Sunday, December 25, 2016

Improving our Quality of Life

Green Leaf Plant on Brown Wooden Stump

We clutter our life by collecting more than we need and things we rarely use. This lack of order effects our soul and spirit as well. We feel confusion within and are troubled by negative emotions because of the chaos.

A good rule to follow to prevent this malady is to make sure everything you purchase has a place and to keep everything in its place. Material possessions do not make us any happier and often contribute to our depression when they irritate us with clutter.

Keep each room sparsely furnished and make sure you have enough drawers, cabinets, closets and shelves to keep everything organized. If not, give it away to a friend or a charity thrift store.

This makes cleaning easier and more attractive to our soul, because we do not have to push the clutter around in order to dust or clean the floors. Seeking material possessions never really makes us happy.

We also feel more out of control if we reap too much debt in response to our spending. We tend to feel like a victim and ignore our personal responsibility in our problems.

Investing our life and finances in people, ministry and furthering God's Kingdom is much more rewarding then spending it on more possessions. Mingling with our church family keeps us aware of their circumstances and burdens that we can help to relieve.

Father God, giving is a tradition during more than the Christmas season. Your generosity and love are ours all year around; and as we share them with others, we put a smile on every face, including our own.

Revive our Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10) with Your wisdom, love, peace and joy all through the year. Make us an instrument of Your love and a channel for Your peace on earth and in the hearts of others throughout our lifetime.

Thought for the Day:
Surrendering our budget, activities, thoughts and feelings to the Lord will keep us in a positive mood, which attracts more friends and improves our influence over our own life and the ministries in which we participate with our church family and in our community.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christ in Us - A Clean Heart

Image may contain: outdoor 

We have been taught that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. This is a slight perversion of God’s Truth. It puts the emphasis on "I can", rather than on Christ in me can.

The actual truth of this verse is: We can do all things only through Christ's presence in us. His abiding existence in us provides us with God's wisdom, strength and divine power.

We cease our self-effort, and we enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Jesus actually gives us the desire and the power to fulfill His purpose for us in the earth (Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13; Ephesians 2:10).

Authentic Believers are already crucified with Christ; and therefore, we live in this world only for God’s glory. We no longer live as part of this world, looking out for our own interests (Philippians 1:21; Romans 2:20).

As our self-centeredness decreases daily, Christ will increase in us (John 3:30). When we walk in obedience to God's Holy Spirit moment by moment, we do not sin or fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16-17, 25).

We dwell in God’s rest and we no longer live for our own agenda, but Christ carries out God's will for us as He lives in us and through us (Galatians 2:20).

Our negative emotions illuminate the areas in our life where we hoard our idols. As we surrender them to God, Satan has fewer areas where he can hinder our walk in Christ.

We experience more freedom to serve Christ with our whole body, soul and spirit. Our dedication, commitment and consecration to Him increases and we want less of this world.

Father God, thank You for redeeming us, calling us by Your name, drawing us closer to You each day and desiring an intimate relationship with us both in this world and in the next. You fill us with Your Spirit and presence, and sustain us through every trial we experience on this earth. We can never thank You enough for Your sacrificial love for us.

Create in us a pure heart, devoid of sinful desires, and renew a righteous spirit within us (Psalm 51:10). Continue to help us to crucify our flesh as we walk in Your Spirit until we have no desire to sin, but our only desire is to please You with our body, thoughts, emotions, choices and spirit.

Thought for the Day:
A person who desires true riches, will prefer the knowledge freely given to us in God's Word and follows it pathway of righteousness and spirituality to gain true joy and peace; if we really believe God's Word, we value it above all else and the world loses its tempting influence over us.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Body of Christ - Safety in Numbers

 Clear Body of Water
As the body of Christ, we stick together, no matter where we live or how many miles separate us. We can stay connected through social media, even though we rarely see one another face-to-face.

In nature, it is the animal that wanders from the safety of the herd that gets attacked by a predator. Satan uses this same tactic on Believers. He finds us wandering alone and pounces (1 Peter 5:8).

God created Eve, because He saw that Adam suffered when he was alone. He also created us as His Body, because there is safety, encouragement and blessings when we dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

Without the Body of Christ we get lonely, roam from the straight and narrow path, and make poor choices. Alone, we are vulnerable, but a three-fold chord cannot be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Body loves us and helps to protect us.

When we yoke with Jesus and other Believers, our load is lighter and we help each other with our burden of guilt, trials and storms in life. Our perspective is broadened by seeing things from another's point of view.

Even Jesus chose 12 men to disciple and to keep Him company during His three years of focused ministry on His way to the cross. Daily, they walked together, healed the sick and reclaimed people from the devil's kingdom of darkness. 

Father God, help us to lay down our pride, to take the risks of being vulnerable which are inherent in relationships, and to encourage one another. Remind us that a best friend and prayer partner help us to diffuse our negative feelings and experiences, because they give us someone with which to share our burdens.

Friendships can be messy and cause problems in our life, but life is enhanced by transparent relationships, regardless of the ups and downs they may create. Thank You that You are our closest friend and that You always stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus knew the value of walking together with other Saints, although many turned against Him or deserted Him in the final hours of His life on this earth; He chose to live vulnerably in front of both the multitudes and His disciples.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Soul Waits for the Lord

White and Beige Persian Cat Beside Red Rose

Jesus fills the hungry soul with His life, peace and joy. What is our soul? It is one entity in our triune make-up: our body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The soul is our thoughts, feelings and choices.

One word for soul in the Bible is ”pxyxe" and means to breathe, or to blow. God breathed His breath of life into us and our soul was born. We get our words psyche, psychology, etc. from this root word. The soul is our personality, our identity as an individual.

God justifies us in our spirit through salvation; He will glorify our body with immortality when we see Jesus face-to-face; but He sanctifies our soul in a life-long process to make us as holy as He is holy.

If we earnestly seek the Lord with our whole heart and soul, we shall find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29; Matthew 22:37). We thirst for Him in this desert of life; we long for Him with our entire being (Psalm 63:1).

If we do not seek Him, we may gain the whole world, but we will lose our soul to the fires of hell throughout eternity (John 3:18: Matthew 16:26). The better choice is to search for an intimate union with God with the entire focus of our heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

God created us as an awesome and wonderfully made body, soul and spirit and placed our soul in our innermost being. We find true rest for our soul in God through salvation (Psalm 62:1; Jeremiah 6:16).

When our soul is depressed and disturbed within us, we can put our hope in God, praising Him in the good times and the bad (Psalm 42:11). He works out even the most horrific details of our life for our good (Romans 8:28).

Father God, You created us so that we prosper in life in the same manner that our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). If our soul is overwhelmed and depressed, it affects our body and spirit as well. Help us to see that we will prosper only as we love You foremost in our heart, walk in obedience to Your precepts, keep Your commandments, hold fast to You and serve You with our whole heart and soul (Joshua 22:5).

We praise Your holy name from our innermost being, because You have delivered us from the destructive pathway of sin (Psalm 71:23, 103:1). Our whole being waits for You, and our hope is based on Your Word (Psalm 130:5). Your encouragement of us is sweeter than a honeycomb, feeds our soul and heals our body (Proverbs 16:24).

Thought for the Day:
In our final days on this earth, we will clearly see that God did not fail to deliver any of His promises to us; if we appreciate all that He does for us now and walk only in His will, we will reap the benefits of an eternal life blessed by His love. - Joshua 23:14