A Year of Grace

365 Days of Grace From God's Word

The Mind of Christ

Philippians 2:1 – Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (NIV)

Today’s Scripture picks up where we left off last week.  In that passage we looked at how God will use us to spread the gospel – if we are willing – in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. Having made that case, Paul begins this section with ‘therefore’, indicating that he will discuss how to move forward with the gospel.   If we are going to share the message, then we must do something for one another.  If we are going to share the message, then we must strengthen one another.

We strengthen one another by first being strengthened by the Holy Spirit.  Verses one and two speak of this.  The word encouragement used in verse one is the same word used by Jesus in the Gospel of John to describe the work of the Holy Spirit.  Having been strengthened by the Holy Spirit, we are then able to selflessly work with one another to spread the Good News (verse 3).  We must guard against a spirit of division by looking to one another’s interests (verse 4).

To further state his case for like-mindedness, Paul quotes from an early church liturgy.  Verses five through eleven are traditionally known as the “Christ Hymn.”  This ‘hymn’ may or may not have been sung, but it was part of a worship liturgy.  How powerful it would be if we were to live out our daily lives with the same mindset as Christ Jesus, yet that is what this ancient hymn is all about!  Jesus never sought any earthly advantage over others (verse 6).  Even though he was God in the flesh, he took the very nature of a servant (verse 7).  He was obedient to the will of God, even to the point of death (verse 8).

Today, let us seek to humble ourselves, and seek to have the mindset of Jesus.  Let us serve others, and seek to be obedient to the will of God. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

No Matter What Our Circumstances

Philippians 1:12 – Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. (NLT)

This week we continue in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi.  Here is Paul, the most active of all Christian missionaries, yet his missionary journeys have been cut short.  Or have they?  Even while imprisoned, Paul continues to spread the gospel message. Our lesson is that we do not have to be on a mission trip to spread the gospel.  This passage teaches us that we all have the opportunity to share the Good News, no matter what our circumstance.

Consider verse thirteen: “As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” The palace guards were soldiers whose duty it was to guard official Roman palaces.  This would include all high ranking Roman officials.  Before being sent to Rome, Paul spent as long as two years imprisoned in Caesarea at the Governor’s palace.  For several years Paul had been guarded by palace guards. Paul says the knowledge of Christ had spread through the whole palace guard.  We know from ancient writings that because of the high security risks involved within the palace guards, that they were rotated every few months. Within several years Paul had the opportunity to witness to a large number of guards.  In turn, some of those guards spoke to others about Jesus.  From his imprisonment, the Gospel had spread far and wide! 

Paul goes on to say there has been yet another result of his imprisonment.  It seems that there were Christians in the city in which he was in prison, and those Christians had been stirred up because of his presence.  Verse fourteen tells us: “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.”  Paul was imprisoned for a number of years, but many people who came to know Jesus may have never known had he not been imprisoned!

We may have seasons – or years – where we don’t really like where we are in life.  We must remember, however, that God wants to use us where we are!  If your circumstances don’t seem favorable to you, consider who it is that you have the opportunity to share the message of Jesus.  Today, let us consider who those people are that God is has brought our way so that we may share – no matter what our circumstance. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Partners

Philippians 1:1 – Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (NLT)

In today’s passage we have the opening verses of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, a city named after the father of Alexander the Great.  Paul first visited Philippi in 52 AD.  Luke, the author of Acts and the Gospel of Luke, was a traveling companion of Paul during his first visit to Philippi, and in Acts 16 he records their meeting with Lydia.  Lydia was a successful business woman who became instrumental in the establishment of the church in Philippi.  At the time that he Paul wrote this letter, the Church in Philippi was growing steadily.  It was probably a fairly wealthy Church for its time.  They had been called upon by Paul on several occasions to help in ministry in other areas, and to help Paul, as well.

Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome, not long before the end of his life. Vast changes had swept through the Church by this time. Christianity was no longer associated with Judaism.  Consider how radical this was in the life of Paul. He began as a Pharisee in the Jewish faith, now he was the elder statesman of a Gentile religious movement. It is important for us to recognize these radical changes in the Church and in Paul’s life so that we may better understand the depth of his words in this passage. 

In verse five Paul speaks about their partnership in the Gospel from the first day until the present.  Much had changed from that first day, yet these people had remained faithful.  I suppose we have all seen some changes in the Church in our lifetime, maybe some good and some not so good.  We are called, however, to remain faithful like the Philippians.  We, too, are in partnership with the Philippians, Paul, and all of those who have come before us. We partner with them in living out the gospel, confident that the one who began this work in us will see it to completion (verse 6).  In this endeavor, we should pray for one another as Paul prayed for the Christians in Philippi: that our love may abound more and more as we grow in insight; that we will be able to discern what is best; and that we would be filled with the fruit of righteousness (verses 9-10).

Today, let us remember that together we are partners in this calling! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Be A Christ-Like Example

Philippians 3:17 – Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Life is often difficult.  We have days, which sometimes run into weeks, when we struggle.  Perhaps we have a crisis of health, and our faith is threatened.  Maybe, we find ourselves in a relationship that takes its emotional toll.  We may face difficulty with children, or parents.  Whatever our trouble, we’ve all been there, and maybe some of us are there today.  We know that daily we should turn to God’s Word for strength and guidance, but when we find ourselves in those difficult seasons of life, we need something more than words on a page.  We need a Christian role model.  

Paul had a personal relationship with the Christians in Philippi.  He offers himself as a Christian role model, asking them to pattern their lives after his, and after those who followed his example (verse 17).  There is a great spiritual lesson here for each of us.  We need one another.  When we are in those difficult seasons, we need the spiritual shoulders of other Christians to lean upon.  When we are strong, we need to make ourselves available to others, offering them encouragement. 

I once was asked by a man why he couldn’t be a Christian and not belong to a local church.  He told me that he did not need a church, and he went on to tell me how strong a faith he had – perhaps he did, but he lacked a little humility!  While I spoke to him about several benefits of the church, and quoted Hebrews 10:25, what I wanted to do was ask him how he could be so selfish!  God has a purpose for the Church.  The Church is to be the Body of Christ at work in the lives of all people (Ephesians 4:12).  Yes, the Body of Christ is to serve the lost and hurting of the world, but often the hurting are right within our own churches.  Whether in the world, or in the church, we are to be a Christ-like example. 

In light of God’s Word, let us seek to be a Christ-like example for others.  Let us also be quick to seek a Christ-like example to pattern our lives after when we find ourselves in difficult seasons. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Heroes

Psalm 16 – Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land
are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!
4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.

5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!

7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever. (NLT)

It is traditionally believed that this psalm was written by David as he lived among foreigners during the time that Saul was seeking to have him killed.  Surrounded by those who worshiped other gods, David affirms his faith in the one true God.  This psalm has a profound spiritual application for Christians.  For me, the most striking verse of this psalm is found in verse three: “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!”

Like David, we often find ourselves surrounded by people who worship something other than the one true God.  We find ourselves surrounded by people who worship money, status, power, sexual relationships, chemicals, possessions, and the list goes on.  Surrounded by such people, who are our heroes?  We live in a culture that makes heroes out of movie stars, athletes, and the rich.  This is not to say that there are not godly people who fall into those categories, but what is the requirement to be one of our heroes?  David stated that the godly people in the land were his true heroes, but who are ours?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as: someone admired for their achievements.  When searching for a hero, David looked to the achievements of the godly.  Now consider David – he was a great warrior! What kind of achievement was he looking to when he considered heroes?  Was he looking at military success?  I think not, for I believe his answer is found in verse seven: “I will bless the Lord who guides me.” I believe that David saw success in those who were led by the Lord.  Whether it was a humble shepherd, or a mighty general, those who allowed their lives to be led by the Lord were David’s heroes.

Today, let us take a moment to consider our heroes.  If we use David’s criteria, we just might find a few new heroes we have been overlooking! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

They Were Devoted

Acts 2:37 – Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (NLT)

This passage of Scripture is part of a larger section (all of Acts 2) that deals with the Day of Pentecost – the day in which the Holy Spirit visited the Christian believers for the first time.  Let’s consider what the believers were doing before the Holy Spirit descended upon them.  Acts 2:1 – “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.”  In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is given to build the Church.  As we see in Acts 2:1, the church had to come together in unity to receive the Holy Spirit.  

Consider what the Holy Spirit enabled the believers to do. Acts 2:4 – “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.”  By the power of the Holy Spirit, the believers began to do things that they would not have been unable to do before.  This is seen especially with Peter.  Remember, Peter was the man who denied that he even knew who Jesus was, and he denied him more than once!  Yet after gathering with other believers, and then after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches one fiery – and long – sermon! (verses 14 – 40). 

Upon hearing Peter’s sermon, many in the crowd wanted to know what they should do next.  Peter’s answer in verse thirty-eight gets a lot of attention: “Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” However, that’s not the full story that we find it in this chapter, and I think we do a disservice to new Christians if we lead them to believe that all Christianity requires is a ‘one time and your done’ commitment.  Repentance is not for a moment, but a way of life. 

Consider what we find in the latter part of today’s reading.  Verse 42: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” Christianity requires a devotion to the Apostles teaching – we call it the Bible!  Christianity also requires that we continually gather for fellowship and prayer. This is the result of repentance as a way of life. 

Verse forty-four tells us that they continued to gather together.  The last two verses of this passage tell us that they worshiped God daily, and shared fellowship with other believers daily.  Perhaps, now more than ever, we have the opportunity to worship God daily.  With the availability of praise & worship music, we can worship anywhere and anytime.  Thanks to social media, we can fellowship with other Christians daily.  I’m not saying that the internet replaces our face to face gatherings, but it sure can enhance our opportunities to fellowship. 

Today, let’s consider our devotion to the Apostles’ teachings, and let’s do what we can to fellowship with other believers. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Remember

Psalm 13 – O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me. (NLT)

For the past several weeks we have been exploring the psalms.  We looked at a psalm exalting the joy of a godly life (Psalm 1); a psalm about trusting the Lord (Psalm 25); a psalm that taught us to stay focused in prayer (Psalm 5).  Today we explore a psalm that shares the thoughts of one who has been afflicted by the troubles of this world.

In Psalm 13, the psalmist asks a question that everyone has asked at some point in their lives – how long will you forget me, O Lord.  Unlike the children of God who lived in the days of the psalmist, we have the full Word of God, and God’s Word answers this age old question.  Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God tells us in Isaiah 49:14-16: Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.” “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” 

Like the psalmist, we may at times feel as if God is looking the other way.  We may at times feel as if God does not know or care about the troubles we endure.  However, consider the words of Jesus in John 14:16-17: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit.” God is always with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Even though the psalmist questioned God, we should note that he was praying!  He did not stop communicating with God just because he questioned, and while he talked to God he began to remember.  In verse five he states that he trusts in God’s unfailing love.  In many translations, and in the Hebrew, it reads: “I have trusted in your mercy.” The psalmist acknowledges that he has trusted in the past, and in the past God always rescued him.  Then in verse six he proclaims that since God was good to him in the past, he will sing to the Lord in the present.  Nowhere does he state that he is over his current affliction, yet he chose to sing anyway!  He was able to sing because he remembered God’s faithfulness.

Let the remembrance of God’s past faithfulness be our strength in times of trouble.  When we don’t feel as if God cares, let us remember God’s grace and mercy from yesterday, and then let us sing to the Lord! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Focus, Trust, Rejoice

Psalm 5 – O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

4 O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness;
you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
5 Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
for you hate all who do evil.
6 You will destroy those who tell lies.
The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.

7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
8 Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.

9 My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with flattery.
10 O God, declare them guilty.
Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love. (NLT)

This psalm is titled: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute. It is traditionally believed to be a psalm of morning prayer.  In this psalm David comes to the Lord in the morning to receive the strength – and the joy – that he needs for the day.  In verse two he states: “for I pray to no one but you.”  This may sound strange to us, and we might ask, ‘to whom else would he pray?’  However, the Hebrew implies that David is focused solely on God during his prayer time.  A great lesson for us!  Quite often we try to squeeze in some prayer time, and we go to God with so much clutter on our minds that we never really focus on God.  Sometimes our prayers are hurried, and even legalistic – we pray only because we know we should.  Verse two should teach us to set aside prayer time so that when we pray, God alone has our attention. 

Verse three makes it clear that David would pray in the morning.  He would not wait until something ‘came up’ and he needed prayer.  He recognized that he needed prayer first thing!  Prayer at the start of our day sets the tone for the rest of the day.  It helps us maintain focus throughout the day.  David knew the power of prayer, for he wrote: “Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” David knew that God hears and answers prayer, and so he waited expectantly.

In verses four through ten, David gives a contrast between the godly and wicked. When we consider the godly and the ungodly, I believe that verse seven speaks volumes: “Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house.” Our confidence in approaching God has nothing to do with anything that we have accomplished, but is in the love and mercy of God – a love and mercy that never fails.  The godly have not earned more points than the ungodly, they have simply accepted God’s grace, and in turn seek to live a life pleasing to God.  When they know God’s unfailing love, they are eager to take refuge in the Lord, and they rejoice (verse 11).

Today, let us take the time to focus on God.  Let us focus on God early in our day, not waiting for trials to surround us.  Let us trust that God will hear and answer our prayers, and let us rejoice in the refuge God offers! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Your Hearts’ Desire

Psalm 20 – In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
2 May he send you help from his sanctuary
and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
3 May he remember all your gifts
and look favorably on your burnt offerings.

4 May he grant your heart’s desires
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

6 Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven
and rescue him by his great power.
7 Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
8 Those nations will fall down and collapse,
but we will rise up and stand firm.

9 Give victory to our king, O Lord!
Answer our cry for help. (NLT)

The title of Psalm 20 is the same as a number of others: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.  This psalm, however, is different in nature than the other psalms by the same title.  The difference in this psalm is that it is written in the first-person plural.  In other words, a group of people were offering up this prayer for King David. 

This would explain verse four: “May he/God grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”  If we were to take this verse out of context, one would be led to believe that God grants to everyone who asks whatever they desire.  Thanks be to God that God does not grant us whatever we desire, for how much have we desired that would not have been any benefit to our well being?  To place verse four into its proper context, let us note 1 Samuel 13:14, which speaks of David – “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people.”  It is right to pray for our heart’s desire – when what we are after is also found in the Lord’s heart. 

Does God grant us whatever we desire?  Only when our hearts are aligned with God will God grant us our hearts desire.  The New Testament speaks of this: James 4:8 – Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world (NLT); and 1 John 5:21 – Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts (NLT).

Today, let us examine our hearts.  Let us not have our loyalties divided, but let us seek after the Lord’s heart. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Trusting Enough To Follow

Psalm 25 – O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Historically speaking, scholars debate whether or not this psalm was written by David, or at a later date, perhaps even during the Babylonian captivity.  Regardless of who wrote it, and when, it is the Word of God and has much to teach those who would listen.

The psalm begins with the calling of each and every Christian – to give our lives to God.  What exactly does it mean to give our lives to God?  Each of us must answer this question for ourselves.  For me, it means that I trust God not only for eternal life, but for direction in my life here and now.  I believe the psalmist, who did not know of eternity as we know, was speaking of the here and now in this psalm.

The psalmist states in verse three: “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced.”  The psalmist then asks God to point out the right road to follow.  For the Christian, disgrace does not come from failure as the world defines failure, but disgrace comes from following the wrong paths.  Giving our lives to God, and trusting God, means following the path God desires for us to follow.  We walk that path when we live by God’s Word (verse 5).

The psalmist then goes on to state in verse three: “but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.” I believe that we Christians deceive ourselves, and try to deceive others,  when we claim Jesus as our Lord but then live as if Jesus is only something we save for life after death – as if Jesus were nothing more than some ‘get out of hell free card.’  Because of Jesus, we do have access to eternal life, but we are called to trust God enough to live a life right now that is different.  I shared in a sermon a few weeks back that if our lives are not markedly different now than when we came to know Jesus, then we have not really met Jesus yet! 

Today, let us truly give our lives to God.  Let us truly trust – trusting God enough to walk only on the paths that God’s truth leads us along.

Posted by Ramón Torres

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