Entertaining Idols

If we obsess over some issue in our life, this issue blocks our view of God and blinds us to the presence of Christ in our life.

 

We make an idol of the negative emotion we are consumed by and see nothing but this and other negative emotions.  This situation rules our life.

 

We are overcome by our trials and tribulations and lose our connection to God’s Spirit within us. Anything other than God that commands our attention proves we are not dead in that area of our flesh.

 

God often gives us trials to reveal that we still carry idols around with us, and that they are taking His place in our life (2 Corinthians 3:18). The more we surrender these idols on the altar of God, the freer our life becomes.

 

When we step outside of God’s will for us, surrendering to Him is the only factor which can restore our spirit and soul (Psalm 23:3). Then, God grace and mercy victoriously and tenderly transport us through every trial and temptation.

 

We gradually grow to realize that our humanity is dead to this world and that Christ’s divinity takes supremacy within us (Colossians 3:3). We want nothing more than to please Him with our life.

 

Eventually, our days are consumed by following God’s Spirit’s direction. We live in praise to His glorious name and His bountiful deeds toward meeting our every need.

 

The Spirit of Christ unifies us with the Trinity, and this union cannot be dissolved or separated in any way; although idols grieve God’s Spirit and break our intimate fellowship with Him.

 

When we live and walk in God’s divine presence, the issues of life no longer overwhelm us (John 16:33). We safely hide under the shadow of His wing (Psalm 17:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we each possess our own individual and personal distinction, even though You abide within every Believer. Our union with You, as the personal, living, omnipresent Lord can never be broken. Help us never to allow some idol of negative emotions to block You from our view or to draw us away from Your intimate presence.

 

Allow us to feel Your love, peace and joy flowing over us like a waterfall, refreshing our spirit, soul and body in this world that often frightens and overwhelms us. Remind us that Christ in us is a reality, and we can function in Your will through every moment of our day.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our vital union in Christ is begun in regeneration and completed through sanctification; in conversion we are declared justified and in sanctification we prove our perseverance towards righteousness.

 

 

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Pure and Undefiled Religion

Too often we “play” church and treat it like a cruise ship rather than a battleship. We like to socialize with our friends and make new friends who will treat us nicely and care about us.

 

Yet, we waste our time on the flesh and the world, which makes us too busy to serve in church ministries, to care for the sick and infirmed in our church family, or to reach out into our community to make a friend and lead them to Christ.

 

When the offering plate comes around, we give God a tip from the change in our pocket rather than to give a tithe of our income, and we feel no remorse when we fail to give in the benevolence offering to help the needy in our church family and community.

 

We will not even bring canned goods to donate to the food bank in our area, or to join service organizations in our community who help to serve those less fortunate than we are.

 

We ignore those who are aliens in our community, who move here to find work to support their family; not knowing that if we did care for the needy, God could bless us in all the works which we find for our hands to do (Deuteronomy 14:29).

 

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is to take care of orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep our self from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

 

We can help the poor by meeting their need for food, shelter and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8); aid the widows by meeting their medical bills and doing chores that overwhelm them; and we can visit the imprisoned (Job 31:16; Matthew 25:36).

 

We can give Christmas presents to children at local group homes, take some of them to our home for monthly visits or out on a picnic, or we can take them to the pizza parlor for supper once a month (Job 31:17).

 

The possibilities for ministry in our church family and out in our community are endless, and ignoring these needs is unconscionable and despicable in the sight of the Lord (Matthew 7:24).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to learn to do good, to seek justice, to defend the orphan and to plead the case for our widows (Isaiah 1:17). Teach us to reprove the ruthless who take bribes or look for a reward for their service (Isaiah 1:23). Remind us that when we clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned, we do it as our ministry to You (Matthew 25:36).

 

We do not want to live as hearers of Your Word only, but we want to put feet to our faith and to earn our righteous rewards by keeping Your law and serving our church family and community (James 1:22; Romans 2:13). Let us prove our faith in You by our works for You (James 2:14).

 

Thought for the Day:

The Lord protects strangers, supports single mom’s and their children, and cares for the needs of widows; but He resists the wicked and thwarts those who “play” church rather than minister to the needy in their community. Let us join Him in His Kingdom work. – Psalm 146:9

 

Churches Have Personalities

Have you ever noticed that every church wants to emulate the details of success used by mega-churches around our country? They often try and fail even when they use the same formulas and ministries.

 

The members are discontent if their church does not provide the same level of entertainment as these mega churches; yet, they are unwilling to serve in areas that would help their church to grow or to share the gospel with more people.

 

They criticize the leadership and nag the Senior Pastor about their pet peeves. They fail to give a tithe of their income and they go on more vacations and buy more “toys” than their lifestyle can comfortably support.

 

What people fail to realize, the leadership included, is that God gives each church a different personality, mission purpose and anointing. In Revelation, Jesus sharply criticizes most of the seven churches for not following His will for their ministry.

 

Unless the Lord builds the church, we labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). We spin our wheels and live in constant discontent, disillusionment and distraction. We get so caught up in the good things that we fail to fulfill God’s purpose for our church life.

 

The church leadership needs a time of pray to develop their mission statement – not a catchy phrase to put on publications and electronic media, but an actual mission statement from God.

 

As a unified group, once they hear from God, they can equip the Saints for the work of their ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16). This allows the whole church to be on the same page with the same focus and the same passion.

 

If church leadership or ministries have divided or conflicting goals, the lack of unity will actually obstruct their prayers (1 Peter 3:7). We are also hindered by the end time mindset by which the love of many grows cold (Matthew 24:12).

 

However, there is still a remnant of authentic Believers hungry for doing the will of God with their individual and church family life. There is no price too great for them to pay in order to further God’s Kingdom on the earth.

 

Prayer:

Father God, inspire Your authentic Believers who are gathered in local church bodies around the world to do Your will in their community. You may not want a particular church to be big; but You always equip it to be effective in reaching the people in its church field.

 

Help us to hear Your voice to know what You are calling us to do as Your local church family in the area in which You planted us. We do not want to spin our wheels, but we want to have traction to serve in the areas in which You created and called us to minister in Your name and according to Your will.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is calling us to put our time, talent and energy into true religion rather than programs and superfluous ministries that do not impact His Kingdom or change lives. – James 1:27

 

 

Hoping in God

As human beings, we place our hope in many things: people, places, careers, stock markets, etc. We often fail, however, to realize that our only lasting hope is in God.

 

Jesus secured our hope by His death, burial and resurrection. His sacrifice touches every part of our life, even the most devastating moment we could ever experience.

 

At salvation, our hope in God turns to faith, which is authentic, powerful and enables us to enjoy God’s company as our loving and nurturing Father.

 

His presence opens the door for us to enter into the citizenship of heaven, the Body of Christ, the circle of His beloved children, His Saints and called out ones. We are no longer pilgrims and sojourners (Philippians 3:20-21; Ephesians 2:19).

 

For those of us who believe in God, this hope is tangible evidence of the calling He gives to each one of us. We inherit His glorious riches and enjoy His great power and assurance now and forever (Ephesians 1:18-20).

 

Moses failed to deliver God’s people when he killed the solitary Egyptian soldier who mistreated his Jewish brother. He ran from the consequences of that behavior and hid in the desert.

 

He forgot that God allowed Him to be raised in the king’s castle and that He was actually a child of the almighty King. His self-image was polluted by Satan’s lies and accusations of his failure.

 

This occurs in our life as well. Satan throws our past up into our face over and over in order to render us ineffective in any ministry for the Lord. We are riddled with self-doubt.

 

We can trade God’s truth about us for the devil’s recrimination and lies about our failings. Taking our journal, we sit in silent meditation and listen as God speaks His truth about who we really are and how He feels about us.

( http://www.theophostic.com )

 

We can read the back of the book, the last two chapters of Revelation, and understand that God returns to us everything which Satan attempted to steal from us in the first chapters of Genesis.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your truth ignites our passion to have more of You in our life and to walk in Your Spirit and will for our life (Galatians 5:15-25). We live as a testimony of Your existence for the world to see. We read daily affirmations from Your Word about who we are in Christ, which transform our thought life from a negative image to a Godly one (Galatians 3; 2 Corinthians 5; Romans 8).

 

Your Spirit testifies that we are Yours and He breathes the breath of life into our spirit until He transforms us from one level of spiritual maturity to the next (Romans 8:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We overcome the world and our doubts and fears through the victory that overcomes the world – our faith in Your faithfulness (1 John 5:4) – and You empower us by Your Spirit as we walk in Your will moment by moment throughout the day.

 

Thought for the Day:

Regardless of what we view with our human understanding and vision, we live by the faith from God’s promises about the unseen world, which are just as real and tangible.

 

 

Living Forever

Every person ever born will live forever. Not through a magic elixir or reincarnation, and not necessarily in heaven or in a state of euphoria.

 

Some will live for eternity in eternal torment in the lake of fire, which we call hell. Many people berate Christians for what they call proselytizing. They are of the opinion that we get some sort of gold star for bringing the most people to church.

 

They think it is all about nickels and noses – church attendance and offerings. Yet, the motivation of most authentic Born Again Believers is to open heaven’s gates to as many people as we can.

 

We ask God to let us meet people, who are willing to listen to the Gospel and be saved. We shudder at the thought of our friends, loved ones and acquaintances spending eternity in torment.

 

The unsaved view hell as a continual party full of pleasures of the flesh. That is what Satan wants them to think. He paints this picture in their minds and insists that the Christian viewpoint is misguided at best.

 

These unsuspecting people buy into Satan’s lies and believe them as truth; rejecting God’s truth as the lie (Romans 1:25). The unfortunate fact about this foolish stance is that they may not find out until they die that the devil duped them.

 

The door of the Ark will already be closed (Genesis 7:16). There will be no more time to believe in Jesus for salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). The multitude of chances God gave them during their lifetime will be over (Genesis 6:3).

 

It will be too late for them to come to Christ.

 

Prayer:

Father God, please direct us to people in our sphere of influence who need to know You. Give us divine appointments every day so that we can share Your love through the Gospel of Christ with those whom Your Spirit is drawing to the shadow of Your wings.

 

We pray for our loved ones who are deceived by Satan’s lie; and we ask You to open the eyes of their understanding, so that they can see the Truth about Your love for them. Strengthen their inner being to accept Jesus by Your Spirit (Ephesians 1:18, 3:16).

 

Thought for the Day:
Praying that, while there is still time, many in our sphere of influence will believe God’s Truth; and trust in Christ as their Savior, so that they too can enter into eternity with Him forever.

 

 

Sharing Christ with Others

God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in His Creation (Revelation 4:11). This takes away a person’s excuse for not believing in Him as their Savior.

We instinctively know that there is a God and that we should serve Him with all of our emotions, mind, choices and physical strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Yet, so many do not honor God or appreciate Him. They pursue futile activities, endless philosophies and fruitless enlightenment and their hearts darken further with each passing day. They think they are wise, but they are actually very foolish (Romans 1:20-22).

Authentic Believers trust in, rely on and believe in Christ even if we end up suffering for the sake of His righteousness. We learn to explain and defend our beliefs to those who ask us about the hope we have in Him.

Yet, we never impose our beliefs on someone who is clearly not interested in them (1 Peter 3:14-16). There is no point if the Holy Spirit is not drawing them to God. We never badger anyone about coming to Christ.

We share Jesus with gentleness, respect for the listener and a good conscience; even if someone slanders our good name or reviles our good behavior in Christ.

We are created for God’s glory and service, and we will spend all of eternity worshiping our worthy Lamb who was slain in our place. For now, we live for His glory while we dwell on this earth and do only those works for which He created us to perform (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, break the yoke of bondage that our flesh feels to sin and replace our weaknesses with Your strengths. Help us to decrease so that You may increase. We praise You as our living Lord and thank You for giving us Your Spirit to abide within us all the days of our life.

You are the only one worthy of all honor, respect, praise, glory, wisdom, might and blessing. We look forward to joining the myriads of angels already around the throne in singing Your praises (Revelation 5:12). Lead us to share Christ with those whom You are drawing to Yourself.

Thought for the Day:
The abiding Holy Spirit teaches us to follow His lead as we share Christ with friends, relatives, associates and neighbors; so that we do not push too hard, ignore their body language or fail to read the feelings of their soul in their eyes.

Unreached People Groups

In this modern world, it seems impossible that there are still people who have never heard the gospel of Christ (Acts 4:12). They have had little to no opportunity for outreach and evangelism (Revelation 15:4).

An unreached people group is one that has less than 2% of Believers in their country and has no church planting capabilities or Bibles in a language, which they can understand.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and to preach the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20). Christians in every succeeding century have followed suit.

Of course, America and England sent out the most missionaries so far. However, in today’s spiritual climate, other countries are now sending missionaries to England and America, due to our lack of faithful, committed Believers. Churches are continually closing here.

We are afraid to speak to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about the difference that Christ makes in our life, and how God’s unconditional love provides us with so many benefits both now and in eternity (Romans 15:21; Psalm 67:1-3).

The Apostle Paul is a great example to us, since he took several missionary journeys covering large land areas and started over 50 churches to carry on the ministry of spreading God’s Word to the masses (Romans 1:5).

God calls all Believers, even today, to reach as many people in our area of influence and to plant as many churches as there is a need, in order to take as many people to Heaven with us as we possibly can (Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10; Mark 13:10; Acts 13:45-47).

Prayer:
Father God, as we go about our day, remind us to preach, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and then to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 10:8).

Help us to be strong and courageous, because wherever we go, You are there with us and in us (Joshua 1:9). Move by Your Holy Spirit in the lives of people we know and those unreached people groups all over the world, so that the soil of their lives will be ready to receive the seeds of the gospel, which we commit to spread as sowers of Your Word (Matthew 13:18-23).

Thought for the Day:
All the ends of the earth shall remember what Jesus did and turn to Him, and all the families of the nations of the world shall worship before Him. – Psalm 2:8, 22:27, 67:5-7, 98:2-3