God’s Goodness and Grace

God’s name is used in our society more in cursing than as a prayer. The last several generations have less of a concept of sin. They consider wrong as right, and right is often viewed as wrong (Romans 1:32).

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 sentenced to make amends.

When we transgress God’s law, we deserve to suffer the penalty of death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Yet, Jesus suffered our eternal punishment for us (John 3:16-18). He gives us His life in our spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Galatians 2:20).

When we decide to live for God, rather than for our self, we are no longer separated from Him. Jesus makes it possible for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven (Romans 10:13).

When we die physically, we will not die spiritually. The last breath we breathe on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven (Matthew 25:46). 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).

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. Thank You for abiding in our spirit and making such a huge difference in our life.

Help us to learn to discern the leading of Your Spirit as we commit each moment of our day to You. 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 direction of His Spirit, and live, move and exist only in His will. – Acts 17:28

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Two-Stepping

Our Christian walk is a two-step process. We start by repenting of our former way of life, which was degraded by Satan’s lies and earthly desires (Ephesians 4:22). Each of us is distracted by various sinful elements.

Some of us lie, but God calls us to speak truth; or we steal and take what does not belong to us, yet God calls us to work and earn money to buy what we need, as well as to share with others (Ephesians 4:25, 28).

Some have trouble with anger; and though it is a God given emotion, we often harbor grudges, while God encourages us to forgive before the sun sets each day, so that we do not give Satan entry into our soul (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Other people use foul language, when God wants us to use our words to edify and minister grace to those who hear us. Some even take God’s name in vain and use degrading words, which grieve God’s Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-30).

All of us give in at one time or another to bitterness, quarreling, gossip, antagonism and forms of cruelty, when God calls us to live with humility, compassion, patience, gentleness and kindness, as we forgive slights and wrongs just as God forgives us (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:10).

The second step is to renew our mind with the righteousness mind of Christ and to walk in true holiness all the days of our life (Luke 1:75; Ephesians 4:24). This may sound daunting, but Christ already did it for us.

We are buried with Christ through our baptism into His death, in order to be raised with Him from death in the glory of God, our Father. This allows us to live a fulfilled, blessed new life in Christ, as we exchange our corrupted character with the nature of Christ, promised to us by God Himself (2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, by separating our self from the sin, which once bound us as its slave, we are freed from the law and allowed to serve You through Your Spirit, rather than by decrees and legalism (Romans 7:6). You enable us to submit to You as You transform our mind, rather than to be conformed to the design of this evil world.

We have no more desire to gratify the sinful desires of our flesh, and we walk as a new creation, Your handiwork, created in Christ to live in Your will, which You prepared for us prior to our birth (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:2, 13:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10).

Thought for the Day:
My soul silently waits for God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my stronghold; I will never be shaken. – Psalm 62:1-2

Don’t Tread on Me

In our world full of people who have no respect for personal boundaries, we often live in a state of simmering panic. Sudden changes and fluctuations in our financial, marital and employment status, and in the conditions around us, compound our natural fears of the unknown. Trepidation and insecurities plague us and we struggle to know when to submit to these changes or when to assert effort to resist or to prevent them.

Living as victims in life is self-defeating. When we succomb to hopelessness and anxiety, this is a sign that we are not seeking our comfort from God. The Serenity Prayer taught me to find God’s courage to face challenges; and then to submit to or resist them, as He gives me the wisdom. I learned that the Lord actually achieves every area of life concerning us (Psalm 138:8). We trust in God’s faithfulness and grow in faith with each lesson we learn.

As we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 10:4), we can live a life of hope and fulfillment regardless of what happens in the natural world around us. We abandon human reasoning and rely totally on the Spirit of God for our direction and encouragement. When we shed all desires birthed by the finite, carnal nature, which is actually dead in Christ, we can then pursue the realm of the infinate and eternal instead, and walk by the direction of God’s Spirit.

As Believers, we recognize that the uncertainties of life have no power over us at all. We display the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which is the divine nature of Jesus expressed through our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions, which in turn influences the health of our body. Just like Jesus, we return love for hatred and blessing for cursing (Luke 6:28). As we realize that our old nature is dead in Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20), then God’s Spirit can exhibit His nature through us all of the time.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings as we traverse this life, which often frightens us. Help us to realize that our carnal nature is truly dead in Christ (Romans 8:2), and that Your Spirit in us will shine through us. You protect us from any of life’s surprises, because You ordain them in our life. Therefore, when we do experience some trial or tribulation, give us the wisdom to know what to embrace and what to resist, as well as the courage to experience anything You choose for our ultimate good.

Thought for the Day:
If we have the Holy Spirit in us through rebirth in Christ, we have all of God’s fruit abiding in our nature all of the time.