Experiencing God’s Presence

There is no place on earth more fulfilling than living in God’s presence. He reveals to us the path of life, fills us with His joy and gives us pleasures, which last for an eternity (Psalm 16:11).

His presence abides in us and He gives us His rest (Exodus 33:14). We continually commune with Him through prayer (Psalm 145:18-19). When we draw near to Him, He comes closer to us (James 4:8).

At times, we do not sense His presence, but He is always near to us, living within us (Genesis 28:16). We find Him if we take the time to seek Him with our whole heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Regardless of our behavior, His graciousness, compassion, attention, mercy and love accompany the presence of God in our life; although our sins will break His heart and grieve His Spirit (2 Kings 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brokenhearted people find soothing comfort in God’s presence; and, in our humility, He will save us from every one of our afflictions (Psalm 34:18-19).

God’s goodness is magnanimous to those who submit to Him. Words fail to describe what He has planned for those who trust Him (Psalm 31:19-20).

As our refuge and strength, God keeps us safe from every enemy, from strife and from gossips (Psalm 46:1). His plans are not evil, and He intends for us to prosper in Him (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, create a clean heart in us, and help us to refresh our commitment to You. We thank You for not casting us away from Your presence or removing Your Spirit from within us when we fall into sin (Psalm 51:10-11).

We come into Your presence with gratitude for all that You do for us, and we shout joyfully in praises to You. You are our great King, our Savior and God (Psalm 95:2-3).

Thought for the Day:
We joyfully serve the Lord and dwell in His presence with a continual song in our heart and on our lips. – Psalm 100:2

Purpose in Suffering

There are many people who live with the persuasion that God intends for His Saints to live in perfect health. The first objection to this theory is Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Paul begged God to heal this physical infirmity. God had other plans, and reminded Paul that His grace was sufficient to help Paul live with this issue (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God often heals, but He also uses our affliction to teach us patience, to remind us to trust Him and to bring glory to His name (John 9:3).

God is not sadistic or unfeeling. He does not want to punish or afflict His people with suffering; however, God uses our attitude in our adverse physical conditions as a witness of His goodness and grace.

When we smile in our pain, continue serving Him in spite of our misery, maintain a positive outlook regardless of how much we are suffering, God gets the glory.

People are amazed that we keep going, when life smacks us down. They want to know how we can deal with this trial with such a confident stance. People bemoan their misfortune, but authentic Believers trust God always.

God will heal some illnesses; yet, allow others to get worse instead of better. Every person must succumb to death in one way or another. God knows the day and hour of our homecoming to heaven (Job 14:5).

A peaceful passing in our sleep, the result of a prolonged illness, a traffic accident or a natural disaster may claim our life. However, the end result is the same – we enter our eternal glory with the Lord.

We can thank God for our thorn in the flesh and live with it with patience as Paul did His. When God is through using the infirmity to work out His will in our life for His glory, He will heal us in this life or the next.

Prayer:
Father God, death is the ultimate healer. Some people look at death as defeat; but Jesus took the sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). We no longer dread passing from this life to the next, because the end result is an eternity in Your presence.

We cannot thank You enough for sending Jesus to reverse the curse on this earth, which came as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Although we may experience physical illness during our lifetime, we promise to trust in Your goodness as You use it for Your glory.

Thought for the Day:
Through suffering, our soul is strengthened, our witness pronounced, and our trust in God enhanced, as we realize that God’s love is greater than our affliction.

A Contagious Smile

A smile is a wonderful blessing. It lights a fire in our heart every time we see one. It inspires us to inhale a deep breath and to exhale the tension built up in our body.

Sometimes, all a person needs is for someone to smile at them. Even if they are a stranger to you, they may need your sincere smile to revive them from their desperate thoughts.

Medical science agrees with the Bible when they say that a smile improves our mood (Proverbs 15:13-15), strengthens our immune system and lowers blood pressure (Provers 17:22), reduces pain (Proverbs 15:30), and relieves our stress (Psalm 126:2-3).

The easiest way to keep a smile on our face is to think only about issues that are accurate, moral, true, wholesome, divine, commendable, exceptional and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

The Apostles recommended that we even consider our trials as a joyous occasion. Trials test our faith in God’s faithfulness and mature us as spiritual beings (James 1:2-4; Matthew 5:12).

Our hope in the Lord gives us something to smile about, so that through prayer we can have patience in any affliction (Romans 12:12). God smiles on His Saints as He teaches us His ways (Psalm 119:135, 4:6, 31:16).

Prayer:
Father God, we can smile throughout our life, regardless of the circumstances, because they strengthen our confidence in You and our hope of eternal salvation, through Your steadfast love, as they develop Godly character in us (Romans 5:3-4; Psalm 31:16).

Help us to change our focus on the negative aspects of our life, so that we can change the expression on our face and smile (Job 9:27

Thought for the Day:
A smile is actually contagious, so give someone a smile today and bless their life.

New Creation – Part 2

God started a good work in me and continues to make me a new creation (Philippians 1:6). Introspection was an affliction, which contributed to my low self-esteem and introverted tendencies. God’s Holy Spirit healed this burden by ending my negative self-talk and filling me with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

I tended to be one-track minded and had no skill for multi-tasking, until my children were born – what mother does not learn to multi-task?

Fighting depressive thoughts and looking at the glass as half-empty were two other melancholic traits, from which God delivered me. He taught me to focus on the eternal rather than the earthly; eventually worldly cares and concerns stopped bothering me so much.

Feeling like a victim or a savior were two other traits, which God freed me from by reminding me that I am more than a conqueror and Jesus is the only Savior the world needs (Romans 8:37; 1 John 4:14).

Holding grudges caused me problems until God taught me about forgiveness – not only about forgiving others, but about forgiving myself as well (Matthew 6:14-15). Mercy and grace became my guide stones.

Worry is another weakness, which plagued my life until God taught me to have faith in His faithfulness and that He would eventually work out everything, even the most negative situation, for my good (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, these negative natural tendencies crippled my life and gave me a pessimistic outlook. I could not see the joy You created all around me. As you transform me to have the mind of Christ, all of nature, each person I encounter and every detail of my day become an adventure and a blessing in my life. I look forward to each new day in Your presence. Thank You for making me a new creation.

Thought for the Day:
Transformation is a voyage of discovery of who we are in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Enduring Gratitude

Enduring Gratitude

At the last supper, Jesus gave thanks to our Father in spite of already knowing the horrific suffering awaiting Him in just a few hours. Even in the garden, He wrestled with the part that He must play in securing mankind’s salvation through the centuries. Yet, He did not falter or run away.

In the garden, as He sweat drops of blood at the thought of becoming sin for us, He changed His focus from the upcoming crucifixion to the eternal glory, which awaited Him just beyond the grave (Luke 22:44). Jesus both authored our faith and also prefects it (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). That leaves no responsibility for us, except to respond positively to His overtures (Galatians 2:16).

Jesus not only forgave our sins and supplied our salvation, but also provided the best future for us that we could ever envision (Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17). He provides all of our needs with His glorious riches, both now and in eternity (Philippians 4:19). This allows us to live in everlasting and enduring gratitude to our Father.

Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to skip the stages of death, in order to enter. Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:52-53; 2 Corinthians 5:8). In our immortal body, we will live in eternal bliss without sin and corruption (Psalm 16:11, 43:4; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:21). We will sing with angels around the throne and rule and reign with Him forever (Revelation 7:11; 2 Timothy 2:12).

Prayer:
Father God, You give us all of Your grace in our times of need in order to help us to see Your hand in every trial (2 Corinthians 9:8). Change our focus from the trauma we feel now to the fact that this light and momentary affliction pales in comparison to the miracle You plan for us through this trial (2 Corinthians 4:17). We have so many reasons to live a life of enduring gratitude to You both now and in eternity.

Thought for the Day:
Born Again Believers have so much to be thankful for, both in this life and the next.

Comfort for the Oppressed

God cares about the abused and the oppressed. He loves the mistreated, but He abhors our affliction. He gathers our tears in His bottle and records them in His journal (Psalm 56:8). He promises not to hide His face from us when we cry out to Him, and He champions our cause (Psalm 22:24, 140:12). He redeems the soul of the afflicted from deceit and violence, and our blood is precious in His sight (Psalm 72:14).

The Lord hates those who love violence and promises to punish them (Psalm 11:5; Zephaniah 1:9). He is wearied by the violence in homes and those who make excuses for divorcing their mate, whom they should be protecting (Malachi 2:16). God promises to lift up the distressed above those who try to hurt them and to deliver them from violent people (Psalm 18:48; Psalm 27:5-6).

Even verbal abuse is dealt with when God inspires Solomon to write, “violence covers the mouth of the wicked” (Proverbs 10:6,11). Jesus equates anger without a cause as murder, and He speaks out against verbal abuse (Matthew 5:21-22). He makes things right and provides the afflicted with a refuge from oppression and trouble (Psalm 9:9; 103:6). He brings down the haughty evil person and saves the afflicted (2 Samuel 22:28).

God gives us hope and a secure future (Jeremiah 29:11). Our weeping may endure for the night, but God gives us joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Because we know the name of the Lord, we put our trust in Him. He will never forsake those who seek Him. We end up singing praises to His name for what He does for us and we tell everyone who will listen about what God did for us (Psalm 9:9-11).

Prayer:
Father God, even if we walk through the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear. You are with us and You give us support and protection, as well as correction if we are causing our own misfortune (Psalm 23:4). Even though the righteous may suffer many afflictions, You deliver us out of them all (Psalm 34:19). You order our steps, and even if we fall, we are never completely cast down, because You hold us up with Your hand (Ps 37:23-24). Remind us to bear one another burdens (Galatians 6:2) and to encourage each other in our times of distress (Hebrews 12:12).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus is our rock, fortress and deliverer in whom we can take refuge. He is our shield and the horn of our salvation, our stronghold. – Psalm 18:2

Looking Through God’s Eyes

God is everywhere and in all things (Ephesians 4:6). His presence is around us, even when we do not pay attention to it. He lives IN us and is closer to us and knows us better than we know our own self. Yet, we spend most of the day ignoring Him. Those of us who are too self-reliant to depend on God, find our self in more trouble than we can handle.

With pride, comes our fall (Proverbs 16:18). God resists the proud, who are too self-sufficient to lean on Him (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). We are drowning in our problems and continually have to face the fact that we can’t; but, God can. With humility comes more grace. As we submit to His direction with a humble heart, God draws near to us.

We all suffer in this life, but God always works everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). God uses our problems to show His glory (John 9:2-3). He reveals the issues of life to us from His perspective rather than our own earthly one, and we can deal with them through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. God actually cares about every aspect of our life.

Solomon told us to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and not to depend on our human understanding. He advises us to seek the Lord with our entire being and to acknowledge God in whatever we are doing (Proverbs 3:5-6). We can to consult God about which direction to take, which decision to make, which person to speak to, what color to purchase and even what groceries to buy for that week. Father knows best.

Prayer:
Father God, our life on earth is a momentary affliction compared to the glories You prepared for us in Heaven. Your paths lead us through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen (Psalms 77:14, 19b). Give us the lens of Your mercy and grace in order to view our problems; so that we can have Your perspective on it all.

Thought for the Day:
God has an eternal perspective and He sees what is best for all of us throughout eternity, and not just for life on this earth.