Come as You Are

Life as we know it, prior to salvation in Christ, is full of worry, fear, insecurity, loneliness, grief, and depression – to name just a few of the negative emotions, which our circumstances birth in our soul.

 

When we surrender to God, our negative emotions and the events in our life that are causing them, He will work out everything for our ultimate good. He plants a seed for a miracle in each one of them (Romans 8:28).

 

He always guides us when we walk on unfamiliar paths, He turns our darkness into light, He makes the rough places smooth, and He never ever leaves or forsakes us (Isaiah 42:16; Psalm 37:5; Hebrews 13:5).

 

As we walk with the Lord through the years of our life, we notice how He cares for His own. He blesses us in so many ways that we start to take them for granted and forget to thank Him continually (Psalm 37:5).

 

God loves us while we are still sinners (Romans 5:8). He knows that we are human, and He shares with us His grace and mercy. His love covers a multitude of our sins (1 Peter 4:8).

 

Jesus guaranteed our salvation through His scourging, crucifixion, death and burial. By the blood of Jesus, we have redemption, deliverance, healing, well-being, peace, and joy, regardless of our circumstances (Ephesians 1:7).

 

Our Father God strengthens us through Christ, so that we have everything that we need to accomplish His will for us (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, we can rejoice, be thankful and worship God with reverence and awe for who He is, as well as all that He does for us every day (Hebrews 12:28).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we give You the honor due to Your name by submitting to Christ in us on the path to sinless perfection (2 Corinthians 7:1). Lead us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Enable us to persevere in holy living until we come to the place of complete maturity. (James 1:4).

 

We want nothing more than to love You with our whole heart, choices and thoughts (Matthew 22:37). You give us so much, and we can never be good enough, give enough, or do enough to repay You; therefore, we give You praise for Your free gifts of grace, mercy, salvation, love, peace and joy.

 

Thought for the Day:

God never excuses or ignores sin, but He does call us to come to Him for forgiveness, for willingness to stop intentionally sinning, for help to forsake our sin, and for our hope of living in sinless perfection through Christ in us.

 

 

A Heart of Praise

A heart filled with praise to our Lord, starts with a mind fixed on God alone. God delights in the praises of His people (Psalm 149:3-4), and He deserves our praise, because of who He is and what He continually does for us.

 

When life threatens to overwhelm and discourage us, praise will relieves our heavy heart and fill our soul with peace and joy. Praise heals our heart and lightens our spirit, as it brings health to our body (Proverbs 17:22).

 

Our sorrow over what our sin did to our King Jesus humbles us and makes us determined to sin no more (John 8:11). God’s grace is always ready to provide whatever we need throughout our lifetime.

 

As we submit to God’s powerful presence, walk in His ways, and follow the guidance of His Spirit every moment of our day, His blessings flow into every area of our life.

 

Praising God clears our mind of negative emotions, so that we can better hear the Spirit’s directions and walk in God’s victory (Psalm 20:5). Troublesome negative emotions dissipate, as our heart swells with praise to our Almighty God, who is enthroned in our praises (Psalm 22:3).

 

Grateful praise is our entrance into the throne room of God’s dwelling place (Psalm 100:4-5). Our body is His Temple, and He abides in us and rejoices over us with singing (1 Corinthians 6:19; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

We learn to flood our prayers with thanksgiving and praise (Philippians 4:6), as we watch God move on our behalf. Our intimacy with the Trinity grows as we spend our time praying without ceasing, living in the center of God’s will, and praising our Father God.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that trials strengthen our resolve to trust You regardless of our circumstances. They build our faith in Your mercy and grace for us in any condition. Forgive our unbelief, and help us to believe in the truth of Your promises (Mark 9:23-25).

 

Thank You for Your mercy and grace, which we do not deserve. They are Your gifts to the faulty human race who never seems to learn from our mistakes. As we grow in Your grace, we erupt in praises to You at the slightest provocation, and we revel in the beauty all around us, which You have given to us to enjoy.

 

Thought for the Day:

We spoil Satan’s plans when we exhibit faith in God’s faithfulness and walk according to His precepts, regardless of what we are thinking and how we are feeling at the time.

 

Enduring Peace and Joy

A lack of peace and joy in our life is often the symptom of unforgiveness. We are holding a grudge against our self or someone else.

 

Bitterness rises from woundedness deep within our soul, and can be rooted years back into our past. Pride is one lie that guards the secrets of our past.

 

We do not want to admit to our self, nor to anyone else, the crimes that others did to us. We block these memories from our conscious mind, and we build a wall of pride and sometimes anger all around them.

 

We falsely believe that these strong, negative emotions will protect us from any past, present and future hurt. What these negative emotions actually do, however, is to block our soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices – from receiving the fullness of the love that God wants to shower us with now.

 

Until we forgive our self and others, Satan gains the advantage over us. If we refuse to forgive, we give Satan permission to control that part of our soul, and to inflict his demons on our body and spirit as well.

 

The devil holds us captive and the fruit of the Holy Spirit cannot manifest in that area of our soul (2 Corinthians 2:10-11; Hebrews 12:16). The Bible never commands us to like someone. God only requires that we allow Him to love the person through us.

 

Forgiveness is the road to freedom (Colossians 3:13). God encourages us to have patience with each other and to forgive all grievances that we hold against one another, just as He forgives us our trespasses against Him (Mathew 6:12).

 

As long as we do not allow Satan to deceive us with his lies and lead us to hold a grudge, we will liberally enjoy God’s enduring peace and joy (Isaiah 26:3, 30:15).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to forgive our self and others and to release them to You. We have no need to extract vengeance on our own. Vengeance is Yours, and You promise to repay each one according to his own deeds (Romans 12:19).

 

We do not need anger, unforgiveness and pride to protect us when we have You as our mighty stronghold and fortress (Psalm 18:2). As we put our trust in You, we live in abiding peace and joy, not only in our spirit, but also deep within our soul.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we look at past, current and possible future hurts from God’s perspective, we realize that there is a seed for a miracle in every negative circumstance; God promises to work out all things, even the bad things, for our good.

– Romans 8:28

 

 

 

Holiness and Perfection

As Christians, we know that God’s Word is the absolute truth on which we base our life. We enter His rest and live according to His precepts without compromise.

 

The gift of grace, which we receive at salvation washes away all of our sins (Ephesians 2:8). We did not earn salvation and we cannot improve upon it. With salvation there is no condemnation for anything we ever do (Romans 8:1).

 

So why should we desire holiness and perfection when a place in heaven is already guaranteed to us? Why not walk in the flesh instead of in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

Grace does not give us permission to continue sinning. Although grace abounds in our soul since salvation, that is no reason for sin to flourish (Romans 6:1-2).

 

Sin is not a momentary lapse, but it spoils our whole life and our testimony (James 1:13-16). The Bible holds a standard of holiness and perfection for every Believer who is washed in the blood of the Lamb (1 Peter 1:15; Revelation 7:14).

 

When we face temptation, we cannot blame God for tempting us. He is never interested in evil, nor does He use evil to entice anyone (James 1:13).

 

We are tempted by the depravity in our own soul. Satan plants the desire in our mind; and once we entertain that degenerate thought, it takes root and blossoms into sin.

 

Then, when sin is rampant in our soul, it gives birth to corruption, destruction and death, which we never realized would follow.

 

God’s Spirit abides within us and keeps us from choosing to sin. If we will walk in the Spirit, He helps us always to select righteous thoughts, words and deeds instead of carnal ones (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, remind us that a life of sinless perfection is achieved one moment at a time. With You residing within us, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, we do not have to entertain evil thoughts that promote sin.

 

Help us to be vigilant in times of temptation to see your provision for our way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Thank you for dwelling within us and giving us the goal of walking in sinless perfection and to intimately dwell with You now and in eternity (1 Peter 1:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

We sell our self short by believing that we cannot live up to Biblical standard. God’s Word advises us to submit to God, to resist the devil, and he will have to flee from us.

– James 4:7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Plants our Feet on Solid Ground

In this modern world, we get too busy to satisfy our own needs. We end up stuffing our body, soul and spirit with junk food rather than with truly fulfilling nutrition.

 

Our soul plays an enormous part in our life. It consists of our thoughts, emotions and will. Most people consider the soul as our “flesh”, and they attempt to ignore and crucify its needs and desires.

 

Of course, our soul does have carnal and even sinful leanings, until God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies us over our lifetime. Little by little He changes us from glory to glory and replaces our fleshly characteristics with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

God sat on His throne in Heaven from before there was time, and He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). This knowledge gives us courage, humility and peace. He calms and quiets our soul, and cares for our soul as a weaned child with a nurturing mother (Psalm 131:2).

 

As lost souls in a sin-cursed world, we can call out to God at any time day or night, and He will save us. Once we come to Him, He is always aware of our cries of distress, and He constantly hears our voice (Psalm 55:16-17).

 

He rescues us before we are detrimentally harmed during the trials we experience throughout our life, regardless of how fierce the battle is.

 

He may allow battle wounds and scars, but He covers them with His loving kindness (Psalm 55:18). As we cast our cares on the Lord, He sustains us and plants our feet on solid ground (Psalm 55:19, 22).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us how to be still and to know that You are God over our life (Psalm 46:10). Help us to prioritize our time, assets and efforts to build Your Kingdom rather than our own place on this earth. Remind us that You have a perfect will for our life, and we can walk in Your plans as we listen to Your Spirit’s direction all throughout the day.

 

Thank You for always watching out for us and for caring for us regardless of our weaknesses. We so appreciate Your discipline that keeps us on the straight and narrow road, and prevents us from having to reap the consequences of immoral behavior, words and thoughts. We lift up our soul to You, and You restore our soul with Your joy and love (Psalm 23:3; 25:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

In this modern world, there is a temptation to constantly bombard our nervous system with chaotic trivia, and to chat or text on the cell phone and computer more than we talk to God.

 

A Good Marriage – Celebrating Diversity

Relationships shift as the years progress. Each individual person changes in mood, goals, preferences, desires, etc. When we change in incompatible ways, friction rises up in our connection.

 

Unless we discuss the changes, and how to work together in them, our bond weakens. Realizing that we are not in opposition or a competition, encourages us to help and cooperate with one another.

 

We start by making a list of the top few changes that we want to make in our life and in our relationship. Then we discuss how these changes will affect one another.

 

We choose to do things together that we may not particularly care to do. We can start a new hobby together, take classes and learn more about technology, writing, cooking, dancing, a new language, etc.

 

Our focus in this endeavor is to concentrate more on the time we are spending together, rather than in the event itself. We share in one another’s preferences and viewpoints, even if we do not agree with each other.

 

This will strengthen our bond with each other. Any differences that cannot be worked out can be accepted by agreeing to disagree. In this way, we give each other room for God to redirect both of us about our opinion concerning the issues.

 

Nursing current or past offenses and holding a grudge escalates the barrier between us. It is better to honestly, and humbly relate our true feelings to each other and to forgive one another.

 

We apologize, and decide how to adjust our behavior in order to resolve our issues, rather than stuffing them into our subconscious mind or allowing them to fester in our soul – our thoughts and emotions.

 

The way to foster a loving partnership is to prefer our mate and to adjust flexibly to meet each other’s needs. The best strategy is to willing alter our thinking or behavior a bit, in order to get along better with one another.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You created people so that opposites attract. You supplied us with this penchant so that we can strengthen each other’s weaknesses. As we broaden our experiences in life, we either learn to relax and breathe, or to take life more seriously.

 

Remind us that investing time in our current relationship is more productive and beneficial for us and our whole family than looking for a new mate. Help us to come up with a third alternative – a plan “C” – that makes us both happy and fulfilled. If all else fails, teach us to embrace and appreciate one another’s differences, to accept help with our weaknesses, and to love one another in spite of our idiosyncrasies.

 

Thought for the Day:

Focusing on blaming the other person and winning every disagreement are not beneficial goals in building a more intimate bond in our marriage; we construct positive emotions by focusing on agreeing to disagree, or finding a third solution acceptable to both of us, and accepting one another exactly as we are now.

 

Obedience Rather than Sacrifice

Jesus challenged us to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). This means that no sin is advisable, not even a little white lie.

 

How do we keep from telling fibs, when we will hurt people’s feelings if we tell the truth? We can always say, “I am not sure.” “I will have to think about that.” “Let me pray about that and get back with you.”

 

In our human efforts, we cannot help but sin, because we are not walking in the center of God’s will for us. We are effectively successful only when we obey the Lord.

 

When we obey the Lord, we explicitly follow His Spirit’s instructions and reaped the rewards. God does not receive pleasure or praise in the results of our humanistic efforts or our plans, goals and accomplishments.

 

He only delights in our obedience to His will (1 Samuel 15:22). People often consider God’s laws as restrictive and oppressive and God’s judgment as mean or vindictive.

 

God’s laws are parameters that protect us, and even in judgment, God gives His people every opportunity to repent and to return to Him (Jeremiah 15:19). God’s laws and judgment are His loving attempts to draw us away from sin and back into His protection and abundance.

 

The same people that give God the most grief through their hatred, give Him unrivaled joy the instant they humble their self, repent, trust in Him and obey the leading of His Spirit (Luke 15:7).

 

God rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17), delights in the death of His Saints (Psalm 116:15), and calls everyone ever born on the earth to come to Him in repentance and enter into fellowship with Him (1 Timothy 2:4-6; John 3:16-17).

 

Prayer:

Father God, sometimes, we cannot see how the task You give us fits into Your overall plan until years after the event. At other times, we will not even know the effect of our obedience until eternity dawns, and You open the eyes of our understanding. This is not important, however.

 

Delayed gratification provides a way for us to gain assured pleasure in the future. Obedience is like making deposits into our savings account. We bring God glory with every submissive 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.

 

Thought for the Day:

God prefers obedience rather than sacrifice, and a humble spirit and a repentant heart rather than accomplishments from our own humanistic efforts.

– Psalm 51:17; Ephesians 2:8-10

 

Content and Complete in Christ

Like Paul, over the years of nestling under the shadow of God’s wings, I have learned to be content with what God provides for me (Philippians 4:11; Psalm 91:4).

 

I also learned that I am complete in Christ who dwells in me, and that I can do anything in and through Him, because of His abiding strength. Holiness and contentment is what life is really all about (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

 

The opposite of satisfaction is discontentment and apathy (Amos 6:1). Discontentment causes stress and anxiety, as well as contention between us and our neighbors, family, coworkers and friends.

 

Striving to move up the ladder or to acquire more possessions often brings ill health to our body and our soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices. Instead, we want to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

 

The only striving, that the Bible suggests that we partake in, is to “strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24), to “always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16), and to “strive together in prayers to God” (Rom 15:30).

 

There is no need for any other striving in our life. As we trust in Him, God gives us all good things to enjoy. Once we come into the presence of the Lord. We cease from our labors and enter into the true Sabbath rest of God (Hebrews 4:10).

 

I have experienced that God’s supply is usually much better than what I was hoping for; and, in addition, it has eternal value (Philippians 4:19).We cannot even imagine what God has already prepared for His Saints (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we come daily to sit contentedly at Your feet. We are ready to receive whatever You think is best for us. Not our will, but Your will be done in our life (Luke 22:42). You promised to give us our daily bread, and all that we need to survive in this natural world (Matthew 6:11-13).

 

You clothed the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, and we are more important to You than they are (Matthew 6:26-34). We thank You for providing for us just as richly. We want to use Your wisdom and grace to serve You in this life and to relish eternity in Your service as well.

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us all good things to enjoy; no one has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, no soul has ever perceived what our Father God has already arranged for those who love him.

– 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Will of God

As new Believers in Jesus Christ, we often struggle with the concept of the will of God. This is such a huge topic, that we have trouble pinpointing the specifics of what God requires of us.

 

God’s Word readily teaches us what God wants. His first priority is for all men everywhere to be saved, and to come to an understanding of His truth. This pleases God and our Savior Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9).

 

He shows us what is good and what He requires of us: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him in the center of his perfect will for us (Micah 6:8; Ephesians 2:10).

 

Our Father exhorts us not to be foolish, but to understand what His will is for each moment of our day. He desires that we allow Him to fill us with His Spirit, so that we can encourage one another (Ephesians 5:17-18).

 

He will equip us with everything we need to do His will, if we allow Him to work, through Christ in us, that which is pleasing to Him. We live according to His good pleasure (Hebrews 13:20-21; Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:12-13).

 

He wants us to be sanctified and to avoid giving our soul and body over to sinful practices (1 Thessalonians 4:3). If we honestly confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to purify us (1 John 1:9).

 

God calls us to continually pray, to rejoice, and to give thanks to Him regardless of our circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). By doing good, we silence the ill-informed words of imprudent people (1 Peter 2:15).

 

We can reject the temptations to willfully sin; and instead, we can sing His praises and make music in our heart all day long. We always give thanks to God for everything in the name of Jesus our Lord and King – even for negative experiences, because they tend to draw us closer to His heart (Ephesians 5:19-20; Proverbs 16:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105). If we lack wisdom, all we need to do is to ask You for it, because You generously give us Your wisdom without finding fault with us (James 1:5). We look forward to Your Kingdom coming on earth, even as it is now already in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).

 

Help us to be careful of how we live – as wise, spiritual people, rather than as unwise, foolish, carnal people. Remind us to make the most of every opportunity to share Your love and Your gospel, because these last days are increasingly evil (Ephesians 5:15-16). You have shown us what You want us to do – to act righteously, to love mercy and to walk humbly before You (Micah 6:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

We trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and we stop relying on our human understanding; we totally surrender every area of our life to Him as He directs our steps; and if we persevere until His coming, we will receive His promise for us to live in His Kingdom. – Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 10:36

 

 

 

Faith in Action

Our faith – whether strong or weak – reveals our level of confidence in what we hope for, and the assurance about matters for which we cannot see the outcome (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

Enoch is my Biblical hero. He walked with God continually, and one day God just took him to His home (Genesis 5:22-24). Enoch did not enter his reward through death, God translated Him into Heaven (Hebrews 11:5).

Enoch’s presence was sorely missed by his son Methuselah and the rest of his family, but His faith inspired them all. Noah, Enoch’s great grandson, is another man of faith. This dear man faithfully preached to his community for 120 years, while he and his sons built a gargantuan boat.

Not one person believed Noah’s preaching, but God saved him and his family during the great flood that covered the entire earth (Genesis 6:9). Abraham, another Saint of God, walked faithfully before the Lord in spite of his moments of lack of faith (Genesis 17:1).

Jesus is our resurrection and our life (Colossians 3:3-4; James 1:3). Even when our body dies and goes to the grave, our soul and spirit live on and will never die (John 11:25-26).

By our faith as authentic Believers, Jesus dwells within our spirit; and through His Spirit, He strengthens us with His power in our soul – our mind, will and emotions (Ephesians 3:16-17).

As we serve the Lord, He guarantees us that we shall receive whatever we need to accomplish His will (Mark 11:24). Even when we struggle to have faith, He helps our unbelief (Mark 9:24).

Prayer:

Father God, whenever we waver in our faith, we act like a wave in the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:6). Without faith, it is impossible to please You, because when we come to You, You want us to believe that You exists and that You reward those who earnestly seek You (Hebrews 11:6).

Even though we have never seen You, we love You so very much, and we believe that You have our best interest at heart. We are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy at the thought of our salvation in Christ, and that You fill our heart with the faith of Jesus, who resides within us (1 Peter 1:8-9; John 11:40).

Thought for the Day:

Our God of hope fills us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him; we end up overflowing with hope by the power of His Spirit, because we know that when our faith is tested, it teaches us endurance. – Romans 15:13; James 1:3