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]!

 

Bruised, but Not Broken

Violence can break a person, a relationship, personal belongings, etc. Something whole is handicapped now…maybe glued together, but never the same again.

 

Sometimes the fracture is undetectable, but it is there nonetheless – influencing every day of our life, leaving us damaged, cracked, fragmented and wounded.

 

Fear, confusion, insecurity and brokenness leave us vulnerable, crushed, strained and fractured. Ravaged by the choice made by someone else, our life is less than perfect. We often injure others because we are no longer whole.

 

Jesus paid the price to help us to mend from these injuries and flaws. He allowed the Roman soldiers to spill His blood, so we can be healed in body, soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Jesus heals the brokenhearted by the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18).Troubles and trials may press in on us from every side, but Jesus breaks the yokes which bind us to them.

 

If we trust in and rely on Him alone, He does not allow life to crush us (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20). He encourages us when we are disheartened to keep us from being driven to despair (Psalms 34:18). He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

This persecution reveals the character of Christ in us, as we share in suffering in this life similar to His (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Our anguish here on earth cannot even compare to the unspeakable glory and joy that God will reveal in us and to us through the power of Christ’s resurrection.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You comfort all who mourn (Matthew 5:4). You require from us a spirit, which is humbly broken and contrite (Psalm 51:17). If we fall upon Christ by faith, we may be crushed; but never broken, because He will save us (Matthew 21:44).

 

Conversely, those who reject Your Son Jesus actually expose themselves to danger, ultimate ruin and eternal destruction (Luke 20:18; John 3:16-18; Romans 11:19; John 15:5). You will not allow the crushed stem to be completely broken or their feeble light to be put out entirely (Matthew 12:20).

 

Thought for the Day:

A bruised and broken life is full of mercy and compassion for others, and God uses us as a conduit of His love to those who suffered what we have suffered.

 

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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Separated from God

I never want to become so accustomed to sin that I consider it normal behavior. If I compromise my holiness to gratify the lusts of my flesh, I short-change myself and grieve God’s Holy Spirit.

 

I have seen a pattern in my life when it comes to sin. The more I give in to temptation, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. I shut out the warning of my conscience, and soon I can no longer hear from God at all.

 

My sin separates me from Him and causes my resistance against sin to diminish. I also lose my peace and joy, and God no longer experiences any pleasure in my actions (1 John 2:17).

 

However, when I focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), I have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place.

 

The Holy Spirit is always ready to empower me to break the cycle of sin and to walk in God’s Righteousness (Philippians 2:13). He helps me to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide me with everything I need to live successfully.

 

Prayer:

Father God, give me Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that I never lose the joy of being in Your presence. I need discernment to see when behavior is suspicious, because even good things can push me off the straight and narrow road and cause days, weeks, months and even years of destruction in my life.

 

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness with each new morning, and to trust totally in You. Cause me to hear the way in which I should walk as I lift up my soul to You to fulfill with Your love, peace, joy and blessings. Give me Your vantage point about sin, so that I do not sin against You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in the spirit of every Born Again Believers.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Give Me Jesus

We are foreigners in this world (Ephesians 2:19). We are no longer attached to any person, place or thing, because they are all temporary and subject to loss or change without a moment’s notice.

 

Our humanity is dead to sin, because we no longer care about things of this world; but Jesus lives His life in and through us. The life we now live in this mortal body, we live by the faith of Christ in us, because He loves us and gave His life as a ransom for our life (Galatians 2:20).

 

If Jesus is our whole life, then we are never abandoned and never alone (Colossians 3:3-4). He is there when we awaken in the morning, when we are sick or healthy, when we are alone or in a crowd, when our body wears out and when we enter eternity.

 

I never meet a stranger, only potential friends. I love pretty flowers and sunsets, special furniture and nick-knacks; but they are here today and gone tomorrow.

 

Even people are unfaithful, or move, or leave this world bound for their eternal place of existence. They leave us behind and we are void of their presence in our daily life; however, in actuality, Jesus is all we need both in this world and the next (Hebrews 13:5).

 

He is a refreshing waterfall of living water (John 4:14). His river of living water flows from us and changes the lives of those around us (John 7:38). He drenches us with His love, peace and joy, regardless of the circumstances of our life. We cling to Him as our lifeboat through the troubled waters.

 

He is our brother, and we are co-heirs with Him of our Father’s Kingdom (Romans 8:17). He lives in us and also walks with us. We are doubly cared for by our living Savior. We can relax, breathe and trust in Him.

 

Deep breathing helps us to regulate our emotions and enables us to increase our focus and lucidity when we make an effort to trust in the Lord alone, live in this one moment of time, and to breathe deeply throughout the day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, make us ever mindful that You are not here to serve us; but we are here to serve You. You make an eternal transformation in our life so we can live as an example of Your Gospel message, and make a difference in the lives of everyone that You lead us to encounter throughout our day. Teach us to trust in, rely on and believe in You alone each moment of our day.

 

You gave us Jesus as our center, our portion, our inheritance, our divine nature and character, etc. He is all we really need in both this life and the next. Thank You for covering us with Your feathers, because we gain our peace under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 36:5-12).

 

Thought for the Day:

Taking deep breaths in through our nose will control our brain’s neurological signals, which leads to improved emotional feelings and the processing of our thoughts; slow, steady breathing activates the relaxing part of our nervous system, and slows our heart rate, reducing any feelings of worry and panic from stress.

 

 

Joyful Walk with the Lord

 

Due to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we have an enduring possession in Heaven (Hebrews 10:34). However, we do not need to wait until Heaven to enjoy them. God showers us with His blessings daily.

 

This helps us to endure the negative emotions and circumstances, which Satan uses to harass our peace and joy. No trial is overwhelming, because we face it with the power of Christ in us.

 

We enter His rest and give Him total reign in our life. We stop making our own plans and surrender instead to His will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

 

Once we change our attitude, and focus on Christ in us rather than on the details of our day, we live in God’s peace and joy no matter what happens to us.

 

Our true home is Heaven, not this transitory life. Things here are passing away and do not really matter. We no longer work to amass worldly goods and it does not matter if we “keep up with our neighbor” in status, style and affluence.

 

We find our true peace under the shelter of His wings. No evil presence can shake us from this place of abiding in the presence of Christ within us. He is our peace and He breaks down every wall (Ephesians 2:11-22).

 

The more we totally surrender to God’s will and the direction of His Holy Spirit, the more capable we are to meet the challenges of daily living. We walk in His will rather than struggle with an uphill climb of our own making.

 

Prayer:

Father God, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, our past is forgiven, our wounds are healed, we forgive the perpetrators of evil in our life, and we also forgive our self for our choices that opened us up to evil’s presence in our life.

 

You teach us to set boundaries to keep our self relatively free from future intrusions, and we do nothing without first consulting You for Your wisdom and will. This guarantees that You direct all of our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). We live for You and accept Your perfect will for us with Your joy and glory filling our hearts (1 Peter 1:8).

 

Thought for the Day:

We live according to the advice of God’s Holy Word, which releases the spiritual energy of Christ who is abiding inside of us; this healing, loving power effects our spirit, body and soul, and infects every area of our life.

Jesus, Our Showbread

The Bread of the Presence, or showbread, was placed daily in the Holy Place in both the Tabernacle and the Temple (Exodus 25:30). Once a week, new bread replaced the week-old loaves and the priests ate the old loaves (1Chronicles 23: 29). Jesus is our showbread in the Heavenly Tabernacle.

 

Bread is a continual theme throughout the Bible. The term “bread” in the Bible refers to food in general or is used symbolically as well. To break bread with someone was an act of fellowship and communion (Genesis 14:18).

 

Unleavened bread reminds us of the Israelites exodus from Egypt to a new life in Canaan (Exodus 12:39). Even when Israel rebelled and refused to enter the Promised Land, God sustained them. He gave them bread from heaven – manna – that preserved their lives (Exodus 16:2-4).

 

For Christians, this trek is symbolic of our walk with the Lord in the Kingdom of God. Christians know that in Jesus, who is our True Bread of Life, our lives are lifted up above the mundane, earthly level, and we abide in the heavenly realm with Him (Ephesians 2:6).

 

God’s Word is also our daily bread. As we read, study and share His word, we find that we lose our desire for the matters of this life and this world. Jesus said that His food was to do the will of His Father (John 4:34). As we mature spiritually, this is true in our life as well.

 

God provides for all of our needs. Our bread of heaven, Jesus Christ, nourishes our lives and keeps us safe as we sojourn on this earth toward eternity with Him in heaven. Bread is a powerful symbol of God’s provision. Manna gave temporary life, but Jesus gives us eternal life John 6:35, 51).

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You are our bread of life and our living water (Deuteronomy 8:3; John 1: 4). Your Word allows us to live spiritually (Luke 4:4; Hebrews 5:12). Your Word is more necessary to us than food and it is as sweet as honey (Jeremiah 15:16; Job 23:12; Psalm 119:103).

 

Yet, You abundantly provide for our physical needs as well (John 6:1-15). We give thanks to You, for You are good. Your loving kindness endures forever. I give thanks to You, Lord, for Your unfailing love and Your wonderful acts to the children of men, for You satisfy the thirsty soul and You fill the hungry soul with good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Each day, God gives us our daily bread as we read His Word, fellowship with Christ in us, and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit each moment of the day.  – Matthew 6:11