Take Courage

With persecution of Christians increasing in the world, including in the good ole USA which was founded on religious freedom, we have to remember that the main thing is still the main thing: God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Regardless of how many God haters rise into power, God is still in control of our individual lives. Our fears and anxiety will only add to the stress and ill health caused by their persecution.

If we learn to enter God’s rest now, while we still have our freedoms, it will enable us to better traverse the unknown treatment, loss and deprivation which we may face in the future.

God reminds us that we are actually blessed when we are persecuted for His sake. We take courage from the example set by lives such as Paul and the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 5:10-12).

We rejoice, because although we may face scarcity now, we are storing up rewards in heaven for eternity. This concept allows us to rejoice and continue to serve as the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:12-15).

God uses us to preserve the lives and to light the path of those around us and to lead them to Him. When they see His love, peace and joy in our life, regardless of circumstances, they too will honor our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to take the focus off our self and to share Your love with those who are also suffering all around us. Remind us that the endurance of Christ fills our soul, because He abides within us. Any persecution is light and momentary when compared to the glory You prepared for us in Heaven.

As Your righteous ones, we live by faith and You preserve our soul, so there is no need for us to shrink back in fear but to continue to show Your love even to our persecutors (Hebrews 10:32-39).

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of those who are elected as our officials, how much power terrorists gain in the world or how many laws are passed against us expressing our faith with words, buildings, external crosses or religious trappings, nothing can separate us from the eternal rest and love of God dwelling within us. – Romans 8:35-39; Proverbs 21:1

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Split Personality

When we come to Christ, our spirit which was dead in sin, comes alive (Ephesians 2:5). We are Born Again and everything in us is made new (John 3:1-21; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The manifestation of this change takes years.

God convicts us in areas which are negatively affecting our witness for Him. We cannot judge others. We may think someone smokes too much; but God is more interested in deeper issues, which we cannot see.

In the beginning, we are partially surrendered to Christ. We hold back whole rooms in our soul, where we do not want God to go. We slam the doors shut and sometimes even lock them.

This is why we appear to our self and other people as a split personality. Part of us is sanctified and part of us is carnal and still caught in the web of sin.

The longer we walk with the Lord, the more willing we are to surrender more of our secret self to Him. We unlock some doors, but we protectively keep some of them closed or partially open.

We are not willing to live in total transparency before the Lord and our fellow Christians. With time, we learn to trust God’s kindness and mercy. We depend upon His grace above all else.

We come to live a surrendered life when we understand that it is not I, but Christ living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Christ is our whole life and we want nothing else (Colossians 3:4).

Total surrender to Christ produces fruit in us from the Vine (John 15:5). We develop the habit of walking in stride with God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We learn to think and speak by the Spirit too, reaping God’s rewards (1 Corinthians 2:13).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit transforms us from a split personality into a totally new creation. We no longer desire carnality, but want only that which is spiritual in our life. We come to know Christ intimately and the power, strength and truth of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). We grasp all that Christ provides for us (Philippians 3:12).

Thank You for transforming us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Help us to live a life of whole-hearted devotion and worship to You in holiness and with eternal goals, priorities and values. We rely on You to walk with us through the perils of this life and to make us victors in all things (Romans 8:37).

Thought for the Day:
We bring glory to Jesus when we live in the fullness of His atonement and the redemption of His sacrifice, which He shared with us by His resurrection from the dead and ascension into Heaven. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

We Can Do All Things

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we usually put the emphasis on our self. We can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

We need to quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the vine, we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the Vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser predispositions us to bear (John 15:1).

God’s perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony. We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:20).

This way we cannot take any credit for our accomplishments nor should we feel as if we are incapable of obeying the Holy Spirit’s direction. Christ is within every authentic Believer, every step of our life (Matthew 28:20).

God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which life throws our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25). We gain our esteem and power from Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for ever contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we know You in a deeper relationship, Christ is also our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You and Your direction of our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing will occur in our life, which is not already part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will.

Intimate Love

I used to think that romance movies were fairy tales and that no human being was capable of sustaining that much love. I was mistaken. My husband is like that and so much more, even after 20 years of marriage.

Yes, he does have too much on his mind sometimes and is preoccupied and neglectful. Yet, when he hugs me, there is warmth and nurturing in each caress; when he talks to me, he looks into my eyes.

He gives me focused attention every day, listens to me when I get his full attention first and loves me more than he loves himself (Ephesians 5:28-29). He also loves God more than he loves me, which is as it should be.

When he thinks of me throughout the day, he does or says something thoughtful and romantic. When he forgets, I snuggle with him in his big chair and he is always so welcoming and glad to see me.

Yet, his love for me cannot complete me. Only Christ is capable of that amount of intimacy (Colossians 2:10). Jesus lives inside of us, and there is no human relationship, which is that close.

God knows us better than we know our own self (Psalm 139). He fulfills us better than any person ever could. He gives us His abundant life now and for eternity (John 10:10). Our love is first and foremost for Him alone (Matthew 22:37-40).

When God comes to dwell in our spirit at salvation, He never, ever leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). A human being may change their mind about us and abandon us, but God never will.

God desires that we focus our attention on Him. So much so, that He actually feels jealous when we attempt to replace Him in our affections with another person, place, animal or thing (Exodus 34:14). He wants our undivided devotion.

God understands us and provides for our needs before we even realize we have them. A personal, intimate relationship with God through Christ by the Holy Spirit is the most fulfilling connection we can ever experience.

Prayer:
Prayer:
Father God, when we realize our need for You and confess our sins to You, You forgive us completely. In fact, You love us unconditionally, even while we are still sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 27:1-66; Romans 5:8). Thank You for renewing our human mind and giving us spiritual ears to discern Your voice (John 10:27-29; Romans 12:2).

Thank You for putting us in Your Body to give us caring, nurturing people who will cherish us like You do (Psalm 133:1). Yet, remind us to talk to You as our best friend, and to prove our love to You by keeping Your commandments (John 14:15, 23; 1 Peter 5:6-8).

Thank You also for giving us rest for our tired soul and loving us so sacrificially (Matt 11:28-30; John 3:16-17; Psalm 51:12-14). When we abide in Your presence as a branch on the vine, we enjoy Your intimate love each moment of our day (John 15:1-17).

Thought for the Day:
Developing an intimate personal relationship requires our time and attention; so, we cannot allow anything to rob us of our time with God, who is the most devoted lover of our soul. – Isaiah 38:17

Living in Total Surrender

We cannot save or sanctify our self, and neither can we walk in the Spirit by performing works of the flesh (Galatians 3:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, God causes us to come to the point of helpless hopelessness in our life, so that we will totally surrender to Him.

Then, He does it all, a complete perfecting work in us and through us (Colossians 2:10). Our role is to desire more intimacy with Him and His glory, and He responds by answering our prayers in amazing ways.

We live a life singing continual praises, submitted to His Word, listening to His Spirit’s direction for each moment of our day, and rejoicing in Him, even in negative circumstances. Then, He does the rest (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

We read and meditate on scripture as we work and worship Him all day long; and His joy fills every fiber of our body, soul and spirit; bringing health in every way (Psalm 147:1).

A melancholy personality like me has to work a bit harder at overcoming the negative impulses in our soul; but gradually, the Holy Spirit replaces our negative personality traits with God’s character and divine nature (2 Peter 4:1; John 15:11).

God transforms us into the likeness of Christ and brings us to the point of total surrender, until we are in such union with Him that He actually lives His life in and through us (Romans 8:29; Galatians 2:20).

Like the woman at the well, we are tired of looking for fulfillment in the things of this world; and we are longing for living water, which quenches our otherwise insatiable thirst (John 4:14, 7:38).

Prayer:
Father God, draw us by Your love and remind us to respond to it, rather than learning through discipline and suffering. Help us to come to the point where we passionately call out to You in complete surrender. We know without a doubt that You will never, ever let us go (Hebrews 13:5).

Help us to communicate to others the necessity of total surrender to You, so that they too may come to a place of rest. Do not allow them to continue to strive or to fill their life with empty pursuits and vain attempts to amass this world’s goods; but to seek You with all of their heart until they find You.

Thought for the Day:
The joy of the Lord is our greatest strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Presence of Christ within Us

God taught me over the years to live life in full awareness of the immense potential available to us through our union with Jesus Christ.

Jesus within us breaks the chains of every type of satanic or earthly hindrance, which attempts to steal our spiritual freedom from us (Psalm 107:14).

He encourages us to take His yoke upon us, and to learn from Him; so that we can find rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). We live a life of thanksgiving and praise to God.

Jesus is poised to deliver us from the bondage of every negative emotion, wound and circumstance we experience, and to bring us astounding joy that defies description and is full of His glory (1 Peter 1:8).

Our supply for each circumstance, and the wisdom to deal with it comes from Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). We can look at our problems as adventures rather than as challenges.

God works them all out for our good, just as He promised He would (Romans 8:28). Jesus, in the full power of God’s divine nature, dwells within each authentic Believer.

His divine nature in us infuses our body, soul and spirit. Once we realize this, we rise above the dissonance of our concerns and we enter a new realm of being led by the Spirit of God.

Life is not about you or me. It is about proclaiming God to the world. He provides us with the wisdom, energy and power to teach and admonish others about what we learn from Him (Colossian 1:28-29).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that Christ lives as a light within us, showing us the way You would have us to walk in this world. Help us to use Your wisdom in everything we say and do.

Remind us to make the most of the time You give us and not to foolishly use time for our own selfish gains. Show us Your will for our life and help us to walk in it by the guidance of Your Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 5:14-17).

Thought for the Day:
Our problems are God’s opportunities to prove His love to us and to demonstrate His glory in the earth; this fact changes our focus and attitude about our trials.

This Life So Often Scares Me

Growing up as a melancholy personality, I viewed life from an overly dramatic lens. Intense fluctuations in emotions warped my perception of events in my life.

Living with an overbearing and controlling father made me fear my own shadow. My mom enroll me in Girl Scouting, and even served as troop mom when necessary, to help me to develop self-esteem and confidence.

I still felt like a little mouse in a huge and frightening world. What I viewed as overwhelming difficulties hung like anchors around my neck. Trials devastated me.

As I aged, I viewed life and people suspiciously. I taught people to abuse me because of my insecurities; then, I followed my dad’s behavior and used anger to protect myself.

Thankfully, God redeemed me at age 18. He started to sanctify me from one stage of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18) and brought increasing healing to my soul ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

I gradually realized that I am already dead, and my life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4). I have an everlasting refuge under His wings, which shelter me from life (Psalm 91).

He taught me not to depend on human might and reasoning to solve problems, but to wait on Him and to trust in Him (Matthew 28:20; Proverbs 3:5-6). He will successfully settle every issue for my eventual good (Romans 8:28).

Now, I embrace life’s negative events with faith and serenity, knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ dwells within me with all the power of the triune Godhead (Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for teaching me the Serenity Principle: You give us healing, courage, wisdom and divine revelation to resolve issues, which arise in our life; or the opportunity to give them to You by leaving them in Your capable hands.
(http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/famous_prayers/god_grant_me_the_serenity.html )

Remind us to realize that You already pre-arranged for a solution for every problem, which would ever happen to us. Help us to realize that we are just fine in this moment of time, and You abide within us to help us in every trial. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and You have a perfect plan for each and every life (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
God gives us a seed for a miracle with every trial He ever permits in our life; we just have to look for it. – Job 42:12