Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Freedom through Prayer

abstract, blur, bubble

Authentic Christians rely on the Lord as our strength and our shield. We trust in Him with our whole heart, because He always helps us and fills our heart with His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We constantly break out into songs of thanksgiving to Him for all that He does for us (Psalm 28:7). He is worthy of our praise, even if He allows us to experience trials in this world.

We often cause our own trials by our thoughts, emotions and choices. If we keep blaming others for our failure nothing ever improves and we are kept in bondage by our anxiety and our past.

If we allow God's Spirit to make us humble, we realize we are powerless in this life. Powerlessness leads to surrender, and surrender inspires us to enjoy true serenity.

Serenity is a deep peace, which transcends our circumstance. God's peace leads to joy that does not depend on positive experiences. Then joy leads to more peace and acceptance of God's will for us.

The happiness that the world provides is fickle at best. It ebbs and flows with the tides of life. God's joy gives us energy to follow the leading of His Spirit as we live through each moment of our day.

When we live moment by moment we have no need to live in regret over the past or fear of the future (Galatians 5:15-25). We plan our activities for the day according to the leading of God's Spirit.

Father God, teach us how to pray without ceasing at the same time that we live out the responsibilities of our daily lives. Since we cannot stay on our knees in our prayer closet all day long, we must learn to pray during each moment of our schedule. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to pray about every moment as You give it to us.

When we ask You what You want us to do, help us to follow Your Spirit's leading and accomplish Your will in every moment of our life. Each new endeavor throughout our day is bathed in prayer and we lean on Your strength and provision rather than our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Thought for the Day:
Humility admits that we cannot, and acknowledges that God can; and life flows so much smoother when we bathe each moment in prayer.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Come as a Child to the Father

Yellow and Orange Butterfly

Jesus told us that unless with turn from our sin and become like a trusting little child, we will never get into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3).

I love getting in touch with the part of my soul that was and still is a little child. I had to learn to nurture that part of myself, because my parents had issues that prevented them from setting a nurturing example.

They were great providers and loved us to the best of their ability; but sadly, the wounds from their past held them in bondage all the days of their lives.

When the disciples tried to discourage the children from taking up Jesus’ time, He firmly reprimanded them with the words, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

Little children are dependent. They have no self-centered pride, which prevents them from total trust in our Father God. They live in simplicity, often playing more with the box, which contained our expensive gift to them, than they play with our actual gift.

Uncontaminated by the world, children are loyal, truthful, unpretentious and trusting. They feel no need to wear a mask and never think twice about their transparency, honesty and sincerity.

They have few fear and insecurities until as adults we teach them to fear different aspects of life. All they really crave is our focused attention and dedicated time.

Father God, You actually want us to lay aside our childish carnality and to grow into mature Saints (1 Corinthians 3:1). You do not want us dependent upon the milk of the Word forever, but to grow up to eat solid spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Yet, at the same time, you encourage us to trust You with a child-like faith.

You also desire for us to have confidence to approach Your throne in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16); however, we are to derive our confidence from Your love and faithfulness and not from our own abilities or what we think we deserve. A childlike mind is open to being taught by Your Word and led into all truth by Your Spirit (John 16:13).

Thought for the Day:
In the same manner that a parent enjoys feeding, cuddling, providing for and protecting their child, our loving Father spoils His beloved children, who give themselves entirely and only to Him with trust in His loving kindness.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Benefits of a Life in Christ

Sunset over Snow Covered Mountains

There is a fine line between attaining and obtaining salvation. We achieve a goal either by attaining it through hard work or by obtaining possession of it through little effort of our own (Hebrew 4:10).

For years I strove to keep all of God's commandments to the letter of the law. I wanted to please God and to pay Him back for His sacrifice for me on the cross. I tried to attain Salvation by my own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Most religions require their followers to attain paradise through an uphill struggle throughout life. Christianity is just the opposite, however. I heard it said, “Christianity is the only religion where God came down to man.”

We are actually encouraged to cease from all striving as God did from creation on the seventh day. Then we walk in the Spirit and trust God's wisdom and grace as He achieves through us the results that He lead us to accomplish.

When Christ takes possession of our spirit, He gives us His rest for our soul – our mind, will and emotions. His righteousness, peace and joy give us a new life, which replaces our life of worry, abuse and deprivation (Romans 14:17).

We no longer seek to sanctify our self by crucifying our flesh or by our works for God (Galatians 3:1-3), but we accept the work of Christ on the cross for us, which gives us eternal salvation simply by our relationship with Him (John 17:3).

Father God, You provide all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). We live in ceaseless wonder at the sacrifice You made for us and at the heavenly home, which You provide for us, as we abide in You forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Teach us to walk by Your Spirit each moment of every day (Galatians 5:16-25).

By faith, we accept Your sacrifice on our behalf (Hebrews 7:22), and we submit to Your Spirit as You crucify the deeds of our flesh (Romans 15:16). We enter into You rest and obtain Your righteousness as a free gift (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). We love You above all and give You all of the praise and glory due to Your name.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit transforms the lives He inhabits; so we stop striving and obtain the gifts God has for us by following His lead during each moment of the day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Life Changers

Free stock photo of mountains, nature, sky, forest

The Good News of the gospel of Christ is that authentic Believers died with Jesus and are hidden with Him in God (Colossians 3:3-4). He is our life and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).

The more we recognize our union with Christ, the deeper our intimacy with Him grows. Our interest in the affairs, pursuits and pleasures of this world diminish as we put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

The mind of Christ infuses our thoughts, desires, motives and actions. We come to the place, like Jesus did, that we speak and act only what we hear and see from our Heavenly Father (John 5:19).

The fruit of God's Spirit transforms our fleshly nature (Galatians 5:22-23). We enthusiastically submit our free will to the will of God for our life – our human will submits to His divine will.

We know without a doubt that the will of God is more perfectly intended for our good than our human will could ever hope to provide for us.

God knows the end from the beginning. His judgment is flawless. He infuses our body, spirit and soul – our mind, will and emotions - with the power of His Holy Spirit.

The only hindrance to this transformation comes when we allow our humanity to overpower the Spirit of Christ within us. Our only hope is to totally immersing our self in the divine nature of God though Christ within us.

Father God, our identity as a human being is dead. Our unique personality is only alive through Christ who wants to live His life through each one of us individually (Galatians 2:20). Teach us that the way to walk out this union with Christ is to live, move and have our being only and fully in Him (Acts 17:28).

We follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit moment by moment throughout our day; and You make us lights in this world, a city on a hill. Help us not to do anything that diminishes Your light in us (Matthew 5:14). We live to praise, honor and obey You. You make a huge difference in our life. Thank You for making us life changers.

Thought for the Day:
As we live in Christ and allow Him to love us and to love others through us, He makes a huge difference in us and in our world.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A More Excellent Way

Pink Flower Field

God wants only what is best for us. His laws and precepts are designed to keep us healthy, wealthy and wise. He gives us the best gifts and shows us a more excellent way to live (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Jesus taught us that humility and service are the best course of action (Matthew 5:3-12). Solomon could have asked for anything this world offers and requested only wisdom to care for God's people (1 Kings 3:9).

Of course, God fulfilled his request and also gave him riches and fame as well. In his wisdom, Solomon knew God's principles of sewing and reaping. He sought God's Kingdom and reaped an abundance of everything he ever needed.

We can learn from Jesus and Solomon and walk in God's more excellent ways as well. We honor God in all that we think, say and do.

At the moment of salvation, Authentic Believers are as full of the Trinity as we will ever get. However, we can draw closer to God, more intimate with Him, each day.

We bear the fruit of God's Spirit in increasing fullness. We glorify God in word and deed, and we keep His will as the center of our focus each moment of every day.

As we take care of God's business, He takes care of ours. We seek His Kingdom first, and He adds to our life everything we need (Matthew 6:33).

Father God, we want You to reveal to us Your more excellent way. Teach us to do only Your will for each moment of our day. We gratefully accept Your provision in our life and we want to walk in Your ways, sow into Your Kingdom and reap your blessings.

Teach us to keep our focus on Your Kingdom and to fully surrender our goals, plans and purposes to Your Lordship. We want to bring You glory in our daily activities and to take advantage of Your divine opportunities to introduce friends, relatives, associates, neighbors and even strangers to Your love and goodness.

Thought for the Day:
God hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29), and blesses us abundantly as He increases our talents, understanding and serenity; we are His children and co-equal heirs with our brother, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Parental Super Saints

Clear Body of Water Between Yellow and Green Leaved Trees

As children, we come to believe that our parents are super-sized. They are always there with ready advice, a tissue to wipe our tears and a new craft project or game to chase away boredom.

As we age, we start to notice that these super-Saints are human, and that they let us down more often than come to our rescue. This disillusionment with them colors much of the rest of our life, unless we grant them the same grace and forgiveness that we want them to bestow on us.

We have no idea how hectic our parents' lives really are, how many obligations are on their shoulders and how diverse their responsibility really is until we are old enough to "walk a mile" in their shoes.

In our younger years, we judge them on how well they meet our needs. Of course, they are the only parents we have, unless our grandparents are equally involved in our life; so it is normal to expect them to be present with us and for us all of the time.

As parents, we allow the incessant drum of our daily to-do list to distract us from breathing deeply, entering God's rest and enjoying each moment of time as He provides it for us.

We forget that our children are only with us for a few years, but the mountain of dishes in the sink, the footprints on the floor and the laundry piling up in the baskets will still be there tomorrow.

I am so glad that the Lord taught me this lesson while my children were very young. Like my mother, I made sure that I was home to greet them every day when they came home from school. God even gave me four years to homeschool them as we traveled the interstates crisscrossing the eastern USA.

We always made time to watch their sports team's valiant efforts to win championships; to participate in their Scouting activities even when we traveled; and to take them out individually for a milkshake and a chat when their behavior clued us in that something was really bothering them, or when they had a victory that they wanted to share with us.

I cherish those memories and I am grateful that God and my husband allowed me to be a "stay at home" mom all of those years. This allowed me the opportunity to consistently be available to listen to their unhurried worries, concerns and triumphs.

Father God, even as an adult, pregnant with my firstborn, I wanted my Mommy first and foremost. Although she had an emotionally distant personality, she always knew how to let me know that nothing in her life was more important to her than my needs, and the necessities of my three little brothers. Thank You for allowing me to pass on this tradition to my children as well.

Please, use this post to convict or to encourage other parents to give their children focused attention and to let the to-do list wait until tomorrow if necessary.

Remind us that getting our children involved in completing those incessant chores gives all of us a sense of community and camaraderie, and allows our children to realize that they are needed and appreciated at home.

Thought for the Day:
Glib and hurried words or gifts have no real meaning; but when we give the gift of our focused attention, this makes a lasting impression on the ones we love.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

God Makes All Things New

Red Leaf Trees Near the Road

God's recipe for eliminating negative thoughts, words and deeds in our life is for us to focus our thoughts on what is true and good and right.

He cautions us to think only about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good aspects in this life. We can think about all that we can be glad about and for which we can praise God (Philippians 4:8).

Apart from God, we can accomplish nothing of lasting value (John 15:5). The Bible declares that Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). If we have Jesus Christ living in us, He daily delivers us from sin’s dominion by His resurrection life within us (Romans 5:10).

He also gives us new values, priorities and goals in life (2 Corinthians 5:17). He gives us His peace that transcends human understanding (Philippians 4: 6-8). If we do not have the Son of God living in us, however, we do not have any of this (1 John 5:12).

Christ’s salvation goes beyond the spirit to the soul and body as well (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Believers are currently saved in our spirit through Justification, we will be saved in our body when we see Jesus through Glorification, and lastly we are being saved in our soul – our mind, will and emotions - through the lifelong method of Sanctification.

We desire to know Jesus more intimately every day and to see our self grow into His beloved, mature child. Our right-standing before God is by faith in all that Christ accomplished on our behalf.

We do not have to work for or earn this position. If we really believe this fact, then we will take advantage of the opportunity, which He gives us to get to know Him more intimately as our Redeemer, Friend and Brother.

Father God, You freely offers everyone this gift of a personal relationship with You. We have the option to either embrace Your friendship or to refuse to acknowledge You. The choice is ours (John 3:18). You give us this opportunity to get to know Christ and to grow in our understanding of His power, His resurrection and in what He has to offer us in eternity.

You designed the Trinity, so that we can experience firsthand both Christ’s sufferings and His victories as we walk through our trials with Him within us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5); but in Him we are conquerors over every trial, because You love us (Romans 8:37).

Thought for the Day:
We have the opportunity every day to fellowship with the Trinity; to walk in His mercy, power and grace; to be led by Him, and to live with Him in eternity in Heaven.