Uncommon Love

Although God causes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good, and although He waters the land belonging both to the righteous and the unrighteous, it does not mean that God approves of their evil or unrighteous behavior.

If unconverted people would really pay attention, they would recognize that the whole earth is actually full of the lovingkindness of the Lord (Psalm 33:5).

At times, evil people advance in this world quicker than the righteous, which seems totally unfair to us. As humans, we would take a totally different approach. We would zap our enemies and annihilate them.

Yet, God often makes sure that unbelievers experience the same joys and benefits from His love that Believers do. He draws them by His love, just as He drew us by His love, even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

At times, we are frustrated by the sinner’s blindness to the goodness of God, and we lament that they do not praise Him for His love and kindness (Psalm 107:8).

They know about God; yet, most of them reject Him or even accuse Him for everything that goes wrong in their life. Their foolish hearts get darker and darker in the midst of God’s obvious wonders (Romans 1:21).

Nevertheless, God pours out His blessings on the unjust as well as the just (Matthew 5:45). Then, He calls us to mirror His love to our unsaved friends, relatives, associates and neighbors by laying our life down for them (Romans 5:7).

Prayer:
Father God, give us the same mercy and grace toward sinners that You showed to us. Keep us from expressing the frustration we often feel towards their resistance to Your love. Help us not to judge them, but to accept them right where they are; knowing that You will convict them in your timing and way.

Remind us often that we are no better than the sinner, because the only difference is that we are already saved by Your grace. Let us lay down our life for them. Give us the chance to prove to them that our motivation for serving them is nothing more than Your love for them in us.

Thought for the Day:
God desires that we continually pray for the salvation of the sinner; and that we utilize every opportunity to take as many of them to heaven with us as will have the humility to surrender to God’s love.

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The Joy of the Lord

God gives us several commands throughout His Word to rejoice in Him. When God thinks a concept is worth repeating, it is definitely worthy of our consideration (Psalm 32:11, 35:9, 64:10, 97:12, 104:34; Isaiah 29:10, 41:16; Joel 2:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Zechariah 10:7; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

When the joy of the Lord fills our spirit, it also affects our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. It influences our words and actions and how we relate to our self and to other people.

It affects our relationship with the Lord and helps us to sing the praises to Him that He is worthy to receive (Psalm 147:1). We pray about everything and give thanks in everything, even in the negative aspects of our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Lord puts a hymn of praise, a new song, in our heart (Psalm 40:3). We come before His presence with thanksgiving as we make a joyful noise to Him in song (Psalm 100). His joy is our continual source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10),

God’s Word is living and powerful and teaches us to abide in our spirit rather than in our body and our soul (Hebrews 4:12; John 15:11; Galatians 2:20). He opens the eyes of our understanding to the opportunities we have to walk and live in His Spirit.

God helps us to discern between the desires of our flesh and the leading of His Spirit. We no longer allow the appetites of our body, considerations of our mind or fickleness of our emotions to dictate our thoughts, words or behavior.

Instead we seek the Lord to reveal the root source of any negative impulses we experience and to free us from any dictates of our flesh, any influence of the world and any tyranny of the devil over our life.

Prayer:
Father God, we submit our spirit, body and soul – our every thought, choice and emotion – to Your Spirit. Our union with You consumes our every waking moment, and we want nothing more than for You to live Your life in and through us.

Remind us not to worry about anything, but to seek Your will in ceaseless prayer. We want to live a life of continual joy, prayer and thanksgiving to You through Christ in us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We thank You for meeting all of our needs, and for giving us Your peace, which is not dependent on our human reasoning and understanding, and which guards our hearts and minds as we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Philippians 4:4-6; Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord loves us so much that He actually takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

The Name of the Lord – His Chosen Nation

God loves Israel, regardless of their behavior toward Him, because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He continually calls Israel to return to Him, to exalt His name and to keep His Word (Psalm 69:35-36).

He never abandoned Israel, even when she was not a nation, because it pleases Him to make them a nation for His great name’s sake (Isaiah 12:22). This increases our faith in God’s faithfulness.

God redeemed Israel continually through the generations to make a name for Himself, as He did great and mighty things for them. He even divided the waters before them (2 Samuel 7:23, 26).

He restored part of the Promised Land to Israel over and over through their history; and again in 1948, after the great persecution and judgement He sent on them because of their unbelief (2 Kings 21:4, 23:27).

He formerly scattered them among the nations of the earth, as He prophesied that He would; but now He calls them back to Himself for His own name’s sake (Nehemiah 1:9; Jeremiah 3:17).

People wonder how God can turn to the Gentiles and shut up His Kingdom to Israel for 2000 years; but He gave Israel 4,000 years to turn their hearts to Him.

Even now, many Jews return to God and find completion through Jesus Christ. For His name’s sake, He will use the Great Tribulation to give them yet another chance to take refuge in His name (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:9, 50:34; Micah 5:4; Zephaniah 3:9,12; 13:9).

Some people are blinded to God’s true character and provision by Satan’s lies and they curse Him, because they see only the trials, which come on us on this earth (Revelation 16:9).

Yet, people from every tribe, tongue and nation of the earth come before Him to worship His name and glorify Him, because of the blessings God pours out on His people (Revelations 15:4).

Prayer:
Father God, you are jealous over your people who glory in Your holy name (Exodus 34:14). Our heart is glad continually over Your provision for us in our life on this earth (1 Chronicles 16:10). We boast in You so that the humble will hear about Your provision in our life and come to You (Psalm 34:2).

There is salvation in no other name or means than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). As the perfect Lamb, He is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6). Whatever we ask in Your name, in order to perform the works You created us to do for Your glory, You will supply (John 14:13). There is no God like You, and we exalt Your name, which is great in power and might (Jeremiah 10:6).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus, the true King of Israel, is most highly exalted; and God bestowed on Him the name, which is above every other name; so that at His name, everyone who is in Heaven, on the earth and even under the earth will bow their knee to Him. – Philippians 2:9-11

4:2

Free at Last

In our society, God’s name is used more to damn someone or thing than to bless them. The last few generations have no concept of sin. Wrong is right, and right is often viewed as wrong.

Sin is the norm for many, and church is foreign (Ephesians 4:21, 6:1; Colossians 3:9). They view Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross as a waste of a life, rather than as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.

Until we understand that God’s Word is our ultimate authority, we will not comprehend our disobedience to it, and our need to ask Jesus for forgiveness (John 14:15, 23).

Even the law of our land teaches us that there are consequences for our behavior. The police and courts hold us responsible to uphold the law or we are punished.

When we transgress God’s law, we deserve to suffer the penalty of death. Yet, Jesus suffered our eternal punishment for us (John 3:16-18). He gives us His life in our spirit, which was formerly dead because of Adam and Eve’s sin (Ephesians 2:1; Galatians 2:20).

When we decide to live for God, rather than for our self, our spirit is no longer dead in sin and separated from Him. Jesus makes it possible for us to spend eternity in Heaven (John 3:16-18; Romans 10:13).

We are dead to sin now, and free from its strangle-hold on our life (Romans 6:6, 11, 18). We are able to discern right from wrong and to walk in holiness by the help of God’s Spirit within us.

When we die physically, we will not die spiritually. Our last breath on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven (Matthew 25:46). We will spend eternity with God.

We can trust our life on earth to God’s perfect plan for us (Ephesians 2:10). We find fulfillment, peace and joy through His love and forgiveness (Romans 14:17).

We collapse into God’s waiting arms with the confidence that He will catch us and never, ever let us go (Hebrews 13:5). He abides in our spirit now and makes a huge difference in our life (Romans 8:11).

Prayer:
Father God, there are not enough days in our lifetime to show our appreciation to You for all that You do for us each day. Remind us not to take Your goodness and grace for granted. Teach us to praise You for all of the blessings You shower on us each and every day.

Help us to learn to discern the leading of Your Spirit as we commit each day to You (Proverbs 3:5-6). We do not want to depend on our human reasoning, because this reaps mediocre results at best. We want to walk in Your Will by the direction of Your Word under the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
God improves our spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical health as we trust Him, follow the guidance of His Spirit, and live, move and exist in Him. – Acts 17:28

Blooming Like a Garden

Human beings are slaves of whatever entity we obey: either Almighty God or the god of this world – Satan. Allowing the devil to entrench us in sin leads to destruction both now and for an eternity in the lake of fire (Romans 6:16).

Instead, we enjoy life so much more as slaves of God in obedience and holiness. This allows us to live in the Spirit rather than in the flesh, since God’s Spirit abides within us (Galatians 5:15-25).

Whoever does not have God’s Spirit does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). Yet, as we totally surrender our humanity to Christ, He saves us and adopts us into His family (Ephesians 1:5).

Satan continually attempts to draw us away from God through our body and soul. He trips us up with a single temptation. Then, it is easier for him to tempt us in the future to follow his will for us.

Yet, Christ in our spirit gives us a way to escape temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we ignore Satan’s lies and keep our mind on Christ, we are not tempted by his fiery darts and lies.

Our thoughts and emotions affect the decisions of our will. The decisions of our will determine our behavior, which motivates every area of our life: financial, relational, emotional, spiritual, physical, etc.

When we walk by the faith of Christ in us rather than by our human reasoning, we avoid so many of life’s pitfalls and live in a serene and victorious existence (2 Corinthians 5:7).

God gives us a free will both to choose His salvation; and then to choose to live in His will, rather than to follow Satan’s or our own plans for our life.

By submitting to God’s Spirit within us, we reap the blessings of His will. He sanctifies our soul and fills our spirit with His power, so that, as His Body, we bloom like a spectacular garden (Romans 12:1-2; Jeremiah 31:12).

Prayer:
Father God, we want to present our bodies to You as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), to do Your will and to live in Your ways all the days of our life. Teach us to submit to the leading of Your Holy Spirit and draw us ever closer to Your presence within us.

Thank You for Your Spirit, who abides in our midst and fills Your house with greater splendor and glory than Solomon’s Temple (Haggai 2:4-9). Remind us that, as Your Body, we are perfectly joined together with Jesus, the chief corner stone, into Your dwelling place (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Thought for the Day:
As we walk in God’s Spirit, joined together by His love, we bloom where He plants us in His garden. – 2 Corinthians 2:15

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

If you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven, if you are bitter about something or if you are angry with God for some reason, that will keep you from feeling His presence in your life.

Sometimes people, places, things or even animals take the place of God in our heart. We form an unholy physical tie and/or “soul” tie with them, which hinders our spiritual growth (The soul is our mind, will and emotions).

Every part of our self, which we hold back from God, is controlling our life. We have to give Him ALL of us. It is not a mental decision, but a total commitment to live our life God’s way, rather than our own way.

We dishonor our self and our family and the family of God when we continue to live in sin (Ephesians 5:1-7, Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:1-4). A true Believer will never live a sinful lifestyle.

With each sin we commit, we are hammering the nails back into Jesus’ hands, shoving that crown of thorns back on His head, sticking the sword in His side again and hanging Him on the cross to die in public shame once again (Hebrews 6:6).

Those who are truly Born Again might fall into sin once, or even twice, but then our heart breaks and we run from this disobedience, because we realize that we are breaking God’s heart with every sin (John 5:18-21; 1 John 2:3-6, James 1:12-16, 1 John 3:7-10).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that going to church, serving in a ministry, praying to You, getting baptized or even tithing our income are useless activities, if we are not Born Again. We are just doing good works, and that does not get anyone into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:12-14, 7:13: Matthew 5:27-30).

We must be Born Again by Your Spirit and walk in Your will and Your ways (John 3:1-21). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, humble our pride and rebellion, help us to forgive our self and others, and strengthen our inner being so that by Your Spirit we can make a true commitment, which leads to salvation (Romans 10:10)

Remind us to live our life one day at a time. When Your Spirit prompts us to stop some behavior, or to start doing something else, help us to obey (Philippians 2:12-13). We have confidence that we will slowly grow in Your grace and come closer each day to sensing Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Look for God’s little hugs throughout the day – a coincidence, a flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, the numbers on the clock, a bird’s song, snuggles from your pet, an unexpected phone call or card in the mail, even the smile of a stranger. God will hug you with something that will make you feel special and loved, so watch for it.

I do not Feel God’s Presence – The Main Reason

There is a big difference between Conviction and Conversion in a person’s life. I want to explain the difference to you in case you may have been convicted, but never converted.

If we say that we are saved, but our life is not transformed, and we do not feel His Spirit within us or see a difference in our thoughts and behavior, we were convicted, but not converted.

Believing in our mind is not enough, because even Satan believes and trembles” (James 2:19).

There are many examples in the Bible of good people who thought they were saved, but they never had a personal relationship with Jesus. (Matthew 7:21, 25:11; Luke 6:46, 13:25).

Satanic strongholds in our life may keep us struggling with our walk with the Lord. Maybe God told you to stop doing something that grieves His Spirit, but you are still doing it. Then, you will not feel God’s presence (Psalm 32:3-5).

Possibly, you are more interested in what God can do for you, rather than what you can do for God. Your motive in believing may be to change your circumstances, but God calls us to first change our heart and obey Him (John 14:15, 23).

We cannot save our self, we need God to save us through Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. God is not our servant, but we are His servants.

He is not the granter of our wishes or requests, we serve Him whether He gives us what we ask for or not, because He is God and He is worthy.

Prayer:
Sincerely pray, giving ALL of your life to God and holding nothing back for yourself:
“Lord Jesus, I do not want to live my life as a slave to myself, sin or Satan. I ask You for Your forgiveness and that You save me completely. I relinquish my sinful nature to You.

“I dedicate my life to You. I submit my life to Your Holy Spirit to live within me, to change me from the inside out and to direct me through each moment of my day. Please keep me away from anything, which might take Your place in my heart. In Jesus’ name and for Your glory. Amen.”

Though for the Day:
If we are double-minded in our prayer for salvation, and not sincere, nothing will change; we are still lost in sin for eternity. – John 3:18, 5:24; Hebrews 3:19