Overcoming Sin

The more often we surrender our thoughts, choice and feelings to temptations from the flesh, the devil and the world, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. When we shut out the warning from our conscience and God’s Spirit, we arrive at the place where we can no longer hear from God at all (Hebrews 10:35-38).

Our sin separates us from Him and diminishes our resistance to sin. We lose our peace and joy. We no longer experience God’s pleasure in us. We feel the conviction of God’s Spirit and struggle with our decisions and their consequences. The Holy Spirit within us is always ready to empower us to break the cycle of sin so that we can walk in God’s righteousness (Philippians 2:13).

When we stop expecting our self to overcome sin, and focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), we have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place. Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in every authentic, Born Again Believer.

He helps us to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide us with everything we need to live a successful and fulfilled life (1 John 2:17). We no longer feel the need to protect our self, because God works miracles from the seed of every trial. We lose all desire to defend our self, because God’s opinion of us is the only one which matters. We live in freedom from sin through God’s Spirit in us.

Prayer:
Father God, give us Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that we never lose the joy of our salvation or the comfort of abiding in Your presence. May we always see sin for the degradation it brings and desire less of the comforts of the flesh and more of the ecstasy of the spirit, which comes from walking in your presence.

Thought for the Day:
May we never become so accustomed to sin that we consider it normal behavior.

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Not My Will, but Yours

Life often requires a balancing act. We find ourselves thrown off center by confusion or a catastrophe, which comes when we least expect it. Our normal peaceful life spins out of control. Each compartment of our life, which we meticulously created to provide us with security and a safe haven, suddenly tilts to one side.

We feel disoriented, insecure and fearful. Reacting with negative emotions can create even more problems. We panic and make poor decisions. We hectically, yet unsuccessfully, try to manage the disruptive people and events in our life in an attempt to make us feel safe again, but this never helps. In fact, it usually increases our anxiety, when these people react to the frustration we create in their lives.

Part of the problem occurs when we acquire more possessions than we need. Our life slowly sinks under a burden of stress created by trying to pay for this accumulation. Another factor comes if we lean toward making sinful decisions, because we end up reaping what we sow. A third aspect transpires when we tip under the weight of the demands, which others place on us.

So, let’s simplify our life. We can sell unnecessary possessions and discipline our spending habits, make wiser choices in the future and maintain a life of purity and serenity. We can also simplify time and energy, which other people demand from us, by doing on that which God’s Spirit directs us to do for them. Peace comes when we trust God to order our lives (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as we walk the tightrope of life, help us to focus on the equilibrium You provide for us within each moment that we live, rather than focusing on the spinning details of our negative circumstances (Hebrews 12:2). Life wavers like the ocean, with a continuous ebb and flow, but You give us the words of the prayer, which never fails: “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42-43)

Thought for the Day:
When we trust God more and strive less, serenity seeps into every area of our life, no matter how the circumstances play out around us.

Opposites Attract

God made men and women with differences. We compliment each other’s weaknesses with our individual strengths. We serve in different functions in our union, which enhances our productivity. Men and women actually have the same basic needs, but we want them provided for in different ways. Sadly, these differences often drive a wedge between two people.

When a woman thinks of romance, she envisions sweet gestures, thoughtful gifts and romantic words. They want focused attention and help around the house. When a man thinks of romance, he pictures a trip together to the sporting goods store, or the fishing hole or the hockey game. Many men believe that “bringing home the bacon” is enough work for one person and they resent family expectations.

Women want their man to look nice; but whether he is in jeans or a fine suit, it does not really matter. Most men like their women to look like a supermodel. They do not want their wife walking around with uncombed hair and no make-up, or in a tattered t-shirt and jeans. Men appreciate it when women make an effort to look and smell their best.

There are exceptions, but women usually find it easier to express their feelings and to communicate what they need and want. Many men find it hard to communicate. It is easier for them to show their love than to say it. Some even bottle up their feelings and an avalanche of accumulated resentment finally buries their love. The couple ends up frustrated and growing apart.

As virtual strangers, the only hope we have is for both genders to honestly communicate with each other and to volunteer how we feel and what we need rather than to keep our partner guessing. We can ask our mate to stop doing something that offends us, to start doing something we are failing to receive or to change the way we both do things and to serve one another as Christ serves the church (Galatians 5:13).

Prayer:
Father God, You are preparing us as the Bride of Christ. We are learning Jesus’ character and how to communicate with Him on an intimate basis. Our love for Him grows with each passing day and we honestly share with Him what we think and how we feel. Help us to do this same thing with one another. This will improve our relationship and prevent many divorces. Remind us to pray, praise and worship together.

Thought for the Day:
One way to create a mutually edifying relationship is to learn how to communicate your feelings and needs effectively.

Strength Which Never Fails

The Lord is our strength and protector; our heart truly trusts in him, because He is always available to assist us at the first sign of trouble. Our heart soars with delight, and we cannot help but to shower Him with our praise and thanksgiving. The Lord provides power for His people. He is our fortress and our salvation (Psalm 28:7-8).

Our soul is often exhausted with grief; yet in His love, the Lord fortifies us with His Holy Word (Psalm 119:28). He gives strength to the weary and amplifies the ability of the frail (Isaiah 40:29). He is our might and He fills our heart with songs. He provides our constant salvation (Psalm 118:14).

We will never fail in carrying out what God calls us to do, because He gives us His strength (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 2:10). Though we are weak in our own human strength, we are strong in His anointing, power and might (Ephesians 6:10). His grace is always sufficient to perfect His power in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

We rise up on the wings of eagles and soar high above the aspects of this earth, which attempt to debilitate and discourage us. Even as young people, life exhausts us and we stumble and fall. However, if we hope in the Lord’s provision, He renews our strength and we can accomplish all that He calls us to do without growing weary (Isaiah 40:29-31; Galatians 6:9).

Prayer:
Father God, You are gracious to us all day long. We desire nothing from this life except a closer walk with You. You give us renewed energy with each new dawn and You deliver us from everything that distresses us (Isaiah 33:2). In this cruel and wicked world, we pray that You will continue to strengthen us with the power of Your Spirit in our soul – our thoughts, feelings and choices – as well as in our Born Again spirit (Ephesians 3:16).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord gives us the ability to traverse the hard and treacherous places in life through His strength within us. – Habakkuk 3:19

Daily Quiet Time

The Word of God is alive and powerful. It sharpens our spiritual wisdom and power (Hebrews 4:12). It teaches us about God and His principles; and gives us the history of Jesus’ life before, during and after He lived on the earth. God’s Word increases our faith as it helps us to walk in righteousness and gives us comfort, joy and peace.

As we read God’s Word, His eternal rest envelops our life from the inside out. Our thoughts, words and deeds line up with His precepts. We walk in the Spirit and obey His directives. Our soul conforms to the image of Christ from one stage of purity to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). We find favor with God (Luke 1:30, 2:52) and friendship with Jesus as He fills our soul with His presence (John 15:15).

We learn from God’s Word that Jesus took the condemnation for our sins and suffered the penalty for them on the cross (Romans 8:1, 34). In turn, He endowed us with His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our soul no longer longs to wallow in the mire of sin; but it joyfully bathes in God’s Word and His presence, which make us clean and new (Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 1:9).

God’s Word convicts us when we stray from His straight and narrow path of righteousness (Matthew 7:13-14). It teaches us that we no longer live with the weight of shame (Isaiah 54:4), but we are free in Christ to live a holy life (Galatians 5:1). As the Bible renews our mind, we are able to discern God’s will and to walk worthy of His calling on our life (Romans 12:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word answers the question of the origin of mankind, and had scientific knowledge, which precluded anything science discovered until more modern times (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:22). Many archeological discoveries confirm Your Word, and not one of them contradicts or denies its Truth. Help us to hold up the standard of You Word in our daily life, so that others will see our faithfulness to You and be drawn to Your loving heart (Matthew 5:16).
Thought for the Day:
When we consider the marvels of God’s heavens and the work of His creation, which He ordained; why would He even bother with mankind at all and deign to care for our every need?
– Psalm 8:3-4; 1 Peter 5:7

Wholly Filled

God has no need for buildings made with human hands – no church, temple, mosque or cathedral, regardless of how ornate or expensive. He made the natural resources we use to build our buildings, so He does not want to dwell in man-made structures (Acts 7:48, 17:24). His temple is the human spirit. However, God only dwells in those who honor Him with a humble heart and a repentant spirit (Isaiah 66:1-2).

The Trinity created us in their image with a body, soul and spirit (Genesis 1:1). Then, God made us male and female (Genesis 1:27). Even with the angels for company, God wanted to share the universe, Heaven and New Jerusalem with human beings. God is our dwelling place, and we are His Temple (Psalm 90:1; 2 Corinthians 6:16). He knows us infinitely better than we know our self.

God gives us many opportunities to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. He created us in order to love us and for us to give love, His love, back to Him and to the world around us (John 3:16-17). Jesus died to restore our unity with God, and His Spirit conforms us to His image (John 17:26; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

God fashioned us to enjoy a personal union with Him, greater than any human relationship we could ever experience, because it comes from within us. There is nothing on this earth that the authentic Believer desires more than to be immersed through all of our being with all of the fullness of God, and to receive the richest measure of God’s presence until we are completely filled with Him (Ephesians 3:19).

Prayer:
Father God, we bow to You in humble adoration, thankful to be in Your family and to receive the glorious riches You provide. Thank You for strengthening us with the power of Your might by Your Spirit and for giving Jesus to dwell in our hearts. Root us and ground us in Your love, so that we can understand just how much You do love us. Fill us with Your fullness, so we can be like You (Romans 8:31-39; Ephesians 3:14-19; Philippians 3:10). You are our eternal Father and Your Spirit in us is proof that we are Born Again and wholly filled with You (1 John 4:13).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus is the image of God, which is expressed to the world; and His sacrifice opened the door for us to enjoy this heart-felt union and communion with the Creator of the universe.

Missing Out on God’s Blessings

Carnal people may have prayed for salvation, but they skip one important step…salvation also implies obedience (Romans 8:5-7). If people refuse to walk away from their sin and to believe in God, they are probably not Christians (1 John 2:3,3:6-9; Ephesians 5:5). They constantly grieve and quench the Holy Spirit with their sinful choices (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

A carnal person is too proud or fearful to trust God. They rely on their own efforts, because they do not want to bother God. They live a roller coaster life, stressed out and weary. They are either very legalistic or very undisciplined. They only open their Bible on Sunday. When given a choice, they slide into sin, because it is easier than following God’s way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The problem with living a carnal life is that we miss out on the abundant blessings of living a spirit-filled life. God loves us and planned every day of our life before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). Life is so much easier when we live it God’s way. His Spirit indwells us at salvation and fills us with each new day (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 1: 13-14; 5:18; Romans 8:8-10).

We cannot fill our self with God’s Spirit through human effort (Acts 8:18-24). God’s presence in our life demands obedience. Without it, God’s Spirit is quenched. The still small voice of God is always there to lead us, if we will just listen and obey. God’s Spirit guides and empowers each step we take as witnesses and ministers for God’s Kingdom (Acts 1:1-9; John 1:12, 14:16-17; Colossians 2:9-10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for birthing us by Your Spirit as authentic Believers. Your peace fulfills us as Your Spirit glorifies Christ through us (John 7:37-39; 16:1-15). As baby Christians we mimic the sinful behavior of the world, but we are constantly growing in love and obedience to Your Word (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). We struggle with our carnal desires, but we eventually realize that we are already free in Christ, who took our condemnation and gave us His righteousness (Romans 7:15-8:1). We want to walk in Your Spirit and in Your service every day of our life.

Thought for the Day:
When we obey God’s Spirit, we do not gratify the lusts of our flesh or desire what is contrary to God’s Word, because living by God’s Spirit is the opposite of abiding in a sinful lifestyle. – Galatians 5:16-18