A Faithful Life

The Lord actually searches for faithful people to be His companions. He prefers authentic people who live honorably and respectably, and who serve Him with their whole heart (Psalm 101:6).

 

He enjoys fellowshipping with us as we pray without ceasing, exhorting us to walk in His ways, disciplining us for crossing the safety barriers that He erects around our life, and gloriously providing for all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).

 

He even appreciates opportunities to sit with us in companionable silence, or as we praise His name out of the abundance of our heart.

 

In every church family there are those who are convicted of their sin, but not yet converted from a lifestyle of sin; and also carnal Christians who prefer living for the flesh and their own goals and dreams rather than for the Lord.

 

Yet, there are also those spiritually maturing Saints who usually put God’s will first each moment of their day. They consult Him before taking any action or volunteering to participate in any activity or ministry that presents itself (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Bearing the fruit of God’s Spirit is the sign of an authentic Christian (Galatians 5:15-25). As doers of the Word, we delight in the life-giving scripture (James 1:22).

 

Although we grow at differing rates in our spiritual maturity, we will not remain carnal babes all of our life (1 Corinthians 3:1). We gradually grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ who abides within us (Ephesians 4:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, if we give in to temptation and sin, we still reap what we sow, and we break Your heart in the process. Every time we sin we are allowing the flesh to control our behavior rather than Your Spirit. Once we are truly saved, we no longer seek our own life, because Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). Although we still falter in our behavior from time to time, we no longer live a sinful lifestyle.

 

Remind us that authentic faith in Jesus produces a life of good works that furthers Your Kingdom in the earth (James 2:14-26; Ephesians 2:8-10). We want to please You with our thoughts, bring You glory with our words, and build Your Kingdom through our actions.

 

Thought for the Day:

Some people are not actually Born Again, and they are not a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); they were convicted of their sin, but not converted; they participate in religious activities, which make them feel closer to God and His Saints, but they are not truly saved. – 1 John 2: 19; Matthew 7:21; 25:1-13; John 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:5

 

Using Anger to Protect Our Self

Passionate people often over-react passionately. We use anger to solve our problems and to deal with adversarial relationships; yet, it complicates the issues more often than helps them.

 

Anger is not our primary emotion; it masks our underlying hurt or disappointment, our impatience or exhaustion, our frustration or a pet peeve, etc.

 

Sometimes we feel anger for no apparent reason. We have buried the real issues in our subconscious mind and for some reason our soul is denying their existence. A searching inventory of our soul may help us to identify the root cause of our feelings of anger.

 

This vague anger is protecting us from some real or imagined slight or wound that life’s circumstances or some individual inflicted on us. Our inventory of our emotions will reveal this source, unless we detached our thoughts from the event.

 

This dissociation is used to protect our self from feeling the overwhelming deprivation, abuse, neglect or shame perpetrated on us by some outside source. We can ask our self, “Who do I feel anger towards?” or “About what event am I feeling anger?”

 

We may feel anger toward God, fueled from disappointment because He did not answer our pray in the way we think that He should. Once we completely learn to accept and abide in His will, this never happens any more.

 

When we attempt to use anger to overcome our perceived problem or to control the outcome, we are actually using blank bullets. Anger never solves any issue, but only compounds them, because it wounds those whom we should love the most.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that negative emotions are harmful to our body, soul and spirit. You allow us to feel anger, but exhort us not to allow anger to lead us into sinful thoughts or behavior (Ephesians 4:26-27). Anger is not a beneficial emotion and will destroy our relationships, our physical and mental health, and will not really change our circumstances.

 

Casting all of our cares on You (1 Peter 5:7) is the real solution to any issue that threatens to overwhelm us. You can see the matter from Your perspective rather than our limited, human perception and You can bring resolution and healing by Your Words of Truth. We trust in You with all of our heart and we do not want to depend on our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

Only a fool loses his/her temper frequently; a wise person trusts God rather than rely on anger for protection, because it does not achieve the righteousness of God. We are to be quick to hear, slow to speak and very slow to anger. – James 1:19-20, Proverbs 29:11

 

Child-like Faith

A young child is naive, innocent, unprejudiced, accepting of others’ faults, unassuming, frank, sincere, impulsive, free-spirited and guileless.

 

They are also self-centered, stubborn, willful, demanding and disobedient at times. A child has no secrets and will tell the whole world his/her parents’ secrets too.

 

They are unsuspicious, defenseless, undisciplined, and cannot provide for their own needs – trusting that their parents will care for them.

 

As authentic Christians, God desires that we emulate the positive traits of a child in order to enter into His Kingdom. He encourages us to exhibit limitless faith, trust, hope, love and unbridled joy (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

We come to Christ in humble simplicity, confessing our sins and throwing our self on His grace and mercy, which is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

 

Then daily, we grow more and more trusting and reliant on our Father God to supply all of our needs (Romans 8:17). We learn to totally depend on His provision, love, care, presence and Spirit within us (2 Corinthians 12:10).

 

Abiding in Christ as He abides in us, enables us to mature spiritually into seasoned Christians with the mind of Christ (Matthew 18:4). As we mature, we never lose our child-like qualities that God encourages and desires in all of us.

 

We throw our self on His mercy each day and watch in amazement as He meets all of our needs though His glorious riches. Even when a vision, that He gives us for ministry, appears hopeless, He always comes through at the last minute in ways that allow Him to receive all of the glory.

 

Prayer:

Father God, give us the heart of a little child, trusting and true. Help us to walk in sincerity without any guile. Teach us to totally depend upon the guidance of Your Holy Spirit throughout our day. Thank You for providing for our daily needs as we seek first Your Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

 

Help us to walk in unity with Your children and to prefer one another with compassion and grace as we walk in Your peace. Use us to further Your Kingdom in this earth. We look forward to spending eternity with all of Your Saints from every nation and tribe throughout all generations.
Thought for the Day:
Humility prevents us from depending on our human abilities, and makes us realize how imperative it is for us to live with childlike dependence upon our Father God.

Enjoying God’s Presence within Us

My major talents are in the area of crafts. I love to do anything that involves string and a needle, beads, or paper and glue. Knitting, crocheting, embroidery, making jewelry and greeting cards, and quilling with paper are all enjoyable and relaxing for me.

 

Therefore, when I turned my life over to Christ, I feared that I had no talents, which He could use for His Kingdom. I had little more than a genuine trust in Him.

 

Over the years, I learned that with salvation comes the gift of faith to accomplish all that God calls us to do in our lifetime (Matthew 17:20). No task, which God plans for us to perform, remains beyond His anointing on us to carry it out.

 

Our faith works in harmony with the works which God’s Spirit leads us to do for Him each moment of the day. These experiences perfect our faith by teaching us to walk in the Spirit and to enjoy the presence of God within us (James 2:22).

 

We never walk alone, because God fills us with all of His fullness. Works become an indication of our salvation, rather than a prerequisite for it (Ephesians 2:8-10). We learn to obey the Spirit’s promptings in our life regardless of our talents, circumstances or knowledge.

 

If we give aid to someone outside of God’s will for that person or for us, then we are actually enabling and rescuing, rather than assisting them in a healthy way. Our goal in life is to follow the Spirit’s leading in everything we say and do.

 

Prayer:

Father God, lead us by Your Spirit moment-by-moment throughout the day, so that we may accomplish the greater works that You commissioned us to perform (John 14:12). Help us to discern the difference between our natural talents and Your gifts and calling on our life.

 

Remind us that Your Spirit in us is infinitely greater than the boundaries of all of our abilities. You do use our natural talents to bless others at times, but help us to see that our greatest success and fulfillment come by walking in Your Spirit rather than by our own human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

It is not always wise to fill every need that our compulsive compassion prompts us to provide; Jesus helped everyone He felt God leading Him to assist, but He did not help everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Obedient Steps

The masses of humanity wake up each morning with their own agenda in mind. They rev up their caffeine driven adrenaline and pursue their goals and desires for the day.

 

Many live in fear that they will miss out on some imagined benefit that they are counting on receiving (Ecclesiastes 5:1). The sad result of this behavior is that they fail to take advantage of the opportunity that God gives us to obey Him and to live in His joy and peace on this earth.

 

If they had only waited a little longer and walked with God a little further, the effort of their obedience would bring more lasting rewards than reaping the carnal results that they are looking for now (1 Samuel 13:13).

 

Whenever we live outside of God’s will, incalculable anguish and desolation is inevitable both in this life and in the next (John 3:18); yet, living in God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

 

If we walk in obedience to God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day, we grow in our knowledge of Christ, hear His voice more readily, and reap the positive results of our behavior.

 

The tasks that God gives us fits into His overall plan. We may not see the fruit of our efforts until years after the event. At other times, we will not even know the effect of our obedience until eternity dawns and God opens the eyes of our understanding.

 

This is not important, however. Delayed gratification provides a way of gaining assured pleasure in the future. It is like making deposits into our savings account.

 

We bring God glory with every obedient step we take, regardless of the outcome. God wants complete devotion to Him from a dedicated heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:33). Sometimes, that is the only result for which He is looking.

 

Prayer:

Father God, do not allow us to depend on our human abilities to solve the issues that life throws at us, because we crowd out Your voice in the midst of the cacophony of static we experience in everyday life (Galatians 5:15-25). If we do forget to follow You, we chance spending time now and for eternity doomed to reaping the curse of our own decisions and actions (John 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:3).

 

Help us not to suppress Christ’s saving work in us, or to grieve Your Holy Spirit’s presence in our life by ignoring You throughout our week. Remind us that we do not need to strive to keep every word of the law in order to gain Your favor, because Your love is a free gift (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).

 

Thought for the Day:

If we never repent of our willful lifestyle and totally submit to the will of God, we will spend eternity suffering more than we have ever hurt in this lifetime.

 

 

God is Always with Us

God cares for His children, just as He cares for the birds and lilies. As we seek God’s purpose for our life and walk in His ways, we have His guarantee that He will provide for us (Matthew 6:25-33). He works out all things, even the most difficult of events, for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

 

We no longer entertain any anxiety in our soul about our life. We take no thought about the fundamental needs of food and shelter. Even if we wander in the desert of life, God sends clouds for shade, fire to keep us warm, manna and quail to eat and shoes and garments, which never wear out (Exodus).

 

King David experienced every type of mental and physical anguish that we do. He worked out his feelings through writing psalms as his “journal”. Now, David’s words provide solace for us too.

 

David expressed the full gamut of human pain, as well as the consolation, which the Lord constantly provided for him. The joy of the Lord was his constant strength, as it is for us (Nehemiah 8:10).

 

The only time the joy of the Lord flees from us is when we languish in our illnesses, our sorrow or our petty concerns, rather than looking to God to see us through them. His grace provides for our every need and is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

In the dark places of life, we want a friend. The Body of Christ provides just such comfort for us, as well as Christ who dwells within our spirit. The presence of Jesus, “Emanuel”, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), fills each of us.

 

God gives us His peace as He comforts our troubled soul (John 14:27). His hope prophesies that God is always with us, no matter what circumstance we encounter. – Psalm 139:7-14; Proverbs 18:24

 

These difficulties produce His character in our soul and prove to us that He is worthy of our praise and trust. Jesus is our bread of life (John 6:35), and He is our all sufficiency (2 Corinthians 9:8). He fills every chamber in our body, soul and spirit with His peace, love and comfort, presence and Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, our faith increases with every verse of scripture on which we meditate, and in every moment that we spend in abiding in Christ within us (Colossians 1:27), as well as every time we turn to You in our weakness. We surrender the control of our life to You, we take no thought for what tomorrow may hold, and we forgive our self for the sins of our past.

 

Remind us that any negative emotions signal an area of our life, which we did not yet surrender to Your Lordship in our life. Help us to clarify our feelings, to locate the root of the negative ones and to surrender the issues causing them to Your faithfulness. We look to You for your love, peace and joy, which come to us through the presence of Your Holy Spirit in our life (Romans 14:17).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s solace permeates our soul – our mind, decisions and emotions – to the same level and extent to which we allow Him the full reign and control over our life.

A Good Marriage – Expectations and Reality

In every starry-eyed couple there are private perceptions, life-long dreams and goals, individual personal needs and expectations that we assume our fiancé shares.

 

We talk about particulars as we date, such as: cities and styles of home in which we want to live, number of children we desire and childcare options, hobbies, preferred foods and furniture décor, etc.

 

However, we avoid discussing some of the most important issues, simply because we assume that we share the same expectations. After the honeymoon these assumptions may cause huge issues in our relationship.

 

If we continue to avoid talking about them, then disappointment may turn to resentment and bitterness; anger may seethe below the surface of our emotions and erupt over lesser disagreements, causing our mate to wonder who they really married.

 

Living in peace with one another is the better option. Taking the time to mutually pray about and discuss our differences will allow us to find an alternate way of thinking and acting with which we can both agree.

 

This mutual respect will go a long way to resolve the matters and avoid future conflicts. Jesus loves us while we are still sinners and He abides within us; therefore, we can love one another even though we do not fulfill one another’s expectations.

 

Working through these issues during a time when we are not stressed and preoccupied, and when we can both focus on each other’s needs, will provide both of us with a sense of love and well-being, joy and respect, perseverance and maturity, and relational longevity.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we all have good intentions when we marry, but we soon fall into the trap of taking each other for granted, giving up on dating rituals that made us fall in love with each other, no longer really listening to each other and taking one another seriously when we share our personal needs and concerns, and forgetting to forgive each other for putting everyone and everything else as a greater priority over our relationship.

 

Please inspire us to focus on each other, second only to You. Help us to admit our faults to one another, to ask for forgiveness, and to make sure that we are actually hearing the intent behind our mate’s words without making new assumptions that will cause future hurts and bitterness. We want to honor You with every aspect of our life, including our marriage.

 

Thought for the Day:

These times of giving and receiving unify us more completely as a couple, soften our heart toward one another, cause us to draw closer to God, to open our ears so we can hear what we are truly saying to each other, and also to bind us together with a sense of unity and security.

Apostate or Carnal?

Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between an Apostate and a Carnal Christian. Only God knows for sure if someone is a Believer or an Unbeliever (John 3:16-18). Since eternal security is a fact of Scripture, the Carnal Christian is still saved.

 

Carnal literally means “fleshly.” Paul considers fleshly Believers saved, because he calls them brethren, but he describes them as “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 3:15; John 10: 28; Romans 8: 37-39; 1 John 5:13).

 

No one is without sin except Jesus (1 John 1:8-9). Authentic Christians may fall into temptation and sin. However, Carnal Christians sin regularly and actually disregard many of God’s precepts.

 

Those who continue to live in rebellion to God’s Word will justify their fleshly, unscriptural behavior and try to entice others to join them in their sin. They hang out at bars, and sometimes even use drugs, steal, etc.

 

Some are mean and inconsiderate. They cuss, watch R- and X-rated movies, covet worldly goods, gossip and may even be unfaithful to their mate.

 

If we hang around with carnal Christians or the unsaved who profess to be saved, we may be swayed to partake in their sin (Genesis 39:7-12; Psalm 26:5, 50:18; Proverbs 1:10, 4:23, 6:27, 13:20, 16:29, 22:3; Matthew 5:8; 6:13; 18:8,9; Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Timothy 6:21; 1 Peter 4:3,4;).

 

Carnal Christians continually receive correction and discipline from our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12: 5-11). We gradually lay down our sin and become more like Jesus.

 

 

 

Apostates are those who were convicted of their sin, prayed for salvation, but continue to pursue a sinful lifestyle. Nothing really changes in their life. They tasted the things of God and decided the price was too high.

 

Apostates may pursue religious activities, but they are never committed or serious in their walk with God. They eventually walk away entirely and renounce God.

 

God is attempting to direct us all to repentance from our dead works (Hebrews 6:1). He constantly calls the unsaved to believe in Him and to totally surrender their life to Him (John 3:16 -17).

 

Prayer:

Father God, please search my heart and know me. Try me and see if there is any wicked way in me. Then, lead me in Your everlasting way (Psalm 139:23). You call us to rise up to live as examples of a Believer (1 Timothy 4:12) and to be teachers of the solid food of Your Word (Heb. 5:12-14). Help us to be models of Your Truth to unbelievers and Carnal Christians, so they will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16).

 

As Authentic Christians, remind us to treat unsaved people and Carnal Christians with Your love and nurture; but not to hang out with them on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:26; Luke 8:5; Jeremiah 5:23). Remind us that Your Word exhorts those of us who are spiritual to gently exhort those who are walking in ungodly behavior by lovingly sharing Your truth with them (Galatians 6:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

God wants us to allow Him to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 12:1-2); as we surrender our life to Him, we will exhibit more spirituality and less carnality through the sanctifying process of His Holy Spirit within us.

 

Finding Freedom in Surrender – Lessons Learned

Over the years, I learned to survive life by adopting an “unsinkable Molly Brown” attitude ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Brown ). Every person alive experiences some type of abuse from someone, in some area, at some age, time and circumstance or another.

 

Living with a rage-aholic dad and emotionally distant mom as I grew into an adult, recovering after natural disasters, losing many of my “treasures” by repeatedly moving from one place to another during marriage, divorced by my husband of 22 years, etc. all gave me a huge sense of insecurity about life.

 

I could count on no one, but myself; and I realized that I needed to prepare in order to survive even the worst of circumstances. I continually pulled myself up by my “bootstraps” and lived to face another day.

 

I clung to my defense mechanisms of bombastic anger and codependence in my endeavor to control life. These choices actually caused more trouble for me and those closest to me than they helped.

 

God finally brought me to a place of so much loss that I realized I was failing miserably in my attempts to control life and to prevent any further hurt to my body, soul or spirit.

 

Through surrender, we realize that all things, even the most negative and horrendous event is as God ordained it to be, unless we caused our circumstances by our willful disobedience or our failure to walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

The Lord taught me to “Let Go and Let God”; to live in the moment; to readily admit my faults; and to make apologies when needed, because I would not be consumed by shame if I did.

 

Surrendering allows us to enter God’s rest, to luxuriate in His love and peace, and to put the weight of our current trial in His heart – letting go of all of the worry and stress.

 

I even bought a heart-shaped box and I write down all of my worries and physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and literally deposit them into God’s heart. This shifts all of my faith and energy from control to surrender.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching me to enter into my spirit and to face life through Your Spirit rather than through my soul – my mind, choices and emotions. You instructed me to put a boundary between me and my current circumstance, which would allow me the freedom to journal my thoughts and feelings and to find Your perspective on what is happening in my life.

 

You taught me to embrace trials rather than to resist them, because You plant a seed for a miracle in each one of them. You are constantly teaching me patience through my suffering, which is making me more perfect, complete and in need of no good thing, because You are giving me the mind and perspective of Christ to victoriously survive the issues in this world (James 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

We will not allow life to distract us to the extent that we forfeit God’s grace and mercy; so that we may live in His joy and peace, rather than to wallow in worry and unrest.

Freedom through Prayer

Authentic Christians rely on the Lord as our strength and our shield. We trust in Him with our whole heart, because He always helps us and fills our heart with His joy as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

 

We constantly break out into songs of thanksgiving to Him for all that He does for us (Psalm 28:7). He is worthy of our praise, even if He allows us to experience trials in this world.

 

We often cause our own trials by our thoughts, emotions and choices. If we keep blaming others for our failure nothing ever improves and we are kept in bondage by our anxiety and our past.

 

If we allow God’s Spirit to make us humble, we realize we are powerless in this life. Powerlessness leads to surrender, and surrender inspires us to enjoy true serenity.

 

Serenity is a deep peace, which transcends our circumstance. God’s peace leads to joy that does not depend on positive experiences. Then joy leads to more peace and acceptance of God’s will for us.

 

The happiness that the world provides is fickle at best. It ebbs and flows with the tides of life. God’s joy gives us energy to follow the leading of His Spirit as we live through each moment of our day.

 

When we live moment by moment we have no need to live in regret over the past or fear of the future (Galatians 5:15-25). We plan our activities for the day according to the leading of God’s Spirit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us how to pray without ceasing at the same time that we live out the responsibilities of our daily lives. Since we cannot stay on our knees in our prayer closet all day long, we must learn to pray during each moment of our schedule. Thank You for giving us the opportunity to pray about every moment as You give it to us.

 

When we ask You what You want us to do, help us to follow Your Spirit’s leading and accomplish Your will in every moment of our life. Each new endeavor throughout our day is bathed in prayer and we lean on Your strength and provision rather than our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

Humility admits that we cannot, and acknowledges that God can; and life flows so much smoother when we bathe each moment in prayer.