Our True Identity in Christ

 

We find our true identity and self-worth in Jesus Christ. We are a stem on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5), a slave to Jesus, our Master (Romans 6:16-18), a holy place for the Holy Spirit to dwell (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

 

We are dead to self-effort through Christ (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus perfects us, and He is the author and finisher of our faith as we focus on Him and His will for our life (Hebrews 12:2).

 

God sent His Son in the form of human flesh, in order that the law may be fulfilled in Him (Romans 8:3). As we obey God, we will not walk according to the law or in the sinful passions of our flesh.

 

We will walk instead according to the leading of God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day (Romans 8:4). We have no righteousness of our own merit, but we walk in the victory of the cross and in dependence upon our union with Christ.

 

A committed Believer wants to do God’s will above all else. That is our goal in life. Our every waking breath and the desire of our heart is to further the Kingdom of God in the earth.

 

Though we may fall short of God’s glory now and then, we surrender our life to Christ in order for Him to perfect us through sanctification (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Our thoughts, words and behavior match our desires. We put away sinful pursuits and seek holiness. We live life surrendered to God’s unconditional love, unqualified forgiveness and perfect will for our lives.

 

Through the Spirit of God, we are transformed into the fullness of Christ from one degree of glory to another through the process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, as a container we show that the all-surpassing power in us is from You and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7). As we totally surrender our life and plans to You, we find all the riches and wonders we could ever want during both this life and the next.

 

Nothing is impossible with You, and we constantly reap the benefits of Your unconditional love for us (Matthew 19:26). Thank You for allowing us to be a part of Your glorious plan of redemption for the earth.

 

Remind us that once our “self-life” is dead, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and through us (Colossians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20). Jesus uses our hands, our feet, our words and our actions to further Your Kingdom in the earth.

 

Thought for the Day:

The only way for every child of God to fully live is to completely die to our own desires, ambitions and goals, and to hide our life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

 

 

 

 

Waiting Continually on God

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we can accomplish. Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Rote prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and wants to hear our own words (Luke 16:15).

 

God places His burdens upon our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for those laden by illness, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, and those suffering from other ill effects of this life.

 

Waiting continually on God all day long, we pray without ceasing, worship the beauty of His holiness, live in His presence and praise His holy name (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 16:11, 29:2, 138:2).

 

Once we entirely surrender to Christ in us, there is no limit to what God can do in and through us. We bow in humble adoration of our King and walk in perfect submission to His will.

 

He heals our diseases and nurtures our soul, lifting our head from the pillow of illness or a posture of depression; and putting a new song in our heart (Psalm 3:3-4, 40:3).

 

He takes our trials and tribulation personally, because He dwells within each one of us and experiences everything right along with us (Acts 9:4-5).

 

We hope in God alone as He sustains us, comfort us and puts a smile on our face (Psalm 42:11). As we find our delight in Him, He fills our soul and spirit with His glory and places His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You fill us with Your love in a world that is full of anger and hate. You encourage us when our soul is bowed with the cares of this life. You teach us to forgive when others fail to admit that they have mistreated us. You feel our pain and You carry us through our tribulation.

 

You lift our head from the pit of despondency and make our feet like hinds feet to climb higher still into Your presence (Psalm 18:33). We look forward to dwelling with you throughout eternity, because You are our great God, full of loving kindness and mercy (Psalm 95:3).

 

Thought for the Day:

It has been said, “When we go God’s way, we bump into the devil who is always trying to discourage us and derail our attempts to walk in God’s will.”

 

 

Mirroring the Heart of God

The Spirit of God urges men and women to enter into the purposeful ministry of prayer for the godless portion of humanity, which co-habitates this earth with us – in both big cities and country towns alike.

 

He gives us the burden of His heart for these dear souls who need to hear about Jesus and respond to His invitation to come just as they are. He also floods us with His peace and joy as we obey and pray.

 

God burdens our soul with His intense love for humanity and His concern for their eternal destination. He moves on our heart by His Spirit to dedicate our life to prayer and intercession until we actually mirror His heart back to Him.

 

God knows the intents and desires of our heart and answers our petitions as He brings circumstances to bear in a person’s life. Of course, it is still that person’s choice to reject or to accept God’s love.

 

Daniel, Ezra and other prophets of old such as Nehemiah served in this ministry of intercessory prayer for people in their day and time. They and we mourn with the burden of lost souls around us.

 

The Holy Spirit fills us with the burden of the sin all around us; and sometimes even in us, if we are not thoroughly cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. We mourn for their lost condition and their separation from God who is all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

 

As we quietly trust in God’s goodness, mercy and grace, His love shines in our heart and transforms us into the mind, character and nature of Christ in us; and we enjoy His unbroken fellowship.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we completely and wholly surrender our motives, goals and heart to You. We consider it such a privilege to partake in Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Your precious Son, Jesus Christ. We will stand with Him in that final hour as one Body, one Bride, one Army and deliver the Kingdom to You.

 

From the rising to the setting of the sun, we relinquish to You our life with all of its sorrows and joys. We walk in Your will and reap the benefits of serving You even now. We prove our love to You by dedicating our life to one of prayer, and obedience to Your Spirit and Your Word.

 

Thought for the Day:

Filling God’s ear with petitions, and demanding that He honor His myriad of promises in our life is not prayer; it is simply a spoiled child giving an ultimatum to our Heavenly Father. Instead, we enter the true life of prayer, which mirrors the heart of God back to Him.

 

Fellowship with God’s Trinity

Prayer is the most important spiritual discipline we can accomplish. Prayer is speaking to God from our heart. Rote prayers and formulas for prayer are unnecessary. God already knows our heart and delights in hearing our own words (Luke 16:15).

As we mature in Christ, God places His burdens upon our heart for the lost people groups in our world, for those laden by illness and natural disasters, for people devastated by the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, and those suffering from other distresses caused by this sin-cursed life.

God gives us His heart and lays His burdens on us a bit heavier as time progresses. When we faithfully pray, the intense weight is terrible at times, but the fact that God trusts us with His heart is joyful and spurs us on to persevere in prayer.

As we acknowledge our dependence on Christ in all things, especially in prayer, we pray in the Spirit as well as with our human understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). We see mighty answers to our prayers from a God who delights in bringing us joy (Psalm 149:4).

We stop limiting God by our doubts and carnal thoughts. We follow our Lord Jesus’ example and pray the prayer, which never fails, “Lord, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 22:42)

God already knows our needs, but He delights in our dependence on Him. Our Father savors the words of praise and adoration, which we pour out in our prayers.

He delights in our companionable silence when there is no immediate need to lift up in supplication. We bask in the warming rays of His continual presence.

We yearn for intimacy with Him, and He snuggles us under the shelter of His wings as He showers us with His love (Psalm 17:8). We even experience the fullness of His glory from time to time.

We pray without ceasing all through the day, regardless of the circumstances in which we find our self. We look for His seed for a miracle in the negative aspects and rejoice in His provision and blessings in the positive experiences.

Prayer:
Father God, as we take time in Your presence more and more with each passing day, Your love shines in us and through us as a beacon to the lost and dying world around us. Your Word shows us that the Saints of old persevered in their anointing by abiding in Your presence. Help us to fully surrender to Your Spirit each moment of our day.

Remind us in the midst of our infirmities that the ministry of prayer and intercession is the most powerful task You share with Your Body. When we allow You to remove our need to stay busy, You use our whole being in this vital ministry. We do not need to be bed-ridden to be effective in prayer; it is simply a matter of priorities. Prompt us to cry out day and night for Your Kingdom to reign over all the earth.

Thought for the Day:
When we pray without ceasing, we abide in fellowship with the Trinity and access their power in every circumstance in our life.

The Perfecting Work of Patience – Part 2 Entering God’s Rest

 

The only striving the Bible encourages us to do is to strive to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10-11). We do not use self-effort to arrive at any other phase of our Christian walk.

The reason we have to strive to enter into God’s rest is that it goes against our natural human tendency. Our pride and rebellion spur us on to do things our way, and submitting to God chafes our soul – our mind, will and emotions.

We want to feel accomplished and to believe that we earned the degree or trophy or crown of glory by our hard work and effort. The truth is that we will throw our crowns at Jesus’ feet, because we will finally realize that He, not us, earned and deserves them (Revelation 4:10-11).

In our free will, we can choose to disobey God’s Spirit at any time; but then we reap the consequences of sin, as well as discipline for our disobedience from our Father who loves us a His children (Hebrews 12:4-12).

On the other hand, attempting to discipline our self to walk in good works and obedience to God’s Word is often fruitless and counterproductive. The more we strive toward perfection the more our flesh draws us back into sin and rebellion.

We can only walk in perfection as we rely on the promises and Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4). Our obedience to God is both inspired and empowered by His Spirit within us (Philippians 2:12-13).

“Let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4-8) is not telling us to be patient or to get patience. It is simply telling us to submit to God and to allow patience, which is a fruit from the Holy Spirit, to do its perfecting work in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

This takes all the stress out of life for us. We walk in freedom and joy, with God’s peace in our heart regardless of circumstances; knowing without a doubt that God has a seed for a miracle in the midst of every trial.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our part in our spiritual walk is simply to surrender to the work of Your Holy Spirit in our life. We are but a lump of clay, and You are the Master Potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isaiah 64:8). You are our Alpha and Omega and You give us Your living water as we thirst for You alone (Revelation 21:6).

Teach us that the Christian walk is not about self-effort, but about submission to You first and foremost in all areas of our life. We concede to You in everything we think, say and do; and You direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk in Your ways now and serve You for eternity in Your new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1).

Thought for the Day:
By trusting in God to save and to perfect us in every way, regardless of the circumstances of our life, we enter His rest and remove all stress from our life.

True Christian Life

A life lived in total surrender to the will of God brings healing in body, soul and spirit. God’s Spirit renews our mind and transforms our spirit into the likeness of Christ (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Satan will attempt to keep us under His bondage to sin, and to prevent us from functioning with effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. He will lure us with a promise of worldly gain.

However, as we seek more intimacy with God, who abides within us, our desire for more of this world fades. We find our true identity, restful peace and complete joy in the presence of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).

Christ abides in our heart by faith and we are rooted and grounded in God’s love (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7). Our goal is to reach perfection through the knowledge of God’s Son and by growing into the fullest measure of the richness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

We live in contentment, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). We have boldness and access to the very presence of God, because of Christ’s completed work on Calvary’s cross (Ephesians 3:12).

Christ’s faith within us helps to quench the fiery darts of Satan’s lies and temptations (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13). By God’s Spirit we work in faith, labor in love and have patience through our hope in the Lord in the sight of God, our Father (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for counting us worthy of our calling, for helping us to fulfill Your will through Your goodness, for the work of Christ’s faith and power within us, and for delivering us from unreasonable and wicked people in our life (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 3:2)

Thank You for freeing us from believing fables and trusting in endless genealogies, which only stir up more questions rather than edify You or build our faith (1 Timothy 1:4). We enjoy Your abundant grace through the faith and love, which we find in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). You are all we need.

Thought for the Day:
As Christians, we let our thoughts, words and deed reflect the glory of Christ within us, so that we do not shame our Father God in any way. – Philippians 1:27

The Name of the Lord – His Chosen Nation

God loves Israel, regardless of their behavior toward Him, because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He continually calls Israel to return to Him, to exalt His name and to keep His Word (Psalm 69:35-36).

He never abandoned Israel, even when she was not a nation, because it pleases Him to make them a nation for His great name’s sake (Isaiah 12:22). This increases our faith in God’s faithfulness.

God redeemed Israel continually through the generations to make a name for Himself, as He did great and mighty things for them. He even divided the waters before them (2 Samuel 7:23, 26).

He restored part of the Promised Land to Israel over and over through their history; and again in 1948, after the great persecution and judgement He sent on them because of their unbelief (2 Kings 21:4, 23:27).

He formerly scattered them among the nations of the earth, as He prophesied that He would; but now He calls them back to Himself for His own name’s sake (Nehemiah 1:9; Jeremiah 3:17).

People wonder how God can turn to the Gentiles and shut up His Kingdom to Israel for 2000 years; but He gave Israel 4,000 years to turn their hearts to Him.

Even now, many Jews return to God and find completion through Jesus Christ. For His name’s sake, He will use the Great Tribulation to give them yet another chance to take refuge in His name (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:9, 50:34; Micah 5:4; Zephaniah 3:9,12; 13:9).

Some people are blinded to God’s true character and provision by Satan’s lies and they curse Him, because they see only the trials, which come on us on this earth (Revelation 16:9).

Yet, people from every tribe, tongue and nation of the earth come before Him to worship His name and glorify Him, because of the blessings God pours out on His people (Revelations 15:4).

Prayer:
Father God, you are jealous over your people who glory in Your holy name (Exodus 34:14). Our heart is glad continually over Your provision for us in our life on this earth (1 Chronicles 16:10). We boast in You so that the humble will hear about Your provision in our life and come to You (Psalm 34:2).

There is salvation in no other name or means than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). As the perfect Lamb, He is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6). Whatever we ask in Your name, in order to perform the works You created us to do for Your glory, You will supply (John 14:13). There is no God like You, and we exalt Your name, which is great in power and might (Jeremiah 10:6).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus, the true King of Israel, is most highly exalted; and God bestowed on Him the name, which is above every other name; so that at His name, everyone who is in Heaven, on the earth and even under the earth will bow their knee to Him. – Philippians 2:9-11

4:2

Fear Not

God’s plan for mankind is to live in us, to fill us with His Truth and Life, and to live in unity with our soul and spirit so that His Life is manifested through us.

He always hears our prayers and stores our tears in a bottle. He will avenge each transgression against His Beloved Saints (Psalm 4:3, 56:8). He gives us His compassionate heart, and we are His People and He is our God (Ezekiel 36:26-28).

We call out to God on His throne in heaven; and He hears and answers us (Psalm 3:4). He sustains us in every way, gives us sweet rest and never leaves or forsakes us, walking in us through every circumstance (Psalm 3:5; Hebrews 13:5).

Our God gives us relief from our distress and has mercy on us (Psalm 4:1). He delivers and blesses us, because He works out every circumstance for our good, even in death we go to live with Him (Psalm 3:8; Romans 2:28).

If we feel overcome by life’s problems, we focus on and cling to Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). Our labors for the Lord are not in vain; so we can live this life unmoved by its threats, unafraid in its trials and abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

Once we surrender our life to Christ, we realize that we are not on this earth to amass worldly goods, but to bring as many people to Heaven with us as will come humbly to God’s love.

If we are in Christ, we have no reason to fear the curse of sin or the god of this world, the devil (Mark 5:36). We live in His perfect love, which will diminish all of our fears (1 John 4:18).

As we follow the Lord in our thoughts, words and actions, we live in victory, because He lives within us (Luke 8:50). He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:29).

Prayer:
Father God, life wounds us and Satan keeps us in bondage to those wounds. Remind us that You will reveal Satan’s lies, speak to us Your truth and set us free from the fear of the unknown future, free from regrets or hurts from our past, and free to walk in the new life, which Christ earned for us through His passion and death.

Teach us the fullness of our life in Christ’s resurrection. Fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). Empower us to be a light set on a hill and use us to draw everyone to You (Matthew 5:14-16; John 12:32). Help us to live in the purpose You have for our life instead of our own plans (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord who walked on water and calmed the raging sea lives within every authentic Believer; He heals, empowers, guides, helps our unbelief and fulfills every one of us; then He sets apart His true Believers as a special and holy priesthood.
– Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 10:30, 1 John 3:1-3, 4:17; Colossians 2:10; Luke 8:30; Mark 9:23-25

Never Alone

We never go through a trial without God in the midst of it with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Christ and the Holy Spirit reside within us (Galatians 2:20).

Even through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4). Whenever we feel that God is not with us, it is due to our behavior, not the Trinity. We leave them or grieve them by our choices and behavior (Psalm 13:1-6).

This causes us to lose courage, strength, joy and heart. We feel abandoned and forlorn. We have no will to go on any more. We may even feel betrayed by those who are supposed to love us, including God.

God is just waiting for us to completely surrender to His love. The Way, Truth and Life is always with us and in us, giving us wisdom and bringing us into God’s glory (Colossians 1:27; John 14:6).

The Lord wants us to accept His will without any conditions or self-will. Praise opens the gates of hell, which we are experiencing, and allows us to understand the freedom of our union with God (Act 16:16-40).

Praising God for the negative circumstances, for the seed for a miracle within the trial and for His goodness, even when we are hurting, is the key to spiritual victory.

Jesus knew Calvary awaited Him. He first requested that God save Him from the cross (Matthew 26:37-42). Then, He prepared Himself for this trial through a time of prayer in the garden with His disciples.

Jesus knew that the only way to traverse any trial is to embrace the will of God in and through it. Therefore, He changed His focus to the glory, which awaited Him (Hebrews 12:2).

We follow Jesus’ example and praise God regardless of His deliverance or blessings for us in this life, because we know the glory, which also awaits us in Heaven (Romans 8:18). We know that God will work out everything – even the most unbearable circumstances in this life – for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to worship You in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Remove any hypocrisy in us and help us to live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Draw us close to You, because we know You will never, ever let us go.

We will pour out our love for You even when the flames of the fire, winds of the tornado, or destruction of the disease rip our life out of our clutches; because we know that our last breath on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven.

Thought for the Day:
The God of the universe never, ever leaves or forsakes us; so, what is there to worry about? – Hebrews 13:5

Experiencing God’s Presence

There is no place on earth more fulfilling than living in God’s presence. He reveals to us the path of life, fills us with His joy and gives us pleasures, which last for an eternity (Psalm 16:11).

His presence abides in us and He gives us His rest (Exodus 33:14). We continually commune with Him through prayer (Psalm 145:18-19). When we draw near to Him, He comes closer to us (James 4:8).

At times, we do not sense His presence, but He is always near to us, living within us (Genesis 28:16). We find Him if we take the time to seek Him with our whole heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Regardless of our behavior, His graciousness, compassion, attention, mercy and love accompany the presence of God in our life; although our sins will break His heart and grieve His Spirit (2 Kings 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brokenhearted people find soothing comfort in God’s presence; and, in our humility, He will save us from every one of our afflictions (Psalm 34:18-19).

God’s goodness is magnanimous to those who submit to Him. Words fail to describe what He has planned for those who trust Him (Psalm 31:19-20).

As our refuge and strength, God keeps us safe from every enemy, from strife and from gossips (Psalm 46:1). His plans are not evil, and He intends for us to prosper in Him (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, create a clean heart in us, and help us to refresh our commitment to You. We thank You for not casting us away from Your presence or removing Your Spirit from within us when we fall into sin (Psalm 51:10-11).

We come into Your presence with gratitude for all that You do for us, and we shout joyfully in praises to You. You are our great King, our Savior and God (Psalm 95:2-3).

Thought for the Day:
We joyfully serve the Lord and dwell in His presence with a continual song in our heart and on our lips. – Psalm 100:2