I am not the Savior

As we all serve one another, we all get served. I read in the Bible that God wanted it this way. As a perfectionist codependent, I always put everyone else’s needs above my own.

 

However, it did not work that way in the first 45 years of my life. I did all the serving and others did all the taking with rare expressions of gratitude or encouragement for what I did.

 

I grew to resent the lack of reciprocation and my constant physical and emotional exhaustion. I felt like a hamster on its wheel, going round and round day after day and getting no place fast.

 

One day I realized that I was actually teaching people to expect me to do everything and not to respect me or my needs. I had a savior and martyr complex a mile wide and high.

 

The fact is, however, that I love to serve others. It is my main ministry in Christ’s body. Thankfully, I started working for a recovering codependent at this same time and she spoke truth to me that set me free.

 

She said, “You are a person too, and you can minister to yourself and meet your needs in the same way you meet everyone else’s needs.” WOW! That gave me food for thought.

 

She reminded me of Jesus’ words to love others as we love our self (Luke 10:27). I realized right away that I did not love myself in the same way that I loved others.

 

This opened up a whole new world for me. I went to the library and checked out books on how to be a nurturing parent. I learned to nurture myself and how to nurture others in a healthier manner.

 

Prayer:

Father God, so many times we take Your words at face value and skip over the minute details of the verse. We miss so much of the meat of Your Word because we do not take them in context with other verses in the Bible. We miss the whole picture, which You intend for us to see.

 

As we follow the leading of Your Spirit each moment of the day, we stop allowing the good things to become the enemy of the best things. We stop spinning our wheels by so much busyness and we live productive lives that bring us joy as we also give joy. We develop a closer relationship with You and people see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

As we walk in the Spirit, we stop enabling others to be less than they can be by allowing them to do hard things for themselves and to learn to lean on God instead of on us, so they can live productive lives.

 

The Gospel of Christ

The Gospel of Christ is a simple plan for the salvation of the whole world. Once we accept the saving grace of Christ for salvation, the Trinity dwells in us by the Holy Spirit of God.

If we reject this free gift of salvation, we condemn our self to hell for eternity. If we deny that Christ is the Son of God, we are a liar and the truth is not in us (Romans 3:23, 6:23; John 3:16-18).

Also, we are not Born Again children of God (1 John 2:22-23). However, if we abide in Him, we have confidence that we will see Him face-to-face (1 John 2:28-29).

Jesus Christ is the living Son of God who died in our place to redeem us to the Father and to Himself. He fills us and leads us with His Spirit while we live on this earth.

God gives us the faith of Christ as a shield to protect us from the fiery temptations and trials of the devil (Ephesians 6:16). He fills us with his peace, which allows us to endure life’s issues with joy (Ephesians 6:23).

The Word of God exhorts us to allow our conversation – our words and behavior – to be an example of the Gospel of Christ to the lost and dying world around us, especially during times of adversity (Philippians 2:17).

God delivers us from irrational, mean-spirited and wicked people who would come against us (2 Thessalonians 3:2). He upholds us in His powerful right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

The Word encourages us to stand strong by the power of God’s Spirit and to dwell together in unity with the Body of Christ through our shared faith in the Gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:4).

We do this by accessing by faith the righteousness of Christ within us, clinging to God Spirit and Word, and developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ in us (Philippians 3:9; Colossians 3:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for rooting us and maturing us in Christ, establishing our faith and teaching us to abound in gratitude to You for all that You do for us even in the dire circumstances, which we sometimes face during our lifetime (Colossians 2:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:4).

You teach us patience by reminding us of the hope we have in You both now and for eternity; and You spur us on to work in faith, to labor in love and to keep our focus on You (1 Thessalonians 1:3). We love You with our whole heart and we give You all of our self just as You gave all of Yourself to us.

Thought for the Day:
God’s Spirit plants and establishes us in the faith of Christ so that we are not moved away from the hope we receive from the Gospel of Christ, which is preached by mankind, by all of nature and in the conscience of every creature ever born under heaven.
– Colossians 1:23; Romans 1:20

Exacting Revenge

Revenge is sweet, or so they say. We plot and plan our next encounter and how we will get the jump on our enemy’s rude and spiteful behavior.

We set up a cycle of events in order to position our self to put our enemies in their place and to hurt them before they can hurt us. We despise them more with each breath we take.

Yet, revenge leaves us feeling empty. As Believers we even regret our display of ungodly behavior. Our vindictive and vengeful thoughts and actions take a toll on our spirit, and grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30).

It seems impossible to love our enemies. They taunt us, thwart us and stab us in the back every chance they get. We are willing to struggle with the concept of not hating them; but loving them is going a bit too far.

There is good news. We do not need to feel emotional affection to love our enemies, just a heart, which is surrendered to Christ.

When we love Christ more than we love our self, we can love our enemies with His Agape love. We grow to desire that our enemies will prosper and to experience the love of God, which we enjoy.

We can minister to our enemy’s physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and mental needs when God prompts us. He shows us opportunities to share His love with them.

God’s Word, which richly fills our soul, helps us to have meekness in order to walk away from the temptation to inflict revenge on our enemies (James 1:21).

God walks with us and in us through the dark night of our soul (Psalm 139:17-18). He rewards our faithfulness to walk in His truth. He roots us in His love and builds us up in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that vengeance is Yours and You will repay our enemies for their treatment of us. Help us to kill our enemies with kindness, pricking their conscience with our loving behavior toward them (Romans 12:20).

Soften their heart toward us. Show us the root of their feelings, which cause them to despise us. Use us to help them to heal from their wounds which cause them to bully us and others.

Cause their reasons for attacking us to diminish; and if nothing else, make them just walk away and leave us alone. In all things, help us to prosper even as our soul prosper when we follow Your will for our life (3 John 1:2).

Thoughts for the Day:
God establishes our faith in His faithfulness; and we abound in our gratitude to Him. – Colossians 2:6-7

Living in Contentment

As we live in the presence of God, and enjoy the still, quiet moments of our devotion time each day, then our schedule, to-do lists and responsibilities fade into the background of our mind.

Cleansing our soul and life, of dead works and all negative emotions, enables us to freely hear God’s voice. Unhindered by the destructive influence of the devil’s lies, we walk in the Spirit. ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

Continually praising God for His provision in our life teaches us gratitude for what we have, which overshadows our longings for what we do not have. We learn contentment at His feet (Philippians 4:11).

While we praise God for who He is, for His blessings and for His perfect plan for our life, we consult Him throughout our day and hear His will for each moment of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This way, when work deadlines, emotional turmoil in our family, rushed schedules, slander and false accusation, and a lack of fulfillment in our life all upset our sense of stability, we have God’s Spirit to return our soul and spirit to peace and rest (Hebrews 10:4).

Once we learn to live in the gratification and fulfillment, which walking in the Spirit afford us, we never go back (Galatians 5:15-25). If life pulls us from the shelter of God’s wings, we scurry back under the shadow of our Almighty God (Psalm 91:1,4).

We accomplish more in our day under the instruction of God’s Spirit than by the direction of all of our lists, calendar reminders and sticky notes. The light of God’s Son brightens each step of our way (John 14:6).

Prayer:
Father God, draw us to Your side and never let us go. Wrap us in Your everlasting arms and help us to experience the contentment of living in Your presence (Deuteronomy 33:27). Lead us to accomplish Your will, rather than our will, for every moment of our day.

Remind us to look for divine appointments to share Your love with people we meet. Help us never to look past someone who may need Your light in their life, simply because we are too busy. Our days are numbered, and we want to live each one of them in the center of Your will (Job 14:5; Psalm 39:4).

Thought for the Day:
As we contentedly dwell in the Kingdom of God and seek His will for each moment of our life, God provides for all of our needs. – Luke 12:31-32

Take No Thought

How often do we worry our self sick over some issue in our life? We fret and plot and plan, trying to come up with a way to prevent some imagined or real impending doom.

Jesus advises that we take no thought for tomorrow (Luke 12:22). He tells us to ask, seek and knock, and He will provide our needs (Matthew 7:6-9).

He reminds us to pray in the Spirit as we make our requests to Him (Ephesians 6:28). Effectual prayers are persevering and bathed in gratitude for all that God already did for us (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

We are confident that He not only started His work in our life, but He will also finish it (Philippians 1:6). We live a surrendered life for the praise of His glory, and He sanctifies us in stages (Ephesians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

We are not occupied with this world and the desires of our flesh. Instead, we dwell in the Temple of our God and enter His presence through the outer court of Salvation, and minister to Him in the Holy Place (Psalm 135:2; Revelation 3:12).

However, there is one step further in our intimacy with God. We encounter the glorious presence of God in the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:3). Everything pertaining to life in this world is absent from this cherished place of abiding.

We dwell in this holy chamber, within our spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). We never leave God’s presence as we walk in the Spirit and do only those works, which God calls us to perform (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, although we have lost yesterday, never to get it back again, You have not lost it, because You are not limited by time as we are. We look forward to all of our tomorrows as we walk in Your Spirit and put aside the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We trust in Your faithfulness to work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28).

Our most meaningful and intimate times of worship will not be the dark days of trial and tribulation; but our times of loving fellowship with You alone, in the Holy of Holies within us. Once we surrender our life to You, You keep our heart from breaking and we never feel lonely or abandoned again, regardless of whatever experiences we encounter in this temporal life.

Thought for the Day:
We want nothing more from life than to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and to rest under the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1

Abundant Grace

Forgiveness is one of the hardest spiritual disciplines God calls us to do, but the result is worth it when we find His freedom in our soul. Forgiveness does not let the perpetrator off the hook, but it puts them in God’s capable hands and He will exact His revenge from them (Ezekiel 25:17). Nothing we could do, not even holding a grudge, will be that effective.

As we surrender to God’s will and have faith in His faithfulness, He guards our hearts and minds through Christ in the most miraculous of ways (Philippians 4:4-7). If we refuse to forgive, this bitterness is likely to cause us to suffer from health issues (Proverbs 14:30). We can find joy, even in the most trying difficulty when we pray with gratitude in our heart.

When life spirals out of our control, we never need to fear, because it is never out of God’s control. His abundant grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). If we do not have what we want, we can be assured that God does not want us to have it at this time. When He is ready to supply it, we will receive even more than we ever thought possible.

Although we are human and weak, God makes us strong, and His grace is always sufficient to meet any needs, which arise in our life (2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Timothy 2:1). He works out everything, which we entrust into His care (2 Timothy 1:12). When we hope in the Lord, He keeps us from becoming weary; He renews our strength and we soar like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).

Christ is in us every moment of every day. The fact that He is our God vanquishes any depressive or hopeless thoughts. As we walk in God’s Spirit and obey His commandments, we prove our love for Him (1 John 2:3, 5:3). We know that He will always encourage, support, defend and care for us (Isaiah 41:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for replacing the negative characteristics of our soul with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Your sanctifying process gives us the mind of Christ and transforms us into His likeness (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Now, whenever we feel anxiety, we can ask You to reveal the reason behind it, and we can confess it as an idol of unbelief in our life. Remind us not to get out of bed without listening to Your Spirit’s direction for each moment of our day. Thank you so much for Your abundant grace in our life.

Thought for the Day:
As God’s grace reaches more and more people, we shout with great thanksgiving and give God more and more glory. – 2 Corinthians 4:15

Ask and Receive

God’s promises to us are positive and guaranteed (2 Corinthians 1:20). He tells us to ask and we will receive (John 15:7, 16:24). One of the favorite verses in today’s Christian ranks is that God will give us a hopeful future, that He has our best interest at heart and that He wants us to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Due to this fact, many Bible teachers counsel people to stand on God’s Word. Of course, it is a good idea to read and pray God’s Word. The Spirit uses God’s Word to anoint our spirit, to encourage our soul – our mind, choices and emotions – and to strengthen our body.

However, many people will point to a verse in the Bible, hold the book up in God’s face and demand that He provide us with the humanistic fulfillment, which we interpret the verse to say. We take the verse out of the context of the rest of the verses around it, and we do not consider who the verse’s author is talking to when he wrote it.

Rather than demanding that God provide what we want, we can sit quietly in His presence and receive from Him what He chooses to give us. We praise and thank Him, even if His answer is hardship and suffering. We can give thanks to God for His love and generosity in the most dire circumstance, which life throws at us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

God’s presence in our life is a more valuable treasure than any earthly, carnal provision we expect. Even if we are homeless, dying in a hospital bed or falsely accused and in prison, we can rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4-9). All of God’s promises come to us through Christ’s atoning work; and we give God the glory for whatever He provides for us (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Prayer:
Father God, trials are not a sign of Your rejection of us, our lack of faith or our immature spirituality. In this world, Jesus had tribulation, and we are not more privileged than our Lord (John 13:16). Help us to see the seed for a miracle in every trial You allow into our life (Job 1:8; 2:3). Thank You for teaching us submission to Your will, appreciation for Your blessings, and for molding us into the image of Christ through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

You are our provision and protection, and our heart trusts in You and Your supply; we will sing songs to You, because our heart greatly rejoices in Your loving presence in our life (Psalm 28:7). Rather than demanding, grabbing or insisting on Your blessings, we will sit quietly in Your presence and surrender to Your will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As we change our focus from temporal to eternal aspects of life, things of this earth will fade in their importance to us. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Confidence in Christ Alone

So many Christians still fall into the trap of attempting to gain their esteem through self-effort. We want to feel good about our self, because of the belittling, condescension and criticism we receive. Life positions us for this tendency by giving us praise for our successes, good behavior and accomplishments; and then rejecting or punishing us for our failings.

The good news is that, in Christ, our failings are not failures. They are simply lapses in judgment, over-reactions in a situation or misinformed decisions. The solution to this is to walk in God’s Spirit each moment of the day, with our focus on His direction and not on our human thoughts, plans and goals (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit requires thinking with the mind of Christ, rather than relying on our human observations (1 Corinthians 2:16; Galatians 5:15-25). God’s plan for us started before our birth and continues to our last breath (Psalm 139:13-14; Philippians 1:6; Ephesians 2:10). At salvation, we died to our human mind-set, and Christ is now our whole life (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:3-5).

Through God’s Spirit, we have the ability, confidence, love and self-discipline to live a successful life (2 Timothy 1:7; Proverbs 3:26; Psalm 138:8). Our self-esteem comes from Christ in us, and God’s unconditional love for us.
Even during trials, our confidence in God and His promises remain steadfast and true (Hebrews 10:35-36; Matthew 6:34; James 1:12).

We boldly approach God’s throne to receive forgiveness and grace in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Christ and His Spirit within us strengthen us to walk in God’s will all the days of our life (Philippians 4:13; Acts 1:8). This gives us more confidence than anything we could ever accomplish through our own self-efforts.

Prayer:
Father God, no matter what we face during our lifetime, we have no need to fear, because we rely on Christ in us rather than our human capabilities (1 John 4:18). Even if the most horrendous issue ever known to mankind comes against us, we have confidence in Christ abiding within us (Psalm 27:3). You are with us no matter where we live, what surrounds us or what occurs in our life (Joshua 1:9). We have all of our confidence in You, rather than in our self, because we know that You work out even the negative issues of life for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
We find joy, even in the most trying difficulty; because when we pray with gratitude in our heart, surrender to God’s will and have faith in God’s faithfulness, He guards our heart and mind through Christ in the most miraculous ways. – Philippians 4:4-7

God’s Eternal Plan – Part 1

God is not a cosmic ogre, waiting to inflict pain upon defenseless human beings. He is a loving, supernatural Being, who wanted us to live in Paradise with Him forever. His ultimate desire is that we allow Him to give us His best. He does not want robots worshiping Him; therefore, like the angels, He gave mankind a free will to choose whether to serve God, self or Satan with our life (Joshua 24:15).

God gave humanity just one stipulation in Paradise: eat of any tree except one. Adam and Eve had all of Paradise to enjoy and to eat to their heart’s content. However, their human pride, curiosity and greed were fueled by Satan’s deception, and they stooped to his level to try to become like God (Ezekiel 28; Isaiah 14).

Where was their gratitude for everything God gave them: for the perfect environment, for their love for one another, for the animals and all of creation, which dwelt together in perfect unity and harmony (Isaiah 11:6-8) and for daily face-to-face communication with God in the cool of the evening? (Genesis 3:8)

Due to human pride, all of creation was instantly under the same curse of sin that we are now. Since that day creation impatiently awaits the revelation of the children of God in order to be restored to its rightful place in the paradise of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1; Isaiah 65:17). God has given mankind 6,000 years to repent and come to Him.

When Adam and Eve realized they were naked and felt shame, God killed an animal to make clothes for them to wear (Genesis 3:21). That innocent blood had to have atonement, a perfect Lamb, sacrificed to pay the sin debt. Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid that debt and freed us all to live in eternity with our Heavenly Father as co-heirs with Him of the Kingdom of God.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You that this earth will not live under the curse of sin forever. Jesus will return with His army and with one word of His mouth, he will destroy the maniacal army of Satan. He will make a new heaven and a new earth for us to enjoy for eternity. You never send judgment without first sending warning, often for hundreds of years before You acts on Your righteous judgment. I pray that people worldwide will heed the warning You are sending in these last days. You will never, ever leave or forsake us and we sing praises to You for Your steadfast love.

Thought for the Day:
We rejoice in knowing that Christ abides within us by His Spirit as we cling to Him as a branch on a vine.

Too Busy

Frequent inspections of our weekly schedule are very productive. We can note the number of hours spent in each activity. Then we can trim away some of the time spent in futile activities? Is our family overly scheduled? Where is our time to play, rest and relax together as a family? How often do we worship together on Sunday, pray together at home or do a family Bible study?

We can take time to stop, breathe deeply and count our blessings, and to meditate on God’s Word or to sing praises to His name, even when we are all alone. I enjoy plugging in my favorite worship music and dancing around the house dusting or vacuuming. It is fun and freeing. We have eternal security as an authentic Believer; if nothing else, that is a great reason to praise God.

We actually have many reasons to praise God. As our Father, He not only favors us with natural blessings, but also with everlasting benefits in heavenly places with our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). At Salvation, His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us. We now live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Our future is eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid on Calvary for our sins (Romans 4:25; Isaiah 53:4).

The Church is our family of brothers and sisters, and we are part of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:19). Heaven is our home. Even with all the blessings of God in our life now, we have not seen, heard or imagined all the benefits God prepared for those of us who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). The world, the flesh and the devil can offer us nothing equal to this.

Prayer:
Father God, we enjoy our life in You now, and also live with the security of knowing that our future in Christ is sure. Remind us to reflect on the multitude of blessings You give us each waking moment, and to spend them praising Your name and giving You thanks for Your love, grace and mercy toward us. We want to express our gratitude to You now and always.

Thought for the Day:
Let us take time to appreciate what God did, will do and is doing for us every moment of our life.