Secret Intents and Motives

When we depend on someone else for our sense of value, we put our self into bondage to that person. Our motives, goals and opinions revolve around that person’s whims.

People come and go in our life. They have unrealistic expectations of us, tire of us and dump us on the curb like a useless sack of trash.

However, Jesus never ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He died for us in spite of our self and our failings. He approves of us in Christ and fully accepts us with all of our idiosyncrasies (Hebrews 13:8).

We can also put our self into bondage to religion by attempting to earn God’s love and acceptance. We drive our self endlessly to work harder and to do better to please Him.

The truth is that our “self” is already crucified with Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). At Salvation, we are fully accepted in the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:5-7). God’s Spirit fills us to the brim and overflows on everyone around us.

We prove that we love Him by our obedience to His Word (John 14:15). We do not always keep each letter of the law all the time, but our motive in life is to walk in His ways (Galatians 3:24; Psalm 86:11-17).

God sees our whole heart – including our secret intents and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). He encourages us to keep our self unspotted by the world. (James 1:26-27).

Jesus loved us even when we did not love Him (1 John 4:19). We feel secure in His love, because it is not dependent on whether we earn or deserve it. It is a free gift, which lasts forever (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Prayer:
Father God, the world values human attributes like popularity, physical features, power, influence and financial abundance; but You reward faithfulness to Your Word. You discern our secret intents and motives and discipline or bless Your children according to the desires of our heart (Jeremiah 17:10).

Help us to shed the trappings of this world that we carry with us into our relationship with You. Purify our thoughts and teach us Your ways, so that we want only what You want and value only those things which bring You honor and glory forever and ever.

Thought for the Day:
We attempt to justify our motives and actions, but the Lord weighs them on His scales; as we consult the Lord, He will guide our steps and establish our plans in His will. – Proverbs 16:2-3

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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.

The Soul and Spirit of Mankind

Some people confuse the soul and the spirit of mankind. Many think they are different words for the same entity. Yet, the Bible is clear that they are separate (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

God originally created humans in His image and likeness as a tripartite being with a body, soul and spirit (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). We are set apart from other created beings because of this peculiarity (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Animals have a body and soul – a mind, will and emotions; but they do not have a spirit. Botanists say that plants have emotions and enjoy it when we to talk to them.

Yet, the spirit of man is our link with Almighty God. Due to Adam’s sin, our spirit is dead in sin when we are born (Ephesians 2:1). God draws us throughout our lifetime to come to Him for the rebirth of our spirit (John 3:1-21).

Yet, God also gives us a free will (2 Timothy 2:26). It is our choice to believe and to accept His free gift of salvation, or to condemn our self through our unbelief for eternity (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Our body lives one day at a time, dying a little bit more each day. Our soul, made up of our will, feelings, thoughts, intellect and conscience, lives beyond the life span of our body.

The eternal destination of our immortal body, soul and spirit is determined by our choice to receive or reject Christ while we live on this earth (John 3:16-18).

Prayer:
Father God, help us by Your mercies to present our body to You as a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice (1 Corinthians 6:20). This is our spiritual service of worship to You. Remind us not to be conformed to his sinful world, with its dreams, goals and practices, but to allow Your Holy Spirit to renew our mind to live in Your will for our individual life (Romans 12:1-2).

We do not need to guess what Your will is, nor strain and stress about the issues of this life in which we get so bogged down every day. Your will includes so much more than obeying Your Word. It also includes fulfilling the purpose for which You created us (Ephesians 2:10). We simply enter into Your rest and walk in Your Spirit each moment of every day.

Thought for the Day:
Our spirit and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – are considered our heart, and God calls us to watch over our heart diligently, because out of it flows the springs of life.
– Proverbs 4:23

This Free Gift is Yours

At the age of 18, I was plagued with negative emotions from betrayal by my father, who was supposed to protect me. I tired of my string of boyfriends, because I could not find my soulmate.

I wrote morbid poems about the devastation, which I felt inside, and I even contemplated suicide. This drove me to question the empty spot within myself, which called out to me for fulfillment.

Thankfully, during an extra work-day to ready our college yearbook for press, I met a vivacious red-head who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me (John 3:16-18).

This resulted in God giving me feet like hind’s feet to traverse the heights of His love (Habakkuk 3:19; Psalm 18:33; 2 Samuel 22:34). Since then, I feel no shame in proclaiming to the world that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.

So often, we reject Christ, because we fear the rejection of our family and friends, as well as ostracism by those we respect and hold in high esteem. Yet, we are willing, by our unbelief, to alienate the King of kings for all eternity.

I share the free gift of the gospel of Christ with anyone who will listen. I view every stranger as a potential friend, and I realize that everyone I pass in a day’s time is a prospective member with me in the family of God.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but He gives it to us as a free gift (Romans 6:23). We do not deserve it, and we cannot earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We simply receive it.

There is no end to God’s love. I want everyone to enjoy God’s bountiful benefits. There is no valid reason to miss out on His free gift (Psalm 103:2).

Prayer:

Father God, Your love is boundless and Your generosity is limitless. You spoil us as Your children and You share with us the inheritance of Your Kingdom for all of eternity. We simply need to believe and to surrender our entire body, soul and spirit to Your Lordship.

You do not demand perfection before we come to You; you perfect us from glory to glory once we trust You with our life (2 Corinthians 3:18). Your only requirement to receive Your free gift of salvation is that we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Romans 6:23; Mark 12:30). This is so easy to do, because we simply respond to Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:

God gives us both the desire and the ability to walk in obedience to His ways. –  Philippians 2:13

Even Good People Fall Short

Many people base their righteousness on their thoughts, words and deeds. They are good people and they live an exemplary life with no overt issues, which would alert them to their sinful nature. Yet, even these model citizens must come to the place where their faith is based on what Jesus did for us, rather than on their self-righteousness.

Even good people sin in their heart (Matthew 15:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20). The inclination of the human heart, even from childhood, is to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Our spirit is dead at birth, and we have only a body and soul by which to relate to this world. We innately know that we are not complete; and we look to people, places and things to fill that void. This futile exercise is continually unsuccessful.

We end up weary and some contemplate suicide. Many people are too proud and self-righteous to call out to God for His salvation. Yet, anyone who does is Born Again in his/her Spirit. Our only requirements are to turn away from sin and to believe that Jesus died for us personally. Then, God molds us into His temple and dwells within us by His Holy Spirit.

We cannot earn our spot in heaven or our access to God. This requires perfection, and we all fall short of God’s perfect glory (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take the punishment for our sins and give us the free gift of His righteousness in exchange (Romans 6:23). God’s Spirit then leads us into all Truth and reminds us of His Word, which guides us throughout our lifetime (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:13, 14:26).

Prayer:
Father God, we are mere mortals and we are all born in Adam’s sin (Job 15:14). However, You fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Through the power of Your Trinity within us, we live victoriously as we walk in Your perfect plan for our life (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our carnal, worldly friends, relatives, associates and neighbors may attempt to draw us back into worldly pursuits; but as we focus on You, You keep us in Your perfect peace and on Your straight and narrow road (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 7:13-14). Thank You, that as we surrender our life exclusively to You, we reap Your rewards (Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We find the fulfillment and completion we long for through Christ in us, who is our only hope of a glorious life now and throughout eternity. – Colossians 1:27, 2:10

Be Still and Know

Salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift; we do not earn it by our beliefs or our behavior (Romans 6:23). The gift of God’s presence, however, entails our obedience and love for Him. Walking in God’s Spirit allows us to maintain this constant communion with the lover of our soul (Galatians 5:16-25). It also helps to stop the good activities, which we are invited to participate in, from becoming the enemy of God’s best for us.

Constant busyness keeps us in continual stress and turmoil. Do we really need a two family income, a new car, family phones, premium cable channels, clothes from the mall, the hottest toys on the market, etc? Some people work two or three jobs to supply their family with the lifestyle they believe they need. When does the workaholic have time to spend alone with God, family and friends?

Our hectic lifestyle prevents us from entering into the rest of God’s presence (Hebrews 4:1-16); but as we love the Lord with our entire heart, having no idols in His place and ordering our steps to seek Him throughout the day, He will provide us with His love and guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6). We always walk in fulfillment and we find joy in the simplest revelation of His goodness.

Alone (All-one) time with God allows us to enter that place of abiding, which connects and fills us with His Holy Spirit. Abiding provides us with an opportunity to enter God’s rest, to soak up His presence and to operate from a sense of His peace. His joy gives us needed vitality to meet the trials of the day (Psalm 46:1-3). His wisdom and goodness help us to succeed.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to make time every day to stop all activity and to cuddle in Your lap, like the little children that we are (Matthew 19:14). Help us to allow You to immerse us in Your love as we love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). We admit that we are powerless and cannot control the events in our life, so we relinquish all control to You and Your perfect will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
Take time to be still and to focus on the fact that God is God and there is no other like Him. – Psalm 46:10

Don’t Fix the Fix

Born as a person who wants to please, I am devastated when I realize that I often fell short of my goal. I have always striven for perfection in myself in order to find favor with others. After I came to Christ, my housemate shared with me these key verses that taught me not to stress over reaching perfection (Galatians 3:1-3).

It took me another ten years to come to understand the full meaning of this and how to actually let go and let God. The first step was to recognize that I was one of the world’s best Codependents, and that God wanted to set me free from that bondage. It was a revelation to me to realize that I did not have to solve all of the problems of the world and then feel like a martyr because I neglected myself in the process.

We often solve a person’s problems for them, which thwarts the hand of God in their life. We rob them of a blessing and we force God to have to produce another trial for them to overcome in order to strengthen their faith. It has been said, “Do not fix the fix that God has fixed to fixed someone; or God will just have to fix another fix to fix them!” We cause them to needlessly suffer another trial.

The foolish Galatians (3:1-3) were trying to perfect their life after receiving salvation as a free gift. They thought they had to earn their sanctification. God calls us to enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10) and to leave our perfection to Him! We do not earn salvation or sanctification, because it is GOD that is working in us and giving us both the desire and the power to live a holy life (Philippians 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to accept our privileges as Your children and heirs. Christ in us is an ever-present reality that we often ignore. Teach us to tap into the amazing spiritual power that You provide for us, and to walk in Your ways every step of our day. Thank you for becoming a man and paying our sin debt and giving us the victory over both sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thought for the Day:
Do not fill your day with ceaseless activity, but walk in the power of God’s Spirit and reap both productivity and fulfillment.