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

The Perfecting Work of Patience – Part 2 Entering God’s Rest

 

The only striving the Bible encourages us to do is to strive to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10-11). We do not use self-effort to arrive at any other phase of our Christian walk.

The reason we have to strive to enter into God’s rest is that it goes against our natural human tendency. Our pride and rebellion spur us on to do things our way, and submitting to God chafes our soul – our mind, will and emotions.

We want to feel accomplished and to believe that we earned the degree or trophy or crown of glory by our hard work and effort. The truth is that we will throw our crowns at Jesus’ feet, because we will finally realize that He, not us, earned and deserves them (Revelation 4:10-11).

In our free will, we can choose to disobey God’s Spirit at any time; but then we reap the consequences of sin, as well as discipline for our disobedience from our Father who loves us a His children (Hebrews 12:4-12).

On the other hand, attempting to discipline our self to walk in good works and obedience to God’s Word is often fruitless and counterproductive. The more we strive toward perfection the more our flesh draws us back into sin and rebellion.

We can only walk in perfection as we rely on the promises and Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4). Our obedience to God is both inspired and empowered by His Spirit within us (Philippians 2:12-13).

“Let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4-8) is not telling us to be patient or to get patience. It is simply telling us to submit to God and to allow patience, which is a fruit from the Holy Spirit, to do its perfecting work in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

This takes all the stress out of life for us. We walk in freedom and joy, with God’s peace in our heart regardless of circumstances; knowing without a doubt that God has a seed for a miracle in the midst of every trial.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our part in our spiritual walk is simply to surrender to the work of Your Holy Spirit in our life. We are but a lump of clay, and You are the Master Potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isaiah 64:8). You are our Alpha and Omega and You give us Your living water as we thirst for You alone (Revelation 21:6).

Teach us that the Christian walk is not about self-effort, but about submission to You first and foremost in all areas of our life. We concede to You in everything we think, say and do; and You direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk in Your ways now and serve You for eternity in Your new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1).

Thought for the Day:
By trusting in God to save and to perfect us in every way, regardless of the circumstances of our life, we enter His rest and remove all stress from our life.

The Perfecting Work of Patience – He Who Began a Good Work

Is our salvation and sanctification our responsibility, or is it the work of God’s Spirit within us? Some will say, “We are to work out our own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12) Others will counter with, “It is the Holy Spirit who gives us both the desire and the power” to do that (Philippians 2:13).

Most people agree that salvation is through grace by faith; but believe that we have to work for sanctification (Ephesians 2:8). Yet, the foolish Galatians were reprimanded by Paul for attempting to perfect themselves through their own self-efforts (Galatians 3:1-3).

Paul was amazed that they actually believed they could sanctify their life by their works. Paul constantly reminds the early Saints that nothing in our Christian walk is by works, because then we could boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God is not interested in our ability, but in our availability to His Spirit. The works of the flesh can only be crucified by the work of the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16). We live and walk only by the Spirit of God; otherwise, we spin our wheels and end up exhausted (Galatians 5:25).

We boldly claim that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13); but when we put the emphasis on “we” can do all things, we fail time and again. We pull our self up by our boot straps until they are totally worn off.

This verse is actually saying that we cannot do anything except “through Christ”. When we completely capitulate to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to both save and perfect us, we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10).

It is the Spirit, not our self-effort, which transforms us from one stage of sanctification to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). Even the armor of God, which Paul encourages us to wear, is the work of God’s Spirit in our life (Ephesians 6:10-18).

God’s Spirit transforms our mind to the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). He also renews our character with the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). He who began the work of salvation in us, will continue to perfect us through His work of sanctification (Philippians 1:6).

Prayer:
Father God, we humans do not want to admit that we are helpless without a Savior. We want to believe that even if we cannot save our self, we can attempt to perfect our self through our diligence and self-discipline by obeying Your Word.

Remind us that we can do good works only as we abide in the faith of Christ within us (James 2:17). We could not justify our self by keeping the law and we cannot sanctify our self through self-effort either. Keeping the law never gave us life prior to salvation and there is no way that walking in obedience to the law can perfect us after salvation. Without Your Spirit doing the sanctifying work, we are totally lost and undone.

Thought for the Day:
When we do choose to obey, the desire and ability is generated by God’s Spirit within us; God has a perfect plan for our life, and we find it only when we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Our Infinite God

Through the cross of Calvary, Jesus reigns victorious over death, redeems sinners by grace and sets our feet dancing through life (Psalm 30:11). He has specific plans for our life and leads us, provides for us and strengthens us to do His will (Philippians 2:12-13).

Those who refuse to believe in Christ actually condemn themselves to an eternity in hell. The choice is ours. God does not force anyone to believe.

He simply offers the Gospel as our opportunity for salvation. What we do with His gift is our choice (Romans 6:23). God redeems people from every family, tribe, society and nation of the world through the blood of Christ.

We are all one family, one Body, one Temple of God’s Spirit. He transforms us into kings and priests to serve Him on this earth (Revelation 5:9-10). He allows us to dwell together in unity under His government (Isaiah 9:6).

God connects us all by a common thread of the cross of Calvary. We have brothers and sisters from centuries past and from every community on earth. We will have quite a time in heaven getting to know one another.

We are all one in Christ – one Trinity and one Body, with one purpose for eternity. God’s Spirit dwells within us all, unifying us, guiding us, counseling us and interceding for us through feelings, which at times we cannot even put into words (Romans 8:26).

We live a life of pardon, protection, provision, promise and privilege. Our infinite God reigns supreme in our finite existence, providing us with hope, renewal and everlasting life.

God restores our soul (Psalm 23:4) by healing our past and giving us hope for the future. He gives us absolute Truth through Christ and His Word, and helps us to focus on what is important in this life and the next.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for the fellowship which we enjoy with Your Trinity every moment of every day. Your eternal promise restores our equilibrium and keeps us walking on the straight and narrow road. Keep us ever faithful regardless of our circumstances and teach us all things by Your Spirit (1 John 2:24-27).

Help us to see that daily study of Your Word keeps us centered on what is truly important in this life and the next, with faith in Your faithfulness through the uncertainty which faces us every day. Give us Your strength to stand strong in adversity and erase our doubts with Your truth.

Thought for the Day:
Whatever distracts us from total dedication to and dependence on God is our enemy, regardless of how good and innocent it appears at the time.

Healing from Life’s Trauma

Life in this perverse and dark world is evil at best and cruel and unthinkable at its worse. The atrocities perpetuated on one human being by another without conscience is wounding and debilitating.

From a one-time event to repeated and ritualistic abuse, we tend to bury this pain in our subconscious mind and often refuse to revisit it or we may deny its existence. Yet, it influences every moment of every day of our life.

Traumatized in body, mind and emotions, we separate parts of our self and bury them in the past, moving forward with any self-respect and reality, which we can find.

We survive by erecting walls, hiding behind anger, staying in a protective mode to prevent future real or imagined abuse. We cope through any means available, even addictions and defense mechanisms.

As Christ strengthens us from within and becomes the focus of our life, this pain loses some of its strength. God’s love covers a multitude of sin perpetrated against us and helps us to forgive and move on.

He brings these issues to light along with the lies, which Satan plants in each trauma. He speaks His truth about each memory and situation and completely sets us free from bondage to these memories. ( http://www.theophostic.com )

As God reveals any issue which may keep us in bondage to sin, Satan, the world, the flesh and our past, we recover the bits and pieces of our self, which litter our past and God heals them and molds them back into our life as productive pieces of who we are today.

Prayer:
Father God, You see the secret pain of our past and desire to search us and to heal the pain which causes our current fears, depression and anger. You lead us into complete healing by Your Spirit to live whole and complete lives unhindered by the pain of our past (Psalm 139:23-24). You make us a new creation, created by Christ Jesus for good works to further Your Kingdom on the earth (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You bring an article, a sermon, a Bible verse, a song, a comment by a friend or enemy to open those wounds, remove the splinters and to allow us to heal from the inside out. We bring our troubled thoughts to You and rejoice as You lead us to the freedom only You can provide both now and throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit is God’s wonderful Counselor who operates on the infected splinters embedded deep within our soul and frees us from the source of the infection, healing the wounds and making us whole.

End to the Beginning

End to the Beginning

Whenever I read a book, I always read the last chapter first. That way I eliminate the mystery, suspense and unpredictability of the story line. Then, I can read from the beginning, without the stress of not knowing how it will turn out.

Some of you may enjoy horror movies and suspenseful mysteries, but they cause my psyche too much anxiety. I love to watch Hallmark movies, because as my husband derisively points out, the endings are predictable. There is very little stress and suspense in these wondrously sappy romances.

I did this with the Bible too. I read Revelation first. This colorful depiction of symbolic drama gives us a bird’s eye view of the culmination of time as we know it.

Revelation confirms the prophetic books of the Bible, such as Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah – as well as the New Testament letters such as the gospels and Thessalonians. They report to us God’s intention for creation, redemption and restoration.

When we know how the end plays out, these facts remove the guesswork from life and give us a fool proof game plan to follow in our walk of faith through the Son of God.

God made His will plain and stress-free for us through the Biblical account of His clear timetable of events leading up to His final return to earth and His eternal plans for humanity.

God does not dwell in time. The 6,000 years since creation are all in the present to Him. He is not restrained, directed or controlled by the hands on the clock like we are (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

Our Creator and King dwells in eternity. He invites us to join Him in this place of unhindered existence through salvation in His Son. Jesus won this privilege for us by taking on the form of a man and dying in our place (Philippians 2:6-8).

God also provided us with His Word in order to afford us hope for a joyful future and instructions for living in a peaceful existence through every moment of each new day regardless of our circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your Word, which takes the guesswork right out of life. Remind us to check with You before we do anything, so that You can direct our plans (Proverbs 3:5-6). When Satan attempts to hinder us, teach us to use spiritual warfare through the power of Christ in us to withstand his onslaughts.

Thank You for always answering our prayers, and for not always giving us what we want, but what is in our best interest. We squirm under the pressures of life and often feel like we know how to alleviate these trials; but we often jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Keep us in the center of Your will and walking in the fruit of Your righteousness.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father is God and there is no one like Him; He declared the end to the beginning. – Isaiah 4:9-11

The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness in circumstance, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, church, etc. we are continually elated and then disappointed.

In disappointment, we even give in to fear, anxiety and feel apprehensive when we consider more than the one moment of time which we are experiencing.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us into a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. There is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis, however.

We can continually dwell in an emotion much deeper than happiness. This emotion is not contingent on circumstance and is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life.

This deep seated emotion is also our strength to traverse the negative path in life, which we occasionally experience. There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

If we choose to focus on the negative circumstances, or if we adopt a negative attitude, our joy will hover just outside of our soul, waiting in our spirit for us to change our focus to the joy, which is always set before us (Hebrews 12:2).

The world-wide Body of Christ, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and joyfully trust our amazing God for His constant provision, even during dire circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). We can never thank You enough for continually filling us with Your presence and Spirit, and for helping us to maintain a heavenly mindset rather than a carnal, earthly one.

Thought for the Day:
Our constant joy depends on our focus on the eternal Christ and our attitude of total dependence on His perfect will for our life.