The Call of Nature

In our world of higher education, instant information networks and self-reliance, the message of the Gospel of Christ makes no sense at all to most people.

 

The paradoxes and spiritual content of the Bible serve as a stumbling stone to those too proud to accept the self-effacing offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

However, once we humble our self under the mighty hand of God, we immediately recognize that Jesus completely submitted to death on Calvary’s Cross to bring freeing redemption to us all.

 

We also surrender to the call of God to sacrifice our life for Him in return. The surrendered life is not one of defeat, but of relinquishing control. This means that we stop resisting the love of God and accept His courtship.

 

We acknowledge His substitution in paying the penalty of our sins and yield to His Lordship over our life. We recognize the superiority of God’s plan for our life over our own goals and ambitions.

 

We consult Him about all of our decisions and submit to His direction of our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We live in the reality of His presence now and look forward to the hope of His glory to come (Colossians 1:27).

 

Many people waste so much of their life running from God’s beauty and bounty. They live in rebellion to the call, which even nature makes for us to surrender to its Creator (Romans 1:20).

 

God never invades our life, but always waits to be invited. The beauty of the surrendered life is that we die to the carnal flesh and hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We cease from our own labors and enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 10:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, once we completely understand Your love for us, we go beyond obedience and also surrender our life entirely to You. Then, we learn what it means to truly live in abundant freedom and victory (Romans 6:16-18; Mark 8:35).

 

We no longer internalize the pain that life deals out to us, because we are hidden with Christ in You. Regardless of trials and anguish we may experience, we walk in spiritual serenity which elevates us emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically and behaviorally. We find our constant joy in You as patience does her perfecting work in us (James 1:4).
Thought for the Day:

We enter a life hidden with Christ in God, which we formerly believed to be one of servitude, only to discover that it is actually a liberating union as a King’s kid. – Colossians 3:3-4

 

 

Relinquishing Our Hold on This Life

We have no need to fear death or to cling to this life. We can relinquish our desires to succeed in this society, because it is only a vapor on a cold winter’s day (James 4:14). It quickly dissipates.

 

Our dependence on earthly advantages leave us insecure at best. As we value our temporal life with less importance and put a higher priority on our spiritual life, our levels of stress, fear, anxiety and depression about our life on this earth diminish.

 

Satan’s lies and negative self-talk, which comes from significant others in our life and fills our mind, attempt to rob us of our confidence in God’s love.

 

It is important for us to reject these negative thoughts and attitudes as they pop up and replace them with God’s truth (Philippians 4:8). We agree with what God says about us in His Word.

Click to access ANDERSON_WhoIAmInChrist.pdf

 

As we develop a habit of prayer, this proves our dependence upon God. It humbles us and glorifies God who holds all power, glory and honor in His hands.

 

Only as we snuggle in the palm of God’s hand are we safe. He prevents life from separating us from His love (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39). We are sealed in Him by His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

 

As a child of God, Christ is in us and we are the temple of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). There is no need for us to belittle our self or to believe these negative lies.

 

God cares about our heartaches and He bears our burdens as we share them with Him (1 Peter 5:7). He helps us in all of our troubles (Psalm 46:1). We go to God with every distress and He keeps our tears in His bottle to revenge in His way and timing (Psalm 56:8).

 

We can pray in our own words about the real issues which affect our life. Our needs, feelings, wounds and failings are His concern too. We can trust Him to meet all of our needs as we make His Kingdom our priority in this life (Matthew 6:33).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are our God, and You save us and preserve our life as we trust in You (Psalm 86:2).  You already know the end of time from the beginning; and Your purpose will stand through it all as You carry out Your pleasure (Isaiah 46:10). As we read accounts of Your goodness throughout Your Word, it builds our faith. We sing joyfully of Your righteous choices in the affairs of our world.

 

You are compassionate and gracious, a good, good God; and we are loved by You. You are slow to anger and great in loving kindness and You never send judgment without first sending ample warning and time to repent. You are good to all; and we see Your tender mercies through Your works in times past, as well as today (Psalm 145:7-9).

 

Thought for the Day:

God is the Lord of hosts and is exalted in all the earth, our God who is holy in all of His righteous decisions; and when we pass from this life to Heaven, we go immediately into the presence of God.

– Isaiah 5:16

 

 

United with Christ

God originally created mankind in the image of the Trinity (Genesis 1:6). Adam and Eve enjoyed an existence of body, soul and spirit in close fellowship with the Father. They enjoyed the same divine nature, which Christ exhibited.

Yet, when they believed Satan’s lies, they chose to ignore their divine nature and to give in to the temptation of their human nature. As a result, their spirit died and their immortal body became mortal. We all reap the consequences of their choice.

God planned, before He created the world, to become man as Emmanuel (Genesis 1:1; Matthew 1:23). He paid the ransom for the sin debt of anyone who will choose to submit to His will rather than to our human desires or the devil’s temptations (John 3:16-18; Romans 4:25, 5:6).

The reason that God’s Spirit regenerates our spirit and sanctifies our soul is so that we will live in the divine life of Christ in us, rather than through our human life with its earthly thoughts and desires (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:1, 12-14).

This is only possible once our spirit is Born Again. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Romans 12:2, 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We live, move and have our existence in Christ alone (Acts 17:28).

The life, which we live in this body, is lived through the faith of God’s holy Son (Galatians 2:20). We are united with Christ in our spirit, just as Jesus’ humanity was united with God, while He lived on this earth.

We continue the work of Christ on this earth, and we do greater works, as we function as His Body (John 3:3-6, 14:12). We think, feel, speak and act in the will of God as we follow the leading of His Spirit through every decision we make and every action we take.

This affects our behavior and words in our vocation, marriage, extended family, neighborhood and church Body. We live as a city on a hill, and we never hide the light of Christ within us (Matthew 5:14-16).

Prayer:
Father God, You teach us in Your Word that if we live by the dictates of our flesh, and give in to Satan’s temptations, we will surely die in our sin. Yet, if we live by Your Spirit, He enables us to resist temptation and we will live in Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ forever (Romans 8:13). Teach us how to walk in the divine nature of Christ in us.

Help us to live and move and have our being in Him, so that we can walk in Your will, exhibit Your character and do the works of Christ all the days of our life (Acts 17:28). Thank You for helping us to renew our mind through the washing of the water of Your Word (Ephesians 5:26). Since Christ set us free from sin, help us to stay free from its destructive clutches (Galatians 5:1).

Thought for the Day:
God’s Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, now lives within our body through our spirit, and gives us His life. – Romans 8:11

A Brand New Creation

We are not children of God until we actually receive Christ’s saving work in our life (John 1:12). Regeneration is the lovely word, which describes what happens to us.

Jesus plugs us into His power supply and charges our battery. What we were blind to before we received His to salvation is now more than obvious to us (John 3:3).

He makes us a new creature and everything about us changes for the better (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to God instead (John 16:8).

Through regeneration, we turn from unrighteous decisions and live and walk in God’s truth and righteousness (Roman 6:1-2, 15; 2 Corinthians 7:10). Everything we think, say and do is motivated from our desire to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Living in continual sin proves that we do not know God’s Truth and that He does not live in us (1 John 2:4-6; Romans 3:23). However, Salvation is just a prayer away (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).

It is a free gift from God, which we cannot earn for our self, but was earned for us by Christ’s willing suffering of the horrendous death on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).

God plainly sees all that we do in secret. He rewards our righteous deeds and disciplines us for our transgressions; because He loves us and does not want us to reap the degradation of sin any longer.

His desire is for us to walk in step with His Spirit every moment of our day. He has a perfect plan, which will unfold for us as we patiently obey His Word (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, You intended for us to enjoy Paradise from the beginning of time. When sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, we lost the benefits of living in Your presence. Bereft, we comb the earth looking for the fulfillment, which only You can supply.

Once we come to Christ, You restore our link to You and You will also restore to us the blessings of Paradise in eternity. In the meantime, You bless us with Your presence, make all things new and lead us by Your Spirit as You give us the desire and the power to walk in Your Salvation and Sanctification (Philippians 2:12-13).

Thought for the Day:
Once God convicts us of our sin, our lost condition and our need for a Savior, we accept His free gift of restoration through Christ’s grace and by faith in His faithfulness.

Blooming Like a Garden

Human beings are slaves of whatever entity we obey: either Almighty God or the god of this world – Satan. Allowing the devil to entrench us in sin leads to destruction both now and for an eternity in the lake of fire (Romans 6:16).

Instead, we enjoy life so much more as slaves of God in obedience and holiness. This allows us to live in the Spirit rather than in the flesh, since God’s Spirit abides within us (Galatians 5:15-25).

Whoever does not have God’s Spirit does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). Yet, as we totally surrender our humanity to Christ, He saves us and adopts us into His family (Ephesians 1:5).

Satan continually attempts to draw us away from God through our body and soul. He trips us up with a single temptation. Then, it is easier for him to tempt us in the future to follow his will for us.

Yet, Christ in our spirit gives us a way to escape temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we ignore Satan’s lies and keep our mind on Christ, we are not tempted by his fiery darts and lies.

Our thoughts and emotions affect the decisions of our will. The decisions of our will determine our behavior, which motivates every area of our life: financial, relational, emotional, spiritual, physical, etc.

When we walk by the faith of Christ in us rather than by our human reasoning, we avoid so many of life’s pitfalls and live in a serene and victorious existence (2 Corinthians 5:7).

God gives us a free will both to choose His salvation; and then to choose to live in His will, rather than to follow Satan’s or our own plans for our life.

By submitting to God’s Spirit within us, we reap the blessings of His will. He sanctifies our soul and fills our spirit with His power, so that, as His Body, we bloom like a spectacular garden (Romans 12:1-2; Jeremiah 31:12).

Prayer:
Father God, we want to present our bodies to You as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), to do Your will and to live in Your ways all the days of our life. Teach us to submit to the leading of Your Holy Spirit and draw us ever closer to Your presence within us.

Thank You for Your Spirit, who abides in our midst and fills Your house with greater splendor and glory than Solomon’s Temple (Haggai 2:4-9). Remind us that, as Your Body, we are perfectly joined together with Jesus, the chief corner stone, into Your dwelling place (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Thought for the Day:
As we walk in God’s Spirit, joined together by His love, we bloom where He plants us in His garden. – 2 Corinthians 2:15

Honoring God

Have you ever thought about the fact that the Holy Spirit is subjected to every thought, word and deed, which we entertain? We drag Him through the mire in which we participate (Philippians 1:8; 2:5,13; 1:20).

I don’t know about you, but this makes me cringe. I certainly do not want the Trinity to be grieved by my behavior. I want my body and soul – my thoughts, choices and feelings – to honor God in every way (Ephesians 4:30).

Our pride and self-sufficiency keep us from honoring God with our life. We want to do things our way and make our own decisions. What we fail to understand is that the happiest place on earth is in the center of God’s will.

Our regenerated spirit, once dead in Adam’s sin, is filled with God’s Spirit and Son who abide within us (Romans 8:10; Colossians 1:27). Our body and soul no longer direct our life, because they are now directed by God’s Spirit.

As we serve God, we choose spiritual desires over the desires of our flesh, which struggle to gain ascendancy in our body and soul (Romans 1:9). We mature to the place where we are not even tempted by carnal thoughts any more.

As we walk in the Spirit, whatever we think, say and do is led by God’s Spirit, and we reap the rewards of living by God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25; Romans 2:29; 7:6; 8:4-6, 9, 13; 12:11). While we live from our spirit, we praise the Lord all day long.

We give Him continual glory for His provision in our life, and we function for His glory, even in our normal daily activities of eating, drinking and going to work (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, we will give continual thanks to You, for You are always good to us. Your loving kindness is never-ending. We also thank You for Your unfailing love and Your multitude of blessings, which You shower on all of Your children.

Only You can satisfy our thirsty soul and fill our hungry spirit with good things (Psalm 107:1, 8-9). We want to walk in unity with Your Spirit every moment of every day without giving any place to the world, the devil or the flesh.

Thought for the Day:
The more we abide in Christ and keep His praises on our lips, the more positive and blessed is our life experience. – John 15:4; Psalm 149:6

The Perfect Balance

Have you ever wondered if this world is the only stage on which our life plays out? Our body is a temporary dwelling place, such as a tent (2 Corinthians 5:1). We live in it only during our time on this earth.

Within our body is our soul and spirit. Until we surrender to Christ, our spirit is dead in Adam’s sin. Once we walk away from our sinful lifestyle and dedicate our life to Christ, our spirit finally comes to life (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

Our body’s health is affected by our emotional, mental and physical decisions. Our spiritual decision or indecision in this life determines our eternal destination (John 3:18; Luke 6:45).

When we die physically, our body goes to the grave and turns to dust. Yet, our spirit and soul go on to eternity in either heaven or hell, depending on our belief or unbelief in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9).

Our moral decisions in this life are based on whether we allow our soul – our thoughts, decisions and emotions – or our spirit to direct our paths.

We can choose to walk according to the dictates of the world, the devil and the desires of our flesh, or we can walk in the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:15-25).

Through sanctification, our soul is transformed and we have the mind of Christ and the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:16).

As the redeemed of the Lord (Psalm 107:2-8), we talk about the incidents of God’s blessings in our life with anyone who is interested in listening.

Some of these people may decide they want this same blessed life and ask us how to get it. We simply share the gospel with them: “Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Mark 1:15).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word, the Bible, tells us that when we see Jesus, we shall be changed, because we shall be like him (1 John 2:2-3). Jesus is in an immortal body, which never ages or gets sick. Your Saints shall have an immortal body for eternity too (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Remind us that, while we dwell on earth, You have a specific purpose for our life. We should not clutter our days with endless activity, but we do not sit passively either, as life passes us by. Instead, we walk in the Spirit and fulfill Your will for our life (Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
Satan will try to tempt us to walk in immorality or to detrimentally occupy all of our time with busywork, rather than walking in obedient devotion to God.

Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

Healing Relationships – Part 4

When our soul begins to heal, our personality, behavior and beliefs change. This may put our partner on the defensive and cause them to feel insecure.

Our relationship changes from independent, dependent or codependent to interdependent, and our family and friends are not used to it.

The healthy changes, which we make, will bring healing in our body, soul and spirit. It will help us to establish an interdependence with our mate, as they get used to the changes.

It will limit our negative reactions to one another, improve feelings of self-worth, change the way we meet our own needs and give us more energy to serve others as God’s Spirit leads us according to His will, rather than by codependent urges.

Intimacy increases, expectations decrease, and in conflict we blend differing ideas into a whole new concept on which we both agree. We are mutually interdependent with one another.

Unresolved disagreements cause a couple, which normally live in an atmosphere of cooperation, to form independent lives that disrupt their interdependence.

Interdependence means that it is healthy to have differing ideas, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, because these differences bring variety to the relationship.

Interdependence is living in a mutually reciprocal relationships. It is about forming intimate connections with another human being. We share the decision-making process in our relationship and mutually care about one another’s welfare and feelings.

We are conscious in our choices, own responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and readily admit when we are wrong.

We enjoy deeper, more meaningful associations, and greater productivity, service, contribution and growth in our relationship.

We cherish, appreciate, admire, respect, enjoy, love and care about one another, and we never miss an opportunity to affirm and to validate one another.

Prayer:
Father God, help those of us with wounds from the past to heal and to have the wisdom and courage to develop an interdependent relationship with our partner, children, co-workers, associates and church family.

Give us patience with them as they too heal from the wounds of their past. Then allow us to serve You together in our individual gifts and calling, according to Your will for each of our lives.

Thought for the Day:
Interdependent relationships bring harmony and enjoyment to any marriage, partnership or community.

Our Identity in Christ Alone

So many people in today’s society believe that they are not “good enough”. They believe it so strongly that to disagree with them or to correct them heaps a weight of condemnation on their shoulders, which is just too heavy for them to bear. Even when someone attempts to encourage them, they dare not believe these positive comments.

When we come to Christ, however, He heals that deep wound in our soul. He purposely chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. His servants are weak, humiliated and despised; and He uses them to confound the haughty and to prove that Christ in us is more powerful than all the human effort in the world combined (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

By God’s Spirit, we curb our penchant to sin by trusting in God and surrendering our life to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Although Satan still influences our decisions and encourages us to sin, we can renounce this inclination to allow sin to use our body and soul. Instead, we submit our self to God and His perfect will for each moment of our day and Satan has to flee (Romans 6:12-13; James 4:7).

Those who are acutely aware of their inabilities and insecurities tend to depend more on God than those who have faith in their own abilities. In reality, God searches the earth for those who are aware of their powerlessness to control life (2 Chronicles 16:9). As humble Saints, we are more open to allowing God to work in and through us. We

Prayer:
Father God, You keep us in perfect peace if we focus our mind on You throughout the day and if we trust in Your perfect will for our life (Isaiah 26:3). Your peace transcends anything we receive from the world or from our own hard work and natural capabilities. The peace, love and joy we seek are not found in our position in society, the honor of our accomplishments, the status of our reputation or our accumulation of wealth and possessions. We rest our identity only on Christ within us, and we value Your opinion of us more than that of any person alive, regardless of their position, accomplishments, reputation, financial status or possessions.

Thought for the Day:
Rather than having faith in your abilities, trust in God’s plan and purpose in your life to use You according to His capabilities.