Christ in Us – A Clean Heart

We have been taught that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. This is a slight perversion of God’s Truth. It puts the emphasis on “I can”, rather than on Christ in me can.

 

The actual truth of this verse is: We can do all things only through Christ’s presence in us. His abiding existence in us provides us with God’s wisdom, strength and divine power.

 

We cease our self-effort, and we enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Jesus actually gives us the desire and the power to fulfill His purpose for us in the earth (Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13; Ephesians 2:10).

 

Authentic Believers are already crucified with Christ; and therefore, we live in this world only for God’s glory. We no longer live as part of this world, looking out for our own interests (Philippians 1:21; Romans 2:20).

 

As our self-centeredness decreases daily, Christ will increase in us (John 3:30). When we walk in obedience to God’s Holy Spirit moment by moment, we do not sin or fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16-17, 25).

 

We dwell in God’s rest and we no longer live for our own agenda, but Christ carries out God’s will for us as He lives in us and through us (Galatians 2:20).

 

Our negative emotions illuminate the areas in our life where we hoard our idols. As we surrender them to God, Satan has fewer areas where he can hinder our walk in Christ.

 

We experience more freedom to serve Christ with our whole body, soul and spirit. Our dedication, commitment and consecration to Him increases and we want less of this world.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for redeeming us, calling us by Your name, drawing us closer to You each day and desiring an intimate relationship with us both in this world and in the next. You fill us with Your Spirit and presence, and sustain us through every trial we experience on this earth. We can never thank You enough for Your sacrificial love for us.

 

Create in us a pure heart, devoid of sinful desires, and renew a righteous spirit within us (Psalm 51:10). Continue to help us to crucify our flesh as we walk in Your Spirit until we have no desire to sin, but our only desire is to please You with our body, thoughts, emotions, choices and spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

A person who desires true riches, will prefer the knowledge freely given to us in God’s Word and follows it pathway of righteousness and spirituality to gain true joy and peace; if we really believe God’s Word, we value it above all else and the world loses its tempting influence over us.

The Body of Christ – Safety in Numbers

As the body of Christ, we stick together, no matter where we live or how many miles separate us. We can stay connected through social media, even though we rarely see one another face-to-face.

 

In nature, it is the animal that wanders from the safety of the herd that gets attacked by a predator. Satan uses this same tactic on Believers. He finds us wandering alone and pounces (1 Peter 5:8).

 

God created Eve, because He saw that Adam suffered when he was alone. He also created us as His Body, because there is safety, encouragement and blessings when we dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

 

Without the Body of Christ we get lonely, roam from the straight and narrow path, and make poor choices. Alone, we are vulnerable, but a three-fold chord cannot be broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Body loves us and helps to protect us.

 

When we yoke with Jesus and other Believers, our load is lighter and we help each other with our burden of guilt, trials and storms in life. Our perspective is broadened by seeing things from another’s point of view.

 

Even Jesus chose 12 men to disciple and to keep Him company during His three years of focused ministry on His way to the cross. Daily, they walked together, healed the sick and reclaimed people from the devil’s kingdom of darkness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to lay down our pride, to take the risks of being vulnerable which are inherent in relationships, and to encourage one another. Remind us that a best friend and prayer partner help us to diffuse our negative feelings and experiences, because they give us someone with which to share our burdens.

 

Friendships can be messy and cause problems in our life, but life is enhanced by transparent relationships, regardless of the ups and downs they may create. Thank You that You are our closest friend and that You always stick closer to us than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus knew the value of walking together with other Saints, although many turned against Him or deserted Him in the final hours of His life on this earth; He chose to live vulnerably in front of both the multitudes and His disciples.

Jesus is Our True Soulmate

God created us in the image of the Trinity as a triune being (Genesis 1:26). We are body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12). At birth, our spirit (pneuma) is dead in sin, which we inherited from Adam and Eve.

 

Yet, at the moment of our salvation, God’s Spirit quickens our spirit; and it is no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10, 3:3-4). When we pass from this life, our body goes to the grave, but our soul and spirit go to our eternal reward.

 

Our soul (psuche) is the place where our thoughts, emotions and choices are decided upon. It is our deep-seated personality, conscience, appetites and passions; and it drives our body and hinders or promotes our spirit (Psalm 31:10).

 

As we pass from this life, our body goes to the grave. Our spirit and soul go to our eternal home of heaven or hell, depending on our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:18; Luke 16:22-24; Romans 2:9; Psalm 49:15).

 

At salvation, God also delivers our soul from corruption (Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 38:17; Job 33:18). If we allow His influence in our life, God is involved in every nuance of our moods to deliver us from evil (Acts 2:27; Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21).

 

When Jesus returns to earth to bring home His Bride, our spirit, soul and immortal body are reunited for eternity (1 Corinthians 15:45-57; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Matthew 16:26).

 

With an eternity in hell, our soul continues to experience weary, hungry, bitter, grieving, loving, rejoicing, etc. emotions (Psalm 42:2; 107:9; Jeremiah 31:25; Leviticus 26:11; Job 30:25; Song of Solomon 1:7). Yet in heaven, there is no more sickness or negative emotions (Revelation 21:4).

 

The Trinity created us in their image and calls us to surrender our spirit, soul and body to Him (Job 33:4; Genesis 12:5, 17:14; Ezekiel 18:4). With Christ residing within us as our true soulmate, we no longer face the prospect of separation from God in this life and the next (Haggai 2:13; Leviticus 21:11).

 

Prayer:

Father God, many people fail to realize that our eternal state not only involves our spirit, but our soul as well. Our soul registers all of the thoughts and emotions that it does during this life, including pain and joy (Luke 16:22-24). We actually condemn our self to an eternity of torment by our choice not to believe in Jesus as our Savior (John 3:18).

 

Help us to be wise and to respond to Your call when Your Spirit draws us to step out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness and into Your Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). Remind us that You desire to rejoice over us with singing and You do not want anyone to perish in sin (Zephaniah 3:17; John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no true profit for us if we gain the whole world, and yet to lose our own soul in the lake of fire for eternity – Matthew 16:26

 

 

 

 

Surrendering to God’s Will

We can develop habits over time to create more joy in our life and to eliminate depression and melancholy. However, it takes a change of focus and total submission to God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Many people live in the realm of “what ifs” and/or wanting what they do not have. They think that happiness will finally arrive when they accomplish their bucket list.

 

We allow circumstances to color our thoughts and feelings, which may diminish our joy. We wait for God to answer our prayers rather than to enjoy the life, which He already provided for us.

 

His peace and joy are available for us each moment of the day and do not depend on circumstances. It is possible to live in an economically depressed area with impoverished circumstances and still have total peace and joy.
There is no guarantee that we will live to see the next moment in time; so focusing on having possessions or certain people in our life will reduce our peace and joy.

 

Without surrendering our will to God’s will each moment of the day, we hinder our effectiveness both in life and in our spiritual growth and ministry.

 

Once we repent of our sins and recognize Jesus as our only Savior and King, the very life of Christ saturates our entire body, soul and spirit. As His Spirit sanctifies us, we see more spiritual fruit and less of a draw from our flesh, Satan and the world.

 

The most critical exercise we can do as a baby Christian is to surrender our will to God’s will. Even as older Christians, if we never surrendered, it is time to do so now.

 

When we totally surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our life, we feel less and less tension and stress, and more and more of His rest, peace and joy.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we tend to regret the past and fear the future. We spend so much time focusing in these two directions that we waste the current moment. This moment in time is all that You guarantee us.

 

You forgave our past, and it is over and forgiven. We just have to remember to forgive our self too. Remind us that once we do surrender to You, Your Spirit begins replacing our negative personality traits with His spiritual fruit and You flood our spirit and soul with Your love.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our future is in God’s capable hands; therefore, trusting God in the moment provides us with a stress-free life.

 

 

 

It is Never too Late

Jesus told a parable about the lord of the vineyard who told his steward to hire laborers throughout the day (Matthew 20:8-20). At the end of the day, the landowner gave all of the workers the exact same amount of money.

 

Those who worked the longest hours in the hottest sun were mortified and bitter at what they perceived as the owner’s unfairness. They believed they deserved more money than those who worked in the cooler part of the day for just a few hours.

 

We learn from this parable that God is not interested in how long we live in His service. We can rejoice in the fact that the people who come to Christ later in life are accepted by our Father with the same love as those of us who come to the Lord as a child or teenager.

 

We recently had the privilege of helping a couple who were both over 90 to come to faith in Christ. Other senior Saints were on death’s door when God used us to share His gospel with them.

 

There is no greater feeling than to snatch people from Satan’s hand in their last years/moments of life. We will spend eternity with them and rejoice around God’s throne together.

 

It is never too late to humble our self under the mighty hand of God and submit our life to His capable hands. As we yoke with Him, He carries half our load; and when we are weary, He will even carry it all.

 

God provides for our every need – even the minutest details that consume our thoughts and emotions. He is trustworthy and deserves all of our praise and thanksgiving.

 

God’s love consumes us as we stop worrying about the particulars of our life. We rest in His peace and know without a shadow of a doubt that as we cast our cares on Him, He really does care for us ().

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for loving us enough to free us from our earthly bondage. We know that You listen to our prayers and answer us when we call on You in our trials and distress (Psalm 86:6-7). Remind us that You will always give us Your faith to live in such a way as to bring honor and glory to You.

 

The moment we take our eyes off You, fears and complications arise in our life, and we get entrenched in the carnal issues of this world. We want Your Word to fill us fully with Your Truth; so that we can encourage each other with thankfulness in our heart for all that You do for each one of us (Colossians 3:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we compare our life to others, we will be discontent; but when we focus on the life God provides for us, we realize the multitude of blessings He provides for us each and every day.

 

Emotional and Mental Health-Freedom from Negative Emotions

Journaling is a lost art form and mental health tool. It takes many avenues of expression and can be a variety of sizes and styles. Whatever fits the personality and needs of the journalist.

 

This is a method of documenting the events in our life and dealing with pent up thoughts and emotions. When we do not express our thoughts in words to a mentor or on paper in a journal, they will erupt from our soul at inopportune times.

 

Sit in a quiet place and journal all of your thoughts and feelings. In doing this, you are emptying yourself of yourself.

 

Do not talk, sing, pray, watch TV, listen to music or answer your phone…just listen to your soul – your thoughts and feelings – and wait on the Lord to come and fill you with His comforting Holy Spirit.

 

It may take hours…it may take days…it may take weeks or months as it took me to get to the root of the issues which plague our soul. This all depends on how much inner and outer clutter is in our life.

 

We cannot be discouraged if we are not successful when we start journaling. It takes time to develop a new habit. Just remember that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our life and our God is the God of second chances.

 

As we continue to journal each and every day, it will not take long to get to the root of the issues causing us unrest. Then we can follow the Serenity Principle and either deal with the issue(s) or place it in God’s capable hands to resolve in His timing and way.

 

Once we finish with our journal and go about our day, we can stop what we are doing at the first sign of unrest in our soul or spirit- even if we just duck into the bathroom for a few minutes.

 

Taking time to pray allows God to reveal the source of these negative thoughts and emotions. Then, once God shows us the origin of our anxiety, anger or other negative emotion, we can repent or ask for God’s help.

 

He may lead us to forgive, to change our focus about the situation or to serve the person, which is hurting us. It also helps to switch our focus to an eternal perspective and set boundaries around anything from this temporal world, which is causing us trouble.

 

Does our issue really matter in the overall scheme of eternity? If not, we can let it go and let God teach us to think like He does about the issue.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we ask You to give us Your wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which to leave in Your skillful hands. Give us the strength to deal with the issues that You reveal are our responsibility. Then help us to turn the rest over to You.

 

Help us to develop an attitude of acceptance about them. If we cannot change them, then we can praise You for them, in them, and through them, even for the negative things. By doing this, we end up walking in complete serenity and in the dynamic power of Your Holy Spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

What is it in your life that is causing you a problem right now?  Can you do something about it? Then, do it! If not, then change your focus and give the problem to God.

 

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.”

 

 

A Good Marriage – The Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine

Over the years of marriage, we recognize who our partner is and what they are not. We also develop a better understanding of our self and why we respond to people and events the way we do.

 

We come to identify what triggers negative reactions in one another, so we can avoid these issues whenever possible. We make concentrated efforts on working together to find mutually acceptable plans when our original personal preferences conflict.

 

We also fearlessly attack our personal issues and give the Holy Spirit full reign in our life, so that He can transform us with the mind of Christ. One way to recognize our faults is to pay attention to what our spouse complains about – do we procrastinate, withhold affection, watch too much TV, neglect to help one another with projects or daily chores?

 

Small adjustments in our schedule or habits will make a big difference in marital bliss and harmony. We can learn one another’s love language and show each other love in ways that will fulfill our mate’s needs and allow them to feel nurtured and cherished.

 

This will erase the small irritations which eventually erupt into major disharmony – the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15). Do we expect too much from one another, forgetting that we are only human?

 

Do we greet one another as we would our best friend, or do we take one another for granted? We all appreciate being greeted with enthusiasm as someone who is highly cherished.

 

Do we agree to disagree or do we always feel like we are right and our partner is wrong? Do we need to have the last word, or do we stop talking when we have made our point?

 

No one like to live with condemnation, condescension, griping or constant belittlement. It is so good and pleasant when we dwell together in harmony (Psalm 133:1). This unity draws us closer to one another and makes us want to spend more time together.

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to recap once we calm down after a disagreement. Help us to honestly relate how we felt during the “fight” and what thoughts were going through our mind that we did not take the time to articulate. These thoughts fueled our emotional response during our discussion, and our spouse deserves to understand why we reacted as we did to their comment, behavior or reply.

 

Remind us to seek You in all of our decisions and discussions; not to rely on our own understanding, but to allow You to direction our thoughts, words and actions. Help us to be led by Your Spirit rather than to react in our flesh; but if we do act carnally, encourage us to ask for forgiveness from one another and to calmly discuss the situation until we find an equitable solution.

 

Thought for the Day:

Looking into each other’s eyes during a discussion enables us to see within the windows of each other’s soul; speaking honestly about how our partner’s words and actions make us feel will help us to understand one another better too and to make our interactions more intimate and productive. – Matthew 6:22-23

 

Maturing in Christ

When we attempt to overcome the sin in our life that so easily ensnares us, we often fall back into temptation; then we feel shame both for the sin and for failing to overcome it.

 

We are admonished to be holy as God is holy, yet we can only do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire and the power to walk in increasing realms of God’s glory each day (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

The foolish Galatians had to learn to trust God to sanctify them with the same faith that allowed them to trust Him for their salvation (Galatians 3:1-3). We are to live in this same manner.

 

Paul struggled with walking in a manner worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:10). The duality of flesh and Spirit within him kept him on a roller coaster most of the time (Romans 7); however, he finally realized that the Spirit of life in Christ already set Him free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

 

He no longer needed to struggle with sin, but to walk in the Spirit who frees us from the law of sin and death. As we draw near to God in dependence, worship and praise, then we resist the devil, and he is bound to flee from us (James 4:7-11).

 

Through Calvary’s cross, Christ exchanged His righteousness for our sin; we simply need to access this free gift by confessing our sin and trusting in Jesus for salvation (John 17:11-23; 1 Corinthians 6:17). Then, the Holy Spirit brings us into ever increasing maturity in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

We learn to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day, led by the still, small voice of God (1 Kings 19:12) within our spirit (Galatians 2:20). We know we are in God’s will when we follow that perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), regardless of what our mind is telling us to do, or what conventional wisdom or human reasoning wants us to do.

 

Jesus gave us His righteousness and we now live as Jesus did in the world. We are an expression of His divine nature, because He lives within us (1 John 4:17; 2 Peter 1:4). This allows His living water within us to fill us to overflowing and to spill out into the world around us (John 7:38).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for Your vigilant watch care over us (Psalm 121:4). You protect us from Satan’s wiles and temptations (Ephesians 2:2). Help us to realize that Christ in us enables us to live a life free from the demoralizing and destructive sin that tries to entrap us (2 Corinthians 4:10-11) and to actually, factually not just positionally, live a holy life, just as Christ in us is holy (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Corinthians 6:17).

 

Thank You for keeping us, strengthening us, guarding us from our flesh, the world and the devil (Isaiah 42:11; Psalm 4:8). We give You all of the praise and glory for the maturity we attain over our lifetime. We strive only to stop following our human reasoning and to enter Your rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

We no longer struggle with life on our own, because the Trinity of God abides within us, and the Holy Spirit gradually but consistently replaces our negative attributes with Christ’s righteousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things of This World

When we lived on Tonya Ct. in Bonita Springs, FL I loved my one bedroom/one bath home, my flower gardens, my mini-van and my Pomeranian and calico cat. However, my dog died and we sold our Tonya Ct. home.

 

Things of this world are temporary at best. I’ve always loved sappy movies, treasure hunting at thrift stores, writing novels and devotionals, walking in nature, hanging out with my husband and worshipping with God’s people.

 

We can lose our standard of living or things that we cherish in this life without a moment’s notice. I always attempt to remove anything in my life that causes a spiritual impediment.

 

I deal with any physical ailment using nature’s remedies and with as little medicine and surgery as possible. Yet, we all die of something.

 

Once I get the “big one” that is going to take my life, I will not fight it; because I look forward to my homecoming in Heaven. How can I say this?

 

In Christ dwells all the fullness of the triune God; and this same powerful Jesus dwells in us. He hides us with Himself in God (Colossians 2:9, 3:3; Romans 6:8).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are Your offspring and You transform us with ever increasing glory into the likeness of Your Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:2). Christ is glorified in us when we live and move and have our existence in Him (Acts 17:28; John 17:10).

 

Sanctify us until we exhibit Christ’s character in us, which is the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). With Your divine nature infusing every part of our spirit, body and soul – our mind, choices and emotions, we live a fulfilled and victorious life (Acts 17:28-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

 

Thought for the Day:

God wants to fill us through all of our being with all of His fullness, so that we might acquire the richest measure of His divine presence within us until we are completely filled and flooded to overflowing with God Himself (Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:13 Amplified Bible).