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

 

 

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

 

 

A Good Marriage – Draw Together or Pull Apart

 

Marriage is designed by God, but is usually an uphill battle. When we put two or more people together, there is inevitably conflict of some sort. Let’s face it, we often cannot even get along with our self, much less with other people.

 

Life happens, challenges arise and situations change. These often attack our marriage as well. Not only do we have to adjust, but we have to bear the consequences of our spouse’s attempting to adjust as well.

 

If we face life’s challenges together as a unit, we can change and adapt together and at the same time. This makes for a much smoother transition. When we include God in the decisions and problem solving efforts, He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28; Ecclesiastes 4:12).

 

God saw that man was alone and this was not good. So He created marriage to bless us and to lighten our load in life. He helps us to enjoy our marriage rather than to endure it. He provides faultless fruition for every need.

 

This requires that we spend time together as a couple, unified in the Spirit and with one another in prayer. God never promises us a window into our future, but He does promise to walk with us and in us through its challenges.

 

Taking advantage of our days off, vacation times, free week-ends, and an occasional afternoon or evening without prior commitments, we can make time to watch a movie together, listen to a political debate, follow our favorite team on the sport’s channel, read a book together, snuggle beneath the sheets, have dinner at a restaurant instead of at home, join friends for coffee and dessert, etc.

 

In Christ, we find joy in our marriage partner and solace in their care for us. We find fulfillment in helping them to fulfill their needs as God supplies us with everything we need. We enjoy life with the mate He gives to us (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life is never, ever easy; but You make all things possible as we have faith in Your faithfulness. You have arms long enough to save us and ears that always hear our cries (Isaiah 59:1; 1 John 5:15). Help us to commit every moment to You, rather than to follow our own path in life.

 

Everything You do remains forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). As we walk in obedience to Your Spirit, we reap the rewards of righteousness rather than the consequences of our sin and disobedience. Remind us to draw together as a couple and to lean on You for strength to face life’s challenges.

 

Thought for the Day:

Let us make a conscious effort to add more romance to our marriage; to put an end to pessimism, skepticism, criticism, etc; and to deal with negative emotions before they get deep seated in our soul – confessing our sins to God and to one another.

 

Marriage is designed by God, but is usually an uphill battle. When we put two or more people together, there is inevitably conflict of some sort. Let’s face it, we often cannot even get along with our self, much less with other people.

 

Life happens, challenges arise and situations change. These often attack our marriage as well. Not only do we have to adjust, but we have to bear the consequences of our spouse’s attempting to adjust as well.

 

If we face life’s challenges together as a unit, we can change and adapt together and at the same time. This makes for a much smoother transition. When we include God in the decisions and problem solving efforts, He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28; Ecclesiastes 4:12).

 

God saw that man was alone and this was not good. So He created marriage to bless us and to lighten our load in life. He helps us to enjoy our marriage rather than to endure it. He provides faultless fruition for every need.

 

This requires that we spend time together as a couple, unified in the Spirit and with one another in prayer. God never promises us a window into our future, but He does promise to walk with us and in us through its challenges.

 

Taking advantage of our days off, vacation times, free week-ends, and an occasional afternoon or evening without prior commitments, we can make time to watch a movie together, listen to a political debate, follow our favorite team on the sport’s channel, read a book together, snuggle beneath the sheets, have dinner at a restaurant instead of at home, join friends for coffee and dessert, etc.

 

In Christ, we find joy in our marriage partner and solace in their care for us. We find fulfillment in helping them to fulfill their needs as God supplies us with everything we need. We enjoy life with the mate He gives to us (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life is never, ever easy; but You make all things possible as we have faith in Your faithfulness. You have arms long enough to save us and ears that always hear our cries (Isaiah 59:1; 1 John 5:15). Help us to commit every moment to You, rather than to follow our own path in life.

 

Everything You do remains forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). As we walk in obedience to Your Spirit, we reap the rewards of righteousness rather than the consequences of our sin and disobedience. Remind us to draw together as a couple and to lean on You for strength to face life’s challenges.

 

Thought for the Day:

Let us make a conscious effort to add more romance to our marriage; to put an end to pessimism, skepticism, criticism, etc; and to deal with negative emotions before they get deep seated in our soul – confessing our sins to God and to one another.

 

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.

 

Our Patched​ Humanity

Through a lifetime of fighting the circumstances, which life deals out to us, we are so encumbered by bandages that it is hard to function. Our body and soul often end up bruised, broken, patched up and and in the hospital – on crutches, just to traverse our day. Our spirit is already dead in sin, and no help to us at all (Ephesians 2:1).

 

Once we come to Christ through salvation, He heals us from the inside out. Our works of righteousness have no influence over God’s love for us or our eternal standing; but they are very necessary for our wedding garment as the Bride to our Savior, King Jesus (Revelation 19:8).

 

We start to focus more on the spiritual, eternal aspects of life rather than the humanistic, temporal issues. Life is no longer about us; but Christ is now our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4).

 

Even when our faith wanes, He helps our unbelief (Mark 9:24). Our spirit is perfect; but our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – is still in the process of healing and maturing in His faith within us (Galatians 2:20).

 

God elevates us as His adopted children and we no longer depend on our self (Ephesians 1:5). We turn our faith toward Christ and we live by the direction of His Spirit. His peace floods our soul and our pent-up anger dissolves (Isaiah 26:3).

 

God’s Spirit conforms us to the mind of Christ and transforms our nature to Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). He exchanges our human weaknesses with God’s strength; so we can do all things through Christ’s presence within us (2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 4:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, often when we pray, our mind is full of what we did and did not say or do. We cannot get in touch with our true needs, because we are not listening to our own soul. We are not listening to Your Spirit either, who wants to pray and function through us.

 

Yet, as we spend our time in complete and anxious-free prayers of praise, we learn to live unencumbered by things of this earth. We enter into a life of praising and worshipping our living Lord. As we trust in You alone, You make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). Our faith is built and strengthened as we see Your faithfulness in our life.

 

Thought for the Day:
Journaling our thoughts, feelings and prayers allows us to empty our soul from its load of cares and concerns; when we look back over what we wrote and the prayers of our year, we see God’s hand, working in the details our life.

 

Health for the Body of Christ

God’s plan for humanity is not a conglomeration of various unrelated events with a hodgepodge of results. It is as orderly and detailed as the planets in orbit around the sun.

 

God arranged the planets to all sit at just the right angle and spacing, especially the earth. Our world tilts at the exact slant it needs to support life. Its composition consists of the perfect combination of chemical elements and matter to ensure our existence.

 

King Jesus is also establishing His Kingdom on the earth in order to physically abide with everyone who is humble enough to accept His call on their life. He incorporates us into His Body of Believers throughout generations and nations from the beginning of time.

 

God designed His Body so that when one member suffers, we all suffer; and when one member rejoices, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). Unfortunately, Satan makes sure that his character attributes of jealousy, covetousness and pride steal these ideal circumstances from us.

 

This causes God’s Body to operate dysfunctionally, to think more of our self than anyone else, to keep our own priorities as our focus and to lack any concern for those around us who, by their own choices (John 3:18), are lost and destined to spend eternity in hell.

 

Many people spend more time on vacations than in service to God’s Body; more money on their toys and gadgets than on the ministries of the church which promote God’s Kingdom, and more focus on their own agenda and endeavors than on the will of God.

 

They often reject one church Body for another, divorcing their former church family without one regret. They disfigure God’s Body – like an eye rolling down the path of life, leaving one church with only one eye and their next church with more than the two eyes it needs (1 Corinthians 12:14-22).

 

Sometimes, disgruntled people refuse to attend any church at all, despising a part of the Bride of Christ, which Jesus gave His life to redeem (2 Corinthians 11:2). They cut themselves off from the fellowship and blessings of their church family.

 

At times, certain people in our church Body may exasperate us or are irritating and hard to live with, but Christ is patient with us (Romans 5:8), and we can allow the fruit of God’s Spirit to help us to be patient with His Body as well (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that when we determine to put our self first, to divorce Your Bride, or to stir up trouble with gossip and dissention, this says more about our character than the short-comings within Your Body. Help us to attain spiritual maturity through Christ in us, so that we can love Your Bride unconditionally and to serve with tireless devotion in the church where You plant us (Luke 6:32).

 

Your grace enables us to love others as Christ loves us, sacrificially, patiently and selflessly. You do not require us to “like” anyone else, but You do expect us to love them with the love of Christ within us. Help us to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, by stepping up and serving Your Bride where we see areas of need.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our Great Physician is a skilled surgeon who continually operates on the heart of each of us, to give us new life in Him in order to resolve life’s most complex issues, to bring peace in the more tumultuous circumstances and to draw us to the truth of His Word as we all continually abide in His presence.