Heavenly Throne and Earthly Footstool

In this modern era, we depreciate God in every way. We see Him as the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. We tell Him what to do, berate Him as a child, and show our disdain and anger toward Him.

We forget that He created the entire cosmos. Mankind discovers more and more galaxies with each new powerful telescope and probe, which we send out into space.

We continually discover plant and animal species which we never knew existed. We see the magnitude of His glory in nature; and yet, this does not change our respect and honor for our Creator (Romans 1:20).

Today, God deigns to dwell on earth in the hearts of Believers (2 Chronicles 6:18). We cannot possibly hide from God. He sees our thoughts, words and deeds. He desires our pure and holy worship (Jeremiah 23:24).

People refer to a building where the church meets as the “House of God”, but this is far from the way God sees it (Acts 7:38). Heaven is His throne and He uses the earth as His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). The most elegant cathedral cannot contain Him.

He is our King and the ultimate Ruler of the Universe (1 Timothy 1:17). He stretches out between the vast expanse of time and space and interacts with His creation throughout the ages.

His Lordship and holy Presence should cause us to fall on our face before Him in humility, gratitude and praise; rather than to shout false accusations at Him, demean His character and blame Him for that misfortune which Satan causes on the earth.

God is totally engaged in each individual life and works by His Spirit to bring His truth and revelation to people in each generation since Adam and Eve. There is no reason for us not to love and honor Him with every breath we take.

Prayer:
Father God, what house could we possibly build for You (Jeremiah 7:4)? There is no way to contain Your essence in a building made with human hands (Acts 7:49). The heavens cannot even contain You, because You defy space and matter (1 Kings 8:27). You hold the universe in one hand.

Yet, Your eyes are on each one of us, judging our works and considering our needs, providing for Your children through Your magnanimous love and care (Psalm 11:4; 1 Peter 5:7). We give thanks to You that there is no good thing, which we need that You are not willing to provide for us (Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
God fills both the heavens and the earth and is not limited by time, space or matter; yet, He also revives the heart of the humble and penitent, and energizes our spirit with His Spirit as a down payment for all He has prepared for us both now and in eternity. – Jeremiah 23:24; Isaiah 57:15

The Name of the Lord – Multi-faceted

As Believers, we are called by the name of the Lord. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Isaiah 43:7; Jeremiah 14:9). In His name we are washed, sanctified and justified in the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11).

God chooses individuals to stand and serve in His name; and requires that some cities and houses are dedicated to His name (Acts 9:15; Deuteronomy 18:5, 7; 1 Samuel 17:45; 1 Samuel 7:13; 1 Kings 8:19, 18:24; 2 Kings 21:4, 7; 2 Chronicles 7:16, 12:13; Nehemiah 1:9).

Jesus is the King who came in the name of the Lord (Luke 19:38); His name is also Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). When we call on His name, we are saved (Acts 2:21).

Those who believe in the name of God’s Son receive eternal life (1 John 5:13). Those who do not believe in His name condemn themselves to eternal judgement (John 3:18).

When we receive Jesus and believe on His name, He gives us the right to become His children, and we receive forgiveness for all of our sins (John 1:12; Acts 10:43).

If we realize our reliance on God, obey His Word and do not deny His name, God opens doors for us, which no one can shut (Revelation 3:8). The power, provision and protection of His name are always near to us (Psalm 75:1).

The Lord appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, but He did not reveal Himself to them as Lord (Exodus 6:3). He set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark, to serve Him and to bless His name (Deuteronomy 10:8; 18:5).

The one hundred and forty-four thousand will have the name of the Lord and the Father written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1, 4). We also overcome our enemies in the name of the Lord (Psalm 44:5).

When we come in the name of the Lord, we are blessed (Psalm 118:26). The Father keeps and protects us in His name, which He gave to Jesus (John 17:11-12).

Prayer:
Father God, if we are hated, ostracize and insulted for our stand for the name of Christ, we are also blessed, because Your Spirit and glory rest on us (Matthew 10:22, 24:9; Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14). We rejoice when we realize that we are considered worthy to suffer for Your name (Acts 5:41).

Remind us to make disciples from all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Help us to cast out demons and to heal the sick in Your name (Mark 9:38; Acts 3:6); and whatever we ask, for the sake of Your name, we know that You will do it (John 14:13-14).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit, our Helper, comes from the Father in Jesus’ name to teach us all things and bring them to our remembrance when we need them. – John 14:26

Unreached People Groups

In this modern world, it seems impossible that there are still people who have never heard the gospel of Christ (Acts 4:12). They have had little to no opportunity for outreach and evangelism (Revelation 15:4).

An unreached people group is one that has less than 2% of Believers in their country and has no church planting capabilities or Bibles in a language, which they can understand.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the world and to preach the gospel to every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20). Christians in every succeeding century have followed suit.

Of course, America and England sent out the most missionaries so far. However, in today’s spiritual climate, other countries are now sending missionaries to England and America, due to our lack of faithful, committed Believers. Churches are continually closing here.

We are afraid to speak to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about the difference that Christ makes in our life, and how God’s unconditional love provides us with so many benefits both now and in eternity (Romans 15:21; Psalm 67:1-3).

The Apostle Paul is a great example to us, since he took several missionary journeys covering large land areas and started over 50 churches to carry on the ministry of spreading God’s Word to the masses (Romans 1:5).

God calls all Believers, even today, to reach as many people in our area of influence and to plant as many churches as there is a need, in order to take as many people to Heaven with us as we possibly can (Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10; Mark 13:10; Acts 13:45-47).

Prayer:
Father God, as we go about our day, remind us to preach, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and then to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and cleanse the lepers (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 10:8).

Help us to be strong and courageous, because wherever we go, You are there with us and in us (Joshua 1:9). Move by Your Holy Spirit in the lives of people we know and those unreached people groups all over the world, so that the soil of their lives will be ready to receive the seeds of the gospel, which we commit to spread as sowers of Your Word (Matthew 13:18-23).

Thought for the Day:
All the ends of the earth shall remember what Jesus did and turn to Him, and all the families of the nations of the world shall worship before Him. – Psalm 2:8, 22:27, 67:5-7, 98:2-3

Admitting Faults

“I was wrong” is the hardest sentence in the English language to say. Due to perceived, as well as legitimate wounds in our past, we are afraid to admit that we have faults.

We think that we have to be perfect in order to be loved; and that we must earn the love, which we need, by making other people happy and proud of us.

We fear rejection so much that we will make excuses or lie to cover up our faults and mistakes. We wear masks so that people do not know who we really are.

If we admit that we did something inappropriate, we may fall into the black hole of condemnation and shame, which nips at our toes and plots ways to swallow us whole.

If we agree that we are wrong, we will topple over the edge of the dark abyss of shame, and we will be trapped, hopeless, useless and totally rejected forever.

In order to escape the bottomless pit of shame, we either do our best to become invisible, or fight tooth and nail to retain some semblance of order in our life, or hide behind a wall of pride and arrogance.

Bullies are motivated from their fear and insecurity. They surround themselves with controllable people who have qualities, which they feel they lack. When they hurt others, they feel powerful and in control of at least one part of their life.

Once we come to Christ for forgiveness, He exposes Satan’s lies and frees us from the evil task master of shame. Then we no longer experience the devil’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).

If we could be perfect, Christ would not have suffered that horrendous crucifixion. Through His sacrifice, we enter His rest and are able to breathe unhindered by stress, fear and insecurities.

If one person abandons us, or turns against us, we have a whole family of Believers who will love us for who we are, even with all of our faults, insecurities and over-reactions (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer:
Father God, often another person’s wounds expose our wounds and weaknesses, and we fear rejection. Therefore, we walk away from them, before they get a chance to reject us. We dispose of them from our life, rather than working out our issues together.

Help us to look deeper, beneath the surface of a person’s words and actions, to see the real person, which they are hiding behind their false facade. Remind us to show mercy and grace to everyone, and not to reject someone just because they are wounded.

Thought for the Day:
Make allowances for one another’s faults and idiosyncrasies; so, that if someone offends you, you can forgive them time and time again, as you help to strength them to feel secure through God’s love within you. – Matthew 18:21-22; Colossians 3:13

The Problem with Revival

Ever since Adam’s failure to walk according to God’s precepts in the garden, God’s whole creation longs for the freedom, which God’s presence brings to our life (Romans 5:12, 8:19-23).

We all desire revival to bring us closer to God. Revival is a time of intense concentration on God’s truth and His Spirit. We sit still for several days cloistered with Christ’s Body.

God immerses us in His presence, because we take the time to rest at His feet. The music and the preaching of God’s Word brings life to the spirit and the soul – our mind, will and emotions.

The problem with revivals is that as the memories of the revival fade, the soul no longer feels the euphoria, which was present during the revival; therefore, our soul will look to the world for new feelings of elation, rather than to the Lord.

Israel is a perfect example of this issue. In their entire history as a nation, they always fell back into the world after every revival (Hosea 14:1; Psalm 78:10-11, 40-42, 56-57). The casual church member is no different in their behavior.

Only a remnant of Believers respond to revival in their spirit, as well as their soul. Our spirit experiences a deep immersion into the presence of God. His peace influences our attitude and outlook.

Authentic Believers gradually realize that our soul is even more satisfied as we spend more time with God than with the world. We find the joy of the Lord as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We wake every morning and luxuriate in the presence of God all through the day. Even at night, our spirit rejoices as we sleep; and when we wake, there is a song of praise flowing through our mind.

In times of trial, we maintain the peace and joy of the Lord, realizing that there is a seed for a miracle in every negative experience we encounter. We enjoy fellowship with our brother, Jesus Christ, by His Spirit who dwells within us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for keeping us as the apple of Your eye, and sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:8). When we encounter trouble, we are always safe in Your dwelling place, as You hide us in the shelter of Your sacred tent and put us high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5, 32:7).

Teach us that revival is an attitude of our heart, not a week of meetings or a group experience. We can dwell in a time of revival each day of our life, as You renew a right spirit in us and make us ever mindful of Your presence our life (Psalm 51:10).

Thought for the Day:
We have an advantage in our life over the Saints who lived prior to Christ, because we actually have the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us; and He is continually reviving, comforting, correcting and drawing us closer to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

Transforming Our Soul

Unbelievers are spiritually dead and do not understand the issues of God, because these truths are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). There is hostility between them and God, due to this spiritual divide (Romans 8:7).

Unbelievers tend to live either legalistic or hedonistic lives. They attempt to find fulfillment without God. When we share Christ with them, many reject Him and close their heart to His Truth.

Believers are alive with Christ, and forgiven of every sin we ever committed (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13-14). Through His death, we receive victory over every principality and power, including demonic strongholds (Colossians 2:15).

Anyone can accept Christ, live as a Believer and reap the rewards of Christ’s righteousness, rather than the consequences of unbelief and a sinful lifestyle (Galatians 6:9; John 3:16-18).

Christianity includes more than one hour of worship on Sunday morning. It involves a complete change in thinking and acting, from living a self-centered life to a Christ-centered existence.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:4). He changes us from the inside out…our soul’s transformation affects our outward behavior and appearance. Even our physical countenance improves due to His presence in our life.

We do not attempt to perfect our self before we come to Christ. Neither is there any deed, which we ever committed that is not already covered under His blood. His mercy and grace are complete.

However, this does not imply that our behavior is not important. Christ perfects us through sanctifying our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings, and gives us a way to escape every temptation the devil uses to cause our mortal flesh to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer:
Father God, we feel so privileged to live by Your Spirit and to belong to Your family as we further Your Kingdom on this earth. Thank You for saving us through the blood of Jesus and giving us Your Spirit to perfect us from the inside out and to conform us to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Remind us to walk away from any temptation to sin, so that we do not grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Help us to live an exemplary life so that others will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16). We love You with all of our heart, mind and strength, and we look forward to serving You for eternity (Luke 10:27).

Thought for the Day:
If we live in a lifestyle of any type of behavior, which the Bible calls sin, then we are not Born Again; because a Believer cannot live in sin, since the Holy Spirit within us is grieved by sin. – Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:9

To Those who Overcome

All of my Christian life, I heard the verses to the churches in Revelation containing promises to those who overcome. I do not have the moral fiber, mental strength or physical stamina to overcome anything. In other words, I am a wimp!

Whenever I saw or heard those verses, I cringed and shut down mentally and emotionally. As a new Believer, life still frightened me; and yet, I wanted to receive those promises to the overcomer.

Recently, my pastoral husband preached about living as an overcomer and his sermon gave me the key verse that I missed all of these years (1 John 4:4, 5:1-5). We overcome not in our human ability, but through Christ in us (John 16:33; James 1:2-3).

Whoever is born of God automatically overcomes the world, because our faith in Jesus as the Son of God gives us the victory (1 John 5:45). Jesus already overcame the world and He abides in us.

Even in suffering, we glorify God by our example as patient victims (1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). In heaven, we will receive these promises to the overcomer:
• We will eat of the tree of life and hidden manna, and we will receive the white stone of acquittal for our sins along with a new name (Revelation 2:7, 17; 3:12),
• We will rule the nations (Revelation 2:26) and we will be clothed in white, which is the purity of our works (Revelation 19:8).
• We will have our name written in the Lambs’ Book of Life (Revelation 3:5), we will forever serve as a pillar of strength in the temple of our God (Revelation 3:12),
• We will sit with Christ on His throne (Revelation 3:21),
• We will inherit all things as co-heirs with Christ as Children of God (Revelation 21:27),
• We will not experience the second, spiritual death in hell (Revelation 2:11),

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to do for us what we could never do for our self. Thank Your for taking away the shame and condemnation of our sins, and for making us acceptable in Your beloved family (Ephesians 1:6). Christ in us makes us overcomers, because we are born again of His Spirit and we have faith in His faithfulness (1 John 5:4-5).

If we could live for thousands of years, we would never have enough time to praise You for what You already did and still do for us every day. We look forward to living for eternity in Your Kingdom and to giving You the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Christ in us will overcome anything, which the world, the devil and our flesh throws at us (Galatians 2:20); we are more than conquerors through Christ who lives in us (Romans 8:31-39).

We Will See Jesus – Part 3

God speaks to us in so many ways: His quiet voice, a thought from a friend, a verse from His Word, a song or a sermon, the numbers on the clock, a particular bird, a butterfly, a blooming flower, etc.

He knows exactly how to show His love to each one of us. Jesus is God and a part of the Trinity (John 8:58). He did not steal equality with God (Philippians 2:6). He is an integral part of the great I AM (John 8:24).

The Godhead is eternally present with us all. As Believers, His presences is within us and is our guarantee of experiencing the glory of our Lord (Colossians 1:27). Our life, past and present and future, belongs to Him.

God pardons our yesterdays and gives us hope for our tomorrows. He encourages us to ask for whatever we need through the authority of His name, and He will provide it for us (Matthew 7:7).

God does this in order to insure our joy now and throughout eternity (John 16:24). He turns our mourning into happiness, our need into abundance, our talents into a ministry and our powerlessness into His anointing (Psalm 30:11-12; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 John 2:27).

Jesus is the Bread of Life, who satisfies our longing and fills our hungry soul (John 6: 35; Psalm 107:9). He is the exact representation of the Godhead, purifies us from our sins, sits at the right hand of God and sustains all things by His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3).

Prayer:
Father God, You are our peace, and You have broken down every wall, which prevents us from seeing Jesus (Judges 6:24; Ephesians 2:14). You are our rock of refuge, fortress of safety, deliverer from sin and shield from fear and our salvation, when we have no other (Psalm 18:2).

Jesus is the brightness of Your coming and the express image of Your person (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hebrews 1:3). We want nothing more than to see Jesus arise and shine within us as we reflect His glory (Isaiah 60:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
Once we truly see Jesus, we do not desire anything this world has to offer. He is enough, and He satisfies the longing of our soul (Psalm 107:9). He is our life, and He is all we need (Colossians 3:4; Philippians 4:19).

Struggling with Our Faith – Part 2

Our struggles with our faith come because God does not meet up to our selfish human expectations. He does not answer our prayers or provide for us in the way that He does for other people who claim to preach His Word.

This faulty understanding of God is not scriptural, and must fail in time. Isolated verses from the Bible, taken out of the context of the verses around them and the rest of the verses pertaining to this same issue, are not firm enough on which to rest our faith.

Our faith only grows firmer and stronger as we increase our understanding of God and His ways by considering the whole Bible in its context (Romans 10:17). God’s Holy Spirit comforts, guides and nurtures us in our walk as Believers.

The Spirit of God within us is the truest proof of our relationship to God. We no longer live according to the dictates of our flesh, conscience or human instincts.

Our life changes; we grow discontent with this world and we look forward to serving God for eternity. Reading and believing God’s Word fortifies our faith and hope and fills our Spirit with spiritual food.

Prayer:
Teach us to humble our self and to minister in this world as a servant for Your glory (Matthew 20:26-28). We will stand firm in our faith regardless of either approval or criticism from other people, or how or when You choose to meet our needs. We pray that You will strengthen our loved ones in their inner being, so that they can believe in Jesus through Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).

Thought for the Day:
As selfishness, pride and flesh decrease in us, God can fill us through all of our being with all of His fullness. – John 3:30; Ephesians 3:19