"WATCH. ENJOY. PARTICIPATE BY PASSING ON"
"WATCH. ENJOY. PARTICIPATE BY PASSING ON"
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:6 NLT).
God is watching over you.
When King David writes, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me,” he’s not saying, “Surely only good things will happen to me!”
The fact is that bad things happen to good people. What David is teaching us is that God can take bad, evil, and difficult situations and bring something good out of them.
It’s one of God’s great promises to us: we can know that all things are working for our good “if we love God and are fitting into his plans” (Romans 8:28 LB). If you’re a believer, the Bible says all things are working together for good—not that all things are good, but that they work together for good. There’s no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in life that God can’t ultimately turn toward good.
When you understand God’s grace and mercy, there’s no need to fear the future. God isn’t trying to get even with you. Jesus shouldered the penalty for everything you’ve ever done wrong or will do wrong. He paid for it on the cross. So when a bad thing happens, you don’t have to think, “God’s getting even with me.”
Mercy, like goodness, follows us in life. Picture a parent following a little child around picking up after them; God is constantly picking up our messes.
Think about this:
Christians go toward the future, not with a question mark, but with an exclamation point. God will be with you no matter what happens. He will help you out.
God’s goodness provides and protects; God’s mercy pardons and forgives. God’s goodness will supply; God’s mercy will sooth. God’s goodness will help; God’s mercy will heal.
Goodness is the fact that God gives us good things in life that we don’t deserve. Mercy means God holds back the condemnation we deserve.
All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)
You are not the Body of Christ on your own. You need others to express that. Together, not separated, we are his Body.
A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God's family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love.
As a participating member you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: "If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor." (1 Corinthians 12:26 NCV)
Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected and dependent on each other. (Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4-5, Colossians 2:19, 1 Corinthians 12:25)
Biblical fellowship is being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ. God expects us to give our lives for each other. Many Christians who know John 3:16 are unaware of 1 John 3:16: "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." (NIV)
As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16b (NLT)
A church family helps you develop spiritual muscle. You will never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle.
The Bible says, "As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." (Ephesians 4:16b NLT)
Over fifty times in the New Testament the phrase "one another" or "each other" is used. We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other's burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other, and many other mutual tasks. This is biblical membership!
These are your "family responsibilities" that God expects you to fulfill through a local fellowship. Who are you doing these with?
It may seem easier to be holy when no one else is around to frustrate your preferences, but that is a false, untested holiness. Isolation breeds deceitfulness; it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are mature if there is no one to challenge us.
Real maturity shows up in relationships.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)
One night I was standing in front of the refrigerator. I'd gotten out of bed to make a midnight refrigerator raid even though I was on a diet. And I stood there with the refrigerator door open, thinking, "Just one bite ...."
You know how it goes. You get into a debate with yourself: "Go ahead; it won't hurt this one time." "No, I'm on this diet."
It's in moments like these that Satan feeds us a devilish excuse, "No one will ever know."
You may not be standing in front of the refrigerator. You may be at work, or filling out your income tax form, or some place your family wouldn't want you to be. But you go ahead and do something questionable because it's easy to get caught up in the false belief that 'no one will ever know.'
The truth is, God already knows!The Bible says nothing in creation is hidden from God (Psalms 147:5), and that God knows everything about you (Psalm 139). This means there's no question God can't answer and no problem that confuses Him. He's never surprised and he's never shocked. He never says, "Oh, really!?" God knows everything. Theologians call this the omniscience of God.
My sins, O God, are not hidden from you; you know how foolish I have been. Psalm 69:5 (Good News)
I find it uncomfortable to realize I don't have any secrets from God because there are things about me I'd rather God not know. But the Bible says, "My sins, O God, are not hidden from you; you know how foolish I have been." (Psalm 69:5, Good News)
So we're foolish when we do something wrong and then try to sneak it past God, to stuff it in a closet and lock the door, but God even knows what's behind the locked door. (Proverbs 5:21)
Everything you think, everything you see, everything you do, everything you feel -- God knows all about it. He already knows all you've done wrong and He still loves you!
You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Psalm 56:6 (Good News)
You may think, "Nobody knows what I'm going through, nobody feels the pain I'm experiencing."
But God knows!
He knows your feelings and frustrations. He's seen the crisis in your soul. There's no hurt that goes unnoticed by God. Psalm 56:6 says, "You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears." (Good News)
Often when we're hurting, we feel very isolated and lonely. Maybe there's been a death in the family, a divorce, maybe we've gotten fired, and we start to think, "Nobody understands the way I feel; nobody can tell the way I feel; nobody feels the pain."
But God knows, and "The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him." (Psalms 103:13, NLT)
God not only sees, He cares!
He knows the causes, the reasons, the things that brought you to this point. He understands because he made you, and he sees the hurt in your heart like nobody else can.
God knows what gets you stressed
Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG)
We're all interested in the future. It's interesting to me the things people will try to figure out what's going to happen next: astrology, horoscopes, reading tea leaves, consulting with people, bio-rhythms.
But they're going to the wrong source because the only one who knows what's going to happen next is God.
The Bible says, even before you were born, God knew all of your future. This means God sees your tomorrow, today. He already sees the things you'll face.
The fact is, God is not limited by time.
He's able to be in the past, the present, and the future all at the same time. That should give us great confidence in God. He not only knows about the future, He's there in the future. He not only walks with us day-by-day, He can also walk in our future.
If I know that God knows all my tomorrows, today, then I should ask for advice. He knows what's going to happen: "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)
The things you don't know, God can tell you about. He's not going to lay out your whole life all at once, telling you everything that will happen in your life. If He did, you'd likely get very discouraged or prideful or both. Instead, He gives it to you a little bit at a time.Here's what I'd suggest, when you get up in the morning, go over your schedule with the Lord. Pray, "Father, You've already seen this day that I'm about to experience. Tell me the things that are important today and then help me to focus on them."
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