Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our Identity in Christ Alone

So many people in today's society believe that they are not "good enough". They believe it so strongly that to disagree with them or to correct them heaps a weight of condemnation on their shoulders, which is just too heavy for them to bear. Even when someone attempts to encourage them, they dare not believe these positive comments.

When we come to Christ, however, He heals that deep wound in our soul. He purposely chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. His servants are weak, humiliated and despised; and He uses them to confound the haughty and to prove that Christ in us is more powerful than all the human effort in the world combined (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

By God's Spirit, we curb our penchant to sin by trusting in God and surrendering our life to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Although Satan still influences our decisions and encourages us to sin, we can renounce this inclination to allow sin to use our body and soul. Instead, we submit our self to God and His perfect will for each moment of our day and Satan has to flee (Romans 6:12-13; James 4:7).

Those who are acutely aware of their inabilities and insecurities tend to depend more on God than those who have faith in their own abilities. In reality, God searches the earth for those who are aware of their powerlessness to control life (2 Chronicles 16:9). As humble Saints, we are more open to allowing God to work in and through us. 

Father God, You keep us in perfect peace if we focus our mind on You throughout the day and if we trust in Your perfect will for our life (Isaiah 26:3). Your peace transcends anything we receive from the world or from our own hard work and natural capabilities. The peace, love and joy we seek are not found in our position in society, the honor of our accomplishments, the status of our reputation or our accumulation of wealth and possessions. We rest our identity only on Christ within us, and we value Your opinion of us more than that of any person alive, regardless of their position, accomplishments, reputation, financial status or possessions.

Thought for the Day:
Rather than having faith in your abilities, trust in God's plan and purpose in your life to use You according to His capabilities.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Even Good People Fall Short

Many people base their righteousness on their thoughts, words and deeds. They are good people and they live an exemplary life with no overt issues, which would alert them to their sinful nature. Yet, even these model citizens must come to the place where their faith is based on what Jesus did for us, rather than on their self-righteousness.

Even good people sin in their heart (Matthew 15:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20). The inclination of the human heart, even from childhood, is to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Our spirit is dead at birth, and we have only a body and soul by which to relate to this world. We innately know that we are not complete; and we look to people, places and things to fill that void. This futile exercise is continually unsuccessful.

We end up weary and some contemplate suicide. Many people are too proud and self-righteous to call out to God for His salvation. Yet, anyone who does is Born Again in his/her Spirit. Our only requirements are to turn away from sin and to believe that Jesus died for us personally. Then, God molds us into His temple and dwells within us by His Holy Spirit.

We cannot earn our spot in heaven or our access to God. This requires perfection, and we all fall short of God's perfect glory (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take the punishment for our sins and give us the free gift of His righteousness in exchange (Romans 6:23). God's Spirit then leads us into all Truth and reminds us of His Word, which guides us throughout our lifetime (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:13, 14:26).

Father God, we are mere mortals and we are all born in Adam's sin (Job 15:14). However, You fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Through the power of Your Trinity within us, we live victoriously as we walk in Your perfect plan for our life (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our carnal, worldly friends, relatives, associates and neighbors may attempt to draw us back into worldly pursuits; but as we focus on You, You keep us in Your perfect peace and on Your straight and narrow road (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 7:13-14). Thank You, that as we surrender our life exclusively to You, we reap Your rewards (Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We find the fulfillment and completion we long for through Christ in us, who is our only hope of a glorious life now and throughout eternity. - Colossians 1:27, 2:10

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. There is always something negative happening to us in some way or another: financial, physical, relational, mental, emotional, etc. We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble even seems to happen in "threes." We are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We try to climb the corporate ladder in order to provide our family with as much security as we can. We compromise our quality family time in order to work overtime to bring home more money. We often work two or three jobs in order to give our children more than we had when we were growing up. We fall into the trap of buying them the latest toy on the market at inflated prices.

This schedule produces even more health, mental, emotional and relational problems. Some of us even work our self into an early grave. We resemble the hamster on the little metal wheel, going round and round, but never really getting anywhere. We amass material possessions, but they keep breaking down or coming out with an updated model, so that we feel the need to get a new one.

When we come to Christ and entirely surrender to Him, we begin living in His perfect plan for our life. We no longer fear the next shoe dropping, because it usually ends up being a glass slipper with King Jesus using the entire event to provide us with a special place in His Kingdom along with miraculous blessings through every negative event (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:19).

Father God, the life You give to us in Christ supplies us with joy and peace, which transcends all human reason (Philippians 4:7). We are blessed when we trust in You, so we place our confidence in You. You plant us like a tree by Your streams of living water, and our spirit has constant nourishment. We do not fear whatever life throws at us, and we flourish no matter what happens to us (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You put Your plans in our heart and bring them to fruition, as we walk in Your Spirit (Psalm 20:4; Galatians 5:15-26). You sustain us, bless us and shine Your favor on us. You are always gracious to us and You keep Your eye on us, so that we walk in Your peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we no longer fear trials or difficulties because we know they hold the seed for a miracle, which will surely happen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The God of Heaven and Earth


The heavens and earth are our whole world. Without them, we could not exist. A one-degree change in the tilt of our axis would demolish us. One inch closer to the sun would incinerate us. The exact precision of our position in our solar system and in the Milky Way ensures the existence of mankind on the earth. We can see God's hand in this exactitude in nature (Romans 1:20).

He is so much greater than what we deem so important in our little microcosm on this earth. Consider the heavens with the sun, moon and stars, which are the work of His fingers (Psalm 8:3). There is no man-made cathedral, which can house His amazing influence and majesty (Acts 7:49). Even the highest heavens cannot contain Him (2 Chronicles 6:18).

Heaven is God's throne and the earth is His footstool (Matthew 5:35; Isaiah 66:1). He lays the beams of His upper chamber on the firmament around the earth (Psalm 104:3). He makes the clouds His chariots and rides on swift clouds and on the wings of the wind (Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 19:1). The windstorms are His chariot and His horses are faster and more magnificent than eagles (Jeremiah 4:13).

He often uses tornadoes, hurricanes and storms to remind humanity of His great power (Nahum 1:3). He uses lightening as arrows and sends them forth to do His bidding (2 Samuel 22:15). He channels the sea; and even the heart of kings and the flow of rivers follow the course, which He prepares for them (Isaiah 43:19; Proverbs 21:1).

He constructed the foundation of the universe and at His rebuke, or a blast of His breath from His nostrils everything will be laid barren (2 Samuel 22:16). His voice is like a waterfall, like a mighty trumpet (Revelation 1:15; Ezekiel 43:2; Hebrews 12:19; Psalm 93:4). Clouds and thick darkness surround Him as His canopy, and a blazing fire goes before Him (Psalm 97:2; 2 Samuel 22:12-13).

He parts the heavens and comes down with dark clouds under His feet (2 Samuel 22:10). He cautions us not to swear by heaven, because heaven is His throne on which He sits (Matthew 5:34, 23:22). He fills heaven and earth and there is no place that we could ever hide from Him (Jeremiah 23:24). The earth, as we know it, will pass away, but His Word will live on eternally (Matthew 24:35).

Father God, You come to us with earthquakes and booming thunder, with windstorms and blizzards and flames of devouring fire (Isaiah 29:6). Yet, You also come to us as a baby in the manger, as a servant King and as a risen Savior (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-7; Romans 10:9). You are so mighty that our mind cannot contain the fullness of who You really are. We praise You with all of our being, because although You are the great, powerful and awesome God, You keep Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments (Nehemiah 9:32; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4).

Thought for the Day:
Our mighty God rescues us and is our support in a safe and comfortable place, even in the face of a strong enemy who overpowers us and hates us and confronts us in our times of misfortune. - 2 Samuel 2:18-20

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cleansing Our Soul


God is integrally involved in the life of all of His Saints. He gives us His law to protect us and His Spirit to direct us. He created us as a triune being with a body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God gives us the ability to overcome Satan's hold on us by our salvation in Christ and then by the word of our testimony (Revelataion 12:11).

The first place to defeat Satan is in our negative emotions. These crippling feelings are resulting from sins, which we committed, or which someone else executed against us. They are still infiltrating our soul, weighing us down and limiting our usefulness. Bitterness, anger, pride, rebellion, jealousy, frustration, depression, doubt, guilt, hopelessness, fear and others, all plague our soul to distraction.

They overcome the peace in soul due to the wounds from our past. We are holding on to them and nursing these wounds like trophies. They help us to feel sorry for our self and to have an excuse for not reaching our potential in life. We do not want to admit to ourselves, nor to anyone else, the things that others did to us. We do not want to forgive them, but this only cripples us more.  ( )

We falsely believe that these strong, negative emotions will protect us from any past, present, and future hurt. Satan deceives us with these lies. What these negative emotions actually do, however, is to block our soul from receiving the fullness of the love that God has for us. We do not need anger, pride, bitterness or any negative emotion to protect us. The King of Kings is our mighty stronghold and fortress (Psalm 18:2, 144:2).

Father God, we can depend on You to cleanse our soul of all negative emotions and past wounds. As we put our trust in You, we live in abiding peace and joy - not only in our spirit, but deep within our soul as well. You keep us in perfect peace when we focus on You and trust in Your plan for our life (Isaiah 26:3). Only as we come to You in every circumstance and wait on Your timing, will we find peace and success in our life (Proverbs 3:5-6). Your quietness and strength within us give us the confidence to walk in Your ways (Isaiah 30:15).

Thought for the Day:
We can look for the seed of a miracle in every negative circumstance, because God promises to work all things, even the bad things, out for our good. - Romans 8:28

Monday, February 23, 2015

Our Eternal Destination

Image result for free nature

We care for our body with proper rest, exercise and nutrition, but we do not live for our body. It exists to encase our soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 9:27). One day we will fold up our human body like a tent and go to be with the Lord in the house, which He went to Heaven to prepare for us (2 Corinthians 5:1-4; John 14:2-3).

When our body dies, we put it in the ground, or we cremate it and scatter it to the wind; but our soul and spirit continue to live on into eternity. Our eternal destination is determined by the choices we make while living on this earth. God loves everyone in the world and does not condemn anyone to hell; but those who choose not to accept Christ as their Savior will spend eternity there (John 3:16-18).

As an authentic Christian, our identity during our lifetime is found in Christ alone. We even see Christ in one another when He replaces our human character and nature (2 Corinthians 5:16;  2 Peter 1:4). We are not drawn to the person with fancy clothes, a handsome personal appearance or worldly assets, but to one with a meek and gentle spirit, which exudes the love of Christ (1 Peter 3:4; 1 Corinthians 13:13).

For the person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior and who repents of their sin, we are present with the Lord at the exact moment that our soul and spirit leave our body at death (2 Corinthians 5:8). When we see Jesus, our body will rise from the grave and be reunited with our soul and spirit as an immortal body. We will be just like Jesus after His resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 John 3:2).

Father God, teach us to de-emphasize our physical characteristics and possessions and to focus on the Christ in each of us. Teach us to choose friends who will spur us on to love and good works, rather than those who encourage us to partake in the works of the flesh (Hebrews 10:24-25; Galatians 5:19-21). Remind us that we will reap the choices, which we sow during our lifetime, whether good or bad. Draw those we love to Your heart, and help them to repent and to choose to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that they will not spend eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; Luke 16:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
As selfishness, pride and flesh decrease in us, God can fill us through all of our being with all of His fullness.
- John 3:30; Ephesians 3:19

Sunday, February 22, 2015

God's Plan in Our Losses

Living life as a good person does not guarantee our earthly success or our place in eternity (Galatians 3:21). Beliefs founded on humanistic philosophy may change our life and give us temporary relief, but it does not last for eternity. Only the Word and Will of God are entirely righteous and true (Psalm 19:9). God is patient with our unbelief, because He does not want anyone to die in their sin (2 Peter 3:9).

He walks with us through every valley and gives us His joy as our strength (Psalm 23; Nehemiah 8:10). For instance, after 22 years of marriage, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. I was shocked and in disbelief; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

God proved that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us all (Ephesians 2:10). He led me to relocate and to attend divorce recovery classes in  two different churches in order to heal from my loss. I learned that God still had plans for me, which did not include my former husband. One day when I least expected it, in a crowded Books-a-Million bookstore, I divinely met a pastor whose wife recently decided to end their union too.

Now, after 20 years of marriage to this wonderful man who dwells with me with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), I can see from hindsight that in both of our lives God used these devastating, negative circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). In this new union, we appreciate each other's gifts and character as we serve God together. We truly cherish one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Father God, we may be hesitant to put our total faith in You, but You always prove that Your ways will bring us ultimate fulfillment. We are so grateful that we can trust You to work out for our good every circumstance, no matter how devastating it is (Romans 8:28). You help us to grieve the loss of our relationships, health, wealth and material possessions. Although, crying may last through many nights, Your joy always comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in God's ways, even when they do not coincide with our view of the perfect life, because His ways are always perfect, even when we experience trials, heartache, loss and devastation.
- Psalm 18:30; 2 Sam 22:31; Deuteronomy 32:4

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We Can Trust in Our God

We trust in the Lord and live righteously, because His faithfulness sustains us. Our delight is found in the Lord, and He puts His desires in our heart. When we commit our life to His service, He brings His will for our life to full fruition. We prosper in all of our ways and we do not have to worry about evil people irrevocably harming us (Psalm 37:3-5, 7).

God arms us with His anointing and power and works out everything in our life according to His perfect plan for us (Psalm 18:32; Ephesians 2:10). The Lord gives us a portion of His inheritance and our cup is full and runs over. He holds our destiny in His hands and He gives us a generous inheritance. He puts a perimeter around our life that provides us with a pleasant life (Psalm 16:5-6).

The Lord blesses us and keeps us safe and baths us in His victory. He shines His face on us and is gracious to us in every way. He observes us throughout our life and gives us peaceful paths to walk on (Numbers 6:24-26). He is the Lord of all mankind, and nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:27).

Our soul silently waits patiently for God alone, because all of our hope comes from Him. He is the only rock of our salvation and our safe refuge from a world, which often frightens us. He is our strong fortress and refuge, and He keeps us from getting shaken by the adversity in our world. He gives us glorious salvation and listens as we pour out our heart to Him (Psalm 62:5-8).

Father God, You dwell in heaven; yet You are great and awesome in everything You do for us. You keep a loyal covenant of love with those who love You and obey Your commandments. Your ear is continually attentive to our prayers and You watch over us. You hear the prayers of Your servants when we cry out to You both day and night. We confess our sins to You and You are always faithful and just to forgive us (Nehemiah 1:5-6; 1 John 1:9)

Thought for the Day:
We sing praises to the Lord, because He deals bountifully with us. 
- Psalm 13:5-6

Friday, February 20, 2015

Too Busy

Frequent inspections of our weekly schedule are very productive. We can note the number of hours spent in each activity. Then we can trim away some of the time spent in futile activities. Is our family overly scheduled? Where is our time to play, rest and relax together as a family? How often do we worship together on Sunday, pray together at home or do a family Bible study?

We can take time to stop, breathe deeply and count our blessings, and to meditate on God's Word or to sing praises to His name, even when we are all alone. I enjoy plugging in my favorite worship music and dancing around the house dusting or vacuuming. It is fun and freeing. We have eternal security as an authentic Believer; if nothing else, that is a great reason to praise God.

We actually have many reasons to praise God. As our Father, He not only favors us with natural blessings, but also with everlasting benefits in heavenly places with our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). At Salvation, His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us. We now live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Our future is eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid on Calvary for our sins (Romans 4:25; Isaiah 53:4).

The Church is our family of brothers and sisters, and we are part of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:19). Heaven is our home. Even with all the blessings of God in our life now, we have not seen, heard or imagined all the benefits God prepared for those of us who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). The world, the flesh and the devil can offer us nothing equal to this.

Father God, we enjoy our life in You now, and also live with the security of knowing that our future in Christ is sure. Remind us to reflect on the multitude of blessings You give us each waking moment, and to spend them praising Your name and giving You thanks for Your love, grace and mercy toward us. We want to express our gratitude to You now and always.

Thought for the Day:
Let us take time to appreciate what God did, will do and is doing for us every moment of our life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hope for Tomorrow


If the Gospel of Christ is not true, then there is no forgiveness or reconciliation for our sins and we have no resurrection to look forward to. We have no joy for our current life or for the next, and there is no expectation of living in the Father's house in the future (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:17-19; John 14:1-2, 12). Life without Christ is a life without hope.

There are countless people experiencing depression and mid-life insecurities because they place their hope in our culture, a bank account, a philosophy, their employment or worldly religions. This house of cards is shaky at best, and the ensuing insecurity drives people insane, gives them heart attacks or destroys their relationships.

However, the Gospel of Christ is gloriously true. Jesus suffered and died to set us free from Satan, the flesh, sin and death. We now have hope for tomorrow. As we walk in the light of God's Truth, we have no fear of darkness or evil, because Christ in the authentic Believer overcame Satan and evil on Calvary's cross. Even negative aspects of life now work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

A life based on God's Word has a stable and firm foundation (2 Timothy 2:19). As we walk by the direction and power of God's Spirit, we will not fulfill the dictates of the devil or the flesh, but we will luxuriate in the continual blessings of God (Galatians 5:15-26). As we focus on His plans for our life with a pure heart, He uses us according to His will (Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10).

Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to live in Christ and to become a new creation. We rejoice that our old habits, sins, negative emotions and personality are made new by Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust You with our life, You destroy the deprivation, which devastated us and You mature us in the likeness of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Thank You for claiming us as Your own and for making it possible for us to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Therefore, even when we are simply eating or drinking, or whatever we decide God wants us to do, we do it all for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spiritual Weapons

Change is abhorrent to most people; however, life is full of adjustments. Much of the transition we experience as a new Believer occurs in our soul (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is Born Again; and although we still physically exist on this earth, we no longer walk according to the dictates of our physical, mental or emotional desires. We learn to walk according to the leading of God's Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

Christ frees us from the bondage of our past. We are forgiven and there is no longer any condemnation (Matthew 6:14-15; Romans 8:1). We choose to change our priorities. We do not pursue anything, which prevents us from fellowshipping with God or walking in His perfect plan, which He ordained for us before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

We fight the carnal desires or satanic impulses, which continue to tempt us, by using spiritual weapons such as prayer, Bible reading, spiritual fellowship, and the ability, which the Spirit gives us, to corral our thoughts to the obedience of God's Word (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8). Once we come to understand that Christ lives in us, we have no desire to ever live in the flesh again (Galatians 2:20).

This allows God to destroy the demonic strongholds from our past (John 8:32). He changes our negative thought patterns to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). He heals our negative emotions and fills us with the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He removes our negative behavior and exchanges it with acts of service to the King of kings (Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Timothy 6:15). We abide in unity with both our Father and our Lord.

Father God, the world follows self-help gurus and they hire life coaches to help them to succeed in life. These "experts" can only help a person to thrive in body and soul. Only You can rebirth our spirit, which is dead in sin. Only You can completely fulfill us in body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:11, 8:10). You bring us victory in every area of our life, and make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). If we remain in You and walk in Your Spirit we will live fruitful lives (John 15:5). We love You with all of our heart and we live, move and have our being only in You (Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
We often resist transitions; and, therefore, never receive the blessings, which accompany them; instead, we can embrace the changes God brings into our life and look for the advantages He has in store for us through them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unbelieving person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us. 

Taking time to listen to God's answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being - in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Transformed Life

We often measure our success by our accomplishments. We crave the affirmation of our parents and peers. When we do not receive this validation, or when we fail to succeed in life, we lose all hope of a meaningful existence. We often change venues and attempt to receive recognition and triumph in some other area. We may enjoy fame for a while, but soon even that is hollow and vain.

There is only one way to truly succeed in this world. Once we surrender our entire life to God, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We grow in ways we never thought possible. Our hard heart is softened (Ezekiel 36:26), our knowledge increases concerning eternal conquests, our emotions level out, and our relationships deepen.

The Word of God penetrates into the most private areas of our life and transforms our mind and enlightens our soul (2 Timothy 3:14-16). God blesses us with His love in more abundant measures than we could ever imagine or deserve (2 Corinthians 9:8). All of God's Saints receive the power to understand the width and height and depth of His love, and we realize that nothing in this world can ever equal to or take that away from us (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:38-39). 

Our appreciation and adoration of God increases daily. We submit more willingly to His cleansing power in our life. God starts a work in our soul - our thoughts, choices and emotions, which lasts a lifetime. We see changes every day in small increments in every area of our life (Romans 12:2). God molds us like a Potter with a hunk of clay, and makes us into vessels for His service (Isaiah 64:8).

Father God, once we are totally broken, subdued, weak and humbled, we are ready for Your transforming power in our life. Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, so that we will walk on Your straight and narrow way according to Your precepts (Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:105; Matthew 7:13-14). You take our broken, useless lives and turn them into priceless works of art for Your glory. Remind us not to rely on the thoughts and intents of our heart, but to submit to Your Spirit's transformation in our life (Proverbs 27:3; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Thought for the Day:
We are broken for God's glory and then raised to walk in New Life with Him. - Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12

Sunday, February 15, 2015

God's Peace

God gives us the choice to use our life to either serve Him, self or Satan (John 3:16-18). We human beings search for peace all of our life, usually exploring all the wrong places, until we find Christ. When God's Spirit reveals the reality of Christ to us, we turn from the dark life of separation from God to the spiritual walk of light and life (Romans 8:9).

There are two types of spiritual peace. One is peace with God, and the other is the peace of God. Both of these transcend any earthly peace we experience. They are true and present within us, regardless of our outer circumstances. God's peace blesses us in every area of our life.

Peace with God comes when we surrender our life to Christ and trust Him to save us from our sins. He leads us in His daily will for us as we reject the influence of the world, the flesh and Satan (1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:10). God wraps us in His wisdom and strength. As children of God, we receive all the benefits of adoption into God's Kingdom through our unity with Jesus, God's Son and Heir (Acts 26:18).

The peace of God is a fruit of His Spirit, which we receive at salvation. It manifests in us as we rely on His Spirit instead of our human strength and accomplishments. We allow the peace of God to rule in our heart and to affect our body, soul and spirit (Colossians 3:15). We live by the faith of God's Son, who dwells in us by His Spirit, and we trust Him to work out everything in our life for our good (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:28).

Father God, we can never receive more of You than we have at Salvation, because You move into our spirit with all the attributes and power of the Trinity. However, we can enjoy more intimacy with You in correlation to how much time we spend with You each day. The more of our flesh, which we surrender to the Cross of Christ, the more of Your fullness we experience (Ephesians 3:19). We can never control life, but You always work things out for our good (Romans 8:28). In the midst of the storms of life, Your peace keeps us calm within and gives us wisdom for every situation, which we face (John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
As His Word dwells within us, God's peace, which defies human comprehension, guards and rules in our soul - our mind, choices and emotions. - Colossians 3:16; Philippians 4:7

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Rejoicing in Negative Circumstances

I used to think that if I rejoiced in my negative circumstances that I would not be honest with my true feelings. I did not want to pretend to feel the opposite of how I really felt. Yet, Paul admonishes us to rejoice in our tribulation (Romans 5:3). I could not figure out how to express joy without pretending an emotion, which I did not truly feel.

It took a major trial in my life to teach me the key to rejoicing always (Philippians 4:4). After 22 years, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. To say that I was shocked is an understatement; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

In the ensuing years, God taught me to be thankful even for these overwhelming negative circumstances, to rejoice in His hope, to have faith in His faithfulness, to be patient through every ordeal and to pray without ceasing (Romans 12:12). He instructed me to focus on the moment, rather than feeling depressed over the past and fearing the future.

I discovered that God is the only true anchor of my soul, and I would always dwell in the inner sanctuary of His Temple, regardless of my marital status and the earthly success of my life (Hebrews 6:19). I experienced the truth that nothing could ever snatch me out of God's hand, and that I would always enjoy total security in His love (John 10:29). Now, those are real reasons to rejoice forevermore (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

Since then, I started looking at every trial as a seed for a miracle, which is just waiting to sprout. I know that there are situations more devastating than the loss of a mate; but I am convinced that Jesus, the Lover of my soul who saw me through that time in my life, will enable me to honestly rejoice through any future negative circumstance, large or small (Matthew 11:28; Psalm 23).

Father God, You have a divine purpose for everything that happens to Your children. Thank You for teaching me to trust You regardless of how negatively my circumstances develop. You filled me with Your presence through every moment of that nightmare, and You guided me by Your Spirit in all of my ways (Romans 8:14). Although I still grieve over the dissolution of my family unit, You restored my ministry as a pastor's wife and You gave me a new husband who gives me more love than I ever imagined was possible on this side of heaven.

Thought for the Day:
There is no negative circumstance in our life that God is not orchestrating for our good. - Romans 8:28

Friday, February 13, 2015

Alive in Christ

There are many signs of our growing maturity in Christ, but freedom from sin is one of the most obvious. We consider our self dead to sin, because Jesus Christ made us alive in Him. He became sin for us and paid the penalty we owed. We are not held in bondage to sin and death any longer, because Christ liberated us on Calvary's cross (Romans 6:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Sin no longer appeals to us.

Because of Christ, we are already seated in the Heavenly realm through His Spirit (Ephesians 2:6). By the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, Jesus set us free from the law of sin and death, which formerly controlled our thoughts, words and behavior (Romans 8:2). We may fall into sin now and then, by walking in the flesh instead of in the Spirit; but sin does not control us any longer (Galatians 5:15-25).

God's Agape love takes our focus off our self-centered microcosm of the world. It enables us to see a need in others, and to lay our life down for them as Christ did for us (Galatians 5:14). We can serve even those whom we feel no natural affection toward, because they are part of God's Body and He loves them through us. 

If sin still controls you, then you do not have the Spirit of God in you; and if you do not have God's Spirit within you, you are not Born Again (Romans 8:9; Hebrews 10:26; 1 John 3:6-9). This means that you can now make a true confession of your sins, place all of your faith in Christ, and completely surrender to His lordship and His Spirit in your life (Matthew 25:3).

Father God, my heart is broken and my eyes flood with tears as I intercede for those who will perish in their unbelief if they do not turn their heart to You now (John 3:16-18). You never send judgment without sending a warning first. There have been record weather events, constant wars and rumors of wars, false messiahs, more famines and earthquakes than ever before in history, and there is not one Christian nation left due to a falling away and their love for You growing cold (Matthew 24:5-8). These are all signs to warn people to turn back to You and Your mercy and grace; yet, the world revolves without notice that You are calling them to come home to Your love

Thought for the Day:
The more we serve God and others, the more the desire to sin diminishes in us. - Romans 12:10; Matthew 23:12; Proverbs 13:10

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Our Motivation in Life

As an authentic Born Again Believer, our motivation in life comes from one of four sources: the flesh, the world, the devil or God's Spirit. At times, it is hard to discern which one is influencing our thoughts, emotions, desires and actions. We can discover the source of our motivation by checking on our responses to the situation.

Are our thoughts, words and actions mirroring the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) or the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Negative emotions and behavior are definite clues that the flesh, the world or the devil is influencing us, rather than the Spirit (1 John 2:16). Fleshly conduct and demonic oppression in a Believer is the direct result of not walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-18).

When we recognize that we are out of the Spirit, we can confess our thoughts and behavior as sin, and ask our Father to renew a right spirit in us (Psalm 51:10). God is always quick to forgive us and to empower us with His Holy Spirit. Once we turn away from our carnal behavior and seek the Lord's direction, He enables us to make amends to anyone we hurt, while we operated in the flesh.

We walk in the Spirit as we stay connected to the Spirit throughout the day. He will direct each moment and everything included in it, if we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). The more we rely on the Spirit, the more victory we have over the flesh, the world and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-10). We are no longer motivated by worldly success, the balance of our bank account, or the number and type of our friends, but by God.

Father God, remind us that we are an extension of Christ on the earth (John 14:12). We walk in obedience to You to the best of our ability, relying on the Holy Spirit to keep us on the straight and narrow and in the center of Your will (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:15). Thank You for forgiving our shortcomings and inspiring us to focus on the eternal, rather the earthly aspects of our life. We want all that we think, say and do to bring You glory (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Thought for the Day:
Do not make plans; consult the Lord and follow His desire for every moment of your day. - Proverbs 3:5-6