Eternal Results and Rewards

brown leaf tree at water during daytime

 

We often forget to consult God for His plans rather than making our own “to-do” list, or becoming a slave to other people’s expectations of us. We fall under the misnomer of believing that we can do more than is healthy for us to attempt to accomplish.

 

We overly schedule our time and fail to plan times of rejuvenation for our self to have fun, to spend time as a family, and to design mutually enjoyable dates with our spouse. Nurturing the relationships in our life is one of the wisest activities we can accomplish.

 

Even Jesus realized the limitations of His humanity. He said that He could do nothing from His human resources. He never sought His own will, but the will of our Heavenly Father who sent Him to earth with a mission (John 5:30).

 

We forget that God has a perfect plan for our life as well, and we take continual detours from His path. We do accomplish good things, but we fail to walk in His will for our day. God’s Spirit will orchestrate our steps though each moment of our day if we consult Him first (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

In the process of obeying God’s Spirit one moment at a time throughout the day, we may end up offending a friend or looking silly to someone we would rather impress, but we always look forward to the spiritual rewards that come from obeying the Lord

 

When we walk in the Spirit, we do not fulfill our carnal desires, and we bear more spiritual fruit, which provides us with a sense of fulfillment that far exceeds any pleasure we reap from following our own agenda (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for stripping us of the habit of self-sufficiency and relying on our human reasoning instead of on Your Spirit. Teach us to obey You regardless of the outcome, the circumstances, or the consequences. Draw us ever closer to Your presence within us. Teach us to wait on You and to obey Your Spirit’s leading each and every moment of the day.

 

Help us to keep our eyes on You, and not on what we see around us that needs to be done. We want to walk in Your light with the dawning of each new day. Help us to clearly see Your purpose behind Your Spirit’s directions, even if the outcome is not what we expect. Help us to learn that our only responsibility is to obey You, regardless of how or even “if” the other person ever responds.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we wait on His direction and timing, and do not depend on what we think is best, God opens doors for us that we could never imagine possible.

 

A Place of Rest

aerial view of vehicle traveling in road

 

Our life is often filled with stress, anxiety, overwork and overwhelming events. We overly schedule our time, enroll our children in way too many activities, and volunteering with so many events that we get impatient and impoverished in body, soul and spirit.

 

There is no room for creativity, free play and thoughts and fun, purposelessness, and rest for us or our children. When was the last time you went to the park to play, had a family game night at home, enjoyed swimming at the lake, took an aimless stroll on a nature path to discover the treasures God puts there for us to enjoy, etc.?

 

Our Father is Creator of the Universe and His creativity manifests itself in and through each of us, just like it does in daily sunrises and sunsets. He leads us to sew clothes, write a book, throw a party, repair a broken bike or lawnmower, paint a picture, knit a blanket, invent a new app, discover a scientific breakthrough, design websites, make a craft, etc.

 

God created us as human BE-ings, not as human DO-ings. There is no mandate for us to be productive with every moment of our life. If we are, then we squeeze God’s plans for us right out of our life (Ephesians 2:10), and we neglect our times of prayer, praise and devotion to our King.

 

We may gather worldly accolades, vocational success, a large bank account, growth in our ministries, etc. along the way, but what are we sacrificing to get them? Are we striving too much to gain favor with God or the world? Do we have peace, joy, and rest in the Lord? Even God rested on the seventh day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to allow Your creativity to flow through us as we follow Your path for our life (Ephesians 2:10). We want to make the events of our day as acts of obedience and worship to You. Remind us to pause and rest between and during each endeavor, so that we can hear Your voice directing us on what to do next and how best to do it in Your way and timing.

 

Teach us to work smarter, not harder and longer; so we can move more slowly and enjoy Your presence in everything we think, say and do. We want to enter into Your rest each moment of our day and to focus on obedience rather than on productivity and worldly success. We want to live as a praise to Your name for Your glory.

 

Thought for the Day:

God shows us how to create, to enjoy life, and to rest in Him through each moment of our day, as we are led by His Spirit in His eternal plans for our life.

 

A Good Marriage – Relationships Restored

waterfalls

 

During a time of tension in any of our relationships, if we journal our disgruntled feelings, we purge them from our soul. This is an act of prayer as we surrender them to the Lord. While we wait on the Lord, rather than blurting our feelings out loud, we allow patience to have her perfect work in us (James 1:4).

 

The key to faithfulness in our relationships is forgiveness and apologies. Even if we were not wrong, we can apologize for hurting the other person’s feelings. Humility puts our partner at ease and generates an environment for them to apologize for their own part in the quarrel.

 

Of course, they may never ask for forgiveness for the disappointments, abuse, broken promises, deep wounds, taking us for granted, rejection of us from their life, insecure life we experienced at their hand, etc., but God has us in the palm of His hand, and He will bless us in spite of their attitude.

 

If our differences of opinion with our mate are ignored, the issues will resurface with some future catalyst. They will also cause our feelings over this new issue to balloon out of proportion with the added steam from the unresolved conflicts of the past.

 

Sometimes, relying on God’s agape love is the only way to care for an individual in the absence of any feeling of human love toward him/her. The painful memories ease with time, but a restored dedication to the unity between us creates loving emotions in us right away.

 

Then, our words will be as sweet as apples of gold in pictures of silver (Proverbs 25:11). Every relationship eventually experiences an argument. To protect the integrity of our relationship, we recommit our self to one another after every stressful event or time of discord in our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we experience conflict in a relationship, please give us the humility to admit where we are wrong and to apologize for hurting their feelings. Move by Your Spirit to renew the bonds of love between us, and allow us to walk in one accord. Help us to develop a spirit of unity and cooperation that will be a light to our family and community.

 

Remind us that even if we are not at fault, we can apologize for contributing to the discord. The other person may never apologize to us, but if they do, this serves to reassure both of us of our faithfulness and love to each other now and for the future. If they actually never apologize to us, we can accept the fact that their fault in the issues between us is in Your capable hands.

 

Thought for the Day:

To restore our relationships, we start by submitting to God’s efforts to heal the factions within our own personality; as God makes us whole and complete in Christ who abides within us, we find it easier to accept one another exactly as we are; then, conflict rarely arises.

– Colossians 2:10

Christ Dwelling within Us

brown hammock hanging on trees near seashore during daytime

The Trinity is one God with three separate personalities and functions – our Father, His Son and their Holy Spirit. The Trinity joins together in a spiritual union as one God, three equal entities who all dwell within each other.

 

By the Spirit, the fullness of the Godhead dwells within us too (1 Corinthians 6:17). We are complete through our union with Christ. Jesus is the head over every ruler and authority – those on the earth as well as those in the heavenly, spiritual realm (Colossians 2:19).

 

Nothing can touch us or affect an authentic Believer, apart from Christ giving them permission, unless we open the door for them by our own unwise or sinful choices. If we are not Born Again, we experience our trials alone.

 

However, in Christ, we are never alone, and He never forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). We are not separate, but united with the Trinity. We are assisted by the Trinity in every trial, which ever assails us, and guided through each moment of every day.

 

It is often confusing when we think about Jesus. Why did He pray to the Father, if He and the Father are one (John 10:30)? Jesus, as the Word, was with God from the beginning (Genesis 1:1).

 

As part of the Godhead, He took part in Creation, and he has no beginning or end (Genesis 1:26). Jesus is also the only begotten Son of the Father – conceived when the Holy Spirit entered Mary’s womb and joined with her seed.

 

He is the first born child of God. As a human being, Jesus suffered everything that we endure; He was tempted in all points, just as we are, but without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He can relate to us in our trials and tribulation on this earth.

 

Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29); and every Born Again Believer is adopted into God’s family. As descendants of Adam we all sinned; but in Christ, we are all redeemed (Galatians 2:20-21). Jesus is our High Priest and our Advocate with our Father God.

 

When we repent of our sins, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved for eternity (Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9). He walks with us and in us forever. His presence in our life is a constant that we can trust in and on which we can rely.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that Your Trinity permanently abides in our spirit once we ask for forgiveness of our sins, and ask Your Son Jesus, the Word, to richly dwell in our heart (Colossians 3:16). As our divine fortress, You protect us from the evil in the world, and You walk with us through every trial that we ever experience.

 

Your grace enables us to meet all of life’s demands in Jesus’ name. As we come to truly know You, we find a warm, committed relationship growing between us that is built on Your faithfulness and our trust of You (Proverbs 3:5-6). You prove to us all day long that You love us. We want to spend our whole life doing the same for You (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

It is not enough just to know that God loves us, because His love is a gift to be felt continually, moment-by-moment as we walk in His presence and act on that love throughout the day; in the face of the worse trials life offers us, we never lose hope, because it is simply light and momentary affliction when compared to the incomparable, unseen weight of glory, which God has prepared for us in eternity.

– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Help for a Troubled Soul

Image

green mountain under white clouds

 

We are often troubled to the very depth of our soul during our lifetime (John 12:27). We lose a loved one, our place of employment closes down, our church splits and half of our friends are gone, we lose our car keys and cannot find them for days, etc.

 

Life is hard and unpredictable, causing stress and discouragement at every turn of events. We struggle with trouble and trials, which continually flood our life. We find our self treading water just to survive.

 

Wave after wave of distress and betrayal wash over us. We are scorned, disgraced and shamed; surrounded by enemies. This breaks our heart and we feel helpless. We look for sympathy, but there is none; for comforters, but we find none.

 

Jesus knows exactly how we feel (Isaiah 53:3). As a man, He suffered from the adjustments of growing up in an Israeli town occupied by a foreign nation (John 1:10), step-sibling rivalry (John 1:11), the strain of false accusations (Luke 23:4-5), the stresses of making a living (Matthew 6:3), the pain of betrayal (John 13:2) and the sorrow of rejection (Isaiah 53:3).

 

He also suffered spiritual separation from our Father when He took our sin to Calvary’s cross. This loss of God’s presence ripped a cry of anguish from His throat (Matthew 27:46). He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with the deepest grief, just like we are.

 

At Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded for God to find another way to satisfy the penalty of our sins. Yet, even in the face of the horrendous crucifixion, He went forward with the Father’s will, to bring God glory and to bring us Salvation and Eternal Life with Him.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are so grateful that because of Jesus sacrifice for us, we will never experience the utter abandonment and rejection from You that Jesus suffered on our behalf. We want to follow Your will for our life, just like Jesus did – regardless of the suffering, how much it costs, and how long it takes.

 

We rejoice in the presence of Your Holy Spirit, who sustains us throughout our lifetime. When we come to the place of spiritual maturity where You possess all of our heart, we look forward to receiving Your abundant blessings, which bring us far greater joy than the fulfillment of any of our selfish desires. Thank You for Your protection, provision and perfection in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we give God our life, and allow it to unfold according to His will rather than our own, He uses us as He planned before we were ever born; He changes our life, and those lives that He touches through us, by His indwelling Spirit within us.

– Jeremiah 1:5; 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

 

Courage to Face the Future

 

time-lapse photography of river flowing in the forest

 

God has perfect plans for our life, which He made for us before we even lived one day. His ways are faultless and His timing is impeccable. He delights in us when we do His will, and He gives us more responsibility in His Kingdom when we prove our self faithful to His will (Luke 12:42-48).

 

God disciplines us as His children when we stray from His straight and narrow road; not to exact vengeance on us, but to keep us safely in the center of His will. We never lose the anticipation of His coming, or our home going into His physical presence.

 

The devil attempts to distract, divert and disengage us from our service to our King Jesus. He scrambles our thought processes and discourages us with more than we can bear (Proverbs 23:7). At times like this, we rely on our intimacy with God and increase our obedience to His Spirit.

 

We have no need to entertain fears or doubts about our future, because God has a perfect plan for us in any circumstance. We can keep our self spotless from the decay of sinful temptations and reap the blessings of God on our life (1 John 3:2-3).

 

When we wait on the Lord and believe in His Word, then we free our self from Satan’s bondage; trust that Christ in us is greater than any tribulation, doubt or anticipation that we may entertain; and realize that God works out everything for our eventual good (Revelation 1:3; Romans 8:28).

 

God’s Word prepares us for life with wisdom, inspiration, power and saving faith. We have an eager anticipation of our future, because we see God’s faithfulness to us in the past. We realize that even the most trying circumstance is given to us so that God’s glory will be revealed in and through us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us not to grow weary in life, and to abandon the hope that is within us to the point of allowing the cares of this life to consume us. Remind us that Christ will return to earth with His bride, and establish His rule and reign over all the nations, and we will be a big part of all of that (Revelation 22:12; 1 Corinthians 11:26).

 

This will help us to maintain a heavenly worldview and mindset, rather than to be sidetracked by the deceptive philosophy of this world and the lies of the devil (Colossians 2:8, 3:1-5, 4:8-9). It will also give us peace of mind and fellowship with other authentic Believers (Romans 8:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

Developing a heavenly mindset helps us to focus on our resurrected life in Christ, to submit to the purifying discipline of our Father God, to rejoice that we are already crucified with Jesus and hidden with Him in God, and that we can look forward to our future life on this earth and to our eternal reward because of His redeeming work in our life.

 

The Humanity of Jesus

brown sand castle

 

We often think about and refer to the divinity of Jesus, the part of Him that is equal to God (Philippians 2:6); however, we rarely consider the humanity of Jesus, and what He actually experienced as a man on this earth. We think of His humanity as insulated, isolated and protected by His divinity.

 

However, many scriptures refute this supposition. Although the entire world was made by Him (Hebrews 1:2), when Jesus lived on earth, the world did not recognize His divine power, wisdom, authority and position.

 

He was not handsome or physically remarkable in any way, He was a man of troubles and acquainted with misery, He was not esteemed or given His rightful honor. He took our weaknesses and carried our sorrows, and people assumed that He was stricken and afflicted by God (Isaiah 53:2-4).

 

During His earthly existence, Jesus cried out to God with prayers, entreaties and tears. Although God heard Him, because of His reverence for our Father, He created the humanity of Jesus for the very purpose of carrying for us the punishment for our own sins (Hebrews 5:7).

 

Many Old Testament prophecies attested to the fact of His coming, as well as His sacrifices for us, from infancy to adulthood. Jesus was actually despised and rejected by others (Psalm 22:6). Even His own family, friends, and community did not receive Him as their Savior until after His resurrection (John 1:1, 10).

 

Jesus actually learned obedience through the things that He suffered, just like we do. Although His divinity was already perfect, His humanity was made perfect in order for Him to become the source of eternal redemption for anyone who believes in, trusts in and obeys Him (Hebrews 5:8-9).

 

When the Magi came to Herod to inquire about the new ruler’s birth, Herod summoned the religious leaders of the Jews to find out what they knew about this. Due to prophecy, the Jewish men even knew where He would be born (Matthew 2:1-9).

 

Although they had this wonderful opportunity to do so, they did not seek Him. As is true about Jesus’ lifetime on the earth, the world still ignores and rejects Him – in fact, this occurs more and more in these final days before His imminent return for His Bride (Matthew 24:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is an eye-opening thought to realize that many rejected Jesus during His lifetime, and were appalled by Him (Isaiah 52:14). Remind us that our individual sin – our pride, rebellion, and desire to satiate our fleshly impulses – caused You to have to crush our Lord and cause Him to suffer in our place. He was disfigured beyond recognition, and marred beyond any human likeness through the persecution prior to His crucifixion (Isaiah 53:5).

 

Yet, no one took Jesus life from Him, but He willingly laid it down by His own decision (John 10:18). Due to His obedience, You will give Him many adopted siblings, prolong His days, and prosper Him at His second coming (Isaiah 53:10; Philippians 2:8). Teach us to have this same devotion to You, through Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). We want to serve you both now and throughout eternity.

 

Thought for the Day:

Although people mocked Jesus and sneered at Him and whole nations abhor Him, even as they do now, upon His second coming, princes will rise from their thrones and bow down to King Jesus, because He was faithful, and chosen by God as the Holy One of Israel (Psalm 22:7; Isaiah 49:7).

 

 

Eternity Plus

shallow focus photo of brown wheat

 

 

There are so many blessings waiting for us in eternity with Jesus. John tells us that there is a crystal clear river flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb, straight down the middle of the Street of Gold (Revelation 22:1-5; John 4:13-14).

 

On each side of the river stands the Tree of Life that yields new fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. There will be no more strife and division between the nations under the rule of King Jesus.

 

God will heal all of creation (Revelation 22:3), which has been groaning for the revealing of the Sons of God since the curse began (Romans 8:19). When we see creation suffering in this present time, we realize the depth of the consequences of our sins, and we never want to sin again.

 

Jesus lifted the curse by His crucifixion and resurrection, and in eternity there will be no more sickness and death and crying (Revelation 21:4). There will also be no more darkness and night, because God’s presence gives us Light.

 

Every aspect of the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1-3) will be blessed of God: sinless perfection, benevolent government, harmony among the nations, glorified Saints in an immortal body, etc. We will live in the atmosphere of Paradise once again.

 

As His servants we will serve Him, and we shall behold His gracious face forever. We enjoy His peace, joy, grace and forgiveness now, and that will continue on into eternity. His name will be engraved on our foreheads, and we will reign with Him forever and ever.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your glorious riches are more than we can comprehend: gates made of one pearl, streets of gold, crystal river, New Jerusalem with mansion-sized rooms, etc. Your creation on earth is perfection itself, but when we realize that nature is groaning for the revealing of Your sons in order for the curse of sin to be lifted from the earth, we cannot even imagine the beauty we will behold in the new heaven and earth.

 

We look forward to serving You for eternity, for glorifying the Lamb who is worthy of all of our praise, for dwelling together with the hosts of angels and all of Your Saints, for being like Jesus when we see Him face-to-face, for living in Your very presence forevermore, etc. Thank You for Your plan of salvation that forgives our sins, and gives us the opportunity to live as co-heirs with Jesus of Your Kingdom that is without end.

 

Thought for the Day:

During the seven years of the Great Tribulation, God will destroy the decaying, corrupt cosmos in which we now dwell; and then He will create a new heaven and earth that will mirror His glory, giving a supernatural body and existence to authentic Believers for eternity in order for us to serve at His pleasure.

– Ezekiel 12:22; Matthew 24:43; John 3:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:4, 13; 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Perfect Love

gray concrete road top between green trees

 

Anything that affects our spiritual, mental and emotional well-being also affects our physical health. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are full of people with psychosomatic (mentally induced) illnesses. God has a much richer plan for us.

 

Learning to love our self is vitally tied to learning to love our neighbor. The sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit during each moment of our day does a complete work in our body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

 

Having a solid, healthy sense of who we are in Christ, and of our God-inspired, unique individuality, allows us to enter into loving “interdependent” relationships with our family, our church and our community.

 

When we feel overwhelmed, taking time out to hide beneath the shadow of the Almighty allows us to seek refuge under His wings. We run to our secret place where we can honestly face the realities of our life and trust God with them.

 

As we ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom, guidance and strength to step aside, we permit Christ to accomplish His will through our life. We live like Mary who allowed herself to sit at Jesus’ feet, as we serve others like Martha did (Luke 10:38-42).

 

God wants our giving to flow from our genuine desire to serve Him, and from our choice to obey the leading of His Spirit. As we spend time with Him, God renews our strength, and equips us to perform the works that He calls us to achieve (Isaiah 40:31).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that allowing Your love to build us up in Christ’s love makes it possible for us to serve others out of love, rather than out of coercion or codependence. Help us to see that it is not the amount we are giving that counts, but the process – serving from a cheerful, obedient heart – that really matters (2 Corinthians 9:7).

 

If You do not give us peace to comply with a request or a need, then remind us not to get involved, but to pray. Our light will then shine like a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). With Your hands sheltering our obedience to Your Spirit from the winds of guilt, shame and perfectionistic expectations, our perfected love for You and others can grow.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary did, we soak up God’s grace until we are filled with His Spirit; this enables us to serve others from a place of faith, and to obey the Spirit who leads us by His peace from within.

– 2 Corinthians 9:7

 

 

 

A Divine Intervention

 

red and white concrete house near mountain

 

A few years ago, I received an email from a middle aged man, whom I taught in Sunday School during his elementary school years. He asked me about a song I used to sing with my class. He knew that I wrote several of the songs that I sang with the class, and he asked me for the words to that particular song.

 

The song, that consumed his interest at that time, was called “Camel Train”; and though I did not write it, I did sing it often with my class (words below). I told him that I found it interesting that the Holy Spirit was bringing that song to his attention, because prophecy about Christ coming for His bride was almost totally fulfilled, and His coming could happen at any time now.

 

He had rejected the elementary teachings of Christ from our class time – in favor of satanic lies, humanistic worldly philosophies, and skepticism about the Christian teaching that Christ’s eminent return was very near.

 

He mentioned that Paul’s Biblical writings stated that Christ would come for His bride back in Biblical times, and he ended his monologue with the intellectually-driven, rote mantra of, “You Christians have been saying that for thousands of years; I just don’t buy it.”

 

I did not feel led to argue with him, and prayed for him instead. Then, last week, I got a similar email from him, asking again if I wrote that same song, and requesting the words, because it was continually running through his mind.

 

This time, I emailed the words to him without saying anything about Jesus coming soon for his bride. Then he asked me what the words were to my favorite song that I did write when he was a child. I sent him those words as well, praying all the time that God’s Spirit would use these two songs to completely draw his heart to our Father God’s loving heart.

 

I request that you join me in praying for this young man’s future choices, and for his favorable response to God’s gentle wooing of His soul to an intimate relationship with God’s Trinity. He has lived an exemplary life in many ways, but he refuses to walk in God’s ways.

 

His genius would be a great asset to the Kingdom of God in these last days, if he would indeed set aside His pride, and his rebellion against what he knew was truth as a young child, and totally surrender to God’s call on His life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, I see strong evidence that You want this young man to respond favorably to Your call on His life. Thank You that our bond was never broken, and that You allowed him to come to me twice to ask for the words to this prophetic song. We pray that You will use these words and continue to remove the scales from his eyes, so that He can fully look into Your wonderful face.

 

We also pray that You will strengthen his inner being so that he can draw near to you (Ephesians 3:14-21), and to resist the devil’s lies (James 4:6-8). We ask that he can clearly see the truth of Your Word, and the evident soon return of Christ for His bride (Matthew 22:1-14). We so look forward to joining You for eternity and to serving You with our whole heart, soul, and strength.

 

Thought for the Day:

 

CAMEL TRAIN

‘Twas a day in early springtime
by an ancient wayside well
Eliezer paused to rest his camel train

He had found a bride for Isaac
ere the evening shadows fall
for his weary journey had not been in vain

 

So he took the fair Rebekah
dressed in jewels rich and rare
quickly to her waiting bridegroom far away

Where Rebekah loved her Isaac
and he loved Rebekah fair
Oh it must have been a happy wedding day

 

(Chorus:)
Oh, get ready
the evening shadows fall
Don’t you hear the Eliezer call

There’s going to be a wedding
Our joys will soon begin
In the evening when the camel train comes in

 

(Verse:)
Now the blessed Holy Spirit
from Our Father God above
has come down to Earth to find a worthy bride

For our Isaac over yonder
he’s prepared his tents of love
and he wants his fair Rebekah by his side

(Chorus)

We’ve left our kinfolk gladly
We’ve bade the world goodbye
We’ve been called to be his pure and spotless bride

Where we’ll soon behold King Jesus
in that blessed eternity
What a happy, happy wedding that will be
(Repeat chorus)