Love Letters

Our life is God’s love letter to the world. He uses us to communicate to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors that He cares about them (2 Corinthians 3:3).

 

If we do not take the time to reach out to these significant people in our life, we deprive them of the love of God through us.

 

We may even shut up the Kingdom of Heaven to them and their blood will be on our hands (Ezekiel 3:18-20). It is important that we at least plant a seed of God’s love in everyone we meet.

 

It is easy to do this. We can give them our church bulletin and invite them to join us the next week. Offering them a ride to the grocery store or to church is another easy way.

 

We can hand them a tract with spiritual truth that they may otherwise never know. Starting a spiritual book club or Bible study in our neighborhood is another great way to reach out.

 

There are retired women and men in our church who would gladly teach such a study if we ask them; or there are great study guides in the Christian bookstore to use as a text.

 

We can bake a cake for a bereaved family, give a homemade card to a sick neighbor, or baby sit for a young couple to have a date night.

 

The possibilities are endless, if we listen to God’s Spirit and follow His directives. God equips us to walk in His will through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:20).

 

With Christ living within us, we experience rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). We stop striving to perform for God, because Christ works through us (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 6:28-33).

 

This eternal rest is only available if we take our focus in life off the temporal aspects of our existence and place it squarely on eternal matters instead (2 Corinthians 4:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave us Your eternal life, which no one can take from us (John 10:28). We are joined to You, and we are beneficiaries of Your divine nature (1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4). We have constant fellowship with You, the Son and the Spirit (1 John 1:3, 9; Phil 2:1).

 

You placed us in Christ Jesus and we are seated in heavenly places in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:6). You provide every spiritual blessing for us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Help us to share Your love with those You put into our life. We want to give You all the honor and glory for everything we think, say and do each moment of the day.

 

Thought for the Day:

The love and integrity of the testimony of our life for God may be the difference in someone believing in or rejecting Jesus as their Savior.

 

 

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My New Life in Christ

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, I transitioned from high school to college. My jet black hair, cut in a long shag, hung down past my shoulder blades. I wore long flowered dresses and flowers in my hair, as I flirted around the edges of the Hippy movement. I did not participate in the drug or free-love culture, but I was definitely a flower child.

About that same time, I read The Cross and The Switchblade, by David Wilkerson. Through the pages of that book, I found Jesus as my Savior. As a student at the local junior college, I joined the Baptist Student Union and met a fellow Catholic who was also looking for a more intimate relationship with God. We dated and felt led to rent two old homes in downtown Pensacola, FL.

God soon filled them up – one with young women and the other with young men. These young people, on their way to Pensacola Beach, were hitch-hiking, or riding the rails across the country and jumping off just two blocks from these two homes. We dubbed the boy’s house – a beautiful, old, two-story Southern Colonial home – the One Way House.

We offered the sojourners the solace of three days and nights with clean sheets, three square meals and a shower if they agreed to attend the nightly Bible study. Many of these young people accepted Christ as their Savior. Then, on the final day of their stay, they either traveled on their way or stayed on in the area.

We helped those who stayed to find a job and affordable housing, and they continued coming to Bible studies every night. Our reputation soon spread. We had about 150 people meeting every evening of the week with a hunger for God’s Word.

Each day, those who did not have jobs would clean the homes and then help to cook meals for lunch and supper. Those who worked gave their earnings toward the household budget, and we had all things in common, just like in the book of Acts (Acts 2:44, 4:32). On one particular day, one of the men fixed three pancakes each for the eleven people who were at the house during lunch time.

As we sat down, three new travelers came in the front door. Without mentioning a word, two of the men and I agreed through our facial expression to give our pancakes to the newcomers. As the cook placed three pancakes on each person’s plate, all fourteen of us ended up with three pancakes. God multiplied that food and our faith at the same time.

Another afternoon, I went to the freezer to thaw out something for supper that night. The huge chest freezer was totally empty. Several of us joined hands in the kitchen and prayed for God to provide. With the final “Amen”, I opened the freezer and found a huge ham inside, which we cooked with scalloped potatoes, green beans and home-made bread – compliment of our pancake chef.

God continued to bring salvation and miraculous provision to us throughout the years that He anointed the One Way House ministry to function. We made life-long friendships and many of us continue to pray for one another even now. Coming from all walks of life and various states, we all had one major aspect in common – the love of Jesus Christ for each other and for the lost world. What a great way to start my new life in Christ.

The Tyranny of Self-Effort

Our human effort can never produce spirituality. No amount of carnal exertion, ceremonies, rituals or precepts can govern the spiritual world. Repentance is the first step to true spirituality. This humbles us and allows God into our life. The more we worship our Creator and King, the more spirituality we encourage in our life. This creates a new attitude and mind-set in us.

God gives us gifts to use to minister to the lost and dying world around us (1 Corinthians 12:4). We testify to others about what God does in our life. Many will turn a deaf ear, because their life is ruled by the tyranny of self-effort. However, some who are tired of servitude to the dictates of the flesh will be ready to surrender their life to God and to enjoy His love and blessings like we do.

The steady habitation of our spirit by the Spirit of God gives us peace and joy, which transcends what the world and its religions can offer to us. Our connection to God becomes our foremost priority. We deepen our relationship through prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Believers and Christian service in our community. We encounter God’s hand in our life through many significant ways.

God cares about us. He even lived in human form and suffered in every area in which we do (1 Peter 2:21-22; Hebrews 4:15). God cannot fellowship with sin, so we must not grieve His Spirit with our carnality and self-effort (Habakkuk 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). God’s Spirit continually transforms us with the mind of Christ. If we give our constant attention to His will and ways in our life, we will sense God’s powerful presence.

Prayer:

Father God, we relinquish every area of our life, which serves as a distraction to us from following You with our whole heart. We confess every sin, which stands between Your heart and ours. We trust in Your faithfulness and surrender our anxieties and stress to You for Your miraculous healing and provision. Remind us not to allow the cares of this world to choke out our focus on You (Mark 4:19).

Thought for the Day:

A personal encounter with God on a daily basis will free us from the tyranny of self-effort.

Knowing God

The key to our life in Christ is to realize that as Born Again Believers, we are one with Him. Jesus gave us the glory that God gave Him, so that we can be united with Him just as He and our Father are one. He lives in us, our Father lives in Him and we are brought into complete unity with the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit (John 17:22-23). We are one Spirit with them all (1 Corinthians 6:17).

We know God personally through prayer and Bible study and we come to know Him intimately through the experience of Him manifesting Himself in and through us. This personal relationship is what eternal life is all about (John 17:3; Mark 6:53-56). The only issue that blocks our connection with Him is sin. However, confessed and forgiven sin opens the door between us again.

God is more than our ever-present help in times of crisis (Psalm 46:1). He is our Father each moment of the day. Jesus is our Brother. He sits on His throne with our Father in Heaven; yet, lives within us at the same time. The power of Christ is evident through us to the world around us as we live in Him and He lives through us (1 John 4:9). We do not follow our own desires and will for our day, but Christ’s life flows through us (Ephesians 2:10).

He is the vine and we are His branches (John 15:5). We are hidden with Christ in God and Christ is our whole life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4). Another analogy is that we are God’s temple and He abides in us. He creates us as vessels, to be used according to His will for our life (2 Timothy 2:20). Rather than work for God, we submit to God working through us. We are united with Him and we do what we see Him do by His Spirit (Galatians 5:6-25).

During witnessing opportunities, we open our mouth and God fills it with the right words to speak (Matthew 10:19). If we are counseling or mentoring or discipling someone, God gives us the words to share with this counselee to set him/her free to honor God with their life (Psalm 81:10). We take no credit for the results and God gets all the glory. We can do nothing from our own human effort, but God manifests Himself through us (John 15:19).

Prayer:
Father God, if we lack wisdom, we merely need to ask and You fill us generously without finding any fault in us (James 1:5). We come to know You through our salvation and then through spending each moment of our day with You. Help us not to allow the flesh, the world and the devil to distract us from walking by Your Spirit, but allow us to keep our mind on You (Isaiah 26:3). Then You will keep us in perfect peace as we go about doing Your will for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit teaches us at all times what we are to say. – Luke 12:12