Being a Christian is not primarily about sinning less, or sinning less grievously. Being a Christian is about being immersed into the love, grace, beauty, truth and joy that are found in Jesus Christ alone. When we are deeply connected to the love of God through Jesus Christ, when we truly trust that he has crucified our old person, and resurrected a new, holy spirit in place of the old, one result is that we will begin to sin less often, and less grievously. But reducing sin is a side effect of being in Jesus. Let’s talk about how all this looks.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button: To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Living Crucified Part 7
When our boat overturned, the river started to pull me downstream. Then one of the men reached to pull me out of the rushing water. I felt his strong arms lifting me up.
Jesus, when the world pulls at me and I feel as though I’ve lost my footing, please rescue me! Lift me up with Your strong promises which reach out with arms of faithfulness.
My church children’s group used to sing, “Safe am I in the hollow of His hand. Sheltered o’er in His love forever more. No ill can harm me. No foe alarm me, for He keeps both day and night.”* Lord, I will trust You no matter what happens. I can find rest in You. (See Psalm 62:1)
Psalm 145:13-14 “…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (NIV)
In hope I pray: Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
[God declares me innocent because I trust in the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ, instead of in my own righteousness.]
The psalmist instructs: Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD.
[The right spirit is “willingly and joyously”—1 Chronicles 29:17. And we are to “Trust, rely on and have confidence in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed (securely) on His faithfulness”—Psalm 37:3 Amplified Bible.]
With joy I offer You praise, Lord God: You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
[The joy of abundant harvests and new wine lasts only until they are used up. God gives lasting joy—joy in His presence and pleasures at His right hand forever more—Psalm 16:11.]
In Jacob’s dream, the Lord stood at the top of a stairway and said, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15).
When I read this verse one morning, I believe God said to me, “My child, Today I am with you. Quit wishing you had believed that back when you were in college, or 20 years ago or whatever past date comes to mind. Believe it today!
Today, when you hear My voice, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:7). Your mind knows you can’t go back in time even one minute, but sometimes your heart rebels against that fact. So choose today to forget the past and press on day by day remembering My presence with you (Philippians 3:12-14).
[“Not that I have already …been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. …But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal….” (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)]
“For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit ofliving their ownway….” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)
The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?
Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)
Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23 NIV)
Thank You, Lord, that You always hold me by my right hand as I walk through each day. When what I do seems just routine, You are with me. You know everything I think and do. May I bring honor to You even in the everyday things. If I stumble, You pick me up and steady me. When I face challenges, I’m encouraged by Your firm grip of my hand. And as Psalm 23:4 says, I will fear no evil because You are with me.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge….”Psalm 73:28 NIV)
I praise and thank You, Lord, that although You are sovereign over all the earth and heavens, You have made the way for me to draw near to You in Christ. Indeed, how good it is to be near You! Amen.
Psalm 138:6: “Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble….” (New Living Translation)
You are my help. You, the Maker of heaven and earth, are here—always and everywhere, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 121). I love You, Lord, for Your greatness which is great enough to care for even me.
“The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you….” (Deuteronomy 31:3 NIV)
Lord God, I struggle to obey your command to be strong and courageous. Yet, You have promised that wherever I go, You go before me. You “cross over” ahead of me, whatever Jordan I cross over. You prepare the way.
You have told us not to be afraid or terrified because You, the Lord our God, go with us. You will never fail us in any way or for any reason. Holy Spirit, when I’m tempted to fear, please prompt me to remember these truths. I can choose strength and courage because You fill me with Your power, love, and a sound mind. Thank You, Lord.
Let me forget my failures from the past, though they are many; but let me remember Your love, Lord, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.
I trek the trail descending to the lower falls And see cool water hurrying to the cliff edge Where it tumbles over and crashes in the pool below. A family plays there–young boys moving rocks to dam the rivulet at their feet.
The brook babbles on within its mountain bed, Rambling to places yet unknown and far ahead And ascending, I return to the start, Climbing on the rocky path between towering trees Which grasp for sunlight high above.
Thank You, God, for making all of this for us mere humans to enjoy! How kind and loving You are! Amazing! Creator! God!
Path to Diamond Point
On the moss-bordered pathway, I step over humpbacked tree roots. The wind huffs and sighs, muscling leaves into motion And casting scattered raindrops here and there.
Look at the tiny shelves of fungi Climbing a tree at the side of the path! Rowdy rhododendron completes the wild surround.
Thank You, God, for providing this bit of delight Tucked away in the woods. How good You are, Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth!
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” –1 Timothy 6:17 NASU
Lord God Almighty, the invisible God, You have made Yourself visible in Jesus Christ Your Son. Hallelujah!
Jesus, Son of God, You existed before anything was created since You are the Word who was with God and was God. Nothing was created except through You. I lift praises to You!
Jesus, You hold everything together and sustain everything by Your powerful Word. You are before all things—Number 1 first, before time, before creation. I praise You, Lord!
All the fullness of God dwells in You, Jesus. When I see You, I see the Father. Holy Spirit, please help me see Jesus better.
All thanks and praise to You God! I used to be alienated from You, but now You have reconciled me to Yourself through Christ’s death on the cross. So I am holy in Your sight without blemish and free from accusation because I am in Christ Jesus.
Praise You, God–Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit!
(See Colossians 1:15-23, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:3 and Romans 8:1.)
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:9-10) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) (Both Scriptures NKJV)
Lord, I read about people who are persecuted for their faith and praise You for being a refuge for them—the oppressed. Then I hear a testimony of how You strengthened a mom with a part-time job and 8 children at home. Yes, You are the Lord our Strength! Yet sometimes I wonder about my own unimpressive life with its few troubles—I need You too. I can’t manage life on my own.
I believe You talk to pastors and other Christian leaders, giving them wisdom and guidance. Still I feel unsure that I can hear Your voice when I just feel stupid and embarrassed and wonder what to do next.
So I will remember that You came, Jesus, giving up Your throne in glory and the honor You had in heaven from before the foundation of the world. You suffered and died, and (Hallelujah!), You rose again. You did all this so I could become a child of God and have a wonderful life with You, now and forever. Such amazing love! You care for me with overwhelming, everlasting, personal love. And Your Word says in Romans 8:32 (NLT), “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” “Everything” must include large and small, important or not.
Therefore, I can believe You are also MY refuge and strength.
Lord, our God, I seek You today as my refuge and choose to put my trust in You, even in what seems unimportant. I love you, Lord. Thank You, Jesus, for caring for me.