Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Price of Redemption


When we judge our self according to the scale, which the world holds for popularity and success, we may come up lacking. We may fear giving up control of our life to God, because He may require things from us, which would further tarnish our popularity and success. However, if we actually gain our personal identity and status for success from Christ in us, rather from our personal talents and achievements, we realize that our worth is only based on the love of Christ to die for us.

Sometimes, life seems unfair. Others have greater advantages than we do when we consider the temporal blessing they may receive. Possessions never satisfy us, however. Spiritually, the children of God have the richest of all blessings. We have Christ in us, who is both our hope and our fame (Colossians 1:27). God is the hope of all people, from the ends of the earth and to the farthest seas (Psalm 65:6). He gives us more than this world could ever offer us. He gives us Himself.

Take a moment to meditate on all of His works. Remember His wondrous miracles for the children of Israel. Consider all of His mighty deeds. He is great indeed. He reveals His strength through and in His people. He redeems us by His power (Psalm 77:11-15). He is feared in the council of the holy ones, and more awesome than everyone who surrounds Him. No one is like Him. He is the great King over all the earth (Psalm 89:1-2, 5-8).

His greatest gift of all was that of His own Son (Revelation 13:8). Jesus paid the price of our redemption and freed us from a worthless life of sin, giving us His free gift of salvation (Romans 6:23). The Lord scoffs at the determination of sinners to rebel against Him and to provide a living for themselves during this lifetime (Psalm 2:4). Yet, those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High God will rest in Him. He is our refuge and our strength in whom we can always trust (Psalm 91:1-2).

Father God, because we love You, You will deliver us. You protect us as we acknowledge You. You answer us when we call on You. You deliver us from trouble and honor us. You satisfy us with a long life of salvation (Psalm 91:14-16). We give You thanks, because You are so good. Your loving kindness endures forever. Your unfailing love produces wonderful blessings for us. You satisfy our thirsty soul and You fill our hungry soul with many good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9).

Thought for the Day:
Forget none of His benefits and bless His holy name. – Psalm 103:1

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Rest Secured

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Speaking to the Hebrews, Paul showed concern over those who heard the Word, yet did not enter God’s rest. The Word they heard did not help them, because they did not turn away from their sinful lifestyle and put their faith in Christ (Hebrews 4:1-2). Due to their disobedience and unbelief, they simply prayed a hollow prayer and then hardened their hearts and continued their routine of sin (Hebrews 4:3-7).

The Bible is very clear on the topic of those who are convicted, yet are never truly converted from their behavior. They are not truly Born Again. God intends for us to fully enter His rest, relinquishing our hold on sin and living our life in God’s truth (Hebrews 4:8-9). Rest is a symbol of heaven; however, we can enter God’s rest now (Hebrews 4:10). It takes a bit of effort on our part to stop striving and to realize that we are dead and that our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

If we continue to reject God’s free gift of salvation or to work FOR God, then we take a chance of walking in disobedience and living life our own way (Hebrews 4:11). The Bible warns us not to allow works, and eventually sin, to take the place of faith and obedience in our life (Hebrews 3:12-13). We are called to hold each other accountable in love, so that no one falls short of God’s rest (Hebrews 3:19). Even though some may come to resent our care and call it interference or pressure, God calls us to warn one another.

We can also take a warning from the life of Israel. God spent decades attempting to draw them into His rest; however, they continued in stubborn disobedience and compromise with their world.  As we mature in our faith, we learn to trust God’s Word, to live according to its precepts and to be led by God’s Spirit. We live in more peace and fulfillment as we submit to God gifts of both the desire and the power to live the abundant Christian life (Philippians 2:12-13).

Father God, You promise us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). We can take the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth without fear, if we first fear You (Hebrews 10:31). We are not afraid of You, but we tremble at Your awesome power (Jeremiah 33:9). We praise You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our penchant for sin and for setting us free from the degradation and despair of a life of sin. You are compassionate, gracious and slow to anger. You always abound in love, kindness and forgiveness (Exodus 32:6-7).

Thought for the Day:
When we fear the Lord, we have no need to fear anything in life, because all the power of the Trinity dwells within us. - Proverbs 9:10; Colossians 1:27


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stay Rich Forever

Get rich quick schemes are so popular in today’s society. Multi-level companies, the lottery, identity theft, scams and even welfare, all rob people from the motivation to work. These people end up in more poverty than they would if they worked for a living and received a steady paycheck (Proverbs 27:24; 28:22). The cares of the world, the lust of the heart, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word of God from the life of those who pursue worldly gains (Mark 4:19). Get rich quick, surrender your life to God's will.

It is very hard for a wealthy person to depend on God. Their wealth is a stumbling block, because many of them rely on their human efforts to gain an advantage in this world (Proverbs 28:11; Matthew 19:24). Those who possess worldly riches already received their reward (Luke 6:24). Some rich people even gain their wealth by the sweat of another man’s labors and some even defraud these hard workers of their due. However, these shysters will reap the destitution they impose on others (Jeremiah 17:11; 22:13-19; Proverbs 21:6).

Riches have a way of flying away on wings (Proverbs 23:5). Often the rich find themselves devoid of anything of value, and the poor obtain more lasting riches by far (Proverbs 13:7). When we die, we take nothing with us; and those who trust in material riches gain no eternal value to cherish forever (Psalm 49:16-17). The happiest people on earth are those who have neither riches nor poverty, but receive their needs from the Lord (Proverbs 16:8; 30:8). When we live in the fear of the Lord, we are wealthier than all of the kings of the earth (Proverbs 15:6).

Only the Lord can multiply our wealth, so that it will endure throughout eternity (Deuteronomy 28:1-68). When we buy our gold from the Lord, it is already tested by fire and makes us perpetually rich (Revelation 3:18). In fact, when we give to the poor, we are actually giving to God and storing up treasure for our self in heaven (Proverbs 19:17; Luke 18:22-26). God wants to supply all of our needs. First, we simply seek God and His will for our life, and then He will give us what He wants us to have (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33).

The blessing of the Lord makes us rich indeed, and we have none of the stress and sorrow that accompanies worldly wealth (Proverbs 10:22). When we give to others, God uses that same measure to give back to us (Luke 6:38). Therefore, when we sow sparingly, we reap sparingly (2 Corinthians 9:6). God never forgets what we do in love for one another (Hebrews 6:10). God loves a hand that gives with an open palm instead of those with a hard heart and a tightly closed fist (Deuteronomy 15:7-8; 28:47-48).

Father God, remind us not to trust in riches, because they may be here today, but gone tomorrow (Proverbs 11:28; Zephaniah 1:18). Riches even have a way of causing a person to forget You, and to curse You when they end up in ruin (Proverbs 30:9). We know that in the end of the age, silver and gold will be worthless, people will go hungry and their soul will be bankrupt (Ezekiel 7:19; Jeremiah 48:36; Ecclesiastes 5:14). Give us the humility of the poor rather than the self-centeredness, which often comes with riches (Proverbs 18:23). Your Word reminds us that it is better to live in a loving home than a rich one (Proverbs 15:16-17).

Thought for the Day:
Beware of covetousness: for a man’s life does not consist of the possessions He attains. – Luke 16:14; Ecclesiastes 5:1

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Growing Weary

If we live an honorable life, God will use it to silence the foolish accusations, which ignorant people make against us (1 Peter 2:15-16). We know the truth that will set them free, but they do not want to hear it. They label us as intolerant for insisting that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Do you ever get weary of witnessing to people who will not listen? I recently grew weary and prayed about what to do.

The Lord reminded me that when we plant a seed in a garden, it takes a great deal of work and care before we reap the fruit. We rope off an area, remove the weeds and till the soil into rows. We fertilize the soil and then plant the seeds. It takes weeks for the plants to sprout and then a few months before the plants produce any fruit. We continue to water, pull weeds and keep the plants safe from obstacles to their growth. Yet, only God can give the increase.

The Lord pointed out to me that witnessing takes the same care and labor of love as gardening. A one time or another, we are tilling the ground, or planting a seed, or watering; however, only God gives the spiritual increase too, and only a few can actually harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). This gave me the faith to continue sharing Christ with everyone around me. If we do not give up, we will eventually reap a plentiful harvest in God’s timing (Galatians 6:9). God resists the proud, but has mercy and gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

God calls everyone to take part in His gardening process. If we liberally sow God’s truth in the lives of our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors, we will reap a hearty harvest; however if we sow stingily, we will reap sparingly (2 Corinthians 9:6). We are not obligated to share God Truth with anyone; but as a good steward, we cannot help but invest in God’s Kingdom, which brings us His rewards (Matthew 25:14-30).

Father God, remind us not to become weary of working in Your Kingdom, because You promise that we will reap a harvest if we keep on sowing (Galatians 6:7). Help us to follow Your gardening laws. Give us the wisdom and strength to continue with patience as we ready the ground, fertilize and water, plant the seeds, and then wait for You to give us the harvest. We know that You do not desire that anyone should die in their sin, but that everyone should come to know You in an intimate, personal relationship (2 Peter 3:9).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us His grace to allow Jesus to accomplish His work in and through us (2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 2:10).




Friday, December 27, 2013

Christ, Who is Our Life

Peace in this world is fleeting and superficial. It depends on our circumstances and the people we are with. However, the peace of God allows us to glide serenely through any trial or difficulty (John 14:27). God’s peace is a fruit of His Spirit and His Spirit is ever present within us (Galatians 5:22-23). His peace is supernatural and everlasting. We cannot understand His peace, but it always guards our heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

The closer to God we live, the harder it is for Satan to attack us. God is our shield, our high tower and our defense (Psalm 28:7). As we hide in Him and clothe our self in His armor (Ephesians 6:10-12), He is with us, even in the depths of hell on earth (Psalm 139:8). He never deserts us or abandons us (Hebrews 13:5). When the fiery darts of Satan attack us, God shelters us through it all (Psalm 91).

The demons of hell are actually powerless against us, because our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Luke 10:20). As we walk in obedience to God, we are surrounded with legions of angels and they protect us from Satan and his demons, as well as any harm man plans to impose on us (2 Kings 6:8-23). God always works everything out for our ultimate good, even if it is to work His nature into our life (Romans 8:28). Without Him, we are hopeless and helpless (John 15:5).

Life is not about us, but about Christ living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Having Christ as our life is more than enough for us (Colossians 3:4). We live every moment of our life on earth only for the glory of God (Philippians 1:21). We surrender our plans and aspirations to His will for us (Ephesians 2:10). We pray without ceasing by communing with God each moment of the day through His Spirit within us (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is our key to abiding in Christ (John 15:4-7).

Father God, our hope of living in glory lies in the fact that Your Christ lives within us (Colossian 1:27). Our life in You is more than salvation, more than dedication, it is a life where Christ is all we need, as well as in all we say and do (Ephesians 1:22-23). We are one with You in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10). Now, we labor until we see Christ formed in our family, friends, associates and neighbors (Galatians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We are partakers of Christ’s divine nature, and one with Him now and for eternity. – 2 Peter 1:4; John 17:23

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Conscious Conscience


God put a conscience in the soul of every human being ever born. Our human conscience functions from an inherent, instinctive consciousness of the will of God for our life. We can suppress our conscience, however, and walk away from His will. We turn a blind eye to the evidence of God in creation, which is clearly seen and understood by all, so that no one is without excuse when they reject God (Romans 1:18-20).

In our youth, our conscience is very active; however, it gets seared throughout our lifetime (1 Timothy 4:2). As adults, we may go through some self-help programs, but we eventually revert to our old, carnal ways. True change only comes when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ. Even if we do surrender to His call on our life, condemnation from past failings, and feelings of insecurity and inadequacy about the future, drive our conscience to perform in our human efforts to win God’s favor.

Depending on our choices, our conscience either commends or condemns us. When we continually avoid compliance with God’s truth, we sear our conscience and have no moral compass to guide our thoughts, words and deeds (1 Timothy 4:2). When we compare our behavior with that of someone in the world, we may think we are doing fine; but the world is not our standard. Jesus Christ is our measure, which means that no matter how well we behave, we often miss the mark of His perfection and end up in sin.

Sometimes, Satan makes us feel guilty, even if we are not guilty of sin, in order to debilitate us and prevent God’s Holy Spirit from using us as He desires. God’s conviction brings no condemnation with it, but always shows us a way to escape the temptation in front of us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even if we do wrong, we can always repent of that sin and apologize to those whom we offended. Christ died to make us a new creation for His service (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Our conscience cautions us when we violate Biblical standards. It agrees with what our heart instinctively knows about God’s expectations. Yet, many people still reject God’s truth (Romans 2:14-15). It is only as we resist Satan’s lies and submit to God’s Spirit and His Word, that we can renew our mind. We realign it with the mind of Christ (James 4:7; Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2). Then, the Holy Spirit replaces our carnal nature with the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4) and the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Father God, thank You for setting us free from the manipulation of false guilt and freeing our conscience from the bondage of Satan’s lies. You forgave our sin and washed us as white as snow (Colossians 2:13; Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18). We accept Your forgiveness, we forgive our self and we live to bring You glory with all of our thoughts, words and deeds. We rest from the tyranny of our human efforts (Hebrews 4:10). As Born Again Believers, we operate in faith in the sanctifying activity of Christ and Your Spirit in our life (Colossians 2:6).

Thought for the Day:
Repentance clears our conscience by changing our mind and our actions. – 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 4:7

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Viva la Technolongy


Technology improves our human existence in many ways. Among other things, it controls pollution, it keeps us connected all over the world, it controls a car and flies an airplane, it registers the weather and helps us to prepare for it, it gives reviews on information we are interested in, it enhances a surgeon’s ability in the operating room and photographs the inside of our body for medical information, it checks our spelling and it can even research the Bible in an instant.

However, technology can also be an idol in our life. Have you ever noticed that people can no longer sit still? We have electronic devices such as the TV, radio, iPad, iPod, laptops, tablets, smart phones, and the list goes on into infinity. They are always “ON”. We rarely take the time to sit quietly to think or pray. Flashing pictures, text messages and sound waves constantly distract our attention. We have televisions in the kitchen, in the garage and now they are even showing up in the bathroom.

We have several Biblical examples of people who actually walked with God. Enoch walked with God and God took Him home to His house (Genesis 5:22-24). Noah walked with God (Gen 6:9). God walked with the Israelite nation (Exodus 33:14; Leviticus 26:12). The biggest blessing is that God and His Christ make their abode within the heart of anyone who keeps His Word (John 14:23). As we keep His commandments, we dwell in Him, and He dwells in us by His Spirit whom He gives us (1 John 3:24).

I love silence. I spend much of the Night Watch (Psalm 119:148) in silence, listening to the voice of God as He teaches, comforts and inspires me. He pours His love over me like a waterfall and fills my soul with His peace. If I chose to sit in front of the TV or Internet instead, I would miss this wondrous intimacy with my Heavenly Daddy. I can even take this intimacy with me wherever I go, every moment of any day of the week and into any situation. You can too.

Father God, You motivate us to stay in constant fellowship with You and to stand against the temptation to have any idol rule our life. Your presence motivates us and gives us rest. We find favor in Your sight and we are Your people. You distinguish us from all other people, because we belong to You (Exodus 33:14-17; Leviticus 26:12). Thank You for allowing us to be one with You and Your Christ in perfect unity in Your love (John 17:23).

Thought for the Day:
Rejoice, be at peace, be comforted and complete, for the God of love and peace dwells in you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The God of Faithfulness

There is so much suffering in this world. We get so discouraged after experiencing abuse and degradation day after day. Even if we have a blessed life, we see the deprivation in lives all around us. We long for the Lord’s return; so He can initiate His Kingdom on the earth and do away with sorrow and sighing (Isaiah 51:11). Yet, God tarries, in His patience and loving kindness, as He gives every person alive, one more chance to surrender to His love (Psalm 86:15).

Actually, the impact of the suffering in our life dwindles in the effect it has on us, as God’s glorious presence rises more prominently in our heart (Romans 8:18). We see Satan exploiting the people we love, but we learn to surrender their suffering and ours to God’s capable hands. He is our Rock, and His work is faultless. All of His ways are holy. He is the faithful One. We can relinquish our disappointment and anger to Him as we put this life’s evil into God’s perspective (Isaiah 65:16).

Even if people, who claim that they are Christians, live unfaithful lives, this does not mean that God is unfaithful (Romans 3:3). God does wondrous things for us, which He planned before He ever created the earth, and we can praise and honor His name (Isaiah 25:1). He causes everything to work out for the good for those who love Him and are called for His purpose (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28). He is our Father God, our strength, our defender and our salvation (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 98:1).

Even in the light of the wonders He provides for us, none of this compares to who God is (Psalm 40:5). He is faithful to every generation from the beginning of time (Psalm 89:1). Even our suffering has value, because we comfort others with the same comfort, which He provides for us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We are one with our living God. He sustains us with His righteousness, peace and joy by His Spirit. He is our everything, our Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13).

Father God, without You, we could do nothing (John 15:5). We praise, bless and exalt Your holy name (Psalm 118:28). We teach our children and show every generation the marvelous things You do for us all (Psalm 78:4; Psalm 111:4). Yet, even then, many refuse to believe. They are so caught up in their pride and rebellion that they cannot see Your goodness and grace. They may never experience Your love, but we continue to pray for them as long as we have breath.

Thought for the Day:
We serve the living God of faithfulness who does no wrong and is totally just and holy. - Deuteronomy 32:4

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Power of Christ in Us

The Jewish culture looked for powerful signs to follow, and the Greek culture craved the latest tidbit of wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21). When Christ came, He served as a stumbling block for both cultures. To those of us, who are called in Christ, however, Jesus is both the power and the wisdom of God for us (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). To know God personally is to relate to Him in the same way that a man “knows” his wife (Genesis 4:1). This is not an intellectual pursuit, but an intimate union.

Once we know the Lord, we enter into eternal life with Him (John 17:3). We labor with all the powerful energy of Christ working in us (Colossians 1:29). This is the same power, which manifested through Christ when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Jesus at His right hand (Ephesians 1: 19-20). God does not look for excellence, eloquence and elegance in His people. He simply looks for a surrendered life. He does not need our natural talents. He gives us supernatural abilities.

God does not call those who want the credit, only those who humbly give Him the glory. He wants a submissive person, emptied of him/her self and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (1 Corinthians 15:10; Colossians 2:9). This takes a work of God’s Spirit in our life. For instance, when the soldiers came to take Jesus, Peter unsheathed his sword to defend Jesus to the death; however, just a few hours later, he denied Jesus three times, just like Jesus said he would (Mark 14:66-72).

Jesus knew Peter’s habit of depending on the flesh to fight his battles. That is why the transformation in Peter after Pentecost is so amazing to me! For the first time, he preached by the Spirit, unashamed of the gospel (Acts 2:14-36). Peter learned that it is not by our human talents or abilities through which we accomplish great works for God, but only by God’s Spirit can we ever make an impression on anyone for the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). We can learn from His example.

Father God, when I lay down to sleep, I remember all that You do for me. I cannot help but to worship You with all of my heart (Psalm 86:5). Remind me that You want all of the glory for what You accomplish through me. I surrender my flesh, which wants to take the credit for Your accomplishments through me, and I ask you to give me Your humility in its place. Do not cast me from Your presence, but create a clean heart in me, and renew me with a righteous spirit (Psalm 51:10-11). Unite me with You in the power of Christ in me (Colossians 3:3).

Thought for the Day:
As Born Again Believers, we intimately know the joy, which belongs to God's Saints, instead of the fleeting happiness provided by the world, the flesh and the devil.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Loving Kindness in the Morning


Each day, God draws us closer to Himself as we surrender our will to His. Our intimacy with Jesus, who lives within us, grows deeper with each passing day. We mature in His Word and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). He gradually works His spiritual, divine nature into our character (2 Peter 1:4). He reveals Himself to us more each day that we walk faithfully according to the leading of His Holy Spirit. We anticipate the day on which He completely unveils the fullness of His Godhead in us.

With each new morning, we meditate on God’s Word, listen to His Spirit, follow Jesus’ example and look forward to His triumph in every moment of our day, regardless of how dark our circumstances appear. He loves for us to sit at His feet, to learn from Him and to spend time worshipping Him throughout the day for the multitude of gifts He showers on us. These are the highlights of our day. He also provides us with spiritual gifts to use to help to build His Kingdom in the earth (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

God prepared works for us to accomplish with our life (Ephesians 2:10). He knew ahead of time whether or not we would walk in them (Romans 9:23). Once we taste of the goodness of the Lord, we will never return to our sinful lifestyle (Romans 6:22). If we do, that proves we are not Born Again (1 John 3:9). His kindness leads us to repentance as He draws us into redemption from sin and the curse (Romans 2:4; John 6:44; Philippians 3:13-14).

Our guilt over our past, our stress in our current situation and our fear of the future all hinder our joy in the Lord. We can rejoice in the good as well as in the bad, because He always works everything out for our ultimate benefit (Romans 8:28). Walking away from sin’s temptation insures that we reap God’s intended blessings for our life (1 John 5:18). God perfects us from the inside out, putting His desires in our heart so that we walk in His ways (Psalm 37:4; Deuteronomy 8:6).

Father God, thank You for removing any vain thoughts that set themselves up in our mind against Your truth (2 Corinthians 5:10). We live in remorse for those times that we choose to walk away from You. Draw the hearts of our loved ones away from rebellion, pride, addictions and willfulness and show them the beauty of Your presence in our life. Cause us to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, which enables us to trust in You. Reveal to us the way in which we should walk, because we lift up our soul to You (Psalm 143:8).

Thought for the Day:
Those whom the Spirit sets free are free indeed. - John 8:36


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Word of God Speaks


Jesus prophesied His own death several times during his years with His apostles, but they did not grasp the reality of His predictions (John 13:31-32). Jesus was still a young man and they assumed they had years of service still ahead with him. Jesus spent a great deal of time with the apostles, speaking to them about what they needed to know before He left them. They did not fully understand the meaning behind His words, however, until after Pentecost.

When we hear God’s Word, we receive it with joy. The Word of God will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). His Words are Spirit and give us life (John 6:63). The word of God is living and powerful. Like a surgeon’s knife, it penetrates into the deepest recesses of our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions - and removes the ungodliness present there (Hebrews 4:12). When He uses us to plant the seed of the gospel in fertile soil, it springs forth with plentiful fruit (Luke 8:11).

Even the heavens and skies declare the glorious works of God’s hands (Psalm 19:1). When I consider the size and magnificence of creation, I cannot comprehend it. It is too magnanimous for me to fathom. God uses this very creation to preach His gospel (Romans 1:18-20). Even in countries where missionaries have yet to preach, the heavens are proclaiming God’s righteousness and the people see His glory (Psalm 97:6). If they refrain from believing His truth, it is only because of their rebellion and pride (Romans 1:20).

If we hide God’s Word in our heart, we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Every word of God is perfect and holy (Proverbs 30:5). We meditate on His precepts and respect His ways, which He lays out for us in the Bible (Psalm 119:15). God breathed every word for our inspiration, instruction, conviction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). We stop and think before we say anything to anyone, and speak only the sincere words, which God gives us to say (2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Peter 4:11).

I meditate on Your Word all through the night watches. You are my help, and I hide and rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You for stability and comfort. You hold me up with Your powerful right hand (Psalm 63:6-8). You are my rock and You bring me true salvation. You are my strong fortress, which prevents me from being shaken by the storms and quakes of life (Psalm 62:2). The earth and sky will most definitely be destroyed, but Your Word remains forever (Romans 10:8).

Thought for the Day:
The Word of God is always near us, in our mind and heart and on our lips. – Romans 10:8

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Confident Life

Our God, who raised Christ from the dead, gives life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11). He also wants our soul – our mind, will and emotions - to prosper (3 John 1:2). Holiness is never obtained by outward habits, but only by an inner love relationship with our Lord. The law never sets anyone free, but simply shows us our need for a Savior (Galatians 3:24). Grace leads everyone to repentance, but not everyone responds; some cling to their pride in their humanity and reject God’s truth.

We rely on our human resources and talents to accomplish our work for the Lord. We want to do it our self and we do not want anyone to tell us what to do or how to do it. However, this attitude comes from pride, and pride always precedes ultimate failure, even if we succeed in the moment (Proverbs 16:18). God reminds us not to put our confidence in our human abilities (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 3:3). Conflict is the common result of pride and it opens a door for Satan to influence the circumstances in our life (James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:1-10).

I used to run around breathless, because I tried to meet everyone’s needs in my human efforts. I did not follow the Spirit’s leading, and I followed my heart instead. I ended up bitter and disappointed because people sometimes resented what they considered my intrusion. We often consider human needs above the Lord’s desire for our life. We consider others better than our self, but we forget to have humility of mind in every area of life (Philippians 2:3).

Actually, in truth, the work of God is simply to believe in Jesus, whom God sent (John 6:28-29). He requires nothing else from us. God promises to guide us if we ask Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Prayer is our greatest ally in walking in God’s will (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We respond to Him in love for what He has already done for us. We serve others only as we are lead in love by the Spirit of God (Romans 12:1,10).

There is no need for us to denigrate and deny our self in order to please God. Many false religions purport this behavior in order to prove they are worthy of God’s love. Some even use guilt and masochistic behavior to humble a person. We cannot obtain salvation or do penance for our sins by self-denial. We only become like Christ as we submit to the Spirit’s transforming work in our life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We bless you, our God and Father. You comfort us in our afflictions and give us Your hope and mercy. You show us how to comfort others by Your example of comforting us. We may suffer for the name of Christ, but You comfort us through Your name (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We hope in You and wait for Your salvation, because we have confidence that You always hear us (Micah 7:7). We exult in You, Lord, and rejoice in your salvation. You are our strength and our help (Habakkuk 3:18-19).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble; He knows those who trust in Him. - Nahum 1:7

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Living in Christ

Righteousness can come from God or from our own soul. The difference is that self-righteousness is birthed from pride and Godly righteousness comes from humility and surrender to God. If we attempt to gain God’s favor by performing holy actions, we fail. All of our human righteousness is like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). We can do nothing to earn God’s favor or to work our way into heaven. Nothing less than complete surrender to God will do.

We receive God’s righteousness in exchange for our sinfulness, at the moment we repent of our sins and look to Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:3). It is a gift, not something we earn (Romans 3:23). The righteous works of a Believer are simply the evidence of our faith (James 2:14-26), not an attempt to earn God’s acceptance. We only perform the works, which God intended for us to do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

When the Holy Spirit governs our behavior, our works endure and we receive rewards for them on judgment day. When our human flesh directs our works, they are wasted energy and simply burned up on the day of judgment (1 Corinthians 3:15). Although we are still saved, we do not receive rewards for these works, because they are not done in obedience, but by the flesh, which is enmity against God (Romans 8:7).

God created each of us for a purpose, and only these works will survive the test of God’s consuming fire (Ephesians 2:10). When we abide in Christ, we dwell continually in His presence. The Holy Spirit gives us the character, nature and perspective of Jesus, which replaces our carnal persona (2 Corinthians 3:18). God does not give us a list of rules to adhere to, which is the law. But He gives us a whole new way of life in Christ as co-heirs and children of the King.

Father God, You call us to live IN Christ, not FOR Christ. You want Christ to live through us, so that we will accomplish Your will in the earth and bring forth the fulfillment of Your Kingdom. Create a new heart and renew a right spirit in us (Psalm 51:10). We acknowledge Your holiness and stand in awe of You in Your presence (Isaiah 29:23). You formed and made us from the dust of the earth, and we are created for Your glory, not our own (Isaiah 43:7).

Thought for the Day:
God chose us in Christ, holy and blameless in His sight, before the earth was ever formed. – Ephesians 1:4