Fullness of Joy

In the presence of God is the only spot on this earth where the fullness of joy resides. He offers us pleasures that last throughout eternity (Psalm 16:11; 139: 23-24).

 

We often look for natural, human experiences with God, but His ways are so much higher than ours. God enjoys sitting with us in silence; no revelations, no rushing wind, no mighty supernatural gifts deposited in our life. Just golden silence in the presence of our King Jesus.

 

At other times, we need a notebook to keep track of all the ideas He imparts to us during these intimate times of devotion.

 

We may make a to-do list for our day, or a prayer list of people He wants us to lift up in our prayers that day, or people we need to forgive or those from whom we need to ask forgiveness.

 

Only as we deliberately enter the recesses within our own soul, and only as we conquer the clutter in our life and thoughts, and empty our self of selfish ambition and attitudes, can we hope to discover His presence in our life.

 

However, the amount of clutter in our soul leaves no room for Him to make His presence known to us. God will give us a plan to straighten up the inner and the outer clutter in our life.

 

Listening to God with our undivided attention in these times of aloneness is the key to growing spiritually. We find that we look forward to our times alone with God.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we abide in You, negative emotions such as fear, confusion, distress, distrust, and dread no longer fill every recess of our soul. We learn to trust in You regardless of the natural events taking place around us. We sit with awe-filled wonder at the magnificence of Your will and way in our life.

 

Give us this day only that which we need to serve You; and teach us to wait patiently on You for each new day, hour and moment that You give us to attend to You with our whole heart. We release our negative emotions to You and receive from You the cry of Your heart instead.

 

Thought for the Day:

Ephesians 3:16-19 (Amplified Bible)…“ May God grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

 

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Bruised, but Not Broken

Violence can break a person, a relationship, personal belongings, etc. Something whole is handicapped now…maybe glued together, but never the same again.

 

Sometimes the fracture is undetectable, but it is there nonetheless – influencing every day of our life, leaving us damaged, cracked, fragmented and wounded.

 

Fear, confusion, insecurity and brokenness leave us vulnerable, crushed, strained and fractured. Ravaged by the choice made by someone else, our life is less than perfect. We often injure others because we are no longer whole.

 

Jesus paid the price to help us to mend from these injuries and flaws. He allowed the Roman soldiers to spill His blood, so we can be healed in body, soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Jesus heals the brokenhearted by the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18).Troubles and trials may press in on us from every side, but Jesus breaks the yokes which bind us to them.

 

If we trust in and rely on Him alone, He does not allow life to crush us (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20). He encourages us when we are disheartened to keep us from being driven to despair (Psalms 34:18). He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This persecution reveals the character of Christ in us, as we share in suffering in this life similar to His (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Our anguish here on earth cannot even compare to the unspeakable glory and joy that God will reveal in us and to us through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You comfort all who mourn (Matthew 5:4). You require from us a spirit, which is humbly broken and contrite (Psalm 51:17). If we fall upon Christ by faith, we may be crushed; but never broken, because He will save us (Matthew 21:44).

 

Conversely, those who reject Your Son Jesus actually expose themselves to danger, ultimate ruin and eternal destruction (Luke 20:18; John 3:16-18; Romans 11:19; John 15:5). You will not allow the crushed stem to be completely broken or their feeble light to be put out entirely (Matthew 12:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

A bruised and broken life is full of mercy and compassion for others, and God uses us as a conduit of His love to those who suffered what we have suffered.

 

Broken Walls of Fear and Mistrust

Even when we come to faith in Christ, we still often hesitate to relinquish to Him the power over our existence. We have a lifetime of experience with people letting us down, disappointing us and breaking their promises and commitments to us.

 

Therefore, we mistrust God as well. We have an overwhelming need to understand God, before we agree to believe in Him.

 

We use human wisdom for all of our decisions, and we collect friends around us that agree with our life view. We have such a strong compulsion to control our own life and everything that happens in it, that we dare not rely on anyone but our own self.

 

People feel safe somehow in trusting only in that which they can prove, and believing only in that which makes sense to their human mind.

 

Added to our human reasoning is Satan’s perfected art of deception. He often draws us away from following after God by his fraudulent schemes.

 

Add to this our own lusts and the powerful temptations from living life in the world, and it is amazing that anyone ever actually chooses to surrender their life completely to God.

 

Our sin nature doomed us to failure since birth; but Jesus Christ set us free from sin and death by His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension (Romans 8:2).

 

Only the Spirit of God can break down our walls of fear and mistrust and allow us to fully embrace a relationship that starts with our total submission to God through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

Prayer:

Father God, eventually Your Spirit leads us to the point in our life where we step over this boundary of fear into the freedom of faith and we completely trust in You. Your Spirit enables us to shun evil and honor You with all of our thoughts and actions.

 

You are always faithful to reward us with health and abundance in every area of our life. We learn to trust in You with all of our heart, rather than relying on our own strength and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We want to honor You with our life now and until the day of our death.

 

Thought for the Day:
As we seek God’s will for every minute of every day, He removes the ruts and bumps in our road (Proverbs 3:7-8), until we eventually learn to give Him every fear and insecurity that plague our life, because we come to understand that He really does care about us (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Spiritual Battles

According to the Bible, those who trust in their own efforts are foolish (Galatians 3:1-3). They boast in their wisdom, strength or riches, but their house is built upon the sand (Matthew 7:26).

 

However, those who walk in God’s wisdom are kept safe. Since, they understand and know the Lord intimately, He exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on their behalf (Proverbs 28:26; Jeremiah 9:23-24).

 

We often spend years of our life cautiously watching God’s dealings in the life of His children. His discipline frightens us, but His blessings amaze us. We finally come to the place where we are willing to make a commitment to Him.

 

At this point, we often swing to the opposite side of the pendulum. We are totally committed to Christ and we do not want to displease Him.

 

Therefore, we diligently search the Bible in order to completely understand the rules and regulation of the law and what He wants from us. We attempt to religiously adhere to even the most vague letter of the law (Matthew 5:18).

 

Our heart is in the right place, because we do not want to disappoint God. However, no amount of striving will produce any amount of righteousness in us at all (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:9). Every bit of our righteousness amounts to nothing more than a pile of old, dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6).

 

God knows that we will drive our self crazy, if we continue to attempt to maintain control over our life. He continually attempts to set us free from human effort and invites us to enter into His rest.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your ways are perfect. Your Son is the God of truth and there is no iniquity in Him (Deuteronomy 32:4). Yet, He suffered the persecution and death of a common criminal to set us free from bondage to sin and death (Romans 6:23) and to raise us up to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

 

Thank You that our old way of life is gone forever and now everything is completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thank You for ordering our days and blessing us in every area of our life as we trust in You (Psalm 139:16; 2 Corinthians 9:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

Spiritual battles are meant to be won; not in our own strength, but by the power of God’s Spirit working in us to perfect us until the day we meet the Lord face-to-face; He delights in us and we are His people; He is our Good Shepherd, and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 95:7; 100:3).

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Covenant with Jesus

God’s Word is like a fire, searing the flesh in its path. It is like a hammer, breaking rock into stones and removing mountains in the way of our spiritual maturity (Jeremiah 23:29). Meditating on scripture makes our soul happy, our spirit holy and our body healthy.

 

In His faithfulness, God calls us and then commences, directs and finishes our walk of faith as His Word strengthens us with His joy (Nehemiah 8:10). We walk in His complete peace, regardless of our circumstances.

 

We meet calamity with calm dignity when our soul – mind, emotions and choices – is filled with God’s Spirit. With a joy-filled focus, we perform God’s will throughout our life and trust in Him until the moment of our death.

 

At Salvation, we receive the mind of Christ which slowly replaces our carnal thoughts and behavior. We live with a free conscience, a holy walk and the assurance of His hope and promises.

 

The holiness, mercy, grace and fruit of God’s Spirit are ours as we covenant in a relationship with Jesus. He keeps our body, soul and spirit blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As we focus on our spiritual walk, listening to the Spirit and following His lead on a minute-by-minute basis, we find success, fulfillment and people who admire our walk and want to follow us as we follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your joy sees us through the devastating events in our lives, which force us to our knees. Your joy is greater than human happiness and transcends the negative human emotions created by our circumstances. This joy gives us Your strength. Help us to walk in Your ways and to delight in Your will for our life.

 

Remind us that as we cling to Your Word it divides between our carnal flesh and our growing spirituality, even to the depths of our joints and marrow. Thank You that the Bible exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12) and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Our joy is not in worldly goods or pursuits, but in our relationship with Christ alone; therefore, we weather the storms of adversity, disappointment, frustration, loss and defeat; knowing that the trying of our faith builds our patience. – James 1:3-4

 

 

 

 

Separated from God

I never want to become so accustomed to sin that I consider it normal behavior. If I compromise my holiness to gratify the lusts of my flesh, I short-change myself and grieve God’s Holy Spirit.

 

I have seen a pattern in my life when it comes to sin. The more I give in to temptation, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. I shut out the warning of my conscience, and soon I can no longer hear from God at all.

 

My sin separates me from Him and causes my resistance against sin to diminish. I also lose my peace and joy, and God no longer experiences any pleasure in my actions (1 John 2:17).

 

However, when I focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), I have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place.

 

The Holy Spirit is always ready to empower me to break the cycle of sin and to walk in God’s Righteousness (Philippians 2:13). He helps me to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide me with everything I need to live successfully.

 

Prayer:

Father God, give me Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that I never lose the joy of being in Your presence. I need discernment to see when behavior is suspicious, because even good things can push me off the straight and narrow road and cause days, weeks, months and even years of destruction in my life.

 

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness with each new morning, and to trust totally in You. Cause me to hear the way in which I should walk as I lift up my soul to You to fulfill with Your love, peace, joy and blessings. Give me Your vantage point about sin, so that I do not sin against You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in the spirit of every Born Again Believers.

 

 

Without Excuse

The invisible working of God in our lives and on the earth and through history, time and space testifies of His everlasting power and leaves people who reject Him without any excuse (Romans 1:20).

 

While walking on the beach in South Florida, I found the skull of a fish. On the underside of the jaw was a perfectly formed crucifix, making a clear presentation of the death of Christ on Calvary’s cross.

 

This reminded me that the Wise Men saw the birth of Christ in a star. These are just two instances where creation clearly reveals the gospel story.

 

Not only are the Bible prophecies concerning the coming of Christ and end time events true, but nature also confirms the validity of its claims.

 

Based on this natural evidence, we have no valid excuse not to believe the Bible. For instance, the Bible stated that the world is round before Columbus ever proved its spherical shape.

 

The Bible mentioned the existence of valleys and springs in the seas; yet, only until the past few hundred years did people have the technology to discover that there are deep valleys and fresh water springs in the oceans (Genesis 7:11, 2 Samuel 22:16, NIV).

 

The Bible stated that kind words and laughter are good for one’s health; yet, only in recent years have published medical reports stated that laughter releases chemicals within a person’s body that can contribute to one’s health (Proverbs 17:22, Proverbs 16:24, NIV).

 

In addition, every time an archeologist’s spade splits the earth, they find historical evidence proving the Biblical claims. A shepherd even found proof of the veracity of the Bible when he discovered the perfectly preserved Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in caves.

 

Noah’s Ark, skeletons of giant men of old, Jericho’s walls falling straight down, gates and temples mentioned in the Bible, tablets of clay confirming Biblical characters, and so much more evidence all substantiate the words of the Bible.

 

Based on this evidence, we have no valid excuse not to believe the Bible. Clearly, God did not create us and then abandon us on earth.

 

He reveals Himself to us in so many ways. He even gave us His Word to encourage, instruct, inform and predict His plan for mankind.

 

Prayer:
Father God, lead in Your everlasting truth, and allow us to serve You on the straight and narrow path throughout life. Continue to prove the authenticity of Your Word, so that others may see and believe.

 

Draw everyone to You as we lift you up through our thoughts, words and deeds. Give us a heart that follows hard after You with the intensity of a deer panting for a drink of cool, clear water. We consecrate our life to You in Your service, dear King of kings.

 

Thought for the Day:

Wisdom is skill for living, which we obtain, free for the asking, directly from the throne of God.