Even Good People Fall Short

Many people base their righteousness on their thoughts, words and deeds. They are good people and they live an exemplary life with no overt issues, which would alert them to their sinful nature. Yet, even these model citizens must come to the place where their faith is based on what Jesus did for us, rather than on their self-righteousness.

Even good people sin in their heart (Matthew 15:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20). The inclination of the human heart, even from childhood, is to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Our spirit is dead at birth, and we have only a body and soul by which to relate to this world. We innately know that we are not complete; and we look to people, places and things to fill that void. This futile exercise is continually unsuccessful.

We end up weary and some contemplate suicide. Many people are too proud and self-righteous to call out to God for His salvation. Yet, anyone who does is Born Again in his/her Spirit. Our only requirements are to turn away from sin and to believe that Jesus died for us personally. Then, God molds us into His temple and dwells within us by His Holy Spirit.

We cannot earn our spot in heaven or our access to God. This requires perfection, and we all fall short of God’s perfect glory (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take the punishment for our sins and give us the free gift of His righteousness in exchange (Romans 6:23). God’s Spirit then leads us into all Truth and reminds us of His Word, which guides us throughout our lifetime (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:13, 14:26).

Prayer:
Father God, we are mere mortals and we are all born in Adam’s sin (Job 15:14). However, You fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Through the power of Your Trinity within us, we live victoriously as we walk in Your perfect plan for our life (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our carnal, worldly friends, relatives, associates and neighbors may attempt to draw us back into worldly pursuits; but as we focus on You, You keep us in Your perfect peace and on Your straight and narrow road (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 7:13-14). Thank You, that as we surrender our life exclusively to You, we reap Your rewards (Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We find the fulfillment and completion we long for through Christ in us, who is our only hope of a glorious life now and throughout eternity. – Colossians 1:27, 2:10

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Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. There is always something negative happening to us in some way or another: financial, physical, relational, mental, emotional, etc. We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble even seems to happen in “threes.” We are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We try to climb the corporate ladder in order to provide our family with as much security as we can. We compromise our quality family time in order to work overtime to bring home more money. We often work two or three jobs in order to give our children more than we had when we were growing up. We fall into the trap of buying them the latest toy on the market at inflated prices.

This schedule produces even more health, mental, emotional and relational problems. Some of us even work our self into an early grave. We resemble the hamster on the little metal wheel, going round and round, but never really getting anywhere. We amass material possessions, but they keep breaking down or coming out with an updated model, so that we feel the need to get a new one.

When we come to Christ and entirely surrender to Him, we begin living in His perfect plan for our life. We no longer fear the next shoe dropping, because it usually ends up being a glass slipper with King Jesus using the entire event to provide us with a special place in His Kingdom along with miraculous blessings through every negative event (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:19).

Prayer:
Father God, the life You give to us in Christ supplies us with joy and peace, which transcends all human reason (Philippians 4:7). We are blessed when we trust in You, so we place our confidence in You. You plant us like a tree by Your streams of living water, and our spirit has constant nourishment. We do not fear whatever life throws at us, and we flourish no matter what happens to us (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You put Your plans in our heart and bring them to fruition, as we walk in Your Spirit (Psalm 20:4; Galatians 5:15-26). You sustain us, bless us and shine Your favor on us. You are always gracious to us and You keep Your eye on us, so that we walk in Your peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we no longer fear trials or difficulties because we know they hold the seed for a miracle, which will surely happen.

The God of Heaven and Earth

The heavens and earth are our whole world. Without them, we could not exist. A one-degree change in the tilt of our axis would demolish us. One inch closer to the sun would incinerate us. The exact precision of our position in our solar system and in the Milky Way ensures the existence of mankind on the earth. We can see God’s hand in this exactitude in nature (Romans 1:20).

He is so much greater than what we deem so important in our little microcosm on this earth. Consider the heavens with the sun, moon and stars, which are the work of His fingers (Psalm 8:3). There is no man-made cathedral, which can house His amazing influence and majesty (Acts 7:49). Even the highest heavens cannot contain Him (2 Chronicles 6:18).

Heaven is God’s throne and the earth is His footstool (Matthew 5:35; Isaiah 66:1). He lays the beams of His upper chamber on the firmament around the earth (Psalm 104:3). He makes the clouds His chariots and rides on swift clouds and on the wings of the wind (Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 19:1). The windstorms are His chariot and His horses are faster and more magnificent than eagles (Jeremiah 4:13).

He often uses tornados, hurricanes and storms to remind humanity of His great power (Nahum 1:3). He uses lightening as arrows and sends them forth to do His bidding (2 Samuel 22:15). He channels the sea; and even the heart of kings and the flow of rivers follow the course, which He prepares for them (Isaiah 43:19; Proverbs 21:1).

He constructed the foundation of the universe and at His rebuke, or a blast of His breath from His nostrils everything will be laid barren (2 Samuel 22:16). His voice is like a waterfall, like a mighty trumpet (Revelation 1:15; Ezekiel 43:2; Hebrews 12:19; Psalm 93:4). Clouds and thick darkness surround Him as His canopy, and a blazing fire goes before Him (Psalm 97:2; 2 Samuel 22:12-13).

He parts the heavens and comes down with dark clouds under His feet (2 Samuel 22:10). He cautions us not to swear by heaven, because heaven is His throne on which He sits (Matthew 5:34, 23:22). He fills heaven and earth and there is no place that we could ever hide from Him (Jeremiah 23:24). The earth, as we know it, will pass away, but His Word will live on eternally (Matthew 24:35).

Prayer:
Father God, You come to us with earthquakes and booming thunder, with windstorms and blizzards and flames of devouring fire (Isaiah 29:6). Yet, You also come to us as a baby in the manger, as a servant King and as a risen Savior (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-7; Romans 10:9). You are so mighty that our mind cannot contain the fullness of who You really are. We praise You with all of our being, because although You are the great, powerful and awesome God, You keep Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments (Nehemiah 9:32; 1 Kings 8:23; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4).

Thought for the Day:
Our might God rescues us and is our support in a safe and comfortable place, even in the face of a strong enemy who overpowers us and hates us and confronts us in our times of misfortune. – 2 Samuel 2:18-20

God’s Plans in Our Losses

Living life as a good person does not guarantee our earthly success or our place in eternity (Galatians 3:21). Beliefs founded on humanistic philosophy may change our life and give us temporary relief, but it does not last for eternity. Only the Word and Will of God are entirely righteous and true (Psalm 19:9). God is patient with our unbelief, because He does not want anyone to die in their sin (2 Peter 3:9).

He walks with us through every valley and gives us His joy as our strength (Psalm 23; Nehemiah 8:10). For instance, after 22 years of marriage, the love of my life decided that he could no longer live with my Italian emotionalism. A wall of constant misunderstandings stood between us, so he determined that there was no option for us but divorce. I was shocked and in disbelief; yet, I did not want to live where I was not loved.

God proved that He has a perfect plan and purpose for us all (Ephesians 2:10). He led me to relocate and to attend divorce recovery classes in two different churches in order to heal from my loss. I learned that God still had plans for me, which did not include my former husband. One day when I least expected it, in a crowded Books-a-Million bookstore, I divinely met a pastor whose wife recently decided to end their union too.

Now, after 20 years of marriage to this wonderful man who dwells with me with understanding (1 Peter 3:7), I can see from hindsight that in both of our lives God used these devastating, negative circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28). In this new union, we appreciate each other’s gifts and character as we serve God together. We truly cherish one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Prayer:
Father God, we may be hesitant to put our total faith in You, but You always prove that Your ways will bring us ultimate fulfillment. We are so grateful that we can trust You to work out for our good every circumstance, no matter how devastating it is (Romans 8:28). You help us to grieve the loss of our relationships, health, wealth and material possessions. Although, crying may last through many nights, Your joy always comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in God’s ways, even when they do not coincide with our view of the perfect life, because His ways are always perfect, even when we experience trials, heartache, loss and devastation.
– Psalm 18:30; 2 Sam 22:31; Deuteronomy 32:4

We Can Trust in Our God

We trust in the Lord and live righteously, because His faithfulness sustains us. Our delight is found in the Lord, and He puts His desires in our heart. When we commit our life to His service, He brings His will for our life to full fruition. We prosper in all of our ways and we do not have to worry about evil people irrevocably harming us (Psalm 37:3-5, 7).

God arms us with His anointing and power and works out everything in our life according to His perfect plan for us (Psalm 18:32; Ephesians 2:10). The Lord gives us a portion of His inheritance and our cup is full and runs over. He holds our destiny in His hands and He gives us a generous inheritance. He puts a perimeter around our life that provides us with a pleasant life (Psalm 16:5-6).

The Lord blesses us and keeps us safe and baths us in His victory. He shines His face on us and is gracious to us in every way. He observes us throughout our life and gives us peaceful paths to walk on (Numbers 6:24-26). He is the Lord of all mankind, and nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:27).

Our soul silently waits patiently for God alone, because all of our hope comes from Him. He is the only rock of our salvation and our safe refuge from a world, which often frightens us. He is our strong fortress and refuge, and He keeps us from getting shaken by the adversity in our world. He gives us glorious salvation and listens as we pour out our heart to Him (Psalm 62:5-8).

Prayer:
Father God, You dwell in heaven; yet You are great and awesome in everything You do for us. You keep a loyal covenant of love with those who love You and obey Your commandments. Your ear is continually attentive to our prayers and You watch over us. You hear the prayers of Your servants when we cry out to You both day and night. We confess our sins to You and You are always faithful and just to forgive us (Nehemiah 1:5-6; 1 John 1:9)

Thought for the Day:
We sing praises to the Lord, because He deals bountifully with us.
– Psalm 13:5-6

Too Busy

Frequent inspections of our weekly schedule are very productive. We can note the number of hours spent in each activity. Then we can trim away some of the time spent in futile activities? Is our family overly scheduled? Where is our time to play, rest and relax together as a family? How often do we worship together on Sunday, pray together at home or do a family Bible study?

We can take time to stop, breathe deeply and count our blessings, and to meditate on God’s Word or to sing praises to His name, even when we are all alone. I enjoy plugging in my favorite worship music and dancing around the house dusting or vacuuming. It is fun and freeing. We have eternal security as an authentic Believer; if nothing else, that is a great reason to praise God.

We actually have many reasons to praise God. As our Father, He not only favors us with natural blessings, but also with everlasting benefits in heavenly places with our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). At Salvation, His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us. We now live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Our future is eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid on Calvary for our sins (Romans 4:25; Isaiah 53:4).

The Church is our family of brothers and sisters, and we are part of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:19). Heaven is our home. Even with all the blessings of God in our life now, we have not seen, heard or imagined all the benefits God prepared for those of us who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). The world, the flesh and the devil can offer us nothing equal to this.

Prayer:
Father God, we enjoy our life in You now, and also live with the security of knowing that our future in Christ is sure. Remind us to reflect on the multitude of blessings You give us each waking moment, and to spend them praising Your name and giving You thanks for Your love, grace and mercy toward us. We want to express our gratitude to You now and always.

Thought for the Day:
Let us take time to appreciate what God did, will do and is doing for us every moment of our life.

Hope for Tomorrow

If the Gospel of Christ is not true, then there is no forgiveness or reconciliation for our sins and we have no resurrection to look forward to. We have no joy for our current life or for the next, and there is no expectation of living in the Father’s house in the future (Romans 10:9; I Corinthians 15:17-19; John 14:1-2, 12). Life without Christ is a life without hope.

There are countless people experiencing depression and mid-life insecurities because they place their hope in our culture, a bank account, a philosophy, their employment or worldly religions. This house of cards is shaky at best, and the ensuing insecurity drives people insane, gives them heart attacks or destroys their relationships.

However, the Gospel of Christ is gloriously true. Jesus suffered and died to set us free from Satan, the flesh, sin and death. We now have hope for tomorrow. As we walk in the light of God’s Truth, we have no fear of darkness or evil, because Christ in the authentic Believer overcame Satan and evil on Calvary’s cross. Even negative aspects of life now work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

A life based on God’s Word has a stable and firm foundation (2 Timothy 2:19). As we walk by the direction and power of God’s Spirit, we will not fulfill the dictates of the devil or the flesh, but we will luxuriate in the continual blessings of God (Galatians 5:15-26). As we focus on His plans for our life with a pure heart, He uses us according to His will (Psalm 51:10; Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us the opportunity to live in Christ and to become a new creation. We rejoice that our old habits, sins, negative emotions and personality are made new by Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust You with our life, You destroy the deprivation, which devastated us and You mature us in the likeness of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Thank You for claiming us as Your own and for making it possible for us to spend eternity with You.

Thought for the Day:
Therefore, even when we are simply eating or drinking, or whatever we decide God wants us to do, we do it all for His glory.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31