Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We Live in Hope


Most people in today's society walk around in the dark, but they do not know it. They do not fear the Lord, obey His voice, trust in His name or rely on Him (Isaiah 50:10).

They face life without hope, living with uncertainty and a heavy load of care. They are not experiencing the conscious blessings of the Lord in their life.

Authentic Believers have these same trials and adversity; yet, we do not live without hope, and we walk in the Light, even as Jesus is in the light and is the Light of the world (1 John 1:5-7).

Walking in the Truth of God's Word, we follow His Spirit's direction each moment of the day, even if we are experiencing darkness all around us.

We walk by faith, not by sight - in Biblical discernment rather than our human knowledge and feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7). The peace and joy of the Lord reign supreme in our soul and calms the troubled thoughts and emotions within us. 

Jesus is God's Son, His Word; and He is God who came to dwell among us on this earth (John 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:7). His sinless perfection abides within us and stirs us to love and good works (Hebrews 10:23-25).

As a human being, He learned obedience to God through the things that He suffered (Hebrews 4:15). As God, He had the power to resurrect all of us from spiritual death (Hebrews 7:25).

He now abides within us as our brother, future husband, co-heir to God's Kingdom and friend (John 15:13-15). He always knows and understands exactly how we feel and what we are experiencing in this sin-cursed world.

Father God, thank You for giving us Your Spirit, who brings to us the reality of the revelation of our relationship with You. He will guide us into all truth and perfect us with the mind and nature of Christ. He also comforts us during times of distress and leads us each moment of every day to walk in the works, which You have called us to perform.

Use us as a magnifying glass to amplify You to the world around us. Make us examples of Christ and help us to live as examples of His gospel story as He lives within us. We dedicate our life to You as holy vessels of honor, and we choose to follow You all the days of our life.

Thought for the Day:
The love of Christ within us enables us to live in hope and to shed the bonds of discouragement, which attempt to rob us of the love, peace and joy of our Lord.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Way of Holiness

Close-up of Water Drops on Rainy Day

Righteous living is the fruit of a heart set on living in holiness before God (Matthew 5:6). Our spirit vitally needs holiness for our fulfillment. An authentic Believer shrinks from carnal behavior, which our soul - our mind, will and emotions - often pursues.

If we foolishly attempt to perfect our self, we are counterproductive (Galatians 3:1-3). We live a legalistic, carnal, unnurturing, critical and condemning life, which keeps us in the constant state of shame and disappointment. 

However, through God's work of regeneration through salvation, and His sanctification process, His Spirit conforms our soul into the purity and the divinity of Christ Jesus, our Lord (Ephesians 2:8-9; Matthew 5:8).

God's light within us shines out into the world (Matthew 5:16; 1 John 1:7). Through His mercy and grace we perform the works of God, which He planned specifically for us before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

We walk in the Spirit and no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh, the world or the devil (Galatians 5:15-25; 1 John 2:1). We serve the Lord with gladness and we run and are not weary (Psalm 100:2; Isaiah 40:31).

We are zealous for the priorities which God places in our heart and there is no rival for our affections between earthly and spiritual ideals and activities. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

God heals us and brings unity with His Spirit and among our body, soul and spirit (3 John 1:2). We live in wholeness, and lose the fragmented feeling that robs us of our peace and joy.

Father God, Your grace in our spirit perfects our soul until we walk in Your Son's righteousness that He exchanged for our sin on Calvary's cross. We still have the same personality, but Your Spirit transforms the negative aspects with Your fruit.

We throw all of our cares on Your capable shoulders and yoke up with You so that You can help us to carry our burdens in life. We trust You with our health, wealth and spiritual success in this life, including our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, church family, neighbors and associates. You are worthy of all of our trust and praise.

Thought for the Day:
Holiness is not only achievable, it is also the normal state of existence for the authentic Christian; we simply die daily to the seeds of sin that take root in our heart and pluck them up before they can grow into a plant, flower and then bear fruit.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Witness of God's Spirit

River Surrounded by Green Trees

If sin still appeals to our flesh, we have not made the decision to totally convert to God's way of thinking. We want to retain part of our carnality for a variety of reasons, which all lead to opening the door of our life to Satan's destructive forces.

Why would we do that to our self? Simply because we have not tasted of the fullness of Christ that is possible for every authentic Believer.

There are moments in our life where God's Spirit convicts us of sin. How we respond to these defining moments make a huge difference in our spiritual maturity.

If we continue in sin, we forfeit God's forgiveness, grieve the Holy Spirit and remain spiritual pygmies in the sight of God. Also, we may be clinging to unforgiveness toward someone, or we may be nurturing resentment for wrongs done to us.

Once we realized that we walked in depravity and gave more worship to the creature rather than the creator (Roman 1:25), and once we fully experience the fullness of God's forgiveness for us, we are able to forgive others.

We feel God's love flowing over us like a waterfall and we share that love with those God plants in our life. His love for us inspires us to fulfill His calling and purpose on our life.

We rejoice in the God of our salvation (Habakkuk 3:18) and we intercede for those God brings to our mind. We prayer walk through our neighborhood and lift up our neighbors to God to execute His regenerating work in their life.

We share a smile, an act of kindness, an encouraging word, or we meet a financial need in someone's life in the name of Jesus (Matthew 10:42). We "share the gospel at all times, and only if it is necessary do we use words."

Father God, once we experience the witness of Christ's Spirit abiding in us; we realize that we want a more intimate daily relationship with You. We spend our days praising, adoring and thanking You for Your mercy and provision for us.

You transform our soul through Your sanctifying process and we live to honor You and to perform Your will for our life, rather than our will. Christ is our whole life, and we no longer care about nor are we tempted by the draw of our flesh, this world or the devil; but we long to give You the glory due to Your name through our thoughts, words and actions.

Thought for the Day:
Once we choose to trust God completely with our life, accept His forgiveness for our sins, decide not to make provision for our flesh anymore and to forgive those who despitefully used us (Luke 6:28), we enter a deeper walk with the Lord.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Rest of God

Body of Water Near Brown Soil Under Blue Sky during Sunset

God makes us lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23:2). It is hard to eat when we are lying down, so this verse puzzled me. Recently, I heard this verse from the IC Bible, "He makes me rest in green pastures."

Resting makes more sense to me…we are not eating, we are luxuriating in the green fields of a thick carpet of grass. Resting restores our soul (Psalm 23:3). Lying flat during the day, even for 10 or 15 minutes, is therapeutic to our body; chilling out also gives our soul a time of rest.

Resting is a daily requirement in order to maintain a peaceful existence through the trials of life. Stress will damage or even kill our body; rest strengthens and restores us in body, spirit and soul - our mind, will and emotions (3 John 1:2).

Stress makes us grouchy, touchy and even angry. Satan uses stress to injure us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and to ruin our testimony before others of the love of God for us all.

God's rest replaces our internal "batteries". We have more energy to overcome life's threats and to perform those works, which God created for us to perform, before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

As we mature in the Lord, we make time to spend segments of rest in His presence and to focus our entire being on Him (Psalm 46:10). We bless Him for who He is and for His abundant love for us.

This time can be just a few moments or an extended period. Then, we abide in God's rest as His Spirit directs the remainder of our day; as we follow along with His plans instead of our own.

Father God, remind us that we are Your Temple - a dwelling place made without human hands. Show us areas of our life where we are failing You, and give us Your wisdom to redirect our energies into Your pursuits rather than into our own. As we wait on You, we often discover that much of what we desire to accomplish comes from Your Holy Spirit, but is misguided by the flesh, the world and the devil.

Help us not to give Satan a foothold into our life by allowing his thoughts to infiltrate our soul - our thoughts, decisions and emotions. We do not want to unwittingly open a door into our soul for him to take advantage of us and to destroy our witness for You. Reveal his lies to us so that we can combat them with Your Truth.   

Thought for the Day:
Once we learn to abide in God's rest, rather than pursuing meaningless activities in life, we find our self living powerfully in the center of God's will.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Accuser

Red Purple and Yellow Tulip Fields

God gives every created being a choice, and Satan chose to revolt. When Satan rebelled against God, he was cast from the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16).

God knew that Satan would want more than his exalted position as an archangel; therefore, He provided Jesus, before the foundation of the world, to be our sacrificial lamb and die in our place (Revelation 13:8).

In the Garden of Eden, Satan successfully played his hand against Adam and won authority over this earthly realm. Now, he reigns supreme; but only as he is given permission by God (Job 1:6-7).

The devil roams the earth seeking those as gullible as Adam and Eve - those willing to buy into his lies and destruction (1 Peter 5:8). His whole purpose is to accuse and prosecute the righteous before God (Revelation 12:9-10).

He attempts to keep us in bondage to His temptations and lies, and to cause us to make lethal decisions concerning our time and our energy. Thankfully, God did not leave us defenseless.

He gave us His Son Jesus Christ as our advocate, our High Priest who defends and protects us from Satan's wiles and his fiery darts of accusation and temptation.

Christ in us is greater than Satan and his mighty army of demons. Jesus gives us victory over any power and influence that Satan exhibits toward us (Revelation 12:11).

We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:31-39). None of Satan's accusations are valid when compared to the blood of our unblemished sacrificial Lamb.

God provides us with His Spirit and power to share the love of Christ with the dying world around us (Acts 1:8). We never meet a stranger, but simply a potential friend and fellow member of the Body of Christ (Revelation 12:13-17).

Father God, thank You for giving us an advocate and for protecting us from Satan's destruction. Your discipline is painful for the moment, but bears for us the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Isaiah 32:17). Help us to live as testimonies for the love and care You give to us every moment of every day (Matthew 10:39).

Let our light so shine that others will see Your works in us and through us and to give You the glory (Matthew 5:16). Lead us in level paths because of our enemies, which attempt to derail us from Your will for our life (Psalm 27:11). Thank You for preparing a feast for us in the presence of our enemies and for taking away from us the shame of Satan's accusations and replacing them with the fruit of Your righteousness (Philippians 1:11).

Thought for the Day:
Humanistic morality may prevent us from the affliction of a jail sentence, but only believing in Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary's cross and trusting our life to Him will keep us from spending eternity in the agony of hell.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Victory in Trials

Brown Grass Close Up Photography

Without the aid of God's Holy Spirit in our life, we often drown in negative emotions and fail to experience victory over our trials (John 15:5). We suffer with overwhelming feelings of failure, depression, anger, etc.

With the Trinity of God dwelling in our spirit, we are more than conquerors and can experience victory in every trial. God's power flows through us and from us as He changes our world all around us, causing us to rejoice in Him as the God of our salvation.

He meets our needs with abundance, showers us with His blessings, rejoices over us with singing and looks forward to our homecoming to heaven (Romans 8:37; Zachariah 3:17; James 1:12).

Jesus is our great High Priest, who is our advocate with our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:14-16). He experienced the hardships of life in the same negative intensity that we often do, yet He never sinned (Philippians 3:10).

Our Savior voluntarily left His home in the glories of Heaven to bring us salvation from every negative aspect of life. He softens the blow for us when trials, persecution, rejection, abandonment, homelessness, fickle friends, etc. invade our serenity.

He walks through trials with us and provides us with His power, mercy, grace, love, peace and joy in order to give us the strength to face anything which life, the world, our own flesh, and the devil throw at us.

Jesus teaches us to be led continually by His presence in us and by the direction of His Holy Spirit. We trust in Him and allow Him to work in and through us each moment of our day. When God directs our efforts, we accomplish much more than we ever thought possible.

Father God, thank You that Your presence in us gives us an abundant, fulfilled life here on this earth. Remind us to use each new day to make a difference in our world, as we win lost sinners to Your saving grace. We can never thank You enough for keeping us safe in life's storms and for guaranteeing our place with You in eternity.

Thank You for sending Jesus to die on Calvary's cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins and to offer the whole world redemption through His resurrection and abiding presence in our life. We rejoice in the fact that His selfless sacrifice guarantees us a place in Your Kingdom to enjoy Your blessings throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus gives authentic Believers the opportunity to be one with Him in perfect love and acceptance, apart from any good deeds, pious performances or imposed restrictions, which come from self-effort or living up to the standards and expectations of other people.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Good Marriage - Fail-proofing Our Marriage

Free stock photo of nature, purple, petals, plant

Some spouses allow the devil to addict them to certain sins. This opens the door for Satan to plant a whole host of demons into their life. They become abusive, unreasonable and make poor choices that affect our life as well as theirs.

A separation for a period of reconciliation is often helpful in times like these to keep us safe, to give us a cooling off period and to get counseling together to hopefully reunite us as a couple.

However, when the spouse will not change his/her behavior, receive counseling or take needed medication to supply their body with chemicals that it no longer produces, this complicates the relationship.

Paul discussed this issue when he recommended that it is better to live as a single person, except in the incidence where human passions demand the parameters of marriage, or where immorality gives a person grounds for divorce.

Most authentic Believers desire to improve their marriage. Some people read incessantly from books, articles and blogs suggesting ways to improve their marriage. God will use us to bless one another on a daily basis.

God's Spirit also helps us to see the positive aspects in our spouse - even in the midst of his/her irritating quirks and disappointments. We live with an open mind to God's will, and we appreciate our spouse's positive traits and cherish their existence in our life.

We can pray together to help each other to heal and to receive counseling for unresolved issues from our past; or from current issues that we caused by our own words, decisions and behavior.

Father God, a three-fold chord is not easily broken, and as we stay intimately connected to You and to our spouse on a daily basis, we strengthen and fail proof our marriage. As we bring our relationship to You, we discover strength and wisdom from Your Spirit to deal with every day's controversies and trials.

We stand before You as little children, with faith and trust that You will supply us with everything that we need to maintain our friendship and love for one another throughout our lifetime. Lead us by Your Spirit and help us to bless our spouse with the fruit of Your Spirit within us as we heal from past trauma and repent of current sins which cause stress in our relationship.

Thought for the Day:

Deep wounds from the past, some of which are buried in our subconscious mind, may hinder us from being the spouse God calls us to be; God is willing and able to show us those wounds, heal them and to give us a new perspective on life and our marriage.