Forgiveness Sets Us Free

How do we forgive someone who hurt us? By hearing and following God’s advice to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who abuse us. When someone takes something from us, we give him/her more of what they want. We treat others the way we want them to treat us (Luke 6:27-31).

Forgiveness does not take the offender off the hook, but it does set us free (Romans 12:19). Our fellowship with God is broken by unforgiveness and His blessings cannot freely flow into our life. With God’s help, we can gain freedom from Satan’s strongholds in our life as we readily forgive those who hurt us and walk in God’s Truth.

We also learn to exhibit patience with other people who mistreat us, because we realize that their behavior comes from their wounded soul. Once we forgive those who hurt or offend us, the fruit from the root of bitterness ~ anger, anxiety, depression, irritability, meanness, pride, indulgence and doubt ~ are pulled out of our soul.

The Holy Spirit can then move into our spirit and plant the seed of His fruit in the place of our old carnal nature. As God’s chosen people, His holy ones, we cooperate with God’s Spirit and put on the cloak of love, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience. We bear with one another and forgive each other, just as the Lord forgives us (Colossians 3:12-15).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to put on Your love, because it binds everything together in perfect harmony. This allows the peace of Christ to rule in our heart, and we live in gratitude for all You do for us each day. Help the word of Christ to richly dwell in us. Whatever we do, in word or deed, we will perform it in Your name (Colossians 3:16-17). Once we find Your forgiveness for our self, we can give it to those who hurt us, and receive healing from the lies Satan planted in our wounded soul.

Thought for the Day:
Satan wants us to live in bondage to the law of sin and death, but Christ already freed us by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. – Romans 7:22-8:3

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Self-Confidence or God-Confidence

There is nothing on this earth that I want more than to be filled through all of my being with all of the fullness of God, and to have the richest measure of His presence until I completely overflow with God Himself (Ephesians 3:19). This starts at Salvation when we receive all of God’s fullness. He moves in by His Spirit with all of His glory and power.

I know that there is no way to contain more of God, because His fullness already abides in Believers; but I do want to experience a fuller awareness of His presence and leading. Too often, we are so full of our self, that we miss out on the fullness of God within us. The more we allow our flesh and self-confidence to dictate our life, the less we walk in the Spirit.

We need to surrender to God the self-assured part of our identity in order to trust Him. People with a high opinion of their assets have so much to overcome, but those who suffer with self-doubt and who lack self-esteem are closer to walking in the Spirit. The uncertain, timid person is already light years ahead of most people. Insecure people trust God more than those who are secure in their self.

What we need more than self-confidence in our human attributes is our confidence and identity in God. John advised us to decrease, so that Christ in us may increase (John 3:30). We gain our identity in who we are in Christ, not in who we are as a person. There is nothing, which God calls us to do, that we cannot accomplish, once we realize the extent of His power within us (Philippians 4:13).

If we list our human assets and talents, we discover the gifts God gave us. For instance, what are we good at? What positive character traits do we already have? These are the areas where God is already shining through us. We are His light in the world (Matthew 5:16). God lives in us, and we have all the power of the godhead working through us. Now, that fact will improve any self-image!

Prayer:
Father God, when we face challenges in life, which overwhelm our faith, we are tempted to roll up our sleeves and apply some human effort to the problem. We fail to realize our limited human resources. Remind us that the nation of Israel faced such an issue at the outskirts of Canaan, and felt like grasshoppers. They wandered in the wilderness, because they thought they had to rely on their human effort rather than on Yours. Give us the faith to follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit each moment of every day.

Thought for the Day:
When we gain our identity from Christ in us, rather than from our human capabilities or insufficiencies, we accomplish everything, which God calls us to do.

God’s Intervention

God knows the future, and will prepare us in so many ways for the unexpected occurrences in life. Sometimes, He even gives us an inner knowing about what lies ahead. Some people attribute this to moments of intuition. Others give themselves credit for exceptional wisdom and foresight. These events will happen much more often, if we testify to others about God’s intervention in our life.

For instance, one lady told me that God warned her to slow down her car, and she narrowly missed being involved in an accident. Another woman told me that God prompted her to buy extra groceries; then she had enough food for her unexpected guests who showed up unannounced. A few months ago, I felt led to buy a black slip at the thrift store that I did not need; then on this week’s trip to the thrift store, I found three dresses that needed that black slip.

Complaining will give us a life of drudgery, mishaps and more trials. Yet, gratitude to our Heavenly Father opens us up for more of God’s blessings and joy in our life. One way to do this is to spend time alone with God throughout the day. Withdraw to the copy room at work, to the bathroom when the kids clamor for your attention and to the bedroom while everyone else is in the family room watching television.

Take a few moments to read God’s Word and meditate on a verse, or to pray for your needs and the needs of your loved ones. Spend time praising God and quietly listening for His voice, by stilling your mind of your thoughts and allowing Him to speak His mind to you. Spend time all day long in worship to God for His intervention in your life.

Prayer:
Father God, You give us air to breathe, sun to warm us, food for energy, creation to delight us, work to challenge us and love from family and friends. We can never have enough time in this life to properly thank You for our salvation, our multitude of blessings and the provision You supply for all of our needs. Remind us to walk in Your Spirit, so that we will not submit to Satan or our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). Help us to keep our focus on You, and to live a life of gratitude for Your continual intervention in our life.

Thought for the Day:
The past includes our histories; the unknown future is still one of life’s mysteries; but what we have now is a present from God to be enjoyed and to spend in praise to Him for His involvement in our daily life.

Surrendering to God’s Love

A pure heart is the key to knowing God (Matthew 5:8). His love overwhelms us with its joy and peace. His perfect love slowly, but surely, casts out all of our fears (1 John 4:18). When we trust in Christ and keep God’s Word, we become His dwelling place (John 14:23). He fills us through all of our being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19).

As the Temple of the Holy Spirit, we experience more and more intimacy with the Trinity (1 Corinthians 3:16). The outer court of the temple is our body, the inner court is our soul and the Most Holy place is our spirit, where the presence of God dwells and fills our soul and body. As we present our body to God, as a living sacrifice, we die to our self and the destructive lusts of life (Romans 12:1).

God’s Spirit fills our soul with all of the characteristics of faith, hope and love. These are the greatest traits a person can possess (1 Corinthians 13:13). The more we walk in obedience to the directives of God’s Spirit, the more our faith increases. Our obedience to Biblical standards comes as we grow in love for God (John 14:15). Then, our love and faith increase our hope in God.

God’s love is wider, deeper and higher than any human emotion or any created thing (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:31-39). God’s proven love for us, over the years of our relationship with Him, helps us to have more love for one another (John 13:34). Surrendering to God’s love opens doors for us that we can only dream about, and brings fulfillment to our life in this sin-cursed world.

Prayer:
Father God, faith, hope and love are intertwined throughout our entire personality and relationship with You. They affect our lifestyle, and are the foundation of every other fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Teach us to surrender to Your love, and to allow Your light to shine through us, so that men will see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16). Perfect Your love in us and help us to bring You glory with our life (1 John 2:5).

Thought for the Day:
God is love and love is of God; everyone who loves is born again of the Spirit of God and knows God. – 1 John 1:7-8; Luke 10:27

Changing Our Thought Patterns

From childhood, we are taught to take care of our self: dress, feed, play and make wise choices for our self. Therefore, learning to trust the Lord and His faithfulness takes a bit of getting used to (Ephesians 6:10). The process is called “renewing our mind.” This is a continual progression of transformation, through which God’s Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Romans 12:2).

By faith in Christ, we receive a new heart through the rebirthing of our spirit, which was formerly dead, due to the sin of the first Adam with Eve. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, became Emmanuel in order to guarantee salvation to whomever chooses to believe (John 3:16-18). God’s Spirit teaches us to follow Jesus’ example and to live as a new creation with sanctified priorities and goals in life (Philippians 2:5).

Jesus’ emptied Himself of His heavenly glory and lived a life as a bondservant to our Father (Luke 23:34; Matthew 20:28). He was even obedient to the point of suffering the horrendous torture and death at the hands of the Roman army (Matthew 26:39; John 5:30). God wants us to live in the power of His Spirit in order to do the works, which He created us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13).

God’s Holy Spirit purges us of pride, selfishness, unforgiveness and all of the deeds and attitudes of the flesh, so that we can live by His direction and divine character (Galatians 5:16-25; 2 Peter 1:4-5). We aid in this process by renewing our mind with the Word of God. We begin focusing on eternal matters, ignoring the distractions provided by Satan and his minions and valuing eternal aspects rather than worldly gain (Ephesians 6:16).

Prayer:
Father God, we all experience the temptation to compromise our walk and to live a life of indulgence in the flesh. However, You gave us Jesus as our example. You also give us a way to avoid temptation and live a pure and holy life before You (1 Corinthians 10:13). Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt we owed for our sins, and for giving us Your Spirit to renew our mind with the mind of Christ, so that our thought patterns change from carnal ones to spiritual.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father God already gave us all the tools necessary to live a victorious life in Christ.
– Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Ephesians 6:13

More Valuable than Fine Gold

God never changes, and His Word is consistent as well (1 Samuel 15:29; 1 John 2:7; Psalm 55:19; Malachi 3:6). Hiding God’s Word in our mind and seeking Him with our whole heart prevents us from sinning against Him. His statutes are more valuable to us than fine gold. We delight in His ways and give testimony to His provision in our life (Psalm 119:9-116). His Word is eternal and gives us life (Psalm 119:160).

The Old and New Testament are equally important (2 Peter 3:15-16). The still, small voice of God directs our daily activity as we bathe in His Word and seek His face (Isaiah 30:21). If we are Born Again, we do not practice a lifestyle of sin (1 John 3:4-9; Proverbs 3:11-18). Yet, if we refuse to surrender our life to God, and we continue to practice sin, we condemn our self to eternal destruction (John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

We can trust that God will give us relief in our days of trouble, until He raptures us, or we pass from this sin-cursed world (Psalm 94:10-13). When we live within God’s precepts, we enjoy a good conscience and a peaceful life (Psalm 119:7). If we teach our children to live according to God’s Word, they have a better chance of remaining on the path of purity and blessings.

God’s Spirit helps us to recall the scriptures, which we hide in our heart, and He leads us into His holy truth (John 14:26, 16:13; Psalm 119:11). He enables us to act upon what we learn, rather than being perpetual students and never walking in His ways (James 1:22-25). The Spirit gives us wisdom from God’s inspired Word, as we regard His instruction and walk in His ways (Proverbs 20:32-36, James 1:5-8).

Prayer:
Father God, You bless those who refrain from the worldly paths of life, which lead to unrighteousness. You consecrate those who do not join in with those who have a penchant for mocking You and Your children (Psalm 1:1-2). Thank You for drawing us by Your Spirit and never letting us walk away from Your eternal love. We treasure the fine gold of Your Word, we enjoy spending time listening to Your voice and we depend upon the leading of Your Spirit with each new day.

Thought for the Day:
When we sink our roots deeper in the water of God’s Word, we will live blessed, fruitful and prosperous lives. – Psalm 1:3

Angels Watching Over Us

When we dwell in the secret place of the Most High God, we have angels assigned to us (Hebrews 1:14). God gives His angels charge over us, to guard us wherever we go; they even lift us up in their hands, if we are about to come to harm (Psalm 91:11-12; Luke 4:10). Our angels are continually in the presence of God and He gives them the ability to influence and to protect our life (Matthew 18:10).

Angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Luke 2:1-20). They even came to strengthen Jesus in His time of need on the mountain after His fast; and also, in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His crucifixion (Matthew 4:6-11; Luke 22:43). Angels guarded Jesus’ tomb after He rose, and they gave a message to the women who came to care for Jesus’ body (John 20:11-12).

In modern times, people are enamored by angels. They pray to or talk to their angel, worship them, buy paintings of them to protect their home and wear little angel lapel pins as a good luck charm. This is not Biblical and is taking the ministry of angels way too far. This is giving our worship, which belongs to God alone, to angels (Colossians 2:18).

Angels are created beings and existed prior to the creation of mankind (Job 38:4-7). There are various ranks of and purposes for angels. Some of them have no other purpose than to worship God around His throne, both day and night (Revelation 4:8). They shout for joy and praise God in His presence (Job 38:7; Revelation 5:11-12). They rejoice in heaven every time one sinner repents on earth (Luke 15:10).

Angels are messengers, and will also be used during the Great Tribulation to bring the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people of the earth (Revelation 14:6; Matthew 24:31-35). When we die, angels carry us to the presence of God (Luke 16:22). However, human beings do not become an angel when we die. We are either a blood bought Saint in Heaven or we condemn our self to hell (John 3:18).

Angels are God’s ministering spirits and they are an innumerable host (Hebrews 1:14, 12:22). Angels do not get married, and we will not be married in eternity either (Luke 20:36; Matthew 22:30). However, we are made lower than the angels, and they are guardians over God’s Saints. They even carry our prayers to God in their hand (Hebrews 1:14, 2:6-13; Revelation 8:4).

Prayer:
Father God, Lucifer led a third of the angels to rebel against You (2 Peter 2:4). As a created being, he wanted to be equal to You, even though You already gave him great power (Isaiah 14:12-14; Jude 1:6). All of the angels are subject to Christ, who has all dominion and power both in Heaven and on earth (1 Peter 3: 21-22), because there are things, which angels do not understand (1 Peter 1:12). You are our only provider, protector, refuge and fortress. We put our trust in You, not in angels (Psalm 91:2). They simply do Your bidding and are not benevolent beings in their own right (Psalm 103:20). Thank You for directing our angels as You see fit.

Thought for the Day:
Do not forget to be hospitable to strangers, because some of them are angels in disguise. – Hebrews 13:2