Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Surrender?




 
The world rejects the idea of surrendering. They equate surrender with giving up, and with loss and defeat. However, when we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ we release all the stress and striving in our life. In return, we gain the fruit of His Spirit, which defy all human logic (Galatians 5:22-23). Surrender means to trust God and to stop struggling to live on our own in this hostile environment we call “life”. Surrender results in our absolute submission to God’s leading for each moment of our day. In return, we receive His deepest presence in our life along with a multitude of blessings (Job 22:21).

The easiest way to walk in surrender is to start obeying the Spirit’s direction in small increments. For instance, we prefer our mate’s needs to our own. We put money in the offering basket that we intended to use for some luxury. We take food to a sick friend when we prefer to stay home and watch TV. We give our bicycle to a family without transportation. We relinquish our right, as Jesus did, to prove that we are innocent. We do not assume the attitude of a martyr; but we obey the Spirit’s promptings with joy, knowing that God provides us with an abundance of every good thing (Hebrews 12:2).

In our old life we surrendered to sin, but now we have a new Master and He truly sets us free (Romans 6:16-18). Dying to self is not detestable when we know it results not only in future treasures in Heaven for eternity, but also in joy and peace now. This eternal perspective allows us to pass through the less agreeable moments of surrender more easily. When God calls us to submission to His greater will, we offer our life to Him. We relinquish our personal freedom and He replaces it with spiritual freedom, which is deeper and reaps lasting blessings in our spirit, body and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions.

We surrender our life to Christ each new day, giving to Him the issues that weigh us down, seeking His guidance for each moment and giving Him the glory for everything we accomplish (Galatians 3:1-3). The areas of our life that we refuse to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ are the venues that imprison us. They are idols that we cherish more than our relationship with our living Lord. If we walk through life in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we reap blessings that never end. A life of half-hearted commitment may lose its tranquility and happiness, but a surrendered life provides overwhelming peace and joy.

There is no lasting freedom outside of a complete surrender to Christ (Luke 14:33). We not only commit our life to Christ, but also we surrender our works, talents and accomplishments to His Lordship and direction. We view our life from His vantage point and we see the people in it as our mission field. Our family, neighbors, friends, workmates, associates, and even the check out people at the retail store or those waiting on us at the restaurant are hand-chosen by God for us to influence for His Kingdom. When we live in Christ and allow Him to live in, through and instead of us, we shed the skin of our old life and live as His new creation for the glory of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help us to follow You by denying our desires and dying to our selfishness. If we try to preserve our life, we will ultimately lose it; but if we surrender our life to You for Your sake, and give up our plans, goals and ambitions for You, then we will gain a more fulfilling and joy-filled life (Matthew 16:25; Philippians 3:8). We realize that gaining the world does not satisfy, because we will lose our own soul. But following You gives us unending peace and joy (Matthew 16:24-26).
 
Thought for the Day:
The moments we live in surrender to God are more richly experienced and completely fulfilling than any others.



 


Thank you, Megapixel Mike, for this serene photo.
http://www.flickr.com/mrickard5

Thursday, May 30, 2013

These Things I Know





When someone asks me how I feel, most of the time I am going to say, “GREAT!” I am well passed the prime of my life, I have flat feet and I have a spine that is so distorted that my chiropractor does not understand how I am living such a normal life. I have to pace myself as I age, but I am like the energizer bunny. It is not due to my type A personality, because I do not have one! I am melancholic and an introvert from birth. But, God taught me to live in the Spirit and not to dwell on the temporal aspects of life for very long. 



For me, every trial is a new adventure in Christ. For instance: I was t-boned in a car accident in 1995 that broke 11 ribs on my left side, punctured that lung, gave me a concussion, filled that side of my face with glass and broke my left little finger. I was discharged from the hospital the next day after the accident. I was back to work as a full-charge bookkeeper/secretary/receptionist in one week. The Spirit of God gave me supernatural strength to combat my physical impairments and His joy and peace pervaded every facet of my life.


I also survived a divorce by my husband of 22 years when God revealed Satan’s lies that I was alone and abandoned; and taught me His truth that God is my husband and that He is my strength and my provider (Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 54:4). I despise change, but God taught me to handle it with flexibility and joyful acceptance. I like peace, order and stability in my life, but life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it. Even so, God always fills me with His joy, which is my strength through any tribulation (Nehemiah 8:10).


I love life and my family. I adore the new husband God gave me, because he is so adorable! I love people and my volunteer service as a Pastor’s wife. I love my one bedroom/one bath home, my flower gardens, my mini-van and my Pomeranian and calico cat. I love sappy movies, treasure hunting at thrift stores, writing novels and devotionals, walking in nature and worshipping with God’s people; however, the things of this world hold no detaining interest for me. I will deal with any physical ailment with nature’s remedies and with as little medicine and surgery as possible. But, we all die of something. Once I get the “big one” that is going to take my life, I will not fight it; because I look forward to my homecoming in Heaven.


How can I say this? In Christ dwells all the fullness of the triune God; and this same powerful Jesus dwells in us, and we are also hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 2:9, 3:3; Romans 6:8). We are crucified with Christ; and therefore, we live in this world only for God’s glory, not our own (Philippians 1:21; Romans 2:20). Our negative emotions illuminate the areas in our life where we hoard our idols. As we surrender them to God, Satan has fewer areas where he can hinder our walk in Christ. When we walk in obedience moment by moment, we do not sin or fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17, 25).


As our self-centeredness decreases daily, Christ will increase in and through us (John 3:30). We have been taught that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. This is a slight perversion of God’s Truth. It puts the emphasis on "I can" rather than on Christ in me can. The actual truth of this verse is: We can do all things only through Christ in us who possesses God's wisdom, strength and divine authority. He actually gives us the desire and the power to fulfill His purpose in the earth (Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13). We cease our self-effort, and we enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10).


We dwell in God’s rest by following the leading of His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us, through us and instead of us (Galatians 2:20). God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies us throughout our lifetime, until we are perfected according to His standard of the fullness of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13). We are fully human, but Christ in us is fully divine. He changes us from one stage of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). We slowly mature until we completely share in the divine nature of Christ in us (Ephesians 4:13).


Prayer:
Father God, we are Your offspring and You transform us with ever increasing glory into the likeness of Your Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2). Christ is glorified in us when we live and move and have our existence in Him (Acts 17:28; John 17:10). Remind us that we have the same chance, which Jesus did, to live a spirit-filled life. Sanctify us until we exhibit Christ’s character in us, which is the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). With Your divine nature infusing every part of our spirit, body and soul – our mind, choices and emotions (Acts 17:28-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:23) we live a fulfilled and victorious life.


Thought for the Day:
God wants to fill us through all of our being with all of His fullness, so that we might acquire the richest measure of His divine presence within us until we are completely filled and flooded to overflowing with God Himself (Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:13 Amplified Bible).








Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Persevering in Temptation



The soul of an unregenerate sinner is full of decay and corruption. Degenerate thoughts and ideas penetrate our mind through the things we read, watch and talk about. Sinful desires then display themselves in our thoughts, emotions and actions. We live our life in this dung heap until we allow God to move in and save our spirit and renew our soul (Romans 12:2). As we grow in Christ and remember the degradation of our former lifestyle, we hardly recognize our former self. Old things have passed away, and God made everything new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our mind begins to meditate more on eternal issues; and carnal, earthly considerations take a back seat. The petty issues of life no longer affect us and we wonder why we were ever so tangled up in them in the first place. We distance our self from the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the values of our unsaved friends. Once in a while, however, something will occur that will drag our thoughts away from God and back to the worries of life.

Satan comes along with his art of deception and puts doubts in our mind about the truth of God’s Word. The world distracts us with a temptation to sin, to lie about or to take advantage of someone, or to opt out of a commitment we made. Our flesh captures our attention with an opportunity to indulge our self in some unwholesome activity. Each of these enticements comes to cause us to grieve the Holy Spirit and to distance us from our intimate relationship with God.

There is no temptation that we face that is not common to everyone. God is always faithful to provide us a way to escape these roadblocks in our walk with Him. He gives us supernatural power to stand up under the attacks and to walk victoriously through each inducement to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). He simply requires that we look to Him for deliverance. Nothing can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-36).

The temptation is not the sin. The first thought comes from Satan. The idea only turns into sin if we entertain it or agree with it or act on it. There is nothing we can do to decrease or increase the love, which God has for us. His love is a free gift and is not dependent upon our behavior. We can grieve Him and break His heart, but nothing will sever His love for us (1 John 1:9). If we live in habitual sin, however, we belong to Satan, not to God (1 John 3:8). Our only hope is to truly repent of our sinful lifestyle and to submit our life and our will to God (John 3:16-18).

Think about the life of Israel in the Old Testament. Even in the New Testament, the Israelites rejected Christ as their Savior. This nation disappointed God a multitude of times, but God did not go back on His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Romans 11:26). God gives His armor to all of His Saints to prepare us for battle with temptation (Ephesians 6:10-18). As we put on His armor each morning before any temptation ever gets a chance to attack us, we walk in victory all throughout the day.

The first piece of armor is to accept Jesus as our Savior. He is the Truth, and He is the belt that holds our life together. Then, we put on the breastplate of holy living, which protects all of the vital aspects of our life. We walk in peace, which comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This fully prepares us to stand victoriously in the Lord and the authority of His power (Ephesians 6:10).

In addition to all of these protective elements, we hold up the shield of faith in Christ to stop the fiery arrows of deception and temptation, which Satan shoots at us throughout the day. We put on the mind of Christ as our helmet (Philippians 2:5). Finally, we take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We follow Jesus’ example on the pinnacle of His temptation, and we quote scripture to Satan when he tries to deceive us (Matthew 4:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that the only way to withstand temptation and to fully walk in Your Spirit is to read and study Your Word, to spend time communing with and listening to You in prayer, and by trusting in Your Spirit’s guidance moment by moment throughout the day. Help us to die daily to our fleshly desires and to walk in Your Truth as authentic followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:31, Galatians 2:20; 3 John 1:4).
 
Thought for the Day:

If we put on the armor of God every morning before breakfast, God’s Spirit will help us to persevere in holiness throughout the day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Living in God's Peace

Heart-shaped gift box
 

We often spend hours of our life thinking of the worse case scenarios and how we will deal with them, yet most never happen. This causes negative emotions, which will kill us. We sense a dread of immanent danger and we use negative emotions and behaviors to make us feel better. These negative emotions suppress our immune system and cause digestive disorders, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, the inability to concentrate, disabilities, anxiety disorders, premature coronary artery disease, heart attack, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, breathing issues and nervous twitching and/or suicidal thoughts.

These fatal emotions alter our relationships, work performance, lifestyle, appetite and sleep patterns. We compensate by using alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sleeping too much and overeating to soothe the stress and to hide from or to desensitize our self from the overwhelming feelings. Satan deceives us into thinking that we can use these negative emotions to protect us from harm. We think that we can hide behind anger, or worry enough to change our circumstances or prevent some disaster, or hate enough to punish the one who hurt or offended us, or to yell loud enough to change another person’s behavior or thinking.

Reading it in black and white makes this all sound ridiculous, doesn’t it? God gave us the reaction of flight or fight to protect us from real and imminent danger; however, in our modern society, we even allow an uncooperative spouse, child or co-worker; long lines; rude customers or a crying baby to throw us into the grasp of negative emotions. We nurse these feelings and build the situation up in our mind until it consumes us. Then, Satan has us right where he wants us. We take our mind off the eternal aspects of life and the Kingdom of God and allow Satan’s sidetrack to monopolize and consume our attention.

If our negative emotions are out of control, counseling or medication can help us to deal with the intensity of them. A great way to deal with these negative emotions is to keep a journal of how we are feeling. We can write out our feelings in the form of a prayer to God like the Psalmists did. Once they are out of our mind and down on the paper, we can leave them in God’s capable hands to deal with in His way and timing. If we are tempted to think of them again, we can remind our self that this concern is in “the heart of God”, and He is able to make us abound in every area of our life (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Whenever you feel your joy and peace disturbed in any way for any reason, take it to the Lord immediately. Allow His peace to rule your heart and mind (Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7). Refrain from depending on your human reasoning, but trust in the Lord with all of your heart (Proverbs 3:5-6). Then watch Him work them all out for your good (Romans 8:28). Do not allow negative emotions to rob you of your health, joy and peace in life. Nothing is too hard for God to handle (Jeremiah 32:17,27). He may not wave a magic wand and cause the situation to change overnight, but He will use the issues to perfect you and then He will change them when they have done their perfect work in you (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You dwell within us and want to live through us, but we so often push You aside and insist on facing life in our own strength and through our own human effort. This prolongs the issues in our life and thwarts the results of their outcome. Teach us to walk in the Spirit moment by moment and to relinquish everything to You. Help us to put on Your mind (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:1-11, 4:7), and to resist the urges Satan sends our way to allow negative emotions to ruin our witness for You and our reliance upon You for our health and success in this life.

Thought for the Day:
Trust God for one moment of your life today. Before you know it, you will trust Him in every moment.
 


 

You can buy a heart-shaped box and put little notes in the “heart of God” as prayers about your negative feelings.

Here are directions for making a heart-shaped notebook:
http://www.babycenter.com/210_heart-shaped-notebook_6042.bc

Or buy them already made and write your concerns on the back:
http://www.christianbook.com/heart-shaped-notepad-pen-someone-special/pd/680548 blue-white-200285

 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A New Nature




Jesus learned obedience through the things, which He suffered, just as we do (Hebrews 5:8). He dealt with the common curse of His pesky human flesh all the way to cross, just as we do (Hebrews 4:15). He laid down His human life on Calvary’s cross and came forth from the grave in His immortal glory, just as we will, once He returns for His Bride (1 Corinthians 15:54). We receive our redemption through His blood, and we gain the indwelling of His Holy Spirit through His resurrection and ascension.

When we come to intimately know the living Lord, we start to experience eternal life right here on this earth (John 17:3). He gives us the love, which God gives to Him (John 17:26). We live in this world, just as God sent Jesus into the world, to accomplish God’s will for our lives (John 17:18, 20). At the same time, Jesus gives us a new nature and makes us holy (John 17:17-19; Colossians 3:10). The Spirit teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live disciplined, holy and Godly lives, not by our own self-efforts, but through Christ Jesus within us (Titus 2:12).

Slowly, the Spirit changes us from glory to glory until people see Jesus when they look at us (2 Corinthians 3:18). In Christ all the fullness of the triune God dwells and Jesus dwells in us, at the same time that we are in Him (Colossians 2:9; Romans 6:8). We are united to the triune God through Christ. Our spirit is infused with power through His Spirit, and Christ lives in and through us (Ephesians 3:16-17). Since Christ is in us, even though our body is dying, His Spirit gives us His life (Romans 8:10). We have supernatural strength regardless of how we feel in body and soul.

When Jesus moves into our spirit, we walk by the direction of His Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25). Following the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout the day results in physical productivity, a healthy mental and emotional life, spiritual power and material blessings that we cannot even imagine! We submit our negative thoughts to the Lordship of Jesus Christ for healing. We even lay down our positive thoughts; and, instead, take up His thoughts as our own (Philippians 2:5). We submit our will to His will. Out of God’s glorious riches, He provides all of our needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33).

Rather than to spend our financial blessings on frivolous amusements and earthly treasures that are here today, but gone tomorrow, we actually prefer to donate to our local church and to missionaries doing the work of the Lord. This makes the fruit of our labor last into eternity; 1 Corinthians 1:9, 6:17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:3-14, 4:32, 5:22-33; Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 15:28). When Christ is foremost in our thoughts and we pray about His order for our day, even cleaning the house, tending the children, working in the secular world, ministering at church, preparing meals and spending time with our family is the result of a spirit-filled life.

Prayer:
Father God, You love us so much and You reveal Yourself to us in a multitude of ways all throughout the day (John 14:21).  We often get too busy to even notice Your blessings. We spend our time so absorbed in our own plans and the issues in front of us, that we fail to see Your provision and direction for us in the midst of it all. However, You continually give us exceedingly great and precious promises of salvation, for the purpose of us partaking in Your divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). You sanctify our heart of flesh and give us Your Spirit to perfect us. As we keep our focus on Your glory within us, we are transformed into the likeness of Christ with ever increasing holiness, which comes from the sanctifying work of Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
We have the potential of becoming spiritual beings in a carnal world, because of the divine power and authority of Christ in us. - 1 Corinthians 15:48



Thank you, Peter Dehart, for the use of your photo.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Authentic Worshippers

Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.


God is looking for authentic worshippers who will live for Him by His Spirit and in His Truth (John 4:23). When we come to truly understand that we are dead, and that our life is hidden with Christ in God, we live in God’s power, which works in and through us (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). God will use our body, soul and spirit by His Spirit to work in the lives of people we encounter each day. He will give us words to speak to them that we cannot possibly know in our human capacity. This opens doors for us to witness to people and to bring Christ into their life, so that He can change their circumstances for their good. 

Sinful mankind, lost in pride, arrogance and the exploitation of others, consider their own needs more frequently than anyone else’s (Romans 12:3). However, God brings everyone down to the same level through the grave (Isaiah 14:15). Our eternal destination is determined by our earthly beliefs. If we live for self, we reap corruption; if we live for Christ, we reap eternal life (John 3:16-18). As we allow the nature of Christ in us to infiltrate every area of our life, we decrease so that He may increase (John 3:30).

It is not difficult to sustain a constant relationship with our living Lord. Every moment of our day is worship to Him. We serve God by the Spirit moving within us and through us. We put no confidence in our fleshly abilities; and we do not boast in our own accomplishments, because we accomplish all things through Christ in us (Philippians 3:3; 2:12-13). Living with honor and respect for the Lord gives us a secure life with protection from lasting harm (Proverbs 19:23). Even negative circumstances turn around for our good (Romans 8:28). He gives us everything we need to live in contentment through a Godly life (1 Timothy 6:6).

Christ in us gives us joy in tribulation (Romans 5:3), hope in devastating trials and loss (Romans 15:13) and a bright vision for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). He is our strength and shield. We can trust in Him with all of our heart. He fills our heart so full of joy that we spontaneously burst forth into songs of praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 28:7). Our faith in His faithfulness is never disappointed. He will not give us the lusts of our flesh, but He always abundantly provides for more than our needs (Ephesians 3:20). If we pray anything according to His will, he hears us and supplies (1 John 5:14).

We cannot fully live without Christ living within us. Paul realized this truth in his life (1 Corinthians 4:7). Jesus’ disciples knew the truth of this statement (John 15:5). Joseph exemplified this when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41:16). Rebellious Jonah learned to trust the Lord, as the God of heaven who made the sea and earth (Jonah 1:9). God is always ready to listen to those who devotedly worship Him and are willing to live in His will for their life (John 9:31). Blessed and happy is everyone who worships the Lord and walks in His ways (Psalm 128:1)

Prayer:

Father God, King David put it best, "O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands" (Psalm 63:1-4).

Thought for the Day:
True disciples long for God more than life itself and seek His love and grace as we glorify Him in all that we say and do.

 




Thank you, Southern Sweet Tea, for the use of your photo.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hide Me in the Cleft of the Rock




God has our best interest at heart, although according to human reasoning, it does not always appear so. We often unwittingly pray against the will of God in our life, and He cannot answer those prayers (1 John 5:14). We fight life’s negative circumstances and cry out for Him to correct them; when He is actually using them to correct our course in life (James 1:2). His desire is for us to fully surrender to Him in trials, so that He can use them to do His perfect work in us (James 1:2-12). The comfort we seek often first depends upon our repentance of our current sins (2 Corinthians 7:10).

The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life often fuel our prayers and our activities in life (1 John 2:16). We want bragging rights for our hard earned achievements, rather than realizing they are the result of God’s Spirit working in and through our life. We want worldly gain, when God’s will is for us to walk in holiness (Isaiah 35:8). As we seek first His Kingdom, He provides us with everything we need (Matthew 6:33). The flesh is worthless, but God’s Spirit gives us life. We find both life and spirit in the words of Jesus (John 6:63).

When we suffer from stress, abandonment, grief, anxiety, failure or illness and we feel overwhelmed and defeated by life, God hides us in the cleft of the rock and reveals Himself to us (Exodus 33:22). Our Rock of Ages is ever present to help us in our time of need (Isaiah 26:4). If we only seek His provision, we will never be happy; however, if we seek Him and His presence in our life, we will live a fulfilled life regardless of our circumstances. We can dwell with the most disappointing husband, rebellious children, horrible work experience, most devastating illness or the driest church life and still live in the fullness of God through Christ in us (Galatians 2:20).

God desires that we live in such constant fellowship with Him that His rivers of living water flow in us, through us and out of us and upon everyone we come in contact with throughout our day (John 7:38). When the comforts of this life fail us, we find our refuge in the love of Christ within us (Psalm 46:1). He reassures us as no one else can, because He lives inside of us and knows our every thought (Colossian 1:27). He inhabits eternity and uses all of His power and authority to meet our needs (Isaiah 57:15). He is waiting with open arms to embrace us at any moment we care to cast our soul upon Him.

As the Lord searches our heart, He understands the motives behind our thoughts (1 Chronicles 28:9). His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). God hides us in the cleft of Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Rock, before revealing Himself to us (Ps 18:2; 62:6; Exodus 33:22). We live as imitators of God, as His beloved child (Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1). As we walk as a fragrant gift in surrender to God’s will, we savor the sweet love Christ gives to us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Even if we fall, we are never utterly cast down, because He sustains us in His hand (Psalm 37:24; Song of Solomon 8:3).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, overflowing with Your divine fullness we find that nothing is impossible for us to achieve according to Your will (Philippians 2:12-13). You brought us up out of the miry pit of self-centeredness and set our feet upon the Rock of Christ (Psalm 27:5, 40:2; 1 Corinthians 10:4). In troubling times, You hide us in Your tabernacle. There is nothing to fear, because nothing can separate us from your love: not the trials of life, spiritual powers, the past or the future, no mountain top or deep valley of circumstance, no created thing and not even death (Jeremiah 42:11; Romans 8:38-39). You hide us in the depth of Your love (Acts 17:11).

Thought for the Day:
Is Jesus Christ actually dwelling within you? – 2 Corinthians 13:5






Thank you, Vickie Liu, for the use of your photo.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Secret of a Joyfilled Life

(⁀‵⁀) ✫✿ ✫ ✿✫✿✿✿✿Welcome 
`⋎✿✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°• ✿✫ ✿
✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫ ✿✫♫ღ Poetry & Love



As authentic Christians, our satisfaction in life comes from accomplishing the will of God each moment of the day. We do everything, even the most mundane of things, out of our love for God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We do not seek His blessings. We seek nothing more than to know Him. We rely totally on God for wisdom and grace in everything we do and say. Once we develop this habit, we have little difficulty in walking in the Spirit and being led by His desires instead of our own carnal ones (Galatians 5:25).

We live our entire life in the presence of God within us. We start in daily prayer, Bible reading and study. Then we carry that devotional attitude throughout the interaction of earning a living; caring for our home, family and community; and serving in a ministry in the Body of Christ. This consistent life brings amazing pleasures that fill our spirit and soul – our mind, choices and emotions – and affect the health of our body as well. Even difficult times are more bearable with our mind focused on pleasing God in them and through them (Isaiah 26:3).

Our stress in life only occurs when we wander from His presence and try to achieve success in life in our own self-effort. God is intimately present within us and eager to direct our thoughts, words and actions. We go throughout our day in constant conversation with Christ within us. We consult His wisdom and direction for every object of our interest and every duty we perform. This allows our times of work to mirror our times of devotion. We achieve all of our duties while informally dialoguing with our Lord.

We accomplish everything, even our secular employment, out of our love for God. After all, He is our true employer. We serve the company at which we work and the family in which we live as unto the Lord. Our quiet times of prayer and our conversational dialogue with God all throughout the day do not differ. They are equally as devout and joyful. In this way, we live in the joy of the Lord throughout the day and night. Our facial expressions and body language reflects the calm devotion in our soul and spirit.

Even in the most hectic times of life, we enjoy the peace of God, which transcends all human reasoning. People we work and live with wonder how the calamities and abuses we endure do not disturb our peace. It is because the Master Designer of the universe is in control of our life. He keeps the earth rotating in the exact orbit and tilt from the sun, which we need for optimum living. He never sleeps, day or night (Psalm 121:3-4). We trust Him implicitly to care for us no matter what anyone else does to us or against us (Psalm 121:7).

Prayer:
Father God, You are our hiding place. You protect us from trouble and surround us with comforting songs (Psalm 32:7). You do not turn us over to the evil desires of our foes. You always deliver us in Your timing and way (Psalm 41:2). No circumstance will overwhelm us, because You give us joy and peace in the midst of them (Proverbs 12:21). You surround us with Your blessings as a shield (Psalm 5:12). You give the oppressed a refuge and the troubled a stronghold of safety (Psalm 9:9). We give You all the praise, glory and honor due Your name (Psalm 96:8).

Thought for the Day:
We live our life in calm composure and serenity, because our thoughts are focused on God as He supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:19).

 



Thank you, Poetry and Love, for the use of your photo.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Inner Peace, Joy and Contentment



When God’s Spirit fills us, we cannot help praising Him. We even wake up with a song flowing through our mind. Once we go to the Cross of Christ and surrender our sin-filled life, the Spirit brings forth new life through His fruit and He starts to rid us of every obstacle that blocks His flow. The more obstacles in us, the more trials we endure. The quicker we relinquish our self-centeredness to Him, the less tribulation we encounter. Even when we do go through the normal trials of life, our attitude is so spiritually-minded that the natural issues do not rob us of our peace, joy and contentment.

Prior to salvation, our spirit is dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5). After Salvation, our humanity is dead to sin. We die with Christ through His death and we can no longer live in habitual sin (Romans 6:2, 6:5, 7:4; 2 Corinthians 5:14). Christ in us triumphs over sin in us. We are free from the power of sin, because we now live in our true identity in union with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). Although we are not yet perfect, we press on to attain this goal, because it is possible through Christ’s divinity within us (Philippians 3:12). If we keep on living in sin, it is because Christ is not living within us (Romans 6:1-2).

Once we realize that we are dead to sin, then we enjoy a fresh new life as we identify with Jesus’ resurrection and walk in union with Him (Romans 6:4-5). In Him all of our needs are met according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19), God’s abundant and unconditional love flows over us like a waterfall and we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He gives life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells us (Romans 8:11). Our physical body will tire from exertion, but we have His supernatural energy in our body, soul and spirit when Christ lives His life through us.

If you feel annoyed or stressed about some area of your life, seek God’s will in it. Our negative emotions signal our need to let go of an idol in our life. Surrender it to the Lord who cares for every aspect of our life. Trust God to work out these issues with His victory and to give you His peace and joy in the midst of it. Relinquish your will to His and enjoy His many blessings. Go with the flow of the Spirit’s direction, rather than your desires and plans. Find out what God wants to do in and through you at this moment and allow Him to work to accomplish His will in the earth.

His guidance always brings us inner peace, even if we do not like what we must do. With Christ in us, we experience true contentment all through the day (Philippians 4:12). We give thanks to God, even for the negative aspects we face, knowing that He will work them out for our good (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 8:28). We rejoice in the Lord regardless of our trials (James 1:2). As we trust God’s faithfulness and obey the leading of His Spirit, we relinquish the need for human understanding and we acknowledge and accomplish His will for each moment throughout the day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Prayer:
Father God, due to Your dynamite power within us, we are no longer slaves to sin, but bondservants of the Living Lord (Romans 6:6; 2 Timothy 2:24). You are our sanctuary and strength, our constant protector and provider in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). You give us Your peace so our hearts will not be afraid or anxious in times of trouble (John 14:27). Even when our soul is troubled, we find hope in Your faithfulness (Psalm 42:11). Those who hurt us will fade like the grass and die away, because we trust in You (Psalm 37:1-5). Your promises protect our life (Psalm 119:50). You keep us in perfect peace as we keep our focus on You regardless of the people and circumstances around us (Isaiah 26:3).

Thought for the Day:
When Christ lives His life in and through us, we are a people who are unwavering in faith, devoted in purity, insightful in wisdom and unconditional in love.





Thank you, Stephanie Bentley, for sharing this photo.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Wisdom of Believing




God knew that because of the wisdom of the world, people would not believe in Him. Therefore, He used the absurdity of preaching to bring eternal life to those humble enough to listen and to believe (1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 John 5:13). The law could not justify anyone, but those who believe that Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh, will be justified through this truth (Acts 13:39). Despisers of God sometimes wonder about the truth; yet they will perish in the end, because they were not humble enough to believe God’s Word declared to them by God’s Saints (Acts 13:41).

The idols of greed, lust, worry and addiction blind the minds of those who do not believe in Jesus. They prevent them from seeing the light of the gospel of Christ, even though the image of our God through the life of Christ should illuminate God’s Truth to them
(2 Corinthians 4:4). It is only by the grace of God that we can believe, and by this belief are saved (Acts 15:11; 16:31). When we accept that God raised Jesus up from the dead, His spotless purity is imputed into our account (Romans 3:22; 4:24). Now, we are dead in Christ, but also live in Him as He lives within us (Romans 6:8; Colossians 3:3).

Many Believers not only live in Christ, but also suffer for His sake
(Philippians 1:29). They received the Word of God, not as if it came from any person, but straight from God Himself. God’s Truth worked in them so effectively that they believe God even if they have to die for this belief (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Through their example of holy, just and righteous behavior, people everywhere know without a doubt that they sincerely believe that Jesus died and rose again (1 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Timothy 1:16). They have the assurance that they will also be with God for eternity, even if they have to pass through the veil of death first (1 Thessalonians 1:7, 4:14).

Without faith, no one can ever please God; but if anyone comes to God, it is because they believe that He is and that He rewards everyone who diligently seeks Him
(Hebrews 11:6). These authentic Believers do not draw back from living and proclaiming God’s truth; and their belief is what saves their soul (Hebrews 10:39; John 3:16-18). God’s exceedingly great power is given to everyone who believes in Jesus (Ephesians 1:19). Jesus is glorified in all of His authentic Believers. People admire and believe in Christ, because they see Him living in and through us (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

We are living in the end times. God is sending strong delusion into the world, so that people who turned their hearts against Him will now believe Satan’s lie (2 Thessalonians 2:11). They disdain the marriage vows and forbid people to eat certain food, which God created for every one to enjoy. God is the Savior of all men, and especially those who believe in Christ and trust in the living God as we labor and suffer reproach in His name (1 Timothy 4:10). Those who believe and who know Jesus as the truth receive His good and perfect gifts with gratitude filling our hearts (1 Timothy 4:3). 

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, many people reject You; but to those who believe, You are our precious corner stone of the building, which God is making without hands (1 Peter 2:7;2 Corinthians 5:1). Believing and hoping in the one God, who raised You from the grave, is the first step in the salvation process, but even the demons believe in You and tremble at Your greatness (James 2:19; 1 Peter 1:21). God also calls us to surrender our will to His and to love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27). Then, we will dwell as Your Body in the earth. By our love for one another, others will see and believe in You as well (1 John 3:23; John 13:35).

Thought for the Day:
Don’t believe everything you hear, but align it with God’s Word first, because many deceiving spirit’s are rampant in our world today.  - 1 John 4:1





Thank you, Vickie Liu, for the use of your photo.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Loving Hand of God


 

 

Children often fault their parents for disciplining them. A child may consider his/her parents as cruel and vindictive, when they are merely teaching them self-discipline. We feel this way towards God sometimes too. We gripe and complain because He does not jump at our commands and give us the whims of our heart. Much of the discipline we receive from God is simply due to our self-centeredness. Our character defects hinder our ability to love Him and His ability to use us for His Kingdom.

Our egocentricity impedes our relationship with God. We love our self more than we love God or anyone else. The only escape for us from this troubling scenario is to humble our self under the mighty hand of God. As we submit to His discipline, He will lift us out of the quicksand of our spiritual desolation (James 4:10). He smoothes our jagged edges and fills our hollow heart with the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our standards and focus gradually change as we mature in Christ and draw closer to God (James 1:4).

We soon learn the joy of living in the center of God’s will. His peace fills our life and we experience fewer times of tribulation and struggle. We see Him working out His purpose in our life and in the world around us. When life throws us a curve ball, the Holy Spirit is right there to catch it and to guide us around the bases of life to a home run. We mount up on wings as eagles and soar above the carnal, earthly realm of life (Isaiah 40:31). He satisfies us with every good and perfect gift and gives us what we need to do His will with our life (James 1:17).

During the good times, we forget that God is the one who provides us with the ability to gain health, wealth and success in this life. We tend to take credit for our accomplishments, to neglect His Word and to cease from living in constant prayer (Deuteronomy 8:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Our pride overcomes any humility that God worked into our life, and we live from our own resources until they start to fail us once again (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). Then we are right back at the foot of the cross, ready to take that steep climb to victory all over again.

When we come to realize that God is with us, even in the valleys of life (Psalm 23:4), we can trust our life to His faithfulness. We live as a beacon of hope to the drowning world all around us. We lead them to safety on the Rock of Christ (Psalm 61:2). We introduce them to the truths of God’s Word and we welcome them into our fellowship of Believers. The key to success in life is to seek the Lord for His direction, to trust in Him with our whole heart, not to depend upon our human wisdom and to follow His Spirit’s direction every moment of the day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Prayer:
Father God, we humble our self under Your mighty hand, and You lift us up in Your perfect timing (1 Peter 5:6). Our heart hopes in You, as You raise us up with Your right hand in which we find eternal pleasures (Psalm 63:8, 16:11). We seek asylum in Your loving right hand (Psalm 17:7). When our heart is overwhelmed, we cry to You for help. You lead us to safety of the Rock of Christ (Psalm 61:2). You lift Your loving hand to help the afflicted (Psalm 10:12). You deliver us from our enemies (Psalm 138:7; Exodus 15:6). Thank You for sending Jesus, the radiance of Your splendor and the precise image of Your nature who sits at Your right hand, to uphold the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3)

Thought for the Day:
God is the Lord of our valleys, but He is also the Lord of our mountaintops.
– Psalm 23

Monday, May 20, 2013

Enjoying Eternal Rest Now


 

Hebrews, chapter three, gives the account of Israel forfeiting their chance to enter Canaan, the land of promise, because they relied too heavily on their human reasoning. Hebrews, chapter four, is one of the most healing chapters in the Bible. It promises us eternal rest for our weary soul (Psalm 95:11). This is not simply eternal rest after death, but eternal rest while we are still living (Genesis 2:2). Few people ever really enter God’s rest, because they do not have the faith to let go and let God take over their life (Hebrews 4:1-2).

The people of God everywhere in every generation have this opportunity to have abundant life now (Psalm 95:7-8). However, we fail through unbelief to enter the rest promised to us from the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3-9). If we choose to believe God’s Word, we enter His rest through the door of salvation in Christ (John 10:9). The next step is to cease from our stress and striving. We do this by allowing God to give us the desire and ability to follow His Spirit, rather than to deal with life from our human resources (Hebrews 4:10; Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9).

God calls all those who strive and are burdened to come to Him, so He can give us rest (Matthew 11:28). The only time God ever encourages us to strive in the Bible is to strive to enter the narrow door of salvation and then to strive to enter His rest. It is not easy to lay down our will and ambition and to surrender completely to the will of God and the direction of His Holy Spirit (Hebrews 4:10-11). However, God even gives us the gift of the faith and grace to enter His rest (Ephesians 2:8-9). We only need to receive it whole-heartedly.

God’s Sabbath rest is a way of life, not an occasional experience (Hebrews 4:11). We spend time every day digesting His Word, which is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103). The Word of God cleanly separates our fleshly thoughts and actions from our spirit-led ones, and it demonstrates God’s power, truth and ability in us and through us (Hebrews 4:12-13). We hide His Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), and it gives us constant direction and delight (Psalm 119:24). Bible truth is nourishment for our soul and a light to our path (Proverbs 3:8; Psalm 119:105).

We allow God to work through us, not from the basis of our own effort and energy, but by obedience to His Spirit. We cling to, trust in and depend upon Jesus as He uses us to do His works in the earth (John 3:18, Amplified Bible). His Word cleanses, heals and delivers us from sin, sickness and Satan’s oppression (Psalm 107:20, 119:9; Matthew 8:8, 8:16; John 15:3, Ephesians 5:26). The eternal rest in our spirit and soul are available to anyone humble enough to cease from his/her own efforts and to walk in the Spirit moment by moment throughout the day (Galatians 5:16,25).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word provides us with strength, productivity, fulfillment and peace (Psalm 1:3, 119:28). It gives us Your roadmap to peace in this life. You grant rest to Your people and You chose us as Your eternal residence (1Chronicles 23:25). You rested from Your works and gave us Your example, so we will rest from our labors as well (Hebrews 4:4,10). We enter Your eternal rest only if we believe and trust in You (Hebrews 4:3). Help us all to attain Your rest (Hebrews 4:1). Allow Your Word to teach us to discern between the flesh and the spirit and always to follow Your Spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

Thought for the Day:
Through God’s Word, His Spirit and His presence in our life, we enter into His rest.