The Buzzard Within

While sitting outside at a Veteran’s Day celebration, we all glanced skyward to view the Sheriff Department’s fly-over. In the thrill of this meaningful moment, I also noticed a majestic kettle of vultures.

 

Their wings spanned forty-eight inches and never flapped, as they soared on invisible wind currents. One of these birds nose-dived to the earth and landed within a few feet of me.

 

Once I recovered from the shock of his sudden close proximity to my chair, I realized that what I always thought was a beautiful, agile bird of prey actually had an awkward and grotesquely revolting appearance.

 

This reminded me of our unsaved heart. We disguise our disfigured soul within us with an outward coat of cosmetics and brightly colored clothing. Yet, we remain nothing more than whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27-28).

 

The good news is that Christ died to make us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our spirit is washed anew in the blood of the Lamb of God (Revelation 22:14). Through His sanctifying work, God’s Spirit makes our soul beautiful in His timing and way (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

 

On this earth, God’s Spirit crucifies our soul and frees us from slavery to sin. He makes us holy and frees us from the bondage and destruction, through which sin hinders and overwhelms us.

 

He unites us with Christ through the new birth and provides us with the blessings and promises of eternity both in this life and the next. He frees us from dwelling on our past or fearing the future (Isaiah 43:18).

 

In heaven, He will glorify our body by giving us an immortal existence with Him forever. We look forward to a body free of age-related issues, illness and fatigue.

 

We look forward to continuing to live in God’s presence, adding the physical existence to our soul and spirit’s enjoyment of His presence now. Our salvation will be complete in body, as well as in spirit and soul, and we will dwell with Him for eternity.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we live in Christ with Christ in us, and death has no more mastery over us. We also die to sin and live for You. Then in eternity, You glorify our body and provide us with immortality for our body, as well as our spirit and soul (Romans 6:4-11).

 

Thank You for forgetting who we used to be and giving us a new identity in Christ (Isaiah 65:17). You give us a new heart and put Your Spirit within us (Ezekiel 36:26). We rejoice at the thought of seeing Your Kingdom in all of its glory, since we are born by the blood of Your unblemished Lamb (John 3:3).

 

Thought for the Day:

God buries our old, carnal nature in Christ by baptizing us into His death; then He sanctifies us through one stage of glory to another and gives us a new, resurrected life.

 

 

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The Battle is the Lord’s

In a war, the soldiers sometimes surrender a battle but sometimes they actually surrender the whole war. Spiritual warfare is very similar to a physical battle.

 

If we surrender in a battle, we live to fight another day. If we surrender the war, we leave the outcome to a higher power. God is our Higher Power, and He desires that we completely surrender our life, love and will to Him.

 

Our Father knows best, and He wants only the best for us. He will never leave or forsake us, and He provides for our every need as we trust exclusively in His provision and care (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

The alternative is to fight the war from our own strength. This predictably ends in us suffering from battle fatigue with no more strategy to win the war.

 

Even if we surrender temporarily, with aspirations to return to the war in our own strength once we recoup, we end up right back where we are now…exhausted, discouraged and feeling overwhelmed.

 

We must come to the end of our self at some point in our life and totally surrender to God every thought, word and deed – led by His Spirit in everything we think, say and do.

 

We accomplish so much more with our remaining life than we ever did during all of the years on our own recognizance. We waste so much time when we live life our way instead of God’s (Ephesians 2:20).

 

Yet, if we completely surrender all of our life to God at a young age, and walk only by His Spirit with ceaseless prayer, we are so much more effective in furthering the Kingdom of God in the earth with better health, a more mature spirit and a fulfilled soul.

 

It is never too late to surrender, however, no matter how old we are. Sometimes, it takes us a while to learn to “let go and let God”. The point is to totally surrender every battle to the Lord and we will eventually win the war as well.

 

Prayer:

Father remind us to trust only in You with our whole heart, not to rely on our human intuition or wisdom, to totally surrender to Your will and purpose for our life, and to allow You to direct every battle of the spiritual warfare in which we are embroiled (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

We cannot trust our heart or our mind to safely lead us (Jeremiah 17:9). Only in Christ do we have half a chance of making a lasting difference in this world (Philippians 4:13). You give us Your wisdom and Your Word, directed by Your Spirit with a failsafe battle plan every time (James 1:5; Psalm 119:105).

 

Thought for the Day:

True power and wisdom come from Christ in us, not from our own resources; so the wise will totally surrender to Him each moment of life and wait expectantly on Him alone. –  John 15:5; Psalm 46:10

 

Three Types of Death

I was organizing my vitamin supplements and filling my two week pill box with each vitamin and mineral that I take either morning or night or both. I started to include the Vitamin D that the doctor prescribed for me a few years ago due to the lack of sunlight that I get in my daily routine.

 

I have faithfully taken it ever since; but…God’s Spirit told me not to put it in my box of supplements this time. I was incredulous and argued with the Spirit (yeah, I still do that occasionally!) I felt so strongly that I should not include this healthful vitamin that I had to quit arguing and agree to obey.

 

Then God’s Spirit told me to look at the ingredients of the capsule. This particular brand had the vitamin D encased in corn oil, which is one substance that causes a leaky gut. I am healing from this malady and have to be extra careful with corn oil.

 

I was so amazed that God is so minute in His love and direction that He even guides our paths concerning the toxins we unknowingly include in our diet. God is so worthy of all of our praise for the way He guides our steps and cares about every issue of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

As I thanked Him for His direction, God focused my attention to the concept of life and death. I did some research and realized that there are three areas of death that every human experiences.

 

The first is that our spirit is dead in trespasses and sins until we choose to accept Christ’s atoning work on Calvary’s cross (Ephesians 2:1-5). This provides us with salvation and the regeneration of our spirit (John 3:16-18). We are actually Born Again and alive in Christ in our spirit.

 

The second area of death is our physical death at some point in time, which results in an eternity either in heaven or hell. We are free from sin and death by our belief in Christ, or we condemn our self to an eternity in hell by our unbelief (John 3:18).

 

The third area of death is our soul’s death through sanctification, which releases us from slavery to sin and destruction (Romans 8:2). Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is gradually changed over the course of our life to mirror Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We slowly die to self and are more and more alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5; Galatians 2:20).

 

Prayer:

Father God, most people fear death. We have never experienced it before and we fear the unknown quality of death. We anticipate pain, and we worry about our eternal destination. Yet, in You there is no concern. Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in heaven. You delight in the death of Your Saints (Psalm 116:15).

 

As Solomon concluded, “The day of our death is better than the day of our birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1) Authentic Born Again Believers look forward to joining You for eternity once we leave this world behind. Help us to win as many people to faith in Christ as will receive Him – with open hearts, eyes, ears and minds – before it is too late.

 

Thought for the Day:

God guides our steps throughout our life and welcomes us with open arms into eternity with Him; He delights over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

 

Dying of Thirst

This modern world is a dry, hot desert and our fellow humans are dying all around us, even though Authentic Christians contain the water that they need to give them life and enable them to live victoriously on this earth.

 

Yet, we often withhold from them the very information they need in order to find the endless well of God’s life-giving water. We fail to tell them about our loving Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent (John 17:3).

 

As we seek to follow God’s Spirit each moment of the day, they will see His fruit in us, which is the divine nature of Christ, who lives in us (2 Pet 1:4). The living water in us can also nourish fellow Christians going through a dry spell (1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13).

 

Our source of water never leaves or forsakes us. He cares for every issue which we cast on His shoulders (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 5:7). As we share the living water within, we never run dry.

 

Rivers of living water satisfy the longing of our soul (Psalm 107:9) and overflow to those around us who need His special touch in their lives as well. If the flow is a mere dribble, then we have some work to do.

 

We start by taking our focus off what we want from life and concentrate instead on what God wants from our life. We walk in the Spirit and we do not fulfill the carnal desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

When Jesus walked on the earth, many recognized Him as the boy from Nazareth (John 5:23). Therefore, they did not believe He was the Messiah. They did not know God and did not recognize Jesus for who He truly is (John 5:42-43).

 

Yet, others recognized His Godly nature and believed in His divine calling in their midst (John 8:19). We too can recognize our need for Christ in our life and allow Him to flow from us into the lives of those all around us (John 5:37-38).

 

We choose to live in God’s will for us – not to seek our own glory, but to seek God’s glory instead (John 7:17-18). We willingly share the living water within us with whomever chooses to come and drink from our well.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You offer for us to come and drink, because You desire that not one person perish in the eternal flames of hell. You provide Your free gift of salvation to the entire world (Matthew 23:37; John 2:16-18); but many are caught up in their own plans or in the devil’s lies and are sidetracked from any pursuit to follow You. They use counterfeit methods to attempt to quench their thirsty soul.

 

Remind us that we are more than our mortal body. We are also a never-dying soul – emotions, thoughts and choices – as well as a spirit (Luke 16:19-31). Help us to take advantage of Your great wisdom, power, goodness, justice, love, peace, joy and holiness. Remind us to feast on Your Word and to drink from Your wellsprings of living water (John 4:14, 6:35). Draw us close to You and never, ever let us go.

 

Thought for the Day:

The ache in our heart and the thirst in our soul are only filled by coming to Christ for His salvation and fulfillment. – John 1:12

 

No Longer a Sinner – Missing the Mark

When we sin, we miss the mark of perfection modeled by Jesus and His sinless life. As unbelievers we have no choice but to walk in sin, because Satan is our father and he is the father of lies (John 8:44).

 

However, once we come to Christ for forgiveness of our sins and for His redemption of our life as a sinner, we no longer live in habitual sin. We may miss the mark now and then and sin; but it is no longer our lifestyle.

 

If we continue to live in habitual sin, we are still dead in sin and do not have the Holy Spirit within us (Romans 8:9). We are not Born Again by the Spirit of God, but we continue to live as slaves of unrighteousness and we reap its destruction (Romans 6:15-23).

 

Maybe we were convicted and we called out to God for salvation; yet we were never converted. Salvation is a two-sided coin: The prayer of faith on one side, but the repentance of sin is on the other side (Mark 1:14-15).

 

If we are Born Again, we are embodied by God’s Spirit and we are no longer a sinner. We are a Saint. At first this is only true positionally in our eternal standing with God, because we are still in need of sanctification in our soul.

 

As we pray without ceasing, allow God’s Spirit to do His sanctifying work in our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – and walk according to the Spirit’s direction for each moment of our day, we are literally free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

We grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and our flesh decreases as He increases within us (2 Peter 3:18; John 3:30). He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God. We have the richest measure of His presence and we are a body wholly filled with God (Ephesians 3:16-19)

 

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:4), and we live to do His will with each moment of our day. We enjoy our times alone with God – even the silent moments when He is just enjoying our company. We walk in His truth and spread His peace every place we go.

 

We are amazed at the divine appointments that God sets up for us along the way. People are encouraged and blessed by the presence of Christ in us, and we are blessed to watch Him work in and through us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, let there be peace in the world, and let it begin with Your Saints. Remind us that we are free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2). We no longer live a lifestyle of sin, although we do miss the mark of Your perfection once in a while.

 

As long as we humble our self, admit our failings and desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12), we remain in Your Spirit and follow His guidance to live in Your will each moment of our day. Thank You for empowering us by Your Spirit to live as Your ambassadors while we remain on this earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

God wants to use us for His Kingdom: He may lead us to fill a physical need for someone in the name of Jesus; a tear-filled face gives us the opportunity to share the compassion of Christ; a blank stare or faraway look in someone’s eye allows us to infuse His love and joy into a frustrating or perplexing situation – be ready, willing and able to serve in Jesus’ name. – Matthew 10:41

 

 

Making a Profound Difference

God is the Potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). We are the vessel that contains the liquid. Satan attempts to keep our focus on our innate beauty as a crafted container, or he draws our attention to the flaws and cracks.

 

However, these do not matter in the larger scheme of life. When we are thirsty, we do not admire the glass, we gulp the liquid in the glass.

 

We are not the focus in this relationship, but Christ IN us is the focus. We are simply clay jars, made from the dust of the earth; yet, as Born Again Believers, we contain the God of the universe (Colossians 1:27).

 

Although we are dying daily in our body and carnal nature, God’s Spirit give us life (Romans 8:10). God fills us with His presence and Spirit to sanctify our soul and complete us in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 2:10).

 

Realizing that we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God, we relinquish our goals and allow Christ to live through us (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20).

 

Christ shines from our heart and radiates to the world around us in the same way in which the light from a bulb emits light in a dark room. We make a profound difference.

 

We are so united with Christ that His thoughts fill our mind, His wisdom directs our steps, His life flows through us like a river and His love radiates in us and from us (Philippians 2:5; James 1:5; John 7:38; Isaiah 58:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your grace draws us to Jesus, keeps us pursuing holiness and finishes our perfection through sanctification (1 John 3:2). Jesus is our advocate with You (1 John 2:1), and the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us before You (Romans 8:26).

 

You each have your function as a person of the Trinity and You complete us within and without (Colossians 2:10). You direct our steps and use us for Your glory to advance Your Kingdom in the earth (Luke 17:21).

 

Thought for the Day:

Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

 

Abiding in Christ

The Apostle John, so in love with our Lord Jesus, experienced abiding with Christ in person and passed this experience along to us in His letters. He spent hours of unbroken fellowship with the Lord. He considered himself one of Jesus’ best friends, beloved by Him.

 

We too can enjoy this same intimate relationship with Jesus, because He lives IN us by His Spirit. To abide in Christ literally means to dwell in Him, not to wander off, and to stand as if rooted to the spot.

 

Jesus said He was equal with God (John 10:38). The Pharisees were offended by this declaration, because they did not understand that they too could enjoy unbroken fellowship with God through Christ and His Spirit.

 

God dwelt in Jesus in the same way that He dwells in us (John 14:11). His character and nature are evident in our life as we mature spiritually and continually die to our old carnal nature (John 14:10).

 

Although Jesus literally and physically returned to His home in Heaven, He did not abandon us alone on this earth. He gave us His Spirit as our comforter and guide.

 

Jesus will return for us in time for our wedding feast as His Bride (John 14:18-20), but until then, His Holy Spirit sanctifies us more each day as we believe in Christ and remain in this vital union with Jesus and our Father.

 

We live and function in the same manner that Jesus walked with our Father during His lifetime (1 John 2:6-27, 3:6). If we desire to live in His will, He provides us with what we need each moment of the day.

 

We can do greater works simply because we, as His Body, are greater in number and He abides within all of us. All He needs is our availability and obedience to His Spirit on a continual basis as we walk in His will (John 14:3-15).

 

We eat His flesh and drink His blood, ingesting Him into our spirit, soul and body and drawing our nourishment from Him (John 6:56). We are united with Him and He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You cleanse us with the blood of Jesus, our perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29). Thank You for choosing to give us His righteousness in place of our old, carnal nature and making us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We covet our time with You as You provide us with holy fellowship with You throughout the day.

 

Help us to continue in Your Word, for Your Word is life to our spirit and soul (John 8:31; 1 John 2:19-24). Remind us to keep Your commandments for they lead us on the path of holiness and help us to avoid the destruction reaped from a life of sin and degradation (John 15:9-10).

 

Thought for the Day:

Christ’s life flows through us, just as the nutrients of the Vine empower the branches to bear fruit (John 15:4); but if we break fellowship with Him and grieve His Spirit through sin, pride or rebellion, we lose this perfect union until we repent.

  • Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; John 15:4