Hope in Tribulation

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water falls near green trees

 

Our trials have far-reaching effects; some that we never realized could happen, and some we will never know about until we get to heaven. Our attitude in them and through them will inspire other people in their walk with the Lord (Philippians 1:14).

 

Trials are not really obstacles, but opportunities to have faith in God’s faithfulness, and to uncover the seed for a miracle, which He plants within each issue that we face. They are truly blessings in disguise.

 

Our new life in Christ is a bed full of sweet smelling roses, but each stem of our walk is full of prickly thorns. Jesus exhorted us to expect tribulation in this world, but to be encouraged, because His presence in us helps us to overcome.

 

Jesus already overcame the world (John 16:33). His power and wisdom see us through every negative incident. Even Job received multiple blessings that far surpassed the horrid trials that he experienced.

 

The dear apostle Paul suffered shipwreck, beatings, jail cells, pursuit by persecutors who wanted to end his life, abuse, etc. (2 Corinthians 11:24-25). Paul endured his troubles by changing his focus from his miserable conditions to God’s promises (Romans 8:18).

 

Paul learned the secret of rejoicing through His tribulation. He even sang praises to God while chained in a Roman prison (Acts 16:16-40). His faith in and love for God barely waivered in the face of debilitating difficulties. He learned abiding contentment (Philippians 4:11-12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word teaches us that after Satan attempted to sift Peter like wheat, he would be able to strengthen the church by his testimony and the lessons he learned (Luke 22:31-32). Thank You for helping us to shift our focus from our trial to our testimony. We all know people whose lives are a witness to Your power in spite of their troubles.

 

Help us to change our attitude and our focus from the events in our life to Your provision in spite of them. We do not want our faith in You or our love for You to waiver in the face of difficulties. Teach us not to be discouraged when we encounter difficulties, because You use complications to test our faith, to strengthen us for future trials, and to prove that Your grace is sufficient to sustain us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Some people mistakenly believe that God promises never to give us more trials than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:12-13); however, this promise actually refers to temptations; God will allow us to experience overwhelming trials that force us to run to Him for our deliverance (John 16:33).

 

A Good Marriage – Sacrificial Love

Red Rose

No human being ever wants to make sacrifices. We want to live a life that bountifully fulfills our desires, plans, and goals. Yet, many of us will unselfishly sacrifice for those whom we love and to whom we are devoted. This usually transforms our relationship and two actually become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:3). 

A mate’s love, flowing from a heart of dedication, is not a duty but a joy. If one sacrifices for a mate out of duty, it is rarely appreciated. Then, the one doing the sacrificing allows bitterness to grow in his/her heart. This greatly impacts the flow of love in the relationship and builds walls in the marriage.

If warm feelings do not accompany our sacrifice, we need to pray to let God reveal to us the reasons they are blocked (Ephesians 3:20); and then, if they include our spouse, discuss these issues together. We usually serve in every capacity in our life: at home, extended family, work, church, neighborhood, community, and the world. This can get exhausting at times.

We all need to admit our mistakes, to ask for forgiveness, to accept our mate unconditionally, and to honestly change the things about our self that truly offends our mate. This helps us to grow closer to each other, and to mature spiritually. We dwell together with understanding and acceptance of one another. 

Love is the greatest gift we can give to another human being. Love grows as we spend quality time together and share our thoughts, emotions, concerns and needs. Neither one of us is a mind reader; therefore, it is futile to expect our mate to instinctively know what we need or want. 

Regular times of communication is a necessity in any relationship. Cherishing one another, quickly forgiving slights or oversights or grouchy responses and barbs, showing compassion on what our mate is going through, and loving each other even when we act unlovingly will go a long way in showing sacrificial love.

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for enabling us to love one another so much that we would never, ever do anything that we know would hurt our partner. Remind us not to develop deep personal relationships with anyone else either mentally, emotionally, or physically – no intimate communication through any means. Lying or keeping secrets from our mate is very dangerous ground and erodes the foundation of our union.

Help us to see that meeting alone with someone other than our spouse is opening the door for infidelity. It is vitally important that we guard one another’s reputation and integrity. We do not want negative emotions to erode what we could be as a couple, so teach us to really listen to our spouse, and to hear the cries of each other’s heart. We desire above all else to remain faithful to both You and our spouse.

Thought for the Day:

Protecting and nourishing our marriage is one the greatest gifts we can give to our self as well as to our mate, children, and extended family, friends, and community; we can do this by following God’s plan for us as a couple, as we play, minister, share, and live with His purpose as our primary goal in our relationship.

God’s Constant Mercy

Selective Focus Photography of White Petaled Flower

We have so much for which to thank God. He is so good, and His mercy endures forever (2 Chronicles 5:13). With the words of our mouth, we offer a ceaseless sacrifice of praise to God, giving thanks to Him for who He is, as well as all He did, is doing, and will do for us (Psalm 116:12; 1 Chronicles 16:8; Deuteronomy 10:21). 

As we walk with the Lord, the lusts of our flesh are diminishing. Each and every day, God is renewing our inner soul and spirit (2 Corinthians 4:16). We are so grateful to Him for ridding us of the heavy weight of our sinful desires. His love inspires us to pray to Him and to walk in His ways (Hebrews 13:15-16).

Because of God’s constant mercies, we are not consumed when we fall into sin. His compassion for us never ends or fails us. Each new morning, His mercy for us is fresh and abundant, and He is faithful to us throughout our lifetime and beyond. Therefore, we come before God’s presence with thanksgiving, and we make a joyful noise to Him with songs (Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 95, 100)

God helps us not to grow weary or to tire from exertion when we voluntarily serve others all our life, especially with no appreciation, reciprocal actions, or verbal affirmation from them. If we minister to others for the Lord, we do not need gratitude from those we serve, because we know we are in the very center of God’s will for us (Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:28-29; Psalm 150:6).

Prayer
Father God, You are mighty in our midst. You save us and rejoice over us with joyful singing. We rest in Your love, and You fill us with Your joy and peace (Zephaniah 3:17). As we live on this earth, we praise You (Psalm 146:1-2). Our soul blesses You and we never forget Your blessings, and the benefits that are ours as we serve You (Psalm 103:2; Psalm 34:8). If we call on You, You always set the captives free.

You give rain to the just and the unjust, provide us with a bounteous harvest, and enough food to weather the winters of life. We declare Your blessings to anyone who will listen, and we exalt Your Holy Name (Isaiah 12:4). You are our sun and our shield; and as we walk honorably with You, You withhold nothing from us that we need (1 Samuel 12:16). You are so good to us, and we trust in You alone (Psalm 31:19, 84:11, 145:9).

Thought for the Day:

We look forward to our wedding day with Jesus as our Bridegroom, and we give thanks to God for His unfathomable gifts and riches; our soul blesses His holy name, and we never forget all of the benefits we receive from His generous hand.

– Jeremiah 33:11; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Psalm 103:1

Ignoring Our True Self

Paper Kite Butterfly Perching on Red Flower in Close-up Photography

When we ignore our true self, we open the door for a whole host of negative feelings. These pesky issues fester, get infected, and cause us debilitating emotional pain as they often effect our thoughts and physical health as well. 

If we lock away or repress them in our subconscious mind, they attract other negative feelings. We disconnect with our true self, or we sever our image of our self from our identity and take on a whole new persona. We adopt fragmented personalities, depression, addictions, and anger, which cause a disrupted or negative lifestyle and nightmares, etc. 

Eventually, we are inundated by this destructive bombardment, which also signals for us that we are neglecting our true self. We cannot sleep, or work during our day, or think clearly enough to function normally. We forget to consult God for His plans for us, and we neglect our health and well-being.

Therefore, we use drugs or other addictions to get to sleep, to wake up, and to anesthetize our pain so that we can function even through ordinary days. We are no longer a whole, connected person. We are distracted, irritable, wounded, even broken. 

We attempt to heal on our own, using socializing with friends, dating people that we know are not right for us, idolizing our husband and/or children, learning a new hobby, adopting a new hobby or cause, changing careers, etc. These rarely, if ever, help us to feel whole.

A good place to start healing is to sit alone and quietly in a room, or out in nature with a journal and pen, or blank paper and crayons. This helps us to allow our true self to express his/her issues without censorship or parameters. We get reacquainted with our true self as we strip away the plastic mask we have hidden behind for so long.

As God heals us of our inordinate addictions, habits, and hobbies, we learn to trust the Lord in all our ways, and we do not depend on our own humanistic theories. We seek His advice during each moment of our day, and we look forward to hearing His advice and direction in order to heal completely and to walk in His stability and security (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Prayer:

Father God, help us to have the honesty to list our good qualities and to show our self appreciation for our strengths, as well as to have compassion on our weaknesses. Assist us to make a list of our appropriate behaviors that are not destructive and those that we need to alter, to discover what makes us feel safe or unsafe, and to list what we enjoy doing and what are our favorite things, activities, and people.

Teach us to look through photos of our self and help us to identify any age where we suffered traumatic experiences that need healing, or when we were the happiest and what contributed to that joy. Remind us to apologize to our self for wounding our self with our perfectionism, neglect, deprivation, and codependence. Thank You for healing us from the inside out and for showing us that our true identity is in Christ within us (Colossians 1:27).

Thought for the Day:

If we shower our self with sympathy for hurts that we endured in life, and we apologize for neglecting our own needs and burdening our self with addictions, we start to heal; as we make a commitment to stop overindulging our self with harmful habits and hang-ups that thwart our healing, and instead to start focusing our mind on God’s Word, we will see beneficial and life-changing behavior as well. 

Dedicating Our Life 

Tilt Shift Lens of Green Plants

When we connect intimately with God through salvation in Jesus Christ, we obtain eternal comfort, substantial provision, and daily guidance through His Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; Philippians 4:19). Our Father God is extremely protective of His children, because we are precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:3; Zechariah 2:8).

Christianity is not just what we do or believe, but who we are. When we dedicate our life to His service in our family, vocation, community, and church family, God enriches every aspect of our life on this earth (1 Corinthians 1:5). He is always totally worthy of our complete trust in Him (Psalm 9:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). 

Over our years of service to Him, we learn to discern His will by following His peace within our spirit. Our only desire is to accomplish His plans for our life (Ephesians 2:10). We maintain a biblical worldview and an eternal focus. We seek Him before starting a new venture, embarking on a new direction, or planning a new activity (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Sinful desires and satanic lies and temptations no longer sway our choices because we are already dead to them in Christ (Galatians 5;19-21; Colossians 3:3-4). Jesus defeated all authority in the kingdom of darkness by His death and resurrection, and all authority now belongs to Him (Colossians 2:15; Matthew 28:18). 

God shows us evidence of His hand in our life throughout every moment of every day. He gives us personal “love letters” and “hugs” each day that are meaningful to us personally. We dress up in His armor each morning and stand firm during every battle that comes our way (Ephesians 2:10, 6:11-13).

Prayer:

Father God, once we come to You by Your grace through faith, then self-centered ambitions play no part in our current thinking or behavior. Thank You for providing us with negative emotions that alert us to discord in our body, soul or spirit, and for helping us to identify the area in our body or soul or spirit that we are neglecting, or the idol in our life that is causing us issues and is blocking the flow of Your peace. 

We so appreciate You sanctifying our soul until Your Spirit’s fruit replaces every negative aspect of our human personality (Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 2:15). We submit to Your authority over us, because our rulers are Your emissaries in our society (Hebrews 13:17), unless they demand behavior that is against the principles in Your Word (Acts 4:19, 5:29). Regardless of our vocation, we serve You until our dying breath.

Thought for the Day:

Our flesh, satanic lies, and worldly lusts have no bearing on us or temptation for us anymore because our soul is now centered in Christ; demonic influence, which attempts to cause us to fall away from our faith, no longer has any effect on authentic Believers, because we are alive with Christ and seated with Him in Heavenly places.

– Ephesians 2:5-6; James 4:7

God’s Plan for Humanity

Fill the Frame Photography of Red Roses

God’s plan for humanity is as orderly and detailed as the planets in their orbit around the sun. He arranged the planets to sit at just the right angle and spacing, especially the earth. Our world tilts at the exact slant it needs to support life. Its composition consists of the perfect combination of chemical elements and matter to ensure our existence.

It is God’s plan to send Jesus to the earth a second time, this time with His Bride, to physically abide with everyone who is humble enough to accept His call on their life. He incorporates us into His Body of Believers throughout all generations and nations from the beginning of time to its end.

God designed His Body, and when one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Unfortunately, Satan makes sure that his character attributes of jealousy, covetousness, and pride steal these ideal circumstances from us.

This causes the individual members of God’s Body to operate dysfunctionally, to think more of our self than anyone else, to keep our own priorities as our focus, and to lack any concern for those around us who, by their own choices (John 3:18), are lost and destined to spend eternity in hell.  

Many people often reject one church Body for another, divorcing their former church family without one regret. They disfigure God’s Body – like a single eye rolling down the path of life, leaving one church with only one eye and their next church with more than the two eyes it needs (1 Corinthians 12:14-22).

At times, certain people in our church Body may hurt our feelings, exasperate us, or who are irritating and hard to live with, but Christ is patient with us (Romans 5:8); and similarly, we can allow the fruit of God’s Spirit to help us to be patient with our fellow members of His Body (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we determine to put our self first, to divorce Your Bride, or to stir up trouble with gossip and dissention, this says more about our character than the shortcomings within Your Body. Help us to attain spiritual maturity through Christ in us, so that we can love Your Bride unconditionally and to serve with tireless devotion in the church where You plant us (Luke 6:32). 

As we all constantly abide in Your presence and seek You with our whole heart, You are our Great Physician, our skilled surgeon who continually operates on the heart of each of us, to give us new life in You in order to resolve life’s most complex issues, to bring peace in tumultuous circumstances, and to draw us to the truth of Your Word (Proverbs 3:5-6). We want to love and serve You with each moment of our days.

Thought for the Day:

By stepping up and serving Jesus’ Bride where God shows us the areas of need in which He wants us to minister, we can be part of the solution in our church family, rather than part of the problem; God’s grace enables us to love others as Christ loves us, sacrificially and patiently and selflessly, and He does not require us to “like” anyone else, but to love them with the love of Christ within us.

A Good Marriage – Two to Tango

Blue and White Flowers

One mate in a marriage can hold the relationship intact; however, this puts a huge strain and drain on that one person’s physical and emotional energy. Then, they struggle with negative attitudes of resentment, due to being neglected, especially when their emotional tank depletes to empty most of the time.

As the saying goes, “It takes two to Tango.” The Tango is a very passionate and intense dance between two “lovers.” One person cannot dance the Tango alone – it takes a set of partners performing fluid and intricate patterns that cause them to move in tandem with each other to perform the Tango.

Two active partners are essential to make a fluid, passionate marriage as well. When one person opts out of the process, the relationship ceases to be a marriage, and they become roommates or amicable friends instead. Some relationships deteriorate over the years, until they end in divorce.

In the Tango, prearranged steps help the couple to stay in sync with one another. Nonverbal cues help them to sway to the music in perfect harmony. In a marriage, when we receive positive emotional and physical cues from each other, we feel valued, cherished, secure, and joyful. 

Strong marriages provide trust, commitment, a willingness to change negative behavior, and vulnerability in attitude, behavior, conversation, and the “risk” that each partner is willing to take for the other. We “have each other’s back” – the most vulnerable part of our body. We cannot protect our back, or even scratch an itch there without help. 

God designed marriage for a man and a woman to cleave to each other in spirit, soul, and body (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). When our mate truly cares about us, and we go the extra mile for each other and place each other at the top of our priority list, we feel safe and at rest. Let’s Tango!

Prayer:

Father God, in this fast-paced world, our schedules often exclude couple time, or daily snuggle and chat time; yet these practices are paramount for a good marriage. Remind us that cherishing each other, having compassion for one another, and serving our mate are ways to ensure that love lives on in a relationship – even a marriage where one or both people are aged, incapacitated or have some physical ailment. 

Teach us to draw our strength from Your agape love, and to love You more than we love even our mate. Remind us to put You first in our life, because as we seek You together for our daily living, our roots grow deeper in our union with You, and our marriage is strengthened and serves as a living testimony of Jesus’ love for His Bride. We love You with our whole heart, and we make a commitment to love one another with Your unconditional, agape love.

Thought for the Day:

In our technological age, most people are more interested in their texts, emails, and messages than they are in talking with one another, so couple communication is a dying art; a wise couple will put down the smart phone or tablet, turn off the TV, and turn down the music in order to concentrate on communicating with the most important person in their life, rather than taking them for granted and basically ignoring them.

No Death for Believers

Red Squirrel on Brown Table Top

When our body goes to the grave, our spirit and soul (mind, will, and emotions) go straight to the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Authentic Believers never taste of death (John 8:51). When we see Jesus, we shall be just like Him, because we shall see Him as He is in all His glory (1 John 3:2). 

Once we take our last breath on this earth, our very next breath will be in Heaven. God rejoices in the death of His Saints (Psalm 116:15), because we are no longer separated from Him physically, but we dwell with Him for eternity. The day of our death is actually even better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1). 

After we pass from this earth, we are not disembodied spirits wandering around until we finish the business we failed to accomplish in our lifetime. Neither do we need to contact some human being to help us to leave a message for our loved ones or to straighten out some misunderstanding we left behind.

While we are still here on earth, God fills our body, soul, and spirit with joy as we experience exquisite pleasures in His eternal presence within us (Psalm 16:9-11). However, He does not leave us to rot in the grave after we pass. He is our guide into eternity, and we have a refuge in Him (Proverbs 14:32; Psalm 48:14).

Death is not the end; it is the beginning. We leave the limits of this earthly realm and enter the glorious riches of the Kingdom of God. We passed all the tests, graduated from the school of life, and we earned our diploma to enter the grandeur of heaven and receive our rewards (Matthew 16:27).

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for drawing us to Your heart during times of strain and sorrow, which accompany the death of our loved ones. We thank You that Your peace, which surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7), will flow over us like a waterfall. You fill our heart with Your love so fully that we feel no other emotion. 

I ask that You help us to always find our refuge under the shadow of Your wings, our strength in Your joy, and our comfort and clarity of thinking in Your wisdom as You lead us beside the still waters and restore our soul (Psalm 23:1-3; Revelation 7:17). We look forward to Your river of life in eternity, flowing down from Your throne, and whose streams bring us joy (Psalm 46:4). 

Thought for the Day:

Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in Heaven, and the angels carry us into the presence of God in heaven where we will never die – although our human body goes to the grave; we are like angels in this respect, because we are the sons of God, and He raises us from the death bed into a new life with Him. 

– Luke 16:22, 20:36

Learning from Fear

Close Up Photo of Pink Petaled Flowers

When life dares to creep out from under our absolute rule, we panic and our soul fills with dread, worry and stress. Truthfully, regardless of how tight we hold the reins of control over our life, circumstances occur despite of our best efforts to keep them manageable. 

The world advises us to act regardless of our fears. This philosophy attempts to conquer our fears by changing our heart and mind concerning them. We are still afraid, but we are supposed to dig down deeper and summon the courage to act regardless of our feelings.

However, God’s plan is that if we walk in obedience, we enjoy His blessings. Rather than reaping the results of our carnal, finite decisions, we obey His plans for our life. This guarantees our success and allows us to have more time to notice His daily gestures of love for us, as we follow His directives for each moment of our day. 

God’s Word addresses the concept of fear versus trust in multiple places (Joshua 1:9). It teaches us to rejoice in tribulation, to love the Lord with our whole heart, and to trust Him with every aspect of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6). He has only our best interest in His heart and mind (Jeramiah 29:11; Isaiah 43:1-3).

Fear and faith are two sides of the same coin. What we focus on increases either our fear or our faith. When our mind is focused on the Lord rather than on our circumstances, and we trust Him with our whole heart, He keeps us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

What exactly do we fear? Failure, embarrassment, disappointment, suffering, and death are a few reasons for our fears. However, we can come boldly to His throne anytime to obtain His mercy and grace to walk in His ways (Hebrews 4:16).

We prove our love for God by keeping His commandments, and in return, God is our fortress, deliverer, provider, and protector. He gives us His faith to replace our fears, and He makes His face to shine on us. He is gracious to us in every way, during every single moment of our day (Numbers 6:25-26).

Prayer:

Father God, enable us to understand Your purposes in our trials, so we can learn from them, and grow spiritually in them and because of them. We trust You with our whole heart, and we surrender to You our insecurities, anxiety, and our struggles with unbelief (Mark 9:23-25). 

Remind us that we do not exhibit courage by avoiding our fears, but by conquering them through Your Spirit. Thank You for strengthening us in our times of trouble and for walking with us in them and through them to victory on the other side. Help us to trust You more, worry less, and take the victory over fear that You offer to us each day.

Thought for the Day:

God’s perfect love rids us of all fear (1 John 4:18), and as He deepens our trust in His faithfulness and love, our spiritual maturity grows; His courage replaces our fears, and we learn to share our anxiety with Him and to listen as He gives us His wisdom about our concerns.

In the Stillness

Pink Flower Cake

Our Father God is not detached from our life on this earth; however, He does not micro-manage anything. He is not surprised by what happens, because He already sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). His power and presence within us provide us with opportunities to see Him work through these events in our life.

Like Jesus, we cease from our own labors and do only those things, which we see our Father doing (Hebrews 4:10; John 5:19). We are pliable instruments in our Father’s hand. The faith of the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20), assures us that God will complete the work, which He started in our life (Hebrews 12:2). 

If we assume living will be a rose garden after our prayer for salvation, we only disillusion our self with unrealistic expectations. What we often forget is that although roses are beautiful and fragrant, their stem is full of thorns. 

Life in Christ is very peaceful and joyful; although in this world, it is also annoying, difficult, tragic, and full of emergencies. In the stillness of His presence within us, we find our confidence and strength in Him alone. People often disappoint us, but God never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).

Humanity fell into sin through Adam’s choice to listen to satanic lies (Genesis 3). Since then, the system of this world is bent toward evil. Each year Satan, the god of this age and the ruler of this world, makes sure that our culture continues this practice as it sanctions more and more sinful practices as part of the normal existence of our society (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 17:11,14,16). 

As authentic Believers, we have distressing tribulation due to our poor choices, as well as due to the sin in the life of those around us. God’s Word advises us not to allow this to surprise us, and that He is faithful to us, and He will not allow us to be tempted or tried beyond what Christ in us can lead us through (John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6-7, 4:12; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer:

Father God You are sufficient to supply our soul with rest in You, which transcends the issues of life (2 Corinthians 3:5). Rather than focusing on our problems, we look for Your seed for a miracle that You plant in every trial (1 Corinthians 10:13). You allow these trials to give us opportunities to mature spiritually and as occasions for Your glory to be revealed in us.

Your sovereignty provides us with safety and blessings even during heartrending events that come our way. We do not blame You for these tragedies, but we look to You to walk with us through them with each step we take. We thank You that Your Trinity abides within us, and You are our constant companion moment by moment throughout our existence.

Thought for the Day:

Our relationship with God is not a partnership where we share duties, but a place of obeying and resting in Him; in this stillness, we find our confidence and strength in Him; the tranquil soul is more aware of abiding in Christ, so we live as one with Jesus in us, which brings us extreme peace, rest, and joy in our soul – our thoughts, emotions, and choices.

– John 14:15; Isaiah 30:15

Troubling Sins

Selective Focus Photography of Group of Monarch Butterflies Perching on Purple Lavender Flower

Grouchiness when I am tired, and a quick temper when I feel threatened in any way are my two troubling sins. We are more susceptible to the flesh when we make our own plans than when we allow Christ to live in and through us. There is forgiveness for sins when we quickly repent of them as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our vile behavior.

Our failings to walk in His ways is a ladder to rise into greater heights of spiritual union with the Trinity of God within us. Our weaknesses remind us that we need our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are not driven to sin when we trust in the Lord with our whole heart, rather than depending on our human understanding and strength. 

Missing the mark of God’s standard for our behavior is not a necessary part of life. The more unified we grow with Christ in us, the less we desire the things of this world, the more Christian character replaces our carnality, and the less we choose a sinful avenue rather than one inspired by the fruit of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God 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.

Jesus lives out His perfect character in and through us. If we focus on sin, we will sin more often. As we view Christ as the center of our life, we walk more in the Spirit than in the flesh (Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 2:18, 12:2; 1 John 5:18). The power of Christ in us keeps us seeking to live more like Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 2:9).

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that satanic temptation and lies influence us to express his evil character through our life (Luke 4:13; 1 Timothy 6:9), but Your tests of our nature prove to us the growth we have made in expressing Your character through our thoughts, words and actions (1 Peter 4:12). We traverse trials through Your strength within us (James 1:2,12; 1 Peter 1:6). 

Therefore, help us to cooperate with Your endeavors to express the divine nature of Christ in and through us (2 Peter 1:3-4). Remind us that trails do not come from a failure in us to walk in Your Spirit, or due to a lack of our faith in Your faithfulness, or from a deficit of our devotion to You. As we draw near to You, and resist demonic influences, they must flee from us (James 4:7-10). Teach us not to blame our shortcomings on other people, but to take full responsibility for our own failings. You are our all-sufficient One.

Thought for the Day:

Religious efforts on our part to attain perfection in Christ leads to unrest and striving in our soul to receive what Christ already accomplished for us through Calvary’s cross, because He took our sin and gave us His righteousness in exchange; this allows us to honestly and uniquely live in reality and truth, rather than in our human effort.

– 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 8:32,36; 14:6, 10:10