DEATH

(Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us – 2 Corinthians 1:10)

I can OVERCOME MY FLESH through Holy Spirit because I have been DELIVERED from MYSELF

(Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1)

I can ENJOY THE FUTURE because I have been DELIVERED from THE PAST

(For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. – Hebrews 8:10)

I can SHARE MY STORY because I have been DELIVERED from THE WORLD

(For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:4-5)

The more I put my mind to it, the more I COULD add to that list — because salvation is so vast and so expansive. So I ask you the question again, WHAT DOES BEING SAVED MEAN TO YOU? Leave YOUR answer in the comments below; I’d love to hear them. As long as there is an emotion in your soul, your salvation will always mean something … Because it is just that GOOD!

 

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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Symptoms of the Heart – Part 3

It is no secret that people with high blood pressure have a greater chance of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure compared to those with regulated blood pressure. However, high blood pressure is not the problem itself but a symptom of an even larger problem dealing with the heart. According to one medical health guide, symptoms of this chronic condition are not easily detected giving it the name, “the silent killer.” There are several factors that can be attributed to high blood pressure including obesity, high sodium intake, alcohol consumption and the use of certain drugs; however, many with high blood pressure don’t know it until their blood pressure is measured. Only then can a proper diagnosis be made to correct the problem.

Unlike high blood pressure, it does not take a licensed professional to diagnose the symptoms of an insufferable heart. We all know someone who seems impossible to get along with because of the negative disposition of his or her character. We often speak to them with caution because we don’t know if their response will be pleasant or hateful. These are the people who have a bad outlook in life and usually bring us down with their overall pessimistic attitude. The Bible says “A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor” (Proverbs 12:16).

We are instructed to “not let the sun go down on our anger” (Ephesians 4:26). The symptoms of anger are evident in nature and reveal the character of a sinful heart. Anger becomes sinful when it is not restrained and can result in devastation and produce permanent damage. The Bible tells us that anger is a deed of the flesh and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). James, half-brother of Jesus, writes, “For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

But the Bible has a solution for those who are angry and have little or no joy; the answer can be found in Jesus. He has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus came to this world for the forgiveness of sin; the most humble act of kindness ever shown to the world, not because we deserved it, but because He loved us so much that He was willing to die on our behalf so our sin can be pardoned. This is the greatest thing anyone has ever done for us. Rather than being angry, we can transfer our anger into love and be joyful in all things by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). It is for this reason alone that we can be joyful; Jesus paid it all.

If you have an angry heart or struggle with anger, allow me to urge you to seek the Savior. By confessing your sin to God and turning from them, the Bible says “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), for, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). By turning from sin and turning toward Christ, He will give you a new heart with new desires. For more information on how to have joy in Christ contact michael@michaelwaits.com

Article by Michael Waits

@michaelwaits

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