Followed by Goodness and Mercy

God has a satisfying plan for each of us. He reveals His plan for one moment at a time as we continually enjoy the fullness of His presence (Psalm 16:11, 17:15). Then, He delivers us from an eternal death in hell and preserves our life as we trust in Him (2 Timothy 4:18).

 

Our benevolent Father God remembers the days of our youth through the eyes of His love; not holding against us our sins and indiscretions (Psalm 25:7, 36:7-10). All of His ways are loving and trustworthy, especially as we faithfully abide in covenant with Him (Psalm 25:10).

 

We often want to prolong our days on this clay ball, because we desire to remain with family and to accomplish things for God and to fulfill our goals (Philippian 1:23; Psalm 21:4). We have our mind centered on material pursuits.

 

Yet, we can always remember that God guides us with His wise counsel during our lifetime and receives us up into His glorious Kingdom at the end of our days on earth (Psalm 73:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:1). He rejoices in the death of His Saints, because He looks forward to us joining Him in Heaven (Psalm 116:15).

 

There are trouble and trials on this earth. We lose loved ones too soon, and often suffer physically, emotionally, materially, mentally and financially. There is no way to escape earth’s trials.

 

We are so wise when we give our soul – our thoughts, feelings and choices – time to grieve and to catch up to the events which life hands us (Psalm 30:11-12; 103:17; 2 Corinthians 1:10). Grief is with us all of our life. Triggers repeatedly drag us back into the depths of this anguish.

 

As we give our self permission to feel the grief each time it appears, we allow our tears the time they need to do their cleansing work. God meets us with His mercy each moment of every day now and throughout eternity, and He turns our times of mourning into dancing (Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 30:11-12).

 

Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life on this earth; and then, we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6). God’s got us covered now and forever.

 

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for delivering us from the evil in this current world, or walking through it with us. Allow us the opportunity to share Your love with our family, friends and even strangers by our response to life’s challenges. Grow us spiritually into ever increasing images of Your Son and give us opportunities to share your love with everyone we meet.

 

We lift Jesus higher still and ask You to draw all men unto Him for healing for their spirit, soul and body as we live in Your service for our life now and throughout eternity. We give You all the praise, glory and honor now and forever and ever. Amen.

 

Thought for the Day:

Once our intimacy with God increases, we want and seek nothing more than to dwell in His courts, gaze on His beauty and abide under the shelter of His wings all the days of our life. – Psalm 27:4, 61:4

 

 

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Relinquishing Our Hold on This Life

We have no need to fear death or to cling to this life. We can relinquish our desires to succeed in this society, because it is only a vapor on a cold winter’s day (James 4:14). It quickly dissipates.

 

Our dependence on earthly advantages leave us insecure at best. As we value our temporal life with less importance and put a higher priority on our spiritual life, our levels of stress, fear, anxiety and depression about our life on this earth diminish.

 

Satan’s lies and negative self-talk, which comes from significant others in our life and fills our mind, attempt to rob us of our confidence in God’s love.

 

It is important for us to reject these negative thoughts and attitudes as they pop up and replace them with God’s truth (Philippians 4:8). We agree with what God says about us in His Word.

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As we develop a habit of prayer, this proves our dependence upon God. It humbles us and glorifies God who holds all power, glory and honor in His hands.

 

Only as we snuggle in the palm of God’s hand are we safe. He prevents life from separating us from His love (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35-39). We are sealed in Him by His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

 

As a child of God, Christ is in us and we are the temple of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). There is no need for us to belittle our self or to believe these negative lies.

 

God cares about our heartaches and He bears our burdens as we share them with Him (1 Peter 5:7). He helps us in all of our troubles (Psalm 46:1). We go to God with every distress and He keeps our tears in His bottle to revenge in His way and timing (Psalm 56:8).

 

We can pray in our own words about the real issues which affect our life. Our needs, feelings, wounds and failings are His concern too. We can trust Him to meet all of our needs as we make His Kingdom our priority in this life (Matthew 6:33).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are our God, and You save us and preserve our life as we trust in You (Psalm 86:2).  You already know the end of time from the beginning; and Your purpose will stand through it all as You carry out Your pleasure (Isaiah 46:10). As we read accounts of Your goodness throughout Your Word, it builds our faith. We sing joyfully of Your righteous choices in the affairs of our world.

 

You are compassionate and gracious, a good, good God; and we are loved by You. You are slow to anger and great in loving kindness and You never send judgment without first sending ample warning and time to repent. You are good to all; and we see Your tender mercies through Your works in times past, as well as today (Psalm 145:7-9).

 

Thought for the Day:

God is the Lord of hosts and is exalted in all the earth, our God who is holy in all of His righteous decisions; and when we pass from this life to Heaven, we go immediately into the presence of God.

– Isaiah 5:16

 

 

Answers to Life’s Questions

There are several questions that every human being wants answered. Who are we? Where did we come from? What are we here for? Where are we going? Scientists, philosophers and researchers spend inordinate amounts of time looking for answers.

God is the source of all of our answers. He created us as His Children, for His glory and to spend eternity with Him in His Kingdom (Galatians 3; 2 Corinthians 5; Romans 8).

Everyone who chooses to believe in Christ and His sacrifice for us on Calvary’s cross finds our true identity in Him. Those who refuse to believe condemn themselves to eternal darkness (John 3:16-18).

God is constantly perfecting us by His Spirit who abides in our spirit. He takes away our desire to sin, and it no longer appeals to us. We are alive to God and we desire intimacy with Him more than the temporal pleasures of sin.

God’s Spirit helps us to walk away from our weakness and addictions. He searches our heart and knows our mind and prays for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

We are Born Again by the blood of the Lamb, and God’s Spirit replaces the carnal nature in our soul with the divine nature of Christ. Our eternal destination is heaven (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Jesus swallowed up death, and gave us the victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8). What the world views as the finality of death is actually the ultimate victory for God’s children.

Leaving this earth is to our benefit, because God rejoices in the death of His Saints (Romans 8:28; Psalm 116:15). In truth, there is greater advantage for us to go Home to the glory of Heaven than to continue living here on this sin-cursed earth (Philippians 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for making us a new creation in Christ, for filling our life with Your peace and joy, and for exchanging our sin for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through His resurrection, we have assurance by Your Spirit of enjoying everlasting life with You both now and for eternity.

You rescue us from violence and deceit, because we are precious in Your sight (Psalm 72:14). Your mercy and grace are our mainstays and ground us in this life with stability and normalcy, which only You can give. We cling to Your promises and enjoy the divine nature of Christ in us (2 Peter 1:4). Continue to mold us into sanctified servants for Your Holy Kingdom.

Thought for the Day:
Accepting who we are in Christ, and why we are different from those in the world, helps us to make an eternal difference in our world.

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

The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

Take Courage

With persecution of Christians increasing in the world, including in the good ole USA which was founded on religious freedom, we have to remember that the main thing is still the main thing: God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Regardless of how many God haters rise into power, God is still in control of our individual lives. Our fears and anxiety will only add to the stress and ill health caused by their persecution.

If we learn to enter God’s rest now, while we still have our freedoms, it will enable us to better traverse the unknown treatment, loss and deprivation which we may face in the future.

God reminds us that we are actually blessed when we are persecuted for His sake. We take courage from the example set by lives such as Paul and the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 5:10-12).

We rejoice, because although we may face scarcity now, we are storing up rewards in heaven for eternity. This concept allows us to rejoice and continue to serve as the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:12-15).

God uses us to preserve the lives and to light the path of those around us and to lead them to Him. When they see His love, peace and joy in our life, regardless of circumstances, they too will honor our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to take the focus off our self and to share Your love with those who are also suffering all around us. Remind us that the endurance of Christ fills our soul, because He abides within us. Any persecution is light and momentary when compared to the glory You prepared for us in Heaven.

As Your righteous ones, we live by faith and You preserve our soul, so there is no need for us to shrink back in fear but to continue to show Your love even to our persecutors (Hebrews 10:32-39).

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of those who are elected as our officials, how much power terrorists gain in the world or how many laws are passed against us expressing our faith with words, buildings, external crosses or religious trappings, nothing can separate us from the eternal rest and love of God dwelling within us. – Romans 8:35-39; Proverbs 21:1

Darkness Hates the Light

Today’s news reported that a professor flunked a student for their Christian stance in a school project. The world hates the Light more and more violently nowadays, because it reveals the density of their darkness.

Since Christ lives in His Saints, the world hates us too (John 15:18). They say that we disturb their peace. In other words, just seeing our name or hearing our voice convicts them of their sin; so they despise us.

We do not even need to say a word, just our presence sets their teeth on edge and boils the acid in their stomach. They want to remove us from their presence in hopes of ignoring their own conscience.

They surround themselves with like-minded people; so they do not experience the intensity of conviction, which they feel when they are around us. They will even put space and distance between them and a family member who is filled with God’s Spirit.

God’s Light offends them because its brightness infringes on their comfort in their darkness. Their thoughts, opinions, values, goals and behavior deny Christ with every fiber of their being.

However, this does not negate the fact that He still exists. The unbeliever can kill every last Christian on the face of the earth, but creation will still scream His name and proclaim His glory (Romans 1:20).

In the end, their knee will bow along with everyone else on the earth, and in heaven and in hell (Philippians 2:10). Christ will prevail regardless of how much will power they exude in their attempt to stop Him.

Prayer:
Father God, those who love darkness want to hide their shameful thoughts and deeds from the Light (Job 24:16). Some of them left conservative paths to walk in their shady conduct (Proverbs 2:13). They live in deception and refuse to seek You in any way (Jeremiah 9:6).

Thank You for bringing us into the light of Your glory and teaching us to walk in Your Truth (John 3:21). We want nothing to do with the fruit of darkness (Ephesians 5:11-13). Help us to reach those in darkness who have a sincere desire for Your truth. For those hardened in their sin, strengthen their inner being to accept Christ through Your Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus is and always will be the King of all kings and Lord of all lords; the only way, truth and life; and the Light of the world.
– 1 Timothy 6:15; John 8:12, 14:6