Satisfied in Jesus

As we mature spiritually, we walk in godliness with contentment and receive a great advantage both in this world and the next (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

 

Like Paul, we learn contentment regardless of the circumstances in which we find our self – deprived and in want, or pleasant and blessed (Philippians 4:11-13).

 

Contentment drives out striving and stress and teaches us to find our satisfaction in Christ alone. It also prevents us from neglecting our walk with the Lord, or living at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1).

 

We enter God’s rest and abide there even when life threatens to overwhelm us (Hebrews 13:5). Striving causes contention and competition; however, God calls us to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

 

We have not seen with our human eyes, or heard with our natural ears, or imagined in our finite mind what God prepared both now and in eternity for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 

He promises us our daily bread and everything we need in order to survive in this world. He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air and loves us and provides for us just as richly.

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to look for Your hand of provision for us in our daily walk and to live in contentment. We thank You for giving us everything we need to fulfill Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Bring us to a place where we cease from our carnal striving and where we set our affection on things above and not here on this earth (Colossians 3:2-17). Give us the divine mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), create in us a clean heart, and renew a holy and purposeful spirit in us (Psalm 51:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us all good thing to enjoy – every good and perfect gift, which we need as we dwell with Him in contentment and thanksgiving. – Philippians 4:6

 

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Fullness of Joy

In the presence of God is the only spot on this earth where the fullness of joy resides. He offers us pleasures that last throughout eternity (Psalm 16:11; 139: 23-24).

 

We often look for natural, human experiences with God, but His ways are so much higher than ours. God enjoys sitting with us in silence; no revelations, no rushing wind, no mighty supernatural gifts deposited in our life. Just golden silence in the presence of our King Jesus.

 

At other times, we need a notebook to keep track of all the ideas He imparts to us during these intimate times of devotion.

 

We may make a to-do list for our day, or a prayer list of people He wants us to lift up in our prayers that day, or people we need to forgive or those from whom we need to ask forgiveness.

 

Only as we deliberately enter the recesses within our own soul, and only as we conquer the clutter in our life and thoughts, and empty our self of selfish ambition and attitudes, can we hope to discover His presence in our life.

 

However, the amount of clutter in our soul leaves no room for Him to make His presence known to us. God will give us a plan to straighten up the inner and the outer clutter in our life.

 

Listening to God with our undivided attention in these times of aloneness is the key to growing spiritually. We find that we look forward to our times alone with God.

 

Prayer:

Father God, when we abide in You, negative emotions such as fear, confusion, distress, distrust, and dread no longer fill every recess of our soul. We learn to trust in You regardless of the natural events taking place around us. We sit with awe-filled wonder at the magnificence of Your will and way in our life.

 

Give us this day only that which we need to serve You; and teach us to wait patiently on You for each new day, hour and moment that You give us to attend to You with our whole heart. We release our negative emotions to You and receive from You the cry of Your heart instead.

 

Thought for the Day:

Ephesians 3:16-19 (Amplified Bible)…“ May God grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. 17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, 18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

 

Broken Walls of Fear and Mistrust

Even when we come to faith in Christ, we still often hesitate to relinquish to Him the power over our existence. We have a lifetime of experience with people letting us down, disappointing us and breaking their promises and commitments to us.

 

Therefore, we mistrust God as well. We have an overwhelming need to understand God, before we agree to believe in Him.

 

We use human wisdom for all of our decisions, and we collect friends around us that agree with our life view. We have such a strong compulsion to control our own life and everything that happens in it, that we dare not rely on anyone but our own self.

 

People feel safe somehow in trusting only in that which they can prove, and believing only in that which makes sense to their human mind.

 

Added to our human reasoning is Satan’s perfected art of deception. He often draws us away from following after God by his fraudulent schemes.

 

Add to this our own lusts and the powerful temptations from living life in the world, and it is amazing that anyone ever actually chooses to surrender their life completely to God.

 

Our sin nature doomed us to failure since birth; but Jesus Christ set us free from sin and death by His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension (Romans 8:2).

 

Only the Spirit of God can break down our walls of fear and mistrust and allow us to fully embrace a relationship that starts with our total submission to God through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

Prayer:

Father God, eventually Your Spirit leads us to the point in our life where we step over this boundary of fear into the freedom of faith and we completely trust in You. Your Spirit enables us to shun evil and honor You with all of our thoughts and actions.

 

You are always faithful to reward us with health and abundance in every area of our life. We learn to trust in You with all of our heart, rather than relying on our own strength and understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We want to honor You with our life now and until the day of our death.

 

Thought for the Day:
As we seek God’s will for every minute of every day, He removes the ruts and bumps in our road (Proverbs 3:7-8), until we eventually learn to give Him every fear and insecurity that plague our life, because we come to understand that He really does care about us (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Spiritual Battles

According to the Bible, those who trust in their own efforts are foolish (Galatians 3:1-3). They boast in their wisdom, strength or riches, but their house is built upon the sand (Matthew 7:26).

 

However, those who walk in God’s wisdom are kept safe. Since, they understand and know the Lord intimately, He exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on their behalf (Proverbs 28:26; Jeremiah 9:23-24).

 

We often spend years of our life cautiously watching God’s dealings in the life of His children. His discipline frightens us, but His blessings amaze us. We finally come to the place where we are willing to make a commitment to Him.

 

At this point, we often swing to the opposite side of the pendulum. We are totally committed to Christ and we do not want to displease Him.

 

Therefore, we diligently search the Bible in order to completely understand the rules and regulation of the law and what He wants from us. We attempt to religiously adhere to even the most vague letter of the law (Matthew 5:18).

 

Our heart is in the right place, because we do not want to disappoint God. However, no amount of striving will produce any amount of righteousness in us at all (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:9). Every bit of our righteousness amounts to nothing more than a pile of old, dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6).

 

God knows that we will drive our self crazy, if we continue to attempt to maintain control over our life. He continually attempts to set us free from human effort and invites us to enter into His rest.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your ways are perfect. Your Son is the God of truth and there is no iniquity in Him (Deuteronomy 32:4). Yet, He suffered the persecution and death of a common criminal to set us free from bondage to sin and death (Romans 6:23) and to raise us up to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

 

Thank You that our old way of life is gone forever and now everything is completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thank You for ordering our days and blessing us in every area of our life as we trust in You (Psalm 139:16; 2 Corinthians 9:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

Spiritual battles are meant to be won; not in our own strength, but by the power of God’s Spirit working in us to perfect us until the day we meet the Lord face-to-face; He delights in us and we are His people; He is our Good Shepherd, and we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 95:7; 100:3).

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Apart From Jesus

Living apart from Jesus is the most miserable existence on earth. We continually strive to obtain, reach or acquire that one more item, experience, person, place, career opportunity, or status symbol to make us happy on this earth (Philippians 3:1-11).

 

Conversely, like Paul, I am obsessed with the idea of the Trinity living in us. Paul mentions it more than 170 times in his epistles. Christ in us delivers us from sin and fills us with His resurrection life (Romans 5:10). He writes His laws in our conscience so that we will not sin against Him.

 

He changes our personality, our values, our priorities and our life goals (2 Corinthians 5:17), and floods our soul with His infinite peace and wisdom (Philippians 4:6-8). Yet, if we live apart from Jesus, we have none of these benefits (1 John 5:12).

 

His salvation reaches not only to our spirit (salvation), but to our soul (sanctification) and body (glorification) as well (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Redemption consists of these three phases in the stages of a lifelong journey of purification and contentment.

 

God freely offers everyone this gift of a personal relationship with Him. We have the option to either embrace His friendship or to refuse to acknowledge Him. The choice is ours.

 

He gives us this opportunity to get to know Christ and to grow in our understanding of His power, His resurrection and in what He has to offer us in eternity.

 

We can experience firsthand both Christ’s sufferings and His victories as we walk through our trials with Him within us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5); but in Him we are conquerors over every trial, because He loves us (Romans 8:37).

 

Christ suffered rejection by the religious leaders of His day. They did not believe they were actually crucifying the living God, because they did not recognize Him for who He was. We do know Him, however.

 

We have the opportunity every day to fellowship with Christ in us; to walk in His mercy, power and grace; to be led by His Holy Spirit and to live with Him in eternity in Heaven.

 

When we put our trust in Christ alone, and allow Him to live in us and to work through us, His power flows in us, through us and from us as it changes the world around us.

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your death on Calvary’s cross, which paid the penalty for my sin (Romans 5:8). Thank You for Your resurrection that gives me life in my spirit, soul and body. Thank You for Your redemption that guarantees me a place in eternity with You. Thank You for one life to live on this earth in Your serenity and joy. Help me to make every day count for Your glory.

 

Lead us by Your Spirit to accomplish Your works in the natural family, church family, neighborhood, city, state and country where You have us living. Remind us that we are missionaries for You and that You have a divine purpose for our life. Help to fulfill Your purpose every moment of every day.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus gives me the opportunity to be one with Him in perfect love and acceptance, apart from any good deeds, pious performances or imposed restrictions, which come from my self-effort.

 

Getting Off the Treadmill

The only striving the Bible suggests that we partake in is to “strive to enter through the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24), to “always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16), and to “strive together in prayers to God” (Rom 15:30).

 

There is no other striving needed in our life once we come into the presence of the Lord. We cease from our labors and enter into the true Sabbath rest of God (Hebrews 13:5).

 

If we “grab” or strive for more out of life, because of discontentment with what we have, God will withhold it from us – protecting us from the human penchant to set our affections on things pertaining to this earth.

 

However, when we sit contentedly at His feet, ready to receive whatever He thinks is best for us, God gives us all good things to enjoy. Our wants diminish, and having less makes us happier than acquiring more.

 

On the other hand, God may give us what we want, until we realize that the more we possess, the more it owns us. These physical assets are more responsibility without that much advantage.

 

Soon the obligation outweighs the benefit we were looking for in the first place. We grow tired of all the stuff and the duties they require; but we are stuck in the whirlwind we created – going around in circles and growing more desperate each day.

 

Once we realize that Jesus is all we really need, we grow more intimate with Him daily. We shed the shroud of material possessions and get off the treadmill of life. We stop striving and straining, and start enjoying His presence, His people, His provision and His blessings.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that walking in the center of Your will is the happiest place on earth. Draw us ever closer to Your presence in our life until You fill us to overflowing (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). Our relationship to You as our Redeemer, Friend, Savior and Brother draws us to spend more time seeking Your Kingdom than building our own.

 

Remind us that our right standing with You was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, and there is no striving needed on our part to fulfill Your will for our life. We do not work for or strain for a position in Your family, because You adopted us with all of the rights and privileges You gave to Your firstborn Son.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we realize that God has a preordained design for our life, we walk in it (Ephesians 2:10); and His peace floods our thoughts, emotions and plans, allowing us to realize that He gives us all good things to enjoy.

 

 

 

Living in the Moment

When we fail to live “in the moment”, our soul becomes so burdened with anxiety that we can become physically and emotionally ill.

 

When we do succeed in living in the present moment, and become fully attentive to everyday life as we live it, we find joy in the gifts, which God provides. We begin erupting into spontaneous praise to God throughout the day.

 

Living in the present moment also keeps us from taking life for granted. We find joy in the blessings God sends our way. We start to notice the feelings within our soul – our mind, will and emotions – and learn how to respond to and influence them.

 

Praying without ceasing for God’s direction each moment of the day allows the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our steps. We can follow His advice to accomplish God’s will in each moment (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

If God is interested in what we eat and drink (1 Corinthians 10: 31), He is certainly also interested in what we do and when we do it, even if it’s what to fix for dinner.

 

Prayer:

Father God, the Serenity Prayer teaches us that we can hear Your desire for every situation in our life. Then we can deal with the circumstance or put it in Your hands before we go on to the next moment. This way we experience each moment fully and deliberately with thought, prayer and purpose.

 

Help us to discern when we can do something about our circumstances, and how to do it. Of if we cannot influence our circumstances, then to place the outcome in Your capable hands. Help us to really give them to You, Father, and not to take back the worry and responsibility of them; and then to go about our day with Your direction and peace that exceeds all human reasoning and understanding.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we finish one task, we pray about what to do next, and follow the advice of the Serenity Prayer:

 

“Father, grant me the patience to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”