Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

The Joy of the Lord

God gives us several commands throughout His Word to rejoice in Him. When God thinks a concept is worth repeating, it is definitely worthy of our consideration (Psalm 32:11, 35:9, 64:10, 97:12, 104:34; Isaiah 29:10, 41:16; Joel 2:23; Habakkuk 3:18; Zechariah 10:7; Philippians 3:1, 4:4).

When the joy of the Lord fills our spirit, it also affects our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings. It influences our words and actions and how we relate to our self and to other people.

It affects our relationship with the Lord and helps us to sing the praises to Him that He is worthy to receive (Psalm 147:1). We pray about everything and give thanks in everything, even in the negative aspects of our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Lord puts a hymn of praise, a new song, in our heart (Psalm 40:3). We come before His presence with thanksgiving as we make a joyful noise to Him in song (Psalm 100). His joy is our continual source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10),

God’s Word is living and powerful and teaches us to abide in our spirit rather than in our body and our soul (Hebrews 4:12; John 15:11; Galatians 2:20). He opens the eyes of our understanding to the opportunities we have to walk and live in His Spirit.

God helps us to discern between the desires of our flesh and the leading of His Spirit. We no longer allow the appetites of our body, considerations of our mind or fickleness of our emotions to dictate our thoughts, words or behavior.

Instead we seek the Lord to reveal the root source of any negative impulses we experience and to free us from any dictates of our flesh, any influence of the world and any tyranny of the devil over our life.

Prayer:
Father God, we submit our spirit, body and soul – our every thought, choice and emotion – to Your Spirit. Our union with You consumes our every waking moment, and we want nothing more than for You to live Your life in and through us.

Remind us not to worry about anything, but to seek Your will in ceaseless prayer. We want to live a life of continual joy, prayer and thanksgiving to You through Christ in us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We thank You for meeting all of our needs, and for giving us Your peace, which is not dependent on our human reasoning and understanding, and which guards our hearts and minds as we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Philippians 4:4-6; Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord loves us so much that He actually takes delight in us and rejoices over us with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Filled with God’s Spirit

I write the posts for my blog between the latest hours of the night and the earliest hours of the morning. I am usually “three sheets in the wind”, as they say.

On a sailboat, if the sheets – the ropes used to secure the sail – are loose, the sail will shake around in the wind, causing the ship to sway, much like a drunk person.

However, I am not drunk with alcohol. I am filled with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). There are no distractions, no demands on my time, no interruptions with phones or chores. I am al-one with God.

There is nothing mysterious about God’s Spirit. Our body is His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and He does the work of God in our life through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:21).

The function of the sail on a boat is to catch the wind, so the craft can move in a stately and confident manner. When our “sheets” are tight, we can catch just the right amount of God’s Spirit in order to move confidently in God’s will.

The Holy Spirit is described as a rushing, mighty wind on Pentecost, and He moves wherever He pleases (Acts 2:2; John 3:8). We cannot see God’s Spirit, but we can see His effects in us.

The number of sails used on a boat at one time depends on the strength of the wind. The determining factor is to remain balanced and steady as the wind propels the ship through the water.

The stronger the wind of the Holy Spirit moves in our life, the fewer sails we need in order to be guided in the correct direction. We quickly respond to His prompting, because we are in tune with His ways.

We operate in the power of God’s Spirit as we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We share His Truth with everyone we meet in every city, state and country, in which we travel or live (Acts 1:4-9).

Prayer:
Father God, help us not to trade in our treasure by buying into the lies of the devil. Satan will imitate You and draw us away from following hard after You (Psalm 63:8). Give us discernment to tell the difference between Your Spirit and his.

We thank You for the power of Your Holy Spirit within us, giving us both the desire and power to serve You with our whole heart, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). Remind us to cling to Christ, who is the head of His Body, and to be complete in Him (Colossians 2:10, 18).

Thought for the Day:
Through the power of God’s Spirit within us we spend our life glorifying God.

Transforming Our Soul

Unbelievers are spiritually dead and do not understand the issues of God, because these truths are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). There is hostility between them and God, due to this spiritual divide (Romans 8:7).

Unbelievers tend to live either legalistic or hedonistic lives. They attempt to find fulfillment without God. When we share Christ with them, many reject Him and close their heart to His Truth.

Believers are alive with Christ, and forgiven of every sin we ever committed (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13-14). Through His death, we receive victory over every principality and power, including demonic strongholds (Colossians 2:15).

Anyone can accept Christ, live as a Believer and reap the rewards of Christ’s righteousness, rather than the consequences of unbelief and a sinful lifestyle (Galatians 6:9; John 3:16-18).

Christianity includes more than one hour of worship on Sunday morning. It involves a complete change in thinking and acting, from living a self-centered life to a Christ-centered existence.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:4). He changes us from the inside out…our soul’s transformation affects our outward behavior and appearance. Even our physical countenance improves due to His presence in our life.

We do not attempt to perfect our self before we come to Christ. Neither is there any deed, which we ever committed that is not already covered under His blood. His mercy and grace are complete.

However, this does not imply that our behavior is not important. Christ perfects us through sanctifying our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings, and gives us a way to escape every temptation the devil uses to cause our mortal flesh to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer:
Father God, we feel so privileged to live by Your Spirit and to belong to Your family as we further Your Kingdom on this earth. Thank You for saving us through the blood of Jesus and giving us Your Spirit to perfect us from the inside out and to conform us to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Remind us to walk away from any temptation to sin, so that we do not grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Help us to live an exemplary life so that others will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16). We love You with all of our heart, mind and strength, and we look forward to serving You for eternity (Luke 10:27).

Thought for the Day:
If we live in a lifestyle of any type of behavior, which the Bible calls sin, then we are not Born Again; because a Believer cannot live in sin, since the Holy Spirit within us is grieved by sin. – Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:9

Do Not Be Deceived

Do Not Be Deceived

The Bible warns us in several passages to be aware of deception (2 Corinthians 11:3). Evil people and impostors will increase, especially in the last days, both being deceived themselves and deceiving others (2 Timothy 3:13). Satan’s mission is to deceive millions through his lies, such as humanism and liberalism to mention a few (Revelations 12:9).

Cults prey on people who know very little about Biblical truth. These unwitting people rarely read the Bible, have a private devotion or compare what people say with Biblical Truth (Acts 17:11). Without discernment from God’s Spirit, they are easy targets. They accept many a false teacher at face value and are deceived (Matthew 24:4-12).

Satan also uses comedians, commentators, newscasters, bar tenders and the man on the street to cheat people out of a relationship with God. The ungodly fill innocent minds full of human philosophy, empty deceit, vain traditions and the principles of the world, which are the antithesis of Christ’s teachings (Colossians 2:8).

However, God made creation as a silent preacher. Nature declares God’s eternal power and the invisible attributes of His glory. No one has a real excuse for not believing in God. It is their foolish heart, which darkens their understanding and causes them to think they know the truth, when they actually believe and live a lie (Romans 1: 18-22; Obadiah 1:3; Proverbs 28:26, Jeremiah 17:9).

Prayer:
Father God, You never tempt us to sin. We are drawn away by our own deceptive thoughts and desires. Help us to make the choice to walk away from Satan’s fraud, to focus on Jesus and to accept Your eternal gift of Salvation (James 1:12-17; John 3:16-18). Remind us that walking in Your Spirit helps us to live in Your eternal plans for our life (Galatians 5:15-25; Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
If we practice a lifestyle of sin, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God as co-heirs with Christ, because only those who are washed by the blood of the Lamb, justified in our spirit and sanctified in our soul by God’s Spirit will have a place in God’s eternal Kingdom.
– 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:8; Matthew 7:21-23

Spiritual Awareness

As God proves His Faithfulness to us, our intimacy with Him grows. We feel safe and we trust Him with every aspect of our life. This makes it easier to submit to His will (Ephesians 2:10). We spend time in prayer, Bible reading, fellowshipping with His Saints and continually seeking Him. We also develop a confident intimacy with our Father God, which deepens over the years.

Spending time with God increases our spiritual awareness. We learn His ways, and He transforms our nature by His Spirit into His fruit and divine nature (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). His Spirit illuminates His Word for us. He gives us discernment to make good judgments (John 7:24). Living in His presence brings us total satisfaction as we joyfully die to our flesh and to this sin-filled world (Romans 8:13).

Eventually, our union with Christ takes priority over everything else in our life (Colossians 3:3-4). We are a better mate, employee, friend, child, parent, employer, etc because of our relationship with Him. Since He dwells within us, we live a fuller and more fulfilled life. We come to realize that He is our all in all (Ephesians 4:6; Ephesians 2:8-9). We can do nothing without Him (Philippians 4:13).

God is our high tower. We run to Him and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Under His wings we trust (Psalm 91:1,4; Proverbs 29:25). He is our Rock, stronghold and deliverer in whom we take refuge (Psalm 61:3; 91:2; 144:2). He is our shield and the horn of our salvation (Psalm 18:2). Our love and respect for the Lord provide our children and us with a secure future (Proverbs 14:26; Deuteronomy 5:10, 7:9; Exodus 20:6).

Prayer:
Father God, lead us by Your Spirit into a richer relationship with You. You promised that everyone who believes in and trusts in You will enter Your eternal life (Hebrews 4:1-11; John 3:16-18). Bring us to the end of our striving and allow us to enter into the rest You already prepared for us (Matthew 11:28-30). It is only then that we can experience an intimate relationship with You and enjoy a keener spiritual awareness.

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to be still before Him and to patiently wait on Him. – Psalm 37:7

Judging Righteous Judgment

God is the lawgiver and the only qualified judge over any other being. God calls us to rightly discern whether a person’s behavior is righteous or not, but we do not place any judgment upon the person (John 7:24). We continue to love them regardless of their behavior, knowing that God will work in their lives.

God does not want us speak evil of one another (James 4:11), but to edify each other. He wants us to share His grace with everyone we meet. In this way we do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-30). Gossip only adds fuel to the fire of slander spreading rampant through the church. However, where there is no wood (contention), the fire (gossip) goes out (Proverbs 26:20-21).

God uses the same judgment toward us that we use toward others. If we do not forgive, He cannot forgive us (Matthew 6:14). He reminds us that the faults we see in others are actually magnified in our own life. If we condemn them, we are actually hypocrites. God wants us to deal with our own problems rather than to worry about others (Matthew 7:1-5).

We will all stand before God in judgment one day, and give an account for our self and no one else. Then, He will reward us for our deeds. All authentic Believers will join Him in heaven, but unbelievers already condemned themselves to eternal torment in hell (John 3:18). This can be remedied, however…by turning away from sin and toward God.

In the end, believers and unbelievers alike will bow our knee to King Jesus (Romans 14:11). Therefore, let us not judge one another, but resolve our issues so we do not cause anyone to fall away from serving God (Romans 14:10-13). As we use patience toward each other and don’t grumble, we establish our own heart toward God, and we are ready for His coming (James 5:8-9).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us the balance between those who are spiritual restoring those who are deceived by sin (Galatians 6:1), and judging one another. Help us to pay attention to our own behavior, and to make sure we are walking according to Your principles. We certainly should have discernment and not join our brethren when their behavior is obviously sinful or anti-Biblical, but we do not want to judge them either. We simply love them unconditionally and wait on You to show them Your truth.

Thought for the Day:
Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity. – Psalm 133:1