II Corinthians 12:9 ” But He said to me, ‘ My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ “

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m limited…as a human being, I’m limited mentally and physically of what I can do. As a fallen sinner, I’m very limited spiritually and morally to do what I should. So here I sit, immersed in my weakness, when God, leans over and whispers, “But what I want to do through you can only be achieved, and carried through to perfection in that weakness. Otherwise, you’d think it was you doing it, and not Me completing it through you.”

Psalm 112: 7-8 ” He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear, in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

Bad things happen to good people everyday. In varying degrees of severity, we all face challenges… unpleasant, sad, harmful, chaotic things, that affect our lives and the lives of loved ones around us. But the point of this Psalm is – whose report are you going to believe…the world’s or the Lord’s? When our eyes are fixed firmly on the Lord, our confidence and reliance can not be shaken…we can’t be intimidated by the circumstances we find ourselves in, for our heart is secure in the Lord.

II Corinthians 5:7 ” We live by faith, not by sight.”

I tend to be a real visual person. I like to see something, rather than have it described to me. Abstract concepts are easier to grasp, if I can look at something first. But my faith in the Lord is not anything I can grasp in my hand and gaze at. Rather, my trust and belief in Jesus is based on the unseen…my obedience founded on the eternal.

Romans 2:1 ” You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

We judge others daily, without even thinking about it. We causally judge and condemn others as we walk down the street, or stand with a group of friends. Judging others is a way to make us feel better about ourselves, but at what price? If we judge harshly, we too will be judged harshly…but if we relinquish that selfish need to elevate ourselves before others, we may start seeing people through the eyes of Jesus.

Romans 1:12 ” That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each others faith.”

I’d love to hear how the Lord is working in your life…how He’s answered prayer, or provided in a time of need, or blessed you in an unexpected way. We all need to share these faith-building moments with each other, for by them, faith rises, confidence grows, and as a group, we are all urged forward in Christ.

Romans 1:3-4 ” Regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”

It’s difficult for us to realize that Jesus was fully man and fully God. He freely took upon Himself the trappings of a natural man…with every corrupt and base thing that is human…and in doing so became subject to all suffering and mortality just like us. But the big difference was that Jesus never sinned – for He was also fully God. He was the Messiah, Son of God, and part of the Trinity…all rolled up into one.

Isaiah 33:18 ” In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror.”

Our thought-life is a by-product of everything we’ve ever seen, heard, and experienced. Our thoughts are also influenced by things we’ve read, watched, and listened to. Our mind loves to take all those scary, gory, horrible things and spin them into fear…even if there’s nothing to be afraid of. A certain sound, smell, or sight can set our thoughts reeling with terror…and panic can take over, totally overwhelming and immobilizing us. That’s when we must take authority, in Jesus name, over our thoughts…reining them back in and gaining control over unfounded fear.

A viper in the brush

Acts 28: 3-6 ” Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, ‘This man must be a murderer; though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.’ But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects, the people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happening to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.”

The people were right in calling Paul a murderer… for in his former life, Saul had persecuted and imprisoned many Believers – “Breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s Disciples.”(Acts 9:1) Paul, though, was a changed man, converted on the road to Damascus, and now greatly used by God. But this didn’t mean that the devil couldn’t dredge up his past. Every once in awhile our past will come back to haunt us…just like that snake, it’ll try to attach itself, attempting to kill us. But it says that Paul just shook the viper off into the fire. He had taken authority over the person he had once been.

Colossians 1:11 ” Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…”

The Lord wants us to lean totally on Him during those times of stress and temptation. Our self-restraint and endurance doesn’t need to hinge on our own decrepit strength. We don’t need to clench our fists, grit our teeth, and just make it through a trial. The Lord’s power is ever available to enable us to persevere and be victorious.

Colossians 1:10 ” And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

Our endeavor in life should be to please our Heavenly Father. Every word and deed should go through the “God” filter first. Is this something God would approve of? Would the Lord be happy with me if I said or did this? In the end, we daily attempt to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. (Eph. 4:1)

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