It is Never too Late

Jesus told a parable about the lord of the vineyard who told his steward to hire laborers throughout the day (Matthew 20:8-20). At the end of the day, the landowner gave all of the workers the exact same amount of money.

 

Those who worked the longest hours in the hottest sun were mortified and bitter at what they perceived as the owner’s unfairness. They believed they deserved more money than those who worked in the cooler part of the day for just a few hours.

 

We learn from this parable that God is not interested in how long we live in His service. We can rejoice in the fact that the people who come to Christ later in life are accepted by our Father with the same love as those of us who come to the Lord as a child or teenager.

 

We recently had the privilege of helping a couple who were both over 90 to come to faith in Christ. Other senior Saints were on death’s door when God used us to share His gospel with them.

 

There is no greater feeling than to snatch people from Satan’s hand in their last years/moments of life. We will spend eternity with them and rejoice around God’s throne together.

 

It is never too late to humble our self under the mighty hand of God and submit our life to His capable hands. As we yoke with Him, He carries half our load; and when we are weary, He will even carry it all.

 

God provides for our every need – even the minutest details that consume our thoughts and emotions. He is trustworthy and deserves all of our praise and thanksgiving.

 

God’s love consumes us as we stop worrying about the particulars of our life. We rest in His peace and know without a shadow of a doubt that as we cast our cares on Him, He really does care for us ().

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for loving us enough to free us from our earthly bondage. We know that You listen to our prayers and answer us when we call on You in our trials and distress (Psalm 86:6-7). Remind us that You will always give us Your faith to live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to You.

 

The moment we take our eyes off You, fears and complications arise in our life, and we get entrenched in the carnal issues of this world. We want Your Word to fill us fully with Your Truth; so that we can encourage each other with thankfulness in our heart for all that You do for each one of us (Colossians 3:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we compare our life to others, we will be discontent; but when we focus on the life God provides for us, we realize the multitude of blessings He provides for us each and every day.

 

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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

 

God is in Control – Through Troubles and Trials

We live in a world that often frightens us. Unexpected trials and trouble attack us from every side when we least expect it; so we develop the mentality of fear and apprehension.

 

We constantly wait for the next shoe to drop, anticipating trauma around every corner and never allowing our self to believe in or hope for the best. This continues until we realize that every day in Jesus is better than the day before.

 

As a melancholy personality, I struggled for years to come to this place of total trust in God’s goodness and to have faith in His faithfulness and perfect peace in His will for me, regardless of how bad the circumstances seemed.

 

Very few of the imaginary worse case scenarios, which occupy our mind, ever materialize. We end up worrying for nothing; and spending time, when we could be praising God with our thoughts, in trying to be prepared for ever circumstance life may possibly throw at us.

 

Elections, terrorists, natural disasters, financial strain and insecurity, disease, strained relationships, etc. all dim in importance when we realize in our spirit and our soul that, if we live in total surrender, God is in control of every aspect of our life.

 

Life as an authentic, Born Again Believer teaches us that life in Christ is an adventure. We are already dead with Christ in God, living in His abundant rest, walking in His Spirit and enjoying His perfect will for our life.

 

Trouble is merely a tiny bump in the road when we hide under the shadow of God’s wings and allow Him to live life in and through us. Fear, anxiety, insecurities and worry no longer overwhelm our soul, and our spirit draws strength and life from Christ within us.

 

We live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). God’s Spirit controls all of our decisions, trials and troubles. The shadow of darkness in this world is dispelled by the light of Christ within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, as we learn to trust in You, the issues which formerly sent us into the pit of despair, no longer rock our world. We learn over the days of our life spent in Your presence, that You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). If we pray without ceasing, walk in Your Spirit each moment of our day and trust in Your unfailing love and mercy, we have joy even in our trials (James 1:2-8).

 

Remind us to replace the negative self-talk and lies straight from the pit of hell with the Truth of Your Word, which is alive and powerful and able to separate the worries of our soul from the faith in our spirit (Hebrews 4:12). Give us Your grace to see us through the days when our faith wanes and the waters threaten to drown us (Habakkuk 3:7-19).

 

Thought for the Day:

Although the closets are bare, we have no job, the garden is overcome by weeds, the grocery prices are way beyond our means, our savings is depleted, and our relationships are hopeless, we can still rejoice in the Lord, because He is the God of our salvation, our strength, our provision, and our enabler in every area of our life. – Habakkuk 3:7-19

 

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

 

Tucked Securely Under God’s Wings

God created us in order to share with us His awesome blessings and provision. He gave us Paradise to enjoy and will once again restore the whole earth to this euphoric condition (Revelation 20-21).

 

The message of the gospel is senseless to those who are lost without Christ as their Savior. In their pride and rebellion, they condemn themselves with their unbelief (John 3:18).

 

However, for those of us who trust Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, it changes our lives (1 Corinthians 1:18-19). God’s love gives us a secure foundation on which to place our faith (John 3:16-17).

 

As we experience and come to understand God’s love, we are filled with adoration, gratitude and love for Him (1 John 4:8). As branches, we are nourished through the Vine of Christ by His love, which is our foundational roots (John 15:5).

 

God inspired the writers of the Bible to relate both the successes and failures of His Saints. By their examples, we learn hope, reassurance and patience (Romans 15:4).

 

He fills us to overflowing with the presence of His Spirit (Ephesians 3:19), which replaces our carnal nature. We gradually experience His spiritual fruit and divine nature infiltrating our thoughts, choices and feelings.

 

We need not fear the terror of night or the arrow that flies by day (Psalm 91:5; Ephesians 6:16). In Him we rejoice always, pray continually and see the seed for a miracle in every adventure through which He leads us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cannot help but shed tears of overwhelming joy as we sit in Your presence. Your love encompasses us on every side (Romans 8:35-38). Your wisdom protects us in every decision (Proverbs 4:5; James 1:5). Your Spirit guides our thoughts, words and deeds (John 16:13). Your angels carry us so that we do not even stub our toe (Psalm 91:12).

 

Thank You for the fellowship of Your Body and the guidance of Your Word, which comfort us during this life of affliction. Thank You for making us heirs with Christ of Your entire Kingdom. Eternity is not long enough for us to have the time to give You all the praise and gratitude, which You deserve.

 

Thought for the Day:

We are secure in every circumstance as long as we trust God and are tucked safely under the covering of His wings; even in sickness and death He gives us wisdom, provision and protection. – Psalm 91:4

 

 

Growing into Christ

In our growth into Christ, we acknowledge that we are indeed crucified with Christ, we are dead and our new resurrection life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossian 3:3-4).

 

We are raised from spiritual death with Christ, and we set our mind on the eternal aspects of life. We feast on His Word until it dwells in us richly. The cares of this life fade away and we abide in His unlimited rest, peace and joy.

 

We live by the faith of the Son of God through every new adventure He devises for us (Galatians 2:20). Even in secular employment and activities, we do all in the name of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:31).

 

As we seek first His Kingdom, He provides us with everything we need to fulfill His purpose with our life (Matthew 6:33). Christ in us is greater than Satan and all of his demons (1 John 4:4).

 

God’s Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and helps us to take our carnal thoughts captive and make them obedient to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

We understand the things of God by His Spirit, having His discernment in every area of life (1 Corinthians 2:5-15). We do not have to strive and strain to die daily to our flesh.

 

We simply fully embrace the truth that Christ lives in us and wants to live through us. We are raised with Christ in newness of life and we will appear with Christ in glory at the end of this age (Romans 6:4,8,10).

 

These facts have practical relevance to our walk in Christ each day on this earth. They give us hope, faith and the power to walk in the Spirit, to pray without ceasing and to love God with our whole heart.

 

Prayer:

Father God, through Christ in us, we minister to one another and to the world around us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:1-16; Ephesians 2:5-6).  Enable us to set our affection on eternal matters and not to worry about or stress over the issues in this life. You gave us citizenship in Heaven with You now (Philippians 3:20).

 

Remind us that we have no meaningful life apart from Christ in us. Help us to adopt His purpose to seek and to save the lost; His perspective of doing Your will; and His practice of prayer, humility and obedience (Luke 5:16, 19:10; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 5:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

Since we are fully human, we often feel like we are fighting life, the world and Satan all alone; but if we remember that Christ in us is fully divine with all the power of the triune God, then we can step aside and allow Jesus to deal with any situation that is troubling us.

 

 

The Emotional Disconnect during Holiday Celebrations

The first Mother’s Day I celebrated after my husband decided that there was no option for us but divorce was the hardest day of my life. I felt a deep loss because I was separated from my children by hundreds of miles.

 

I went to fellowship with my church as usual, but did not celebrate, because I was too full of grief. I ended up leaving the service early, going to my tiny duplex and eating my homemade ravioli and marinara sauce to assuage my emotional pain.

 

Mother’s and Father’s Day, as we celebrate them every year, leave out those men and women who were not able to have children. They grieve this loss every day of their life, but especially on Mother’s and Father’s Day.

 

What about men and women who lost a child during pregnancy or maybe even at birth; or those people who chose abortion or adoption in a moment of crisis and are now full of grief, remorse and guilt?

 

There are people who came to Christ after a period of suffering through jail time, addiction, mental illness or estrangement from their mate; and now it is too late for them to bear children.

 

Other individuals lost their beloved mother or father through death, and many lost them way too early in life. Some have a parent drifting away from them through Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer or some other debilitating disease.

 

They are forced to put on happy faces during the hardest day of the year for them. Their grief is invisible to the rest of us, but it is eating them alive as the rest of us celebrate our children and our role as mother and father.

 

Then there is that percentage of people who suffered cruel treatment at the hand of a parent who was debilitated by health and psychological issues. Insecurity and the loss of their basic human needs, which were never met, affect every moment of their life.

 

These beloved persons suffered mental, emotional and physical abuse, deprivation, humiliation, degradation and belittlement as children and are still crippled today with physical, emotional and mental handicaps.

 

Many of us come to Christ and receive His healing, hiding our self with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4). Some of us teach our self how to parent our self with nurturing, cherishing and constant care; or to come to God for His nurturing care (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Some of them suffer alone, because we no longer allow our self to get to know one another in churches. We smile at each other when we enter and leave the one hour service on Sunday morning, but we do not know one another’s heartaches and trials.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to get to know one another in the church; so that we can support each other, especially those men and women who suffer silently with deep wounds that may still be raw and infected, or that created a gaping chasm in their life.

 

Remind us that as a church, we can make holidays less of a challenge and more of a blessing by celebrating all people, not just with those who actually bore children and have healthy and nurturing parents, but also by sharing in the loss and grief of every person in our congregation all through the year.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our church can have ministries that do more than celebrate or help spouses and parents, but that also minister to all men and women regardless of their marital or parental status. We can learn each other’s stories of loss, grief and suffering; and support one another each day of the year.