Sunday, April 22, 2018

Content and Complete in Christ


Yellow Pink and Orange Flower Bouquet

Like Paul, over the years of nestling under the shadow of God's wings, I have learned to be content with what God provides for me (Philippians 4:11; Psalm 91:4).

I also learned that I am complete in Christ who dwells in me, and that I can do anything in and through Him, because of His abiding strength. Holiness and contentment is what life is really all about (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

The opposite of satisfaction is discontentment and apathy (Amos 6:1). Discontentment causes stress and anxiety, as well as contention between us and our neighbors, family, coworkers and friends.

Striving to move up the ladder or to acquire more possessions often brings ill health to our body and our soul - our thoughts, emotions and choices. Instead, we want to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

The only striving, that the Bible suggests that we partake in, is to “strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24), to “always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16), and to “strive together in prayers to God” (Rom 15:30).

There is no need for any other striving in our life. As we trust in Him, God gives us all good things to enjoy. Once we come into the presence of the Lord. We cease from our labors and enter into the true Sabbath rest of God (Hebrews 4:10).

I have experienced that God's supply is usually much better than what I was hoping for; and, in addition, it has eternal value (Philippians 4:19). We cannot even imagine what God has already prepared for His Saints (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Prayer:
Father God, we come daily to sit contentedly at Your feet. We are ready to receive whatever You think is best for us. Not our will, but Your will be done in our life (Luke 22:42). You promised to give us our daily bread, and all that we need to survive in this natural world (Matthew 6:11-13).

You clothed the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, and we are more important to You than they are (Matthew 6:26-34). We thank You for providing for us just as richly. We want to use Your wisdom and grace to serve You in this life and to relish eternity in Your service as well.

Thought for the Day:
God gives us all good things to enjoy; no one has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, no soul has ever perceived what our Father God has already arranged for those who love him.
- 1 Corinthians 2:9






Saturday, April 21, 2018

Living in the Will of God


beautiful, bloom, blooming

As new Believers in Jesus Christ, we often struggle with the concept of the will of God. This is such a huge topic, that we have trouble pinpointing the specifics of what God requires of us.

God's Word readily teaches us what God wants. His first priority is for all men everywhere to be saved, and to come to an understanding of His truth. This pleases God and our Savior Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9).

He shows us what is good and what He requires of us: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him in the center of his perfect will for us (Micah 6:8; Ephesians 2:10).

Our Father exhorts us not to be foolish, but to understand what His will is for each moment of our day. He desires that we allow Him to fill us with His Spirit, so that we can encourage one another (Ephesians 5:17-18).

He will equip us with everything we need to do His will, if we allow Him to work, through Christ in us, that which is pleasing to Him. We live according to His good pleasure (Hebrews 13:20-21; Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:12-13).

He wants us to be sanctified and to avoid giving our soul and body over to sinful practices (1 Thessalonians 4:3). If we honestly confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to purify us (1 John 1:9).

God calls us to continually pray, to rejoice, and to give thanks to Him regardless of our circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). By doing good, we silence the ill-informed words of imprudent people (1 Peter 2:15).

We can reject the temptations to willfully sin; and instead, we can sing His praises and make music in our heart all day long. We always give thanks to God for everything in the name of Jesus our Lord and King - even for negative experiences, because they tend to draw us closer to His heart (Ephesians 5:19-20; Proverbs 16:4).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105). If we lack wisdom, all we need to do is to ask You for it, because You generously give us Your wisdom without finding fault with us (James 1:5). We look forward to Your Kingdom coming on earth, even as it is now already in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Help us to be careful of how we live - as wise, spiritual people, rather than as unwise, foolish, carnal people. Remind us to make the most of every opportunity to share Your love and Your gospel, because these last days are increasingly evil (Ephesians 5:15-16). You have shown us what You want us to do - to act righteously, to love mercy and to walk humbly before You (Micah 6:8).

Thought for the Day:
We trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and we stop relying on our human understanding; we totally surrender every area of our life to Him as He directs our steps; and if we persevere until His coming, we will receive His promise for us to live in His Kingdom. 
- Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 10:36




Friday, April 20, 2018

Faith in Action

Pink Tulips

Our faith - whether strong or weak - reveals our level of confidence in what we hope for, and the assurance about matters for which we cannot see the outcome (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

Enoch is my Biblical hero. He walked with God continually, and one day God just took him to His home (Genesis 5:22-24). Enoch did not enter his reward through death, God translated Him into Heaven (Hebrews 11:5).

Enoch's presence was sorely missed by his son Methuselah and the rest of his family, but His faith inspired them all. Noah, Enoch's great grandson, is another man of faith. This dear man faithfully preached to his community for 120 years, while he and his sons built a gargantuan boat.

Not one person believed Noah's preaching, but God saved him and his family during the great flood that covered the entire earth (Genesis 6:9). Abraham, another Saint of God, walked faithfully before the Lord in spite of his moments of lack of faith (Genesis 17:1).

Jesus is our resurrection and our life (Colossians 3:3-4; James 1:3). Even when our body dies and goes to the grave, our soul and spirit live on and will never die (John 11:25-26).

By our faith as authentic Believers, Jesus dwells within our spirit; and through His Spirit, He strengthens us with His power in our soul - our mind, will and emotions (Ephesians 3:16-17).

As we serve the Lord, He guarantees us that we shall receive whatever we need to accomplish His will (Mark 11:24). Even when we struggle to have faith, He helps our unbelief (Mark 9:24).

Prayer:
Father God, whenever we waver in our faith, we act like a wave in the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:6). Without faith, it is impossible to please You, because when we come to You, You want us to believe that You exists and that You reward those who earnestly seek You (Hebrews 11:6).

Even though we have never seen You, we love You so very much, and we believe that You have our best interest at heart. We are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy at the thought of our salvation in Christ, and that You fill our heart with the faith of Jesus, who resides within us (1 Peter 1:8-9; John 11:40).

Thought for the Day:
Our God of hope fills us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him; we end up overflowing with hope by the power of His Spirit, because we know that when our faith is tested, it teaches us endurance. 
- Romans 15:13; James 1:3

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Lord is My Shepherd

Green Leafed Tree Besides Body of Water during Daytime



When we suffer some lack in our life, we tend to give in to anxiety, depression, martyrdom, and hopelessness. We forget to go to God's Word for our liberation, security, joy and peace.
      
When I have a hard time winding down at night, I usually quote Psalm 23 in its entirety. Every word, phrase and sentence in this Psalm is so meaningful, comforting, enlightening and inspiring.

However, I rarely get through the entire Psalm before I am sound asleep. Speaking, or even just thinking the Word of God has a calming and assuring effect on our mind, emotions and spirit.

Scripture connects us with Christ in us in a very real and positive way. We learn so much about the Lord through His Word: how He treats and reacts to Saints of old, and how His promises bear fruit in our life as well.

When you get some time, turn to the Gospels and take a look at the life of Christ on this earth - amazing. He advises us to seek first His Kingdom; and He promised that as we do, He would meet all of our needs (Matthew 6:33).

Among many other actions, He gives bread to the hungry, searches for the lost, has compassion on the unemployed, cares for widows and orphans, loves His sheep who know His voice, and welcomes home His prodigal children.

As we desire intimacy with the Lord and seek after it, we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our life. There we will behold the beauty of the Lord and visit with Him in His temple (Psalm 27:4).

In any day of trouble, He hides us in His Tabernacle - in His secret place. He puts our feet on the Rock during stormy times, and we shout for joy and praise His name (Psalm 27:5-6).

Prayer:
Father God, against those who lie about us, You defend us; so that we remain confident in spite of their malicious accusations. Teach us Your ways, and lead us in Your straight paths so that we can avoid our oppressors.

Thank You for hearing our voice when we call to You. We seek Your face, and You never hide from us or turn away from us in anger. You are our constant Helper. When others reject us, or if we suffer deprivation at their hands, You always receive us and abundantly bless us (Psalm 27:7-13).

Thought for the Day:
We see the goodness of the Lord on this earth, and this causes us to be strong, to take heart and to wait on Him for His direction and comfort for each day of our life. - Psalm 27:14

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Our Problems are God's Opportunities


Free stock photo of flowers, petals, leaves, gift

Secular self-help groups promote the practice of turning over our life to our "higher power". Almighty God is the only Higher Power that can provide us with His peace, joy and security in this tumultuous and insecure world in which we dwell.

Living apart from Jesus is the most miserable existence on earth. We continually strive to obtain, reach or acquire that one more item, experience, person, place, career opportunity, or status symbol to make us happy on this earth (Philippians 3:1-11). However, these items never satisfy.

When we see our problems as God’s opportunities, it changes our focus and attitude about them. Our supply for each circumstance, and the wisdom to deal with it, comes from Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:3). The Holy Spirit lives through us in the perfection of Christ and according to the will of our Father God (Colossians 2:9). We are no longer sinners chained to the flesh.

Christ is our righteousness, deliverance, redemption, sanctification, and so much more (1 Corinthians 1:31). He challenges us to hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).

Like Paul, I am obsessed with the idea of the Trinity living in us. Paul mentions the topic of "Christ in us" more than 170 times in his epistles. Christ in us delivers us from sin and fills us with His resurrection life (Romans 5:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for writing Your laws in our conscience so that we will not sin against You (Hebrews 8:10). We find our rest in You alone. You are our only source of salvation in this life and the next. We focus only on You throughout our day and walk in Your love, peace and joy continually.

Our greatest joy is to enter our spirit, our core existence in this life, throughout the day, as we walk in Your will each moment. Regardless of the demands on our life, we walk in Your Spirit, and we prioritize our commitments according to Your will (Psalm 42:1).

Thought for the Day:
Unified with the Trinity, we accomplish goals as God's Spirit directs us; and we reap a multitude of blessings, which He supplies to the life of all of His Saints.



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pouring Out Our Heart to God

Pink Green and Purple Flowers during Daytime



We live alone in this world. Even with a spouse, children and friends we often still feel isolated and disenfranchised most of the time. We bottle up our negative thoughts and emotions, burying them deeply within our subconscious mind; and then we go with the flow.

We go along, in order to get along with people we admire or want to impress. This widens the gap between our true self and the personae that we project to the world around us.

We never truly fit in, and the stress of wearing masks and denying our own soul takes its eventual toll on us. It is hard to find any real joy in life, and peace continuously eludes us.

We never find lasting significance, comfort, and nurturing in a life apart from God. His will for us gives us significance; His Spirit is our only comfort; and His Body is the only place where we find selfless nurturing.

Jesus is the only One who can bring us fulfillment (Philippians 3:12). We move out of the realm of the flesh and soul, and instead we abide in the spiritual realm where Christ dwells within us (Philippians 3:20).

The more we separate the earthly and the spiritual parts of our self, the more intimately we experience our union with the Trinity. Then, regardless of what life throws at us, we have God's presence and Spirit to fill our soul.

As we listen to God's still, small voice throughout our day, and live in the center of His will, we successfully navigate through the maze of life. We thrive, regardless of our circumstances when the King of all kings is our brother, friend and future bridegroom (John 15:15).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the wind that fills our sail, and allows us to glide through life unscathed by the negative aspects surrounding us. Our focus is on You rather than on the people, places and things that make up the sum total of our life on this earth.

Teach us to walk by the direction of Your Holy Spirit, and to stay the course of Your will for us each moment of our life. We want nothing more than to grow in our intimacy with You, and to be a light to help others find a personal relationship with You as well.

Thought for the Day:
We confidently release our cares into God's capable hands, because He never fails to sustain us; no matter what trial we are experiencing, He never leaves or forsakes us, and He always listens when we pour out our heart to Him.
- Psalm 55:22; Hebrews 13:5







Monday, April 16, 2018

Life is Like a Movie Set


Purple 5 Petaled Flower Close Up Photography

A movie making crew is a very intricate patchwork of grips, producer, executive producer, line producer, production assistant, production manager, assistant production manager, unit manager, location manager, assistant location manager, location production assistant, production coordinator, first assistant director, second assistant director, casting director, camera operator, first assistant camera operator, second assistant camera operator....

The list goes on and on and on. I see now why they call it a "production." Making a move is a huge production. 

A few years ago, I had the privilege to visit my older son, Michael, when he worked on a film crew. He set up scenes, adjusted sound and lighting, trouble shot the technical difficulties and equipment malfunctions, made sure there was food and a mountain of bottled water constantly available for the actors, to name only a few of his duties.

My admiration for him definitely increased as I watched his calm, cool demeanor making the events of filming flow so smoothly that it looked like a puzzle fitly joining together.

This evening, I was enjoying this memory once again; and my mind quickly switched to Creation when the Trinity created our universe, mankind and every living creature and beautiful rock formation and sandy beach available on this earth for our enjoyment.

What a huge production that was, orchestrated and directed by our Father God, who is infinitely creative. He is the producer of the events of time from creation to the end time events - soon to play out on the earth.

Right on time, God became a man and sacrificed Himself for our salvation. As the star of the show, Jesus exchanged our sin for His righteousness, and He paid the debt that we owed for our transgressions.

God does not need anyone to help Him, but He graciously created a place for all of us on His crew, as He unfolds the panorama of events leading to His eternal Kingdom coming to this earth with New Jerusalem, His four-square city, as the hub of all activity (Revelation 21:2).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your sacrificial love for all of humanity that You bestowed on us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). As we watch the movie of our life played out over the years of our existence, we are amazed at the millions of ways that You shower us with Your love, peace and joy.

We want to serve You now and for all eternity in the very center of Your will. We thank You for Your Holy Spirit that guides us each moment of the day to fulfill Your plan and purpose for our life. We are so excited to be part of Your family, Your Kingdom and Christ's Body and Bride. All we can say now is, "Maranatha" - even so, come, Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Thought for the Day:
It takes dozens of people to make a movie, but only one Supreme Being to create the universe and all that it contains.