Manifestation of God

Most of humanity does not know Jesus as the Christ, nor do they care at all about Godly principles. Hypocrisy in the lives of so called Christians exacerbates this problem.

 

If unbelievers see no distinction in their daily walk with that of a professing Believer, this disillusions them. They want nothing to do with Christ or with us.

 

We have a problem with our connection to the Vine (John 15:5). We may even have a false hope of Heaven, because we never truly repented or made Jesus the Lord of our life.

 

If, however, we are grafted into the Vine, their reason for rejecting His truth may be that we are hiding His light within us and they cannot see it (Matthew 5:15-16).

 

Once we surrender our identity over to the Ruler of the universe, God makes a huge difference in our habits, language, personality and interests.

 

When we fully submit to God for Him to use as He pleases (Isaiah 29:16), our life takes on the character of Christ. This is when people see us as authentic Christians. We are a manifestation of God on the earth.

 

We have God’s peace in trouble, His perseverance in trials, His love for our persecutors and His joy during periods of grief.

 

They see us exhibiting patience in trying times, using self-control when others give in to debauchery, displaying meekness rather than having a haughty attitude, relating to others with kindness and basing our life and decisions on faith in our faithful God.

 

We lay down our preferences and care about the needs of others over our own agenda, without compromising who we are in Christ.

 

Others see truth and reality in our lives. We are capable of this behavior, not because we are exemplary human beings, but because of God’s Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:16:25).

 

This is when other people want for themselves what we have within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Jesus prayed that no one would snatch us out of Your hand. You are greater than all, and we are perfectly safe in Your everlasting arms (John 10:28-29). Fill us completely full of Your Spirit and keep us as the apple of Your eye (Ephesians 3:16-19; Psalm 17:8).

 

Draw us close to You and never let us go. Your unfailing love is our priceless treasure and we run to the refuge of the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 36:7). When we draw near to You, and resist Satan’s efforts to sidetrack us, he has to flee from Your presence within us.

 

Thought for the Day:

The Holy Spirit is our source of power; and we can ask Him to manifest Himself in and through us all the days of our life; so that others see Christ in us.

 

 

 

Our True Identity in Christ

 

We find our true identity and self-worth in Jesus Christ. We are a stem on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5), a slave to Jesus, our Master (Romans 6:16-18), a holy place for the Holy Spirit to dwell (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

 

We are dead to self-effort through Christ (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus perfects us, and He is the author and finisher of our faith as we focus on Him and His will for our life (Hebrews 12:2).

 

God sent His Son in the form of human flesh, in order that the law may be fulfilled in Him (Romans 8:3). As we obey God, we will not walk according to the law or in the sinful passions of our flesh.

 

We will walk instead according to the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day (Romans 8:4). We have no righteousness of our own merit, but we walk in the victory of the cross and in dependence upon our union with Christ.

 

A committed Believer wants to do God’s will above all else. That is our goal in life. Our every waking breath and the desire of our heart is to further the Kingdom of God in the earth.

 

Though we may fall short of God’s glory now and then, we surrender our life to Christ in order for Him to perfect us through sanctification (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Our thoughts, words and behavior match our desires. We put away sinful pursuits and seek holiness. We live life surrendered to God’s unconditional love, unqualified forgiveness and perfect will for our lives.

 

Through the Spirit of God, we are transformed into the fullness of Christ from one degree of glory to another through the process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a container we show that the all-surpassing power in us is from You and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). As we totally surrender our life and plans to You, we find all the riches and wonders we could ever want during both this life and the next.

 

Nothing is impossible with You, and we constantly reap the benefits of Your unconditional love for us (Matthew 19:26). Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your glorious plan of redemption for the earth.

 

Remind us that once our “self-life” is dead, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and through us (Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20). Jesus uses our hands, our feet, our words and our actions to further Your Kingdom in the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

The only way for every child of God to fully live is to completely die to our own desires, ambitions and goals, and to hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

 

 

 

 

United with Christ

God originally created mankind in the image of the Trinity (Genesis 1:6). Adam and Eve enjoyed an existence of body, soul and spirit in close fellowship with the Father. They enjoyed the same divine nature, which Christ exhibited.

Yet, when they believed Satan’s lies, they chose to ignore their divine nature and to give in to the temptation of their human nature. As a result, their spirit died and their immortal body became mortal. We all reap the consequences of their choice.

God planned, before He created the world, to become man as Emmanuel (Genesis 1:1; Matthew 1:23). He paid the ransom for the sin debt of anyone who will choose to submit to His will rather than to our human desires or the devil’s temptations (John 3:16-18; Romans 4:25, 5:6).

The reason that God’s Spirit regenerates our spirit and sanctifies our soul is so that we will live in the divine life of Christ in us, rather than through our human life with its earthly thoughts and desires (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:1, 12-14).

This is only possible once our spirit is Born Again. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Romans 12:2, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We live, move and have our existence in Christ alone (Acts 17:28).

The life, which we live in this body, is lived through the faith of God’s holy Son (Galatians 2:20). We are united with Christ in our spirit, just as Jesus’ humanity was united with God, while He lived on this earth.

We continue the work of Christ on this earth, and we do greater works, as we function as His Body (John 3:3-6, 14:12). We think, feel, speak and act in the will of God as we follow the leading of His Spirit through every decision we make and every action we take.

This affects our behavior and words in our vocation, marriage, extended family, neighborhood and church Body. We live as a city on a hill, and we never hide the light of Christ within us (Matthew 5:14-16).

Prayer:
Father God, You teach us in Your Word that if we live by the dictates of our flesh, and give in to Satan’s temptations, we will surely die in our sin. Yet, if we live by Your Spirit, He enables us to resist temptation and we will live in Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ forever (Romans 8:13). Teach us how to walk in the divine nature of Christ in us.

Help us to live and move and have our being in Him, so that we can walk in Your will, exhibit Your character and do the works of Christ all the days of our life (Acts 17:28). Thank You for helping us to renew our mind through the washing of the water of Your Word (Ephesians 5:26). Since Christ set us free from sin, help us to stay free from its destructive clutches (Galatians 5:1).

Thought for the Day:
God’s Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, now lives within our body through our spirit, and gives us His life. – Romans 8:11

The Truth about Love

There are three common types of love. Each one is distinctly different, but we can feel all of them at one time – for one person or many people. EROS is passionate physical love. It includes sensual desires and longing.

Relationships built only on Eros usually end when sexual passion wanes. That is why people have affairs or casual physical relationships. Therefore, marriage needs more than Eros to survive.

PHILIA means friendship and connotes affectionate love between friends and family. It displays dispassionate camaraderie. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It exhibits Godly virtue, impartiality and delight.

Philia denotes a friendly type of affection between family and friends. It is a desire for companionship and enjoying activities with each other. Having a friendship with the people in your life and enjoying time to play, pray and share in common pursuits is vital in any relationship.

AGAPE means unconditional love. It refers to a deep sense of God’s pure, holy love. Instead of the sexual attraction of Eros or the deep affection of Philia, Agape is sacrificial.

Agape provides us with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction as we put each other first and highly esteem one another as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4). True love takes effort and is not dependent on the other person.

Christ lives in us and is love personified. Regardless of how someone treats us, we love them with God’s love within us. It is not how we feel, but what we do to express God’s love to one another.

This does not mean that we do not honestly communicate to others how their behavior makes us feel; but we never give up on the relationship. We may have to establish boundaries, but we keep the relationship active.

Love is not what we expect from others, but what we provide for those in our life whom we care about. We are called to love one another, just as Christ loves us. Sometimes, that is a tall order to fill.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to display love to our parents, spouse, children, church family and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. This is only possible as we submit to Your will for our life and allow Your Spirit to reprogram our thinking to have the mind of Christ. Remind us that once we have this spiritual love, then the physical and the emotional feelings will follow after it.

Cause us to submit our self to You and to resist the devil. Then he must flee from us (James 4:7). His destructive suggestions that putting our self first, estrangement and divorce are not wrong, and that You want us to be happy, will vanish with his departure. Remind us that You want us to be holy. Help us to develop Agape love for others as we focus on submitting our self to You.

Thought for the Day:
Most people realize that we are far from loving one another with true self-sacrificing, lasting and sincere love; Eros and Philia come and go throughout the years, and they are never intense for long periods of time, but Agape lasts forever.

Life is No Longer a Struggle

After surrendering our life to Christ, we experience a struggle between our soul and spirit. Our spirit is born again by the Spirit of God at salvation. Our carnal nature is now dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:1-4).

Yet, there are predispositions in our life through habits and addictions, which continually pull us back to the deeds of the flesh (Romans 7:14-24). Thankfully, our redemption through Christ rescued us from serving a slaves to sin (Romans 7:25).

We can trust His Spirit to slowly sanctify us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The result is that we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-26). We bear holy fruit in our life and share this fruit with those God brings our way (Galatians 5:22-23).

We cannot accumulate enough good works to earn God’s love (Ephesians 2:8-9). While we were still sinners, He already gave us His unconditional and unmerited love as a free gift (Romans 3:23, 5:6-8, 6:23).

He gives us an example of how to love our children, spouse and other family members and friends. Our love for them is not based on their behavior or accomplishments, but as a free gift.

When we believe that our self-worth is based on our performance, we lose respect for our self if we fail. When we base our identity on Christ in us, we always succeed because we follow His Spirit on a daily basis.

This frees us from wearing masks to fit in or lying or living a hypocritical life in order to live up to the image we believe people expect from us. Receiving our worth from Christ in us keeps us humble and totally dependent on God.

We rely on God to point out our inconsistencies, to effect these changes in us and to help us to accomplish the works He pre-ordained for us to do (Psalm 139:23-24; Ephesians 2:10). He is our all in all through every moment of every day (Ephesians 4:6).

Prayer:
Father God, we choose to enter Your rest and to bear fruit through Your Spirit and by no effort of our own (John 15:4). We trust in the saving work of Christ on Calvary’s cross rather than on our good works; and we accept our holiness, righteousness, justification and sanctification as gifts from Your Spirit.

Thank You for rooting and grounding us in the soil of Your love and for caring for us as our Vinedresser throughout our entire lifetime. We pray that as we submit to Your will for our life, we will glorify You by bearing much fruit for Your Kingdom through Your Spirit’s work in our life (John 15:8; Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
God searches our heart and tries us, seeing our fears and anxiety and healing us of every hurtful memory as He leads us in His everlasting way.
– Psalm 139:23-24

Exacting Revenge

Revenge is sweet, or so they say. We plot and plan our next encounter and how we will get the jump on our enemy’s rude and spiteful behavior.

We set up a cycle of events in order to position our self to put our enemies in their place and to hurt them before they can hurt us. We despise them more with each breath we take.

Yet, revenge leaves us feeling empty. As Believers we even regret our display of ungodly behavior. Our vindictive and vengeful thoughts and actions take a toll on our spirit, and grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30).

It seems impossible to love our enemies. They taunt us, thwart us and stab us in the back every chance they get. We are willing to struggle with the concept of not hating them; but loving them is going a bit too far.

There is good news. We do not need to feel emotional affection to love our enemies, just a heart, which is surrendered to Christ.

When we love Christ more than we love our self, we can love our enemies with His Agape love. We grow to desire that our enemies will prosper and to experience the love of God, which we enjoy.

We can minister to our enemy’s physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and mental needs when God prompts us. He shows us opportunities to share His love with them.

God’s Word, which richly fills our soul, helps us to have meekness in order to walk away from the temptation to inflict revenge on our enemies (James 1:21).

God walks with us and in us through the dark night of our soul (Psalm 139:17-18). He rewards our faithfulness to walk in His truth. He roots us in His love and builds us up in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that vengeance is Yours and You will repay our enemies for their treatment of us. Help us to kill our enemies with kindness, pricking their conscience with our loving behavior toward them (Romans 12:20).

Soften their heart toward us. Show us the root of their feelings, which cause them to despise us. Use us to help them to heal from their wounds which cause them to bully us and others.

Cause their reasons for attacking us to diminish; and if nothing else, make them just walk away and leave us alone. In all things, help us to prosper even as our soul prosper when we follow Your will for our life (3 John 1:2).

Thoughts for the Day:
God establishes our faith in His faithfulness; and we abound in our gratitude to Him. – Colossians 2:6-7

Renewed Mind – Part 2 – Healing for Our Wounded Soul

Satan plants lies in our soul throughout the experiences of our life. These misconceptions cause us to over-react irrationally and with intense emotion in our current life situations.

There are personality issues and woundedness in every person’s soul, which may trigger our wounds and hinder us, or our partner, friend or relative from changing or growing spiritually.

We need to see life through their eyes, not only through our own. God will give us His agape love to accept them for exactly who they are. Then we can also pray for them to be all that God wants them to be.

If we put their needs above our own, He gives us the patience to love them through their episodes. We realize that they are reacting from fear and woundedness, which our behavior triggered; and we do not take their rage or sullenness or impatience personally.

We pray for them and love them even more when they are behaving badly than we do when they are rational and kind. They have no idea why they are acting this way, but God does.

All negative behavior is a red flag to alert us of the woundedness in our soul. It may also be a false belief that is now an idol in our soul, because we give our pet peeves and misconceptions too much importance in our life.

We can take these irrational beliefs to God and gain His perspective on them, asking Him to change our focus about them until they lose their importance to us.

During rational moments, when no one is in a hurry or in need of our time, we can offer to pray with our spouse, friend or family member about their negative emotions.

They may be as clueless about their behavior as we are. They can start by journaling what they were thinking during their outburst. What thoughts were going through their mind? What did we do that triggered this reaction in them?

As we pray together, these problems are resolved as God reveals their root and origin, uncovers Satan’s lie for us to see and then speaks His truth to our soul.
( http://www.theophostic.com )

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our soul longs more for a relationship with You than with a person. We often go from one person to another in this life, trying to find our soul mate, or someone to complete us.

Yet, the only way we can feel fulfilled is through deepening our commitment and our relationship with You. This is true even for married people. The more we find acceptance and develop satisfaction in our relationship with You, the more we can serve our mate out of our love for You (Ephesians 5:22, 6:7; Colossians 3:18, 23-24).

Thought for the Day:
Our support and acceptance of our partner’s, friend’s or relative’s shortcomings will do much to improve our attitude, as well as to improve their behavior through our love and consideration of their needs above our own.