Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Good Marriage - Expectations and Reality

Free stock photo of sea, water, blue, ocean


In every starry-eyed couple there are private perceptions, life-long dreams and goals, individual personal needs and expectations that we assume our fiance shares.

We talk about particulars as we date, such as: cities and styles of home in which we want to live, number of children we desire and childcare options, hobbies, preferred foods and furniture d├ęcore, etc.

However, we avoid discussing some of the most important issues, simply because we assume that we share the same expectations. After the honeymoon these assumptions may cause huge issues in our relationship.

If we continue to avoid talking about them, then disappointment may turn to resentment and bitterness; anger may seethe below the surface of our emotions and erupt over lesser disagreements, causing our mate to wonder who they really married.

Living in peace with one another is the better option. Taking the time to mutually pray about and discuss our differences will allow us to find an alternate way of thinking and acting with which we can both agree. 

This mutual respect will go a long way to resolve the matters and avoid future conflicts. Jesus loves us while we are still sinners and He abides within us; therefore, we can love one another even though we do not fulfill one another's expectations.

Working through these issues during a time when we are not stressed and preoccupied, and when we can both focus on each other's needs, will provide both of us with a sense of love and well-being, joy and respect, perseverance and maturity, and relational longevity.

Prayer:
Father God, we all have good intentions when we marry, but we soon fall into the trap of taking each other for granted, giving up on dating rituals that made us fall in love with each other, no longer really listening to each other and taking one another seriously when we share our personal needs and concerns, and forgetting to forgive each other for putting everyone and everything else as a greater priority over our relationship.

Please inspire us to focus on each other, second only to You. Help us to admit our faults to one another, to ask for forgiveness, and to make sure that we are actually hearing the intent behind our mate's words without making new assumptions that will cause future hurts and bitterness. We want to honor You with every aspect of our life, including our marriage.  

Thought for the Day:

These times of giving and receiving unify us more completely as a couple, soften our heart toward one another, cause us to draw closer to God, to open our ears so we can hear what we are truly saying to each other, and also to bind us together with a sense of unity and security.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Apostate or Carnal?

beach, dawn, dusk

Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between an Apostate and a Carnal Christian. Only God knows for sure if someone is a Believer or an Unbeliever (John 3:16-18). Since eternal security is a fact of Scripture, the Carnal Christian is still saved.

Carnal literally means “fleshly.” Paul considers fleshly Believers saved, because he calls them brethren, but he describes them as “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 3:15; John 10: 28; Romans 8: 37-39; 1 John 5:13).  

No one is without sin except Jesus (1 John 1:8-9). Authentic Christians may fall into temptation and sin. However, Carnal Christians sin regularly and actually disregard many of God's precepts.

Those who continue to live in rebellion to God’s Word will justify their fleshly, unscriptural behavior and try to entice others to join them in their sin. They hang out at bars, and sometimes even use drugs, steal, etc.

Some are mean and inconsiderate. They cuss, watch R- and X-rated movies, covet worldly goods, gossip and may even be unfaithful to their mate.

If we hang around with carnal Christians or the unsaved who profess to be saved, we may be swayed to partake in their sin (Genesis 39:7-12; Psalm 26:5, 50:18; Proverbs 1:10, 4:23, 6:27, 13:20, 16:29, 22:3; Matthew 5:8; 6:13; 18:8,9; Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Timothy 6:21; 1 Peter 4:3,4).

Carnal Christians continually receive correction and discipline from our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12: 5-11). We gradually lay down our sin and become more like Jesus.

Apostates are those who were convicted of their sin, prayed for salvation, but continue to pursue a sinful lifestyle. Nothing really changes in their life. They tasted the things of God and decided the price was too high.

Apostates may pursue religious activities, but they are never committed or serious in their walk with God. They eventually walk away entirely and renounce God.

God is attempting to direct us all to repentance from our dead works (Hebrews 6:1). He constantly calls the unsaved to believe in Him and to totally surrender their life to Him (John 3:16 -17).

Prayer:
Father God, please search my heart and know me. Try me and see if there is any wicked way in me. Then, lead me in Your everlasting way (Psalm 139:23). You call us to rise up to live as examples of a Believer (1 Timothy 4:12) and to be teachers of the solid food of Your Word (Hebrews 5:12-14). Help us to be models of Your Truth to unbelievers and Carnal Christians, so they will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16).

As Authentic Christians, remind us to treat unsaved people and Carnal Christians with Your love and nurture; but not to hang out with them on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:26; Luke 8:5; Jeremiah 5:23). Remind us that Your Word exhorts those of us who are spiritual to gently exhort those who are walking in ungodly behavior by lovingly sharing Your truth with them (Galatians 6:1).

Thought for the Day:
God wants us to allow Him to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 12:1-2); as we surrender our life to Him, we will exhibit more spirituality and less carnality through the sanctifying process of His Holy Spirit within us.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Finding Freedom in Surrender - Lessons Learned

Free stock photo of cold, snow, landscape, water


I learned to survive life by adopting an "unsinkable Molly Brown" attitude.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Brown) 

Every person alive experiences some type of abuse from someone, in some area, at some age, time and circumstance or another.

Living with a rage-aholic dad and emotionally distant mom as I grew into an adult, recovering after natural disasters, losing many of my "treasures" by repeatedly moving from one place to another during marriage, divorced by my husband of 22 years, etc. all gave me a huge sense of insecurity about life.

I could count on no one, but myself; and I realized that I needed to prepare in order to survive even the worst of circumstances. I continually pulled myself up by my "bootstraps" and lived to face another day.

I clung to my defense mechanisms of bombastic anger and codependence in my endeavor to control life. These choices actually caused more trouble for me and those closest to me than they helped.

God finally brought me to a place of so much loss that I realized I was failing miserably in my attempts to control life and to prevent any further hurt to my body, soul or spirit.

Through surrender, we realize that all things, even the most negative and horrendous event is as God ordained it to be, unless we caused our circumstances by our willful disobedience or our failure to walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

The Lord taught me to "Let Go and Let God"; to live in the moment; to readily admit my faults; and to make apologies when needed, because I would not be consumed by shame if I did.

Surrendering to God's will allows us to enter God's rest, to luxuriate in His love and peace, and to put the weight of our current trial in His heart - letting go of all of the worry and stress. 

I even bought a heart-shaped box and I write down all of my worries and physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and literally deposit them into God's heart. This shifts all of my faith and energy from control to surrender.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for teaching me to enter into my spirit and to face life through Your Spirit rather than through my soul - my mind, choices and emotions. You instructed me to put a boundary between me and my current circumstance, which would allow me the freedom to journal my thoughts and feelings and to find Your perspective on what is happening in my life.

You taught me to embrace trials rather than to resist them, because You plant a seed for a miracle in each one of them. You are constantly teaching me patience through my suffering, which is making me more perfect, complete and in need of no good thing, because You are giving me the mind and perspective of Christ to victoriously survive the issues in this world (James 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Thought for the Day:

We will not allow life to distract us to the extent that we forfeit God's grace and mercy; so that we may live in His joy and peace, rather than to wallow in worry and unrest.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Freedom through Prayer

abstract, blur, bubble

Authentic Christians rely on the Lord as our strength and our shield. We trust in Him with our whole heart, because He always helps us and fills our heart with His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We constantly break out into songs of thanksgiving to Him for all that He does for us (Psalm 28:7). He is worthy of our praise, even if He allows us to experience trials in this world.

We often cause our own trials by our thoughts, emotions and choices. If we keep blaming others for our failure nothing ever improves and we are kept in bondage by our anxiety and our past.

If we allow God's Spirit to make us humble, we realize we are powerless in this life. Powerlessness leads to surrender, and surrender inspires us to enjoy true serenity.

Serenity is a deep peace, which transcends our circumstance. God's peace leads to joy that does not depend on positive experiences. Then joy leads to more peace and acceptance of God's will for us.

The happiness that the world provides is fickle at best. It ebbs and flows with the tides of life. God's joy gives us energy to follow the leading of His Spirit as we live through each moment of our day.

When we live moment by moment we have no need to live in regret over the past or fear of the future (Galatians 5:15-25). We plan our activities for the day according to the leading of God's Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us how to pray without ceasing at the same time that we live out the responsibilities of our daily lives. Since we cannot stay on our knees in our prayer closet all day long, we must learn to pray during each moment of our schedule. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to pray about every moment as You give it to us.

When we ask You what You want us to do, help us to follow Your Spirit's leading and accomplish Your will in every moment of our life. Each new endeavor throughout our day is bathed in prayer and we lean on Your strength and provision rather than our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Thought for the Day:
Humility admits that we cannot, and acknowledges that God can; and life flows so much smoother when we bathe each moment in prayer.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Come as a Child to the Father

Yellow and Orange Butterfly

Jesus told us that unless with turn from our sin and become like a trusting little child, we will never get into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3).

I love getting in touch with the part of my soul that was and still is a little child. I had to learn to nurture that part of myself, because my parents had issues that prevented them from setting a nurturing example.

They were great providers and loved us to the best of their ability; but sadly, the wounds from their past held them in bondage all the days of their lives.

When the disciples tried to discourage the children from taking up Jesus’ time, He firmly reprimanded them with the words, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

Little children are dependent. They have no self-centered pride, which prevents them from total trust in our Father God. They live in simplicity, often playing more with the box, which contained our expensive gift to them, than they play with our actual gift.

Uncontaminated by the world, children are loyal, truthful, unpretentious and trusting. They feel no need to wear a mask and never think twice about their transparency, honesty and sincerity.

They have few fear and insecurities until as adults we teach them to fear different aspects of life. All they really crave is our focused attention and dedicated time.

Prayer:
Father God, You actually want us to lay aside our childish carnality and to grow into mature Saints (1 Corinthians 3:1). You do not want us dependent upon the milk of the Word forever, but to grow up to eat solid spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Yet, at the same time, you encourage us to trust You with a child-like faith.

You also desire for us to have confidence to approach Your throne in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16); however, we are to derive our confidence from Your love and faithfulness and not from our own abilities or what we think we deserve. A childlike mind is open to being taught by Your Word and led into all truth by Your Spirit (John 16:13).

Thought for the Day:
In the same manner that a parent enjoys feeding, cuddling, providing for and protecting their child, our loving Father spoils His beloved children, who give themselves entirely and only to Him with trust in His loving kindness.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Benefits of a Life in Christ

Sunset over Snow Covered Mountains


There is a fine line between attaining and obtaining salvation. We achieve a goal either by attaining it through hard work or by obtaining possession of it through little effort of our own (Hebrew 4:10).

For years I strove to keep all of God's commandments to the letter of the law. I wanted to please God and to pay Him back for His sacrifice for me on the cross. I tried to attain Salvation by my own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Most religions require their followers to attain paradise through an uphill struggle throughout life. Christianity is just the opposite, however. I heard it said, “Christianity is the only religion where God came down to man.”

We are actually encouraged to cease from all striving as God did from creation on the seventh day. Then we walk in the Spirit and trust God's wisdom and grace as He achieves through us the results that He lead us to accomplish.

When Christ takes possession of our spirit, He gives us His rest for our soul – our mind, will and emotions. His righteousness, peace and joy give us a new life, which replaces our life of worry, abuse and deprivation (Romans 14:17).

We no longer seek to sanctify our self by crucifying our flesh or by our works for God (Galatians 3:1-3), but we accept the work of Christ on the cross for us, which gives us eternal salvation simply by our relationship with Him (John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, You provide all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). We live in ceaseless wonder at the sacrifice You made for us and at the heavenly home, which You provide for us, as we abide in You forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Teach us to walk by Your Spirit each moment of every day (Galatians 5:16-25).

By faith, we accept Your sacrifice on our behalf (Hebrews 7:22), and we submit to Your Spirit as You crucify the deeds of our flesh (Romans 15:16). We enter into You rest and obtain Your righteousness as a free gift (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). We love You above all and give You all of the praise and glory due to Your name.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit transforms the lives He inhabits; so we stop striving and obtain the gifts God has for us by following His lead during each moment of the day.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Life Changers

Free stock photo of mountains, nature, sky, forest

The Good News of the gospel of Christ is that authentic Believers died with Jesus and are hidden with Him in God (Colossians 3:3-4). He is our life and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).

The more we recognize our union with Christ, the deeper our intimacy with Him grows. Our interest in the affairs, pursuits and pleasures of this world diminish as we put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

The mind of Christ infuses our thoughts, desires, motives and actions. We come to the place, like Jesus did, that we speak and act only what we hear and see from our Heavenly Father (John 5:19).

The fruit of God's Spirit transforms our fleshly nature (Galatians 5:22-23). We enthusiastically submit our free will to the will of God for our life – our human will submits to His divine will.

We know without a doubt that the will of God is more perfectly intended for our good than our human will could ever hope to provide for us.

God knows the end from the beginning. His judgment is flawless. He infuses our body, spirit and soul – our mind, will and emotions - with the power of His Holy Spirit.

The only hindrance to this transformation comes when we allow our humanity to overpower the Spirit of Christ within us. Our only hope is to totally immersing our self in the divine nature of God though Christ within us.

Prayer:
Father God, our identity as a human being is dead. Our unique personality is only alive through Christ who wants to live His life through each one of us individually (Galatians 2:20). Teach us that the way to walk out this union with Christ is to live, move and have our being only and fully in Him (Acts 17:28).

We follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit moment by moment throughout our day; and You make us lights in this world, a city on a hill. Help us not to do anything that diminishes Your light in us (Matthew 5:14). We live to praise, honor and obey You. You make a huge difference in our life. Thank You for making us life changers.

Thought for the Day:
As we live in Christ and allow Him to love us and to love others through us, He makes a huge difference in us and in our world.



Friday, September 15, 2017

A More Excellent Way

Pink Flower Field

God wants only what is best for us. His laws and precepts are designed to keep us healthy, wealthy and wise. He gives us the best gifts and shows us a more excellent way to live (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Jesus taught us that humility and service are the best course of action (Matthew 5:3-12). Solomon could have asked for anything this world offers and requested only wisdom to care for God's people (1 Kings 3:9).

Of course, God fulfilled his request and also gave him riches and fame as well. In his wisdom, Solomon knew God's principles of sewing and reaping. He sought God's Kingdom and reaped an abundance of everything he ever needed.

We can learn from Jesus and Solomon and walk in God's more excellent ways as well. We honor God in all that we think, say and do.

At the moment of salvation, Authentic Believers are as full of the Trinity as we will ever get. However, we can draw closer to God, more intimate with Him, each day.

We bear the fruit of God's Spirit in increasing fullness. We glorify God in word and deed, and we keep His will as the center of our focus each moment of every day.

As we take care of God's business, He takes care of ours. We seek His Kingdom first, and He adds to our life everything we need (Matthew 6:33).

Prayer:
Father God, we want You to reveal to us Your more excellent way. Teach us to do only Your will for each moment of our day. We gratefully accept Your provision in our life and we want to walk in Your ways, sow into Your Kingdom and reap your blessings.

Teach us to keep our focus on Your Kingdom and to fully surrender our goals, plans and purposes to Your Lordship. We want to bring You glory in our daily activities and to take advantage of Your divine opportunities to introduce friends, relatives, associates, neighbors and even strangers to Your love and goodness.

Thought for the Day:
God hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29), and blesses us abundantly as He increases our talents, understanding and serenity; we are His children and co-equal heirs with our brother, Jesus Christ.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Parental Super Saints

Clear Body of Water Between Yellow and Green Leaved Trees

As children, we come to believe that our parents are super-sized. They are always there with ready advice, a tissue to wipe our tears and a new craft project or game to chase away boredom.

As we age, we start to notice that these super-Saints are human, and that they let us down more often than come to our rescue. This disillusionment with them colors much of the rest of our life, unless we grant them the same grace and forgiveness that we want them to bestow on us.

We have no idea how hectic our parents' lives really are, how many obligations are on their shoulders and how diverse their responsibility really is until we are old enough to "walk a mile" in their shoes.

In our younger years, we judge them on how well they meet our needs. Of course, they are the only parents we have, unless our grandparents are equally involved in our life; so it is normal to expect them to be present with us and for us all of the time.

As parents, we allow the incessant drum of our daily to-do list to distract us from breathing deeply, entering God's rest and enjoying each moment of time as He provides it for us.

We forget that our children are only with us for a few years, but the mountain of dishes in the sink, the footprints on the floor and the laundry piling up in the baskets will still be there tomorrow.

I am so glad that the Lord taught me this lesson while my children were very young. Like my mother, I made sure that I was home to greet them every day when they came home from school. God even gave me four years to homeschool them as we traveled the interstates crisscrossing the eastern USA.

We always made time to watch their sports team's valiant efforts to win championships; to participate in their Scouting activities even when we traveled; and to take them out individually for a milkshake and a chat when their behavior clued us in that something was really bothering them, or when they had a victory that they wanted to share with us.

I cherish those memories and I am grateful that God and my husband allowed me to be a "stay at home" mom all of those years. This allowed me the opportunity to consistently be available to listen to their unhurried worries, concerns and triumphs.

Prayer:
Father God, even as an adult, pregnant with my firstborn, I wanted my Mommy first and foremost. Although she had an emotionally distant personality, she always knew how to let me know that nothing in her life was more important to her than my needs, and the necessities of my three little brothers. Thank You for allowing me to pass on this tradition to my children as well.

Please, use this post to convict or to encourage other parents to give their children focused attention and to let the to-do list wait until tomorrow if necessary.

Remind us that getting our children involved in completing those incessant chores gives all of us a sense of community and camaraderie, and allows our children to realize that they are needed and appreciated at home.

Thought for the Day:
Glib and hurried words or gifts have no real meaning; but when we give the gift of our focused attention, this makes a lasting impression on the ones we love.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

God Makes All Things New

Red Leaf Trees Near the Road

God's recipe for eliminating negative thoughts, words and deeds in our life is for us to focus our thoughts on what is true and good and right.

He cautions us to think only about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good aspects in this life. We can think about all that we can be glad about and for which we can praise God (Philippians 4:8).

Apart from God, we can accomplish nothing of lasting value (John 15:5). The Bible declares that Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). If we have Jesus Christ living in us, He daily delivers us from sin’s dominion by His resurrection life within us (Romans 5:10).

He also gives us new values, priorities and goals in life (2 Corinthians 5:17). He gives us His peace that transcends human understanding (Philippians 4: 6-8). If we do not have the Son of God living in us, however, we do not have any of this (1 John 5:12).

Christ’s salvation goes beyond the spirit to the soul and body as well (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Believers are currently saved in our spirit through Justification, we will be saved in our body when we see Jesus through Glorification, and lastly we are being saved in our soul – our mind, will and emotions - through the lifelong method of Sanctification.

We desire to know Jesus more intimately every day and to see our self grow into His beloved, mature child. Our right-standing before God is by faith in all that Christ accomplished on our behalf.

We do not have to work for or earn this position. If we really believe this fact, then we will take advantage of the opportunity, which He gives us to get to know Him more intimately as our Redeemer, Friend and Brother.

Prayer:
Father God, You freely offers everyone this gift of a personal relationship with You. We have the option to either embrace Your friendship or to refuse to acknowledge You. The choice is ours (John 3:18). You give us this opportunity to get to know Christ and to grow in our understanding of His power, His resurrection and in what He has to offer us in eternity.

You designed the Trinity, so that we can experience firsthand both Christ’s sufferings and His victories as we walk through our trials with Him within us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5); but in Him we are conquerors over every trial, because You love us (Romans 8:37).

Thought for the Day:
We have the opportunity every day to fellowship with the Trinity; to walk in His mercy, power and grace; to be led by Him, and to live with Him in eternity in Heaven.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Good Marriage - The Fabric of our Family

Free stock photo of water, blue, ocean


Pride ruins so many relationships (Ephesians 4:2). We think that we are competing with one another, having to prove that we are right and our mate is wrong, making more money and advancing up the corporate ladder quicker than the other.

These are lies from Satan and must be rejected at all costs. Our mate is not the enemy, the devil is. We fell in love because we liked one another and were attracted to each other; this love does not die, it simply turns to hatred, apathy or disappointment.

We may find someone else we are more attracted to, or we may decide we prefer to live alone, so we divorce our mate. The problem is that we are never as happy with anyone else than we could be with the mate of our youth (Proverbs 5:18), and the father or mother of our children.

Divorce rips apart the fabric of our family and each person, especially the children, are victims of this terrible malady. We lose our financial, mental, emotional and physical stability.

Of course, there are extenuating circumstances if our mate is unsafe. In these cases, it is best to consult a counselor or to go to a safe house - at least until we both agree to get help with our issues.

Our irritating differences or idiosyncrasies are not really grounds for divorce, however. We can find an alternative behavior if we agree to pray together and to hear the leading of God's Spirit in each area of our disagreement.

A change in our perspective, life goals, pet peeves and focus may be just what the doctor ordered for our relationship. We each have them, and they are usually very different.

Our family histories form our current views on child-rearing practices, values, religious and political views, hobbies, preferences, expectations and traditions.

They may be very diverse; but they do not need to cause strife, especially if we agree to disagree, or to brainstorm to find new choices that meet the needs we have as a couple.

Prayer:
Father God, please constantly remind us what drew up together. Show us that the core values are what we share. Help us to see that the family that we have created together means more than the petty issues causing a thorn in our relationship. Help us to see that our love for one another should be rooted in Your Agape love for us, rather than in fleeting carnal aspects of human love.

Your amazing love is a solid foundation on which we can build a mansion of loving practices and feelings in our marriage. Your love also helps us to persevere through disappointments and hurt feelings that always occur between two people. Help us to listen to Your Spirit each moment of our life together, so that our love for You and one another will grow deeper with each passing day.

Thought for the Day:
We may need to stop doing something or to start doing something that will help to stabilize our home life; Agape love bears with one another and finds something positive that outweighs the negative behavior that gets on our nerves. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Paying Attention to God's Will

Orange Rose Flower in Bloom during Daytime


Most of us are so focused on our to-do list for the day that we fail to pay attention to our body, thoughts and feelings. This often results in mental and/or emotional breakdowns.

Life goes far better for us if we take constant check-ups of our negative issues in body, soul and spirit. Finding out what is causing these negative feelings, thoughts and circumstances is vital for our overall health.

Identifying the root causes will unlock the doors to what our soul is attempting to communicate to us. If we go to God in prayer, He will show us these root causes and help us to discover how to deal with them.

What are we anxious about? What future event has our nerves jittering inside from worry? What past event is causing us shame or unforgiveness toward our self or someone else?

God will give us wisdom to know what situations we can deal with and which ones we need to put into His capable hands. He will give us His strength to overcome whatever He is bringing to our attention.

He will also help us to accept the areas that we do not like, but that are part of our life in this current moment. We trust in His wisdom, goodness and grace.

Changing our focus about people and situations that we cannot change will aid us in walking in God's peace and joy regardless of our circumstances. This releases us from anger and resentment as well.

Looking at life from an eternal perspective, rather than an earthly one will bring us unhindered joy that is full of God's glory as we walk in His will for us.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to live one moment at a time, praying in our spirit continually, obeying Your will, and enjoying Your Spirit and Your presence each moment of each day. We can more readily experience fulfillment and overcome hardships by trusting You to work out everything according to Your will and for our good (Romans 8:28).

We release the stress and worry by breathing deeply to inhale Your peace. Help us to accept this world as it is, and to hear Your voice on how to make our part of it a better place for us and our community to enjoy. We want to surrender to Your will and to stop using our energy to fight our circumstances.

Thought for the Day:
Walking in true and lasting serenity comes from trusting God in all the issues of life - past, present and future - because we want to make a difference for His Kingdom and to walk in His will for us in each moment of our day. 
- Proverbs 3:5-6


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Following God's Spirit

Free stock photo of flowers, summer, meadow, blossom

The Psalmist referred to our soul - our thoughts, emotions and choices - as a weaned child within us. He recommends that we calm and quiet our "Inner Child" (Psalm 131:2).

I totally agree with him. Many of our current issues are fueled by the trauma of our past, especially from our childhood, and caused by family, friends, acquaintances, and Satan's lies.

We have many God-given emotions and mental needs, which were neglected in our childhood; and we get too busy during our adult life to satisfy them our self.

Our mind, will and emotions play an influential part in our life, but we often relegate the soul to the realm of the “flesh” and attempt to crucify it.

I am not talking about carnal thoughts, desires and feelings. We constantly bombard our nervous system with chaotic trivia and ignore the important things in our life.

We chat or text on the cell phone more than we talk to God. To change this mad rush through life, we simply need to make a slight adjustment in our mindset.

Rather than focusing on completing our list of things to do, we can listen to and follow the Spirit of God as He leads us through every moment of the day. This cuts down on frustrated goals and constant irritations.

We stop neglecting and abusing our self, and we start nurturing the needs of our soul as we respond to God's sanctifying process. We do not encourage or condone sin, but we do fulfill our legitimate needs (Romans 5:21, 6:1-2).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to sit still and to acknowledge that You are our God and King (Psalm 55; Proverbs 3:5-6). You care about every need we have - physical, mental, financial, emotional and spiritual. Jesus died to bring us healing in all of these areas. You reveal Satan lies that keep us in bondage to the past; and You help us to collect the pieces of our past that life and the devil stole from us.

We are complete in You (Colossians 2:10), wanting nothing and counting everything we experience as a joyful event. This can happen only because of Your presence in us and with us, through all of life's trials and triumphs (James 1:2-12). Thank You for making us joint heirs with Jesus of Your Kingdom and for giving us Your Spirit to bring us to perfection in holiness.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus gives us His righteousness in place of our sin, and we experience His peace as we walk in holiness, quietness and confidence forever. - Isaiah 32:17



Saturday, September 9, 2017

Christ is Our Life

Pink Petaled Flower during Daytime


When we fight the reality in our life, rather than trusting in God to give us wisdom or healing, we often spin our wheels and end up exhausted in the process.

God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud (James 4:6). As we surrender our self to Him, and totally submit to Him, He intervenes on our behalf.

He will speak to our inner, spiritual ear about His will for each situation as it arises. When we walk in the center of His will, all things work out for our good (Romans 8:28). He knows all of our thoughts, even those we buried in our subconscious mind.

Jesus has seen every one of our struggles in our life, has compassion on all of our fears, will provide more for us than we can even imagine, and uses us to comfort others as they experience trials that are similar to ours (Luke 22:31).

He hears our faintest prayer and offers for us to take His yoke upon our shoulders, rather than the one we made for our self. His yoke is easy and light (Matthew 11:30), because He helps us to carry it. He even walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4).

Jesus suffered similar trials to ours, and He already overcame them (Hebrews 4:15-16). He can give us comfort and victory through all of our issues as well. His is our life (Colossians 3:3-4).

He also provides us with wisdom, love, joy, stability, strength and peace through every circumstance that we face. We simply need to trust in Him and obey the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

God is our good Father and He cares about all of our needs. He supplies our physical, mental, emotional and financial needs in His way and in His timing.

He helps us to face our fears, to change our focus, to trust Him each moment of our day and to believe that He has a future and a hope for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, You never abandon us or leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5). You live in us and walk beside us as we grow in our awareness of Your presence and Your Spirit within us. Help us to see that we no longer need to make our plans and have our goals in life. We simply follow Your Spirit and walk in the center of Your will each moment of our life.

This will lighten our feelings of anxiety and quiet all of our fears. Living in Your will brings us joy and peace as You make us to lie down in fruitful fields and to drink from Your living water (Psalm 23:1-3). You fill our life with hope in this hopeless world and You encourage us with Your Word, which is life to our weary soul.

Thought for the Day:
We live for God, not through our own human effort, but through Christ in us, guided and empowered by His Holy Spirit, understood and cared for by His love, and drenched by His love, peace and joy.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Achieving Desired Result

Free stock photo of nature, sunset, forest, trees

When we try in our own efforts to succeed, we often fail to achieve the desired results. However, as we come to God and repent of our sins, He gives us the righteousness of Christ which produces a plethora of abundant spiritual fruit in our life (Matthew 3:8).

Walking in obedience to Him produces the desired results. For example, after they fished all night without any success, Jesus' disciples were returning to shore the next morning. Jesus called to them from the shore.

He instructed them to go back out and to throw in their nets on the right side of the boat. They were tired, hungry and discouraged; however, they obeyed.

They followed His instructions explicitly and reaped the reward for their obedience with so many fish that they had to get help hauling them all to shore (John 21:6).

God does not receive pleasure or praise from the results of our humanistic efforts, plans, goals and accomplishments. Instead, He only delights in our obedience to His will (1 Samuel 15:22).

Humanity considers God’s laws restrictive and oppressive. We want the freedom to sin and to follow the desires of our flesh. Then, we blame God when others sin against us.

God’s judgment is never mean or vindictive. His discipline is His loving attempt to draw us away from deprivation and destruction inherent in sin.

He wants us to rush into His protection and abundance. Before He sends judgment, God always gives people every opportunity to repent and to return to Him instead (Jeremiah 15:19).

Even those who give God the most grief through their hatred, can eventually find unrivaled joy the instant they humble their self, repent, trust in Him and obey the leading of His Spirit on a daily basis (Luke 15:7).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to take our eyes off the results of our efforts and to realize that obedience is what You are looking for from us. Help us to love You with a heart of full devotion, not distracted by the hollow temptation of worldly pleasure, praise, glory or benefits.

We want to do Your will in everything we say and do each and every day of our life. We give You the glory for every positive consequence we receive from obeying Your Spirit, and we return back to You all the praise that we receive.

Thought for the Day:
God prefers obedience to sacrifice, a humble spirit and repentant heart rather than accomplishments from our own efforts.
- Psalm 51:17; Ephesians 2:8-10


Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Life of Praise

Fog Covered Mountains during Daytime

God's recipe for eliminating negative thoughts, words and deeds in our life is for us to focus our thoughts on what is true, good and right.

He cautions us to think only about things that are pure and lovely, and to dwell on the fine, good aspects on this earth (Philippians 4:8). As we think about all that He does for and gives to us, we praise God in each moment of our day.

He is our Everything and we can cheerfully share His Good News with everyone we meet. If we confess Him before others, He is our advocate with God (Matthew 10:32).

On a visit to a church member in the hospital, I spoke to a lady in the elevator whom I did not know. She wore a beautifully ornate cross around her neck. 

I asked, “Do you know the Jesus who died for us on the cross?”

Shocked at my question, she blurted out a bit sarcastically, “Well, not personally.”

I felt so sad for her, so I said, “Well, He wants to have a personal relationship with you; just read your Bible and attend a Bible teaching church and He will be your best friend just like He is to me.”

The elevator door opened and I never saw her again. I truly hope she took the time to meet my Best Friend, Jesus.

When we put our trust in Jesus and allow Him to live in us and to work through us, His power flows through us and from us as it changes the world around us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Jesus' death on Calvary’s cross, which paid the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8). Thank You for Your resurrection that gives us life in our spirit, soul and body. We joy in the day of our salvation, never taking it for granted, and no longer questioning every decision You ever make for us.

We also appreciate Your redemption through Christ that guarantees us a place in eternity with You. Thank You for life on this earth that is blessed by Your abundance. Help us to make every day count for Your glory and to share with others what You do for us.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus gives us the opportunity to be one with Him in perfect love and acceptance, apart from any good deeds, pious performances or imposed restrictions, which come from our self-effort.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Future and a Hope

Free stock photo of landscape, nature, sky, sunset

There is a common condition in today’s society, which leads many into addictions and crime. It is called hopelessness. They have tried to make something of their life and they failed at every turn; so, they rely on chemical dependence and theft to relieve their gloomy symptoms.

Authentic Believers in Christ gain glory through our trials, because we know that they ultimately produce hope in us, which never disappoints us.

The Holy Spirit pours out the love of God in our hearts, because even when we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:2-7). Jesus swallowed up death by His victory on Calvary’s cross.

Death no longer has any sting for the Believer. We are aliens and pilgrims in this life (1 Peter 2:11). We immediately pass from this earthly realm into the heavenly realm with our dying breath.

In the face of the worse trial life offers us, we never lose hope (Jeremiah 29:11). It is simply light and momentary affliction when compared to the incomparable, unseen weight of glory, which God has prepared for us in eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). 

We even gain glory through our trials, because we know that they ultimately produce hope in us, which never disappoints us. The Holy Spirit pours out the love of God in our hearts, because even when we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:2-7).

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and He saves all those who are crushed in spirit, if we will simply call out to Him (Psalm 43:18; 147:3). He loves us unconditionally and has His plans for our life.

We surrender our family, our future, our worries and our desires to the love and care of God Almighty (Mark 9:23). Then, we leave them in His capable hands.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our shield in times of affliction. You lift up our head when we are depressed. You always hear our prayers, even though You are way up in Your holy hill. We can sleep in peace because You sustain us. Even if our circumstances are overwhelming, we have no need to fear them (Psalm 3:2-6).

You have a perfect plan for our life. These plans are for our benefit and not to harm us, because they give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). You work out all things, even the negative aspects of life, for our good (Romans 8:28). We have constant access to You by faith and we rejoice in our hope in Your glory (Romans 5:2-7).

Thought for the Day:
It is up to those of us, who have first-hand experience with the wonderful love of God, to share the hope we find in Christ in a gentle, informative fashion and to entreat others to trust their life to Christ too.