Authentic Believers Never Die

Shallow Focus Photography of Pink Flowers

 

Upon our death, our human body goes to the grave, and our spirit and soul either go to heaven or hell. Our eternal destination is determined by our beliefs, which either condemn us with Satan or liberate us with Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18)

 

Unbelievers condemn themselves to the second death – eternity in hell (John 3:18; Revelation 2:11). They die physically, and then their spirit and soul go to the lake of fire where they suffer never-ending torment for eternity (Revelation 21:8).

 

Death is not the end for authentic Believers either; yet, for us, it is a new beginning. We leave the limits of this earthly realm and enter into the glorious riches of the Kingdom of God.

 

We are not disembodied spirits wandering the earth until we finish the business we failed to accomplish in our lifetime. Neither do we need to contact some human being to help us to leave a message for our loved ones, or to straighten out some misunderstanding we left behind.

 

Paul was confident that the very moment a Believer’s spirit and soul leave our body, we are immediately present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). We graduate from the school of life. Through Christ we passed all the tests, and we earned our diploma.

 

Even in our lifetime on earth, God fills the Believer’s spirit, body, and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – with His joy, as we experience exquisite pleasures in His eternal presence here and now (Psalm 16:9-11).

 

God rejoices in the death of His Saints (Psalm 116:15), because we are no longer separated from Him, but we dwell with Him for eternity. The angels carry us into the presence of God in heaven (Luke 16:22), where we will never die.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for drawing us to Your heart during times of strain and sorrow, which accompany the death of our loved ones. I ask that You help us to always find our refuge under the shadow of Your wings, our strength in Your joy, and our comfort and clarity of thinking in Your wisdom, as You lead us beside the still waters and restore our soul (Psalm 23).

 

I thank You that Your peace, which exceeds all human understanding, will flow over us like a waterfall. As Believers, we experience You as our refuge in death (Proverbs 14:32). You make us like angels in this respect, because we are Your children. You already raised us with Jesus from the dead into a new life with Your Son (Luke 20:36). Thank You that You fill our heart with Your love so fully that we will feel no other emotion.

 

Thought for the Day:

God looks forward to the death of His Saints, because our last breath on earth is immediately followed by our first breath in Heaven; our mortal body stays in the grave; and at Jesus’ coming, God provides us with our immortal body for eternity.

– Psalm 115:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:53

 

The Benefits of Vulnerability

Close Up Photo of Blue Petaled Flower during Daytime

 

Communication is a very difficult talent to perfect. What I say, what I mean by what I say, and what you hear me say, often have very different perspectives. At times, we expect others to know how we feel without us even saying a word.

 

We can take offense, if we assume that we understand what another person says to us, unless we take the time and effort to clarify what we think we heard, especially when we feel a negative emotion arise in our soul, due to our assumptions.

 

We may also doubt our self, and believe that people could not possibly love us as we really are – with all of our foibles and imperfections. People can sense our guarded attitude and interpret it as mean-spirited, cold-hearted or a fear of commitment.

 

Therefore, they may reject us before we can reject them. Fear of vulnerability causes us to throw our self into our vocation, hobbies, other people’s families, and charitable causes for our fulfillment. We convince our self that we do not need anyone to feel whole and complete.

 

Of course, clarifying what we think we heard takes courage and vulnerability. The alternative is to live a guarded life, controlled by the fear of hurt, rejection or disappointment. This stilted lifestyle robs us of the joy, spontaneity and love that is possible with an open heart.

 

We can change this toxic cycle by realizing our need for God, which will fill that longing in our soul. We learn to love as He loves, to lay down our life for others as Jesus laid down His life for us, and to serve and help others with a compassionate and joyful heart as His Spirit leads us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that we can only love others as we love our self (Mark 12:31). Attempting to hide our authentic self from others in order to prevent hurt and possible rejection, reduces our ability to serve You with our life; so give us the courage to risk vulnerability, and to allow You to use us to bless other people. We love functioning through our gifts in a local congregation of Believers, which helps us to flourish in body, soul and spirit.

 

Help us to analyze our negative emotions throughout the day and to care for our needs, or to leave them in Your capable hands. Teach us how to heal from the toxic comments made to us, and about us, by significant people in our past. Remind us that Your Word is a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), which can help us to heal from our insecurities and to grow in our faith in Your faithfulness.

 

Thought for the Day:

When God created Adam, He decided that Adam needed companionship; we also need close friends, family and an intimate relationship with our Father God in order to find fulfillment during our lifetime on this earth, and to enter eternity as part of the family of God.

– Genesis 2:18-20; Ephesians 2:19-22

 

Who is a Christian?

Green Woods Photography

Where does the label “Christian” come from? The Bible tells us that King Agrippa copied the use of this term from those in Antioch (Acts 11:26) to define the Followers of Christ apart from the rest of society (Acts 26:28).

 

The apostle Peter accepted the term, and the rest is history (1 Peter 4:16). God revealed Himself to mankind through Jesus. Now, as followers of Christ, we exhibit a godly sorrow for our sins, and embrace a spiritual conviction that Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Jesus was fully human; yet through His divine nature from the Holy Spirit’s formation of Him in Mary’s womb, He is also fully God. With His presence within us, we enjoy a similar measure of union in our earthly existence – fully human; yet, filled with Christ within us.

 

By faith, we unleash the power of God in our life through entering into the Kingdom of God by His adoption of us into His family. Then, we submit to the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit in our life, and allow Christ to reign supreme in our thoughts, words and actions.

 

Jesus is the Son of God (John 11:27), and also our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), High Priest (Hebrews 3:1, 8:1), and our Risen Lord (Matthew 28:6). Father God revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus, by His Spirit; and His power now manifests itself to and through authentic Believers (John 1:17; Luke 10:22).

 

The rest of humanity, whether they call themselves Christians or not, give Jesus the status of a celebrity, and commemorate His life; but they are disengaged from the reality of who Christ really is, and they do not follow His Biblical teaching or submit to Him as King and Lord.

 

Yet, authentic Christians have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), possess the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), and exhibit the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Our obedience leads to our ultimate freedom through our union with Him in this life (James 1:25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You did not choose us, so that our life in You will be reduced to a list of do’s and don’ts. You give us Your laws and write them on our heart to keep us safe and filled with Your righteousness, peace and joy (Hebrews 10:16; Romans 14:17). Thank You for our new birth and spiritual regeneration and resurrection (John 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

 

Secondly, we are forever grateful to You for giving us Your Holy Spirit in our new birth (Romans 8:4-11; John 4:24; John 1:13), and for giving us eternal life with You, through Jesus, the Christ (1 John 5:11; John 10:10, 11:25, 14:6). Since Jesus rose from the dead, we can now live each moment of our life in Your presence, because He gives us the desire and power to work out our salvation during our lifetime (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus came to earth and died in our place in order to secure for us His righteousness in exchange for our sins, as well as the Godly character of His holiness that is exhibited by Him through our life on this earth; through this process, He is facilitating our union with His Trinity.

– 1 John 2:1, 1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 1:11

 

God Smiles on Us

Mums and Rose Flower in Clear Glass Vase Centerpiece Beside Glass Window

 

Salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift; we do not earn it by our beliefs or our behavior (Romans 6:23). The gift of God’s presence, however, entails our obedience and love for Him. Walking in God’s Spirit allows us to maintain this constant communion with the lover of our soul (Galatians 5:16-25).

 

Consulting God in all things also helps to prevent the good activities, which we are invited to participate in, from becoming the enemy of God’s best for us (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). Constant busyness keeps us in continual stress and turmoil.

 

Our hectic lifestyle prevents us from entering into the rest of God’s presence (Hebrews 4:1-16). Some people work two or three jobs to supply their family with the lifestyle they believe they need. When does the workaholic have time to spend alone with God, family and friends?

 

As we love the Lord with our entire heart, having no idols in His place and ordering our steps to seek Him throughout the day, He will provide us with His love and guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6). We always walk in fulfillment, and we find joy in the simplest encounter with His goodness.

 

Alone (All-one) time with God allows us to enter that place of abiding, which connects and fills us with His Holy Spirit. Continually abiding in Him provides us with an opportunity to enter God’s rest, to soak up His presence, and to operate from a sense of His peace.

 

God’s joy gives us needed vitality to meet the trials of the day (Psalm 46:1-3). His wisdom and goodness help us to succeed. His presence in us matures our faith, gives us hope in what we cannot see, comforts us in all of our afflictions, and helps us to rejoice in the Lord always.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we admit that we are powerless and cannot control the events in our life, we found the key to a successful, fulfilled existence. We willingly relinquish all control to You and Your perfect will for our life. We rest in Your faithfulness, because we know that You plant a seed for a miracle in every trial.

 

We trust You with our whole heart, and we thank You for providing everything we need each moment of the day. Help us to make time every day to stop all activity, and to cuddle in Your lap, like the little children that we are (Matthew 19:14). We want to continually rest in You, so that You can immerse us in Your love, while we love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we take time to be still, and to focus on the fact that God is God and there is no other like Him; this releases His power in our life, as well as allows Him to bless us, keep us and give us every good and perfect gift, which He has already prepared for us; then, we can praise Him for shining His face on us, and for showering us with His grace and mercy, which are new every single morning.

– Psalm 46:10; Numbers 6:24-27; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Lamentations 3:22-24

 

 

Trusting God for the Outcome

Yellow Flowers

 

Life is full of questions, but God has all the answers. So often we try so hard to find a solution to a problem, but cannot enjoy success in any of our efforts. When this happens, I find that I am trying too hard, rather than trusting in God.

 

The answer comes much more successfully when I stop trying, and start trusting God first. I focus on living in His will, led by His Spirit each moment of the day. At times there seems only two ways to go, but God often shows us a third option if we wait on Him.

 

At the right time and place, God brings us the solution and gives us the coveted answer that we formerly diligently searched for without success. It is better to consult the Lord in all things, rather than to trust in our human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

This occurs in our marriage relationship, vocational decisions, even in deciding what to fix for dinner, or for finding the answer in a word search puzzle! God cares about every issue of our life, and He has a solution to every issue – even if it is to say, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

 

Developing a heavenly mindset (Colossians 3:1) seems like an insurmountable task until we realize that we already have the mind of Christ through His free gift of salvation (1 Corinthians 2:16). We leave the anchor of this finite world and enter the infinite world of the spiritual realm.

 

Our life is now blessed with atonement for our carnal ways; holiness in our thoughts, words and actions; and redemption and Christ’s resurrection power in all of our decisions and deeds. Our only struggle is to develop the discipline of seeking God first and always (Romans 12:2).

 

We rid our self of all anxiety, the desires of the flesh, and the temptation of the devil through God’s Word, His Spirit, His anointing, and His direction – until we find His will in every decision.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that we do not live this life by fighting with weapons of this world. We have Your divine power to decide what we will think and feel. Remind us to demolish strongholds from sin and Satan through the inspiration of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

 

We lasso our thoughts and emotions, and bring them into submission to You, rather than allowing our flesh, the world and the devil to influence them. Help us to set our mind on spiritual thoughts, not on the philosophy and expectations of this world. We want to live in joyful and peaceful hope, as we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

 

Thought for the Day:

United with Christ in His death, we are also united with Him in His resurrection; therefore, we do not even consider the thoughts and deeds of our flesh that attempt to draw us away from God, because we are no longer slaves to sin, but free to live in the presence of God every moment of every day. – Romans 6:5-7

 

A Light for Our Path

Close-up Photography of Purple Dahlia Flowers

Some people consider the Bible as an archaic collection of opinions, poems and interesting stories or fairytales. Yet, for authentic Believers, each verse gives us wisdom for living, sustains our spirit and soul, and increases our faith (Romans 10:17).

 

God’s Word is a light for our path and a lamp for our feet, so that we do not stumble on our way through this world (Psalm 119:104-105). It acts as a compass to keep us moving in the right direction. We count on Biblical wisdom to help us to make good choices.

 

The Bible’s parables, instruction, correction and exhortation, (2 Timothy 3:16) provide us with a successful and encouraged life. Eventually, no storm we encounter will concern us, because we have strong faith, built within us by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

 

As our carnal, fleshly character gives way to the nature of Christ in us (Galatians 5:17-24; 2 Peter 1:3-4), we struggle less and triumph more over temptation, fear and trials. When we hide His Word in our heart (Psalm 119:11), we are comforted and encouraged.

 

We also have instant recall for reassurance through every trauma we face. As we hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6), God plants His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4), and His ways become our way of life.

 

Our goal on this earth is to use our gifts and talents to further His Kingdom through our relationships, vocation, hobbies, ministries, and as neighbors. As we digest God’s Word, it becomes a part of every fiber of our being, (Proverbs 6:23).

 

The commandments of the Lord are good and totally righteous, helpful and protective of us. We prosper when we pay attention to God’s counsel in His Word, and when we walk in His precepts as part of our daily routine.

 

The fulfillment of the words of the prophets recorded in the Bible throughout history, confirm our faith beyond any doubt. We walk in peace as each new day dawns, and as the morning star rises in our heart (2 Peter 1:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we pray for Your will to be done in us as it is in heaven, and for Your Kingdom to come both in us and on the earth. We can never thank You enough for providing for us not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well (Psalm 23:1-4).

 

You gave us Your Spirit and Your Word to inform us of Your goals, methods and intentions through the ages and dispensations of time. We thank You for our daily bread, and for forgiving us of our sins, as we forgive those who negatively infringe physical, emotional and mental trauma on our body and soul (Matthew 6:9-13). We give You all of the praise and glory.

Thought for the Day:

God allows certain circumstances in our life in order to lead us into a deeper walk with, and trust in Him; therefore, when we circumvent His work in someone else’s life by trying to help them without God’s direction, we actually block God’s plans for them.

– Ephesians 2:10

 

 

 

 

In Christ Alone

Yellow Flowers

As authentic Believers, not only does Christ live in us (Galatians 2:20), but we also thrive in Him (Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Peter 5:14; Philippians 1:1; Romans 8:1). We are God’s children through faith. He walks with us, and abides within us, surrounding us with His four dimensional love (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:35-39).

 

We accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:17), died with Him, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We leave our old, carnal sin nature behind in the baptismal grave, and we are now filled with God’s Holy Spirit (Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

 

When God looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 8:12; John 3:16-18, 20:31). Regardless of our lot in life, we are free to enjoy God’s continual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), as we serve as slaves to Christ (Romans 6, 8:1; 1 Corinthians 7:4).

 

We enjoy freedom in Christ (John 8:32, 36). We are a new creation, children of God, partakers of Jesus’ divine nature and alive with Him, as well as co-heirs with Christ of His entire Kingdom (Galatians 3:26, 4:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:5; 2 Peter, 1:4; Romans 6:4).

 

We choose to walk away from sin’s temptations by the power of Christ within us (Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37). God chose us in Christ before He even created the world (Ephesians 1:4). Filled with His grace (2 Timothy 1:9), we receive all of the riches of God’s grace in Christ (Ephesians 1:7, 2:7; 2 Corinthians 9:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for accepting us and adopting us into Your family, and making us co-heirs with Jesus for eternity. Thank you that since we are incapable of earning our own salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), our position in Christ has nothing to do with our merits or works, but everything to do with the saving work that Jesus gave us through His crucifixion, death and resurrection. We can leave all of our cares with You, because You truly love us (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Thank You that we are eternally in Christ with the same intensity as Christ is in us. Your presence is our most precious possession in this life, and we look forward to serving You each day as well as throughout eternity. Remind us that You ordained that what Christ is, what He has, and what He will receive in the future, also belongs to us, because we are in Christ.

 

Thought for the Day:

In Christ, we are:

  • Foreknown before creation – Romans 8:29
  • Predestined to be God’s children – 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 1:11
  • Chosen by God – 1 Peter 2:4; Matthew 22:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12, Titus 1:1
  • Called – Romans 9:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:24
  • Justified – Romans 3:24, 5:1, 8:30, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Titus 3:7
  • Reconciled – 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthian 5:20
  • Redeemed – Colossians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:18; Romans 3:24
  • Brought Near – Ephesians 2:13
  • Given accessibility to God: Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Romans 5:2; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-20
  • Considered Adopted Children of God – 1 John 3:2, 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26, 4:5; Romans 8:15,
  • Forgiven – Colossians 1:14, 2:13, 3:13, Ephesians 1:7, 4:32.
  • Crucified – Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20
  • Dead – Romans 6:8; Colossians 3:3
  • Buried – Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12
  • Raised – Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:4
  • Ascended – Ephesians 2:6,
  • Born Again – 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:12, 3:7
  • Hopeful – Ephesians 1:18
  • New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10
  • Totally acceptable in His Beloved – Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 1:6, 1 Peter 2:5
  • Righteous – Philippians 3:8-9; Romans 3:22, 5:17, 10:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Sanctified – 1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11; Hebrews 10:10
  • Perfected – Hebrews 10:1-2, 14
  • Complete in Christ – Colossians 2:10
  • Heirs with Christ – Galatians 4:17
  • Citizens of Heaven – Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 12:22
  • Members of God’s Household – Ephesians 2:19, 3:15, Galatians 6:10
  • Heavenly Inheritance – 1 Pet 1:4-5; Ephesians 1:14; Colossians 3:24; Hebrews 9:15
  • Eternally His – John 6:37, 10:29, 17:6,11,12,20
  • His Bride – 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7; John 3:29
  • His Possession – Ephesians 1:14