Lasting Happiness

Sometimes we actually hate our life. Too many trials and disappointments rip at our heart and smother us with a blanket of insecurity, fear and trouble.

We attempt to control our circumstances, but that is not any easier than grasping for the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:17). It is impossible to do; and therefore, crazy to attempt.

Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived on this earth, realized that he could not buy happiness. He tried to find it by amassing worldly goods, marrying a multitude of wives, and even by worshiping false gods.

Eventually, he applied the wisdom from above to his own life and realized that this world’s riches are fleeting at best. Total surrender to God is our only hope of attaining unending joy in this life.

Before He even created the universe, God specifically chose each one of us to walk in holiness according to His will for our individual life and to live for His praise and glory (Ephesians 1:4; Isaiah 43:21).

God created us for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10), not just as a cruel joke or at some random selection. He designed each of us with His perfect will in mind and He attempts to lead us to walk in His ways (Hebrews 13:21).

Too often we take a sidetrack from His intended route and waste valuable time and resources on pursuing our own dreams and goals. We end up spinning our wheels and making our self miserable.

We can walk in lasting happiness only as we follow God’s plan for our individual life. It takes time to seek His will for each moment of our day, but the results are totally worth any effort on our part.

Prayer:

Father God, help us to receive what You offer to us rather than trying to manipulate You into giving us what we want. Work in our life to draw us closer to Your heart each day. Create in us a clean heart and renew a Godly spirit within us (Psalm 51:10) until we can truly say with conviction and veracity, “Lord, You are all I need”.

Show us the times that we attempt to manipulate You and use You for our own gains. Remind us that You have our best in mind (Jeremiah 29:11). You remove our defenses and affirm Your love for us by Your acceptance of us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). You build us up and meet all of our needs until You remove all doubt from our heart (Colossians 2:7).

Thought for the Day:

Once we decide to totally submit to God’s will for us, regardless of where, with whom or how it plays out, we eventually find true contentment and fulfillment in this life.

Great and Precious Eternal Promises

 

By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him as our only true and living Savior (John 17:3).

 

He called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). All of our accomplishments in this life pale when compared to what we gain when we surrender our life to Christ (Philippians 3:8).

 

God called us into His Kingdom to share in His glory and He shields us by His power (2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Peter 1:5). He encourages and comforts us as He urges us to live lives worthy of His name (1 Thessalonians 2:12; Psalm 23:3).

 

In this world we have tribulation, but Christ always restores us and makes us stronger, more stable and unfaltering (John 16:33; 1 Peter 5:10). The more we read His Word and learn of Him and His ways, the more abundantly we experience His grace and peace (2 Peter 1:2).

 

If we escape the corruption of this world through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, and then allow the world to entangle us again and overcome our resolve to follow God, we are worse off than we were before we heard about Him (2 Peter 2:20).

 

However, as God’s Spirit increases Christ’s character in us, we are more effective and productive in this life. He confirms our calling and election and keeps us from stumbling (Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Peter 1:5-10).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for delivering us from the corruption of this world by allowing us to personally know our Savior Jesus Christ. Keep us from the entanglements in this world, which attempt to overcome us again (2 Peter 2:20). Lead us into the unity of the faith with Your family as we mature in our knowledge of and intimacy with the whole measure and fullness of Your Son (Ephesians 4:13).

 

We want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior and to live our life to give Him all the praise and glory forever (2 Peter 3:18). Thank You for the great and precious promises that You give us, which enable us to share in Christ’s divine nature and to escape the human desires which attract us to the corruption of this world (2 Peter 1:4).

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as our human standards often accuse Him of being; but He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish in the torment of hell, but for all of us to come to Him in repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9

 

Let Your Insides Out

Who are you behind the mask you wear? Do you wear your feelings on your shoulder for other people to see who you really are? Do you try to act one way when you really feel another?

 

Or have you learned that it does not matter what other people think about you? Are you free from the tyranny of their opinions? Do you let your insides out?

 

Our fears and insecurities often define who we really are inside. We may have a strong spirit, but a very wounded soul. We appear strong, yet are feeble within.

 

When people reject us for our weaknesses, we feel like worthless damaged goods, which increases our fears and insecurities and compounds our problems.

 

Some people will actually disdain our inner self, many simply tolerate us and others dwell with us with understanding. The good news is that Jesus died for our inner self too.

 

His Spirit is transforming our inner self into a new creation through one stage of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). He slowly peals away the bandages we apply to our wounds.

 

He exposes the raw emotion and anxiety and puts the salve of God’s unconditional love on each one of them. The only opinion of us, which really matters is God’s.

 

This revelation frees us from having to hide behind masks. Jesus encourages us to let our insides out and to receive His healing for our past and His strength for our future.

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us not to value anyone else’s opinion of us, but to gain our identity through Christ in us. We do not need to rely on any person, place, thing or accomplishment to feel good about our self. It is our personal relationship with You that makes us a child of the King.

 

Help us to make room for Jesus on the throne of our life where He belongs. He is our best friend and He actually sticks closer to us than any human being ever will (Proverbs 18:24). Your love is ours both now and throughout eternity and flows over us like a waterfall.

 

Thought for the Day:

Tolerance is not acceptance; only Jesus fully accepts us just the way we are, and then perfects us by His Spirit as He fills us with His joy and peace.

 

Making a Profound Difference

God is the Potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). We are the vessel that contains the liquid. Satan attempts to keep our focus on our innate beauty as a crafted container, or he draws our attention to the flaws and cracks.

 

However, these do not matter in the larger scheme of life. When we are thirsty, we do not admire the glass, we gulp the liquid in the glass.

 

We are not the focus in this relationship, but Christ IN us is the focus. We are simply clay jars, made from the dust of the earth; yet, as Born Again Believers, we contain the God of the universe (Colossians 1:27).

 

Although we are dying daily in our body and carnal nature, God’s Spirit give us life (Romans 8:10). God fills us with His presence and Spirit to sanctify our soul and complete us in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 2:10).

 

Realizing that we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God, we relinquish our goals and allow Christ to live through us (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20).

 

Christ shines from our heart and radiates to the world around us in the same way in which the light from a bulb emits light in a dark room. We make a profound difference.

 

We are so united with Christ that His thoughts fill our mind, His wisdom directs our steps, His life flows through us like a river and His love radiates in us and from us (Philippians 2:5; James 1:5; John 7:38; Isaiah 58:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your grace draws us to Jesus, keeps us pursuing holiness and finishes our perfection through sanctification (1 John 3:2). Jesus is our advocate with You (1 John 2:1), and the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us before You (Romans 8:26).

 

You each have your function as a person of the Trinity and You complete us within and without (Colossians 2:10). You direct our steps and use us for Your glory to advance Your Kingdom in the earth (Luke 17:21).

 

Thought for the Day:

Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

 

Sinner or Saint

If Christ dwells in our Born Again spirit, our body and soul cannot live in a lifestyle of sin, because it grieves God’s Spirit to be a part of anything remotely sinful.

 

What is a sin? Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect holiness. The main sin is that of unbelief (John 3:18). We condemn our self to hell by our unbelief. No one sin is more grievous to God, than unbelief (Romans 14:23).

 

The Bible gives us several lists of other particular sins, such as fornication, witchcraft, strife, envy, murder, alcoholism, homosexuality, backbiters, disobedient to parents, proud, unmerciful, covenant breakers, profane, whoremongers, liars, divorcing one’s mate, thieves, foolish talk, jesting, covetousness and blasphemy to name a few (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:26-32; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Revelation 21:8; Matthew 19:18-19; Ephesians 5:3-7, 18; Mark 7:21-22; 2 Corinthians 12:20).

 

The Body of Christ will welcome most sinners into the ministry with carte blanche forgiveness, except someone who has been divorced. They act as if divorce is the unpardonable sin; even if the otherwise qualified man did not want the divorce.

 

Yet, we see that there are other characteristics which should exclude someone from the ministry. Consider an alcoholic, a murderer, a liar, a permissive parent, or a sex addict. These are all equal qualifications, and yet often ignored (1 Timothy 3:1-13).
The good news of the Gospel of Christ is that while we still lived in a lifestyle of sin, Jesus died for us all (Romans 5:8, 11). Jesus became sin for us all, so that we all could become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

The only unpardonable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). All other sins are forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus for everyone with the courage to call on His name to be saved.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You consider anger just as sinful as murder, and lust as hateful as fornication. There are no mortal and venial sins in Your eyes. One sin is as disgusting to You as another (Matthew 5:22, 28,32). Thank You for Your sanctifying work in our life, which sets us free from sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

Remind us that if we say we are Born Again, and yet we sin with immunity and no negative side effects, we are deceiving our self (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). A Born Again Believer may dabble in sin for a season, or carry a sin with us into our Born Again life, but we cannot tolerate sin for very long. This is because Your holy presence within us cannot dwell in a sinful environment.

 

Thought for the Day:

The sanctification process takes us through our season of unrighteous living, and changes us step by step to exhibit more Godliness than unrighteousness; we live as an example of a Godly Believer, full of love and spirituality.

 

 

Abundant Life

Humans foolishly count our worth by the fame, fortune and success we achieve in this world. These are fleeting and transitory and can change with an unforeseen event in an instant.

 

As followers of Christ, we no longer pursue aspects pertaining to this earthly realm, but we focus our mind, affections and goals on the purposes of God for us (Colossians 3:2).

 

God changes our nature from carnal, earthly flesh to one full of purity, Godliness and spirituality (2 Corinthians 3:18). He gives us a way out of every future temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

On top of that, He saves us from the punishment of our sins (Romans 6:23). Then He moves into our spirit to live His life through us.

 

Once we come to an epiphany of our union with Christ, anything is possible, according to the will of God (Mark 10:27). God graciously forgives our sin debt (1 John 1:9).

 

We no longer desire to fulfill the deeds of the flesh in our mortal body; because we are putting on the new self, which Jesus is renewing within us (Colossians 3:10).

 

When we focus on our life with an earthly perception, we experience stress, anxiety, anger and many other negative emotions. The consequences of our choices and actions follow us into eternity.

 

We are never more fulfilled than when we are walking closest to God through Christ in us. He walks with us every moment of every day, giving us His strength to go through every trial, making them adventures in which we can find His joy (Philippians 2:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, with our mind focused on You, we walk in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Our deepest affections are reserved just for You. As we focus on this life with an eternal perspective, we are only interested in Your intentions, instructions and inclusion of us in Your plans.

 

Your peace, which transcends all human understanding, fills our heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). We want nothing more than to bask in Your presence and to walk in step with You through each moment of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

True abundance in this life only comes when we adopt a spiritual purpose. – Matthew 6:19-21

 

No Longer a Sinner – Predestined to be Conformed

God predestined those He foreknew to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He will present us to Himself as His glorious Bride, the Church without spot or wrinkle, glorious and blameless through Christ in us (Ephesians 5:27).

 

The process of conforming us to Christ’s image is what most people shy away from in their journey of surrendering to God. We fear the pain of being molded or that God will send us to some unfavorable place on the earth to serve in His Kingdom.

 

At first, what we do not realize is that He is molding us into His grace by His mercy and love. If we completely submit to His ministry in our life, this is painless and even joyful (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Once we gain experience in the molding process, we stop fearing the unknown and embrace it with faith. We experience the glory of His transfiguration in us and are stunned by the splendor of His majesty (John 14:3, 17:24).

 

As the elect of God and the Body of Christ, we willingly surrender to Christ, our Head, in the process of election and sanctification. We gradually conform to the image of God, which Adam enjoyed in the Garden (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:3; 1 Corinthians 15:49).

 

He gives us His fruit and His gifts in order to take our place as healthy, viable members of His family. His spiritual life flows through our spirit and enables us to function in His calling for our life.

 

According to His eternal promises, He replaces our human nature with Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He creates us as a new creature in Christ for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and gives us His power as His glorious Body (Philippians 3:21).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we look forward to seeing Christ as He is and being made in His likeness (1 John 3:2). Thank You for Your holy Word, which does not leave us clueless on this earth, but which reveals to us everything we need to see and know to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12). Carry us through any suffering and persecution, and strengthen us in every tribulation, which we experience for Your righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:18-27; Philippians 3:10).

 

When we suffer with Christ, we will also be gloried with Him in the day of our resurrection (Romans 8:17) and share in Your Kingdom as co-heirs of all that is Yours. Hasten the day of Your coming and take us to live with You in Your holy City of New Jerusalem.

 

Thought for the Day:
When Christ, who is our life, appears, we will also be revealed in all of His glory. – Colossians 3:4

 

Nursing Negative Emotions

When we nurse a negative emotion, we amplify it in our mind, cement it in our thinking and establish the roots of it in our soul. Yet, this only ends up hurting, rather than helping us.

 

Paul recommends that we think and meditate on only positive thoughts and emotions. He even gives us a list of acceptable ideas to consider and contemplate, and on which to focus.

 

This verse suggests that we think only on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). If it does not meet these requirements, we ask God to help us to change our focus about the issue.

 

Grudges, depression, jealousy, anger, hurt feelings, suspicion, frustration, shame, grief, etc. usually come from lies, which Satan whispers in our ear. However, if they are founded in fact, we can use the Serenity Prayer to resolve them.

 

We either change the circumstance or give it to God to deal with; but whatever we do, we change our attitude about it to keep our soul encouraged by the positive that is going on in and around us.

 

Paul goes one step further and encourages us to rejoice in our tribulation. I never could figure out how to do that, until I realized that God plants the seed for a miracle within every trial.

 

Now, I simply praise our Father God with gratitude and faith in His faithfulness through tribulation, and I look at it as an adventure in Christ rather than as just another negative encounter with life.

 

Our attitude during trials is the greatest witness to the world around us of the Christ within us (1 Peter 2:12). We can “preach” to them until we are blue in the face, but what we “say” with our actions and attitude speaks more about the love of Christ than our words.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the result of us maintaining positive thoughts and attitudes is Your peace within us (Philippians 4:7). Your peace is the precursor for all of our thoughts, words and actions; and our thoughts, words and actions can disturb Your peace within us quicker than anything. We often imagine the worse-case scenario, which rarely happens, and this slides us right down into the pit of worry and depression.

 

You give us Your wisdom to deal with each moment of life, which we encounter. Your wisdom is pure, filled with peace, loving, considerate, easily surrendered to, full of mercy and grace, produces good fruit in and through us, and is impartial and sincere (James 3:17). Help us to stay focused on Your blessings and provision in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is more potential power in gratitude and praise than in nursing negative emotions.

Abiding in Christ

The Apostle John, so in love with our Lord Jesus, experienced abiding with Christ in person and passed this experience along to us in His letters. He spent hours of unbroken fellowship with the Lord. He considered himself one of Jesus’ best friends, beloved by Him.

 

We too can enjoy this same intimate relationship with Jesus, because He lives IN us by His Spirit. To abide in Christ literally means to dwell in Him, not to wander off, and to stand as if rooted to the spot.

 

Jesus said He was equal with God (John 10:38). The Pharisees were offended by this declaration, because they did not understand that they too could enjoy unbroken fellowship with God through Christ and His Spirit.

 

God dwelt in Jesus in the same way that He dwells in us (John 14:11). His character and nature are evident in our life as we mature spiritually and continually die to our old carnal nature (John 14:10).

 

Although Jesus literally and physically returned to His home in Heaven, He did not abandon us alone on this earth. He gave us His Spirit as our comforter and guide.

 

Jesus will return for us in time for our wedding feast as His Bride (John 14:18-20), but until then, His Holy Spirit sanctifies us more each day as we believe in Christ and remain in this vital union with Jesus and our Father.

 

We live and function in the same manner that Jesus walked with our Father during His lifetime (1 John 2:6-27, 3:6). If we desire to live in His will, He provides us with what we need each moment of the day.

 

We can do greater works simply because we, as His Body, are greater in number and He abides within all of us. All He needs is our availability and obedience to His Spirit on a continual basis as we walk in His will (John 14:3-15).

 

We eat His flesh and drink His blood, ingesting Him into our spirit, soul and body and drawing our nourishment from Him (John 6:56). We are united with Him and He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You cleanse us with the blood of Jesus, our perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29). Thank You for choosing to give us His righteousness in place of our old, carnal nature and making us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We covet our time with You as You provide us with holy fellowship with You throughout the day.

 

Help us to continue in Your Word, for Your Word is life to our spirit and soul (John 8:31; 1 John 2:19-24). Remind us to keep Your commandments for they lead us on the path of holiness and help us to avoid the destruction reaped from a life of sin and degradation (John 15:9-10).

 

Thought for the Day:

Christ’s life flows through us, just as the nutrients of the Vine empower the branches to bear fruit (John 15:4); but if we break fellowship with Him and grieve His Spirit through sin, pride or rebellion, we lose this perfect union until we repent.

  • Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; John 15:4

 

God’s Dynamite Power within Us

The word “dunimis”, pronounced “doo’-na-mis”, is the root for the word “dynamite”. It means to have mighty power residing within, by virtue of its nature.

 

This is the same word used to describe the power by which Jesus raised Himself from the dead. Jesus claimed that no one could take His life from Him and only He had the “dunimis” power to raise it up again (John 10:18).

 

Once we come to Christ through salvation, all of this “dunimis” power is also resident within us. It is equal to a zillion fireworks going off inside of us at one time.

 

The electric light does not come from the light bulb, but from the electricity flowing to the bulb. The power in us does not come from us, but from God’s “dunimis” power working in us and lighting up our world through us.

 

Christ’s light shines in our hearts. We radiate Christ to the world in the same way that a light bulb radiates light in a dark room. We are connected to the power of God’s Spirit flowing through us on a continual basis.

 

We just follow the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment and we live in fullness of joy, even in negative circumstances (Psalm 16:11). We accomplish great works for the Lord, not by our righteousness, but by His righteousness within us (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

The Bible is full of illustrations of God calling men and women – imperfect, weak and unprepared people – who slayed great Giants and routed mighty armies in the name of the Lord.

 

There is nothing God calls us to do that He will not also provide us with everything we need to sustain us and to guarantee our success in the endeavor.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to realize the amazing power, which You provide within us in order for us to walk in Your will for our life. Remind us to continually walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.

 

Call us to the ministry You have prepared for us and then empower us to walk by the guidance and sustenance of Your Spirit through the entire endeavor. This way, we will further Your Kingdom on the earth and we will reap the rewards You prepared for us before You created the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we walk in the Spirit, continually connected to Him, we do the works God created us to perform by His dynamite power within us, and our Father God is always well pleased with us. – Matthew 3:17