No Longer a Sinner – Conformed to Christ’s Image

God’s glory within us increases incrementally as we cooperate with His Spirit’s discipline and direction. We reflect this glory to the world around us and draw people to Him who want more of Him in their life as well.

 

His sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

As God’s Spirit transforms us with the mind, likeness and divine character of Christ, we change from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is not a matter of Him changing us from one stage of sinner to the next.

 

We are no longer a worm, but a butterfly soaring in the spiritual realm of life. Our inner man is drawn by the Spirit of God into ascending realms of spiritual maturity, rather than Him dragging us out of our penchant toward one sin and then another (Ephesians 4:13).

 

This sanctifying work starts with the rebirth of our spirit and continues throughout our lifetime, as the imperfect in us is transformed into the perfected (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2).

 

Our cooperation with God’s Spirit insures that our perfection continues without disruption until we are completely conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

 

Christ, who is the image of God and abides within us (John 1:14, 14:9), gives us both the desire and power to work out our salvation in cooperation with God’s Spirit (Colossians 1:15; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 1:3).

 

As we focus on Christ, as if looking in a mirror at His image in us, we reflect increasing stages of His glory. We realize that our carnal nature is all but dead, and that Christ is our whole life (Ephesians 3:3-4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, reveal to us that only the veil of sin, which so easily hinders us if we take our mind off Christ, will thwart our personal journey into perfection. Help us to allow Your Spirit to cut away the dead skin of the flesh, so that we walk in unity with Your Spirit and in the likeness of Christ in us.

 

Remind us to continually focus on Your glory reflected on the face of Christ within us. Fill us daily with Your Spirit and allow us to totally submit until He takes full possession of our body, spirit and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. Our whole desire in our life is to reflect Your glory to the world around us and to draw everyone in our sphere of influence to a closer walk with You.

 

Thought for the Day:
Our dark and sinful soul is transformed into the image of Christ as we consistently walk in His marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9

 

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Union with Christ – More than Religion

Christianity is not a religion. It is an intimate union with the Lord of Hosts who lives His divine life in and through every authentic Believer (1 Corinthians 6:17).

 

We do not earn a divine life in Christ by our good works; it is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-20; 2 Peter 1:4). Unless we grasp the fullness of our identity in Christ, we fall short of all that God wants to do in us and through us.

 

As God Word strengthens us, we overcome this world and we also live victorious lives over the wiles of Satan (1 John 2:14). We scatter the darkness by turning on God’s Light.

 

Deceiving thoughts flee at the mention of Jesus’ name. Satan cannot initiate anything in our life without God’s permission; and if we submit to God and resist the devil, he is obligated to flee from us (James 4:7).

 

Satan may try to distract us from serving God, but as we keep our mind on Christ, we remain in perfect peace as His Spirit leads us through each moment of the day (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7).

 

We keep our focus on spiritual aspects of life and the carnal, temporal issues fade into the background. We do not stress and strain after more of this world, but allow our spirit and soul to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-10).

 

We live to praise His name in our heart and mind as we go about the requirements of our day. We look for divine opportunities to share God’s love and life with those we meet throughout our day.

 

We let our light shine so that others will see Christ in us and glorify our Father God (Matthew 5:16). They will desire to have the same peace and joy in their life, which they see abiding in our life.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave all of Your spiritual blessings and everything pertaining to life and godliness, to Your Saints in the past, to those present with us now, as well as those which will be born in the future (2 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2: 20-21). We honor You and give You all the praise and glory that is due to Your name.

 

You work Your power in us and You are able to do more in us and through us than we can ever imagine or accomplish for You on our own (1 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:16, 20; Colossians 1:11; 1 Peter 4:11). You give us an abundant supply of power for everything we need in order to sufficiently accomplish Your will for our life (2 Corinthians 3:5, 4:7, 9:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

We do not pound out a meager existence for our self in this life, but we live an abundant life through Christ in us. – John 10:10

 

 

Adopted by Our Holy God

In our humanistic society, it is impossible not to keep our focus on our self. We think about #1, sometimes to the exclusion of those whom we should cherish more than our own self.

 

We forget that Christ laid down His life for us and calls us to lay down our life for others. It is easier for most women to lay down our life, because our genes tend to be hardwired with the codependent nature.

 

However, there are also men in our society that have this emotional, compassionate nature that makes it easier for them to put others above their self.

 

The issue here is more about Christ increasing within our spirit and soul as our focus on our self decreases (John 3:30). We consider others as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4).

 

This does not mean that we neglect our self – we are people too and we can minister to our needs in the same way that we care for everyone else. In fact, this habit keeps us healthy and more able to help others (Mark 12:31).

 

Yet, as we decrease, we are new creatures in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24). We are offspring of our holy God and His divine nature infuses every part of our body, spirit and soul – thoughts, choices and feelings (Acts 17:28-29).

 

In eternity, Christ will even transform our body to mirror His glorious, immortal one (Philippians 3:21).  God’s Spirit completely sanctifies us, conforming us to the image and likeness of Christ, God’s first born Son (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You adopted us as individual members of Your Body and Jesus is our head (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:15). Our body is Your temple and as the corporate Body of Christ, we are one with Your Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:17). The world recognizes that You sent us on their behalf, because our life is a testimony of You to them (John 17:21-23).

 

Jesus gives us the glory, which You gave to Him, so that we can be one with Him, You and with one another (John 17:22). Help us to be patient and diligent as You slowly mature our spiritual growth until we share in the divine nature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

We are crucified with Christ, and therefore, we live in this world for the glory of Christ; yet, it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us and through us. – Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20

 

 

 

Life-Changing Bible Verses Part 1 – Molded by Grace

The Bible is the Word of God, and it is life to our soul and strength to our bones (Proverbs 17:22). The scriptures are given to us by God to encourage, strengthen and mature us in our relationship with Him.

 

Every word is given to us by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). God did not create us and abandon us on this earth. He gave us His Word and His Spirit as our comforter and guide (John 16:13).

 

He also provided us with His Word to help to direct us on His paths of righteousness – a place of safety and security to all who walk in them. We depend on His Word, ingesting it daily to nourish our body, soul and spirit.

 

Some verses actually take us by surprise when we read them. They are so profound, that they touch a place deep within us and mold us by their truth and wisdom.

 

For instance, God loved humanity so much that He gave us His only Son to die in our place, and to pay the debt that we owed due to our sins. If we choose to believe in Him, we will not perish in Hell, but enjoy everlasting life now and for eternity (John 3:16-17).

 

Yet, if we choose not to believe, we condemn our self to an eternity in the fires of Hell (John 3:18). God never condemns anyone to Hell, we do that to our self by our unbelief.

 

God intends that no one should perish, but that we should all enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ (2 Peter 3:9). It is simply a matter of humbling our self before the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:5-14), and accepting Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

 

This fact leads to another life-altering verse: Christ is our life (Colossian 3:3). We are not placed on earth to build our own kingdom and to leave a financial legacy for our children; although if this fits into God’s plan for us, it is a wholesome goal.

 

Instead, we allow Christ’s life to consume us as we burn brightly for His Kingdom (Matthew 5:14-16). As we seek first His Kingdom and righteousness with our thoughts, words and deeds, He in turn supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, this thought leads us to another amazing verse. It is often hard to trust You as we traverse the switchbacks of life. Yet, You had mercy on us and did not plan for us to perfect our self. You give us both the desire and the ability to walk in Your ways (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

You require that we walk in faith (Romans 14:22-23); yet, You are even willing to help us when we waver in faith and have a hard time keeping our faith focused on You (Mark 9:24). The road to hell is paved with Satan’s lies, so help us to walk in Your everlasting Truth.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we seek the Lord with our whole heart, and stop depending on our human reasoning to make it through life, He will reveal His will to us and direct each step we traverse. – Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

Choosing to be Vulnerable

Too often I meet people who are destroyed by the unfaithfulness of people in their life. They are abused by a parent, disappointed by decisions made for them by those in authority over them, abandoned by a spouse, traumatized by infidelity, or overwhelmed by grief from some loss in their life.

 

Through life’s trials, I have learned that all people are inherently untrustworthy. You and I fall into that category as well. We never know how we will act or react to a moment of temptation and weakness. Yet, God calls us to love unconditionally.

 

If we withhold trust and love from others because we are wounded or fear the potential of being hurt, we cheat our self. We erect walls around our emotions and function in life from our mind only.

 

We refuse to feel anything because life is too painful for us. We do not emotionally invest in anyone, not even our spouse, children or church family. We simply show love by doing acts of service for them.

 

This attitude makes us feel like we are a success and doing our duty to others. Yet, this is a substitute at best – failing to fulfill us at the deepest levels of our soul.

 

This anxious arrogance actually makes us more vulnerable and increases our load of unwanted emotional baggage. We collect the incidents of abuse in our soul and hold grudges, forgiving with our mind but never from our heart.

 

God is the only entity in life that we can truly trust. He always has our best interest at heart. Even if He disciplines us or allows life to bruise us, He never allows life to totally break us (Isaiah 42:3).

 

This makes life worth the risk of allowing our self to be vulnerable to hurt, in order to experience the joy of unfettered love and acceptance. We can even more freely love our self if we allow our self to love others (Mark 12:30-31).
Prayer:

Father God, our soul can only find our true and complete rest in You alone. You are our only salvation and constant comfort and strength. You alone are our rock and fortress. No matter what life throws at us, we will never be shaken as long as we keep our focus on You (Psalm 62:1).

 

Remind us that it is easier to forgive others when we realize that they are as vulnerable and human as we are. We can actually expect to be wounded by other people, but it hurts less when we have our faith in You rather than in our fellow sojourners in this life. You give us Your agape love to share with the world and it is healing and complete.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is our only help and shield from the inherent pain life brings (Psalm 33:20), because He alone is our strength in times of trouble (Psalm 37:39), and our courage in this insecure world (Psalm 130:5); we wait in silence before Him and find our hope only from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

A New Creation

It is healthy for us to take an inventory of our thoughts and feelings every day (John 7:24). This prevents negative thoughts and emotions from piling up in our soul and exploding at the least provocation.

 

Satan’s lies, our own insecurities plus neurosis from our past, and the world’s judgment on us keep us enslaved to negative thinking. Yet, God’s Word admonishes us to take our thoughts captive in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

We tend to dwell on this temporal earth, embroiled by human reasoning and trapped by the hour glass of time – still eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and attempting to save our self (Genesis 2:17, 3:5).

 

These negative constraints affect our thoughts and emotions. We attempt to improve our self, but whatever is conceived by the flesh can be aborted by the flesh. We live on a hamster’s wheel – always running, but getting nowhere fast. However, there is hope for us in God (Psalm 63:2:5; Romans 15:13).

 

God chose us and loved us while we were still sinners (John 15:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8). At salvation, He makes us His Children and co-heirs with Jesus (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17). His Spirit is building us into His house (Hebrews 3:6).

 

We cannot craft any lasting changes to our character in order to earn His love. He makes us clean – not by our good deeds and intentions, but by the blood of Christ (John 15:3; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Psalm 127:1).

 

Jesus makes us wise, righteous, redeemed and a new creation; so that we glory in the Lord rather than to take the credit (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Christ in us continually draws us into a more intimate union with Himself and our Father (Colossians 1:20). We simply obey (John 14:15).

 

Prayer:

 

Father God, Your love frees us from doubt and condemnation, which are fed to us by our own insecurities, the world’s condemnation and Satan’s lies. Please draw our loved ones away from the seduction of this world, deliver them from the lies of the devil, and allow them to feel Your love and conviction cascading over them like a waterfall.

 

In You there is no shame for our failings and idiosyncrasies, only love and acceptance just the way we are (Romans 5:8). Your Spirit perfects us through a lifetime of sanctifying exercises (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You make us one with You and Jesus Christ through His residing presence and Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in us until You become our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is one with us in spirit and in truth; and He brings us into His rest in His perfect peace and love as we keep our soul focused on Christ in us. – Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 26:3

 

 

Emotional and Mental Health – Healing our Thoughts and Emotions

It is healthy for us to take an inventory of our thoughts and feelings every day (John 7:24). This prevents negative thoughts and emotions from piling up in our soul and exploding at the least provocation.

 

Satan’s lies, our own insecurities and neurosis from our past, and the world’s judgment on us keep us captive to negative thinking. Yet, God’s Word admonishes us to take our thoughts captive in Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

We tend to dwell on this temporal earth embroiled by human reasoning and trapped by the hour glass of time – still eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil and attempting to save our self (Genesis 2:17, 3:5).

 

These negative constraints affect our thoughts and emotions. We attempt to improve our self, but whatever is conceived by the flesh can be aborted by the flesh. We live on a hamster’s wheel – always running, but getting nowhere fast. However, there is hope for us in God (Psalm 63:2:5; Romans 15:13).

 

God chose us and loved us while we were still sinners (John 15:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8). At salvation, He makes us His Children and co-heirs with Jesus (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17). His Spirit is building us into His house (Hebrews 3:6).

 

We cannot craft any lasting changes to our character in order to earn His love. He makes us clean – not by our good deeds and intentions, but by the blood of Christ (John 15:3; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Psalm 127:1).

 

Jesus makes us wise, righteous, redeemed and a new creation; so that we glory in the Lord rather than to take the credit (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Christ in us continually draws us into a more intimate union with Himself and our Father (Colossians 1:20). We simply obey (John 14:15).

 

Prayer:

 

Father God, Your love frees us from doubt and condemnation, which are fed to us by our own insecurities, the world’s condemnation and Satan’s lies. Please draw our loved ones away from the seduction of this world, deliver them from the lies of the devil, and allow them to feel Your love and conviction cascading over them like a waterfall.

 

In You there is no shame for our failings and idiosyncrasies, only love and acceptance just the way we are (Romans 5:8). Your Spirit perfects us through a lifetime of sanctifying exercises (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You make us one with You and Jesus Christ through His residing presence and Your Spirit’s sanctifying work in us until You become our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus is one with us in spirit and in truth; and He brings us into His rest in His perfect peace and love as we keep our soul focused on Christ in us. – Colossians 1:27; Isaiah 26:3