Our Patched​ Humanity

Through a lifetime of fighting the circumstances, which life deals out to us, we are so encumbered by bandages that it is hard to function. Our body and soul often end up bruised, broken, patched up and and in the hospital – on crutches, just to traverse our day. Our spirit is already dead in sin, and no help to us at all (Ephesians 2:1).

 

Once we come to Christ through salvation, He heals us from the inside out. Our works of righteousness have no influence over God’s love for us or our eternal standing; but they are very necessary for our wedding garment as the Bride to our Savior, King Jesus (Revelation 19:8).

 

We start to focus more on the spiritual, eternal aspects of life rather than the humanistic, temporal issues. Life is no longer about us; but Christ is now our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Even when our faith wanes, He helps our unbelief (Mark 9:24). Our spirit is perfect; but our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – is still in the process of healing and maturing in His faith within us (Galatians 2:20).

 

God elevates us as His adopted children and we no longer depend on our self (Ephesians 1:5). We turn our faith toward Christ and we live by the direction of His Spirit. His peace floods our soul and our pent-up anger dissolves (Isaiah 26:3).

 

God’s Spirit conforms us to the mind of Christ and transforms our nature to Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He exchanges our human weaknesses with God’s strength; so we can do all things through Christ’s presence within us (2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 4:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, often when we pray, our mind is full of what we did and did not say or do. We cannot get in touch with our true needs, because we are not listening to our own soul. We are not listening to Your Spirit either, who wants to pray and function through us.

 

Yet, as we spend our time in complete and anxious-free prayers of praise, we learn to live unencumbered by things of this earth. We enter into a life of praising and worshipping our living Lord. As we trust in You alone, You make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Our faith is built and strengthened as we see Your faithfulness in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:
Journaling our thoughts, feelings and prayers allows us to empty our soul from its load of cares and concerns; when we look back over what we wrote and the prayers of our year, we see God’s hand, working in the details our life.

 

The Body of Christ

 

 

It is so good and pleasant for the Body of Christ to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). Our love for Jesus and for one another is a testimony to the world that He really does dwell within us (John 13:35).

 

At the same time, we are also citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our great High Priest is our King as well. He gave His life to allow us unlimited access to our Father’s throne (Hebrews 4:16).

 

The bond of Christ’s love for us and in us brings unity to all of us in His Body no matter where we live or how old we are (1 Corinthians 1:10). We stand together in our faith by one Spirit. We think, act and believe as one Body (Philippians 1:27, 2:2).

 

As the Spirit sanctifies each one of us, we learn to conduct our self as an example of the gospel of Christ. We prefer one another above our self (Romans 12:10) and we search the scriptures together to come to a similar understanding of His Word (Acts 17:11).

 

When one member of Christ’s Body suffers, we all suffer; and when one rejoices, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). As authentic Believers, we are individually and corporately an exact representation of Christ (Colossian 1:15).

 

We all share the same vision to live Godly, and the same purpose to save souls. Every tongue, tribe and nation will all spend eternity with one another in His presence (Titus 3:5-7).

 

The Spirit unifies us with the Father through Christ (John 17:21-22). We share in the unity of the triune God; and we live as an example to the world of a God of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; John 17:21).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us as Your Body to put on the mind of Christ, to speak the words given to us by Your Holy Spirit and to follow Your will for each moment of our day. Remind us to glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character gives us hope.

 

Hope prevents us from experiencing shame, because Your love has been poured out into our hearts through Your Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-5). Your purpose for our life is to be conformed to the image of Your Son (Romans 8:29). Restore our relationships within Your Body and unite us as a testimony of Your life and love within us.

 

Thought for the Day:
We walk with Christ each day and learn to trust Him and love Him through every circumstance, both the good experiences and the trials.

 

Keepers at Home

Younger women in today’s modern church are too busy with their feet running to and fro in order to spend much time in their own homes (Proverbs 7:11). Careers along with raising children and events such as Girls Night Out is the phenomenon that causes much of this.

 

The Bible advises the “older” women to teach the “younger” how to excel as a keeper at home (Titus 2:4-5). It is definitely a lost art in this contemporary society.

 

“Apples of Gold” is a wondrous ministry promoting this concept ( http://www.applesofgold.org/home.shtml ) Several years ago, the ladies in our church went through this program with uplifting and lasting results.

 

The younger women were so grateful to the older ladies who mentored them – giving them skills and wisdom, which their moms were never able to share with them for one reason or another.

 

There is no Biblical precedent for Girls Nights Out, or Women’s Conferences that take up a whole week-end of a wife and mother’s time, as well as eating into the family budget to pay for the whole event.

 

Single women often have the time and financial resources to participate in this type of fellowship with other singles, but married women can avail themselves of the teaching and ministry of their local churches.

 

Books, Videos and CDs also give us a chance to learn women’s related issues on our own or in a local church class. We can even learn Biblical truth by teaching or assisting in a children’s class.

 

Fellowshipping as couples, and even families, promotes strong church ties and deep friendships with spiritual people in every age group. The best way to learn as a couple is in a class where the spouses both hear the same information.

 

This gives us something to discuss in our private times, opportunities to hold one another accountable for what we learn, and resources that we can research together to teach us to deepen our relationship to one another and to Christ within us both.

 

The Pastor’s Bible studies on Sunday and Wednesday evening are full of Biblical principles for every Believer’s life; yet, so few people avail themselves of this rich and valuable opportunity to grow in Christ and to mature spiritually.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your plan and desire for women is to love our husband and children, and to make them our priority in our life. You state in Your Word that we can learn to live self-controlled and pure lives; so we will not discredit Your reputation by our words and behavior.

 

Teach us to manage our homes well and to live as co-heirs with our own husband. Help us to share with him our opinion, wisdom and leading from Your Spirit, but to ultimately submit to his decisions for our family. If he is rebellious against Your Word, we can pray for him to submit to your Word, strengthen our own ties with You, and attempt to find areas where we can agree as a couple.

 

Thought for the Day:

There is never a good reason for divorce, because with mutual submission we can always find a third alternative with which we can both thrive as individuals, as a couple and as a family; as keepers at home, we uncover God’s fulfilling role for our life.

 

 

Attitudes Count

What is an attitude? It is a state of mind, a prevailing thought and it influences every aspect of our life. As a melancholy from birth, my attitude reflected a pessimistic bent.

 

I had a hard time seeing a glass half full, because my fearful and insecure personality saw everything as a potential problem. I was never satisfied and rarely hopeful. Depression constantly nipped at my heels.

 

The stresses of life intimately influence our attitude, which effects our thoughts, words and deeds. According to doctors, stress causes illness and infection to invade our physical, mental and emotional state of being.

 

Scientific research found a direct correlation between stress and our cortisol levels, which is supposed to help us to deal with stress. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, so we are able to flee or fight.

 

After we deal with the stress of a situation, the cortisol and adrenalin are supposed to subside and our body returns to normal. However, with chronic stress these chemical are constantly on high alert and affect our heart, digestion, sleep and energy level, and cause us to suffer from weight gain and adrenal fatigue.

 

In turn, adrenal fatigue contributes to major issues such as autoimmune disease and its accompanying illnesses. Pessimism exacerbates these issues and affects our mental and emotional status as well.

 

The exception to this rule is when a healthy sense of pessimism encourages us to seek wise counsel, make prudent plans and discourages us from taking unnecessary risks.

 

However, optimism usually works more in our favor. If we discipline our inner dialogue with our self to stay positive and trust God to help us, we will live more optimistically. Godly optimism empowers us to make a difference in our life and also in our world.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that negative self-talk in our mind will defeat us every time. Satan whispers lies in our “ear” and we end up embracing them. Help us to stop judging or criticizing our self and others, and to be encouraging – especially to our self.

 

As a pessimist, life feels overwhelming to me, but I thank You for helping me to reword my self-talk and to think more positively. You changed my thought processes and are helping me to change my world by allowing Your Word to cleanse my soul and to restore to me the joy of my salvation. (Psalm 51:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s Spirit will choose one aspect of our life at a time, and change our way of thinking about that issue, which helps us to change our focus about other issues as well.

 

 

The Benefits of the Christian Life

Our relationship with God in the spiritual realm is more vital to our life here on earth than any other person, place or thing. Yet, we often focus more on pursuing the world, and we suffer in body, soul and spirit.

 

Repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus to save us, opens the door for this intimacy with the supreme Ruler of the universe. Then devoting our thoughts, words and actions to Him maintains our union.

 

Any rivaling carnal thoughts, words and deeds suck the spiritual life right out of us. Satan attempts to keep us earth bound or pushes us to be religious rather than spiritual.

 

Yet, Jesus made it clear that our goal in life centers on loving God with our entire heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Then, we function in our ministry for Him by sharing His love with our mate and children, as well as our parents and siblings.

 

We serve them as God’s Spirit directs our steps. We meet their needs in Jesus’ name. Then we branch out to our church family, workmates and acquaintances, neighbors and strangers as the Spirit directs us.

 

All the while we guard against substituting good activities, which side track us from God’s will for us. The best activities are those which are spirit led and directed (Proverbs 3:5-6). Then we never get too busy to worship, praise and pray.

 

In God’s plan for our life, every piece fits snugly together like the pieces of a puzzle. We may not readily see God’s purpose for trials or opportunities, and we end up feeling frustrated, angry or hurt.

 

However, if we walk in the Spirit, we begin seeing spiritual fruit from our labors. We learn lessons, overcome desires to sin, fall in love with Jesus more every day and watch God use us to further His Kingdom on the earth.

 

We gradually realize that we are dead to the old nature and that Christ is now our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We give God complete control of our life, even through the severest of trials and persecution.

 

We trust in His goodness, even though life often wearies us and fills us with fear and insecurities. God continually pours out on us His magnificent love and lavishly showers us with the fulfillment of His precious promises.

 

He gives us everything we need to live a life of contentment and holiness, which costs us nothing, because He already paid the price for everything on Calvary’s cross (John 3:16-18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and to become obedient to Your Spirit each day (Philippians 2:8). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, so that we daily increase our devotion, grow in our faith, understand Your mysteries and live a life of trust in and worship of You.

 

We release our heart into Your care; trust You to work out everything for our ultimate good, even if we never understand the why; come to You to reveal to us the source of our negative emotions; and realize that You give us a Kingdom focus which guarantees us that eternal life starts at salvation.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we feel unloved by the world around us, we can always look within and experience the amazing love of a God who took the form of a human being and suffered and died in our place, in order to give us His eternal life.

 

 

Fall on the Rock

Do you ever feel like a meteor fell out of the sky and landed right on top of you? Is there trouble at every turn and nothing ever works out as it is supposed to happen?

Jesus advises us to fall on the Rock, before the Rock has to fall on us (Matthew 21:44). This insinuates that we can prevent certain negative events from occurring if we trust in Christ alone.

In the center of God’s will nothing will actually harm us and anything that rises up against us will not stand or prosper (Romans 8:31; Psalm 118:6). Outside of the will of God, Satan can attack us or cause us unpleasant experiences without God’s protection.

When we step outside of God’s will, He usually disciplines us in order to return us to the straight and narrow road of His choosing for our life. He does not discipline to harm us, but to keep us safe and to bless us.

As vigilant parents, we attempt to keep our children out of harm’s way and walking in safety, security and blessings. God disciplines us for the same reasons – for our good and to give us a life of peace and joy.

He is not vindictive or harassing us or seeking to punish us, but is focused on our protection and rewards. As the Bible repeatedly illustrates to us, God never, ever sends judgment without first giving a warning.

If we obey right away, we avoid the need for discipline or reaping the negative results of what we sow. We do not sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind, but the calm surroundings of green pastures and still waters (Hosea 8:7; Psalm 23:1-2).

God always restores our soul to equilibrium after the world attempts to inflict us with trials and troubles (Psalm 23:3). He showers us with new mercies with each new dawn (Lamentations 3:22-23). Sorrow is fleeting, and joy always comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we insist on living life our own way, You will have no alternative but to reprimand us and allow us to reap the natural consequences of our disobedience. Only in the center of Your will do we find true joy and peace. Keep our feet from wandering off the straight and narrow road, which You prepared for us (Matthew 7:13-14).

Help us to totally surrender to You rather than to insist on living life our own way. Remind us that You have a perfect will for every member of Your Body, so that we will function together perfectly as we further Your Kingdom on the earth. Draw us ever closer to You and allow us to reap the fruit of our labors.

Thought for the Day:
God anoints our head with His peace and our cup overflows with abundance as He lavishness us with plentiful provision in the midst of our enemies. – Psalm 23:5

Fruitatstic Personality

The Holy Spirit moves into our life at justification – when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to save us from the penalty of them. He brings with Him the power, nature and fruit of God’s character.

His fantastic fruit will replace our carnal nature and make us a new creation (Romans 6:22). However, the weeds of sin, the world and the devil will rob the soil of our life and starve the spiritual fruit, preventing it from growing.

It is our choice to allow or to hinder this from happening. Negative emotions will crowd out His fruit by dominating our thoughts and preventing God’s Word from germinating (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

It seems to be easier to grow the weeds of sin than the fruit of the Spirit; but as we surrender our will and all of our human effort to God’s Spirit, it becomes unpleasant to sin and joyful to walk in holiness (1 John 2:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We discover that God’s Spirit replaces hatred with love, discontentment with peace, irritation with patience, criticism with gentleness, backbiting with goodness, worry with faith, pride with meekness, and depression with true joy, as we are controlled and guided by Him.

What do these fruit actually mean to our life and personality? His love gives us affection for others; joy produces an exuberance in us for life; peace conveys a deep abiding serenity; patience provides us with the willingness to persevere.

Gentleness exudes compassion from our heart; goodness radiates kindness which pervades our entire being; faith comes from experiencing God’s faithfulness; meekness makes us humble in our service to our King; and when God’s Spirit guides us each moment of the day, we have self-control in every circumstance (Galatians 5:22-23).

It is a bit overwhelming to think of changing all of these attitudes in our life at one time. Actually, the Holy Spirit changes us from one stage of glory to the next, a little at a time, one degree at a time (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We end up with a fruitastic personality; and we can share God’s fruit throughout our lifetime with everyone we will ever meet. We will develop into a wonderful example of the love of God in an individual’s life.

Prayer:
Father God, our old nature prevents Your fruit from growing in our life. Help us to lay aside those negative emotions and character traits, which so easily weigh us down and to allow Your Spirit to transform our life (Hebrews 12:1). Thank You for helping us to focus on the positive viewpoint in Your Word whenever negative thoughts assail us (Philippians 4:8).

Help us to meditate on Your Word day and night as Your Spirit gives us the mind of Christ to replace the negative attitudes which come from Satan, the world and the flesh. Show us the root of every negative thought, feeling and outlook, so that we can surrender it to You immediately. This will prevent us from adopting a negative, complaining, stressed, depressed or grouchy attitude. Thank You for delivering us from our self.

Thought for the Day:
We can write verses pertaining to one fruit at a time and post them in obvious places where we spend time: like the bathroom mirror or kitchen window or refrigerator, or above our desk at work; so we can reread them daily as God’s Spirit transforms our life with them.