Spirit over Matter

Our spirit is our dwelling place with God. When we live in the center of God’s Will, we dwell in the heavenly realm and everything that happens to us is in the sphere of His purpose and control.

As we view any circumstance from within our spirit, the physical and emotional and mental aspects of the event are outside of our dwelling place and have no real effect on who we really are in Christ.

We know without a doubt that He has an eternal purpose for us in any experience and that He will work out all of the details for our ultimate good.

Even physical illness, loss, relational issues, financial disaster and every other negative incident which may occur are in His control. We can rest in His everlasting arms through it all.

If we happen to slip out of our spirit and allow our self to feel the emotion or physical pain of the experience, then it affects us negatively. But in the spirit, it cannot touch us.

Jesus experienced loss and grief a few times in His life. His good friend Lazarus died and Jesus wept (John 1:35). He looked out over Jerusalem and grieved for the coming destruction of His beloved city (Luke 19:41).

He sweat drops of blood as He faced the cross and begged our Father to release Him from the anguish of taking on the sin of the whole world and being rejected by God (Luke 22:44).

Yet, once He stepped back into His spirit in all of these situations, He accepted God’s will over His own desires and no longer suffered any negative consequences from the trials of His body and soul (Hebrews 4:15).

This happened in my life. After an auto accident, I was bruised, bleeding, had half a face full of glass, broke my little finger and eleven ribs, and suffered a concussion and a punctured lung.

I totaled my car, but I was out of the hospital in one day, back to work as a secretary in one week, and I never took one pain pill as I slowly healed over the next three months.

That was spirit over matter with a generous helping of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Prayer:
Father God, we know that nothing catches You by surprise and we can relax and look forward to the miracle, which You place within every trial that we encounter. You are in control regardless of what the circumstances look like or how much suffering and turmoil we experience.

As we view the experience from within our spirit, Your Spirit buffers any loss to our body or soul. We know that the suffering is occurring, but it has no effect on our attitude because we count it all joy (James 1:2-8).

Thought of the Day:
A Christian does not experience life through mind over matter, but through spirit over matter; because though we suffer loss in this world, it does not affect our eternal existence now or in the world to come.

Living in Praise

Did you ever notice that Paul was the eternal optimist? The man worked hard, almost died several times, was stoned, shipwrecked and in the sea a day and night, constantly in danger, sleepless, hungry and thirsty, and exposed to both hot and cold elements (2 Corinthians 11:22-28).

Yet, he told us to rejoice always; to pray without ceasing; not to quench the Spirit; and to give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

Does this mean to give thanks, because everything that happens to us is God’s will for us; or that giving thanks is God’s will for us? Either way, it is worth paying attention to this verse.

If giving thanks is God’s will, then when we praise the Lord, we are in God’s will; and when we do not praise the Lord, we are out of God’s will for us.

If Paul is saying that we should give thanks in good times and in adversity, because all of these circumstances are the will God for us, then when we do not praise Him, we are missing out on part of the miracle, which God has for us through this trial.

Recently, our air-conditioning was out for two days during the hottest November on record in southwest Florida. I was dripping sweat, irritable and claustrophobic – because the heat imprisoned me and I could not escape it.

This caused me to remember my childhood and first pregnancy; when we had no air-conditioning at all, because of our lack of income. My mom used a wet wash cloth on her neck, so I did too. It helped this time too.

As I prayed during this inconvenience, God brought Paul’s exhortation to my mind. I realized that I was not to grumble or to allow my flesh to get the better of me; and I was to walk in the Spirit and praise God, even in the suffocating heat.

Easier said than done; but I have been learning to live through my spirit and not my flesh and this was just another opportunity to practice. I truly was thankful that the circumstances were not even more dreadful.

Prayer:
Father God, I really wanted Your permission during this trial to be grouchy and to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to complain and gain sympathy from family and friends. However, I knew this would only make others miserable too, and I would not grow in my spirit with negative behavior or remain in Your will without praising.

I know that You were building character in me and preparing me for future events in my life; therefore, I chose to change my focus and to praise You with each drop of perspiration. I was even able to thank You that it cools down in southwest Florida on November evenings, and that I still had electricity and could run the fans. Thank You for living through this trial with me.

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of the circumstances, we are to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:12-16), and to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Galatians 5:15-25).

Open Doors

Human beings often fear the unknown, resist change and grieve our losses longer than is healthy for our soul. This causes unnecessary stress to ravage our body and soul.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we can prevent this by trusting completely in God’s goodness and grace. When He closes one door in our life, it is to open another door.

He may allow us to lose a job, mate, child, friend, church family, home, part of our body, etc in order to open new doors for us.

God also closes doors to protect us. The timing, people involved, location and details are not conducive to this new venue He planned for us, so God will close those doors.

When we end one chapter of our life, we start a new one, full of possibilities and every bit as fulfilling as the former chapter. If we maintain an open mind, God will bless us.

No matter where we are, who we are with, or what circumstances He brings to us, we can still walk in God’s Spirit and allow Christ in us to live through us (Galatians 2:20, 5:15-25; Colossians 3:3-4).

Supernatural direction, peace and joy sustain, strengthen and equip us for the Kingdom work ahead of us. God’s Spirit and Son within us are our everlasting companions.

Prayer:
Father God, make us conscious of Your hand in our life. Help us not to mourn the closed doors for very long before we change our focus to the new and living way You have prepared for us.

We trust in You to care for all of our needs and to direct our every step through this new life where You called us to live. Open our eyes and ears to see and hear what Your Spirit is directing us to do, and use us for Your glory.

Thought for the Day:
The new door, which God opens, may be different than we are used to, strange and unfamiliar, but with Christ in us, we will continue to walk in God’s perfect peace and joy.

God’s Perfect Plan

God has a perfect plan for every creature He creates (Matthew 6:28, Ephesians 2:10). He wants only what is best for us; yet, so many of us buy into Satan’s lie that He wants to restrict us and thwart our individuality and our freedom.

Freedom in Christ is the only true freedom (John 8:36). We no longer have the struggle of making something of our life, providing for all of our own needs, finding a mate or job or raising our children successfully.

Christ in us, by His Holy Spirit, guides each moment of our life, if we totally surrender all to Him. He may not provide exactly what we want, but His provision will be better than we ever dreamed possible (Philippians 4:19).

He provides the job He wants us to have. It may not supply the salary we want, or the perfect work, which we think we are suited for; but He will use us there for His glory and for His exact purpose for our life, as we walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

Our children may grow up and get so busy that they have little time for us. They may walk away from the Godly values, which we shared with them, and they may make life choices which grieve the Holy Spirit. As long as we did our best as parents, they are in God’s hands now, and we continue to pray for them.

We may live in a home, which is less than a worldly status symbol; but as long as we have a place to lay our head, we have more than Jesus had during His life on this earth (Matthew 8:20). Our clothes may come from a thrift store, but they are as beautiful as anything sold in the mall.

As we trust God with our life, we gain our identity from Christ in us. We no longer wonder why we are alive on this earth, but we see Him use us for His glory as we share a smile, a kind word or a helping hand as He directs our life.

Prayer:
Father God, give our heart Your peace as we walk in Your will each day of our life (Philippians 4:7). Fill us with Your Spirit and use us to bring as many people to heaven with us as are willing to humble their life before You (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Remind us not to pass up an opportunity to give someone a helping hand in Your name (Matthew 10:42). You faithfully provide for all of our needs according to Your plan for our day (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 2:10) and You comfort us in all of our afflictions (2 Corinthians 1:4). As we trust in You, You reveal to us Your heart and calm us by Your promises and faithful nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Thought for the Day:
As we rest in the palm of God’s hand, He shelters us from the storms and fearful places of life (John 10:28; Psalm 27:5); He stills the raging circumstances and quiets the waves of turmoil in our surroundings (Psalm 107:29).

Joy Comes in the Morning

At any given moment of the day, when we least expect it, circumstances arise that cause fear and despair to darken our attitude. Heaviness shrouds our spirit and joy flees in retreat. Other people are making decisions, which adversely affect our life.

They ignore our wishes and do not consult our opinion first. They drag us through the negative consequences of their decisions. Eventually anger may arise to shield us from imminent suffering, and we explode and strike out at those causing the issues.

It seems to them that we are reacting with severe sharpness at some small offense, and this leaves them wounded and resentful.

We are only attempting to restore order to our life; but our soul pours forth a storm of accusations, which drench the recipient to the point of drowning. Then we feel guilty for over-reacting.

Our anxiety and depression deepen and we withdraw into a stoic abyss, shutting our self off from life. Our heart is full of anguish and fear, and we feel horrible and overwhelmed.

We wish we could fly away with the wings of a dove and be at rest. We would gladly stay in a desert, if it was far enough away from the torment we currently feel. We cry out for shelter from the tempest of disappointments (Psalm 55:4-6).

The good news is that our Lord is our Shepherd. He provides all of our needs and shelters us from every storm. He walks with us, even through the valleys of the shadow of death.

We can trust God to restore our soul and help us to bring order back to our life. He will heal our wounded soul with His love, joy and peace (Psalm 23, 30:5).

Prayer:
Father God, You lead us to fountains of living water and You dry all of our tears (Revelation 7:17). Now, teach us to get along with difficult people who make a mess of our life, and then condemn us, because we get upset with them.

They act like we are the ones at fault, and they blame us for all of their problems. We cannot dwell in unity with this type of person, unless You come to our rescue. We ardently trust You to work out even these alarming situations for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
As we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, He will lead us, guide us and make all things work out for our good. – Psalm 91

Healing Spiritual Deprivation

Our world abounds with the masses of humanity in profound spiritual deprivation. They refuse to trust in Jesus for their salvation, because they do not want to submit to an entity, which cannot be proven to their human mind.

For some, their pride and rebellion thwart them from experiencing the wondrous provision of their Heavenly Father, who loved them enough to suffer the horrendous persecution and then death on Calvary’s cross.

Others were disappointed by God or someone in the church, and they hold a grudge against religion. They do not see that spirituality is about Jesus, not people; and that God had something better in store for them instead of what they wanted.

God did not create humanity in order to set us up for failure or to condemn us. Yet, anyone who fails to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and refuses to repent of their sins and trust Him with their life, has already condemned themselves to an eternity in hell (John 3:18).

God came to earth as a human being to pay the penalty of our sins. Therefore, anyone who repents of their sins, and believes in Him enough to trust Him for salvation, is forgiven of the sin debt we collected throughout our lifetime (John 3:17).

God did this because He immensely loves each person ever born (John 3:16). He actually knows the number of hairs we have on our head at all times, even though they fall out and new ones grow each day (Luke 12:7). He saw us as we developed in our mother’s womb, and has a wonderful plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13, 16; Jeremiah 1:5).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for working out the circumstances in our lives to draw us closer to You. You came to earth to redeem us, because You want to shower us with blessings as Your adopted children. We give You our willing, undivided attention. You replace our carnal nature with the fruit of Your Spirit and You work in us the divine nature of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). Teach us to commit each minute of every day to You and to listen to Your Spirit’s direction as we walk in Your will.

Thought for the Day:
As we bring everything to God is prayer, with thanksgiving in our heart for His provision in His own timing and way, we will live a fulfilled life.
– Philippians 4:6

Our Divine Refuge

There are many rocky roads in this life; but as we traverse them, we can abide in the presence of our Almighty God (Psalm 91:1). Christ dwells within us by His Holy Spirit, who abides in our spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). Realizing this prevents the negative aspects of our circumstances from adversely affecting our soul: our thoughts, emotions and attitude.

We live in victory, regardless of the situations in which we live or how negatively they are affecting our life. God uses them to develop His character in our soul, and we learn life lessons through persevering in the trials we experience. We also grow spiritually as we develop faith in God’s faithfulness (Romans 5:3-5).

Eventually, we enjoy God’s love in the midst of hateful people; His joy in depressing issues; His peace in our spirit when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our soul; and His patience, because our focus is on the eternal rather than the temporary issues of this earth (Galatians 5:22-23).

We walk cautiously and carefully, as we traverse the mine-field of life (Ephesians 5:15:20). We pour out our heart to God, trust in Him at all times as our mighty Rock, and find our hope in Him alone (Psalm 62:7-8). God’s Word provides us with a lamp to light our way (Psalm 119:105). God’s divine love and attributes fill our soul and spirit, and allow us to make the best of every situation.

We are in the world, but there is no need for us to be affected by this world. God is our refuge and strength, and He is always available to help us in all of our troubling times (Psalm 46:1). We no longer worry about the world around us, because God is the sanctuary in which we reside. He is our lifelong fortress from the world and its troubles.
Prayer:
Father God, change occurs in our spirit as a result of Your completed work of redemption. Then Your Spirit gradually influences our soul and behavior as You renew our mind through sanctification (Hebrews 10:10-14, 12:23; 1 John 3:9). You completely seal us in soul and spirit with Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Thank You for teaching us to be heavenly minded, rather than carnally minded (Colossians 3:2). We continually praise and glorify You throughout the day, as we serve You in the calling and vocation Your prepared for us before we were ever born (Psalm 31:4; Mark 13:30; Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
As we abide in Christ, God works out all of the details of our life for our good. – Romans 8:28; John 15:3