A Life Worth Living

Life is only worth living as we live it for God. Jesus surrendered all to Our Father – even His crucifixion and death on the cross (Matthew 26:36-56). He gave us this example to follow.

 

God is more than one who answers our prayers. He is Supreme Ruler of the universe. We owe Him our allegiance. The least we can do is to surrender all to Him.

 

Once we realize the true meaning of Christ abiding in us, we appreciate our unity with Him, depend on Him for every breath we take, and trust in His grace and love.

 

He gives us power for our service for Him, gladness in our fellowship with Him and His Saints, and security in His goodness and provision for all of our daily needs.

 

Since God supplies all of our needs, if we do not have something we want, this means that we do not really need it at this time in our life. As we wait patiently on His timing and will, He will put His desires in our heart and we will live in true contentment.

 

When we surrender to God our cares in this life, we not only improve our outlook on life, but also our physical health, our emotional balance and our spirit’s well-being.

 

We dedicate every waking moment to Him: serving in the vocation, ministering in the neighborhood and church family, and dedicating our fun times to the service to which He calls us.

 

We enter His rest, bask in His presence and walk in His will each moment of our day and night. We join all of creation in groaning for His glorious redemption and appearing (Romans 8:19-22).

 

His abiding presence in our life fills us with hope, gives us His joy as our strength and inspires us to live in the happiest place on earth – the very center of His will.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that sin separates us from You, and apathy will rob us of the joy of our salvation. You reveal to us Your path of life and in Your presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). You never hide Your face from your children as we walk in Your will and love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27).

 

We joy in Your continual presence in our life, we delight in doing Your will which You write on our heart, and we draw from Your constant strength which supports us throughout our day (Habakkuk 3:18; Psalm 40:8). We owe You all of our praise and dedicate our life only to you.

 

Thought for the Day:

We rest in undisturbed repose, unimaginable joy and a life blessed with quietness and worship as we totally surrender every aspect of our life to God.

 

Into the Silence

The world is so noisy. All around us, even out in the country, social media, TV, car radios and stores are blaring advertisements and voices almost 24/7.

 

Many people have a noisy soul too. Their thoughts and feelings are bombarding them with negative issues that demand their immediate attention. They are weary and discover no rest, even in God’s presence.

 

In sleep they dream disruptive images, which come from their troubled soul. They argue with significant others in their life and even argue with their own self; finding no peace at all.

 

Only if we disappear into our spirit and immerse our self in God’s peace can we find ultimate silence regardless of the dissonance of circumstances around us.

 

As we sit in His presence, we get lost in Him and focus on His still, small voice within us. We worship with the angels and enjoy our front row seat with Jesus in heavenly places even now (Ephesians 2:4-7).

 

We sit in companionable silence with Him as we bask in the pleasure of God’s face shining on us as He takes joy in our company (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 80:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Finding comfort in the silent presence of our significant others is also a joyful experience. We may chat amiably or snuggle silently and recharge our battery for the coming tasks which will demand our attention.

 

Holding our child as they drift off to sleep is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. We watch their peaceful features and enjoy their unconditional love as their breathing slows and their tiny eyes droop.

 

Yet, our most meaningful relationship is dwelling continually in God’s presence. He permeates us with a quiet peace, sane direction, cheerful thoughts and a holy existence. We pray or listen as the moment dictates and enjoy the constant fellowship of His company.

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in Your presence we experience deep peace, unexplainable joy, and Your comfort and support as we share with You our tears of worship or burdens. You are kind to all of us who trust in and obey You. We wait patiently for You in our alone times and in the cacophony of daily living (Lamentations 3:25-26).

 

By faith, even in our worse trials and times of testing, we joyfully count on Your faithfulness to produce endurance in our soul (James 1:2). We dwell in our spirit and snuggle under the almighty shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). You give us peace which overcomes human reasoning, and You shower us with Your blessings regardless of the hardships we experience in this life (Philippians 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:
Times of silence give us rest, hope and strength to face the next trial.

 

Answers to Life’s Questions

There are several questions that every human being wants answered. Who are we? Where did we come from? What are we here for? Where are we going? Scientists, philosophers and researchers spend inordinate amounts of time looking for answers.

God is the source of all of our answers. He created us as His Children, for His glory and to spend eternity with Him in His Kingdom (Galatians 3; 2 Corinthians 5; Romans 8).

Everyone who chooses to believe in Christ and His sacrifice for us on Calvary’s cross finds our true identity in Him. Those who refuse to believe condemn themselves to eternal darkness (John 3:16-18).

God is constantly perfecting us by His Spirit who abides in our spirit. He takes away our desire to sin, and it no longer appeals to us. We are alive to God and we desire intimacy with Him more than the temporal pleasures of sin.

God’s Spirit helps us to walk away from our weakness and addictions. He searches our heart and knows our mind and prays for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

We are Born Again by the blood of the Lamb, and God’s Spirit replaces the carnal nature in our soul with the divine nature of Christ. Our eternal destination is heaven (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Jesus swallowed up death, and gave us the victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8). What the world views as the finality of death is actually the ultimate victory for God’s children.

Leaving this earth is to our benefit, because God rejoices in the death of His Saints (Romans 8:28; Psalm 116:15). In truth, there is greater advantage for us to go Home to the glory of Heaven than to continue living here on this sin-cursed earth (Philippians 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for making us a new creation in Christ, for filling our life with Your peace and joy, and for exchanging our sin for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through His resurrection, we have assurance by Your Spirit of enjoying everlasting life with You both now and for eternity.

You rescue us from violence and deceit, because we are precious in Your sight (Psalm 72:14). Your mercy and grace are our mainstays and ground us in this life with stability and normalcy, which only You can give. We cling to Your promises and enjoy the divine nature of Christ in us (2 Peter 1:4). Continue to mold us into sanctified servants for Your Holy Kingdom.

Thought for the Day:
Accepting who we are in Christ, and why we are different from those in the world, helps us to make an eternal difference in our world.

Sharing Christ with Others

God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in His Creation (Revelation 4:11). This takes away a person’s excuse for not believing in Him as their Savior.

We instinctively know that there is a God and that we should serve Him with all of our emotions, mind, choices and physical strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Yet, so many do not honor God or appreciate Him. They pursue futile activities, endless philosophies and fruitless enlightenment and their hearts darken further with each passing day. They think they are wise, but they are actually very foolish (Romans 1:20-22).

Authentic Believers trust in, rely on and believe in Christ even if we end up suffering for the sake of His righteousness. We learn to explain and defend our beliefs to those who ask us about the hope we have in Him.

Yet, we never impose our beliefs on someone who is clearly not interested in them (1 Peter 3:14-16). There is no point if the Holy Spirit is not drawing them to God. We never badger anyone about coming to Christ.

We share Jesus with gentleness, respect for the listener and a good conscience; even if someone slanders our good name or reviles our good behavior in Christ.

We are created for God’s glory and service, and we will spend all of eternity worshiping our worthy Lamb who was slain in our place. For now, we live for His glory while we dwell on this earth and do only those works for which He created us to perform (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, break the yoke of bondage that our flesh feels to sin and replace our weaknesses with Your strengths. Help us to decrease so that You may increase. We praise You as our living Lord and thank You for giving us Your Spirit to abide within us all the days of our life.

You are the only one worthy of all honor, respect, praise, glory, wisdom, might and blessing. We look forward to joining the myriads of angels already around the throne in singing Your praises (Revelation 5:12). Lead us to share Christ with those whom You are drawing to Yourself.

Thought for the Day:
The abiding Holy Spirit teaches us to follow His lead as we share Christ with friends, relatives, associates and neighbors; so that we do not push too hard, ignore their body language or fail to read the feelings of their soul in their eyes.

The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

A Holy God

Our human penchant is to trust in our self-righteousness, natural talents and basic good heart to earn us a place in heaven, or at least to ensure that we are reincarnated to a higher life form.

The problem with this thinking is that our heart is deceitful and basically wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Even our best day falls short of God’s holiness and glory, which is the standard for residence in Heaven (Roman 3:23).

When we repent of our sin, ask for God’s forgiveness and surrender our life to Him, He gives us the righteousness, which can only come from Jesus Christ.

Jesus then abides within us by His Spirit (John 15:4). He raises our spirit, which is dead in sin, to walk in a whole new life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). This secures our place in Heaven.

That is why God sent the perfect Lamb, who never lived a moment in sin, to take on the sin of the whole world and to make us righteous like God through the sacrifice of His life (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus willingly laid down His life for us (Luke 4:29-30). He made the choice in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night before He was betrayed, to carry out God’s will (Luke 22:42).

He submitted to the excruciating scourging and death on the cross, not due to human weakness, but according to the spiritual strength He received while considering the glory that lay waiting for Him in Heaven (Hebrews 12:2).

The grace of God transforms us into a Temple made without hands, a dwelling place fit for a King (1 Corinthians 3:16). He uses what the world considers as foolishness to carry out the work of His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Our only honorable response to this is to submit to His will in our life, so that we will also be counted worthy to dwell with Him in His glorious Kingdom for eternity (Luke 21:36).

God created each one of us for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10) and will judge our works in this life in order to reward us in the next (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Prayer:
Father God, many people do not comprehend the elaborate tapestry You have woven over millennia of time in order to bring about the fulfillment of all things (Ephesians 1:10). They do not understand that You never send judgment without first sending warning.

The flood, the annihilation of generations of people and their possessions in Canaan, the crucifixion of Your own son and other judgments are puzzles and a stumbling block, which prevent people from surrendering their life to You. Yet, before all of these events, You gave mankind plenty of warning that You are a holy and righteous God and nothing unholy may dwell in Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus had no thought for Himself, but only love for a dying world lost in sin’s degradation.

A Reasoned Response

Most of my answers are soft (Proverbs 15:1); however, my life was filled with people who took me for granted and ignored me unless I YELLED and unleashed the full fury of my Italian wrath every once in a while.

I always wanted to have a sweet response when someone stepped on my last nerve, or yanked my chain one too many times, but people tended not to take me seriously unless I yelled.

Therefore, when the people in my life changed, I had to practice giving soft answers, to practice choosing to give a reasoned response, rather than letting my emotions build within me until I simply exploded (Psalm 116:7).

In the ensuing years, God allowed my children to grow up into responsible adults who live in their own homes. He also gave me a husband who nurtures and cherishes me.

God helped me to understand that I do not need wrath to get my point across. All I need to do is to quietly say, “I really want you to take me seriously, and listen to what I am saying.”

Our authority is in Christ, not in our self or the intensity of our words. In Christ, quietness is our confidence and strength (Isaiah 30:15, 32:17). When two people disagree, they can always find a compromise.

When we speak with God’s authority instead of our own, people listen. We get the person’s attention, share our needs and then relax in quietness and confidence that the Lord will fight for us, as we wait on Him (Exodus 14:14).

We can trust that God already placed the seed for a miracle in every trial, which we will ever encounter. If we water this seed with faith, patience and confidence in God’s faithfulness, a beautiful plant of blessing will grow.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that Satan battles for our soul through our mind, choices and emotions. He knows he already lost our spirit to You, but he wants to destroy our soul, and our witness for You (Proverbs 34:13). Help us to choose to step out of our self-effort and into Your authority by the guidance of Your Spirit (Proverbs 16:23; Isaiah 45:22).

Wounds from our past and ever-occurring wounds in our present life – being belittled, discounted, deprived emotionally or physically, abandoned, insecure and frightened in our heart – will manifest in our words.

Yet, as we trust You, You help us to heal from our wounds. We will dwell in security and rest (Isaiah 32:18). May our thoughts and words be pleasing to You as we rely on You as our rock and Redeemer (Psalm 20:14).

Thought for the Day:
As God heals the wounds in our soul, as we relinquish our pet peeves and idols to Him, as we surrender control of our life to Him and realize that nothing can happen to us that is not already part of His plan for us (Isaiah 7:4), then we can think and speak quiet, confident thoughts rather than broiling negative emotions.