With All Our Heart

When we quiet our body and soul, seek the Lord with our whole spirit and soul, and enter into God’s rest, we have the opportunity to experience the wonders He prepared for those who love Him (Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Jeremiah 29:13).

God asks us to revere, obey, love and serve Him with our whole being (Duet 10:12; Mark 12:30-33). The least we can do for God is to comply with His wishes. As we keep His precepts, we will live fulfilled lives, full of God’s blessings (Deuteronomy 30:16).

At times, we are bombarded by worry, stress and expectations. Our mind wanders from God. However, we can resist the world, the flesh and the devil, and wait on God to direct our steps throughout the day (Psalm 130:5).

Our old carnal nature is crucified with Christ, but now we live in Christ who lives in and through us. We no longer entertain the desires of the flesh, but we submit to God’s will for each moment of our day.

We come forth from the grave of sin with the power of God’s Holy Spirit. We walk in union with our Father God, cleansed by His Son and led by His Spirit. We are totally one with the Trinity.

This is not something, which we conjure up in our human effort. We simply completely surrender to God’s will each moment of the day and He will live His life through us (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:9).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we no longer live, but that Christ lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Teach us how to allow Christ to manifest Himself through us during every waking and sleeping moment of our life.

Help us to live with the realization that Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We no longer want to be concerned with issues of this life, because we are living to further Your Kingdom and to honor Your name in all we think, say and do.

Thought for the Day:
Through us, Christ has a greater impact on our day, accomplishes more for His Kingdom and truly blesses those with whom we come into contact. – 1 John 4:6

Jesus is All We Need

God orchestrates the losses, broken heart, difficult trials, and painful tribulation in our life to bring us to the place of total surrender to His love and our perfect submission to His will.

The quicker we come to the place of complete compliance to His will, the fewer negative aspects enter our life.

The less we trust in and cherish the temporal aspects of this life, the fewer losses we experience.

The more intimate we grow in our union with Christ, the less we experience the negative effects of trauma.

We are not devastated by our losses, because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We will not lose Christ, and He is all we really need.

We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We have all wisdom, right standing with God, holiness and redemption in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

His grace is sufficient to uphold us in any tragedy or insufficiency, which we face in this world (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing, which heaven has to offer us (Ephesians 1:3).

God perfects us and sanctifies us in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus is not an option to add to our life; He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

He is our peace, and He breaks down every wall, which stands in our way (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus is our treasure hidden within us; our pearl of great price; our coin, which was lost, but now is found (Matthew 13:45-46; Luke 15:8-10; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Jesus is our all in all (Ephesians 4:6). He contains all the fullness of the Trinity (Colossians 2:9), and He triumphed over our enemies through His death (Colossians 2:15).

He gives us victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus is all we need (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that through Christ we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness for our sins. He is Your actual image and through Him everything was created and is under His authority. He is our all sufficiency (Colossians 1:13-16).

Remind us that the philosophy of man and the cares of this world are nothing when compared to the majesty of Christ on high. We give Him all of our praise and the glory for everything we ever accomplish through Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:

Through Christ we find our right standing with God and enter a spiritual life, which never ends.

Emotional Tanks

When my children were in high school, I created a poster with an emotional tank for each member of our family. The object was for each of us to signify how full our emotional tank was each day.

This way we could all deposit into one another’s tank, especially into those who were running low. Well, my idea bombed with my family, but I am hoping you might like this idea.

To add to someone’s emotional tank, we need to know them well, learn what is important to them, and then converse with them and provide for them according to their love language. (www.5lovelanguages.com )

Pay attention to the words they use and listen between the lines. Never belittle their ideas, hope or dreams. Deposit daily encouragement into their emotional tank and inspire them to follow God’s plan for their day.

Deposit your time, energy, understanding and godly wisdom into their emotional tank. Be there for one another and be patient and kind to one another.

Build a foundation of trust in your family. Love depends upon trust; and when trust is broken, it is hard to feel love. Keep promises, tell the truth, and be a person of integrity.

Admit when you are wrong, and deposit into their emotional tanks with sincere apologies and changed behavior. Love unconditionally so they will feel secure, safe and affirmed.

You may not agree with their behavior or choices, and you can discipline when necessary, but separate the person from their behavior and validate them as your special treasure.

Deposit second chances, change your focus, and utilize forgiveness in every breach of confidence. You do not need to be victimized, however; and you can establish boundaries, which are safe for everyone.

Interdependence is a well-adjusted relationship centered on God who dwells in the midst of us. Following the guidance of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout the day will help us to deposit rather than to withdraw from one another’s emotional tank.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to cooperate so that no one person makes all the sacrifices. Help us to accept one another for who we are and to request changes only when necessary for the peace of the household.

Remind us to enjoy one another’s company, to cherish our relationship, not to take anyone for granted and to value the priceless connection You have given to us all.

Thought for the Day:
Pray together, have family devotions, serve the community together, play together; but also give one another space to have time to pursue their own interests as you make daily deposits into one another’s emotional tank.

Our Benefits as a Christ Follower

Christianity does not make us superior to anyone else. It simply initiates our spiritual birth and brings fulfillment into our life.
As we mature, Christ becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

We have confidence and security in Christ (Galatians 2:20). He abides within us and knows us better than we know our self (Colossians 1:27).

God may withhold from us some of the desires of our heart, because they are not in His plan for us at this time. As we trust and obey, He fills us entirely with His love, joy and peace, and we overflow with assurance and hope through His Spirit (Romans 15:13).

When we insist on our own way, God allows us to fail, in order to teach us to wait on Him and His will, rather than pursuing our own will for our life. God is working out His plan for us each moment of our day.

If we follow the direction of God’s Spirit for our day, our efficiency increases and our stress level decreases. He teaches us to cooperate with His Body in order to increase our productivity for His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

God supplies all of our needs and leads us by His Spirit as we concede to His will (Proverbs 3:5-6). He gives us one day at a time to prevent us from worrying about the past and fearing the future.

At times, we may feel idle and useless, or that God is not speaking to us. However, these are the times of companionable silence, which God enjoys with His Saints.

Our Father God demonstrated His love for us by becoming man to pay the penalty of our sins (Romans 5:8). He finds pleasure in an intimate relationship with each of us. He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You consider us as Your friends, children, holy nation, royal priests, Your own possession and chosen people (John 15:13-17; 1 John 3:2; 1 Peter 2:9). You will not allow any tribulation or distress, life or death, angels or principalities, the present or future, or any created thing to separate us from Your love, which dwells in us through Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

Help us not to fail one another, wound each other deeply or cause anyone to stumble and fall away from You. Teach us to love one another as You love each of us.

Thought for the Day:
Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth; our enjoyment is amplified and our sorrows diminished as we maintain an eternal focus, rather than a temporal one. – Isaiah 26:3

All Things Through Christ IN Us

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we put the emphasis on our self. WE can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

Let us quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength to obey.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser created us to bear (John 15:1).

We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). His perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony.

This way we cannot either take any credit for our accomplishments or feel as if we are incapable of acting on the Holy Spirit’s direction. We gain our direction from Christ in us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:27).

Christ abides within us from the instant of our salvation and throughout our lifetime (Matthew 28:20). God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which He allows to come our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25).

Nothing will occur in our life, which is not part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will. Since Christ dwells within us, we can do everything, which God calls us to do.

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for every

contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we come to know You in a deeper relationship, we rely on Christ as our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You, as You direct our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to live beyond human reason, as we receive His divine revelation for each moment of our day.

Trustworthy God

God resists the proud, but He gives an abundance of grace to those who humble themselves under His mighty hand (James 4:6). He loves the whole world, but especially His children (John 3:16; 1 John 3:1).

God gives His Saints, made righteous through the blood of Jesus, deliverance through all of our troubles (2 Corinthians 5:21). He hears our cries for help, stays close to the brokenhearted and heals those bruised in spirit (Psalm 37:17-18).

He loves those who honor Him with our life. He separates us from the penalty of our sin and remembers them no more. He understands our human frailties and has compassion on us (Hebrews 8:12; Psalm 103:12-14).

When life exhausts and discourages us with its many afflictions, God gives us hope and deliverance as we cry out to Him (Psalm 37:19). His love lifts us higher than the heavens (Psalm 103:11).

God gives us the fruit of our labors, which we accomplish. through blood, sweat and tears. He turns our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11-12, 126:5). He collects our tears in His bottle and avenges our suffering (Psalm 56:8; Romans 12:19).

We have no need to fret over those in our life with an evil intent or those who prosper in their iniquity. God takes care of every one of them (Psalm 37:1-2).

We can trust in Him with our whole heart, continue to work for His Kingdom, and He will bless us with the fulfillment of all of our efforts as He faithfully provides for all of our needs (Psalm 37:3).

Prayer:
Father God, we delight in Your presence in our life; we relish Your desires, which You place in our heart; and we trust in You to bring us success as we walk in Your will. We commit our every breath to Your service and acknowledge You before we take one step in the morning (Psalm 37:4-6; Proverbs 3:5-6).

We enter Your rest and wait on Your direction for each moment of our day. When we are tempted to worry, or to be jealous over someone else’s blessings, we remember that You are always faithful, and that Your children inherit Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ. (Psalm 37:7-11; Romans 8:17).

Thought for the Day:
God works out every negative trial for our ultimate good. – Romans 8:28

My Life Was a Wreck – Part 2

The complete dependence on God, which I learned during my first car wreck, helped me to survive the devastation of divorce and to settle into a new life back in my home town.

About a year later, I drove home from work on my usual route, but my mind played a trick on me. Confusing the traffic light at the next street with the light in front of me, I ran a red light.

A large, commercial van t-boned my car, pushing the driver’s-side door twelve inches into the space where I was seat-belted behind the wheel.

Needless to say, my bones started breaking, one of them punctured my lung, and my head ricocheted back into the window. This impact shattered glass into my face, gave me a concussion and knocked me out.

Waking up in the hospital, I learned that my little finger had a compound fracture and 11 of my ribs broke in the impact. I had bruises and lacerations all over the left side of my body.

After getting shuffled around through excruciating x-rays and tests, I told the doctor I was through being tortured, and I wanted to go home.

Smiling to himself, he promised to send me home when my punctured lung healed. He informed me that most people with only a few broken ribs find it hard to breath, so I should be under an oxygen tent for a few days.

I declined His offer and slept in the chair overnight, because the only time I experienced pain was reclining or sitting up from a prone position.

From that same chair, I greeted a surprised doctor the next morning when he made his rounds. He had to keep his promise to send me home. Not only did I have no pain, I also had plenty of oxygen in my body and a healed lung.

At my follow-up appointment the next week, my still surprised doctor admitted that prayer and God’s grace were the only reasons I was not still in a hospital bed and under an oxygen tent. He released me to go back to work as a bookkeeper for my brother’s business.

God used this experience to bless my life in so many ways. The most important was God’s mercy to save my life once again.

The second benefit was that my fiancé’s love for me never diminished, even though I could have won the prize in a Frankenstein’s sister’s “look alike” contest.

Kevin, my parents and my three brothers did everything they could to make my life as easy as possible. Together, we witnessed God’s amazing healing power.

Though I slept in a recliner for three months until my ribs mended enough to lay down in a bed, I never had to take even one pain pill (Psalm 107:2).

Prayer:

Father God, the tiny piece of glass still lodged under the skin of my face is a constant memorial of Your glory and grace. The few ribs, which healed at angles, still poke my muscles to remind me that You hold the power of life and death in Your hands (Deuteronomy 32:39).

Although Satan tried again to snuff out my life, You had plans for me, which are always for my good and for Your glory (Psalm 147:3; Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11). Without eternity, I would never have enough time to praise You for Your constant care for me (1 Peter 5:7).

Thought for the Day:

The unwavering love of the Lord never ceases and His mercy and grace never come to an end; in fact, they are new every single morning due to His great faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

My Life Was a Wreck – Part 1

A few decades ago, while running an errand for work, I found myself on an unfamiliar country road after dark. There were no street lights, and the street signs were scarce.

One particular stretch of the road curved, but I did not realize it. I continued going straight. Thanks to God, there was a dirt road ahead.

I smiled in relief that I was safe. Just then, my back tire punctured on a small rock and blew out. This sent me careening toward the high dirt embankment lining the side of the road.

I pumped my breaks, but was concerned about fully engaging them, since the car was swerving back and forth. Seeing the wall of dirt ahead, I thought it would safely stop me, since I was going so slowly.

To my surprise, my front tires went up the embankment, and the car tilted up and over until it flipped and the roof of the car hit the dirt road and smashed in. The car slid down the road for several feet with me hanging upside down by my seat belt.

I was in total shock. I paused for a moment to digest what just happened. I unbuckled my seat belt and immediately fell onto the ceiling of the car. I tried to open the door, but it was compressed out of shape and stuck shut. Squished into a coffin-sized space, I started to panic.

Frantically grabbing the handle for the window, I attempted to roll the window open to climb out, but it would not budge either. This is when panic really set in, and sent a jolt of adrenalin through my body, which was no help at all.

I quickly reminded myself that God always had everything under His control and He knew exactly where I was and what I needed. Engaging the Lord in prayer, I asked for guidance.

I breathed deeply and God’s Spirit calmed my anguished soul. The Lord clearly reminded me that I was upside down and the window handle would only turn in the opposite direction.

Of course, that worked perfectly. Once free from the wreck, I leaned up against the car for support. God sent a nurse driving by at that very moment, and she stopped to take care of me.

She took me in her car to the closest house in the neighborhood and examined me all over. No broken bones, concussion or scratches. The owners of the house called the policeman, who wrote his report and gave me a ride home.

As I walked through my front door, my nerves finally reacted and I started shaking all over from scalp to toes. My husband fixed me a cup of tea with honey, and I gulped it down. I sought solace beneath my covers, and slept until the next day.

Accompanying my daughter to the chiropractor, I was surprised to find out that I did not have one scratch or bruise. There was not one bone or spinal disc out of alignment. The car was totaled, but I escaped unscathed and perfectly cared for every moment of the ordeal and beyond.

Prayer:
Father God, that wreck was a milestone in my life. It taught me that Your hand was on my life regardless of what Satan tried to do to end it. I cannot thank You enough for building up my faith in Your faithfulness through that nightmare.

This experience gave me the strength I would need to face some trials, which lay ahead for me in my life. Your works are perfect and all of Your ways are just (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Thought for the Day:
God works out even the most life-threatening challenges for the good of those who love Him and live in His purpose for their life. – Romans 8:28

God’s Truth Sets Us Free

Vain imaginations and idle thoughts will drive us to distraction. They cause stress and come straight from the pit of hell (2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 1:21; Genesis 6:5; 1Chronicles 28:9).

If we listen to negative self-talk long enough, we start to believe it is true. We listen to Satan’s lies and this ruins our relationships with God and other people (John 8:44).

Satan’s lies demean, belittle, undermine and accuse us (Revelation 12:10). They keep us in bondage and debilitate us in our endeavors to serve God with our life.

Satan attempts to keep us in bondage to his lies. The only way to overcome Satan’s debilitating talk is to counter his lies with God’s Truth and Word. (www.theophostic.com)

Then, we can walk in God’s Spirit and believe only what God says about us. By His mercy and because of His love, God takes away the shame and misery caused by our sins (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:4).

He calls us to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). We do not count anyone’s sin against them, but we bring to them a word of loving understanding and mercy, without compromising God’s Word (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to take our thoughts captive and to make them obedient to Christ rather than the devil (2 Corinthians 10:5). Give us the victory over sin and death by our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Remind us to follow Your will for our life rather than following the mold, into which Satan or someone else in our life attempts to squeeze us. Help us to walk in Your will for us each and every moment of every day (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
God’s Truth always sets us free. – John 8:32

To Those who Overcome

All of my Christian life, I heard the verses to the churches in Revelation containing promises to those who overcome. I do not have the moral fiber, mental strength or physical stamina to overcome anything. In other words, I am a wimp!

Whenever I saw or heard those verses, I cringed and shut down mentally and emotionally. As a new Believer, life still frightened me; and yet, I wanted to receive those promises to the overcomer.

Recently, my pastoral husband preached about living as an overcomer and his sermon gave me the key verse that I missed all of these years (1 John 4:4, 5:1-5). We overcome not in our human ability, but through Christ in us (John 16:33; James 1:2-3).

Whoever is born of God automatically overcomes the world, because our faith in Jesus as the Son of God gives us the victory (1 John 5:45). Jesus already overcame the world and He abides in us.

Even in suffering, we glorify God by our example as patient victims (1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). In heaven, we will receive these promises to the overcomer:
• We will eat of the tree of life and hidden manna, and we will receive the white stone of acquittal for our sins along with a new name (Revelation 2:7, 17; 3:12),
• We will rule the nations (Revelation 2:26) and we will be clothed in white, which is the purity of our works (Revelation 19:8).
• We will have our name written in the Lambs’ Book of Life (Revelation 3:5), we will forever serve as a pillar of strength in the temple of our God (Revelation 3:12),
• We will sit with Christ on His throne (Revelation 3:21),
• We will inherit all things as co-heirs with Christ as Children of God (Revelation 21:27),
• We will not experience the second, spiritual death in hell (Revelation 2:11),

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to do for us what we could never do for our self. Thank Your for taking away the shame and condemnation of our sins, and for making us acceptable in Your beloved family (Ephesians 1:6). Christ in us makes us overcomers, because we are born again of His Spirit and we have faith in His faithfulness (1 John 5:4-5).

If we could live for thousands of years, we would never have enough time to praise You for what You already did and still do for us every day. We look forward to living for eternity in Your Kingdom and to giving You the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Christ in us will overcome anything, which the world, the devil and our flesh throws at us (Galatians 2:20); we are more than conquerors through Christ who lives in us (Romans 8:31-39).