Christ’s Life within Us

brown wooden walkway near beach during daytime

 

What we spend the bulk of our time on is what has our attention, and part of our heart. We often fill our “free” time with video games, watching YouTube documentaries and television, surfing the internet for things to buy, chatting with friends, pursuing our hobbies, etc.

 

We do not see any value in focusing our attention on God’s Word, His Kingdom, and the will of our King of kings, Jesus Christ. We give God one hour a week in a corporate worship service, and maybe Sunday School, or a mid-week Bible Study as well.

 

We rarely read the Bible at home, listen to sermons online, spend time praising God from the depth of our heart, read books with Biblical themes, etc. Yet, these sources are ways that the Holy Spirit can enlighten us, and that we can mature spiritually.

 

We see no reason to take the time to pursue spiritual opportunities, because we have what we consider, other more interesting activities to fill our time. We do not want to be guilty of becoming “spooky spiritual” or being “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.”

 

However, the key to a fulfilled life is to incorporate spiritual pursuits into the earthly demands that fill our time. We do not need to choose one or the other, because we are capable of doing both at the same time. For instance, we listen to Christian music as we cook a meal or do our chores or carpool the children, or we can read our Bible app while we wait in line or for an appointment.

 

We are able to share with others what God is doing in our life, watch Christian movies with our children one night a week or more, and carve out time each day to spend in prayer with our spouse. Just prior to falling asleep, we nestle into the couch with a cup of hot tea while we spend time with our favorite devotional author.

 

We are prepared to approach the Lord prior to making any decisions or commencing any project during the day, all the while praying without ceasing as we walk in the Spirit while following the required schedule on our calendar. Consulting God through each of these events saves us time and frustration, as it opens doors for divine appointments.

 

This spiritual focus allows us to experience the power of Christ in and through our life. He lives the Christian life for us during the activities in which He inspires us to participate (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12-13). We walk in the Spirit and we stop fulfilling the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we want You to manifest Your power during every situation of every one of our days. We rely on You, we trust in You, and we are developing faith in Your faithfulness. Remind us that we are crucified with Christ, and that we no longer live our life, but Christ lives in and through us. We live by the faith of Christ in us, because He loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

 

Help us to see the reality of the fact that we are temples in which Your Holy Spirit dwells (2 Corinthians 6:16; Romans 8:9-11). The extent to which we surrender to Your will in our life is the degree to which You are able to use us for Your Kingdom and glory. Thank You for filling us with Christ’s divine nature, Your Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, and Your love and joy and peace through every trial that we ever experience.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we adopt God’s plan for us as our way of life, we will decrease as Christ increases within us; we focus on what He focused on, we live simple and uncluttered lives as He did, and we diminish the carnal life and desires in our heart by cooperating with Him as He makes us into a new creation.

– 1 John 2:6; Ephesians 4:22-24

A Good Marriage – No Pressure to be Perfect

purple petaled flowers

 

Realizing that Christ is the only perfect being we will ever meet will take the pressure off our self and our current relationships. This reduces anxiety, insecurity, and expectations. It also helps us to relax, to forgive each other’s failings, and to enjoy one another’s strengths and unique qualities.

 

We understand that we will disappoint one another, as well as break promises, fail to give support when needed, make mistakes and have irritating habits. We will not always think in sync, and we will disagree about how to respond to many issues that we face.

 

However, if we love Jesus more than the people in our life, we can maintain a safe distance in our soul that will prevent us from looking to people to serve as our savior and to meet all of our needs. We will trust in the Lord with our whole heart, which will prevent us from unrealistically expecting too much from others.

 

As a couple, we pray together about our issues and receive Godly wisdom, inspiration and ideas on how to resolve them. We honor one another as God’s children, and we assist one another as members of His Body. We cherish, prefer, respect, honor and serve each other as Christ serves His bride.

 

We encourage each other to rely on God during trials. We cling to one another during disagreements rather than to view each other as the “enemy.” When both of our individual choices are unacceptable, we find a third alternative on which we can both agree.

 

We realize that God gave us to each other to share our strengths which make up for each other’s weaknesses, to serve together in ministry in our local church, and to be a Godly example of a loving married couple to other married couples and to dating couples in our sphere of influence.

 

Prayer:

Father God, allow our choices to always align with Your Word, Your plan for our life, and Christ’s divine character (2 Peter 1:4). Help us to recognize that our mate’s perfection is Your job and not ours. We are simply to accept one another with all of our faults and foibles, and to pray for each other as God’s Spirit sanctifies our soul – our thoughts, emotions and choices.

 

Help us to turn over control of our life to You, rather than to attempt to force others to comply with our wishes in order to keep us safe. Remind us to pray for each other daily, to encourage one another, and to submit to Your perfect plans for our life. Thank You for giving us one another and for helping us to support each other through the trials of life, rather than to allow these issues to drive us apart.

 

Thought for the Day:

Living life through vulnerable dependence on God, rather than on people, will ensure that we can be vulnerable with each other too in order to increase our intimacy with God and our mate with each new day.

 

 

Vulnerability is Worth the Effort

sakura tree in bloom

Pride and fear will prevent us from allowing our self to be vulnerable with another human being and with God. We shelter our soul from rejection and live in dread of someone inflicting physical or emotional pain on us; therefore, we keep people at arm’s length and we view everyone as the enemy.

 

Codependent personalities will reinvent their whole persona. They go with the flow, adapt, and remake their personality – disregarding their real needs in order to go along so that they can get along with important people in their life. They want to be accepted and loved, and are afraid to be vulnerable.

 

Even if we marry someone who loves Jesus more than they love us, and they love us more than they love their self – and would rather take our pain away than inflict it, we do not trust them. We suspiciously interpret their words and actions as self-seeking and hard-hearted.

 

We keep our true feelings closed off in our mind, and we refuse to open our heart and connect with our mate or anyone else. We find it easier to open up a bit more to strangers on the internet than to the people with whom we actually live. We are extremely sensitive – with low feelings of self-worth.

 

However, there is freedom when we let down our guard, and the walls which we erect around our self. We may experience rejection, or even emotional distress by another’s candidness and plain speech, but this allows us to improve in our areas of blind spots and to learn to laugh at our self.

 

No one is perfect, including me and you. We are all human, and this causes us to clash now and again. Relationships are hard in any stage of life. That is why some people choose to live as a hermit or a homebody or a loner, because we can avoid interacting with other people.

 

I always encourage young people to date many people before they marry, to find out the type of person with whom they are really compatible, to look for someone who loves Jesus more than they love them, and who love them more than they love their own self.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we as individuals pursue intimacy with You, we open our heart to be vulnerable and to risk loving others in spite of the possibility of being hurt. We traverse this hateful world together, bracing one another so that we will not fall. We personally experience Your mercy and grace, and we can readily show that same level of compassion, care and nurturing to others.

 

Help us to listen to Your Spirit, and to follow His discernment and wisdom and guidance throughout our day. Then, we can reach out to those You put in our life and share Your love with them as a healthy person, rather than as a skeptical, fearful or codependent individual. When we put You first in all of our ways, We find that our communication with others is more intimate and Christ-centered and unified (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

Tribulation is easier to bear when we share it together, and our expectations of one another diminish, because we realize that as humans we all have our unbecoming hang-ups and habits; we love unconditionally, we have more patience with each other, and we forgive one another more quickly and completely.

 

Companionable Silences with Our Daddy God

closeup photo of yellow sunflowers

 

With the constant noise and activity in the world around us, we grow uncomfortable with silence. Many people even say that it is hard to bear God’s silences. I know how they feel. I used to get so discouraged when I took time to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet, and He did not say anything to me.

 

I felt silly sitting there with no productive activity between us. At times, I even thought that He was hiding His face and turning His ear away from me (Psalm 102:1-7). Doubts plagued me, and I felt alone and helpless (Hebrews 13:5).

 

When I was confused about what to do about some situation in my life, I felt like God did not care or love me anymore. Sometimes, I just gave up and went to read a book, watch a movie, play a word game, or put on praise music while I cleaned the house. Eventually, I did a searching inventory of my life.

 

I thought that maybe some possibilities for His silence may be that I was not really listening (1 Kings 19:11-12), or that I harbored in my heart some selfish motives (James 4:3; Psalm 66:18), or maybe I was walking in disobedience (Galatians 6:7) or habitual sin (1 John 3:21-22) or ingratitude (1 John 5:14-15) or a broken relationship with someone (1 Peter 3:1-6) or unforgiveness towards someone.

 

If we are not guilty of any of these deviations of Godly behavior, however, the silence is simply evidence that God already heard our petitions and His answer is already on the way (Matthew 7:11; Daniel 10:12).

 

The longer I walk with God, the more I realize that in the silence, God is bringing us into a more intimate relationship with Himself. He finds pleasure in hanging out with His children without any demand for talking. We are at ease with each other and just happy to be together.

 

God is so comfortable in our presence that He does not feel the need to converse with us all the time. He simply enjoys our companionable silence. We take the time to listen when He does speak to us, to meditate on His Word and to praise Him for what He already told us, did for us, and provided for us.

 

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we pray according to the divinity of Christ within us, summoning all of His power and authority behind our prayers (Matthew 18:20). Until then, we can enjoy the companionable silence God offers to us each moment of the day, without any expectations or demands upon Him.

 

Prayer:

Father God, it is in the silent times that we can be still and know Your fullness as our God (Psalm 46:10). To be still is to surrender our will, our desires, our goals and our dreams for our life to Your plans and purposes for us in Your Kingdom (Ephesians 2:10). We stop trusting in our self or anyone else but You. With patience, we will see answers to our prayers in Your perfect timing and way (Hebrews 10:36).

 

As we do this, we have no greater joy than to recognize, admit and proclaim to the world that You are our God, the great King over all the earth. We remain silent before You now, because the great Day of the Lord is at hand (Zephaniah 1:7).  Since this is true, remind us to be careful to pray according to Your will, and not to pray according to our will.

 

Thought for the Day:

We mature to a place where we soon crave these silent times of comfort with God; as we center on His acceptance of us, and joy in us, our delight is in His laws, and in His Word we meditate all day and night long.

– Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 1:2

 

 

Seeds for a Miracle

time lapse photo of falls on forest trees

 

I often write about the seeds for a miracle that God places in the midst of each of our trials. This is because I started seeing them over and over again in my daily tribulation. Some of these seeds may not be visible to us right now, but they always eventually become event.

 

Some of them may never be realized until we leave this earth, but they are there nonetheless. Here are a few examples of some of the seeds for miracles that God planted in the midst of my recent trial of a swollen bursa in my knee, and a hairline fracture of my knee cap:

 

  • My husband now realizes how much I do for him every day – since he had to do much of it for himself at this time, and he said that he has come to really, really, really appreciate me.

 

  • My husband also faithfully served me all through the day in so many ways that he has never had to do before. I get so much more attention from him that I never needed before now. He has come to anticipate my needs, and our pets’ needs, and to work them into the schedule of his busy day.

 

  • I was loaned a “Cadillac” of wheelchairs – very comfortable and easy to maneuver; and it fits nicely within the walls of our home – even the hallway. He also gave my husband wisdom to build a ramp for us to use on the back porch. These allowed me to easily participate in my normal life’s activities without further wounding my knee as it healed.

 

  • We learned to do “hard things” that we took for granted before this incident, and that we never would have come to appreciate their absence in our normal life without this temporary loss of my knee’s functionability.

 

I actively look for seeds for a miracle in my trials. This enables me to maintain faith in God’s faithfulness regardless of how trying my circumstances may be. What happens in our natural life has repercussions in both the natural and the spiritual realms (1 Corinthians 15:46).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching me this positive outlook on trials. I rarely get discouraged in tribulation anymore, because my focus is not on the negative issues, but on finding Your positive blessings in each one of them. You do not allow us to experience trials due to vindictiveness or punishment, but to reveal to us Your glory even in the negative aspects of life. You use hardship to sanctify us, to perfect us, and prove to us Your faithfulness in all things.

 

Help us to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and to count even the most horrific trials as blessings in disguise (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Remind us not to demand or to beg You to answer our prayers; but, by faith, to thank You for Your answers, even when we see no way for them to happen (Philippians 4:6-8). Remind us to praise You in the bad times, as well as in the good times, because You turn all things around for our good (Romans 8:28).

 

Thought for the Day:

An unconverted person cannot see and accept the things that come to us from God’s Holy Spirit, because they are foolishness to them, and they cannot understand these matters since they are spiritually discerned.

– 1 Corinthians 2:14

A Deeper Unity with Christ in Us

green leafed trees

Satan and his demons are in mortal combat with God. They fight in opposition to everything God is, and that for which He stands. The devil even attempts to enlist our help in discouraging people from leaving his kingdom of darkness and devastation in order to enter God’s Kingdom of eternal light.

 

Once we come to Christ in repentance, asking for forgiveness, He exchanges our sin for His righteousness. We enter a union with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). The triune life of the Trinity permeates our spirit and soul, and heals many issues in our body.

 

We unite our life with the Spirit, and He carries out God’s plans in and through us. We do not make a half-hearted contract with God, but we enter into an intimate relationship with Him, which includes a union with His presence in us (Galatians 2:20).

 

God’s Spirit purges us in increments, going deeper with each penetration of His holy purifying fire, until we radiate Christ’s nature from within us (2 Corinthians 3:18). He replaces our carnal nature with the fruit of His Spirit, which is actually the very nature of God (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

The less we function out of our humanity, and the more we wait on God, the more He expresses His character in us and through us. As we embrace His divine nature, we are filled to overflowing with His character, and His very life flows out of us (Ephesians 3:16-19 Amplified Bible).

 

We cling to God’s presence within us, and our thoughts, choices and emotions are His rather than our carnal ones. Our unity with Christ invades every cell in our body and we live as the temple of His Holy Spirit.

 

We are constantly aware of this holy relationship and our ever-increasing intimacy with Christ. There is less and less of an inner contest between our flesh and God’s Spirit. Our human way of thinking and feeling passes away, and we are now an entirely new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 

We freely choose the leading of God’s Spirit in each moment of the day (Romans 8:14). We walk in unity, fellowship and accord with Christ within us (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). We belong to God’s household now as His co-heirs, priests and saints.

 

Prayer:

Father God, our union with You is based on our faith in Your faithfulness. When our trust fuses with Jesus’ faith, Your Son who loves us and gave Himself for us, we have perfect unity with the Trinity (Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 1:4). By faith, Your divinity freely flows through our body, soul and spirit (2 Peter 1:4).

 

Unbelief separates human beings from You for eternity (John 3:18). As authentic Believers, our intimate bond with You is broken only by our propensity to sin. However, if we walk in accord with the direction, wisdom and love of Your Spirit, we learn not to fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We eventually walk by Your Spirit as a matter of course for every moment of our day.

 

Thought for the Day:

God did not create us and leave us stranded on this temporal globe in our solar system; He loves us foremost and we are the apple of His eye; the degree to which we enjoy an intimate relationship with Him corresponds with the depth of our love for Him and our obedience to Christ within us.

– Psalm 17:8; John 14:15

Growing in Grace

empty hallway

 

Shame, fear and insecurities fuel our feelings of imperfection and not being able to measure up to expectations from our self and others. We pull our self up by our bootstraps, and force our self to try harder after each incident where we feel that we failed.

 

Critics in our past often fostered a need in us for perfection and codependence in our lifestyle. We continue to drive our self into an early grave by the illnesses we develop in our attempt to gain the good opinion of the significant people in our life.

 

This actually allows demonic oppression to survive in the deepest part of our soul. We loathe our self and find it hard to even look into our eyes in the mirror. The inner psychic damage done by these negative encounters wound our spirit, soul and body.

 

Our “Inner Parent” will often assume a critical role that mirrors some adult from our past. These negative assertions repeat in our subconscious mind and surface into our conscious mind at crucial junctures in our life. Even words spoken in gest will haunt us into adulthood.

 

Neglect, abuse and abandonment are also negative aspects that hound us each day of our life, especially if they are perpetuated by someone in our current life. Positive feedback from our significant family and friends will go a long way in helping us to combat the negative “tapes” that replay in our mind.

 

God has plans to heal us in our body, soul and spirit as we submit to His Spirit’s guidance and comfort each moment of our day. He uses constant exposure to criticism, abuse, neglect, disappointment and unmet expectations to weaken our human resolve to keep trying, until we finally give up.

 

That is the best place to which we can arrive in our lifetime. We stop attempting to pick up our self over and over; and instead, we allow our self to fall into His waiting arms. We totally surrender to God’s will for our life, and trust Him to care for us in each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, our discouragement with our life allows us to reach up and place our hand squarely in Your hand. You traverse the rocky seas of life both in us and right beside us, just waiting for us to fully submit our self to Your safe-keeping. You replace the negative mental patterns that we adopted (Romans 12:2), and give us the authority of Your Word on which to base our thoughts and opinion of our self.

 

Teach us that we can “parent” our self with nurturing acceptance of our strengths and our weaknesses (Matthew 18:3; Psalm 131:2), as we look to Your Word for Your opinion of us, as well as Your truth about who we really are in Christ. With Christ abiding within us (Galatians 2:20), we have faith for today and hope for tomorrow. We see our self as You see us, while Your Holy Spirit replaces our negative characteristics with the divine nature of Christ in us (2 Peter 1:4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Learning to laugh at our blunders and not to take our self so seriously will aid us in healing from the effects of reactions our words and actions elicit from our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors; we are human, and failings are a part of our human existence; however, God’s strengths are made evident through our weaknesses.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9