Saturday, October 31, 2015

Free at Last

In our society, God's name is used more to damn some person, place or thing than to bless them. The last few generations have no concept of sin. Wrong is right, and right is often viewed as wrong.

Sin is the norm for many, and church is foreign (Ephesians 4:21, 6:1; Colossians 3:9). They view Christ's death on Calvary's cross as a waste of a life, rather than as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.

Until we understand that God's Word is our ultimate authority, we will not comprehend our disobedience to it, and our need to ask Jesus for forgiveness (John 14:15, 23).

Even the law of our land teaches us that there are consequences for our behavior. The police and courts hold us responsible to uphold the law or we are punished.

When we transgress God's law, we deserve to suffer the penalty of death. Yet, Jesus suffered our eternal punishment for us (John 3:16-18). He gives us His life in our spirit, which was formerly dead because of Adam and Eve's sin (Ephesians 2:1; Galatians 2:20).

When we decide to live for God, rather than for our self, our spirit is no longer dead in sin and separated from Him. Jesus makes it possible for us to spend eternity in Heaven (John 3:16-18; Romans 10:13).

We are dead to sin now, and free from its strangle-hold on our life (Romans 6:6, 11, 18). We are able to discern right from wrong and to walk in holiness by the help of God's Spirit within us.

When we die physically, we will not die spiritually. Our last breath on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven (Matthew 25:46). We will live forever in the almighty presence of our Living Savior and God.

Father God, there are not enough days in our lifetime to show our appreciation to You for all that You do for us each day. Remind us not to take Your goodness and grace for granted. Teach us to praise You for all of the blessings You shower on us each and every day.

Help us to learn to discern the leading of Your Spirit as we commit each day to You (Proverbs 3:5-6). We do not want to depend on our human reasoning, because this reaps mediocre results at best. We want to walk in Your Will by the direction of Your Word under the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
God often improves our spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical health as we trust Him, follow the guidance of His Spirit, and live, move and exist in Christ alone. - Acts 17:28 

Many thanks to Matt Milligan for the use of his photo.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Breaking Point


People often think that the life we know is better than the life we do not know. That is why women stay in abusive marriages and continue to suffer the torment. They believe they do not deserve better.

When we come to Christ, He humbles us; yet He gives us His holy boldness. We start to realize that we are not defective; and that in Him, we are "enough".

Christ in us transforms us into all that He intends for us to be. We no longer need to strive for perfection, because God's Spirit within us changes us from one stage of holiness to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We find our true identity and fulfillment in Christ alone (Colossians 3:3-4, 2:9-10; Philippians 1:13-2:16). We are adopted as God's children, conformed to Christ's image and co-heirs with Christ of God's Kingdom.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. The trials, which God allows in our life, are designed to bring us to the end of our self.

My breaking point was when the love of my life decided that there was no option for us, but divorce. I had no job, no alimony and no foreseeable future.

In this bewildering new world, my only option was to rely totally on God for each moment of my day. As I did, I entered a deeper relationship with our Lord; one that I continue to this day.

As I listened to His Spirit within, He led me to get a job at a Montessori school where my training and relationships taught me to nurture my own soul.

He also gave me two other jobs, so I could pay my bills and save for a rainy day. Eventually, in His perfect way and timing, He brought a nurturing, appreciative husband into my life as well, and restored my ministry as a Pastor's wife.

Father God, You brought me to the place in my life where I stopped trying and gave up. I cast all of my cares on You, because I had no doubt that You cared for me. You taught me that Your Spirit will put us in the right place at the right time, if we will listen to that still, small voice within us (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Remind us that the sooner we stop trying, and enter into Your rest, the sooner our life will hold unspeakable joy, even in the midst of sorrows. Your Spirit leads us to be productive for Your Kingdom; and in the process, all of our needs are met.

Thought for the Day:
As we totally surrender our heart to God in prayer, we give Him our weaknesses and failings - even the sins we commit in secret. We no longer live in shame, but in the fearless confidence and identity of Christ in us.
- Job 11:13-15; 1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:27

Many thanks to Matt Milligan for his photo.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Presence of God

God is present within us, and in our world through the lives of His Saints. His Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and we are His temple. We live, move and have our being in Him (Acts 17:28).

His supernatural power supplies all of our needs through His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). He abundantly meets our needs in ways we never have imagined.

Our Father rarely uses signs and wonders to accomplish His will. He works through ordinary people and often by ordinary means (John 4:48). His quiet presence is always in our midst (John 14:16; Matthew 28:20).

The fleshly desires, of our Adamic sin nature will decrease, as Christ in us increases (Ephesians 2:1-3). He replaces our carnality with His divine nature (Romans 8:8-9; 2 Peter 1:4).

Christ set us free from the bondage to sin, and He is showering us with His forgiveness, holiness, peace and joy through His Spirit (Romans 6:18, 14:17). Through His forgiveness, we can forgive our self and those who hurt us.

We have the choice now to walk in the Spirit or the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We are no longer deceived by the allure of the world, for we recognize it as empty and devastating. 

As we put Christ as our first priority in our life, and eliminate our attachment to the world, we enjoy real devotion at Jesus' feet (Luke 10:41-42). We organize our life and reduce the excesses until we have more time for worship and service.

The faith of Christ brightens our day and His mercy and grace fuel our desire to walk only in His will. We submit to Christ as He does the works of our Father in and through us (John 5:19).

Father God, we please You by our willingness and obedience to Your Word. With Christ in us, we are enough - good enough, strong enough, obedient enough, anointed enough to serve You with our life (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

We serve You with joy in our heart, and we dwell in Your presence with gratitude and praise. We bless Your name, for You are good, and Your everlasting mercy and truth endure throughout ever generation (Psalm 100:2-5).

Thought for the Day:
God shows us the path of life, as well as continual delights at His right hand; and we find complete joy in His presence. 
- Psalm 16:11

Thanking Deb Campbell for the use of her photo.