Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid. Good News from the Lord!
If you are struggling, this message is for you. 

Hear it through, because if it cuts, it is only so that healing may take place. This Word, this sword coming out of the mouth of the messenger, is not raised to shed innocent blood, or to kill you, but it will do good and bring healing.

If you are struggling, honesty is a great place to start. And faith that bringing it into the light will help, not hurt, will bring healing to your situation. 
Sometimes we haven’t been completely honest with ourselves. Sometimes we haven’t been completely honest with others. Sometimes we haven’t been completely honest with and fully trusting in God to forgive us and empower us to walk in a new way. 
Bringing something hidden into the light can seem scary, if we are afraid of judgement and punishment. But if we have already decided in our own hearts to not just confess, but to make it right, to make amends on our own, the process becomes an act of love and reconciliation and an opportunity for mercy and forgiveness. So what was once meant for evil can be turned to good.
Don’t wait for it to be uncovered once “you’re caught”. Do not be deceived, God knows your heart,  your every  thought, word, and deed, and it will not remain hidden forever. Repent. Bring it into the light. Confess your sins to each other and to God. Make amends. 
And know the freedom that is found in Christ Jesus, in casting off the chains of sin and death, to walk alive in the Spirit and not dead in the flesh, the old having been put away because the new has come, seeing God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. 

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;  for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:5‭-‬10 NKJV

Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “ As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” 

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that  had  been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord , to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to  be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord : ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ ” 

So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord .” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord  to blaspheme, the child also who  is born to you shall surely die.” 

Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and  went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them. Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, “Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!” 

When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while  he  was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” 

Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him, and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord .

II Samuel 12:1‭-‬25 NKJV

And my confession this morning is that I have at times not been fully trusting in God or in others to restore me when I fall. I have expected perfection out of myself by telling myself that He is worth my living a pure and holy and God fearing life — and while this is true, it is only half the story. It can be a type of “baptism of works” instead of a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” if out trust is in our own strength to accomplish this instead of trusting fully in Him to bring it to completion. 
You see, He is worthy of all praise and honor. And yes, He is worthy of us living lives restored to the path of righteousness by the power of the Blood of the Lamb, and by the power of the Holy Spirit that He sends to live in us. But we cannot accomplish this great calling and purpose under our own power, nor can we boast in our power to do so (because it is a gift from God), nor can we stand on high condemning others for not doing enough (because true worship rises up out of our joy in the Lord, yet another gift from God).
So my confession is that in my zeal for a Holy, righteous, and almighty God, sometimes I can bear the sword too heavy and clumsily in my own hands instead of trusting Him to use it as a scalpel, like a great surgeon, to cut out what is death, and to replace it with life. In learning to operate with Him in this manner, by shining light on the sin of the world,  and calling others to come into the light instead of shrinking back from it, sometimes I forget to start out with the reminder that is needed when a message is coming from perfect, Holy, almighty God, to a fearful, lost and dying world “Do not be afraid” that is followed by “Thus says the Lord”.

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