In Constant Union with Christ

Here is a fun exercise for you. Whenever you remove produce from your grocery bag or eat the fruit from a vine, remember that you too are a branch on the Vine, producing similar fruit for God’s Kingdom. Let it remind you that we are as dependent on the Vine as the vegetable or fruit was, which you are preparing to eat.

God grafts us into the Vine of Christ when we humble our self and admit that we need Jesus as our Savior. We are reciprients of the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. He is our Vine, and we are His branches. A vine takes the nutrients from the soil and sends them to the branches. Our Vine separates the nutrients from the compost of life and sends it directly to our spirit.

The branch does not walk off by itself, but is absolutely dependent on the Vine. All Born Again Believers have this same constant union with our Vine. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). The sap never, ever stops flowing into the branch. It provides everything we need for every moment of our life. This is the secret of our true success.

Branches participate in this process too. We have the leaves, which take time to bask in the Son and collect the nutrients from His presence. We reflect His beauty and holiness to the world around us. If the branch gets the idea it does not need the Vine, it will wither and die. The Holy Spirit uses the fruit of the Vine, which grows in our life, to benefit those who need the life of Christ within us.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our Vinedresser. You protect us from disease, insect invaders and scorching trials, which Satan sends into our life. You provide the suppliments we need to grow into vibrant branches on the Vine of Your Son. You make us fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) in order to bless those You bring our way. Send people to pick the fruit You produce in our life and remind us to generously share Your work in our life with them.

Thought for the Day:
We abide in the Vine in total dependence. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. – John 15:5

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Struggles in Life

Why do we struggle so hard in life as a Christian? Isn’t God supposed to make a difference in our life? Where is He when we need him? Why does He let bad things happen to me and my family? Do you ever feel this way? You are not alone; many people do. In fact, even the Israelites, God’s chosen people, had a bone to pick with God now and then.

There are only two answers to these questions. It is really very simple. Are you seeking God so that He can bless your life while you live out your plans and goals? Are you entertaining sin in your life? Then God simply cannot bless you. The other answer is that you are experiencing a trial and God’s miracle is just around the corner.

The only way to experience the intimate love, the serene peace or the unlimited joy promised to us in the Bible is to live life God’s way. When we realize that we are living for our self, we repent of every sin and we wake up each morning entirely at God’s disposal. We apply for the job He directs us to take. We eat the foods He prompts us to eat.

We avoid the sin that He warns us is trying to tempt us. We humbly and sincerely ask, “Lord, lead me to do Your will each moment of this day.” Then we wait patiently, listening with our inner ear to His promptings in our spirit. This opens the windows of heaven’s blessings on our life. When we live in absolute surrender to God’s will, even trials and tragedies work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

We enjoy a constant flow of provision in body, soul and spirit; the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and an intimate relationship with Christ in us. We do not always have what we want, because God knows that it will not be good for us. However, we do have many more blessings in every area of our life than we deserve and shows us deeper levels of holiness and intimacy with Him.

Prayer:
Father God, reveal to us the areas of our life, which are not in one accord with Your will for our life. Lead us to deeper, higher and wider intimacy with You than we ever experienced before. Help us to realize that Your anointed Son lives in us and provides us with love, joy and peace in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. Thank You for giving Yourself so completely to us; and help us to totally surrender every area of our life to You.

Thought for the Day:
The only true need in our life is to depend upon God’s Spirit to keep us in the presence of God each moment of every day.

Intimate Communication with God

Intimate Communication with God

We abide in Christ, and He abides in us (John 15:4). There is no relationship available in this life that is more precious and fulfilling than our union with Creator God. We can live in abiding fellowship with Christ every moment of our life. We are just too occupied with busy work that Satan supplies for us to do. Much of it is religious too, and we get sidetracked into thinking we are working for the Lord.

We are actually producing more human flesh, the stench of which makes God sick to His stomach (Revelation 3:16-18). We all have to earn a living in this world, but we can do our job by the power of God’s Spirit. This occurs as we submit each moment to God and listen to Him as He directs our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our soul clings to Jesus and rests in Him all day and night, even as we sleep.

Heaven’s Joy lives in and through us. The goal is for us to bypass our brain and our natural inclinations in our soul, and to function instead from our inner life in our spirit where we abide with Christ. Close, personal contact with Christ is a necessity for authentic Christians. Once we connect with the Spirit of God, His fruit flows through our life. We have close fellowship with Christ through the Spirit.

A life of absolute surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of His Holy Spirit is one of abiding love, joy and peace. God can do with us as He pleases…to sit us on a shelf, to use us at His bangueting table, to put us in the darkest mood or the foulest disease, or to send us to the far reaches of the world or right here at home.

No matter where we are, we are never alone. Christ lives in us and loves to hang out and enjoy our undistracted fellowship; and, sometimes, even our companionable silence. We not only set aside time each day to pray, but we pray without ceasing in unbroken communion with Him each moment of the day about everything that we are thinking and doing.

Prayer:
Father God, just as Jesus gave His life and death entirely to You, we desire to follow in His footsteps. We completely and absolutely surrender to Your will and we seek Your pleasure above all else. Our greatest joy is to live entirely for You. We have no will or interest apart from Your will for us. Lord, bring everything in our life in complete harmony with the Blessed Vine of Christ.

Thought for the Day:
Live in total consecration to the will of God for your life.
– Ephesians 2:10

The Spiritual Fruit I Would Choose

Did you ever notice that the fruit of the Spirit are all characteristics of a servant? If I were picking fruit, I would have chosen traits like perseverance, wisdom, courage and strength. These would come in handy in life more often than not. However, these are all qualities, which help us to serve our self. God, in His wisdom, chose humble attributes for us.

The fruit of the Spirit are: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Meekness, Self-Control and Faith (Galatians 5:22-23). You can see how they would produce a very fine servant.

These traits mean:
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
Faith – trust that God knows what He’s doing
Meekness – humility and service
Self-Control – guided by the Spirit

The Bible describes characteristics of the flesh, which are the opposite of God’s fruit: envy, strife, hatred, self-centeredness, criticism, worry, depression, pride, bitterness, complainers, quitters, backbiters, lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful, those who invent ways of doing evil, and people who put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

We can focus on replacing hatred with love, discontentment with peace, irritation with patience, criticism with gentleness, backbiting with goodness, worry with faith, pride with meekness, and depression with true joy, as we are controlled and guided by the Spirit of God.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your fruit and for faithfully healing us of the wounds in our life, which cause us to exhibit negative, fleshly characteristics in our life. We always feel so repentant when we do. It is good for us to humble our self and to apologize to those we offend. Thank You also for Your gifts, which You give us for the common good of Your Body. A message of wisdom or knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, prophecy and preaching, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts to each one as He sees fit (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

Thought for the Day:
God always provides us with wisdom when we ask for it. – James 1:5

Flowing from Our Union

God calls us to live as Spirit-filled Believers (Ephesians 5:18). This starts when we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation (Romans 8:9). A renewal of His fresh anointing in us each day allows rivers of life to flow from within us (John 7:38). This Holy Ghost power enhances our life and empowers our ministry for God’s Kingdom.

Sin clogs the communication between us and God and it grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Therefore, we confess every sin, great and small, on a daily basis. The Spirit leads us to live a consecrated life and to put down addictions and vices, which cripple us. Even an unkind word, a fit of temper, an unscrupulous act or a little white lie are all things we deal with on occassion.

Staying confessed of our sins humbles our flesh and gives us greater victory over those sins the next time Satan tempts us with them. Humility allows us to willingly surrender our day for God’s purpose. Of course, we must go to work to earn a living, but we can do our job directed by God’s Spirit. This way, we accomplish more and are in the right place at the right time to live out God’s will for us.

We are branches on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5). Consider a branch. It does not work or stress or struggle. It simply rests in the vine. That is the life God prepared for us. We rest in Christ and His life flows through us and nurtures us. When we bear fruit for Christ, it does not separate us from Him, but flows from our union with Him.

Our ministry is not a drain or wearisome, but a natural outpouring of the nutrients from the Vine to the branch. Ministry does not rob us of time for prayer, but is the result of prayer and our union with the Vine. The Spirit strengthens us with might from within (Ephesians 3:16). He anoints us to accomplish God’s will for our day. He blesses us with perfect peace, rest, joy and strength.

Prayer:
Father God, as branches of the Vine we are absolutely dependant upon the life of Christ flowing through us. You are the Vinedresser and You prune us so that can bear more fruit (John 15:1; 15:8). You know just where to separate us from the aspects of our life that are dead wood and preventing our fruitfulness.

Thought for the Day:
The branch depends on the vine for everything.

Fathomless Tranquility

The life of the authentic Christian is one of complete dependence on God. This dependence develops a deep restfulness that permeates every area of our life. There is no reason to struggle and strive in life. When stress tries to overwhelm us, we can go to our solid Rock who is higher, stronger and more stable than we are and find rest for our soul (Psalm 61:2).

God gives us a firm footing on which to walk in this unstable world in which we live (Psalm 37:23; 40:2). He makes our path level so we do not stumble or fall (Isaiah 26:7). He guards our feet. It is not by strength that we prevail, but by the power of God in our life (1 Samuel 2:9). When we hide God’s Word in our heart, our feet do not slip as we work to increase the Kingdom of God by His Spirit’s direction (Psalm 37:31; 66:9).

We do not use obnoxious gimmicks in ministry, but we simply present the gospel in a kind manner to whomever will give us their time to listen. It is not our responsibility to make anyone believe. They come only as the Holy Spirit draws them (John 6:44). However, it is our responsibility to go into the entire world and to make disciples for Christ of anyone who wants the blessings and relationship we have with Him.

The Vine and branch is such a special, reciprical relationship mutually benefitting one another; and we rest in our union with the Vine. He is also the Potter, we are the clay; and we rest in His hands as He molds us into a vessel of His choosing. Another analogy is that He is the Head and we are His Body. Our body never moves unless our mind tells us to do so. This is the same as with our relationship with God.

We depend on God entirely for our every need. The deeper our union, the more we listen to His Spirit. We never move unless He directs. Our love for Him and our passion for winning the lost and growing His Body increases with each passing day. The days get sweeter and even in negative circumstances, we maintain the positive attitude, which faith provides.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we sit at Your feet and learn from you, just as Mary did when she chose the wiser part in your visit to Your friends’ home (Luke 10:39). We bask in the peace and rest, which increases in us as our knowledge of You and relationship with You increases. We give you all of our anxieties, because You care for us (1 Peter 5:7). Give us Your divine promises, love and abilities in order to affect a change in our world.

Thought for the Day:
We rest in our relationship with God in fathomless tranquility.

No Longer a Sinner

We were all sinners at one time; but as Born Again Believers, that is in the past tense. That is no longer our spiritual identity. We are now saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). God calls us Saints (Ephesians 2:19; Psalm 31:23). This word means “holy one.” If we call our self a sinner, we may focus on sin and fall into sin. If we realize that we are Saints, we will focus on holiness and live a life set apart for Christ.

Who we are is what determines what we do. If I am a miner, I will mine. If I am a seamstress, I will sew. If I am a mechanic, preacher, teacher, laborer, sales person…you get the picture. Since I am a Saint, I will live a holy life unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:10). We may still fall to temptation and sin, but it is as a Saint not as a sinner, because we no longer live in a lifestyle of sin.

We often want to change our circumstances; however, God put them here for our edification, admonition and education. Do not struggle so hard against the areas of your life, which you do not like (Acts 26:14). God allows circumstances into our life, not to punish us, or to force us to do something we do not want to do, but to enlarge our borders (1 Chronicles 4:10) and to equip us to help others who come to us in their time of need (Luke 22:31-34).

God will create a clean heart in us (Psalm 51:10). We are coheirs with Christ and we inherit all of God’s promises with Him (Romans 8:17; Hebrews 6:12; 2 Peter 1:3-4). We can trust God to keep us in the palm of His hand and to continue to perfect us as His chosen priesthood and royal nation regardless of what is going on in our life (1 Peter 2:9; Isaiah 49:16).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to live in the awareness of Your calling on our life (Ephesians 2:10), so that we can walk according to Your will for our life. Help us to accept with joy what You provide for us, the good, the bad and the ugly. You always supply what we really need, even if it is a trial. As we prove faithful over the little things, You will give us charge over much (Matthew 25:21-23).

Thought for the Day:
Our faith does not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power within us. – 1 Corinthians 2:5