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Isaiah 26:1-4 
In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.  Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

I am thankful for perfect peace in the midst of a storm.

This world is full of religion. You can find a religion that will fit your needs and make you feel good. But what exactly are they offering you? Do they teach the Word of God? Is a change of heart a requirement for the promise of salvation? Is every level of hierarchy with in those religions built on honesty and truth?

From what I have seen of religion today offers nothing but a false hope, a half truth and hypocrisy. This practice in man made religion has been going on for years. In fact, Jesus preached about it. At that time it was the Scribes and Pharisees that were doing a disservice to those that wanted to seek God. In Matthew 23 Christ brings judgment to those that require acts from the people and not themselves. To those that are more concerned with the “law” than a heart change. To those that are busy about works that make them appear to be righteous but are not sincere in their hearts. He concludes this message with verse 23; “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The scribes and Pharisees in Bible times were more concerned with acting like a follower of Christ than being one from the heart, as many religious leaders are today. God requires us to pay more attention to the “weightier matters of the law” those that are most important, judgment, mercy and faith.

In my observation of religion I have seen that many have two of the three. Some have mercy and faith. They preach that God is love and will forgive anything as long as you believe. That you can’t live with out sin, but God is merciful just say “I Believe”. Others are full of judgment, have strict creeds that, and are stingy with mercy. There is any combination that can be made. But if you don’t have all three, you don’t have the complete truth that God has for you. The three principles, judgment, mercy and faith all work together and the result is beautiful.

In order to receive mercy through faith, one has to experience judgment. How can you ask for forgiveness if you have done nothing wrong? Romans 3:23 reads “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Each and every one of us has committed sin. What is sin? Sin is a transgression against God’s law, something that we know is wrong but do it anyways (1 John 3:4) or something that we know we need to do, but we don’t do it. (James 4:17) The Bible tells us that we are all sinners and that God is not pleased with this. Romans 6:1 asks “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” the answer in verse 2 is “God forbid.” His plan for us is that we live in communion with him. We cannot do this if sin remains in our life. So judgment comes through the acknowledgement of sin and the need to seek forgiveness or mercy for them. If we fail to do this and continue living in sin, we have a reward, and that is hell. (Psalms 9:16-17) But let’s not forget God’s perfect plan. He does offer mercy to those that seek his forgiveness for their sins. God sent his son, the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live with out sin. In Matthew 1:21 the Bible states that Jesus came to save his people FROM their sins, not to save them while they continue IN their sins. All we have to do to receive this mercy is to confess our sins. (1 John 1:9) It is hard to say that we are wrong and to say sorry, but God loves a humble heart and will draw them close. Once we have been forgiven it is up to us to choose to live sin free every day. Sin is a choice as we discussed earlier and it is with God’s mercy and grace that we are able to choose to follow him in righteousness. We have a responsibility to keep a tight hold on our salvation, 1 John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We are born into God’s family when we have sought forgiveness and received it; we then need to keep ourselves so that the enemy of our souls will have no power over us. Now where is faith in all of this? Ephesians 2:8-9 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We do need to have faith to believe that God can and will save us. That he will keep his promises. Through the power of salvation in us and his presence through the Holy Spirit, we can live each day in a manner pleasing to him. We will not make it to heaven just by doing good things, we cannot save ourselves. We need to accept the blood of Jesus as a payment for our sins and though God’s mercy continue our life with out sin. Our salvation is a work that only God can perform in our lives. It is only when we have acknowledged the judgment of sin and sought mercy through faith that we are able to live as God would have us to, holy, sin free, and in communion with him.

Through all of this we can see that we must have all three, judgment, mercy and faith to live according to God’s plan for his people. Be honest with your self and with God. Don’t be content with just a religious belief, search for a true relationship with God. Seek the truth where ever you go and God will be faithful to bring you to it. It is his desire that you find the truth.

This week, at the Wednesday night Bible Discussion group, we had a few carry over thoughts of the fellowship before we focused on the Armor of God.

1. If saints become careless, they will begin to allow petty things to come into their lives and will eventually leave God. We must be faithful in the “little things”, habits of every day life to be able to remain faithful in the “big things” and keep our salvation. Luke 16:10

2. We are fighting a spiritual battle, not one of physical means. 2 Corinthians 10:4 and Ephesians 6:12 .Our fight is against the evil, thoughts and ideas of the world that invade the hearts and minds of people. We are to fight this from coming over us, and show the world that there is a better way.

3. Ephesians 6:14a – having your loins girt about with truth. Jesus is the truth, John 14:6. We are to guard the truth, keep it close to us. The truth is our innermost piece of protection. It guards us where we are most vulnerable. If truth is not apart of us, what do we have to fight for or against.

4. Ephesians 6:14b – Having on the breastplate of righteousness. God is our righteousness. He helps us to live right and holy. To fight this battle against the beliefs of the world, we have to be the example of how we can live right according to the truth; we have to have fruits of righteousness. Philippians 1:11

5. Ephesians 6:15 – your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In the battle for truth, we are to be peace makers where ever we go. As we go out among the world, one of our missions in this battle is to spread the Gospel. Mark 16:15. The gospel of truth and righteousness will produce an evidence of peace in our lives as well as those we encounter.

6. Ephesians 16:6 – Above all, taking the shield of faith. With out faith we are vulnerable and open ourselves up for defeat. The spirit of unbelief is one of the largest enemies we have. Christ was concerned about our faith. Luke 18:8. Our firm faith in God, backed by the gospel of truth and righteousness will protect us from all the weapons of the enemy. As saints, our shield of faith not only protects us, but our fellow soldiers.

Psalms 92:4-5 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

Psalms 111
-Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
-The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
-His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
-He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
-He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
-He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.
-The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
-They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.
-He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. -The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Let us be thankful for His Wonderful Works. He has done mighty things in each of our lives. God has shown himself powerful and merciful and greater than any foe that would come against us. He has provided for every need even before we knew of the need. And when it seemed that there was no hope, God made a way. The God we serve is mighty, give him all the praise, for he is due it all.

Is Anything to Hard for God?

 It’s out of your hands
You’ve done all you can do
You’ve given God the problem
It’s no longer up to you
You’ve prayed the prayer of faith
You’re standing on God’s truth
While you’re waiting on the answer
He has a question for you

Is anything too hard for God?
Who’s got a problem
Beyond His power to solve?
Are there situations
He’s not the Master of?
Is any thing too hard for God?

Only believe
Trust His word
You’ll see
His plans are now unfolding
Performing perfectly
It’s clear how much He loves you
Look at all He’s done
For all your questions
There’s really only one

Is anything too hard for God?
Who’s got a problem
Beyond His power to solve?
Are there situations
He’s not the Master of?
Is anything too hard for God?

~The belief that we can express towards God’s power.
Jeremiah 32:17 – Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

~An impossible situation with man, made possible through and because of God’s plan.
Genesis 18:9-14 – And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

~Future accounts of this story, to encourage us to have faith and truly hold on to the promise that NOTHING is to hard for God.
Hebrews 11:11 – Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Romans 4:16 -21 – Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

 ~Our promise to hold on to.
Luke 1:37  – For with God nothing shall be impossible.

We can rest assure on that promise, there is NOTHING in our life that is too big or hard or confusing or messy or troubling for our God to take care of. The situations that we find ourselves in are all of these things because we are human and in our human thinking these situations can overwhelm us. But remember that God doesn’t think the way we do, his power is almighty, and he has everything under control.

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