Monday, May 18th

Monday, May 18th

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies? Where is their fury and anger now? It is gone! Isaiah 51:12-13

In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:5-9

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success .... You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 118:24-25, 28-29

Last week Pastor Ben introduced us to a new sermon series called "Framed" that examines what it means to be a new person with a new life through our relationship with Christ. We laid a foundation for the series in the Devotionals for last week

.This past Sunday Pastor Ben gave the first of his three messages in the "Framed" series. He began with the theme verse for the series which is the 1 Corinthians verse above. Pastor Ben said, "The 'new life' is the key." The image of a picture frame helps us get a handle on our transition from the old to the new. Things from the old frame and picture of our lives can be carried over and interfere with the new frame and picture of our lives that God has in mind for us. Some of those things are insecurity, insignificance, and unacceptance. Pastor Ben said the frame of our "new life" in Christ is acceptance (this week) and when it is properly in place he is able to paint security (second week) and significance (third week) into the picture.

Pastor Ben turned to the Isaiah passage above to show us how the frame of acceptance is often not properly in place because we try to gain the kind of acceptance only God can provide from other people. The first of the Psalm 118 passages above addresses this same problem. The Psalmist speaks of being set free. We need to be set free from the fear of not having the approval and acceptance of people. We need a profound trust in the Lord that once and for all places us in the "frame" of his love and acceptance. Because the Psalmist was set free, he could approach each day of his life as something God made and in which God was at work painting the picture of his life so to speak. A day like this was something to rejoice and be glad in rather than something filled with fear and struggle. With the frame of trusting in God's unconditional and unlimited love and acceptance in place God will be able to paint security and significance into the picture of our lives. Perhaps the Psalmist saying, "Lord, please save us" and "Lord, please give us success," is his way of saying he is ready for God to help him with security and significance now that he has been set free from the fear of man and is trusting fully in God's love and acceptance.

Lord, I know you are my Savior and Lord. I know I am called to be an entirely new and different person with an entirely new and different life through my relationship with you. But honestly, Lord, sometimes who I am as a person and the life I am living seem anything but new and different. I pray that you will show me ways that the frame of acceptance is not properly in place in my life. I pray that you will deliver me from the fear of not having the approval and acceptance of other people. Establish me fully in the frame of your love and acceptance. Help me to rest in you and declare with the Psalmist, "You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever."

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