Dwelling Together in Unity

Butterfly Perched on Flower

God designed His family to allow us to help to carry each other’s burdens, which in turn fulfills the law of Christ by maintaining our humility (Galatians 6:3). Therefore, it is important that we are mindful of keeping a clear conscience toward both God and one another (Acts 24:16).

As we imitate God, as His beloved children, we learn to walk in love, just as Jesus loved us by laying down His life for us, which was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-33). God calls all of us to be kind to everyone, rather than confrontational. 

He exhorts us to teach His Truths, to patiently endure evil, to give no offense to our fellow believers (1 Corinthians 10:32), and to gently converse with those with whom we are in conflict. This will give one of us the opportunity to repent, because we come to understand each other’s viewpoint and perspective.

Following God’s ways helps us to come to our senses and to break out of Satan’s snare, which formerly enslaved us into obeying his will for our life (2 Timothy 2:24-26). We do not want to serve satanic plans, or to live as a stumbling block or a rock of offense to those God is calling to Himself, or to disobey God’s Word (1 Peter 2:8).

When we realize that someone has an offense against us, Jesus exhorted us to leave our gift at the altar and first reconcile with our brother or sister before returning to worship Him (Matthew 5:23-24). This keeps us from causing divisions in God’s Body.

If we readily forgive one another rather than to gossip with others, especially to those who have no influence over the outcome or who have no part in what occurred, we seek love and dwell together in unity (Proverbs 17:9). We never want to cause division in the family of God over some incident that happened to us.

Prayer:

Father God, we call on You, because we know that You will swiftly come to our rescue. You listen to our plea, and You count our prayers as sweet incense before You. Teach us to raise our hands as a sacrifice of praise to You, to set a guard over our tongue, to keep our heart from devising evil plans, and not to hang around with those who practice lawlessness (Psalm 141:1-10; Matthew 24:12).

We want to heed the warning of fellow Saints, when they see us slipping away from righteous living, because their love for us prevents us from offending You (Proverbs 10:12). Keep us from creating complications that are contrary to the doctrine You teach us in Your Word, or from influencing others to abandon their faith in You (Romans 16:17-18). 

Thought for the Day:

We never want to use our freedom, given to us through Christ’s crucifixion, as a chance to feed our fleshly nature; but instead, to use it to serve one another in the love of Christ within us.

– Galatians 5:13

When God Penetrates our Awareness

Palm Trees Near Body Of Water

When our mind is full of clutter and diversions, we get pulled in many directions without any goals or purpose.  We experience a lack of depth in our conscious mind. Since the clutter is too overpowering, and we are not listening for His voice, God cannot compete with our distractions or penetrate our awareness.

Following the advice in the Serenity Prayer, we can start each day by praying for wisdom to know if we can change the situation we are experiencing, and how to change it. If we find that we cannot change the circumstances, then we ask God to show us how we should change our focus about them. 

Once we hear the answer from the Lord (Isaiah 26:3), then we put all of our negative thoughts, feelings, and circumstances into God’s capable hands. This allows us to focus on the positive aspects He reveals to us. We dwell within our inner sanctum with God’s Trinity in our spirit. 

We purposely follow the guidance of His Holy Spirit by listening to His still, small voice within us (1 kings 19:12). This prevents the pressures and distractions of life from monopolizing our attention and from overwhelming us. Only as we dwell in God’s will can we truly experience total joy and fulfillment.

We bask in the rays of His comfort and direction. When we return to the life to which God called us, we have renewed power to meet the needs of those He sends our way. We can forgive, we can nurture, we can empathize, and we can minister to our self in the same way that we minister to others.

The loving presence of God within us is closer to us than we are to our own self. God knew us before the foundation of the world (Psalm 139). He knew us as He was forming us in our mother’s womb. It stands to reason then, that He has a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). 

Prayer:

Father God, please remind us to begin each day by sitting at Your feet and learning from You. Help us to enter into Your rest, to talk to You, to listen to You, to read Your Word, to meditate on what we read, to praise You, and to wait on You. Help us to still the chaos in our body and soul – our thoughts, emotions, and choices.

We want to remain in Your presence until You give us the assurance that we are ready to go out into the world and to accomplish Your desires for us. Go with us and in us throughout our day and night. Thank You that You never, ever leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). 

Thought for the Day:

The only way we will know what God wants us to do is to listen; then when we do take the time to listen, God meets us in all of His glory; as we sit in silence, with no inner or outer distractions, we reach a new level of awareness of our self, and of the Trinity of God within us, as well as a place of inner tranquility.  

The Forgiveness of God

Photo of Pod of Dolphins

In His constant mercy and when we come to Him for forgiveness, God erases our sins like a cloud of mist that quickly disappears (Isaiah 44:22). We follow His example by kindly forgiving one another with a tender heart (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; Luke 17:4).

If someone harms us, we can privately share how this action made us feel. In fact, if they take us seriously, the ill feelings between us disappear and our confession improves our relationship (Matthew 18:15).

If we are not careful, unforgiveness on our part will keep us from obtaining God’s grace, will cause trouble in the Body of Christ, and will defile many with bitterness (Hebrews 12:15). God’s Word encourages us to walk away from strife and to consider quarreling as a foolish endeavor (Proverbs 20:3).

When we set an example that causes others to sin, it brings affliction on us (Luke 17:1-2). Yet, when we bear with one another with humility, gentleness and patience, we reap the blessings of a loving relationship that will last for eternity (Ephesians 4:2; Matthew 18:21-35).

God’s Word encourages us to walk in the Spirit rather than to continue to run after carnal pursuits (Galatians 5:15-25; Ephesians 2:1-10). Generously, He will give us His mercy, peace and grace when we confidently approach Him for His help in any situation (Hebrews 4:16).

Prayer:

Father God, the world today is troubled, and people are turning against Your Saints in our nation, as well as in other nations in this world. We do not want to fall away, or betray each other, or to feel hatred for those who persecute us for Your name’s sake (Matthew 24:9-10; 1 Timothy 4:1). 

You are ready to cause them to give account for their behavior, and to judge them accordingly (1 Peter 4:1-19). Help us not to conform our behavior to that of the world, but to allow Your Spirit to renew our mind, so that we can live according to Your will for us (Romans 12:2). Remind us that Jesus also suffered unjust persecution, so that we will adopt His mindset and follow His example (Matthew 5:44; Romans 4:25; Ephesians 4:3, 5:2; Revelation 1:1-20). 

Thought for the Day:

God pardons our iniquity, and He does not remain angry with us for our transgressions of His laws; He gives us His precepts to keep us safe, because He delights in us and gives us His steadfast love, as long as we do not grieve His Spirit by whom He seals us with His ultimate redemption. – Micah 7:18; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:15 

Tears Wash Away Grief

White and Red Flower Shallow Focus Photography

Many people, especially men, are reluctant to allow tears to flow when they feel grief, stress, anger, frustration, anxiety, worry, remorse, or suffer some sort of trauma, because they do not want to appear weak. 

Some people were even taught as children that people do not like “cry babies.” Others are afraid that if they ever allow their soul to express its grief in tears, they will never be able to stop crying. 

They have so much suffering stored up in their subconscious mind, that they feel that the floodgate holding back their tears is really strained at times. What they do not realize is that crying is one of the most healing processes in which human beings can participate. 

Tears wash away our grief, release pent-up emotions, purge the result of harm done to our body and soul, etc. God gave us tears and cares about each one that we will ever shed (Psalm 56:8-9).

Scientist discovered that some tears are made from salt water, and actually fight toxic, disease-causing microorganisms in our body. Tears clear our eyes of irritants, serve as an anti-bacterial protection, decrease our heart rate, open our breathing passages, and calm our physical and emotional tension.

Therefore, never prevent yourself from indulging in a “good cry.” Tears are actually a sign of vulnerability, courage, power, reality, truth and sincerity. Crying allows the body to cleanse us from the negative forces within us, such as stress hormones, etc.

Weeping may endure for a short while, but joy always follows once we trust the issue to the Lord. Crying often changes our focus about the problem that caused our tears (Psalm 30:5). Some people even cry when they are happy, or worshipping the greatness of God, or experiencing some touching moment.

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for giving us the ability to cry. Teach us that, regardless of what was said to us when we were children, You gave us tears to lubricate and to protect our eyes, as well as to release favorable endorphins, which are our body’s resident pain killers. Teach us that it often requires inner strength, as well as attentiveness to our soul to allow our self to cry.

Remind us that tears speed up our recovery process after we experience a loss or abuse in our life, and they prevent overwhelming depression. Give us the courage to heal through tears. Help us to continue to serve and worship You through each moment of our life, especially during times of loss and grief. Meeting the needs of our body, soul and spirit, which You reveal to us through our negative emotions, will improve our outlook, behavior and the quality of our life.

Thought for the Day:

God cares about every tear that spills from our eyes, and He even keeps them in His bottle and records the reason for them in His book; when we cry out to Him, the people, addictions, and life’s circumstances that wound our soul are in His capable hands; we will lie down in peace and sleep even in our trials, because He causes us to abide in the safety of His presence within us. – Psalm 4:8, 56:8-11

Standing Our Ground

Road in City during Sunset

Life in this sin-cursed world does all in its power to knock us down, to pull our legs out from under us, to discourage us and to take away our hope. God’s Word gives us a solution to this problem when we read Paul’s truth of consistently wearing the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

He mentions several protective devices to guard us from the devil’s constant attacks on us. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteous living, feet firmly standing our ground, the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith. 

Then He gives us the ultimate weapon to face any type of adversity: The sword of God’s Holy Spirit, which is the Word of God. When trials oppress us from every direction, we will not be crushed as we feast on, as well as retain, the Word of God (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Tribulation has no power over us once we repent of our sins in salvation, protect our innermost being with the belt of truth, guard our heart with the breastplate of holiness, and ward off spiritual warfare with the shield of faith. We walk out our own salvation without haughtiness or self-reliance, as we trust in the Lord to give us the desire and the power to do so (Philippians 2:12-13).

Even if we have no food to eat, no provision laid up, no prospects for our future; yet, we can still rejoice in the Lord, the God of our salvation. He alone is our strength, our provision, our protection and our sustainer (Habakkuk 3:17-19). We completely trust in God and maintain our faith in His faithfulness.

Strife, stress, sickness, situational ethics, natural disasters, troubled relationships, financial insecurity, etc. cannot remove the peace and joy, which we have through our intimate relationship and union with Jesus Christ our Lord. 

The presence of the Trinity of God abides within us, and strengthens us with His power, wisdom, and righteousness to accomplish everything that He calls us to do. He provides us with all that we need to perform the ministries, which He prepared for us before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). 

Prayer:

Father God, at times we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We can barely put one foot in front of the other due to discouragement and weariness. Remind us to take Your yoke, rather than to carry one of our own making, because when You pull the load of life with us, it makes our burdens easy and light (Matthew 11:30).

Your support enables us to stand our ground in the face of any adversity. As we maintain our relationship with You through prayer, our dependence on the Truth of Your Word, and the comfort of Your presence within us, we can weather any storm, face any adversity, and live victoriously – even when life often frightens us.

Thought for the Day:

When we are hidden with Christ in God, His Holy Spirit replaces our human weaknesses with the strength, character and divine nature of the divinity of Christ within us; He gives us His living water of life, and we will never thirst again, and we firmly stand on the Word of God.

– Colossians 3:3-4; John 4:14

A Good Marriage – Living in Harmony

Some mates use affection as a tool for manipulation. We warm to the sunshine of their focused attention and agree to their demands, often in violation of how we truly feel. Then, once we agree, our mate suddenly withdraws his/her affection and reverts back to their cold, remote treatment of us.

In discussions with our mate, we often attempt to explain how we feel and what we really need. However, due to their mindset and worldview, they may discount the validity and truth of our deep needs, belittle us, and dismiss our over-reactions as invalid or assign them to our fears, insecurities or disproportionate sensitivity.

They end up ignoring our input, and they make decisions that disregard our opinions and needs, causing us to reap the results of their choices. This is when, as adult human beings with all of the undeniable rights of one, we can make our own decisions that prevent us from reaping the blunt of the impact on us of their choices.

Of course, when the event is over, and the results are in, they often have selective memories and insist that the consequences of this incident are our fault and not theirs. Afraid to own up to their own mistakes, they shift the blame to our attitude or behavior, and they insist that our memories of the event are faulty.

This may cause us to doubt our self and our recollections, and to accept the shame of the predicament they insist is our fault. They learn nothing from the incident, since they take no responsibility for their own behavior and choices, and they end up making similar decisions again in the future.

The only way to avoid or to rectify these issues is to pray together for God’s will for our marriage. We end up making fewer mistakes once we decide together to walk in His will for us. Prayer keeps us both humble, helps us to clarify our feelings about every decision before we make it, and aids us in caring about one another’s needs. 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us to seek Your plans for each situation that arises in our life. As we trust in You with our whole heart, and as we consult You in every situation in which we find our self, rather than to insist on our own way, we know that You will always direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). This allows us to walk together in unity. 

Remind us that we do not need to manipulate one another to do things our way; neither do we need to shirk our responsibility in the decisions that we make, but to own up to our mistakes. If we refuse to humble our self, eventually we will find our self humiliated by Your Spirit. Teach us that our mate is not our enemy, or someone to simply tolerate, but our fellow sojourner on this earth.

Thought for the Day:

In this hostile environment in which we live, marrying the person who is our best friend, our comforter, our prayer partner, and our support in our times of need is much better than marrying someone who hurts us by their behavior toward us, or someone who expects us to unwillingly submit to them, or who constantly resists our needs in the decisions that we face.

Controlled and Guided by the Spirit of God

Body of Water Between Green Leaf Trees

During these End Times, there are more false teachers than ever before. Their unorthodox teachings are cutting through the fabric of mainline denominations, who are abandoning the truth of God’s Word in favor of political correctness and humanistic fables (Titus 1:14).

This gives authentic Pastors and church leaders the responsibility of teaching the conservative truth of Biblical Christianity, especially for New Believers, who do not instantly walk in their potential as sanctified Saints. They are a new creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10). 

The Holy Spirit perfects us over years by renewing our mind with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). We commence this process by repenting of our sins, and accepting Jesus as our way of salvation, and our only means of attaining eternal life. We gradually mature spiritually and become complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10-12).

There is nothing that can happen to us during our lifetime that does not first go through God’s gracious hands. Even if we cause this mishap to occur by the lusts of our flesh, the deceitfulness of riches, or the philosophy of this world. We are reaping what we sowed, but God will still work through it to perfect us. 

Every task that God calls us to perform is our opportunity to allow Christ to produce in us and through us what we need in order to accomplish it. He gives us His supernatural wisdom and power (Colossians 1:29). We are inspired and invigorated by God’s Spirit within us (1 Corinthians 6:19, Philippians 2:12-13). 

God’s Spirit conforms us to the image of Jesus, free of blame, and holy and unblemished – bringing many adopted children with us – from glory to glory. We are filled with Christ, under His guidance, and submitted to His control (Zechariah 4:6; Ephesians 3:7; Philippians 4:13, 19).

Prayer:

Father God, we are controlled in this life by circumstances, or by the will of our flesh and the devil, or by Your Holy Spirit. Remind us that this is our choice. Fill us so full of Your Holy Spirit that we exhibit the life of Christ to the world around us (Galatians 2:20). We want to walk in Your spiritual fruit, guided and directed by Your perfect plans for our life.

Help us to decrease, so that Christ in us can increase. We want Him to serve as our eyes, hands, feet, thoughts, emotions and behavior, as You work through us in the ministry of reconciliation of sinners to Christ. We submit our life to Your control, trust You with all of our heart, delight in Your presence within us, and look forward, as Your adopted children, to spending eternity with You in Your service.

Thought for the Day:

Christ in us inspires us to encourage our fellow Saints in times of stress, to comfort each other through times of grief, and to instruct one another in Biblical Truth through His love, power, wisdom, compassion, and inspiration within us.

– Galatians 5:22-23

One with God’s Trinity

Ocean Wave

Walking with God is not a religious activity, but a personal experience with our Living God. It would be lovely if the Lord took us home to heaven on the day of our salvation, but first, He has individual work for each of us to perform (Ephesians 2:10).

He does, however, protect our spirit, body and soul in the meantime (John 17:15). He blesses us with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), and every good and perfect gift that we receive comes from Him (James 1:17). He drenches us with His love, and He continually provides us with His peace and joy.

Jesus is so excited about sharing His glory with His Saints, His Bride, His Church that He mentioned to our Heavenly Father that He would like to always keep us with Him (John 17:24). Since we cannot do this physically, however, until our work on earth is done, Jesus abides within us. This allows us to perpetually remain in fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3, 2:24).

In our body, we still dwell on this earth, but by His Spirit we enter Jesus’ Kingdom from the time of our salvation throughout infinity (Luke 17:21). We live, move and have our true identity in Him (Acts 17:27-28, Galatians 2:20). His Spirit sanctifies us through our trials, and we shall be just like Him when we finally see Him as He is (Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2-3). 

Jesus is our whole life, the center of our focus and our thoughts, as well as our hope of glory (Colossians 3:3-4; Colossians 1:27). This enables us to abide in Him, to resist the enticement to sin, and to know Him intimately (2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 3:6, 8-9, 5:18). Jesus is in the Father and they abide within us (John 14:20-23).

We are a new creation, and we walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). We are no longer tied to this earth, but we seek spiritual ministry, blessings and rewards (Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 3:14). We watch for God’s provision of escape in satanic temptations to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13), and we walk in holiness by God’s Spirit within us (1 Peter 1:14-15).

Prayer:

Father God, You are our extremely great God, and all of Your promises are true and righteous. We partake of the divine nature of Christ in us, as well as the inheritance that You give to all of Your Saints (Colossians 1:12). You delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into Your Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13). 

We are set free from sin, and we are now slaves to Your righteous presence within us (Romans 6:22). Your gracious love frees us from fear, and we walk in holiness and righteousness before You (1 John 4:18; Luke 1:74). We live for Your praise and Your glory. As we flourish in each moment of our life on this earth, we depend on You alone.

Thought for the Day:

We look forward to escaping the evil corruption of this world; but until then, we enjoy the holiness and the unity of God’s presence within us, as we are led by His Spirit and given all of our needed provision with each new day. 

– 1 Peter 1:4; John 17:21; 1 Corinthisans 6:17 

Taking up Another’s Offense

Selective Focus Photography of Pink Petaled Flower in Bloom

What does it mean to take up another person’s offense? It means that we adopt another person’s indignation as our own. We carry their resentments and spread gossip and discord in an attempt to change the circumstances.

This may seem like a noble cause, until we view Jesus’ words about conflict (John 13:34-35). Jesus refused to judge who was right and who was wrong in a dispute (Luke 12:13-14; Matthew 5:9), and we follow His example if we are wise (Proverbs 19:11). 

When we take up an offense, we usually do not have all of the facts. We hear one perspective about the issue, but do not take the time to hear both sides of the disagreement. Also, there are underlying comments, attitudes and viewpoints that need to be considered, which we did not witness.

It is the responsibility of the one originally offended to seek resolution. Jesus gives us a plan of action for this (Matthew 18:15-17). At times, it is better if we simply overlook the transgression against us, and forgive right away (Proverbs 19:11). Chance are the offender is simply having a bad day.

As quite the crusader, I used to take up other people’s offenses. Then I heard a well-known Christian teacher say that when a person is offended, God supplies grace to that person, enabling him to bear the offense and forgive the offender (Hebrews 12:15). 

He continued by pointing out that the same grace is not supplied to those who take sides, because the offense is not ours. If we choose to take up the offense anyway, we bear it without the intervening grace of God, and it may become a root of bitterness in our heart, as well as an occasion for the devil to use us to stir up strife in the body of Christ (Proverbs 3:30). 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us the error of our ways, and for correcting us in the areas of our “blind spots.” We want to be wise, and to promote unity in Your Body, rather than being used by Satan as a dividing force that brings a tangled web of exaggeration, half-truths, outright lies, and discord among the brethren.

Help us to pray for the situation, rather than to jump in with both feet, and to stir up a bigger mess of boiling bitterness than that which already exists between the original two people in the conflict (Proverbs 6:16-19). We want to show love and acceptance to both sides, and to follow Jesus example when he stated that He was not the judge (1 Peter 2:23; Matthew 7:1-5).

Thought for the Day:

We exhibit patience when dealing with other people, showing love, humility and gentleness in order to maintain unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace among us; even God’s law teaches us not to take vengeance or to bear a grudge, but to love our neighbor as we love our self.

– Ephesians 4:2-3; Leviticus 19:18

Healing from Destructive Attitudes and Behavior

Black Mountains Under the Stars at Nighttime

Destructive behavior and mental or emotional disorders in human beings are spawned by our wounds from our past, our fear of future abandonment, our self-absorbed tendencies, our anger fueled by years of abuse, our lack of human strength to assume adult responsibilities, etc. 

We all have our failings, peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. We have a wounded child within us who is hiding in the corner, or buried beneath an avalanche or worries and cares, or ready to defend and protect itself by fight or flight maneuvers. This wounded child lacks basic trust and a positive attitude. 

Not realizing, or even denying the existence of this inner ego state, does not negate the fact that it is there – longing for our favor, needing our nurture, and praying for our compassion. We age, but we never truly grow up. We simply get older, more impersonal, angrier about a life of neglect, and more fearful as the years pass.

When we realize that God is our true Father, we can nestle under the shadow of His wings, run to Him as our strong tower, call on Him as our defense, and trust in Him with our whole heart. He loves us with an eternal and unconditional love, and He has a wondrous future planned for us in His Kingdom (Jeremiah 29:11).

We cannot completely heal of the effects in our soul of Satan’s lies until we completely trust in God’s faithfulness to us. We gain the inner strength from His Spirit to vulnerably admit that we are sinners in need of His grace, and to come to Him in prayer to hear His truth about our negative emotions, attitude and behavior.

God will inspire us to meet our own needs rather than to expect other people to know how to love us. Then we can care for others in healthy ways. This allows us to stop ignoring, abandoning, neglecting, and rejecting our inner self. When we do, our sense of wonder, adventure, playfulness, humor, peace and joy will flourish.

Prayer:

Father God, we worry so much about so many issues, encumbered with a great load of guilt and anxiety. Teach us to rest in You with our whole heart, by faith and confidence in Your love and in Your Word. Help us to lay our fears at your feet, and to put our cares in Your capable hands, as we rest the weight of our life on You. 

You will help us to heal, and to make us ready to assume adult responsibilities for our life, as well as the life of those that You entrust into our care. This healing improves our relationships, makes us ready to serve You in Your calling on our life, and shifts our focus to You, to Your provision and support, and to Your impact on our life. We want to spend our life and our eternity in Your service with Your praises continually on our lips.

Thought for the Day:

Admitting our insecurities to our self, to God, and to our closest human relations improves our sanity, increases our peace and joy, and matures our spirit and soul through Christ in us; we can make peace with our past, which helps us to forge a strong future in this world and in the next.