Abiding in Christ

Most people just want to live a quiet, normal life. The real question is…what is normal? Jesus promised that in this world we are going to have tribulation, so we can count on experiencing trials. The only way to deal with them is to change our attitude about them. Each interruption to our normal schedule is actually an adventure in Christ and a potential miracle.

Happiness is not the absence of problems. Happiness is knowing God and walking in His precepts. We do not have to rely on another person to help us to make decisions, to feel happy or fulfilled or to be complete. We are already complete through Christ in us (Colossians 2:10). We can minister to our own needs as long as we do not get self-centered with it.

Abiding in Christ means to dwell in Him, to stay connected and to continue to walk by His Spirit’s direction each moment of our day. As we do, we are amazed at His character that is birthed within us, and His perspective on life, which becomes our own. We do not simply obey the dead letter of the law, but we have our Living Lord abiding within us.

At times, we slip back into the flesh. We may be tired, hurt, perplexed, anxious, overworked, unappreciated, neglected or emotionally wounded. We forget all about the Spirit and allowing Him to live and move in and through us. We strike out in the flesh to make the negative experiences go away. However, living in the flesh is unproductive and grieves God’s Spirit.

We need to ask anyone we hurt while we reacted in the flesh to forgive us. The flip side is important too, that we forgive those who hurt us. We do not erase the person’s behavior with forgiveness, but we free our self from the bondage that unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment cause in our own soul. Our healing is facilitated by forgiveness and frees us from past negative experiences.

Prayer:
Father God, You are the one constant in our life (Hebrews 13:8), and You never abandon or disown us (Hebrews 13:5). Your Spirit will give us wisdom in decisions, comfort in grief and direction to keep us in the center of Your daily will for us. You give us Your peace in the middle of horrendous physical and emotional tribulation. As we keep our mind on You, You abide in us and we abide in You (Isaiah 26:3). You heal our heart and give us Your lasting peace and joy.

Thought for the Day:
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, abides in us. – Romans 8:11

The Prince of This World

There are spiritual forces of darkness in this world, which influence us every day (Ephesians 1:18-19). In these modern times, they are even able to use multi-media, technology and college professors. People and life’s circumstances are not really our problem. We are actually facing rulers, authorities and powers of evil and darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus gave us an example of how to overcome with spiritual warfare.

 

When Satan came to tempt Jesus after 40 days and nights of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, the prince of this world found nothing He could use to tempt our Savior (John 14:30). Jesus had no connection to the things of this world. Clothes, food, friends, family, housing, transportation and land were the last things on Jesus’ mind (Matthew 8:20). His total focus lay in the spiritual, heavenly realm.

 

Some people, who claim they are Christians, receive more joy from earthly pleasures and conveniences than from spiritual endeavors. They take pleasure in the fellowship of God’s people and the benefits their soul – thoughts, choices and emotions – receives from church attendance. However, when it comes to giving and sacrifice, they turn a deaf ear and only attend church services one hour a week.

 

Jesus lived on this earth, but He dwelt in the Kingdom of God. He calls us all to join Him in His Kingdom mindset and reality. He wants us to place our affection on things above, not on things of this earth (Colossians 3:2). We find our life and joy only in our Messiah, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:3). When we do, Satan has no power over us. His fiery darts find no mark in us, so they just bounce right off (Ephesians 6:16).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You teach us that gratification and convenience are not worthwhile goals on our list of priorities. Neither are items that money can buy. The only valuable focus in life is to follow after You as our first love, and to seek to do Your perfect will. To do anything less gives Satan a foothold into our life. Remind us to live soberly and to watch out for the wiles of the prince of this world (1 Peter 5:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

Satan’s deception blinds our eyes to the authority and divinity of Christ in us, who is our hope of a glorious eternity with God. – 2 Peter 1:4; Colossians 1:27

Power and Authority

 

 

The fruit of God’s Spirit in one’s life is the true indication of Salvation. We may have the outward manifestations of a religious life, but until Christ lives within us, nothing we do or do not do matters in eternity. Putting Jesus as our first priority and loving Him with all of our heart, guarantees that the Trinity will abide within us (John 14:21).

 

The Holy Spirit brings power with when He moves in, so we can do the works, which Jesus did. With the power of the Godhead resident within us, it is easy to put God’s Kingdom first in our life. So many people are helped and healed at our local expressions of Christ’s church, because we follow God’s mandate to pray for the sick in the powerful name of Jesus (James 5:14).

 

Christ gave Himself to us completely for the sake of the Father. His Kingdom comes into our life, so that in return, we too can function as a living sacrifice to Him (Romans 12:1-2). Christ becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:4). He lives in us, and we live by the faith of the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

 

Each new trial is actually a miracle waiting to happen. Even bad circumstances work out for our good. This realization allows us to walk in perfect peace and faith in God’s purpose for everything that occurs in our life. As we allow God’s Spirit to crucify our flesh, then the Son of God can live in and through us in all of His power and majesty.

 

After the Great Tribulation, Jesus will dominate every dominion, authority and power in Heaven and on earth. Then, He will give the Kingdom back to our Father (1 Corinthians 15:24). There is nothing we have in our life more precious than this power and authority, which Christ won for us on Calvary’s cross (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 2:20).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You live IN us; therefore, You can never be distant or far away from us. We are the ones, which withdraw from You by distancing our focus and thoughts from You and putting them on worldly pursuits instead. Over the years of walking with You, I discovered that You do not always speak. Most of the time, You simply enjoy hanging out with us in companionable silence…loving on us from the inside out!

 

Thought for the Day:

When we turn everything over to the Lordship of Christ in God, we learn to trust God completely and to have faith in His faithfulness.

 

Forgiveness is the Best Option

Every person ever born deserves to go to hell. We can never be good enough to deserve a place with God in heaven. Earning our own forgiveness is out of the question. Disobedience brought sin into the world and only obedience to God’s Will can free us from its penalty. God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17).

 

God does not expect us to arrive at perfection by our own efforts. He gives us both the desire and the power to live a righteous life (Philippians 2:12-13). We are human with our own distinct set of flaws and foibles. Our idiosyncrasies are no better or worse than any one else’s. Therefore, we have no reason to expect perfection from our self or from any other person.

 

However, God wants nothing less than our perfection in Christ. God is all about grace. He wants us to use mercy and grace when we deal with our self and others (Luke 6:36). God desires that we forgive our self and others as well (Ephesians 4:31, 32). We are all wounded souls attempting to survive in this world. Mercy is as important to God as justice.

 

The Pharisees attempted to please God by adding to His law. They believed that more rules were better. Jesus set them straight. God calls us to forgive each other, to show compassion and mercy in the same way that God forgave us through Christ (Ephesians 4:32). If we fail to comply, then we open the door to Satan. He works havoc in our life and defeats us at every turn.

 

If we fail to forgive, we also allow our enemies to persecute us (Matthew 18:34-35). We tie God’s hands with our unforgiveness and He cannot forgive us either (Matthew 6:14). We will prevent Satan from interfering in our life, if we choose to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). We will also allow God to forgive us. Forgive does not let the troublemaker off the hook, it puts them in God’s vengeful hands and sets us free (Romans 12:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, when You ask us to forgive, you know that we are still hurting from the abuse inflicted on us by the perpetrator. Our feelings of unforgiveness allow the offender to control a part of our life. We will never forget the infraction, but forgiveness lessons the pain of it in our soul.

 

Thought for the Day:

Forgive as You have been forgiven. – Hebrews 10:17

Yoke Fellows

In our former unsaved life, this world’s system drove us into a frantic pace. We lived for the week-end and filled our free time as full as our work day. Nothing really satisfied us, and we tried many avenues of adventure and recreation in order to find that activity, which would bring us contentment. We even tried God, but were turned off by some church members or the tragedy in this world.

 

Then, one day someone presented to us the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that it pierced like an arrow right into our heart. We knew without a doubt that the vacuum in our life could only be satisfied with a personal, intimate relationship with the God of the universe who created us in the first place. We see that complete surrender is the only key to a God-honoring, productive and fulfilling life.

 

We seek out the fellowship of other Believers. We no longer demand our own way, but we submit to God’s will and consult His plans for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). This would be impossible, except for the fact that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. We are grafted onto the Vine of Christ and God is the vine dresser.

 

Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us, because it is easy and light (Matthew 11:30). When we hook up with Christ in His yoke and move in tandem with Him, our day is more successful and we are more fulfilled. If we get out from under His yoke, or if we pull Him in our direction, we only end up frustrating our self and getting out of God’s will for us. As a yoke fellow with Jesus we have His peace and joy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your love for humanity knows no bounds; and yet, people fail to see Your heart. They read Your Word and see only Your justice and interpret that as malevolence. They think you are supposed to act according to human standards of love, permissiveness would be a better word. However, Your love is righteous and always just. Open the eyes of the unbelievers to see their need for Your love and protection.

 

Thought for the Day:

Freedom comes with surrender to the love of Christ resident within us.

Worry Wart

Worry has a way of robbing of us energy and blessings that are rightfully ours. It makes it clear to God that we do not trust Him. Most of what we worry about never happens; and if it does happen, most of the negative aspects we imagined never occur. It affects the attention we give to our task at hand and the people around us.

 

I never met anyone who changed their circumstance, the outcome of a circumstance or their future by worrying. Worry ruins our health and damages our emotions. It can even affect our relationships. Paul advises us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything and through prayerful requests make our concerns known to God (Philippians 4:6).

 

Then apply the Serenity Principle to the issue. Ask God for wisdom to know whether or not you can do anything about the matter; and if so, how to change it. If not, then change your focus about the problems, so that you can accept God’s will for you in them. We do not have to trust people, events or places; but we can trust God in all things. He has our best interest at heart.

 

When you are genuinely concerned about some matter, spend concentrated time in prayer about it. Journal how you are feeling and what you fear; and then jot down the outcome. Over time you will see how often you worry needlessly. Change your focus to doing God’s will for each moment of time. He promises to work all things out for your ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to trust You more and to worry less. Show us the futility of this habit and remind us that You have everything, even this matter, in Your control. Help us to think about all the times in the past when we worried needlessly and how You worked everything out for our good.

 

Thought for the Day:

Don’t let worry steal your peace and joy.

Love Lifted Me

Prior to our salvation, we lived life with one goal and focus…our self. We did what we wanted to do and what pleased our self. Even living a life in service to others was done to please our self, because it made us feel good about who we are and what we were accomplishing. Once we come to Christ, those carnal desires to please our self are still there.

 

This is called, the flesh. The flesh wants to have its own way and rebels against anything to the contrary. At first, Paul’s admonition to die daily is not only foreign, but also repulsive to us. We cringe from inflicting any hardship on our self. However, God gives us both the power and the desire to walk in His will for our life (Philippians 2:12-13). Desiring to please Him above all else, becomes our goal and focus.

 

It is interesting that the only areas of our life that God wants to change are those parts, which are harmful to us anyway. Hobbies, habits and hang-ups, which are sinful, are also destructive to our well-being. God replaces our selfish character with His divine character and our human nature with His divine nature, and we are much more fulfilled and at peace.

 

In living for our self, Satan made sure we were attracted to sin. He made it look enjoyable and used that to tempt us. In Christ, we no longer enjoy the same activities and many of them are actually abhorrent to us. We no longer see any value in them or why they had any appeal to us in the first place. We find more and more freedom in our service to God.

 

Prayer: Father God, there is nothing this world has to offer that can take Your place in our life. We are never lonely again, because Your presence is with us and in us through every experience we will ever encounter. Our best interest is at the center of Your heart and You work out everything, even the worst sickness and the most dire of circumstances for our ultimate benefit. Thank You for Your love and direction in our life.

 

Thought for the Day: God’s love lifted me.