Love Letters

Our life is God’s love letter to the world. He uses us to communicate to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors that He cares about them (2 Corinthians 3:3).

 

If we do not take the time to reach out to these significant people in our life, we deprive them of the love of God through us.

 

We may even shut up the Kingdom of Heaven to them and their blood will be on our hands (Ezekiel 3:18-20). It is important that we at least plant a seed of God’s love in everyone we meet.

 

It is easy to do this. We can give them our church bulletin and invite them to join us the next week. Offering them a ride to the grocery store or to church is another easy way.

 

We can hand them a tract with spiritual truth that they may otherwise never know. Starting a spiritual book club or Bible study in our neighborhood is another great way to reach out.

 

There are retired women and men in our church who would gladly teach such a study if we ask them; or there are great study guides in the Christian bookstore to use as a text.

 

We can bake a cake for a bereaved family, give a homemade card to a sick neighbor, or baby sit for a young couple to have a date night.

 

The possibilities are endless, if we listen to God’s Spirit and follow His directives. God equips us to walk in His will through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:20).

 

With Christ living within us, we experience rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). We stop striving to perform for God, because Christ works through us (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 6:28-33).

 

This eternal rest is only available if we take our focus in life off the temporal aspects of our existence and place it squarely on eternal matters instead (2 Corinthians 4:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave us Your eternal life, which no one can take from us (John 10:28). We are joined to You, and we are beneficiaries of Your divine nature (1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4). We have constant fellowship with You, the Son and the Spirit (1 John 1:3, 9; Phil 2:1).

 

You placed us in Christ Jesus and we are seated in heavenly places in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:6). You provide every spiritual blessing for us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Help us to share Your love with those You put into our life. We want to give You all the honor and glory for everything we think, say and do each moment of the day.

 

Thought for the Day:

The love and integrity of the testimony of our life for God may be the difference in someone believing in or rejecting Jesus as their Savior.

 

 

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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

The Truth about Love

There are three common types of love. Each one is distinctly different, but we can feel all of them at one time – for one person or many people. EROS is passionate physical love. It includes sensual desires and longing.

Relationships built only on Eros usually end when sexual passion wanes. That is why people have affairs or casual physical relationships. Therefore, marriage needs more than Eros to survive.

PHILIA means friendship and connotes affectionate love between friends and family. It displays dispassionate camaraderie. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family and community. It exhibits Godly virtue, impartiality and delight.

Philia denotes a friendly type of affection between family and friends. It is a desire for companionship and enjoying activities with each other. Having a friendship with the people in your life and enjoying time to play, pray and share in common pursuits is vital in any relationship.

AGAPE means unconditional love. It refers to a deep sense of God’s pure, holy love. Instead of the sexual attraction of Eros or the deep affection of Philia, Agape is sacrificial.

Agape provides us with the feeling of contentment and satisfaction as we put each other first and highly esteem one another as better than our self (Philippians 2:3-4). True love takes effort and is not dependent on the other person.

Christ lives in us and is love personified. Regardless of how someone treats us, we love them with God’s love within us. It is not how we feel, but what we do to express God’s love to one another.

This does not mean that we do not honestly communicate to others how their behavior makes us feel; but we never give up on the relationship. We may have to establish boundaries, but we keep the relationship active.

Love is not what we expect from others, but what we provide for those in our life whom we care about. We are called to love one another, just as Christ loves us. Sometimes, that is a tall order to fill.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to display love to our parents, spouse, children, church family and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. This is only possible as we submit to Your will for our life and allow Your Spirit to reprogram our thinking to have the mind of Christ. Remind us that once we have this spiritual love, then the physical and the emotional feelings will follow after it.

Cause us to submit our self to You and to resist the devil. Then he must flee from us (James 4:7). His destructive suggestions that putting our self first, estrangement and divorce are not wrong, and that You want us to be happy, will vanish with his departure. Remind us that You want us to be holy. Help us to develop Agape love for others as we focus on submitting our self to You.

Thought for the Day:
Most people realize that we are far from loving one another with true self-sacrificing, lasting and sincere love; Eros and Philia come and go throughout the years, and they are never intense for long periods of time, but Agape lasts forever.

Our Infinite God

Through the cross of Calvary, Jesus reigns victorious over death, redeems sinners by grace and sets our feet dancing through life (Psalm 30:11). He has specific plans for our life and leads us, provides for us and strengthens us to do His will (Philippians 2:12-13).

Those who refuse to believe in Christ actually condemn themselves to an eternity in hell. The choice is ours. God does not force anyone to believe.

He simply offers the Gospel as our opportunity for salvation. What we do with His gift is our choice (Romans 6:23). God redeems people from every family, tribe, society and nation of the world through the blood of Christ.

We are all one family, one Body, one Temple of God’s Spirit. He transforms us into kings and priests to serve Him on this earth (Revelation 5:9-10). He allows us to dwell together in unity under His government (Isaiah 9:6).

God connects us all by a common thread of the cross of Calvary. We have brothers and sisters from centuries past and from every community on earth. We will have quite a time in heaven getting to know one another.

We are all one in Christ – one Trinity and one Body, with one purpose for eternity. God’s Spirit dwells within us all, unifying us, guiding us, counseling us and interceding for us through feelings, which at times we cannot even put into words (Romans 8:26).

We live a life of pardon, protection, provision, promise and privilege. Our infinite God reigns supreme in our finite existence, providing us with hope, renewal and everlasting life.

God restores our soul (Psalm 23:4) by healing our past and giving us hope for the future. He gives us absolute Truth through Christ and His Word, and helps us to focus on what is important in this life and the next.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for the fellowship which we enjoy with Your Trinity every moment of every day. Your eternal promise restores our equilibrium and keeps us walking on the straight and narrow road. Keep us ever faithful regardless of our circumstances and teach us all things by Your Spirit (1 John 2:24-27).

Help us to see that daily study of Your Word keeps us centered on what is truly important in this life and the next, with faith in Your faithfulness through the uncertainty which faces us every day. Give us Your strength to stand strong in adversity and erase our doubts with Your truth.

Thought for the Day:
Whatever distracts us from total dedication to and dependence on God is our enemy, regardless of how good and innocent it appears at the time.

Complete Trust and Rest

Our work in our own self-effort actually hinders the work of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:14). We spin our wheels by attempting to make things happen on our own. We end up frustrated, anxious and even angry at times.

 

Yet, if we put our needs and the direction of our life into God’s capable hands, and allow His Holy Spirit to guide each moment of our day, we end up in the right place at the right time.

 

If we do not have what we want or what we think we need, we can be sure that God does not think we need it at this moment of time. We often get bored and want a change or feel desperate in some area and decide that we know what is best for us.

 

Yet, when we release all negative emotions and wait on the Lord’s direction, we end up receiving even more and infinitely better than we ever had in our whole life (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 

My sister-in-Christ needed a new house. She combed the papers daily and worked with several rental agencies, desperate to find a new place to live. She falsely believed that it was up to her to relocate her family.

 

After many months and an inordinate amount of stress and time of spinning her wheels, she gave up, prayed for God’s will and timing and entered His rest. She listened to His Spirit each succeeding day. Within a week, she had the perfect home for her family.

 

Another Believer had a similar story with a job. When she decided to abide in God’s rest, she lost her desperate drive. She joyfully turned down a few jobs that God made clear to her were not His will for her. Within a month she had the best job in which she ever worked in her entire life and is so fulfilled and joyful now.

 

A widowed Believer strongly desired a new husband. She tried every avenue she could think of to find a husband. Once she surrendered her need to the Lord, she had peace and enjoyed her life as a single person.

 

Two years later, she met her new husband at the sickbed of a dear friend. The ailing woman highly recommended each of her single friends to one another and they started dating.

 

Within a few weeks, they realized that they were very much in love, enjoying the complete peace of the Lord and were married at the bedside of their dying friend. Years later, they are still head over heels in love with one another.

 

As we cease from our striving and trade our self-efforts for surrender to God’s will, we start to serve God from a position of rest, daily obedience to His Spirit’s guidance and an uncompromising desire to live in the center of God’s will (Philippians 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us to cease from living life in our own wisdom and strength, and from running through life with anxiety and stress, which make us unhappy and unfulfilled in every way. Help us to be grateful to You for every aspect of our life and to be satisfied with Your provision and timing.

 

Enable us to enter into Your complete trust and rest (John 14:27). Help us to be more concerned with Your will than our own, more eager to seek Your Kingdom than our own, and realizing that You will give us everything we need in Your timing and way (Matthew 6:33).

 

Thought for the Day:

Let gratitude for God’s daily provision, as well as the peace of the Lord, fill your heart to overflowing, trusting God to work out all things for your ultimate good. – Colossians 3:15; Romans 8:28

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

Admitting Faults

“I was wrong” is the hardest sentence in the English language to say. Due to perceived, as well as legitimate wounds in our past, we are afraid to admit that we have faults.

We think that we have to be perfect in order to be loved; and that we must earn the love, which we need, by making other people happy and proud of us.

We fear rejection so much that we will make excuses or lie to cover up our faults and mistakes. We wear masks so that people do not know who we really are.

If we admit that we did something inappropriate, we may fall into the black hole of condemnation and shame, which nips at our toes and plots ways to swallow us whole.

If we agree that we are wrong, we will topple over the edge of the dark abyss of shame, and we will be trapped, hopeless, useless and totally rejected forever.

In order to escape the bottomless pit of shame, we either do our best to become invisible, or fight tooth and nail to retain some semblance of order in our life, or hide behind a wall of pride and arrogance.

Bullies are motivated from their fear and insecurity. They surround themselves with controllable people who have qualities, which they feel they lack. When they hurt others, they feel powerful and in control of at least one part of their life.

Once we come to Christ for forgiveness, He exposes Satan’s lies and frees us from the evil task master of shame. Then we no longer experience the devil’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).

If we could be perfect, Christ would not have suffered that horrendous crucifixion. Through His sacrifice, we enter His rest and are able to breathe unhindered by stress, fear and insecurities.

If one person abandons us, or turns against us, we have a whole family of Believers who will love us for who we are, even with all of our faults, insecurities and over-reactions (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer:
Father God, often another person’s wounds expose our wounds and weaknesses, and we fear rejection. Therefore, we walk away from them, before they get a chance to reject us. We dispose of them from our life, rather than working out our issues together.

Help us to look deeper, beneath the surface of a person’s words and actions, to see the real person, which they are hiding behind their false facade. Remind us to show mercy and grace to everyone, and not to reject someone just because they are wounded.

Thought for the Day:
Make allowances for one another’s faults and idiosyncrasies; so, that if someone offends you, you can forgive them time and time again, as you help to strength them to feel secure through God’s love within you. – Matthew 18:21-22; Colossians 3:13