Honoring God

Have you ever thought about the fact that the Holy Spirit is subjected to every thought, word and deed, which we entertain? We drag Him through the mire in which we participate (Philippians 1:8; 2:5,13; 1:20).

I don’t know about you, but this makes me cringe. I certainly do not want the Trinity to be grieved by my behavior. I want my body and soul – my thoughts, choices and feelings – to honor God in every way (Ephesians 4:30).

Our pride and self-sufficiency keep us from honoring God with our life. We want to do things our way and make our own decisions. What we fail to understand is that the happiest place on earth is in the center of God’s will.

Our regenerated spirit, once dead in Adam’s sin, is filled with God’s Spirit and Son who abide within us (Romans 8:10; Colossians 1:27). Our body and soul no longer direct our life, because they are now directed by God’s Spirit.

As we serve God, we choose spiritual desires over the desires of our flesh, which struggle to gain ascendancy in our body and soul (Romans 1:9). We mature to the place where we are not even tempted by carnal thoughts any more.

As we walk in the Spirit, whatever we think, say and do is led by God’s Spirit, and we reap the rewards of living by God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25; Romans 2:29; 7:6; 8:4-6, 9, 13; 12:11). While we live from our spirit, we praise the Lord all day long.

We give Him continual glory for His provision in our life, and we function for His glory, even in our normal daily activities of eating, drinking and going to work (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, we will give continual thanks to You, for You are always good to us. Your loving kindness is never-ending. We also thank You for Your unfailing love and Your multitude of blessings, which You shower on all of Your children.

Only You can satisfy our thirsty soul and fill our hungry spirit with good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9). We want to walk in unity with Your Spirit every moment of every day without giving any place to the world, the devil or the flesh.

Thought for the Day:
The more we abide in Christ and keep His praises on our lips, the more positive and blessed is our life experience. – John 15:4; Psalm 149:6

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Freedom from Sin

God gave us His law to prove to us that we cannot save our self. To reach holiness through the law, we must keep every word of it (Matthew 5:18; James 2:10).

When we trust in Christ, who did keep every letter of the law, as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, His Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Christ in us satisfied the law for us (Galatians 5:18). As we surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit, we are free to live in His righteousness (Roman 1:17, 8:14).

God’s Spirit never leads us into permissive living (Galatians 5:18). We grieve God’s Spirit when we use His temple for sinful purposes (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:30-31).

Our relationship with God is more important than any other aspect of our life. He fills us with His presence and we follow God’s Spirit moment by moment.

Increasing our intimacy with God is the best use of our time and efforts. His living water flows through us and out to the world around us (John 7:38).

As we love Him with our whole heart, soul and strength, He quenches our thirsty soul (Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 42:1-2, 143:6). Then we love our neighbors as our self and fulfill the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39-40).

We love each other as God loves us, and we serve one another and lay down our preferences, feelings and opinions for one another (John 15:12-13).

God’s precepts are for our protection and are only restrictive if we want to continue to sin. When we choose to live in God’s freedom in righteousness, we are no longer under the oppression of Satan’s abuse.

Prayer:
Father God, prior to our salvation through Christ, we served the devil and His will for our life. We may not have committed evil, but even our responsible, ethical life was inspired by his desire to keep us from coming to Christ.

If we return to the bondage to Satan’s lies (Galatians 5:1), we forfeit our freedom from sin. You can no longer bless us, although Your desire is always to give us all good things (Psalm 84:11; James 1:17). Draw us to completely surrender our life to You.

Thought for the Day:
When the righteous return to a sinful lifestyle, we muddy the springs of living water within us. – Proverbs 25:26; John 4:14, 7:38

We Love God by Obeying Him

Lately, God has been fine tuning my obedience in walking in His Spirit, and weaning me from relying on my own humanistic thinking. The other day, we were doing our quarterly shopping at Walmart, and I felt led to go to the shoe section to look for a pair of pool shoes on sale. I immediately thought about my very comfortable pool shoes at home, made by Speedo of the highest quality of materials.

Instead of shopping for pool shoes, I spent the rest of the shopping time praising God for my wonderful, comfortable, sturdy pool shoes. I felt such gratitude in my heart for God’s provision of those shoes for me. This flowed into praise for His generous provision in every area of my life.

The next day…the very next day…my Speedo pool shoes were stolen at the pool while I exercised!!! This resulted in a week without pool shoes. Reduced to wearing my shower shoes instead, I rubbed bruises in the bones of my toes as I walked in these flip-flops. God’s Spirit knew about the coming theft, and He wanted to provide for me, but I disobeyed His leading.

My disobedience cost me more than a lack of pool shoes; it also cost me intimacy with our Daddy God, and an opportunity to see His abundant provision in action before I ever knew I needed it. Obedience proves our love for God (John 14:15); and in this instance, I grieved the Holy Spirit, because of my disobedience (Ephesians 4:30).

I am sure God appreciated my praise, but He was attempting to supply even my unforeseen need according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). I was able to purchase a cheap pair of new pool shoes online and they work great…but I have bruised toe bones to remind me of the consequences of leaning on my own understanding, rather than obeying the direction of God’s Holy Spirit (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Prayer:
Father God, many people would believe that this illustration of obedience is straining at a gnat, and that You have more important things for us to focus on than pool shoes. However, the issue in this case was my obedience in walking in Your Spirit, and the shoes were simply a tool You used to teach me this lesson. Thank You for providing such a simple object lesson, to prepare me in the future to act more vigilantly in my obedience in every area of my life. As I am in-tune with Your peace and Your Word in every moment of my day, You will lead me by Your Spirit and You will prepare me for every future contingency that I will ever face as I walk in Your will for me.

Thought for the Day:
Obedience is better than sacrifice; or in this case, obedience is better than praising. – Acts 17:11

Why Christian’s Suffer

Christians suffer defeat in our life for many reasons. One is that we are still living through our soul, rather than from our spirit. We pursue worldly gain and fulfillment and end up disappointed.

Another reason is that we trust in our own wisdom and counsel. We forget to trust the Lord and to seek His will for each moment of our day, which brings us continual success (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Many Christians are also unaware that a spiritual battle is raging all around us to either tempt us back into Satan’s service or to render our life ineffective for the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 6:12).

Our only source of victory is to allow God’s Spirit to renew our mind, which brings us freedom from the cares of this life and gives us an eternal perspective (Ephesians 5:23).

We gradually learn to reject our human reasoning, which ends our struggle between infinite faith and finite human understanding (Isiah 55:9).

We realize that the testing of our faith produces patience to wait on God in the midst of all of our negative circumstances, so that we can walk in obedience to God’s Spirit each moment of our day (2 John 1:6).

Rather than surviving this world independently of God, we cling to Him as our Savior and Lord. We recognize that we will perish without His constant intervention on our behalf.

This puts the devil and his demons to flight from our life, and allows us to reap the benefits of living victoriously as members of God’s own family (Psalm 103:2).

If we go through the continual trials of life without the joy of the Lord in the midst of them, we can change our focus to realize that there is a seed for a miracle in the midst of each one of them.

Prayer:
Father God, our flesh still pulls us toward humanistic thinking and reasoning. We buy into the world’s view of success and fulfillment; therefore, we work all of our lives to provide temporal blessings for our self. Even if we happen to succeed, in the end we realize the futility of our life spent pursuing worldly gain (Mark 8:36).

Only when we realize our helplessness will we be able to totally surrender to Your benefits and provision for our life. Remind us that only as we live our life in and for You, will we experience the true benefits of Your Life: peace, love and joy in Your Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
Even in the midst of the fiery furnace, the three Hebrew children walked with God.- Daniel 3:17-18

Pointless Rebellion

Some people refuse to adhere to the traditions of our society (Romans 13: 1-14; Hebrews 13:17). They buck the system and rebel against human and Biblical rules and regulations. Therefore, God cannot bless them (Isaiah 1:20).

These people actually yearn for approval, but since their basics instincts are not well received, they decide to go the other way and live in defiance and revolt in every area of life.

Some even become a thorn in the side of society and often end up in prison. The rebel really wants to comply and gain approval, but since they do not measure up, they grow bitter and hate everyone, even their own self.

God’s standards are higher than the system of this world; yet, many of our society’s rules are patterned after Biblical truth (1 Peter 2:18-21; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). The nonconformist views God and the government as rule-makers, which do not accept or validate who they truly are inside.

If rebels would surrender their lack of self-esteem to God, they would find acceptance in His family. God creates a clean heart in us and renews His Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).

At some point, we all start to realize the futility of attempting to control our own life. The alternative is to trust in God’s plan for us (Ephesians 2:10), and to walk in the Spirit through every issue we face (Galatians 5:15-25).

Even if things do not progress as we think they should, if there is an apparent setback or imperfection in our life, God’s love helps us to retain our faith in His faithfulness.

Prayer:
Father God, a rebel in this world is also rebelling against You. They want their body, emotions, thoughts and goals to be accepted by those who are supposed to love them, regardless of their behavior.

This attitude stems from pride. You resist the proud, but You exalt the humble (James 4:6). Please teach our rebellious loved ones to call on Your Spirit, to humble their pride, to submit to Your calling on their life and to surrender control of their life over to you.

Thought for the Day:
When we consent to God’s will and obey His Word, He proves that He cares for all of our needs. – Isaiah 1:19; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22

Spiritual Maturity

Growing up in a Christian home, or church attendance or Christian service will not guarantee us a place in God’s Kingdom. Total surrender to Jesus Christ is our only ticket to Heaven (John 3:16-18).

God loves us and desires for everyone to come to the saving knowledge of His Son, so that He can adopt us into His family (Ephesians 1:5). Once we trust Him, God transforms our life by His grace (Matthew 5:6).

We slowly come to the place in our Christian walk where we no longer care about accumulating things of this world. We truly realize that our home is not here, but in heaven.

We mature to the place of being more spiritually minded than carnally minded, and we realize that our identity and victory come only from Christ in us.

Therefore, the lusts of the eye, the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life have no more appeal for us (1 John 2:16). We desire only what God wants for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If anyone attempts to destroy His temple, God will destroy that person, because He considers us set apart for Himself as His Body (1 Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 2:21-22).

A person may be able to harm our body, but only God can affect our soul (Matthew 10:28). Even in times of trial or difficulty, God gives us victory as we maintain our faith in His faithfulness.

Prayer:
Father God, it amazes us that You actually rejoice over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). We hope in You and praise You, because Your love radiates in and through us (Psalm 43:5). You abide within us and are always in control of our life.

We trust in Your unconditional love for us, and we rejoice in the all-encompassing salvation, which You provide for us (Psalm 13:5). We sing of Your mercies forever (Psalm 13:6, 89:1). When our soul despairs over the trials of life and the current events swirling around us, we will hope in You and praise You with our whole body, soul and spirit (Psalm 43:5).

Thought for the Day:
Full salvation takes more than good deeds or a mental assent; it requires total commitment of our life to Christ.

Quiet Moments

The hardest practice for modern humans to develop is to sit still! In times past, once the chores were done, families sat around on the porch and talked, sang and told stories.

We have no time for that anymore. We are overly scheduled with activities that will not matter in eternity. God tells us to be still and to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10); however, we rarely take the time to abide in His presence.

If we sit quietly in God’s company, He floods our spirit and soul with His attributes and the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He warms our entire being with His presence and He guides us through each moment of our day.

The curse, which Adam and Eve brought upon the earth affects creation, as well as humanity. We all long for the return of Christ as Lord and King, with the government on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).

Even nature responds to God’s love. The stones will cry out if God’s people refuse to praise Him (Luke 19:28-40). All of creation actually groans for the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-22).

Our new birth in Christ fills the aching void in our life and makes us complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). Our hungry soul changes from desiring more of the world to craving more intimacy with Him.

This only occurs when we increase the quiet moments in our day. We wait on God between each activity, to seek His will for our next endeavor.

We ask Him to guide everything, which we think, say and do. We walk in His Spirit and find our joy in the center of His will (Galatians 5:15-25). He alone is worthy of all our glory, honor and praise (Revelation 5:8-14).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to conform our thoughts and behavior to the values of this world, but to allow Your Spirit to transform us by renewing our mind until we walk in Your good, perfect and acceptable will (Romans 12:2).

Remind us not to plan our own life, but to realize each day that Your Spirit resides within us and will control our life as we completely surrender to You. He will heal our soul – our mind, will and emotions; direct our steps and help us to live in Your eternal peace, joy and righteousness (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
God is worthy of our quiet attention all throughout the day, and He deserves the glory and honor for all that we accomplish in our life, because He gives His power to all of His creation. – Revelation 4:11