Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring of Living Water


instantShift - Creative Fountains Around the World

Jesus promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). He used the concept of water to express the free flowing ministry of the Holy Spirit in us and through us. He told us that when we drink the water He gives us, we would never thirst again. Christ is our spring of living water, which provides us with His divine life now on this earth as well as in eternity (John 4:13-15).

His water wells up in the midst of our soul and flows freely out of us to all those around us (Matthew 12:40). This living water comes not just from one, but many rivers (John 7:38-39). It supplies us with light, love and liberation. His holiness within us flows out of us and blesses others. It is like a continual fountain centered in a beautiful lush garden of life within us. The abundant supply of spiritual water brings liberal blessings to us and to everyone in our life (Exodus 17:6).

All we need to do to receive this thirst-quenching water is to believe in Jesus Christ and come and drink from the well of His salvation (Isaiah 12:3). As we drink freely from the fountain of the water of life, which surges from the throne of God, we will thirst no more (Revelation 7:16-17, 21:6, 22:1, 17). His wisdom and comfort pour plentifully and constantly in us and through us. It is a strong stream, which overcomes the conflict of our doubts and fears. We find Christ’s fullness in our body, soul and spirit.

The indwelling Spirit of Christ in us infuses us with the abundant water of His grace. We are instruments of the Holy Spirit and we draw from the water of life, which comes from His deep spring. He uses us to impart His mercy and grace to our family, friends, neighbors and associates who are poor and needy in soul and spirit (Isaiah 44:3). They are all searching for this living water to quench their soul, which is scorched from life on this earth (Isaiah 41:17).

God’s water cleanses and purifies us and allows us to bloom as fruitful trees of righteousness, which grow and bring forth the fruit of His Spirit. As fruitful trees, we also provide a cool refuge to those wounded by their trials in life. They are revived, comforted and encouraged to grow in their spiritual life as well. We bring reconciliation to the world through the abundance of living water flowing through our attitude, words and actions.

Prayer:
Father God, Your unfailing love is priceless to us. Thank You for enabling us to live a self-controlled and Godly life in Christ Jesus (Titus 2:12). We feast on the abundance in Your household and we drink from Your river of delights. You are the fountain of life; in Your light we live and move and have our being (Psalm 36:7). You make known to us the path we should take in life and You fill us with joy in Your presence within us. You give us eternal pleasures now and for eternity (Psalm 16:11). Keep us as the apple of Your eye and hide us always under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 36:7).

Thought for the Day:
If we truly desire to live joyfully forever, we will allow Christ to rule and reign in our life.

Monday, April 29, 2013

All or Nothing


 


Many people have a tendency to look at life with an all or nothing attitude. We think that to enjoy the features of living on this earth is to be earthly minded; and to pray, read the Bible and do Christian work is to live a holy, spiritually minded life. Although there is some truth in this, the reality is that God created all good things for us to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). He put us on this diverse and beautiful planet so that all creation would point us to Him (Romans 1:20). As we enjoy creation, we see His glory and majesty surrounding us.

What about our talents in music, mechanics, giving, art, engineering, caring, teaching, technology, preaching, serving, etc? We actually balance out these earthly pursuits with a spiritual mind as we do them all for the glory of God. Paul pointed out to us that even what we eat and drink should be done for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). God cares about every aspect of our life. We often attempt to perfect our self by giving up what we consider worldly pursuits. The perfecting process belongs to the Spirit of God, however.

If we try in the flesh to perfect our self, all we have is more flesh! Our soul requires times of leisure and recreation in order to maximize its effectiveness. If our soul does not prosper, our body and spirit will suffer also (3 John 1:2). It is the type of recreation and the amount of time and money we put into it that determines whether or not we are catering to the flesh. We relate to our physical world with our five senses, involving our desires, instinct and intellect. We interact in the spiritual world through our spirit, which is Born Again at the moment of salvation.

If our focus is consumed with the natural aspects of life, our spirit will suffer, and our body and soul will endure deprivation as well. Conversely, if we focus on God's will for each moment of our day, He will work out His perfection in us and He will lead us to live a healthy life in body, soul and spirit. If we primarily focus on fleshly, carnal aspects of life – even positive things such as our job, church, family and hobbies - they become idols. If we focus on religious aspects of life, we grow self-righteous and judgmental. God desires that we carry our spirituality into every detail of our daily lives (Colossians 3:17).

We can only develop true balance in life when we obey the direction of the Spirit of God for each moment of our day. Not a legalistic, petty structure of religious works, but a fluid stream of God’s gifts and character flowing through us into the world around us. The spiritual world is intangible and invisible, but God’s love and truth flow generously from a spirit connect to God though Christ. When we live with a balanced body, soul and spirit, we successfully navigate through life. We are simply the container from which God pours out His Spirit on everyone around us.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave each of us gifts to use for your glory (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 6:17). You did not give them to us so we could use them, however. You gave them to us, so that You can use them through us! We do all things through the strength and energy You supply for us. In this way, we cannot take any credit, but we will give you all of the glory and power forever and ever (1 Peter 4:10-11). You even give us comfort so that You can comfort others through us (2 Corinthians 1:4). If we trust in our own abilities and wealth, we will fail; but as we step aside and allow you to bless others through us, we will prosper as well (Proverbs 11:28).

Thought for the Day:
We are only consumed by our human nature if we refuse to allow God to reveal Christ in us according to His good pleasure. – Ephesians 1:9




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Christ Instead of Us

 


God gives us a free will that allows us to choose or to reject His salvation. We can either accept His freedom from eternal destruction or reap the consequences of our choices. Every sin we commit stems from the root of unbelief. In unbelief we condemn our self (John 3:18). Jesus came from God (John 1:14; Philippians 2:7-11); Jesus was God (Matthew 1:23; John 17:21) and God performed His will on the earth by abiding in the human body of Christ (John 14:10; Acts 2:22). Now He works in us through His Spirit (Luke 4:14-15).

Every Born Again Believer is united with our triune God (John 17:21). The Trinity takes up comprehensive residence within us (John 14:23; 1 John 4:15,16). Our divine union is as intimate as the union between a husband and wife (Ephesians 5:28-30). We are buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in His new life. Our old carnal self is crucified with Him and our body is no longer ruled by sin (Romans 2: 20, 6:12). Christ works His “ministry of reconciliation” in us and through us to the world around us (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Jesus gave us the ultimate example of surrender when He submitted to the suffering of Calvary in order to provide us with salvation. Now, Jesus abides within us and wants to work through each of us. We are the visible presence of Christ in our world (1 John 4:17).  We are born of the Spirit into a spiritual union with Christ (Romans 8:9,16). When Christ moves in, we serve Him by the strength which God supplies (Philippians 2:12-13). This brings God glory and honor through Christ in us (1 Peter 4:10-11).

We used to be slaves to sin, but now we owe our allegiance to Christ as slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:1-18). Our human wisdom, goals and ambitions are submitted to Christ in us. Even our physical life is His. Through the sanctification process as we decrease, He increases within us (John 3:30). We will also be raised with Christ into immortality, because death no longer has any mastery over Christ. Jesus died once for anyone who believes in Him. Through His life within us, we live forever with God.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit and are part of Christ’s Body (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit transforms our life by giving us His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We respond by relinquishing the depravity in our life in exchange for the holiness of God (Romans 12:1-2). Our life is hidden with Christ in God through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 3:14, 6:4; Romans 6:11). As we realize that we are now dead (Colossians 3:3), Christ lives in us instead of us. He is more and more able to express Himself through our body, spirit and soul – our mind, will and emotions – as we live a surrendered life to Him.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, You are waiting for us in Heaven (Matthew 6:9), but You are always with us through Christ and the Spirit. Jesus is always with us, even to the end of the age of grace (Matthew 28:20). As our triune God, You come to make Your home in everyone who obeys the teachings of Christ (John 14:23). Jesus sent the Spirit of truth to come and guide us into all truth. The Spirit speaks Your words to us and reveals to us what is yet to come (John 16:13).

Thought for the Day:
We are in Christ, but Christ is also in us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1 27; Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 3:16-17).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Unity in Prayer

Twilight_time : twilight sky

By repenting of our sinful lifestyle, we are made children of God. We are set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). We exchange our old nature for a new nature in Christ, which is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). God disciplines us for our good, in order that we can share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).  We know that when Christ does appear, we will be exactly like Him, because we shall see Him in all of His glory (1 John 3:2).

Growing in our union with Christ starts each new day in a time of aloneness with God. Night owls do this before they go to bed, and morning doves pray when they wake up. We keep God company twenty-four hours a day! We enter a realm of oneness with His Spirit and pray according to His will. We thank Him for His daily provision of our needs and appreciate Him for who He is. Then we share our apprehensions and questions with Him. We feel His presence in our spirit; and sit quietly, listening for His still, small voice in answer to our prayers (Philippians 4:6; 1 Kings 19:11-13).

Once we make our requests known to God, we release all anxiety. Discarding all doubt and fear, the peace of God, which transcends human reasoning, protects our soul and spirit in Christ (Philippians 4:6-7). As we live in a place of communion with God during every waking moment, we have so much assurance of His love for us that we are able to rejoice regardless of the circumstance surrounding us (Romans 8:28). Giving God thanks for everything that happens to us - the good, the bad and the ugly, we know this is His will and He always works all things out for our ultimate good (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17; Romans 8:28).

Carrying on throughout the rest of our day, we continue to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There is a penchant in humanity to take things to the extreme, however. Many in our society will make desperate attempts to gain more intimacy with God to the point of neglecting their duties to family and society. They will cloister their self from life and spend their time in their prayer closet, reading God’s Word and listening to sermons. In an attempt at holiness, they desert all aspiration to give or to receive with anyone other than God.

Yet, in doing this they prevent God from using them to reach the lost and dying world around us. A balance of devotion and obedience is what God calls for from His Saints, until the day that He returns to claim His Bride for His own. Then He will take us home to be with Him for eternity. Our position in Christ allows us to see life from God’s perspective and to choose our words and actions according to the will of God. In this way, we are always moving toward perfection, which is the prize of the high calling of God (Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:14).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You were God, yet you spent hours communing with our Father while you lived on this earth (Luke 6:12). You taught the disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13) using the formula of:

1.) Praising Your majesty
2.) Anticipating of Your coming Kingdom
3.) Requesting our needs to be met
4.) Repenting of our sins
5.) Forgiving those who sin against us.

Thought for the Day:
The Lord draws near to everyone who comes to Him with sincerity and integrity in the motives of their heart. - Psalm 145:18

 

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Living Holy of Holies




The faulty thinking of most Born Again Believers is that we are separated from Christ by the ethereal boundary between Heaven and earth. We view God in Heaven with Christ sitting on the throne at His right hand. That leaves us all alone, struggling down here on Terra Firma to live a holy life. When we come to the understanding that we are dead, and that Christ is now alive within us (Colossians 3:3), we stop striving to perfect our self and we step aside and let God be God in our life.

Jesus substituted His life for ours on the cross. In the same way, He now lives our life for us and through us. Jesus fulfills our Father’s will in us as we follow the leading of His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day. Life no longer requires any effort from us. God only wants our obedience. We simply stand firm as we watch the Lord bring deliverance in us and through us (2 Chronicles 20:17). 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 (Colossian 2:9).

Jesus challenges us to hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Christ is our righteousness, and our deliverance, redemption, sanctification and so much more (1 Corinthians 1:31). There is nothing left for us to strive for or to attain to. Therefore, there is no way we can boast about our accomplishments in the Lord. We boast in Him instead (1 Corinthians 1:31). Once we get the focus off our self, and place it on Christ where it belongs, then He can use us to fulfill His purpose in the earth.
 
If our flesh is tempted to sin, we simply remember that it is dead and hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). When we view any temptation through the eyes of the Spirit living within us, the sin loses its appeal for us. We realize that we would much rather live righteously through Christ than unrighteously through our old, dead flesh. In the same way, if we attempt a ministry for the glory of God, and the Spirit did not lead us to serve in that area, we will never find His anointing in it.

When Jesus lived in the flesh, He suffered trials in every area of life, and had just as many temptations as we do. Yet, in each instance, He drew from the strength of His divinity; and in the end, He conquered death and Hell for all of us (Revelations 1:18). Every Born Again Believer lives in divine union with this same Christ. Even though we still live in a body of flesh, we now live by the faith of the Son of God who cares for us and sacrificed Himself for us (Galatians 2:20). We draw from the strength of His divinity within us for healing, wisdom, strength and direction for a victorious life.

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus prayed that He is in us, and You are in Him. He wanted us to experience this same unity with one another so the world would know You sent Him and that You love us as much as You love Him (John 17:23). All of Your fullness dwells in Christ and He is the head of all powers and principalities. In Him, we are made complete (Colossians 2:9-10). Therefore, help us to let Your light within us shine so brightly, that people will see Christ in us and glorify You, who are our living hope (Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:3).

Thought for the Day:
We search in vain for Christ outside of our self, only to discover that He lives in all of His fullness within every Born Again Believer.







Thank you, Tracy Hassall, for the use of your glorious photo.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Luxury We Cannot Afford



There are many opportunities in life to cling to bitterness to try to assuage the pain of some betrayal, unkind word, abuse or rejection. It feels so good to grip this anger, revenge and unforgiveness and to send evil thoughts toward the person who mistreated or exploited us. We like to tell anyone who will listen about the incident and paint the picture of our nemesis in dark, evil colors.

The problem with availing our self of this luxury is that bitterness, and all negative emotions, are a root, which when planted in the soil of our soul – our mind, will and emotions – start to grow like a weed. They displace any good fruit of the Spirit, which already grow there (Hebrews 12:15). Bitterness causes us to miss out on the grace of God. It robs us of our vitality in our spirit, soul and body (Job 10:1). It tarnishes our reputation and spreads a bad attitude to others as well (Hebrews 12:15). We suffer the most when we do not forgive our offender.

Most of us experience wounds at some time in our life. Our parents, coaches, school chums, teachers, friends, neighbors, mate, church leaders, doctors, grocery clerks, employer, or any other member of our community that we love, trust, respect and want to gain their approval may have ridiculed, embarrassed, undermined, criticized or discounted us in some way or another. We feel hurt, which triggers anger to protect our self. If we cannot express that anger outwardly, we nurse it inwardly and it turns to depression, resentment, bitterness, complaining and irritability (Job 7:11).

Avoiding the offender for a while may help us to heal quicker. If we happen upon the offender, we may feel the pain all over again, but we can choose to forgive again. If the offender passed away or moved out of our life, reconciliation may be impossible; however, our willingness to resolve the issue sets us free from the bondage of unforgiveness. We can always expect people to act humanly. If they do a human thing and offend us, we can forgive them simply because we are human also.

Forgiveness is the only way to heal these negative emotions, attitudes and behaviors consuming our life. We have a choice to allow the seeds of bitterness to take root in our soul, or to avail our self to the grace of God and allow Him to love that offensive individual through us. This strengthens Christ’s power in us. We relinquish our role as victim and free our self from the power the offender had over our life. We do this by first putting our self in the offender’s shoes. Why did he/she act this way? Would we do the same thing in a similar situation?

We probably will not forget the incident, we may have to forgive that person often, but it leads to a better understanding of human nature, empathy for their shortcomings and compassion for others who suffer injury. Forgiveness restores our unity with God, helps us to foster healthy relationships, puts us in a better frame of mind, heals our body and lowers our risk for addictions. Forgiveness enhances our physical, mental, emotional, behavioral and spiritual welfare.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, remind us that forgiveness is obedience to You and does not depend on our feelings or on the one who offended us. They may never change or even repent of their behavior, but forgiving them will change our life. Forgiveness takes that person off the throne of our life and away from the center of our focus and replaces You in that lofty position where You belong. You keep all of our tears in Your bottle and you record the cause of them in Your journal (Psalm 56:8). Your love for us overcomes every slight or devastation we can ever experience in life.

Thought for the Day:
Showing mercy means that we release our self from the bondage of unforgiveness. - Ephesians 4:31

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Manifestations of God

Storm Clouds Free Photo

Most of humanity does not know Jesus as the Christ, nor do they care about Godly principles at all. If unbelievers see no distinction in our daily walk when compared to theirs, we have a problem with our connection to the Vine (John 15:5). We may even have a false hope of Heaven, because we never truly repented or made Jesus the Lord of our life. If, however, we are grafted into the Vine, their reason for rejecting His truth may be that we are hiding His light within us and they cannot see it (Matthew 5:15-16).

Once we surrender our identity over to the Ruler of the universe, however, God makes a huge difference in our character and existence. When we fully submit to God for Him to use as He pleases (Isaiah 29:16), our life takes on the character of Christ. This is when people see us as authentic Christians. We have God’s peace in trouble, His perseverance in trials, His love for our persecutors and His joy during periods of grief.

They see us exhibiting patience in trying times, using self-control when others give in to debauchery, displaying meekness rather than having a haughty attitude, relating to others with kindness and basing our life and decisions on faith in our faithful God. We lay down our life and prefer the needs of others over our own agenda. This is when other people want for themselves what we have within us. They see truth and reality in our lives. We are capable of this behavior, not because we are exemplary human beings, but because of the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:16:25).

We were formerly dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), but now we are dead to sin, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Romans 6:11; Colossians 3:3). The Holy Spirit fills us with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We have an eternal view of life. We know that our eternal weight of glory far outweighs the momentary, comparatively light affliction we experience in this world. We view the visible issues of life as transient and passing, because we know that the spiritual aspects of life are everlasting (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

We live in this world as manifestations of God through Christ. We have the same abilities and expression of the Spirit that Christ did, because He lives within us (1 John 4:17). We obey God’s Spirit with an awareness, which exceeds human understanding. We cannot prove this relationship intellectually or physically, but the Spirit of God bears witness to our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). People see the fruit on our branch, and realize it is actually the Vine, which is the source of our productive lives (John 15:5).

As we allow God’s light within us to shine brightly, many in the world will see Him through us and want to give their life to Christ as well (Matthew 5:16). As Born Again Believers, our life on earth has Jesus’ supernatural capabilities. Not only does the Spirit of God lead us (Romans 8:14), but He also fills us to overflowing (Acts 4:31). We are children of God, with Christ living in us by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:11). The more we decrease, the more He increases within us (John 3:30).

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus prayed that no one would snatch us out of Your hand. You are greater than all, and we are perfectly safe in Your everlasting arms (John 10:28-29). Fill us completely full of Your Spirit and keep us as the apple of Your eye (Psalm 17:8). Draw us close to You and never let us go. Your unfailing love is our priceless treasure and we run to the refuge of the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 36:7).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit is our source of power. Ask Him to manifest Himself in and through you.

 

 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Separated Life



 


In our world of higher education, instant information networks and self-reliance, the message of the Gospel of Christ makes no sense at all. The paradoxes and spiritual content of the Bible serve as a stumbling stone to those too proud to accept the self-effacing offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. Once we humble our self under the mighty hand of God, however, we recognize that Jesus completely submitted to death on Calvary’s Cross to bring redemption to us all. Then, we surrender to the call of God to sacrifice our life for Him in return.

The surrendered life is not one of defeat, but of relinquishing control. This means that we stop resisting the love of God and accept His courtship. We recognize the superiority of God’s plan for our life over our own goals and ambitions. We acknowledge His substitution in paying the penalty of our sins and yield to His Lordship over our life. We consult Him about all of our decisions and allow Him to direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We live in the reality of His presence now and in the hope of glory to come (Colossians 1:27).

God never invades our life, but always waits to be invited. Yet, many people waste so much of their life running from His beauty and bounty. They live in rebellion to the call of nature to surrender to its Creator. The beauty of the surrendered life is that we can die and hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We cease from our own labors and enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 10:4). If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Whoever lives and believes in Christ shall never die (John 11:26). We breathe our last breath on earth and our next breath is in Heaven. We will live on eternally.

The extent to which we surrender our lives to God determines the degree to which He will use our life. There is no place for hesitation, compromise or half-hearted devotion (Luke 9:62). We live an estranged life from the world, but a committed and separated life to Christ who lives within us (Romans 14:7-8). Christ is the center of our focus and our first and pre-eminent Love (Revelation 2:4). We pant after Him with a parched thirst (Psalm 42:1-2). We surrender our will to follow the will of God for our life.

We surrender our selfish desires to accept the promises of God to prosper us, not to harm us and to give us hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). As we surrender to God and resist the devil, we walk in freedom from Satan’s influence in our life (James 4:7). We yield the ownership of our life to God and we live as good stewards of all He created. We give up our rights in exchange for His privileges. We swap our character traits, which  hold us back from success, for the victory we find in a life hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

Prayer:

Father God, as we repent of our sins and seek You, we have your peace and favor surrounding us (Job 22:21). We forsake our life for Your sake. Once we completely understand Your love for us, we go beyond obedience and surrender our life entirely to You. Then, we learn what it means to truly live in abundant freedom and victory (Romans 6:16-18; Mark 8:35). We no longer experience the pain that life deals out to us, because we are hidden with Christ in You. We walk in spiritual serenity that elevates us emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically and behaviorally.

Thought for the Day:

We enter a life hidden with Christ in God, which we formerly believed to be one of servitude, only to discover that it is actually a liberating union. - Colossians 3:3-4

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spiritually Minded

A spectacular display! :D ♥


The Lord Jesus Christ is our God. He saves us, rejoices over us with gladness, quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). He dwells in the midst of our life. His Holy Spirit steadily draws us toward perfection as He convicts us of sin, and empowers us to walk in victory over these transgressions. Slowly, our soul – our mind, will and emotions – is sanctified, and readily rejects worldly pursuits and desires nothing more than to remain hidden with Christ in God.

As we fully absorb the concept that Christ now lives His life in and through us, we, as the Body of Christ, will truly make a difference in the world around us. We seek eternal goals and dreams, rather than material ones. God has a perfect will for our life, which surmounts the physical restrictions of this earthly realm (Acts 8:39). Time, space and matter no longer confine us. Jesus proved this when He walked on water. Christ in us put an end to sin and death in us. Now we can concentrate on His spiritual truth, rather than carnal limitations that we face in life.

We are dead in Christ, but also risen with Christ, in all of His wisdom, power and strength. The negative aspects and encounters we face in life take on a new meaning. We see them as instruments of God to improve our obedience and to perfect our faith. We view trouble and trials from an eternal mindset now. They no longer cause worry or stress, because we know without a doubt that God is in control even in these difficulties. Maybe our house burned down, the boss increased our quota, our loved one passed away, our mate divorced us, the bank account is empty or a child is bent on rebellion, to name a few circumstances. However, God is in control of even these trying times.

The soul in union with Christ no longer wastes any energy on worldly issues. We keep our focus solely on God and His peace reigns in our heart (John 14:27). We live in Him and by Him, because He dwells within us. Jesus gives us this union with the triune God. We have a personal, intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is not reserved for a few individuals, but is available for all authentic Believers who are willing to lay down their life and to allow Christ to live in them and through them (1 Peter 2: 21-25).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we long to live as exact replicas of You! You lived in love, humility and surrender to our Father. Help us to pattern our life after You, so that everything we say and do will last throughout eternity. Your coming brought the eternity into the present for all Believers. We live in eternity with You now, because You reside in our spirit. Thank You for Your sacrifice and for opening Your heart to us and including us in Your Body. You are our joy, our life, our peace and our salvation. We eternally lift up our praises to You .  

Thought for the Day:
We experience God’s best when we completely surrender our life to Him.
 





Thank you, Michelle Benge, for the use of your lovely photo.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Success in Life

 

We all have a different definition of the meaning of success. It can relate to everything from a multi-billion dollar bank account, a sports car, control of a company, good health, a loving family, a mansion home, a thriving career, a home in another country, building the largest church in the world, or a Christian heritage, as well as everything in between. We all want to feel good about our self and our lifetime achievements. We want immortality through our success. We use everything and everyone else to make us happy, but every relationship, accomplishment or possession simply disappoints us.

Some people will follow someone else’s aspirations for them. They want to attain the love, respect and pride of their parent or mentor and they strive toward objectives to achieve this goal, but it never really makes them feel happy or successful. They go to college to get a job to earn money, but they are miserable because they hate their work. They are not doing God’s will for them. There is an ache in the most successful life that can only be filled by a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, followed by doing only His will for our life.

When we come to the end of our self, we will either give up and wander homelessly, or commit suicide to end it all, or turn our life over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Pursuing a sinful lifestyle can only bring us ultimate ruin and death, but allowing the Spirit of God to control our existence will bring us life and peace (Romans 8:6). We are all sinners. Our conduct may be better than our neighbor’s or a family member’s behavior, but we all fall short of the glory of God, which is the true standard for morality (Romans 3:23).

The wages of that sin is death, but God gives us the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Once we admit our sinful lifestyle and make up our mind to turn our life over to God for redemption, He rescues us from the realm of darkness and gives us His life (John 8:12). We are a city set on a hill and His light in us shines out to draw everyone to Him (Matthew 5:14). All we need to do is to trim our lamp through Bible study and prayer, and then be a friend and neighbor to those God puts in our life.

God gives us supernatural joy and peace. We have no need to be afraid of what we should eat or drink or wear, because as we seek God first, He cares for us and supplies all of our needs (Matthew 6:33). Then, we live with gratitude in our heart as we give God all of our concerns through prayer. His peace, which surpasses all human reasoning, will keep our soul in health and will lead us through each moment of our day (John 14:27; Philippians 4:4-7; 3 John 1:2).

Prayer:
Father God, allow us to be a good example of a Believer in what we say, how we live and in our love, faith and holiness (1 Timothy 4:12). Help us to find success one minute at a time as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Let us share a smile, a kind word and a helping hand. Help us to be a diligent employee, a serving church member and a dedicated part of our family. Show us what true success is in this life; not as the world gives, but as You give it to us. Shed Your peace throughout our soul – our mind, will and emotions - and fill us with Your love now and for eternity (Philippians 4:7; Romans 5:5).

Thought for the Day:
Worldly success is temporal and fleeting, but spiritual success lasts for eternity.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Divine Purpose

Butterfly - High Brown Fritillary Stock Photo

The spirit of man is dead at birth, buried under layers of sin since the time of Adam and Eve (Ephesians 2:1-5). We all have a living soul – our mind, will and emotions - which often fails under the weight of life, because circumstances beat us down relentlessly. Our dead spirit and our unhealthy soul affect our body as well. Without Christ in our life, we know something is missing. We search relentlessly to find it. What we lack is the vital power of God.

Without the Spirit of God rebirthing and dwelling in our spirit, we are crippled in life. No one is intrinsically good except God (Mark 10:18). However, when Christ moves into our life, we daily die to our carnal flesh (Galatians 2:20; John 12:24; Luke 9:23). We start to make choices, which last for eternity; rather than desiring options, which are carnal, temporal and momentary. Jesus is our only life and we have no meaningful existence outside of Him (2 Corinthians 13:5). This does not mean that we sit in a meditative state all day, every day.

Jesus and the apostles interacted with people. They were anointed with the Holy Spirit and with God’s power. They went everywhere the Spirit led them, and they blessed many with wisdom, healing and deliverance (Acts 10:38). Salvation is the beginning of our walk in Christ, but the next step is to develop awareness in our conscious thoughts of the reality of Christ living within us. Once we come to Christ we are totally complete in Him (Colossians 2:9-10). We live and move and have our existence in Jesus each moment of our day (Act 17:28). Christ actually does the work of God through us.

Our true identity as Authentic Christians comes from Christ living in us. Christ expresses God’s character through us, which is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23). We are all united with Christ in His Body. He uses us as individual members, each with unique gifts and talents, in a ministry to a corporate, church Body. He uses us to fulfill His purpose in the earth (Romans 12:15; Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27).

Our life is God’s love letter to the world that He cares about them (2 Corinthians 3:3). God equips us to walk in His will through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:20). With Christ living within us, we experience rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). We stop striving to perform for God, because Christ works through us (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 6:28-33). This eternal rest is only available if we take our focus in life off the temporal aspects of our existence and place it squarely on eternal matters instead (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us Your eternal life, which no one can take from us (John 10:28). We are joined to You, and we are beneficiaries of Your divine nature (1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4). We have constant fellowship with You, the Son and the Spirit (1 John 1:3, 9; Phil 2:1). You placed us in Christ Jesus and we are seated in heavenly places in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:6). You provide every spiritual blessing for us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). We want to give you all the honor and glory for everything we think, say and do each moment of the day.

Thought for the Day:
The integrity of our testimony may be the difference in someone believing in or rejecting Jesus as their Savior.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Surprise Revelation


Free Photo - Spring bouquet with a rose

In writing to the Romans, Paul laments over his unsuccessful attempts to overcome the flesh in his own strength and to put on the mind of Christ. He realized the wretchedness of his humanity. He struggled with our need to be holy, and his inability to reach this level of consecration (Romans 7:19-24). Then, God surprised Paul with a revelation (Romans 7:25). He was thrilled to realize that we do not have to suffer under the weight of condemnation any longer, because Christ already set us all free from the law of sin and death on Calvary’s Cross (Romans 8:1-2). 

As authentic Christians we now live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). Our transformation rests firmly on the rock of the gospel of Christ (Romans 12:2; Psalm 18:2). We live by His faith in love, filled with the fruit of, and following the leading of God’s Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis (Galatians 5:1; 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:18). We no longer strive to earn God’s love or to live a holy life. We simply walk in obedience. We live on earth to glorify our Father, not by our own efforts, but only by the power of Christ within us.

Jesus loves us so much, that for our benefit he gave Himself up to the horrific death on Calvary’s cross. Through His sacrifice, we are now acceptable to God in Christ (1 Peter 2:5; Romans 15:7). We have been crucified with Christ. Therefore, it is no longer we who live our life, but Christ, the Messiah, who lives in us. The life that we now live in our body on this earth, we live by faith in, devotion to, dependence on and complete confidence in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20, Amplified Bible).

Jesus is our only hope of experiencing God’s glory (Colossians 1:27). We could never be good enough in our human effort to earn a place in Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-10). Jesus gave up His glory in Heaven to take the form of a man, and He humbled Himself and willingly died in our place (Philippians 2:8).  Now, we can put on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). We renew our mind by reading God’s Word, and we walk in the Spirit. Therefore, we will no longer succumb to the negative suggestions of our carnal nature (Romans 12:2; Galatians 5:16).

We completely surrender our will to God’s will for our life and we live in perfect union with Christ. Our old sinful nature is crucified with Christ, and sin has no more power over our choices. Just as the Son could do nothing of Himself, we too are nothing without Christ in us. The only effort we need to make in order to walk in the reality of this victory is to totally surrendering control of our life to God. In doing this, we successfully enter His rest (Hebrews 4:3).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, our Father exalted You with a name above all other names. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You, Jesus Christ, are Lord (Philippians 2:9-10). We were buried with You through baptism into Your death.  In the same way in which You were raised from the dead through the glory of our Father, we too are raised to live a new life through You. We are no longer slaves to sin, because You set us free from sin’s power when we died with You on Calvary’s cross (Romans 6:4-7).

Thought for the Day:
Just as God the Father, Son and Spirit are united as one, Jesus died so we can share in this same unity of oneness with our triune God. - 1 Corinthians 6:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What to do with Unbelief

Golden River Stock Photo

Human beings have a hard time believing something by faith. If we can’t prove it with our senses, then we do not believe it at all. Unbelief is a problem that stems from the beginning of time. Moses feared the people would not believe him when he told them God sent him to deliver them. It took ten plagues to finally convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go (Exodus 4:1-9). God actually had to speak from a thick cloud before the people would believe Moses (Exodus 19:9).

Even after that, the Israelites continually rebelled against God and Moses. They actually provoked God by their unbelief in spite of the myriad of signs God provided for them (Numbers 14:11). All through the historical Biblical books, as well as throughout the ages of time, the story remains the same. People will not believe the Lord, His leaders or His prophets  (Deuteronomy 1:31, 2 Kings 17:14; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Matthew 21:32). In some cases they even disdained the men of God (Luke 24:25).

Human beings tend to believe deceivers and liars before they will give up their stubborn pride and trust in God (Jeremiah 12:6; Habakkuk 1:5; Matthew 24:23). Even though Jesus gave the people a multitude of signs and wonders, they wanted more (Matthew 27:42; Mark 15:32; Luke 22:67). Half of Jesus’ nature was God, and they still did not believe His words of Truth. Jesus even laid down His own life for us all, but people everywhere still refuse to believe (John 3:12, 10:18; Luke 16:31).

Even if we do believe the Truth of God’s Word, then the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of sin, the works of the flesh and Satan’s hordes all try to steal the Word of faith right out of our hearts (Luke 8:12-13). No man-made religion can offer the total salvation and unconditional love that Jesus can. His is the only belief system that provides eternal life and comes to us as a free gift, requiring no self-effort at all (Isaiah 43:10; Ephesians 2:8-10). There is no God like our Lord (1 Kings 8:23; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 7: 22 ; 1 Chronicles 17: 20; 2 Chronicles 6:14; Jeremiah 10:6; Isaiah 45:5).

Even nature proves God exists with every sunrise, sunset and everything in between (Romans 1:20); yet people refuse to credit God for these daily miracles. In His lifetime, Jesus did encounter a few people who believed in Him (Matthew 9:28). Many more believed His disciples and came to healing faith in Christ (Mark 1:15). If we honestly seek Him, Jesus enables anyone with doubts in their heart to believe His truth.

If we determine to believe, Jesus will help our unbelief (Mark 9:24; Mark 11:23-24). All God asks us to do is to sincerely confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and to totally trust in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. This leads us to salvation in body, soul and spirit (Romans 10:9). Signs follow believers. In Jesus’ name, we will cast out devils; heal the sick; raise the dead and speak with new tongues (Mark 16:17). If we trust in and believe in Christ, He makes our broken life whole. Christ in us will then influence for righteousness all the true seekers of God who come into our life (Luke 8:50; John 1:7).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, the unbelief of sinners does not make belief in You ineffective. Their pride and arrogance does not nullify the truth of Your existence and Your sacrifice on Calvary’s cross
(Romans 3:3). We can be of good cheer, knowing that what You say will come to pass (Acts 27:25). Remind us to preach Your Word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). No one can call on You, if they do not believe; and no one can believe, if they do not have the opportunity to listen; and no one will hear, if we do not proclaim Your truth (Romans 10:14).

Thought for the Day:
Everything is possible for anyone who believes. – Mark 9:23