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.

 

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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.

 

Come as a Child to the Father

Jesus told us that unless with turn from our sin and become like a trusting little child, we will never get into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3).

 

I love getting in touch with the part of my soul that was and still is a little child. I had to learn to nurture that part of myself, because my parents had issues that prevented them from setting a nurturing example.

 

They were great providers and loved us to the best of their ability; but sadly, the wounds from their past held them in bondage all the days of their lives.

 

When the disciples tried to discourage the children from taking up Jesus’ time, He firmly reprimanded them with the words, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

 

Little children are dependent. They have no self-centered pride, which prevents them from total trust in our Father God. They live in simplicity, often playing more with the box, which contained our expensive gift to them, than they play with our actual gift.

 

Uncontaminated by the world, children are loyal, truthful, unpretentious and trusting. They feel no need to wear a mask and never think twice about their transparency, honesty and sincerity.

 

They have few fear and insecurities until as adults we teach them to fear different aspects of life. All they really crave is our focused attention and dedicated time.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You actually want us to lay aside our childish carnality and to grow into mature Saints (1 Corinthians 3:1). You do not want us dependent upon the milk of the Word forever, but to grow up to eat solid spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Yet, at the same time, you encourage us to trust You with a child-like faith.

 

You also desire for us to have confidence to approach Your throne in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16); however, we are to derive our confidence from Your love and faithfulness and not from our own abilities or what we think we deserve. A childlike mind is open to being taught by Your Word and led into all truth by Your Spirit (John 16:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

In the same manner that a parent enjoys feeding, cuddling, providing for and protecting their child, our loving Father spoils His beloved children, who give themselves entirely and only to Him with trust in His loving kindness.

 

Benefits of a Life in Christ

There is a fine line between attaining and obtaining. We achieve a goal either by attaining it through hard work or by obtaining possession of it through little effort of our own (Hebrew 4:10).

 

For years I strove to keep all of God’s commandments to the letter of the law. I wanted to please God and to pay Him back for His sacrifice for me on the cross. I tried to attain Salvation by my own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

Most religions require their followers to attain paradise through an uphill struggle throughout life. Christianity is just the opposite, however. I heard it said, “Christianity is the only religion where God came down to man.”

 

We are actually encouraged to cease from all striving as God did from creation on the seventh day. Then we walk in the Spirit and trust God’s wisdom and grace as He achieves through us the results that He lead us to accomplish.

 

When Christ takes possession of our spirit, He gives us His rest for our soul – our mind, will and emotions. His righteousness, peace and joy give us a new life, which replaces our life of worry, abuse and deprivation (Romans 14:17).

 

We no longer seek to sanctify our self by crucifying our flesh or by our works for God (Galatians 3:1-3), but we accept the work of Christ on the cross for us, which gives us eternal salvation simply by our relationship with Him (John 17:3).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You provide all of our needs according to Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). We live in ceaseless wonder at the sacrifice You made for us and at the heavenly home, which You provide for us, as we abide in You forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Teach us to walk by Your Spirit each moment of every day (Galatians 5:16-25).

 

By faith, we accept Your sacrifice on our behalf (Hebrews 7:22), and we submit to Your Spirit as You crucify the deeds of our flesh (Romans 15:16). We enter into You rest and obtain Your righteousness as a free gift (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). We love You above all and give You all of the praise and glory due to Your name.

 

Thought for the Day:

The Holy Spirit transforms the lives He inhabits; so we stop striving and obtain the gifts God has for us by following His lead during each moment of the day.

 

 

Life Changers

The Good News of the gospel of Christ is that authentic Believers died with Jesus and are hidden with Him in God (Colossians 3:3-4). He is our life and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).

 

The more we recognize our union with Christ, the deeper our intimacy with Him grows. Our interest in the affairs, pursuits and pleasures of this world diminish as we put on the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

The mind of Christ infuses our thoughts, desires, motives and actions. We come to the place, like Jesus did, that we speak and act only what we hear and see from our Heavenly Father (John 5:19).

 

The fruit of God’s Spirit transforms our fleshly nature (Galatians 5:22-23). We enthusiastically submit our free will to the will of God for our life – our human will submits to His divine will.

 

We know without a doubt that the will of God is more perfectly intended for our good than our human will could ever hope to provide for us.

 

God knows the end from the beginning. His judgment is flawless. He infuses our body, spirit and soul – our mind, will and emotions – with the power of His Holy Spirit.

 

The only hindrance to this transformation comes when we allow our humanity to overpower the Spirit of Christ within us. Our only hope is to totally immersing our self in the divine nature of God though Christ within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, our identity as a human being is dead. Our unique personality is only alive through Christ who wants to live His life through each one of us individually (Galatians 2:20). Teach us that the way to walk out this union with Christ is to live, move and have our being only and fully in Him (Acts 17:28).

 

We follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit moment by moment throughout our day; and You make us lights in this world, a city on a hill. Help us not to do anything that diminishes Your light in us (Matthew 5:14). We live to praise, honor and obey You. You make a huge difference in our life. Thank You for making us life changers.

 

Thought for the Day:
As we live in Christ and allow Him to love us and to love others through us, He makes a huge difference in us and in our world.

 

 

A More Excellent Way

God wants only what is best for us. His laws and precepts are designed to keep us healthy, wealthy and wise. He gives us the best gifts and shows us a more excellent way to live (1 Corinthians 12:31).

 

Jesus taught us that humility and service are the best course of action (Matthew 5:3-12). Solomon could have asked for anything this world offers and requested only wisdom to care for God’s people (1 Kings 3:9).

 

Of course, God fulfilled his request and also gave him riches and fame as well. In his wisdom, Solomon knew God’s principles of sewing and reaping. He sought God’s Kingdom and reaped an abundance of everything he ever needed.

 

We can learn from Jesus and Solomon and walk in God’s more excellent ways as well. We honor God in all that we think, say and do.

 

At the moment of salvation, Authentic Believers are as full of the Trinity as we will ever get. However, we can draw closer to God, more intimate with Him, each day.

 

We bear the fruit of God’s Spirit in increasing fullness. We glorify God in word and deed, and we keep His will as the center of our focus each moment of every day.

 

As we take care of God’s business, He takes care of ours. We seek His Kingdom first, and He adds to our life everything we need (Matthew 6:33).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want You to reveal to us Your more excellent way. Teach us to do only Your will for each moment of our day. We gratefully accept Your provision in our life and we want to walk in Your ways, sow into Your Kingdom and reap your blessings.

 

Teach us to keep our focus on Your Kingdom and to fully surrender our goals, plans and purposes to Your Lordship. We want to bring You glory in our daily activities and to take advantage of Your divine opportunities to introduce friends, relatives, associates, neighbors and even strangers to Your love and goodness.

 

Thought for the Day:

God hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29), and blesses us abundantly as He increases our talents, understanding and serenity; we are His children and co-equal heirs with our brother, Jesus Christ.