Union with Christ – Rest for Our Soul

 

As we set our mind on heavenly issues, the peace of God, that excels beyond all human comprehension, will rule and reign in and guard our heart (Philippians 4:7).

 

The mind of Christ maintains order and stability in our soul regardless of the physical issues we face. His perfect peace rules in our heart, and gives rest to our weary soul (Isaiah 26:3).

 

We keep our thoughts and feelings under subjection to God’s Holy Spirit. We think only of the Kingdom of God, the works of Christ in His life on earth, and what He may want to accomplish through us during our lifetime.

 

Our spirit, body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – align with the mind of Christ in our spirit. His will becomes our will, His desires are our desire and His purpose is our goal in life (1 Peter 1:13).

 

He gives us the faith of His Son, the power of His Spirit and the focus of His being within us. We take human conjecture off the throne of our life and exalt Jesus in every moment of our day (Proverbs 16:17).

 

The choices we make affect our actions. We will either follow our flesh, the world, the devil or God’s Spirit in our thoughts, emotions, words and deeds (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

God gave us a free will to choose to follow Him or Satan’s lies. Our free will cannot create or change the outcome of the choices of others, but we can allow God’s Spirit to use us to influence those around us for His greater good.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You created us to depend on You and to allow Your predetermined will for our life to influence our actions (Ephesians 2:10). We are capable, however, of grieving Your Holy Spirit by following the dictates of our own choosing. Remind us of the fact that someone else’s decisions are not our responsibility, but our response to them is; and in this, we find rest for our soul.

 

We share with others what we believe is the mind of Christ, but then, their choices are just that – their choice. They reap what they sow just like we do. We are all free to choose to live humanistically and to depend on our self and other people, instead of on You. This is ludicrous and self-defeating. Teach us that we are all dependent on Your love during this lifetime.

 

Thought for the Day:

God is ultimately still on His throne and has all things under His control (Romans 8:28); He puts His hook in our jaw, and draws us along to fulfill His will for our life (Ezekiel 38:4), but He never forces us to do anything that we choose not to do.

 

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God is Not Mocked

 

We often take our success for granted. We feel entitled to receive the rewards of all we accomplish, because we forget where our blessings actually come from or to show gratitude to God for His provision in our life.

 

We expect to live a pleasant life and to reap the rewards of our hard work and planning, regardless of our behavior. We even grow lax spiritually and compromise our holiness by dabbling in the devil’s den of iniquity.

 

We can be sure, however, that our sin will find us out (Galatians 6:7; Numbers 32:23). We will eventually reap the destruction that we are sowing. Our quality of life may suddenly be jerked right out from under us as this devastation catches up with us.

 

We start to reap the rotten fruit, which is the result of the tainted seeds we planted in our garden of life for so long. We saw nothing wrong with our little indiscretions with Satan’s suggestions, because we worked hard, provided for our family and lived for righteousness more than giving in to sin.

 

Yet, God will not be mocked, and evil corrupts our good morals and grieves the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 4:30). God will not endure our disobedience forever. There comes a time when we have to pay the dues of our corrupt flirting with sin.

 

We may experience God’s discipline in small, compassionate ways, which brings our repentance; or we may harden our heart and continue in immorality until we eventually lose the blessings of God on our life, which we are used to experiencing.

 

We tend to get angry with God at times like these, railing against Him for expecting us to walk uprightly before Him all the time, comparing our self to the lives of other people rather to understand God’s requirements that we live a holy life before Him (Luke 12:48).

 

If we stand firm in our pride and resist the Spirit’s drawing, we will sink lower and lower into the mire of destruction and wickedness, continuing to blame others for our behavior and making excuses for our thoughts, words and deeds.

 

However, if we surrender to God’s discipline, humble our pride and accept our fault in the circumstances, repenting with our entire soul and spirit for our duplicity, then God can favor us with His blessings once more.

 

Prayer:

Father God, human pride and self-assurance are snares of the enemy. You show us in Your Word how You want us to live our life. Unless we walk justly and love mercy and walk humbly before You, we will reap the corruption of our sin regardless of how inconsequential that we consider it to be (Micah 6:8).

 

Draw us close to You, never let us go, restore to us the joy of our salvation and help us to lay down our sins so we can hear You rejoicing over us with singing (James 4:8; Psalm 51:12; Zephaniah 3:17). Never allow us to grow so lax in our spiritual walk that we compromise Your values.

 

Thought for the Day:

When we choose to enjoy the momentary pleasures of sin, we set our self up for the loss of God’s blessings in our life; sin is ultimately destructive and always leads to disparaging times of injury for us. – Hebrews 11:25

 

Heavenly Treasures

God teaches us that storing up treasures on earth is futile (Matthew 6:19-21). They will burn up like wood, hay and stubble and not help us in our eternal life in His Kingdom at all (1 Corinthians 3:12).

 

We cannot take anything from this life with us into the next life. We can, however, store up for our self treasures in heaven that will last for eternity. Moths and rust will never destroy them, and thieves are not able to steal them (Matthew 6:20).

 

Today, I noticed a woman crying about a lost jewel from her bracelet. One of the expensive stones was missing and she was very distressed about it. I tried to comfort her, but she was inconsolable. She really cherished that extravagant gift from a special friend.

 

Authentic Believers have also received a cherished gift from a beloved friend. Jesus laid down His life to bring sinners to repentance. This is a free gift from God for all of us (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

 

However, we often rejoice more when we acquire an earthly treasure than when we come to Christ for Salvation. We frequently take God’s love for granted, rather than recognizing the intrinsic value of this only true treasure.

 

Jesus told us a parable about a woman who lost one of her gold coins. The item was valuable to her, not only because of its monetary value, but because of its sentimental value as well (Luke 15:8-9).

 

He tells us that her joy in finding her coin is similar to the rejoicing going on in heaven when even one sinner repents and turns his/her life over to God for salvation (Luke 15:10).

 

We can develop this same eternal mindset, which sets us free from the cares of this life. We learn to care more for spiritual matters than earthly ones, and the trials of life no longer devastate us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that putting our treasure where moths and rust cannot destroy it, and where thieves cannot break in and steal it, is so much more worthwhile than amassing worldly goods. Help us to treasure our relationship with You more than anything this carnal world has to offer.

 

Teach us to set our mind on things above, rather than on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). Help us to value our spiritual life more than our temporal life, and heavenly treasures as more valuable than earthly ones. We set our hope and trust in You and we look forward to spending eternity with You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Our life in Christ is a priceless, dependable treasure, which we cannot lose, and which will never be destroyed.

God is in Control – Supernatural Provision and Help

Over the years of my walk with the Lord, I learned to stand tall in courage and strength that come from Christ in me. He never, ever leaves or forsakes me for any reason (Deuteronomy 31:6).

 

He alone is our refuge and He gives us strength and continual help in any trouble that comes our way (Psalm 46:1). There is no reason to be afraid of what life or people will do to us, because God is our helper (Psalm 118:6-7).

 

If we allow our self to fear what the devil, the world or evil people will do to us, it becomes a physical, emotional and mental liability. When we trust in the Lord and walk in His Spirit, He gives us peace and safety, even in trials (Proverbs 29:25).

 

Jesus proved these promises time and again with His disciples. He even has power over nature (Mark 4:39-40). He is a victorious warrior in our midst. He exults and rejoices over us with joy and His quiet, steadfast love (Zephaniah 3:17).

 

When we dwell in the shelter of the Almighty, we rest in the shadow of the Most High God. He is our refuge and fortress, our God in whom we place our trust.

 

He shelters us with the feathers of His wings and shields us with His faithfulness. We do not fear any darkness or pestilence or plague; because although thousands may fall all arounds us, His angels guard us on every side (Psalm 91:1-16).
Prayer:

Father God, since we love You and acknowledge Your authority in our life, You rescue and protect us. When we call upon You, You answers us. You are with us in trouble, and You honor and deliver us. We are assured that no matter what life throws at us, You are in the middle of the turmoil and struggle right along with us.

 

You strengthen us and give us courage, You help us and lift us in Your hands above the storms of life. You live within us by Your Spirit and You are greater than Satan and his evil doers in this world. We cast all of our cares on You, because we know without a doubt that You care for us.

 

Thought for the Day:
As we keep our faith and trust in Him, God strengthens us in the very core of our soul; and He lifts our spirit when life tends to overwhelm us with circumstances beyond our control, and these trials attempt to drag us down in fear and discouragement.

 

Living in God’s Presence

I used to think that God wanted me to work for Him. I ministered to my husband and three children first: keeping a casually clean home, cooking meals from scratch with my limited recipe base, minimizing mountains of dirty laundry, and participating in the life of my family at home, school and play.

 

I was under the impression that God also desired for me to spend all of my free time serving in the soup kitchen, going to Bible studies, taking abandoned children into our home, helping to lead worship in my church, teaching adults how to read, witnessing to everyone I met and a myriad of other activities as a Pastor’s wife.

 

However, these very activities stole time away from my ability to actually live in the presence of God. Remember when Jesus went to the pool? He only healed one man (John 5:1-18).

 

Another time, when Jesus walked through the crowd, only the woman who touched his garment was healed (Luke 8:43-48). He could have healed everyone, but He lost a measure of spiritual energy whenever He did;  so He paced Himself, used His power wisely and did only those things which God’s Spirit directed Him to do.

 

Jesus taught the crowds, but He spent more time in solitary places communing with our Father God (Matthew 6:9-13, 11:25-26, 14:23; Luke 6:12, 22:32, 22:41-44, 23:34; John 11:41-42, 12:27-28, 17:1-26). He drew His strength, confidence and anointing from this relationship.

 

We can learn a lesson from Jesus’ life. He listened to God, heard His direction and did only what the Father said and did (John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49). He lived in the very center of God’s will. Now, He calls us to do this very same thing.

 

Sometimes, I actually argue with the Spirit’s leading, or discount it as a human thought which just floated through my mind. Maybe I am tired and I do not want to follow the Spirit’s leading. I have my own agenda for my day; so I decide to take a nap or go to the pool or make some craft instead of obeying my Father’s will. When I do, I quickly learn that I grieved the Holy Spirit and missed an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God.

 

Sometimes, God will lead us to nap, because of what lies ahead in our evening, or He has a person at the pool or golf course whom He wants us to talk to about Jesus. The point is to walk in the Spirit, so we do not reap the consequences of living in the flesh.

 

Prayer:

Father God, keep our thoughts centered on You as we learn to walk only in Your ways. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the spiritual realm of life, so we do not walk in the flesh, but in Your Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We want to live for Your glory and to further Your Kingdom in the earth. You are our everything and we live to bring You pleasure.

 

We want to seek and to save the lost, just like Jesus did. We want to impact Your Kingdom in the earth every day that we reside on this earth. Remind us to smile at people, to engage strangers in conversation if they are willing, to minister to our neighbors’ needs, to visit the sick and hospitalized, to do true religion that is pure and undefiled (James 1:27).

 

Thought for the Day:

We no longer rely on our human reasoning to direct our day, because we seek the Lord; He directs our path (Proverbs 3:5-6) as we walk through our day communing with our Father and following His Spirit’s direction even if it makes no human sense to us at all.

 

No Longer a Sinner – Divinity of Christ in Us

 

The Bible is full of symbolism. For instance, water baptism is a symbol of our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. We raise to walk in a new life with Him.

 

We do not die physically in baptism, but our flesh dies spiritually, and is now able to disregard the lure of sin in this world. Sin no longer tempts us as it used to, and we are free from its bondage.

 

We relate to Christ’s new life in us to a greater degree than we connect to this world. We died together with Him; and it is Him, not us, that now lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

 

We are one with Christ; and through His divine nature within us, we die to the desire to sin. God adopts us into His family. We share in His benefits in His Kingdom of God as co-heirs with Jesus.

 

In Christ, we gradually become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our focus in life, our habits and the people we hang around with all change. Our life is spiritual now, rather than carnal and fleshly.

 

Our vital union with Jesus, puts us in right standing before God, our Father (John 15:1-11; Romans 6:3-11; Ephesians 5:30). He births our spirit, and we live a life which is pleasing to God. We are one with Christ and members of His Body.

 

Our old, carnal flesh – our intellect, emotions and will – is crucified with Christ and we died to sin (John 15:4; Romans 6:6, 8:11; Colossians 3:3, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:22). We are filled with the fruit of God’s Spirit, which is the divine nature of Christ in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the fruit of Your Spirit grows in us only as we abide in Christ and follow Your will for our life (John 15:4). Our living union with the Trinity allows us to fellowship with You every moment of our day and results in our eternal security (John 10:27-30).

 

Create in us a clean heart, and use us as a living testimony for Your glory (Psalm 51:10). Thank You for loving us unconditionally and changing us from the inside out. We look forward to You continuing to change our relationship with You by Your Spirit, until our human nature is altered to one that reflects Your goodness to a lost and dying world.

 

Thought for the Day:

As a Christian, we are transformed by God’s Spirit from one stage of glory to another until we reflect to the world the exact image of Christ in us. – 2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 1:3

 

God is in Control – The Storms of Life

When we first come to Christ for salvation, we still feel like we need to maintain control of our life in case He messes something up for us. Life careens out of control sometimes, does not seem fair and is confusing at best.

 

God’s plans do not always fit into our goals and we think He just does not understand us. His purpose for us does not feel right and often goes against what our heart is telling us to do.

 

What we do not realize at first is that our heart is desperately wicked and cannot tell what is truly best for us (Jeremiah 17:9). We often get into more trouble following our heart than when we follow what our head tells us to do.

 

We only need a small amount of faith to please God (Matthew 17:20); and we can even admit that we need help in our unbelief (Mark 9:23-25). God truly cares and will never ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

God does not always calm the storm (Mark 4:35-41), but He fills us with His presence within and guides us through the raging upheaval one step at a time. When skies are clear, we often forget all about God, taking credit for avoiding the rain.

 

Trials reveal the amount of carnality still lingering in our soul. We succumb to the tests of life when we trust our self rather than God. We struggle through trouble and trials and are buffeted by the storms inherent in life on this earth.

 

However, if we determine to believe God, to hold His hand during the valleys and to maintain our faith in His faithfulness, we discover that tribulation is simply an adventure and that God has everything in His control.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You cause our guardian angels to camp out around us in order to deliver us whenever we trust in You (Psalm 34:7). Even if we end up suffering for doing what is right, You lavish us with rewards; therefore, we never need to worry or be afraid of life’s insecurities and dangers (1 Peter 3:14).

 

You are the first and the last, and You hold all the issues of life and death in Your hands (Revelation 1:17; Mark 5:36; Romans 8:2) You answer us when we pray and believe, and You fight for us as You rid us of all of our fears (Psalm 34:4; Deuteronomy 3:22). We praise You and give You all of the honor and glory that is due to Your name.

 

Thought for the Day:

I was young, and now I am old, and I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love, not even death or life, angels or demons, fears of the present, worries about tomorrow or the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. – Romans 8:38-39