Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Soul Yearns - A Prayer





Father God, I wait for You. All of my thoughts, words and deeds are aligned with Your Biblical precepts because Your good name and Your memory of me are the desire of my soul. My soul hungers for You all day long, but especially in the night watches when I attentively seek only You (Isaiah 26:8-9).

My heart trusts in Your loyal love for me, which pours over me like a waterfall all day long. You are always there to help me in any time of trouble. My heart rejoices in Your salvation, with which You so lavishly wrap me. I will sings praises to You, Lord, because of the bountiful blessings You continually bestow on me (Psalm 13:4-5).

On my bed, I remember all You did for me today and I think of You throughout the night watches (Psalm 63:6). My heart rejoices in Your goodness to me, and I sing songs of gratitude to You in my heart (Psalm 28:7). I gaze upon the beauty of Your countenance within me, and I hide in the refuge of Your wings, because You will never leave my soul impoverished (Psalm 141:8).

As I lift up my soul to You, I hear Your unfailing love come to me in new ways every morning. As I depend on You for my day, You give me direction for each moment (Psalm 143:8). My soul glorifies You, Lord, and my soul is at rest because of the abundance of good blessings You shower on me each new day (Luke 1:46; Psalm 116:7).

I awaken and my soul cries out to You all through the night watches. I pour my heart out in Your presence and You hear me. I lift up my hands to You as I pray for the unreached people groups, the persecuted church, impoverished children around the world, my loved ones living in service to You, my unsaved family members and the churches that are carrying Your name and furthering Your Kingdom (Lamentations 2:19).

At times, my soul yearns and even despairs of ever reaching Your courts. My heart and my aging body cry out to be with You, our living God (Psalm 84:2). God, You are my God. I will earnestly seek You, because my soul thirsts for You and my body yearns for Your courts as I trust in Your love and kindness in this dry and weary land, parched of the living water of life (Psalm 63:1).

In Jesus' name and for Your glory. Amen







Saturday, November 29, 2014

Choosing a Marriage Partner





Most couples dearly love one another, but have a hard time expressing their deepest feelings. They desperately want their mate to know and love them, but have no clue how to show or share their feelings. We take each other for granted and settle into a stale rut. The old joke states, "I told you that I love you when I married you; and if I change my mind, I will let you know."

Unrealistic expectations prior to marriage often ruin a couple's chance at happiness in the marriage. No one can possibly live up to the fairy tale romance we dream about or be the person someone else expects us to be. Many people think that they will change their mate once they get married. One man put it this way, "Honey, what you see is what you get. I'm not changing for anyone or for any reason."

We end up frustrated, angry, resentful and feeling hopeless, because we are always arguing. If we realize that we are both human, we can both relax a bit. We all have foibles and idiosyncrasies, which make us the unique person that we are. Rather than insisting on our own way, we can find a third choice, which meets both of our needs.

The key to a happy marriage is honest communication. Not brutal honesty, but loving, confident, uncritical expressions of what we want and need. We do not like to guess what our mate expects or is thinking. It puts undo stress on a couple to try to predict what gift our mate wants for special occasions or what behavior they are expecting from us.  ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ )

There are realistic expectations for marriage, however. We need the same goals, dreams and principles. We need to have similar ideas on raising children, where to worship and how to spend money. We need to laugh together, play together and cry together. We need someone who will accept us as we are and who will support us through the hard times, someone who will love us for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, we know without a doubt that Your love for us is the most fulfilling and the most urgent of our human needs. You do not love us for how we perform, because You loved us while we were still depraved sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). You gave us the desire to love and to be loved. Remind us to seek Your will for our potential mate and to receive Godly counsel before making the final decision. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).

Thought for the Day:
Both men and women thrive on praise and affirmation, rather than on criticism and unrealistic expectations. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11






Friday, November 28, 2014

Friend of God




So many people are so burdened by what they want, and don't have; rather than being thankful for what they have, that they never knew they wanted! The more we complain, the less joy we experience each day. However, the more we give thanks, even for the negative issues of life, the more we live in peace and fulfillment.

This goes against our normal, human behavior. We almost feel dishonest to say that we are fine when we know we have something negative going on in our life. However, this earthly realm is not reality. Paul said it best. We brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing with us in the end, so we can live in Godly contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

In fact, giving God the first fruits of our time, love, esteem and attention decreases our trials as it honors God with the praise that is due His name (Psalm 69:30). God supplies all of our needs - physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually (1 Timothy 6:8). This allows us to give thanks for anything life throws at us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

As we view our trials as joyous opportunities to enjoy intimacy with God, we watch His miraculous provision for us in and through them. This allows patience to have time to perfect our soul - our mind, will and emotions (James 1:2). Our faith grows during trials, as we see God's mighty hand working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). God is awesome, generous, full of loving kindness and the best friend we will ever have.

Prayer:
Father God, our unity with Your Spirit will enable us to hear Your voice to deal with lost glasses, what to fix for dinner, what to take with us before we leave the house and how to witness to the crying lady sitting across from us in the doctor's office. Just a few moments of refocusing in Your presence will make all the difference in our positive attitude. Your faithfulness is our measuring rod, and Your friendship means more to us than we could ever express in words.

Thought for the Day:
What a privilege it is to live our days as a friend of God, because this relationship brings so many benefits to our life; some are even "out of this world"! -  John 15:14-15

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Internal Investigation



Most people fly through life without any consideration of what is affecting their body, thoughts and feelings. One way to change this negligent behavior is to pay closer attention to them. If we write down the thoughts occupying our mind, the pains in our body and any negative emotions we experience, they reveal secrets to us.

How does your body feel? What is your soul experiencing? What is your spiritual temperature, hot or cold or...lukewarm? (Revelation 3:16) Performing a thorough internal investigation of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state permits us to pray about what to do about them.

Negative emotions are always a signal that something deeper is the culprit. Our physical health even affects our thoughts and emotions, and vice versa. When we analyze the conversations going on in our head among our various ego states, then we can decide what is bothering us and hear the Holy Spirit's direction on what to do to resolve the problems.

We have the choice to play the role of victim and to concede to our spiritual, physical or emotional ailments; to fight how we feel; to ignore the red flags raised in our soul; or to follow the advice of the Serenity Prayer and change or surrender to God the issues distressing us.

There is no way to change another person's mind or actions without his or her consent; so, prayer and God's Word allow us to gain God's wisdom and perspective on our concerns. This is the only way to survive in this world. If God does not show us how to change our circumstances, then we ask Him to help us; and He always does.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that as we put our cares in Your capable hands, that You will deal with them or show us what to do about them, because You truly care about us (1 Peter 5:7). You give us Your joy as our strength, even in the most negative of circumstances. Some issues are our responsibility, and some are beyond our control. We praise You for, in and through every aspect of our life. Thank You for showering us with Your serenity and joy, and for working out everything for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Changing our focus about our issues will bring us unimaginable and glorious freedom from our circumstances, even if they never change; as well as joy in spite of them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Victory through Life and Death



When we are Born Again by the blood of the Lamb, God's Spirit replaces the carnal nature in our soul with the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:3-4; Galatians 2:20). He is constantly perfecting us by His Spirit who abides in our spirit. He takes away our desire to sin, and unrighteous living no longer appeals to us.

God's Spirit helps our weaknesses and illnesses. He searches our heart and knows our mind; then He prays for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Ritualistic prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and wants to hear our own words (Ephesians 1:18).

God also places His prayer burdens on our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for the persecuted church, for those burdened by illness, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, our unsaved loved ones, etc. Prayer prepares us for victory both in life and in death. Jesus removed the sting of death, and gave authentic Believers the victory over it through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8).

In fact, there is greater benefit for us to go Home to the glory of Heaven than to continue living life here on this sin-cursed earth. Dying is not the travesty of life; it is the benefit of a life lived in Christ. What the world views as death is actually victory to God and is used by God for our ultimate good, because God rejoices in the death of His Saints (Romans 8:28; Psalm 116:15).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that, through Christ, death is swallowed up in victory. We know that Your Holy Spirit works in our heart, until the glorious day when either Christ returns for His Bride, or we come through the valley of death into Your glorious light (1 Peter 2:9; Isaiah 60:1). Remind us not to limit You by our thoughts and fears, but teach us to pray the words, which Your Spirit inspires us with and with which He breaks our heart (Romans 8:26).

Thought for the Day:
Once we realize our human limitations, we will rely on God's Spirit to pray through us during our life and escort us through death to our heavenly Home in glory. - Romans 8:26-34; 2 Corinthians 5:1

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Connecting with God





People often wonder why God will not answer their prayers. They accuse Him of not caring about them (1 Peter 5:7). It could be that we do not have a personal relationship with Him and He does not know us (Matthew 7:21-23). Sin may be blocking God from hearing our words or tainting the message of our prayer. Possibly, we do not spend enough time listening in order to hear His voice.

God answers our prayers with a "yes", "no", or "wait". Our Father knows the end from the beginning and knows what is best for us (Isaiah 46:10). He is not spiteful or vindictive. He does not punish us. He will discipline His children; but though He wounds, He always heals (Job 5:18). He will also heal our land, if His Saints will humble themselves and pray (2 Chronicles 7:14; Ezekiel 22:30).

A lack of a personal relationship with God (John 3:18), sinful behavior or a hectic lifestyle with little prayer and devotion hinder our ability to connect with God (Isaiah 59:2). Only repentance cleanses us as we confess our failings (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2). With intimate times of prayer, we have more power to stand against spiritual warfare, trials and temptations (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

King David realized that God did not want sacrifice from us as much as He wanted obedience and devotion (Hebrews 10:8-9). God would rather have us praying than working for Him without His Spirit's direction. He created works for us to do, but we will only know what they are as we pray (Ephesians 2:10). God's truest desire is that we love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength (Luke 10:27).

Prayer:
Father God, we ask You to fill us with a deep desire and hunger to know You more and to connect with You through our prayer life and Bible study. Our heart thirsts after You, like the deer pants for water (Psalm 42:1). Fill us with Your Holy Spirit every day and cause us to hear Your loving kindness each new morning (Ephesians 5:18-19; Psalm 143:8). Teach us to use Your Word to pray effectual prayers.

Thought for the Day:
If we remain connected to God, we will bear fruit for His Kingdom; but apart from Him, we can do nothing. - John 15:5-8

Monday, November 24, 2014

Joyful Thanksgiving




We each suffer terrible trials during our lifetime. We are ridiculed, rejected, abused, accused, deprived, discouraged, denied, and broken when we experience various levels of disaster and disease. Only by the power of God's Spirit within us can we praise when we want to fight or run away.

God advises us to praise Him during these appalling times, because God is in them with us. He never leaves us, so our joy is always complete (Hebrews 13:5; John 15:11). We can give thanks for every trial, because it cannot come to us unless He allows it, and because He reduces its negative effect on us (Romans 8:28).

God calls His children to live with gratitude to Him in our heart through every situation we experience (James 1:2-5; Hebrews 12:3-13; 1 Peter 2:20-21). The Spirit teaches us that our joy does not depend on our circumstances, but simply on the fact that we are constantly in the presence of Christ.

Jesus allowed His own body to be broken (Isaiah 53:10-11). Yet prior to his torture and crucifixion, he gave thanks for God's mercy in His life and for His hope of our everlasting existence (Luke 22:19;). He knew this was the only way to forgive our sins, so He suffered and died in our place (Philippians 2:11, John 15:11; Psalm 16:11).

Jesus is our only way, truth and life (John 14:6). Our most shattering experience and most dreadful day are God's best tools to increase our intimate relationship with Him. In our gratitude, we sing songs of praise to the Lord and serve Him with His joy in our heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The Lord is God, and He made us; so we belong to Him. The Psalms are full of reasons to give thanks to God (Psalm 30, 50, 69, 92, 95, 105, 118, etc).

Prayer:
Father God, we always give thanks to You, in the name of Jesus, for everything; even the negative aspects of our life (Ephesians 5:20). Whatever occurs is from You for the purpose of bringing our body, soul or spirit is line with Your perfect will for us. Through Christ, even when we are out of human options and feeling abandoned, we continually offer the sacrifice of praise to You with words inspired by thanksgiving for all You already did, as well as what You will continue to do for us (Hebrews 13:15).

Thought for the Day:
We begin all of our prayers with words of thanksgiving and praise, because God is good and His mercy and truth are everlasting. - Psalm 100



Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Gift of God's Presence



A shooting star, a sale at the store on the exact item you need, a flower growing in the sidewalk crack, a simple solution for a giant problem, and so many more examples are all revelations of God's goodness - a special kiss from Him just for us. He even uses a quick glance at a clock, with a special arrangement of the numerical order, to give me special hugs throughout the day.
( http://carm.org/what-biblical-numerology )

We do not need to earn the gift of salvation, because it is a free gift through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). However, the gift of God's presence entails our obedience and love for Him. Walking in God's Spirit allows us to maintain this constant communion with Him (Galatians 5:16-25). We walk in fulfillment and find joy in the simplest revelation of His goodness.

We must guard against allowing the good activities, which we are invited to participate in, from becoming the enemy of God's best for us. The frantic pace of our world thwarts us from enjoying a contented life in God's presence. The good people and events, which demand our attention, are robbing us of quality time with God, His Word and His perfect will.

Our hectic lifestyle prevents us from entering into the rest of God's presence (Hebrews 13:5). It is only as we love the Lord with our entire heart, having no idols in His place and ordering our steps to seek Him throughout the day, that He will provide His guidance and protection while showering us with His peace and love (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 62:5-8).

Prayer:
Father God, what you desire from us more than anything else is for us to love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Remind us to walk in Your Spirit's filling, which is new every day, and to live in the center of Your will. Help us not to forget that only one thing is needed in this life, and Mary made the better choice. Thank You for promising never to take away from us our intimacy with You (Luke 10:42).

Thought for the Day:
At times, we cannot hear God's voice, due to the roar of people's expectations requiring our time and talents.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Sin unto Death






God is faithful and just, and He forgives every sin, for which we repent. Unrighteousness is sin. God cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This sin does not lead to our eternal death (1 John 5:16-17). When we sincerely repent, God casts our sin as far away as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He remembers it no more (Hebrews 8:12).
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Bible (See former post); however, there is also a "sin unto death" (1 John 5:16-17). This person chooses to abide in a sinful lifestyle rather than living the holy life, where God calls us to reside, and he/she refuses to repent (1 Peter 1:16).

God will continually convict and draw this individual back to Himself, but if there is no repentance, then God will take this person out of the world, cutting his/her life short. This is not referring simply to spiritual death, because we are all already born with our spirit dead in sin. 1 John is not simply referring to spiritual death, but also to physical death (1 John 1:1-2; 2:25; 3:14-15; 4:9; 5:11-13).

Authentic believers do sin occasionally (1 John 1:7, 1:9, 2:1, 5:16); however, we do not persevere in disobedient behavior (1 John 2:4). Those who persistently walk in sin and darkness, while claiming to know the truth and to be in the light, who hate Christ and His followers and who deny that Jesus is God who came in the flesh as our Messiah, are in danger of committing the sin unto death (1 John 1:6, 2:9, 2:22).

Prayer:
Father God, we live with the confidence that You will answer our requests when they are prayed according to Your will (1 John 5:14-15). You always answer our fervent, effective prayers (1 John 3:21-22, 4:16-17). Teach us to honor You with our thoughts, words and actions, so that we will never bring shame on Your name. Thank You for the multitude of blessings that You share with us each day.

Thought for the Day:
We tremble before the Lord in reverence and awe, worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness. - Psalm 96:9

Friday, November 21, 2014

Effective Prayer




The Body of Christ performs a vital ministry for our spiritual life. As we confess our sins to each other, we hold one another accountable. Also, prayer unites the Body of Christ more deeply than any other spiritual discipline. When we pray for each other, we are healed. There is no disputing the fact that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

A wonderful way to learn God's Word, and to gain the insight of Saints who already walked the same path, in the season of life in which we are living, is called discipleship. However, there is no better source of discipleship than sitting at Jesus feet (Luke 10:38-42). Through prayer and by reading His Word, God's Spirit teaches us all things (1 John 2:27).

Our developing relationship with God gives us a more intense desire for holiness, as we realize how deeply our behavior affects our witness and our relationship with our Lord. The clearer we hear God speak to us, the more closely we can follow His voice in our daily life (James 1:5; Jeremiah 29:13; John 10:27). Otherwise, we suffer from impaired spiritual hearing (Matthew 11:15).

God lives in us and we are as close to Him as is possible; but we can form a deeper, more personal bond with Him by spending more time hanging out in His presence. Intimate communication in our prayer closet allows our relationship with God to deepen, because we are spending quality time with our Father (Matthew 22:37; John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, You are never far from us. We, however, allow the busyness of life to drown out Your voice and to rob us of our intimate times with You. Remind us to pay attention to You in every moment of every day, so that You can approach us more intimately than ever before (James 4:8). You will fill us with more of Your holiness, as well as Your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Then we will walk in Your power and victory over sin, the world and Satan (John 14:12-14; Acts 1:8).

Thought for the Day:
New Testament Saints made prayer a priority; why don't we?
- Acts 1:14

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Powerless to Control



We usually start life under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream, but life often careens out of our control. We eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life, and we realize that we need a Savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a power, which is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out. Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within his or her soul, yearning for their spirit to be reborn (Romans 1:19-23). We all have a body and soul - our mind, will and emotions, but our spirit is dead until we come to Christ (John 3:1-21).

Once we come to Christ, He helps us to clear our conscience of dead works. Feelings of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness and more melt away at His presence in our life. He also helps us to think of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life  (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24).

It is wise to obtain Christian counseling and discipleship, and to share with someone who will continually hold us accountable as we walk in God's Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12). As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect. We can forgive those who harm us and ask forgiveness from those whom we hurt. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for our life each moment and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your ways. Sanctify us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. - Romans 12:1

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

God's Everlasting Love


 


Our help in times of tribulation and loss comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2). He is the God of Creation (Genesis 1:1), Redemption (Ephesians 1:7) and Protection (Psalm 121:7). As Creator, He not only created the cosmos in the beginning, He will also restore all things with a new Heaven and a new Earth (Revelation 21:1).  As Redeemer, God saves Believers and protects us so that we will never perish (John 3:16-18).

To receive these blessings, we admit our need for a Savior. We all fall short of His glory, and deserve death; however, God gives us eternal life when we turn from our sinful lifestyle and trust in Him to save us (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8). We confess that we are sinners, believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and we shall be saved (Roman 10:9).

We can live in confidence, because we know that God is protecting us through every trial and in all of our grief. As with Daniel in the lion's den, the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace and the valley of the shadow of death, God does not save us from the suffering; but as we live through it, He walks with us, as well as in us (Colossians 1:27).

God collects our tears in His bottle and He records the events in His book. He will bring revenge on those who hurt us (Romans 12:19). When we pray, God works on our behalf. We can trust Him without hesitation, realizing that no one can do anything to us without God's consent (Psalm 56:8-11). We will live for eternity and no one can ever snatch us away from Him (John 10:28).

Prayer:
Father God, I confess that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I turn to You for salvation. I believe in You and trust You to take control of my life. Thank you for creating me, redeeming me and providing for me every day of my life. You are there for me in the light and the darkness. You carry me through every trial and comfort me in all of my grief (Psalm 68:19).

Thought for the Day:
As we flee from temptation and please God, we will increase in grace and knowledge of all that the Lord means to us. - 2 Timothy 2:22-24; 2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Comings of Christ




There are three separate comings of Jesus Christ recorded in God's Word. First, He came as a baby, born in a manger and lived a submissive life to His parents for 30 years. Then, after His ministry of three years, He died on the cross to save us from our sins, He resurrected from the grave and ascended back to heaven to be with our Father. He is building New Jerusalem for us, so that we can live with Him for eternity (John 14:2-3).

What we call the Rapture is the second appearing of Jesus, which happens in the clouds, when He comes to call His Bride of Believers home to Heaven. Those who are dead will rise first. Their spirit and soul are already with the Lord, but their mortal body will come from the dust of the grave and be changed into an immortal body as they go to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Isaiah 35:4). Those Believers still alive on the earth at that time will join them (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

This occurs prior to Jesus opening the first seal on the scroll and unleashing the reign of the anti-Christ on the earth for seven years (Revelation 5:1-10, 6:2). God will use the Great Tribulation to judge the ungodly nations of the world through the horrors of the Day of His Wrath. The governments of this world will topple and every unbeliever will be brought to their knees and realize that Jesus is Lord (Romans 14:10-12; Philippians 2:11).

God will also use the Great Tribulation to save Israel and to bring them into the land He promised their father Abraham. God's third reason for the Day of His Vengeance is to put an end to Satan's rule on this earth. This brings on what is called the second coming, when Jesus physically returns to earth with His Saints to defeat Satan's Army and to rule the earth for one thousand years, and then on into eternity (Revelation 20-22).

Prayer:
Father God, the end time events strike fear in the heart of everyone who respects Your name. We know they will literally happen just as your life, death and resurrection literally occurred. We thank You for giving us the opportunity to work in Your Kingdom throughout the Millennium. Help us to reach as many people as possible now, to join us for eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Going to church and reading the Bible will not save anyone. God calls everyone to believe that we need a savior, that Jesus Christ is that Savior, and to surrender our life and our will to God. - John 3:16-18

Monday, November 17, 2014

Love for a Lifetime





Marriage is defined as a union of two individuals. God phrases it as two becoming one. This means that we no longer strive to please our self, but to submit to one another as joint heirs to the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 3:7). We no longer promote our own agenda, but meld our ideas to formulate a new way of life, which meets both of our needs.

When one person in the couple gives more than the other person, there is an inequity in both power and fulfillment. This imbalance will throw off the symmetry of the relationship and fuel negative emotions, which destroy intimacy. If undetected or not dealt with, they will erode even the best of relationships.

In a Godly marriage, both partners build up one another in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11), bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2), help to carry each other's burdens (Colossians 3:13), edify each other rather than to criticize or tear one another down (Ephesians 4:29), and find God's will for our marriage by praying together and seeking the Holy Spirit's direction (Jude 1:20).

We all need praise, affirmation, love, appreciation and support. No one likes to be taken for granted, discounted or neglected. We often get too focused on work, children, church activities and community involvement and end up disregarding our mate and family. This is as much of a betrayal as infidelity. Make your mate your priority, second only to God. Spend time as a family and bond for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, You knew us and had every day of our life planned out before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). You gave woman to man as a helpmate. Teach us to value one another's opinions, because there are many bad decisions, which could have been avoided if a couple discussed and prayed about it prior to carrying it out. Help us to avoid blaming and criticizing and to accept one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies.

Thought for the Day:
Financial, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual fidelity is the key to marital success.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Redemption



 
Jesus Christ lived on this earth for 33 years and gave up his life to die on Calvary's tree to redeem us from the penalty of sin, which is eternity in hell (1 Peter 2:24). Now, because of Christ's sacrifice for us, we are redeemed and acceptable to God and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Jesus also provided us with God's grace, so that we can stand through our trials and rejoice in the hope of living in the glory of the Lord (Romans 5:2).

If we suffer according to God's will, we can follow Jesus' example and entrust our soul to our faithful God (1 Peter 4:19). If we are called according to God's purpose and live a life in love with Him, we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams (Romans 8:28). He gives us His faith to believe for things we cannot even see (Hebrews 11:1).

While we live on this earth, we gain courage as we walk in faith (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). We forget the past and look forward to the future as we walk in holiness and relish, by faith, the fact that we will attain the rewards, which God has in store for us through Jesus (Isaiah 43:18; Philippians 3:13-14). We function in the power of Christ in us to move mountains as we live by His faith (Mark 11:23).

God's love allows us to carry on through everything, which comes our way, to believe in His Word and to hope in His enduring promises (1 Corinthians 13:7). God dwells with us. We are His children and He is our God. He wipes away our tears and gives us joy instead of mourning. He redeems our past and gives us a thriving life on this earth and a future with Him in eternity (Revelation 21:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, we try to avoid suffering at all costs, even though we live in a broken world full of tattered and trodden people. We fear death and tremble at the thought of our life being reduced to a pile of ashes. Remind us of the privilege You give us to live as Your child. Please call those we love to come to a life of advantage and blessings right along with us. Help us to sacrifice our life for others as Jesus did for us.

Thought for the Day:
Put the past behind you and live in Christ's redemption now and always.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's Your Choice


 

Brokenness can either push you toward God or away from Him. If we allow discouragement to cause us to live in bitterness and anger, we will blame God. However, if we realize worldly temptations, sin and the devil cause these negative aspects to occur, then we will surrender to God. What Satan tries to use for our demise, God turns around for our good.

Overwhelming helplessness is a fork in the road. We choose which way we will go. If we decide to hate God, our life only gets worse, nothing works out for us, and in the end, we are hardened and lonely. If we settle into following hard after God, His grace helps us to climb the mountain of our pain into His waiting arms (Psalm 63:8; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Isaiah 40:11). He binds up our wounds and ultimately heals us (Psalm 147:3).

We cannot possibly be in control of every situation in our life; but God is. God had a hedge of protection around His servant Job. Satan believed that Job would curse God; so he got permission to all but destroy him. God knew Job's heart. When Job clung to God through every conceivable trial know to man, God blessed him with more than Satan destroyed (Job 42:10).

When our flesh and heart fail us, God strengthens us. He is our portion - all we need to prosper in this life (Psalm 73:26). There is no need to give in to discouragement or fear, because our God is always with us and holds us in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 41:10). God calls us to come to Him, so that He can give us His rest (Matthew 11:28).

If we yoke up with Christ throughout our life and learn from Him, our soul finds deepening rest. He makes every burden light, because He is on the other side of the yoke with us (Matthew 11:29-30). Jesus gives us His peace, which is more intense than anything this world has to offer. His peace helps us to overcome every fear, and all confusion and distress (John 14:27).

Prayer:
Father God, Your power is perfected in our weaknesses. We can actually glory in our idiosyncrasies and foibles, because then the power of Christ rests on us. Through it all, Your grace is sufficient for us
(2 Corinthians 12:9). Remind us to trust in You with every part of our soul - our mind, will and emotions - and not to rely on our human understanding. If we acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds, You will encourage and direct us (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Thought for the Day:
Give your brokenness to God, because He will sustain His righteous Saints and not allow us to be shaken by our circumstances. - Psalm 55:22

Friday, November 14, 2014

Caring for One Another



God's Spirit provides us with spiritual gifts, which build up the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Apostles start new churches; prophets proclaim God's Word; evangelists are anointed to reach the lost; pastors and teachers dissect the Word and feed it to us in tiny morsels, which are easy to digest; and they all equip the Body of Believers to go out to do the work of the ministry.

We are to respect and submit to our spiritual leaders, because they watch out for our soul, and they must give account to God for their watch care over us. Sometimes we cause them grief by our inconsiderate behavior and our refusal to heed their spiritual guidance (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 1 Peter 5:5). Some leadership is carnal, however, and we should always compare their advice with God's Word.

Since we are motivated by God's Spirit we love one another (Ephesians 5:18-19). Our leaders should model God's love and teach us to share the love we have from God with one another (1 John 2:10, 4:7,11; John 13:34-35; 1 Peter 1:22). We are to meet our own needs, as well as the needs of others, without allowing selfishness and arrogance to dictate our behavior (Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10, James 2:1).

When we purify our self by obeying God's truth, His sincere love helps us to love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Peter 1:22). We are compatible, compassionate, empathetic and meek when we love one another (1 Peter 3:8). The Lord teaches us to care for everyone, even unbelievers, with a growing love, which resembles our love for Him (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). You teach us to love one another by Your Spirit, especially those we consider to be unlovable (1 Thessalonians 4:9). When we see them with Your eyes, we are moved with Your compassion. Love comes from You, You live in us and Your love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7,12). As we love one another everyone will know that we are Your disciples (John 13:35).

Thought for the Day:
We are to owe no one anything except to love each other.
- Romans 13:8

Thursday, November 13, 2014

God Haters - Why Serve a God Who Kills





Some people ask, "How can you worship a God who started wars, commanded that women and children and animals be killed, and who causes trials for His own people?" This is an interesting question in light of the fact that humans have killed many more people through murder, human sacrifice and abortion than God ever "killed".

To answer the question: God is the God of justice, as well as mercy and grace (Job 37:23). He wounds, but He also heals (Job 5:18; Hebrews 12:10). When whole nations turn against God, after He gives them many opportunities to come to Him, He sends warnings of judgment for years (Ezekiel 3:17-18). Some nations turn from wickedness, like Nineveh when Jonah preached to them.

However, when nations refuse to repent and come to God, He uses other nations to judge them, or He uses nature, like with Noah's great flood (Psalm 119:71). It is interesting that Noah's great-grandfather, Enoch, knew there would be a flood. God warned people for hundreds of years that a flood was coming.

Then, Noah himself warned the people for 120 years that God wanted them to repent and to turn to Him. God even used the ark as an object lesson that a flood was actually coming. Yet, people mocked Noah and ended up perishing.

God is love and He cares about every one of us (1 John 4:8; John 3:16). God loves us so much that He became one of us to pay the penalty of our sins (John 3:16; John 1:1). He made His laws for our benefit, not His. He does not want us to hurt one another, and He wants us to honor Him for who He is, what He does for us and for our very life. He is waiting for you to come to Him.

Prayer:
Father God, You amaze me with the abundance of love, which You showed over and over again on the nations You had Your prophets warn. You warn modern humanity too by your prophets' Biblical history and through the preachers of your Word. The problem with the human race is our pride and self-reliance. Our penchant for giving Satan control of our life allows him to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). This grieves Your heart (Lamentations 3:33). Thank you for always turning around every negative aspect of life for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
What Satan means for evil, God always uses for our good. - Genesis 50:20

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No Idol Will Stand




What irritates you? What is your pet peeve? What steps on your last nerve? That is an idol in your life. Okay, maybe you do not daily worship at the altar of that idol, but when you are feeling that stress and negative emotion about that issue, you are. Anything that distracts us from peace with God is an idol. Lay it down at the altar.

King Jesus is the Lord, and it grieves Him for us to give our entire focus of attention to another person, activity or thing (Isaiah 42:8). Once we surrender that issue to God, His Spirit helps us to change our focus about it, or to let go of our penchant for worrying, complaining and being distracted by it.

When it stops bothering us, we see the Lord exalted on His throne of our life, and His holiness and glory will fill our life (Isaiah 6:1). As we recall the abundant goodness God provides for His children, our heart bursts out in song; and the petty grievances that once robbed us of our joy seem insignificant. God's new mercies meet us every single morning and give us His strength as our stronghold.

In times of trouble, He is our refuge. As we elevate our loving God in our life, our heart is filled with praises to Him (Psalm 59:16-17). With His good name and His reputation as our main concern, we walk in His ways and wait for His direction for our day (Isaiah 26:8). This prevents us from thinking about, speaking of, or walking in any unrighteousness at all.

Prayer:
Father God, You chose us to witness of Your love and to serve You. Your counsel and wisdom for us in life are absolutely wonderful (Isaiah 28:29). You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8). You already ordained every day of our life on this earth. 

Your purpose and pleasure are the only aspects we perform, which will stand for eternity (Isaiah 46:10). When we think about Your mighty works both for Israel and for Your Saints throughout all generations, we realize that You are God and there is no one like You (Isaiah 46:9).

Thought for the Day:
We understand and believe that Jehovah is our Almighty God and that no idol ever comes before Him or will ever come after Him. - Isaiah 43:10