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

 

 

 

From Frightened to Freedom

As a young wife and mother of three, my life was hectic at best. On top of this, I viewed life and reacted to its challenges and issues from a codependent and perfectionistic attitude – double trouble.

 

I wanted to please everyone, so they would like and love me; I thought that the only way to accomplish this feat was to be perfect. I was under the delusion that if I loved and served everyone – even to the detriment of myself – they would love me in return.

 

However, all I did was to teach people to take me for granted and to treat me like a doormat and their unpaid servant – chief cook, bottle washer, baby sitter, housekeeper and problem solver. People took advantage of me, which stressed me out even further.

 

I even did this with God. I attempted to keep every “jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:18), hoping to please God with my undying service, in order to earn His love. I turned into a foolish “Galatian” and ran myself ragged, meeting myself coming and going (Galatians 3:1-3).

 

Stress kept me from sleeping and sleeplessness made me grouchy, which caused me to be short-tempered with those I loved. I hated who I was…I hated me, but I had no idea how to change things.

 

My self-esteem was in the bottom of the tank and I felt like I was drowning in the details of life. Finally, in desperation, I started researching codependence: what caused it and how to get free from it.

 

I learned that I had to stop neglecting my own needs every day and to allow others to meet their own needs once in a while. The books promised that they would still love me anyway, even if I did not “earn” it.

 

I figured that even if they did not love me, then they had no true feelings for me in the first place. I also translated this into the spiritual realm. God already loved me when I was a lost sinner, and He would always love me unconditionally (Romans 5:8); therefore, I could enter His rest and enjoy His favor.

 

This fact stopped the codependence dead in its tracks. I did a 180 degree turn around and walked away from this driven lifestyle. God’s Spirit broke the shackles of expectations that I allowed to chain me to a meager existence.

 

When I entered into God’s rest, I found a security and warmth that I missed all my life. Over the ensuing years, the comfort of God’s rest brought me more peace and joy than I ever dreamed possible; and He continually supplies all of my needs with His glorious riches.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You so much for Your grace and mercy, which lead us in Your everlasting way (John 10:28-30; 1 Peter 5:10). You teach us lessons all along life’s path and You bring us into ever-increasing intimacy with Your presence within us. When we let go of the impossible demands of pleasing people and focus instead on walking by the direction of Your Spirit moment by moment, we enter into Your rest, we receive Your gift of mercy and love, and we learn to trust in Your wisdom.

 

Due to Christ’s saving redemption on Calvary’s cross, we are no longer slaves of the demon of perfectionism. Instead, we follow the leading of Your Spirit and rest in Your goodness and grace. We trust in You with our whole heart; acknowledge You in all of our thoughts, words and deeds; and glorify You as You direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

God invites us to bask in His love; abide in His peace and hide under His wings when life scares us (Psalm 91:4); we learn to accept love when it is given and to serve others only when God’s Spirit leads us to do so; this prevents burn-out and promotes joy in living regardless of our circumstances.

 

God Uses Satan for His Purposes

The devil cheated Adam and Eve out of their dominion over the earth by his deception, manipulation and lies. This was part of God’s eternal design. What Satan plans to use to harm us, God means for our good (Genesis 50:20).

 

Satan also schemed in his heart to destroy Jesus and to protect his place as the god of this world. Yet, Jesus went to the cross with joy in His heart as He focused on the glory awaiting Him in Heaven (Hebrews 12:2).

 

We live life with this same joy in our own hearts, regardless of our circumstances, looking forward to sitting together with Christ and serving Him for eternity (1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:8 10; Ephesians 1:21, 2:4-6).

 

There is no need for us to spend time fighting Satan. We draw near to God, resist the devil and he must flee from us (James 4:7). Satan has no authority of his own. He can only do the bidding of our Father God.

 

For example, Jesus, the Lamb of God, who is opening the seal, bowl and trumpet judgments during the Great Tribulation, directs the plans and purposes of the anti-Christ (Revelation 5:2-10).

 

God uses Satan for His eternal purpose on the earth. He gives Satan the power to employ sin’s temptation to draw hearts away from God, which were never sold out to Him in the first place.

 

These people sit on the fence, giving lip-service to God and serving and giving to God’s Kingdom; but they are just going through the motions (Mathew 7:22). They were never truly converted in their spirit.

 

When we totally surrender our will to God in salvation, His Spirit enters our spirit. He directs our every thought, word and deed. We actually become the love of Christ to the world of lost humanity around us (John 2:12-14; Exodus 33:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as authentic Believers, we submit to You, then resist the devil, and he has to flee from us (James 4:7). This does not mean our tribulation in life will end, but that You love us and make us more than conquerors through every trial (Romans 8:37). We can trust in You through everything that we experience in life, because You care for us (1 Peter 5:7).

 

You even make all of our paths straight because of our enemies (Psalm 27:11; Zechariah 4:7). Jesus is exalted in us as we overcome life’s hurdles. He makes us His joint heirs by His power within us (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 3:6). We find our true self, hidden with Christ in You (Colossians 3:3). Help us to respond to You when You call us out of sin into Your glorious life (1 Peter 2:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Problems are simply opportunities for God to prove Himself strong on our behalf; we find out what He is doing in every situation and then join Him.

Without the Power of God

When God’s Spirit convicts us of the debauchery of our sin, it is easy to feel remorse and to say a prayer of repentance. Everyone “believes” in God in one way or another. Even the demons believe, and tremble in His presence (James 2:19).

 

Although many are convicted at some point in their life, few are authentically converted. They do not express a heart-felt contrition. They do not totally surrender their goals, dreams and plans to God’s will for their life.

 

It is impossible to feel God’s conviction, to pray a saving prayer, and to walk away from sin unless the power of God’s Spirit emboldens and inspires us (Philippians 2:12-13). Authentic salvation and conversion require that we receive the faith of the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:2; Galatians 2:20).

 

A hypocrite is an actor, an imposter, a phony. Most of us are hypocrites, living life in our own wisdom and understanding, playing at religion and putting on a holier-than-thou face in order to impress God and other people. God knows us; and people with discernment see right through us.

 

The way to discern that we are truly Born Again is to “try” the spirit to see if it is from God (1 John 4:1-5). Does the peace of God, which has nothing to do with our circumstances, rule in our heart (Colossians 3:15)?

 

Is the anger gone, that once consumed our soul; traded for the love of God for our self and for other people? Do we have joy in trying times and patience to withstand the test of time?

 

Do we pray about our choices before making them (Proverbs 3:5-6), or do we still march to the drum of Satan in our life? Do we crucify the deeds of the flesh or do we capitulate to them without resistance of any kind (Romans 7)?

 

God is waiting at the door of our heart, ready to come in and feast with us (Revelation 3:20). Are we ready to the open the door wide to Him now, or do we want Him to come back later once we had more time to wallow in sin and its degradation?

 

Prayer:

Father God, we can work out our own salvation with fear and trembling only because You give us both the will and the power to walk in Your ways, in Your timing and in Your truth (Philippians 2:12-13). Your Holy Spirit changes our life in increments (2 Corinthians 3:18); some are smaller segments while others are giant leaps of faith with remorse over our sin and a determination to obey Your Word.

 

We prove our love for You by our obedience (1 John 5:3). Walking in Your will is the happiest place on earth. Our good works actually prove that our faith is in You rather than in our self (James 2:18). You do not need our good works, but we need Your power and the faith of Your Son in order to accomplish good works for Your Kingdom (Galatians 2:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

We sell our self short by living half-heartedly for God, or for seeking His will only when our plans do not pay off, and we find our self in the middle of some traumatic trial; we can do nothing without the power and anointing of God in our life. – Romans 7:18; John 15:5

 

 

Creative Conflict in Marriage

 

A good marriage takes effort. When two – usually opposite – personalities combine under one roof, they often end up donning the boxing gloves and duking it out! Of course there is a simpler solution.

 

God gives us these diverse personalities and gifts, because together we can make wiser decisions. When we are at an impasse, we take the best from both of us and make a third, mutually agreeable choice which makes so much more sense.

 

By keeping our eyes on Jesus, we find God’s perspective and will, and we walk together in peace through His Spirit. We find comfort and wisdom from God’s Word and encourage one another (Psalm 119:71, 75-76).

 

We join our strengths and help one another to overcome our individual weaknesses. This takes humility, and pride will only gum up the works. Having to be right and the need to have one’s own needs met first are no basis for wise decisions – they are part of our insecurities.

 

Together we help each other overcome our idiosyncrasies and failings and guarantee that our unified decisions are in God’s will. Rather than accuse and fight when we disagree, we can brainstorm for that third alternative.

 

Trials and tribulation are easier to handle when faced together. Our frustration, discouragement and disappointments are shared by someone who loves us unconditionally. We comfort each other in our self-doubt.

 

God has a purpose in every trial, and He plants the seed for a miracle in each one of them (1 Peter 4:12). He works out all of them for our ultimate good. Both partners in the marriage are blessed as we keep each other strong and face life’s devastating events as lovers and friends.

 

Our intimacy with God and with one another strengthens through every trial, which we face together. We learn to depend on one another rather than to fight one another; and together we depend on God’s goodness more than on our own resources.

 

Prayer:

Father God, the difficulties and perplexities of life often wear us down and cause us to adopt defense mechanism, which cause negative issues in our marriage. Help us to heal from our personal, unresolved conflicts and to dwell with each other with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). Satan may influence our past, but we do not have to allow him to continue to hinder our present or future life. Help us to draw near to You and to resist Satan’s lies, so he will flee from us (James 4:7).

 

Thank You for linking us with a mate who will strengthen our weaknesses, help us to heal from our past hurts and challenge us to seek Your joy and comfort. Teach us not to attempt to change our mate, but to change our self and to rely on You to meet our needs. Help us to work together as a couple to live in unity with Your Spirit and with one another.

 

Thought for the Day:

Momentary trials lead to long-term blessings, which last a lifetime when we depend on one another and on God to see us through them.

 

Overcoming Discouragement

In this world of unrest, eminent financial collapse, uncertainty and abuse, there is little to encourage us. Many hearts fail them for fear and they resort to suicide (Luke 21:26), which is nothing more than a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

 

Jesus gave us the best solution for the fear and anxiety if life. He advised us not to allow our heart to be troubled, but to put our hope and belief in Him (John 14:1).

 

He is not only preparing a permanent dwelling place for us (John 14:2), He also gives us His Peace (John 14:27). His peace transcends our circumstances and removes our stress over life.

 

God manifests His glory in our life in so many ways. They are often so subtle and unobtrusive that we take them for granted and never really recognize them.

 

Our answered prayers are contributed to coincidence or we do not even realize that He answered them. Little hugs, which God gives us throughout our day, go unnoticed.

 

The shape of a cloud, numbers on the clock, a bird’s song, a cool breeze at just the right moment, a stranger’s smile, a sale at the grocer, an encouraging note from a friend are all hugs from God.

 

God floods our life with light in the darkness all around us; yet, we continue to focus on the darkness and allow it to rob us of our joy in the Lord (John 1:5; 1 John 1:7).

 

Focusing on the truth of God’s Word will keep us in peace as we live life one moment at a time. I ask myself, “How am I doing in this one moment of time?” “Truly blessed”, is my usual assessment. No worries…just be happy in the Lord.

 

Prayer:

Father God, even in trials and tribulation, we can count even trials as joyous, because we are learning patience, which will eventually perfect us (James 1:2-3; John 17:22-23). If we keep our focus on our trying circumstances, fears and world issues, our hearts fail us (Proverbs 3:5-6). Yet, if we change our thoughts to focus on You, You keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

 

Help us to watch for Your little hugs throughout the day, so that we can be assured of Your love as they comfort us in whatever situation we are experiencing at the time. Remind us to spread Your love, encouragement and joy to everyone we meet during each of Your divine appointments.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus, the Light of the world, continually shines in our life.

– John 1:5-9

 

 

 

 

Abundant Life

Humans foolishly count our worth by the fame, fortune and success we achieve in this world. These are fleeting and transitory and can change with an unforeseen event in an instant.

 

As followers of Christ, we no longer pursue aspects pertaining to this earthly realm, but we focus our mind, affections and goals on the purposes of God for us (Colossians 3:2).

 

God changes our nature from carnal, earthly flesh to one full of purity, Godliness and spirituality (2 Corinthians 3:18). He gives us a way out of every future temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

On top of that, He saves us from the punishment of our sins (Romans 6:23). Then He moves into our spirit to live His life through us.

 

Once we come to an epiphany of our union with Christ, anything is possible, according to the will of God (Mark 10:27). God graciously forgives our sin debt (1 John 1:9).

 

We no longer desire to fulfill the deeds of the flesh in our mortal body; because we are putting on the new self, which Jesus is renewing within us (Colossians 3:10).

 

When we focus on our life with an earthly perception, we experience stress, anxiety, anger and many other negative emotions. The consequences of our choices and actions follow us into eternity.

 

We are never more fulfilled than when we are walking closest to God through Christ in us. He walks with us every moment of every day, giving us His strength to go through every trial, making them adventures in which we can find His joy (Philippians 2:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, with our mind focused on You, we walk in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Our deepest affections are reserved just for You. As we focus on this life with an eternal perspective, we are only interested in Your intentions, instructions and inclusion of us in Your plans.

 

Your peace, which transcends all human understanding, fills our heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). We want nothing more than to bask in Your presence and to walk in step with You through each moment of our life.

 

Thought for the Day:

True abundance in this life only comes when we adopt a spiritual purpose. – Matthew 6:19-21

 

Do Feelings Control Us?

We often experience feelings which we cannot express. We can communicate our basic mood such as happy, sad, mad, glad, frustrated, etc. However, we cannot distinctly and clearly share how we really feel unless we develop a more detailed vocabulary

( http://wire.wisc.edu/quizzesnmore/emotionwords.aspx ).

 

What type of happy do we feel? Glad or elated? Are we simply sad or actually depressed or devastated? Are we mad or annoyed or fuming? Expressing in more detail how we feel helps us to better understand our self, and allows others to better understand us.

 

Our feelings can totally overwhelm our soul. We believe that we must act on them or explode. Sometimes we do explode and end up wounding other people that we really care about.

 

Feelings are red flags to enable us to see how our environment is effecting us. We do not have to act on them, but we can use them to change our environment for the better.

 

We cannot control other people, but we can control our choices. If someone makes a choice that is intolerable to us, we can make our own choice to temporarily remove our self from that situation until it is resolved.

 

Our feelings do not define us, but they do express how our environment is affecting us. As we are aware of and describe what we are feeling, we can make changes to turn our negative feelings into positive ones.

 

We may change our focus, or we can change the situation, or we can pray for God’s deliverance from an unhealthy or unholy or unsuitable situation or environment, which we cannot change.

 

Journaling helps us to sort out our feelings; then if want to keep our feelings private, we can rip the page to shreds or burn it in the campfire or a coffee can!

 

The important point is to acknowledge and provide for our desires, which are using our feelings to indicate what we really need. When we validate our self, we affirm that we are special and deserve tender loving care.

 

God gave us feelings for our good, and we should pay attention to our soul and how life is impacting us. This gives us a feeling of being cared for, if by no one other than our Daddy God and our self. Sometimes, that is all we really need.

 

Prayer:
Father God, as we trust in and rely on You to know what is best for us, You always hear us from Your holy hill and You turn even the worse situation into blessings for our eventual good. We come to a breaking point in our life where we let go of control and dive into the current of life. Instead of fighting the circumstances, we go with Your flow as You use us for Your Kingdom work.

 

At times we cling to our feelings as a defense or as a reason to hide from reality or truth. We use them as a weapon and slay with our words what we perceive as the opposition. Your Word encourages us that a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Teach us to respond with a soft answer, no matter how upset we feel, and remind us that we are Your special children and that You love us beyond words.

 

Thought for the Day:

We can acknowledge our emotions and allow them to explain how our situation is affecting us, but then we can let them go and pray for God’s wisdom to see more clearly what action is needed to rectify the situation.

 

God’s Plan for Us

God designed us with His perfect will in mind for our life. It always starts with salvation through Christ, by which we receive eternal life (John 6:40). Then, He calls us to a life of holiness to exhibit His glory in the earth (1 Peter 1:15).

 

He teaches us patience through the events which we traverse (James 1:4). We gain contentment as He fills us with His joy and teaches us to pray without ceasing and full of gratitude for all of His provision (John 14:27).

 

Slowly, but consistently, He conforms us to Jesus’ image, and we join Him as the family of God (Romans 8:29). We grow closer in our union with Him through every difficulty and blessing which He allows along our way.

 

Entering into His will through our faith in Christ Jesus, we continue living His plan for our life through each decision we make (Proverbs 3:5-6). We hear His Spirit direct us in the minutest details of our day; telling us to turn to our right or to our left (Isaiah 30:21).

 

The key in this walk is to make time to listen to God’s Spirit within us, to repent of any sin He reveals, and not to ignore or argue with His direction for our day. Our Heavenly Father knows best.

 

This requires that we slow down the busyness, simplify our life and to listen to His peaceful, quiet voice within us (Isaiah 30:15). Fulfillment is our reward when we seek the prize of the high calling of God, and purpose to do His will with our life rather than our own (Philippians 3:14).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Holy Spirit beckons us to follow Your will and to accomplish Your works with our life in this world. We often stray from Your perfect plan – drawn away by enticing situations and emergencies which compete for our attention.

 

Remind us to follow Your peace in every situation, regardless of the analytical, human thoughts in our mind. Help us to establish a daily quiet time, and to give attention to Your direction all day long. When we follow Your advice on which way to turn, we never take the wrong road.

 

Thought for the Day:

God’s guiding voice calls to us each moment of our day, but we can only hear it as we quiet the voices within us and of the world around us that would attempt to drown it out.

 

 

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