All That God Requires

Modern society fails to surrender their life to God because they think He requires too much of us. They do not want to relinquish their covetousness, pride, pet sins and humanistic ideals and goal to anyone.

 

However, God took on human form in order to pay our sin debt for us and to give us His everlasting life (John 3:16). All that He actually requires from us is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). He considers this as right, and it pleases Him.

 

We exchange our lofty opinion of our self for humility in Jesus (John 3:30), just as He humbled Himself and suffered death on a cross for us. We do not seek worldly acclaim for our accomplishments, and God’s opinion of us is the only one that really matters.

 

God’s Spirit takes all of the guesswork out of our decisions and gives us stability, fulfillment and composure. We adopt a faith-filled walk and mimic Jesus’ life and mindset as our own.

 

As a child of God, we love righteousness (1 John 3:10). We do what is right and holy, rejecting carnal thoughts, practices and living. We learn to love our self and to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31).

 

Receiving God’s mercy, we live with compassion and mercy toward others (James 2:13), rather than judgment and unforgiveness. We consider the needs of our mate, children, extended family and church family as well as our community and the world.

 

We find our worth in Christ and our esteem is derived from our unity with the Trinity. We burst forth in praise to God for all of His benefits and for saving us from eternal damnation, which we would have earned if we failed to believe in His grace towards us (John 3:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You reveal to us the completeness of Your love for us and You call us to totally trust our life to Your wisdom and power. We do this by entering Your rest and by following Your Spirit’s guidance through each moment of our day. You call us to share Your love with those You bring into our life – both the lovable and the unlovable, regardless of their earthly stature or what we can gain from nurturing a relationship with them.

 

Thank You for ordering our steps and showing what is Your good and acceptable will for us. We decrease daily as You increase in our life. We put Your desires as foremost in our heart and mind. We seek justice and mercy all the days of our life. We give You all of the praise and glory, which You deserve.

 

Thought for the Day:

Everything that we have in this life comes from the Father of Lights who gives us all good things to enjoy, and He deserves all of our praise and glory for the benefits that He showers on us both day and night. – (James 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17)

 

 

 

Unsung Heroes

The unsung heroes in the Christian world are the prayer warriors. No one knows the fervency and hours of prayer that we put into our ministry. In fact, when I suggest to someone that prayer is the best ministry, especially in our later years, people tend to ignore me or discount what I am saying.

 

They treat prayer as an appendage to our Christian walk, they use prayer as a last resort in solving any trial, and they would rather perform a ministry that is more public and receives more acclaim in this world.

 

Much is said about the power of a “mother’s prayer” for her children. The hours we spend on our knees in intercession for our children are only mentioned when one of our children returns to faith in God and service to our King of kings.

 

Children often think that they know better than their parents. Many of our children end up clinging to their pride and rebellion and never come back to the faith that we as parents teach them and exemplify for them throughout their lives.

 

God’s Word exhorts us that if we train our children in the way that they should go, when they are old, they will never depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Yet, God gives all of us a free will, and people die every day without having known the wonder of a personal relationship with our living Lord (John 3:18).

 

Of the thousands of people that Jesus ministered to and even fed during His earthly ministry, only 120 were in the upper room to receive His Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

 

People are often hard-hearted, self-willed and stubbornly cling to the ways of the world. Yet, the unsung heroes of our faith continue to dependably minister in intercession for the lost, the sick, the poor and the oppressed (2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 1:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life holds no surprises to You. As we walk in Your love, we pray without ceasing, enter Your rest and delight in Your ways. Our committed walk unfolds before us in one accord with Your perfect will for each one of us. Even if we end up in a foreign country, in jail, in the hospital or in the nursing home, we completely surrender to Your will, because You have a ministry for us there, including that of a prayer warrior.

 

We want to trust in Your protection of us each day of our life. You are with us and Your Spirit will guide and direct us no matter where we live, or with whom we live, or even if we live alone. Your faithfulness gives us the faith to cross the river into the promised land of a life spent with You. We enter into this intimate union with You that is perfect and eternal. We maintain our faith in Your faithfulness, and we trust You in every area of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we surrender our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ we enter the realm of abundant life, which He promises to every Authentic Believer; we have the ear of God, so we can step up into this role as a prayer warrior, and exponentially increase our effect on the Kingdom of God. – John 10:10; 1 John 5:14-15

 

 

 

 

 

A Channel of God’s Love

As we intermingle with family, co-workers, neighbors and strangers, we have an occasion to live out God’s Holy Word. As we learn to prefer others over our self, the nine fruit of God’s Holy Spirit develop in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Living as a channel of God’s Agape love improves our relationships. This makes us, not only a cherished friend, but also a conduit for God to love others through us. We simply keep our focus on Him and not our self.

 

Good advice that is hard to follow is  James’ advice to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to express anger (James 1:9). However, the more information we garner concerning the facts and perspective of the person we are communicating with, the less likely we are to over-react negatively.

 

God’s Word is not very complimentary when speaking about the human tongue. James describes it as restless, evil and full of deadly poison. We tend to slay one another with critical remarks, and we hurt one another with our angry words.

 

When we gossip, we cause discord in our relationships as well as in other relationships as the gossip spreads, grows out of proportion and eventually loses all credibility due to embellishments and people changing the facts.

 

Personality clashes or differences in perspectives, goals and philosophy of life, bring out the worst in us all. We are focused more on our self than on God and His purpose for our relationships.

 

We can always rely on God to improve our connections with Him and others in our life. As we surrender to His transforming power within us, He reveals our pride, condescension, and our lofty opinion of our self. He also reveals to us our negative attitudes and woundedness.

 

Then, if we are willing to cooperate with Him, He heals us from the inside out and helps us to exhibit kindness, goodness, self-control, patience and the full gamut of God’s spiritual fruit.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You want to use our tongue to bring unity in our relationships, to plan blessings to share with others, and to heal our body and soul (Proverbs 12:18). Inspire us to live a more spiritual life and to grow in our intimacy with You: to make You the priority of our life, to live in the center of Your will for us, and to accomplish the work You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

 

When we rely on You for all of our needs, our relationships improve, we learn to humble our pride, and we stop looking down on others to build up our self. Then, You can heal us from our negative attitudes and poor self-esteem. We look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3) to lead us in Your peace, joy and love; and we cooperate with Your Spirit as He exchanges our carnality with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Thought for the Day:

God guards our tongue if we live a life surrendered to Him; His strength in us is made perfect in our weakness, and His power rests on those who walk in His ways. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Benefits and Blessings

Creating lists, planning ahead on our calendar, and making appointments for the future is important in order to stay organized and to keep from double-booking appointments. However, if we rely on this practice to order our steps, we often miss God’s timing and direction.

 

God’s Spirit rarely reveals God’s future plans for our life, but He daily leads us in each moment of time right in the center of God’s will; if we take the time to listen with our “spiritual ears” (Matthew 11:15), and if we follow God’s guidance for each chore, activity or silent quiet time.

 

We spend our time singing to the Lord a new song from the depths of our heart (Psalm 96:1). The lyrics do not need to rhyme and the tune can be familiar or inspired by God’s Spirit.

 

Thanking God for His benefits and His marvelous deeds among the nations will occupy our thoughts and fill our mouth with His praise. He is worthy of our tribute, and He deserves our honor and esteem (Psalm 96:2-4).

 

We also praise Him for creation and for including us in His family. His splendor, majesty, strength and glory are ours as we spend time in His presence (Psalm 96:5-6).

 

God is worthy of our praise and our obedience. We prove our love to Him by obeying His precepts and direction (John 14:15). God miraculously opened the Red Sea for the Israelite to cross over and escape the Egyptian army; yet they did not have the faith to obey Him and enter the Promised Land.

 

Even though the nation disobeyed His will for them, God still fed them during their wandering in the wilderness. He kept their clothes and shoes from wearing out. He even gave them water from a rock (Exodus). He provides for us in much the same way.

 

As we trust God with every facet of our life, He faithfully intervenes in so many ways. When we walk in His will, we reap the benefits of our obedience and we enjoy His blessings and the filling of His presence and Spirit within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we lift up our eyes to You, focus our thoughts on You and walk in Your ways every moment of every day. We do the works, which You preordained for us to accomplish with our life (Ephesians 2:10). When we exchange the stresses of our to-do lists for obedience to Your Spirit, our body responds in health and our soul experiences Your peace and joy.

 

You are our hope in a hopeless world, Your presence is the greatest gift we could ever ask for, and You shower us with Your lovingkindness each moment of our day. Help us to share Your Gospel of hope with everyone we meet, so that they too can share in Your benevolent love and blessings.

 

Thought for the Day:

Living in the moment guarantees that we will not miss the little “hugs” that God gives us every single day – a cardinal on a snowy day, a flower growing in an empty lot, the last rose to bloom even though it is out of season, the significance of the order of the numbers on a clock, a sale on an item that we really needed but could not afford, etc.; these are just a few ways that God shares His love with us.

 

 

Nightmares in the Daytime

 

Nightmares occur in the daytime too – even when we are wide awake. The problem with this is that we cannot rouse from our slumber and dispel them as merely a figment of our imagination. They are as real as the sun’s rising and setting every day.

 

In the midst of the nightmare of our trauma, it seems that God just does not understand or care enough to deliver us from them. We lose a loved one, our job, home, earthly treasures, financial security, health, family, best friend, etc.

 

We feel anxious, distracted, paralyzed and hopeless, as well as discouraged, forlorn, numb and depressed. We need a Savior to rescue us from the realities of life on this sin-cursed earth.

 

In our human reality, we dream of the sun rising to dispel this darkness that surrounds us. We attempt to drum up the faith to believe that God is greater than our circumstances, and that He actually notices that we need help.

 

In our spiritual reality, Creator God has a perfect will for us in this dysfunctional world. His victorious power in our life motivates and activates us to walk in His ways. We walk in His plans for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Abiding in His perfect will is the happiest place on earth (Jeremiah 29:11). Our meager plans pale in comparison to His goals for our life. Our total submission to His will is all we need to live in peace and joy.

 

In His timing, God rescues us from our carnality and allows patience to do her perfect work in us (James 1:4-8). He forgives our stubborn penchant to sin and transforms us by His Spirit, so that we will honor Him all the days of our life.

 

As long as we trust in Him and keep our mind focused on Him, God fights our battles for us, restores our peace, showers us with joy, and builds our faith in His faithfulness, even in the most impossible of situations.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for allowing us to live as the temple of Your Spirit (1 Corinthian 3:16). This enables us to walk through the fire, like the three Hebrew children, without being burned or even gathering the smell of smoke on our clothing – in other words, there is no lingering side effects from the trauma we experience on this earth (Isaiah 43:2-3). You teach us compassion and build our faith in You by these fiery trials.

 

Even when we lose everything we own – displaced and homeless, and are forced to start all over again – You walk with us and in us. When we are suffering, weak and traumatized, You never fail to help us to recover, replace and even sometimes restore what we lost. Thank You for Your everlasting protection and provision for us in every moment of our need.

 

Thought for the Day:

God cares about every aspect of our life – even the little things that we hesitate to bother Him with; His faithfulness and power are just waiting for us to humble our self before Him, admit that we need Him, and call on Him for redemption regardless of the situation.

Making the World Go Around

It takes all kinds of personalities to make a well-rounded world. God joins our life with others who have weaknesses who need our strengths, and who have strengths that will aid us in overcoming our weaknesses.

If someone has a different philosophy about life or a differing viewpoint, we believe that our way is better and their way is wrong. We attempt to change others to our way of thinking and feeling, and feel angry when they resist our efforts.

Intellectuals often disdain emotional people, because they cannot relate to these emotions. Others feel these emotion too, but have too much pride to admit to it, since they see emotions as a weakness.

Intellectuals enjoy the realm of thinking, ideas, analysis, a sound mind, etc. Emotions are too messy and demanding for them. They resent what they interpret as an attempt to control them, rather than to see the emotional display as a cry for help.

Idea people do not consider an emotional person’s needs as valid and legitimate. They cannot validate the emotional person’s requests, because they usually see no value in them, are irritated by them and feel trapped and restricted by them.

Thinkers build walls around their heart and resist the emotions expressed by intimate friends and family members. They get the feeling of being overwhelmed and even wounded by the intensity of any emotional outburst.

What intellectuals do not realize is that they are just as guilty of trying to control life through analysis, as emotional people are to use their passions to feel safe in life.

A great balance between the two starts when we respect each other and both use emotive insight and intelligent thought processes to direct our conversations, life choices and behavior. We start to see value and balance in wisely using both our mind and emotions.

Prayer:

Father God, You created our emotions and You ordained that emotional people will often take liberty in using words and expressing emotions. As passionate people, they get angry as easily as they laugh and bubble over with enthusiasm about life. They pray with sentiment, their compassion is based on their life experiences and empathy for others, and they deeply feel other people’s needs.

You created thinkers because we need intellectual people in the world too. Yet, it is difficult for an intellectual to stop hiding behind their need for orderliness and literal facts. They do not want to admit their needs and vulnerability, or even that they feel emotional at all, because they fear being hurt more than they already are. You sent Jesus to break down the walls of separation between intellectual and emotional people, because He was both. Due to His sacrifice, we are all allowed to enter Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ.

Thought for the Day:

God puts opposites together to balance us out, and to bring harmony to our life and to the world. This helps us to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually as we learn to appreciate one another rather than to insist that one viewpoint is right and the other is wrong.

Aligning our Perspective

Very few people appreciate change. Change disrupts our normal schedules and instigates in us the fear of the unknown. The transitions in our lifetime, including aging, family tragedies, vocational insecurity, cultural and technological changes, etc., all cause anxiety and stress to dominate our soul – our thoughts, feelings and choices.

 

However, change is an inevitable part of life on this sin-cursed globe. We can either hide from it, attempt to avoid it, get depressed over it or accept it. Acceptance with joyful thoughts and attitudes makes transitions easier (James 1:2-4).

 

God has plans for us in every stage of our life, and they may not include all or even part of the relationships and aspects of our former schedule and lifestyle. He plants a seed for a miracle in every trial and change. He is working out His ways for His purpose and His glory.

 

With Christ in us, we can grow old gracefully, face trials triumphantly, and accept disappointment and trauma with faith in God’s faithfulness. As we change our focus about our expectations in life, we find transitions easier to traverse.

 

God’s Spirit within us infuses every moment of our day and night with assurance and enthusiasm. He aligns our perspective with God’s will for us. This enables us to ignore the ideals of the world, which are manifested in every commercial and billboard, and the lifestyle of many of our friends and family.

 

People love to be noticed, paid attention to and listened to, affirmed and validated, valued and appreciated, etc. This includes children, teens, young adults, middle-aged people and seniors. However, many of us get overlooked in life, and this wounds us deeply.

 

The Holy Spirit helps us to identify the lies, which the devil inflicted us with, from conception to the present day. He reveals to us God’s Truth to replace these negative thoughts and feelings. God’s love transforms our negative attitude to a positive one (Philippians 4:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we mature in our spirit as Your Spirit replaces our carnal concepts with the mind of Christ, Your divine nature and Your spiritual fruit. We get more and more comfortable with who we are in You. We are drawn less by the aspects of this world and more by Heavenly concepts, goals and endeavors.

 

You always value us and keep us in Your plain sight. We love and accept our self because You abide within us. You calm our soul with Your peace, heal our body with Your grace and inspire our spirit with Your will. Make us a magnet of Your love to draw others to the joy of their salvation, so that they also may enjoy Your benefits and mercy (Psalm 103:2).

 

Thought for the Day:
Loving who we are in Christ, through all the seasons of life, infects our soul and spirit with positive thoughts, emotions and choices; this enables us to resist the standards of the world and builds up our confidence to face life with Christ in us.