Psalm 37:3 ” Trust in the Lord and do good…”

There will be many times in our life when the path ahead is darkened by confusion, shrouded by pain & suffering, or obscured by grief. That’s when we must remind ourselves of the simple but profound verse in II Corinthians 5:7, “Walk by faith and not by sight.” We may have no idea what the future holds, or what lies in the days ahead…but God does. And we can rely entirely upon His Word with confidence. And so we move forward, one step at a time, in faithfulness and obedience…listening to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. And He will direct our footsteps according to His Word. (Psalm 119:133)

Proverbs 19:23 ” The fear of the Lord leads to life: then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

We get into trouble every time we do what we want. It’s the difference between a self-made life or a sent life…a life filled with pride & ego or a committed life of reverence for the Lord. The fear of the Lord is all about growing in wisdom from the Author of all wisdom, and the ability & joy then to rest satisfied in the care of the Lord.

Philippians 4:2-3 ” I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”

Paul addressed these precious sisters in the Lord by name concerning some unknown disagreement. These two ladies were not unbelievers, but rather treasured saints who had both worked closely with Paul in establishing the Church in Philippi…possibly charter members & even deaconesses. But now sadly their silly feud threatened to split the Church. Paul asked them, with the help from fellow Believers in the Church, “to agree with each other in the Lord.” In other words, to put aside their differences and become like-minded. (Philippians 2:2) To look beyond their petty bickering and become one in Spirit, purpose, and affection that gladly honors the other…equally yoked together and pulling in the same direction for the sake of the Gospel.

Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In quoting this Scripture, Charles Spurgeon once wrote, ” ‘I am with you always’, is enough for my soul to live upon no matter who forsakes me.” The greatest assurance we can have that God will never abandon us comes in the form of His indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit. God’s gracious Presence with His people is at the very heart of our covenant relationship with Him…and we can trust Him for He is a promise-keeping God. The world will forsake us…but God never will… and so our souls also can take solace & comfort in that.

Isaiah 25:8 “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.”

We only have to read in Revelations to see the end of suffering and death as we know it. Revelation 7:17 tells us that Jesus Christ will be our Shepherd leading us to springs of living water & wiping away every tear from our eyes…and Revelation 21:4 reassures us that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. But while we wait for that glorious day…death and dying is happening all around us, with no one immune to the pain of losing a loved one. Mourning & grief have visited us all, and that’s why it makes it so awkward to reach out to someone experiencing loss. It opens us up to hurt as we ourselves relive past grief. But that shouldn’t stop us. We can be the strength and hope for those in distress, extending consolation, comfort, and care…or as Isaiah 35:10 points to the day when gladness & joy will overtake sorrow & sighing like fleeing defeated foe…and the glorious light of new hope will dawn brightly on the horizon of our lives.

I Corinthians 3:11-13 ” For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood , hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is…”

The only sure & solid bedrock we can build our Christian life on is the Gospel Message…with Jesus Himself being the Chief Cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) He is our starting place, the first stone laid in order that all the following structure will be plumb and straight. It’s our responsibility to build on this foundation with worthy not worthless things, with the imperishable not perishable. For if we build on this foundation with worldly wisdom and human pride it will not last. But if we build on it with sound teaching…learning more everyday and in turn discipling others, they too will learn to build on the one and only true foundation of Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:11 “They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

The Bereans were a unique group of people that Paul preached to. They gave his teaching an open hearing…honestly listening, eagerly willing to receive what he had to say. But then they conducted their own personal research of the Scriptures…comparing Paul’s words to God’s written Word…and it said that through this diligent investigation many of them came to faith in Jesus. We are all to be like the Bereans, discerning what we hear & comparing it to God’s Word. For no man is above putting his own personal spin on God’s Word to make it a little more modern, progressive, and inclusive.

Proverbs 11:13 “A gossip betrays a confidence.”

Martin Luther once said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” This quote is especially important when it comes to idle conversations. You know the kind of informal drivel we engage in that can quickly get out of hand if we allow. It can go from a innocent gabfest to a all out “B” session rapidly. Idle speech can also digress to throwing someone else under the bus with unsubstantiated gossip. And too easily we can get caught up in one-up Manship… trying to outdo what others are saying to gain a feeling of superiority and prove we’re better than them. But the worst is betraying a trust and blurting out things that someone else has entrusted us with. Think before you speak, for keeping a confidence strengthens a relationship, but divulging those private details by gossiping destroys it.

Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…”

I found this quote from Corrie Ten Boom so fitting for this Scripture, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free & to discover the prisoner was you.” We seem to view forgiveness as something the other person has to earn, and instead of forgiving quickly, we clutch the misdeed that has offended us and wear it like a badge of honor. But if we refuse to forgive, that anger develops into resentment, which when planted in our heart will grow into a root of bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 echoes the words from Deuteronomy 29:18, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” When we forgive, we are not only releasing the other person…but we are setting ourselves free from the situation.

Romans 15:1 ” We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not please ourselves.”

Here Paul is emphasizing our responsibility to be patient with the weak around us. This not just a reminder but a command. We are to follow the example of Christ…indebted to Him for how mercifully patient He has been to us. In I Thessalonians 5:14-15, Paul goes on to exhort us to treat others justly and work for their genuine good…never seeking after personal retaliation when wronged. My absolute favorite quote from Mother Teresa sums all this up perfectly when she said, “People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you have anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it’s between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”

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