Friday, March 31, 2017

A Fruitful Life



Free stock photo of flowers, petals, leaves, gift

One work of the Holy Spirit in our life is to sanctify us by continually, although often slowly, replacing in us the negative attributes of our personality with His spiritual fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23 describes for us the fruit of the Spirit…”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Sometimes, it is confusing to put the meaning of these words in simple terms. The definitions I like are:
Love – affection for others
Joy – exuberance about life
Peace – serenity
Patience – willingness to stick with it
Gentleness – compassion from the heart
Goodness – kindness that pervades our entire being
Meekness – humility and service
Self-Control – guided by the Spirit
Faith – trust that God knows what He’s doing
       
When I compare these to their opposites, the negative characteristics cause me to shudder. I certainly want no part of them in my character:
Envy, strife, hatred, bitterness, self-centeredness, pride, criticism, worry, depression, quitters and complainers, backbiters, and people who put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The Good News is that the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us sanctifies us moment-by-moment! He replaces:
hatred with love,
depression with true joy,
discontentment with peace, 
irritation with patience,
criticism with gentleness,
backbiting with goodness,
pride with meekness,
excess with self-control,
and worry with the faith of God as we are controlled and guided by His Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for putting Your fruit in us in place of the negative traits we learned from others, those that are ingrained in our personality with which we are born, and those that we develop through the disappointments of life.

We give our life to You to mold and make into the divine nature of Christ as He abides within us. We want to be lights of Your character to the world around us, and to have the mind of Christ rather than the whims of our flesh, the world or the devil. Thank You for Your sanctifying work in our life.

Thought for the Day:
God replaces our negative character traits with the fruit of His Spirit as we willingly submit to His surgeon's scalpel, the Word of God, which divides our flesh from our spirit.
- Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Satisfied in Jesus



Gray Asphalt Road Between Green Grass Lawn and Green Leave Trees during Daytime

As we mature spiritually, we walk in godliness with contentment and receive a great advantage both in this world and the next (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

Like Paul, we learn contentment regardless of the circumstances in which we find our self - deprived and in want, or pleasant and blessed (Philippians 4:11-13).

Contentment drives out striving and stress and teaches us to find our satisfaction in Christ alone. It also prevents us from neglecting our walk with the Lord, or living at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1).

We enter God's rest and abide there even when life threatens to overwhelm us (Hebrews 13:5). Striving causes contention and competition; however, God calls us to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

We have not seen with our human eyes, or heard with our natural ears, or imagined in our finite mind what God prepared both now and in eternity for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

He promises us our daily bread and everything we need in order to survive in this world. He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air and loves us and provides for us just as richly.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to look for Your hand of provision for us in our daily walk and to live in contentment. We thank You for giving us everything we need to fulfill Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Bring us to a place where we cease from our carnal striving and where we set our affection on things above and not here on this earth (Colossians 3:2-17). Give us the divine mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), create in us a clean heart, and renew a holy and purposeful spirit in us (Psalm 51:10).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us all good thing to enjoy - every good and perfect gift, which we need as we dwell with Him in contentment and thanksgiving. - Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God Truly Cares for Us

Reflection of Tree and Mountain Covered With Snow during Daytime 





Deep thinkers, mystics, scientists, authors and poets all try to pinpoint the origin and meaning of life, but they reject the truth of God’s Word. Then they come up with theories they cannot prove, even by their own laws.

Many people find fulfillment in their career, children, mate, church ministries, world travel, a new home, a sporty car, completing a "bucket list", serving in a charity, getting involved in local politics, triumphing in a career, delving into alternative spiritual activities - which deviate from the traditional Christian world view.

This fulfillment may last for years, but as we age, we lose interest in these pursuits, because they do not really provide us with lasting fulfillment. Our human plans often operate on impulses, and are otherwise the results of us reasoning things out.

We are never quite able, however, apart from Christ, to come to understand the complete truth about life (2 Timothy 3:6-7). The wisdom and power of a nurtured life come only from the unconditional love of our crucified Christ (1 Corinthians 23-24).

Boasting in our own knowledge and human abilities is useless and quite humorous (1 Corinthians 4:7, 5:6). Looking above our human wisdom to Jesus, who is our only true source of wisdom and joy, is the way to bear lasting fruit in our life (John 15:11).

Making Jesus the center of our focus and submitting to God's Spirit within us allows the Trinity to sanctify our carnality and nurture Christ's divinity within us (Galatians 2:20).

We die to our self more each day, relinquishing our earthly pursuits in favor of spiritual maturity. Our soul - our thoughts, decisions and feelings - prospers, which allows our body and spirit to prosper as well (John 3:1:2; 1 Corinthians 15:31). 

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for the opportunity to share in the peace and glory of Christ in us. We face the trials of each day with hope and optimism, because we know that there is a seed for a miracle within each one (Hebrews 12:2-3). Remind us to stop relying on our human talents and to depend solely on You, finding out what You are doing in our life and joining You (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Clearly reveal to us that trusting in our self is useless and we end up humiliated and feeling hopeless. It is only as we walk away from evil and wholeheartedly embrace Christ in us, that health returns to our body and nourishes our bones (Proverbs 3:7-8). Reveal the truth to us that as we choose Your will over our own will we grow deeper in our union with Christ abiding within us. Jesus is all we really need to succeed in this life (1 John 3:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
In our times of trouble, we cast our cares on God, because He truly cares for us (1 Peter 5:7); He gives us His peace in exchange for our worries (Philippians 4:6, 7; 1 Peter 5:7; John 14:27); and when Satan plagues us with guilt over our past, Jesus removes condemnation for those who trust in Him (Romans 8:1).