Sunday, June 30, 2013

Living in Eternity Now


God does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to enjoy eternity with Him (John 3:16). Everyone has faith in something, even if it is faith in oneself. However, faith in Christ is the only faith that saves us. It takes no effort or good works on our part. We simply allow the grace of God to work in our heart (Ephesians 2:8). He transforms our life (2 Corinthians 5:17). We think, act and believe differently than prior to our salvation (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). God now claims us as His children, His sons and His saints (John 1:12; Romans 8:16,17,27; I John 3:1,2; Galatians 3:16; Ephesians 1:18, 4:12).

Christ is no longer just part of our life, He is our life (Colossians 3:4). Jesus is now the center of our focus, our main emphasis in every day. We are no longer lowly caterpillars crawling around and grubbing for sustenance. God metamorphosed us into butterflies. We are dead to sin and hidden with Jesus in God (Colossians 3:3). We dwell in the Heavenly realm of life now. We no longer follow the evil desires of our flesh. Instead, we entertain an eternal perspective on life and we live in holiness (Romans 12:1; Colossians 1:22).

We never know from one moment to the next what the will of God is for our life. We make decisions and sometimes miss the mark of His will for us. That is why it is advisable not to make plans unless we feel sure that God is in them. We can set tentative goals, but then walk in His will moment by moment (James 4:13-14). We live a life of worship through our thoughts, words and actions, regardless of our circumstances. We are part of God’s family, accepted as His beloved kings and priests, the Body of Christ (Romans 8:1, 12:15, 15:7; Ephesians 1:6; I Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:6; I Corinthians 12:13).

We live each moment of life to the fullest, focusing on the positive aspects and turning the negative, even tragic illness and catastrophes, over to God. We may be inconvenienced in our flesh, but our Spirit is still soaring with the eagles regardless of our circumstances (Isaiah 40:31). God has a purpose for everything we experience in life. Therefore, we can compare our present trouble to our eternal blessings in them. Then, we gain His energy and consolation to live through them.

If we do not adopt an eternal perspective on life, our troubles and trials will overwhelm us. We will lose hope and regret the past and fear the future. With an eternal outlook, we realize that our negative circumstances are simply momentary issues (2 Corinthians 4:17). We have concrete faith, which gives us hope for tomorrow (Hebrews 11:1). We remove the roadblocks in our life that hamper our walk with God. As we grow in our knowledge of God and His ways, we develop a more intimate relationship with Him.

Father God, we devote each moment of our life to You, to fulfill Your will for us and to accomplish Your goals and desires in and through us. We hunger and thirst after You (Matthew 5:6). You satisfy our longings and You fill our hungry soul (Psalm 10:9). We want nothing more than to give You joy and to feel Your delight in us (Psalm 147:11). We delight our self in You as You put Your desires within our heart (Psalm 37:4). We rejoice in You always and praise Your Holy Name forever and ever (Philippians 4:4). 

Thought for the Day:
Without Christ, our life is merely short and irrelevant in the overall scheme of eternity.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Centered Focus


Salvation comes in stages. If we happily camp around the salvation of our spirit, we miss the glory of the redemption of our soul. One day we will also experience the glorification of our body when Christ appears for His Saints (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Once we realize that the divinity of Christ and all of the power of the complete triune Godhead live within every Born Again Believer, a new enthusiasm produces constant praise from our lips to God’s ears (2 Peter 1:3). We no longer view our self as a grubby worm inching around in the world of selfishness and sin.

Instead, we see our self as beautiful butterflies soaring in the Heavenly, spiritual realm of life. God calls His elect and then reveals Himself in us. He has a purpose for each of our lives (Ephesians 1:11). He loves us with His abundant, ageless and everlasting love (Psalm 25:6; Jeremiah 31:3). We are totally dependent upon Jesus for our direction, health and provision moment by moment throughout the day (Ephesians 1:9; Philippians 2:12-13). Through our connection to the Vine, the life of Christ flows through us by His Spirit and we produce much fruit for the Kingdom of God (John 15:8).

Through our union with Christ, we shed the shackles of our sin nature and submit to the dealings and leadings of God in our life (1 Corinthians 1:30). As branches in the Vine of Christ, we experience God as our husbandman. He prunes the flesh from us so more spiritual fruit grows (John 15:1, 5). We walk out of the bondage to carnality and into the glorious freedom of the sons of God (Romans 8:21). Jesus is our center and God is the focus of our life. We seek to do His will in our job, community, church, extended family and home. If we walk in the darkness of self and sin, we stumble and fail in our attempts (John 11:10).

As we walk in the light of Christ, we find fulfillment in living out His will for our life (1 John 1:7). God’s wisdom, grace, love and supernatural abilities reside within us in Jesus Christ and are always available to meet all of our needs (1 Corinthians 1:30). As we make every effort to walk in peace with God, He renews our soul and makes us blameless and spotless at His coming (2 Peter 3:14). Our perseverance in our walk with God, guarantees that we will not stop short of His glorious riches, which He prepared for us before time began (Romans 9:23). We will steadily walk into complete maturity in Christ (James 1:4).

Lord Jesus, as we abide in You throughout the day, Your wisdom, grace, love and peace manifest in our life and out into the world around us. As we abide in You, You provide us with a dedicated life full of the wisdom, strength and Godly conviction, which we need to further Your Kingdom in our world. We look forward to the day when we can also walk in Your power, so You can make a true difference in others through our life.

Thought for the Day:
Undistracted devotion to God allows us to tap into all of His power and majesty in order to live our life as Elijah, Moses and Enoch did.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Praying up a Storm


If we allow our thoughts to randomly flit through our mind, we run the chance of making decisions that do not honor God and that will tend to bring us hardship and shame. Satan and God both influenced our thoughts (1 Timothy 4:1). Our thoughts, even our subconscious thoughts that we are not aware of at the time, influence our feelings. Our heart is deceitful and wicked, and we should submit both our thoughts and our emotions to God at all times (Jeremiah 17:9). We can control our thoughts by using them to pray each moment of the day. We control our emotions by sharing them honestly and kindly before they build up and explode.

We start in a place of aloneness (all-one-ness) with God. God has the perfect formula for prayer. Vain repetition in prayer does not honor God nor does it help us in any way (Matthew 6:7). Quoting scripture to God in an attempt to force His hand to provide what we want is useless and insulting to Him. We can use Bible verses in our prayers, but not to twist God’s arm to do our will. Sit in a very still and quiet place with your journal. Submit all of your thoughts and emotions to the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5).

As you do, jot them down in your journal. You can even write out your prayers in your journal. Pray for everyone the Lord brings to your mind, issues in your life about which you need His wisdom, besetting sins that trouble you, negative emotions that crowd out His joy in your life, world news, unreached people groups, the persecuted church, government officials, etc. Whatever the Spirit brings to your mind. Another way to pray is when you see someone who reminds you of someone you know, pray for that person you see, as well as the person you know.

When you hear an emergency vehicle siren, pray for the people impacted by that emergency: for God to meet their needs and to reveal Himself to them. As you travel in the car, pray for the people with Christian symbols or bumper stickers on their car; if they are bold enough to display their faith, they could use your prayers. When someone dials the wrong number and they get you instead, tell them the reason they called is for you to tell them that God loves them and has a perfect plan for their life. Then, pray for that person as the Lord brings them to your mind.

We do not pray in order to force God’s hand to do our will, but we follow Jesus’ example and pray according to His will (Luke 22:42). As we seek God’s will, our thoughts and heart become one with His. We are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4). It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. We do not have to summon our faith, because we are filled with the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). Obedience to God’s will is the common denominator of all people of faith in the Bible. Their example gives us a peek into the life of people of prayer.

Father God, we all long to hear Your voice. You are our Abba Father and You desire nothing more than to commune with Your Body each moment of our day. Remind us to listen more and to talk less throughout the day; so that we can be led by Your Spirit to accomplish the works, which You prepared for us even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 2:9-10). Help us to discern Your Spirit from the voice of the flesh, the world and Satan, which all try to negatively influence our thinking and behavior. As we read Your living Word, allow the verses to penetrate our heart and to sanctify our soul (Hebrews 4:12).

Thought for the Day:
We have confidence that God hears us in our prayers when we ask according to His will. - 1 John 5:14-15

Thursday, June 27, 2013

God's Transforming Power

Children of God and children of Satan both obey the Spirit within them (2 Corinthians 4:10-11; Ephesians 2:2). Satan’s children do wickedly. God’s children experience a lifetime of God’s transforming power. Christ is our head and we mature into every aspect of Him (Ephesians 4:15). God’s Spirit renovates us until we mirror the nature of the fullness of Christ within us (Ephesians 4:13-15; Galatians 4:19). God loves us and chooses us to fulfill His purpose for us during our lifetime (Colossians 3:12). First, He washes away the stench of sin from our soul and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1). Then He calls us to walk in holiness as His Saints (Ephesians 4:12, 24, 1:18; Romans 1:4).

Our cleansing comes in stages, like the rings of the tree or the layers of an onion (2 Peter 3:18). God peels away one stratum at a time until He exposed our core and brings us to the perfection of His Son (Romans 8:29). Our spiritual growth process brings successive changes and development into our life by God’s grace and glory (2 Pet. 3:18). Daily the Spirit renews our inner man from one level of glory to another (2 Corinthians 4:16, 3:18). Christ manifests Himself in and through us to the world around us. He purifies our heart (James 4:8) as a people whom He possesses. We soon desire for Him to use us to perform good works for His honor and glory (Titus 2:14).

We cannot accomplish our own sanctification or purify our self through self-efforts any more than we can save our self (Galatians 3:1-3). Only humble surrender to God’s will and His Spirit accomplishes this goal (Matthew 5:3). God refines us like silver (Psalm 66:10; Malachi 3:13), by putting us through the fire of tribulation until we lack nothing necessary for faith and holiness (James 1:4; 1 Peter 1:7; Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 4:4). He cleanses us by His shed blood (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 9:14). God disciplines us as Sons (Hebrews 12:5). Jesus overcame the world and died in our place. Now, He overcomes the world in and through us (Revelation 2:7-3:21; 1 John 5:4-5; John 16:33). He replaces the lusts of our flesh by the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:19-23).

All of our determination and self-efforts to reach perfection fails (Colossians 2:23). However, God conforms us to the fellowship of His death and brings us through the stages of His glory (Colossians 1:24; Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:17). We die daily to our flesh for His sake, and we are a new creation (Romans 6:2,11; Galatians 5:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17). His death on Calvary’s cross was God’s design to redeem mankind for all eternity (Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 7:27, 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18). As we take up our cross (Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27), our humanity dies with Him and our life is now hidden with Christ in God (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). We live by the Spirit of God within us (Romans 8:13).

Father God, You not only provide us with Your assistance as we overcome our flesh, but also, you renew us daily by the divine life of Christ within us (1 Peter 1:4). Your Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death. We live in victory over sin because Your Spirit dwells within us (Romans 7-8). You reproduce in us the nature of Christ through His habitation within us, and He lives out His character in us moment by moment throughout the day. We simple keep our eyes on Your Son as He perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
We submit to God as He puts to death the deeds of our flesh and we reap the benefits of His resurrection.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Companionable Silence

With the constant noise and activity in the world around us, we grow uncomfortable with silence. Many people even say that it is hard to bear God’s silences. I know how they feel. I used to get so discouraged when I took time to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet and He didn’t say anything to me! I felt silly sitting there with no productive activity between us. At times, I even thought He was hiding His face and turning His ear away from me (Psalm 102:1-7). Doubts plagued me. When I was confused about what to do about some situation in my life, I felt like God didn’t care or love me any more.

Sometimes, I just gave up and went to read a book, watch a movie, play a word game or put on praise music while I cleaned the house. However, the longer I walk with God, the more I realize that in the silence, God is bringing us into a more intimate relationship with Himself. He finds pleasure in hanging out with His children without any demand for talking. We are at ease with each other and just happy to be together. He is so comfortable in our presence that He does not feel the need to converse. He simply enjoys our companionable silence.

Other possibilities for His silence may be that I was not really listening (1 Kings 19:11-12), or that I harbored in my heart some selfish motives (James 4:3; Psalm 66:18) or disobedience (Galatians 6:7) or habitual sin (1 John 3:21-22) or ingratitude (1 John 5:14-15) or broken relationships (1 Peter 3:1-6) or unforgiveness. Maybe I failed to give to the poor in their time of need. If we are not guilty of any of these deviations in Godly behavior, however, the silence is simply evidence that He already heard our petitions and His answer is already on the way (Matthew 7:11; Daniel 10:12).

Now, all that remains is for us to meditate on His Word and praise Him for what He already told us, did for us and provided for us. As we pray in Jesus’ name, we pray according to the divinity of Christ within us, summoning all of His divine power and authority behind our prayers. Since this is true, we need to be careful to pray according to God’s will and not to pray according to our will. With patience, we will see answers to our prayers in God’s perfect timing (Hebrews 10:36). Until then, we can enjoy the companionable silence God offers to us each moment of the day, without any expectations or demands upon Him.

Father God, it is in the silent times that we can be still and know Your fullness as our God (Psalm 46:10). To be still is to surrender our will, our desires, our goals and our dreams for our life to Your plans and purposes for us in Your Kingdom. We stop trusting in our self or anyone but You. As we do this, we have no other recourse but to recognize, admit and proclaim to the world that You are our God, the great King over all the earth. When our Messiah, who is our very life (Colossians 3:2-4), returns to the earth, we will be with Him in all of His glory and exalt His name forevermore. We remain silent before You now, because the great Day of the Lord in at hand (Zephaniah 1:7).

Thought for the Day:
We mature to a place where we soon crave these silent times of comfort with God, as we center on His acceptance and joy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Overcoming the World


Paul chronicled for the Romans his journey from an earthly-minded sinner to a liberated Saint who was led by the Spirit of God (Romans 6-Romans 8). He describes in detail the revelation God gave to him: The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus freed him from bondage to this world and the flesh (Romans 8:2). We too share in this liberation. We all died in Christ, and now we live, not for our self, but for Him (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We do not pursue our own agenda or work to amass this world’s goods, which will only burn up in the end. Instead, we focus on the eternal aspects of life (Matthew 6:19-20).

We cannot perfect our self by our good works any more than we can save our self by them (Galatians 3:1-3). It is all the work of Christ on the cross (Romans 7:18). We now belong to Christ, and the carnal cravings of our flesh are crucified with Him (Galatians 5:24). Our humanity is dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We no longer struggle with sin, because sin disgusts us. We have no desire to partake in the frivolity in this world, because just like Jesus, we must be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49). We are totally led by the Spirit and have no desire to take any part in sinful activity (Romans 5:18).

We are from God and have overcome the world, because Christ in us is greater than anything this world offers us (1 John 4:4). We may be surrounded by the horrors of tragedy, but this is not our life; therefore, they do not rob us of our peace and joy (Philippians 3:8-14). We set our mind on the spiritual aspects of the Kingdom of God, rather than on the earthly issues swirling all around us (2 Corinthians 4:18). Jesus sanctified and perfected us on His cross (Hebrews 10:13). Now, we walk in obedience, not through self-effort, but by obeying God’s Spirit moment by moment (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Christ is working in and through us, giving us the strength and the longing to follow the leading of His Spirit throughout the day (Philippians 2:12-13). We no longer have any desire to wander back into sin and destruction. We rejoice when we face temptation, because it has no affect on us (James 1:2). We submit to God and resist the devil, and God delivers us every time (James 4:7). Our anxiety is swallowed up by His faithfulness and assurance. Any depression is replaced by His joy, which is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We live as victors in Christ.

Father God, there is no reason for us to attempt to perfect our self by any self-effort (Galatians 3:1-3). We know that You work out all things in our life according to Your perfect plan (Ephesians 1:11). We come to You to replace all of our negative emotions with thoughts of whatever is true, gracious, accurate, pure, divine, commendable and worthy (Philippians 4:8). If we happen to fall into temptation, we confess the sin; and You readily forgive us and cleanses our conscience from all unholiness (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 9:14). You are capable of keeping us pure in our body, soul and spirit, as we live in Your abiding rest (Jude 24; Hebrews 4:9-11).

Thought for the Day:
Daily, we take up our cross and follow Jesus, by realizing that we are dead and Christ now lives His life in, through and instead of us regardless of our circumstances (1 Corinthians 4:8-14; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bridge Over Troubled Waters


Have you ever felt restless, on edge, worried, troubled, even stressed? Don’t we all! There is a quick remedy for these negative emotions, however. Once we have faith in God’s faithfulness, we can enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:1). He loved us so much that he died for us while we were still sinners, He keeps His promises and He hides us under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91:4; Romans 5:6-11). He is able to keep safe whatever we commit to Him (2 Timothy 1:12). We access these benefits by casting all of our cares on Him and abiding in His love, peace and rest (1 Peter 5:7).

The more we yield our will to God’s and submit our spirit, soul and body to Him, the more we enter the security of His place of rest. Surrendering to His Kingship and direction allows us to rest for eternity in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33: 26-28). His Spirit is in our heart to guarantee our union with the triune God (Galatians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:5). His peace protects our mind, choices and emotions. As we take His yoke upon us, He deals with life in us, through us and instead of us (Galatians 2:20).

We are grafted as branches into the Vine, and we bear fruit as the direct result of the life of His Spirit within us (John 15:5). We are one with Him (John 17:21-22). This life-producing union gives us rest and peace as His grace and mercy work out everything in our life for our good (Romans 8:28). Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Regardless of our circumstances, we push forward by His Spirit to capture all that Jesus has in mind for us when He redeemed us (Philippians 3:12-13). He is a safe dwelling place, in which we find complete rest for our soul (Isaiah 32:18; Matthew 11:29).

The vine cannot produce fruit without the branches and the branch cannot produce fruit without its connection to the vine. We are totally dependent upon Christ as He sends His nourishing life in and through us. Once the Spirit births His fruit in us, He brings along others who need the fruit we have to nourish their soul. We bring joy to our Father only as we submit to His Spirit’s leading each moment of our day and walk in His will for us (Zephaniah 3:17; Galatians 5:16, 25). This only occurs as we enter His rest and abide in the Vine (John 15:4-5).

Lord Jesus, You are our bridge over the troubled waters of life. We are inseparably connected to You as long as we stay connected to the Vine. We bear the fruit Your Spirit produces in us. If we refuse to stay connected we will wither up and die. If we decline to bear fruit, God will prune us and cast us into the fire to be burned. We will abide in You, our Vine. We give our self wholly to You to use for Your glory. We are in You and You are in us, keeping us holy and acceptable to You (Romans 12:1). You give us Your strength and wisdom to live each day in You, as You encourage and bless us.

Thought for the Day:
Due to God’s glory and excellence, he gave us great and precious promises. Through these promises He enables us to share His divine nature and to escape the world's corruption caused by sinful, human desires. - 2 Peter 1:4, Living Bible


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shining Like Stars

Jesus is the first born of God’s children (Revelation 1:5; Romans 8:29). Our hope of resurrection comes through Him (1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:1,5; Romans 6:11). He laid down His life for His brethren and conquered death, so that He could provide us with the life of His Spirit through His resurrection (John 5:24, 6:63, 11:25; 1 John 3:14; Acts 2:24; Philippians 2:8: 1 Corinthians 15:4). God separated the light from the darkness during creation and now He uses His Word as a sharp, two-edged sword to separate the carnality of our soul and our union with Christ in our spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

Even the good that is in our human heart must be laid at the altar of God, so we do not take pride in it or count on it for our salvation (John 1:13). We work out our own salvation only through the desire and power given to us by God (Philippians 2:12–13). It is through the regenerative work of God’s Spirit that we are renewed; separated from the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil; transformed into the likeness of Christ; sanctified in our soul and eventually glorified in our body.

God leads us to live in a realm of life deeper than our thoughts and emotions, which is influenced by His Spirit within our spirit. We move beyond the petty, superficial existence and concerns of this world and into the profound reality of life in the Spirit. He creates for Himself a holy habitation within our spirit in which He dwells. Now we are actually dead to sin, and united with Him in His resurrection (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 6:5; Colossians 2:12). Jesus gives us newness of life forevermore (Romans 6:4; 1 John 5:12).

He slowly manifests Himself through our regenerated soul. He heals our mortal body by His abundant divinity within us (2 Corinthians 4:10-11; Romans 8:11; John 10:10).  His Spirit gives us a new perspective on life and we start to do everything without complaining or arguing. We display the fruit of God’s Spirit and the peaceful fruit of righteousness to the world around us as we submit to His cleansing work each moment of the day (Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 12:10-11).

He transforms us into shining stars and makes us blameless and pure as His dear children, even in the midst of a depraved sea of humanity surrounding us throughout our daily life (Philippians 2:14-15). We lead as many of these drowning people to Christ as will humble their pride and surrender their life to Him (Philippians 2:16-18). We add to our prayer list those who refuse to accept Jesus, and until our dying breath we pray for them to find this unity with Christ.

Father God, we find rest for our soul only in a life lived for You. The trials of life discourage us. The tribulation of life threatens to overcome us. Without You, we are hopeless and undone. Thank You for salvation in Christ and encouragement from Your Spirit. Lead us by Your Spirit moment by moment throughout the day so that we can shine as stars in Your universe, as we walk in victory as overcomers because of Christ within us.

Thought for the Day:
Surrounded by the trivial concerns of life, we stand the chance of losing our perspective of eternity. Guard it with your life.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Lifestyle to Live

God came into our life to take control of it. He is not satisfied with a tithe of our life. He wants all of us...the complete package. He wants us to entirely surrender our life to Him. This includes our goals, desires and will. He wants it all. As Christians, we are the embodiment of Christ in us. We crucify our self-centeredness and replace it by centering on the fullness of Christ in us (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified). As we die to our selfish nature, our humanity decreases and He increases (John 3:30). There is less and less of us, and more and more of Christ living in and through us.

Christ is the head and Savior of the Church. In God’s order, husbands submit to God (1 Corinthians 11:3). Contrary to the philosophy that corrupted families in today’s society, God chose the husband as the leader of his wife and his household. He does this by laying down his life for them through supporting, loving, encouraging and cherishing his wife and children (Ephesians 5:23). Then, God calls wives to wholeheartedly submit to their own husband, just as we submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22,24). We put our husband and his needs first in the priority of our day. We treat him and speak to him with honor and respect.

This does not mean that we do not get on one another’s nerves, or that we do not disagree sometimes. We even lose our temper with one another. However, if we live a lifestyle of mutual service as co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:6), then we honor one another above our self, our friends and the rest of our family (Philippians 2:3). No disagreement is more important than our commitment to God and one another. As far as it depends upon us, we live in harmony with our mate (Romans 12:18). We do this because God gives us both the desire and the ability to walk in His ways (Philippians 2: 12-13).

The Christian life is impossible to live without Christ living it in and through us. We can never boast, because we are simply an expression of God’s grace. Due to our union with Christ in salvation, we cease our striving and enter God’s divine rest regardless of the circumstances in our life (Hebrews 4:1,10). Apart from Christ, we cannot accomplish anything of eternal value (John 15:5). We may make a difference on the earth, but it is a drop in the ocean of time compared to what God wants to use us to accomplish for His Kingdom. We simply live out the works, which God prepared for us to perform before the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 2:9-10).

Father God, when someone or something comes against Your beloved children, You take if very personally, (Zechariah 2:8). You take vengeance on anyone who harms Your Saints, and you repay them for the harm they do to us (Romans 12:19). We are very precious in Your sight (Isaiah 43:3). With this hope in our hearts, we trust that You will always help those who seek You (Psalm 9:10). Your grace shapes our life according to Your perfect will for us. Help us to remember that Your will for our life is not a goal to reach, but a lifestyle to live.

Thought for the Day:
Let us come to the place of being so dead to our humanity that Christ’s perfection in us takes over our life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I Want My Own Way

Most people think that Satan is public enemy number one for the Christian. However, the will of man is actually the foremost enemy of our spiritual life. Our will has the power to submit to God or to the flesh and Satan. If we do not realize the benefits of surrendering to God and denying the flesh, our will always sides with our flesh, even if it is against our better judgment! We are able to prosper with a healthy life only to the extent to which our soul flourishes (3 John 1:2). Our soul is a very vital part of our existence. It is not the flesh, but is used by the flesh for sin’s expression.

Our will employs our motives, desires, goals and ambitions, which are driven either by our flesh or by God’s Spirit. The flesh preys upon the thoughts, choices and emotions of our soul. The first step to success is to request that our High Priest sacrifice our carnal flesh on the altar of God. Then, we are free to follow the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout the day. Once the Spirit of God takes control of our life, our soul is sanctified from one level of glory to the next. The flesh no longer uses our soul, because our will chooses to honor Christ instead (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We are dead to sin by the blood of the Lamb (Romans 6:11); therefore, we do not have to allow sin to use our body and soul any longer (Romans 6:12). As we read the Word of God, it shines a light on the areas in our life that the Holy Spirit wants to cleanse. He deals with these issues until He purifies that area of our life (1 Peter 1:22). His Word is sure and mighty and pulls down Satanic and fleshly strongholds in our soul (Hebrews 4:12). Our part is to refuse to give the flesh a moment of our attention. In this way, we do not encumber our spirit with the carnal demands of our flesh. 

Christ gradually corals our will, gives us His mind and replace our emotions with the fruit of His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:16; Galatians 5:16-25). We do not return to the anxiety and grief of our former carnal life, because not only is our spirit regenerated, but also our soul is being saved by the faith of Christ within us (Matthew 6:25; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 10:39). The more submissively we surrender our will to God’s will for our life, the more freedom, fulfillment and peace we experience (Ephesians 6:6). Even if He counts us worthy to partake of His suffering, Jesus fills our soul with His presence, which sees us through any hardship we ever encounter in the life (Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13,19).

Father God, we diligently search for You with a parched soul that desires no one but You. We see the miracles You perform daily in our life, things that many people overlook or account as coincidental. We long for Your love and we want nothing more than to dwell in Your courts forever. We give You praise and we glorify You with every waking breath and even in the night watches, because You meet our every need. We gladly claim You as our God. We cling to You as You carry us in Your everlasting arms (Psalm 63:1-9).

Thought for the Day:
The serene soul finds a place of deep rest by yoking up with Christ, Who carries our load and leads us to green pastures and still water (Matthew 11:29; Psalm 23:2-3).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Calm in the Storm

Have you ever noticed that God is not in any hurry? Waiting on God is a blessing and a curse. We have to apply patience, and we humans hate to wait! All the waiting tests our faith in God’s faithfulness. Our nerves get on edge, we chew our fingernails down to nubs and we get grouchy about everything with everyone. The apostles felt this way too. They were caught in a horrid storm again, they feared for their life and the circumstances appeared hopeless. They forgot that Jesus already saved them in a similar circumstance in the past, when He was asleep in their boat and they woke Him to calm the storm (Matthew 8:25-16).

This time, however, Jesus was not with them. He sent them across the sea while He went up to the mountain to pray. The apostles felt even more fearful this time, because they were alone...well, they thought they were alone. Jesus surprised them by suddenly walking up to them on the water. At first they feared He was simply a ghost (Matthew 14:27). Jesus is with us in our storms as well. We are never, ever alone (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus lives is in us and walks with us through every trial we experience.

Waiting on God can also be an amazing adventure. We just have to put our issues in the heart of God and change our focus from the circumstances to God’s love toward us. Make a list of His times of provision in your life and pull it out every time you feel alone. As we remember what He did for us in the past, it helps us to believe He has a solution for this time as well. Our total surrender in every area of our life helps us to wait more patiently and brings fulfillment, which transcends anything this world has to offer.

The Christian life is all consuming and if we live it through self-effort, we will burn out. This occurs especially if we are also resisting His will in an area of our life. And in some cases, even if we are in the center of God’s will, we will experience opposition from our flesh, the world and Satan and his emissaries. We may entertain thoughts of discouragement, which totally overwhelm us. We barely drag our self out of bed and we feel like warmed-over death. However, God designed these trials to turn our reliance from our self onto Him, who raises us from the dead. He always delivers those who put their hope in Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-10).

Father God, our negative emotions are a sign of our misplaced reliance. We have some idol in our life that we believe is paramount to our well-being. Satan uses this to his advantage in order to move us out of the spirit and into the flesh. When our expectations are disappointed by the reality in our life at this moment, we attempt to gain meaning and value from self-worth and self-effort apart from You. We fail to remember that You are our all-sufficiency in all things (2 Corinthians 9:8). Our only hope of lasting success for Your Kingdom is to eliminate our carnal goals and cling instead to our union with Christ in us.

Thought for the Day:
Our trials test our trust throughout our lives, but surrender to God’s will keeps us walking in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Thank you, Susan Erwin, for the use of your photo.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get Off the Fence


There is a popular saying that runs the gamut of Christian circles in every century of time. It claims that we do not want to be “so spiritually minded that we are no earthly good”. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Look at Noah...He preached for 120 years and he and his sons spent much of that time building an ark big enough to protect anyone who wanted to be saved. However, since it had never rained before this time, people scoffed at them as if they were so spiritually minded they were no earthly good. Well, who had the last laugh in that scenario?

Many wanted to get aboard the ark after it started raining, but it was too late. God already closed the door (Genesis 7:16). Many who claim the name of Christ in their life are oblivious to the destruction they inflict upon the Kingdom of God by their words and actions (Matthew 7:16-23). A shallow consent to accept Christ brings no real change to our life and requires no surrender for the glory of God. Authentic Christians can never be content with participating in ritualistic, religious motions. We seek relevance in every aspect of our life.

If something is not Christ-centered, we have no interest in it. Our spirit, and also our soul are grieved by anything that grieves Christ, because He dwells within us in all of His fullness. We refrain from participating in anything that is remotely sinful. We exhibit the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which is the result of the refining fire of His sanctifying process in our life. We no longer live in the fleshly, carnal, worldly realm of life. If we do, we do not belong to Christ (1 John 3:9).

The Bible declares that if anyone claims to be a Christian, yet lives a worldly life, they are liars (Romans 8:9; 1 John 2:4). You might believe in God. You may have been convicted of your sin. You may like going to church and listening to religious music. However, you are not Born Again. Even demons believe and tremble at the name of Christ (James 2:19). If we are Born Again, we live by the Spirit of God in everything we think, say and do (Romans 8:9).  There is continual intimacy with the living Lord and growth in our character and actions, which are led by His Spirit.

Salvation is not an end in itself. It is the beginning of a whole new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is useless to attempt to become a better human being. Self-help methods will never allow us to exchange our carnality with the fruit of God’s Spirit. We are simply the branches. He is the Vine, which connects us to the life-giving flow of God’s supernatural power to enhance our life. Our humanity is already dead with Christ in God. God is love and if He abides in us completely, we have no need to strive to show love to others. His love fills us and overflows into the lives of everyone we meet.

Christ in us expresses the fruit of the Spirit in and through us. We are a vessel containing the living Lord of the universe with all the dynamic power of the triune God resident within us (Ephesians 3:20). We are no longer in love with our self. We are no longer addicted to sin and we lay down our idols – anything, which we want more than God. We submit to the total control of the Spirit of God. We get our self off the throne of our life and put God in His rightful place.

So, this is the bottom line: Get off the fence! Commit your life wholly and completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Make a difference in His Kingdom by following the leading of His Spirit moment by moment throughout the day. Fall in love with Jesus. Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

Lord Jesus, the only person that may call him/her self a Christian is one with a vital and vibrant intimate union with You. If we live according to our own plans for the day and work You into them, we gravely miss every opportunity to allow You to work Your plans through us. Remind us to converse with You moment by moment throughout the day. You orchestrate the adventures in our life to fulfill Your purpose in us. We hunger and thirst for a deeper relationship with You, so that we may walk in the fullness of Your Spirit and allow You to accomplish Your will in and through us.

Thought for the Day:
Total submission to the control of Christ in our daily life is the next step after our salvation. Has that happened in your life? – 1 Corinthians 15:22-28