Be Holy as God is Holy

God calls each one of us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As we face our flesh with each new morning, this appears to be a daunting task. Our temptations and carnal desires sometimes get the best of us.

I hear Christians saying that it is too hard to be holy, and that Jesus had an advantage over us. This is true according to humanistic thinking, but not according to Biblical principles.

Jesus was half God and half man, since God’s Spirit conceived Him in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35). He was filled with God’s Spirit each moment of the day. When his human flesh was tempted, He had the God half to keep him perfect.

We have the same opportunity to walk in holiness. When we come to Christ, His Spirit moves right in. Our body is His temple and He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Satan’s temptations cause us to sin and to live apart from God. The price of sin is degradation and loss. Pleasure for a moment reaps for us shame and often deplorable living conditions.

However, God gives us a way to escape every temptation, which we will ever experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we submit to Christ in us, and walk by His Spirit’s direction, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The entire power of the Godhead, the Trinity, dwells within us (Colossians 2:9). We are free from the power of sin, and we are made to walk in new life through Christ in us (Romans 6:6-8).

Christ in us is our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Although our body is still perishing due to Adam’s sin, God’s Spirit in us gives us both life and righteousness (Romans 8:10).

God strengthens us with His power through His Spirit in our soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Our hope in Him is the firm and secure anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Christ exchanges His holiness for our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remind us that our witness for You depends on our righteous walk in this world. Non-Christians watch us, even when we do not realize it. Our attitude each day, and even during trials, will speak more to them than all the words we could ever preach to them.

As Your Body, the people who work in children’s ministry will impact the children in their sphere of influence; and then, these children will affect the lives of countless people during their lifetime, because of Christ in us. Even as we minister to adults, we help them to grow in their devotion to and knowledge of You. Helps us to be holy, even as You are Holy.

Thought for the Day:
As our soul yearns for God in the night, our spirit within us diligently seeks Him; and when His judgments come upon the earth, all of the inhabitants of the world learn to walk in righteousness. – Isaiah 26:9

Freedom from Sin

God gave us His law to prove to us that we cannot save our self. To reach holiness through the law, we must keep every word of it (Matthew 5:18; James 2:10).

When we trust in Christ, who did keep every letter of the law, as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, His Holy Spirit takes up residence in our body (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Christ in us satisfied the law for us (Galatians 5:18). As we surrender to the leading of God’s Spirit, we are free to live in His righteousness (Roman 1:17, 8:14).

God’s Spirit never leads us into permissive living (Galatians 5:18). We grieve God’s Spirit when we use His temple for sinful purposes (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:30-31).

Our relationship with God is more important than any other aspect of our life. He fills us with His presence and we follow God’s Spirit moment by moment.

Increasing our intimacy with God is the best use of our time and efforts. His living water flows through us and out to the world around us (John 7:38).

As we love Him with our whole heart, soul and strength, He quenches our thirsty soul (Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 42:1-2, 143:6). Then we love our neighbors as our self and fulfill the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39-40).

We love each other as God loves us, and we serve one another and lay down our preferences, feelings and opinions for one another (John 15:12-13).

God’s precepts are for our protection and are only restrictive if we want to continue to sin. When we choose to live in God’s freedom in righteousness, we are no longer under the oppression of Satan’s abuse.

Prayer:
Father God, prior to our salvation through Christ, we served the devil and His will for our life. We may not have committed evil, but even our responsible, ethical life was inspired by his desire to keep us from coming to Christ.

If we return to the bondage to Satan’s lies (Galatians 5:1), we forfeit our freedom from sin. You can no longer bless us, although Your desire is always to give us all good things (Psalm 84:11; James 1:17). Draw us to completely surrender our life to You.

Thought for the Day:
When the righteous return to a sinful lifestyle, we muddy the springs of living water within us. – Proverbs 25:26; John 4:14, 7:38

Our Identity in Christ – Part 1

Our identity in Christ comes when we totally surrender to God’s love in our life, we allow God to fashion us into a new creation and as we have faith in His faithfulness, which gives us assurance (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:19).

God chose us for the praise of His glory, and uses us as a spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3, 1:11-12). We can always approach the throne of God with confidence (Ephesians 3:12).

At salvation He forgives our sins and wipes our slate clean (Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 103:12). With our identity in Christ, we have no shame or condemnation, because we love Him and keep His commandments (Romans 8:1).

God replaces our negative personality traits with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we live in the moment and keep our focus on Him, He replaces our destructive, stress-filled thoughts with His peace (1 Corinthians 2:16; Isaiah 26:3).

We are in Christ and Christ is in us (1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). We have the wisdom of God and our labor is not in vain, because we follow His Holy Spirit’s leading through each moment of our day (1 Corinthians 15:58).

God gives us the incomparable riches of His grace and the guidance, which we need to minister in His name (Ephesians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We can perform anything He calls us to do, because He dwells within us (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 2:10).

God seats us in heavenly places and makes us His light shining in this dark world (Ephesians 2:6, 5:8). He causes us to walk in holiness and faithfulness to His calling on our life, until we come into maturity in Christ (Colossians 1:2, 28).

He takes individuals and forms us into His Body (Romans 12:5). We are also His church, His children and His bride (Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:22, 5:25-27). We look forward to living with Him for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for supplying all of our needs with Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). You hold all things together and we cling to our hope of sharing eternal glory with You (Colossians 1:17, 27). You are beautiful beyond description, the worthy Lamb and our alpha and omega. Our life rises and sets in Your Son.

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we have everything we ever need to live a fulfilled life, and nothing can ever separate us from His love. – Romans 8:38-39

Why Be Born Again?

From the moment of our birth, we are a living body and a never-dying soul – our mind, will and emotions; but our spirit is dead in Adam’s sin (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Genesis 2:7; Luke 16:19-31; Ephesians 2:1).

Once we come to Christ, in humble repentance of our sins, we receive His salvation, and our spirit is Born Again (Romans 8:16). In Christ, we are body, soul and spirit (Job 32:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

God’s Spirit abides in our spirit and we have an authentic life in Christ. Our renewed spirit is swept clean of Satanic influence by Christ’s redemption (Matthew 12:38-45).

God’s Holy Spirit moves into our rebirthed spirit to occupy our body, sanctify our soul and fill our spirit with the presence of Christ in us (John 17:17; Romans 8:10; Galatians 2:20).

We are eternally joined to the Lord as one Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). God’s Spirit continually abides in our human spirit and perfects our soul in holiness (Proverbs 20:27).

Our body is now the temple of God’s Spirit and we continually commune with God in our spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; John 14:23; 1 John 1:3). We live, move and have our entire being in Christ (Acts 17:28).

Most people function from the soul – our thoughts, decisions and emotions. However, God desires that we live in and walk by His Spirit (Romans 8:4-6; Galatians 5:16).

This prevents us from acting on carnal impulses, which might filter through our soul. We do not make our own plans, envision our own dreams or list our own goals.

God is Spirit and desires that we worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 6:63, 4:24). God’s Spirit abides in our spirit and we have no life except in Christ.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us not to attempt to make our own plans for our life, nor attempt to understand life apart from You; but simply to listen to and obey the direction of Your Spirit, who gives us wisdom and guidance one moment at a time (Job 32:8).

Corporately, we function as the Body of Christ; living stones, which You fit together into Your temple (1 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 2:21-22). Thank You for our sanctification through Christ and for joining us together into His Body.

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to abide entirely in our spirit, where His Spirit directs us as we live one moment at a time.

Nothing is Impossible in Christ

As a new Christian, our character is still flawed with sin. However, as we allow God to sanctify our carnal nature, we grow into a more mature Christian, exhibiting the fruit of God’s Spirit and having the nature of God (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4). We accept His holiness in exchange for our sin.

The Holy Spirit is not limited by time and space. Even though our perfection is not evident in this earthly realm in which we live, it is already complete in the heavenly realm.

Sometimes, fear attempts to cripple our soul and causes us to relinquish our power and hope to Satan. In our new life in Christ, God gives us power over Satan and his debilitating negative emotions (1 John 4:4).

God also provides us with His unconditional love to give us confidence to live in His peace and joy. As we base our hope in God, no threatening storm will intimidate our stability in Christ.

Christ alone is our chief corner stone in God’s house made without hands (Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Corinthians 5:1). We live, move and have our entire existence in Him (Acts 17:28). Christ is not ashamed to call us family (Hebrews 2:11).

We no longer live for our selfish pleasures, because Christ lives within us. The life that we now live in our mortal body is lived through our confidence in and the faith of the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

Prayer:
Father God, at times we find it difficult to muster the faith necessary to live through life’s circumstances (Hebrew 11: 6). Remind us that in these trying times, we can pray, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). In doubt we accomplish nothing. In faith we have no limits to what is possible for those who trust in You.

In prayerful, peaceful confidence, Christ is our strength and our whole life (Isaiah 30:15; Colossians 3:3-4). Remind us not to make our own plans for the day, but to walk in Your perfect will for every moment of our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
We victoriously withstand any storm or trial, because our faith is built on the Rock of Christ.

We Will See Jesus – Part 1

We will all see Jesus in one of three ways: through the portal of death, in the rapture of His Bride, or when He returns to earth as the triumphant King in His second coming (John 12:21).

Every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth, whether believer or unbeliever, shall bow before Him (Philippians 2:10). Those who cursed His name and those who bless His name will all give Him the glory which is due Him.

Humanity was created for God’s pleasure alone, rather than to seek our own treasure (Revelation 4:11). Adam and Eve enjoyed walks and talks with God in the garden in the cool of the evening (Genesis 3:8-13).

Thanks to the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, we too can enjoy this intimate relationship with our Father God. We exist to obey and adore our Him. We are privileged to commune with His Spirit.

We gravitate toward holiness, because without it we will never see God (Hebrews 12:14). We do not find God through legalism, abstinence, or any works of our own, but only by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We abide in an intimate spiritual union with Him each moment of every day. We walk by His Spirit and listen for His voice within, as He directs our thoughts, words and deeds (Galatians 5:15-25).

We seek God Himself, rather than seeking power and anointing to serve Him. Ours is a life of faith, although faith without works is certainly dead (James 2:14-26); but we do only those works, which Christ calls us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

We are obsessed by an intense passion to live in the manifest presence of God. In this intimacy, God gives us joy in the midst of dire circumstances, love in a home full of hate or indifference, peace in unsettling conditions over which we have no control, and fulfillment in walking in His purpose for our life.

Prayer:

Father God, we thank You for becoming a man and paying the ultimate sacrifice to free us from the penalty of our sin. Help us to seek Your face, to desire nothing from life other than to sit in Your presence, and to walk in Your Spirit every moment of every day.

Help our light to shine in such a way that people will see our good works and give You all the praise, honor and glory (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). Let Your reputation go before us. Humble and cleanse us so that all the world will only see Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

Thought for the Day:

The One who seeks us, longs to be loved by us and to enjoy our attention focused continually on Him. – Romans 3:11; Luke 15:4-7

Perpetual Freedom

When we come to Christ, He immediately frees us from the snare of the flesh. Then, He puts His Spirit within us, so that we can inherit God’s Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ (Ezekiel 36:25; Galatians 4:4, 5:19). By His grace, God forgives our sins; and as His children we surrender to His Spirit, who crucifies the desires of our flesh, and teaches us to live in and walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).

We are filled with the Spirit’s fruit and our entire personality and life change for the better (Galatians 5:22-23). Whom the Son sets free lives in perpetual freedom (John 8:36). Anyone who prefers to walk according to the dictates of our flesh is living in disobedience to God and will reap earthly destruction and eternal damnation (1 John 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

As authentic Believers, it becomes normal to reject the dictates of our flesh, and to follow the Spirit instead. The more our intimacy with God increases, the less we would think of using our liberty in Christ as an occasion to sin. We prefer to walk in the Spirit, so that we reap God’s blessings and please Him with our life (Galatians 5:13).

We cannot perfect our self by our human effort, but according to God’s mercy. His Spirit helps us to walk in holiness and to inherit eternal life (Titus 3:3). The more we feed our spirit by Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other Saints and sitting in the presence of God, the stronger our spirit will grow and the more we will live in perpetual freedom (Romans 8:6-7).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for enabling us to walk toward perfection in holiness (1 Peter 1:16). We still make mistakes, but You always give us a choice and a way out of the temptation to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we do fall, we do not allow Satan’s condemnation to belittle us. Instead, we submit to the conviction of Your Holy Spirit and we respond in repentance for our sins (Romans 8:1-7). Eventually, sin grieves us and has no more dominion over us (Romans 6:14-18). Thank You for providing Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, as our Savior and as our Lord (1 John 2:2; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11).

Thought for the Day:
Living according to the dictates of our flesh is not profitable for us at all; but walking in the Spirit guarantees us a joyful, fulfilled life drenched in love and peace. – John 6:63; Romans 8:6

Overcoming Negative Thoughts and Emotions

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down to indwell mortal man. He has been here ever since. He is found in the spirit of every authentic Believer. Living according to the leading of God’s Spirit, ensures that we will live a fulfilled life. Even in negative circumstances or discouraging trials, we know that God will work them out for our good (Romans 8:28).

God’s Spirit helps us to discern which of our thoughts are lies from Satan, and which thoughts are of God. The next time you realize that there is a war going on in your mind, pull out Paul’s measuring stick and compare your thoughts with it. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? Think only about such things (Philippians 4:8).

Then, throw out all thoughts that do not measure up. When the peace of God, which transcends all earthly circumstances and human understanding, rules in our heart again, we are free of Satan’s negative lies (Philippians 4:7). The Lord is always cheering for us, and the devil is always cheering against us; it is up to us to break the tie!

When we lay aside our former desires for sin and allow God’s Spirit to renew our mind, we put on the cloak of righteousness provided for us by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross (Ephesians 4:21-22). We live in holiness and truth in the likeness of God, laying aside all lies and deception from the devil (Ephesians 4:23-25). An attitude of gratitude to God ensures our success in overcoming every negative thought.

Prayer:
Father God, when we have a war going on in our mind, remind us take authority over Satan’s kingdom of darkness by saying, “Lord, I thank You for taking authority over Satan in my life, and for revealing to me the root and origin of this lack of peace in my soul. Satan, I take authority over you and all of your demons. I put you and your demons in the hands of the true Lord Jesus Christ. You have no authority in my body, soul, or spirit, because they are bought by the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary.”

Thought for the Day:
Sit quietly and wait for God to reveal the origin of the negative thoughts in your heart; journal as you listen, to remind you of what God tells you during your prayer time and to give you a future record for what He does in your life.

My New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time to compare the past with what we want for our future. We reflect on the changes we prefer or need to make. Then we resolve to rid our self of our bad habits and to replace them with good habits, which will help us to reach our desired success in life. How often, though, do we stick to our resolutions?

I find greater success by following God’s formula for change all through the year. We are like a creeping caterpillar, spiritually dead. If we continue to walk in the ungodly deeds of the flesh, we do not belong to God or have His Spirit in us (Romans 8:9). We are not able to compare with the majestic butterfly flitting on glorious wings, dancing upon the sunbeams, dining on nectar, playful and full of life.

As we surrender to God, we wrap in the chrysalis of His new birth. Through the process of sanctification, we emerge resplendent in Christ’s divine nature and character, which He forms in us over a lifetime in His presence (2 Peter 1:4). God’s Spirit enables us to refrain from conforming to the world, and to conform to Christ instead (Romans 12:2).

The blood of Christ draws us near to God, and His Spirit renovates our soul (Ephesians 2:13). Our inner transformation influences our outward response to the world and to God’s will for our life. We bear fruit in all that we do, as we grow in our understanding of God and His ways (Colossians 1:10). We continually reflect more of the glory of God through our thoughts, words and actions (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The message of the Gospel of Christ gives us the power of God, which transforms us from the inside out (1 Corinthians 1:18). God’s Spirit renews our mind and creates in us the desire for holiness in the image of God (Ephesians 4:22-24). His divine power gives us everything we need to live godly lives and to follow the leading of His Spirit (2 Peter 1:3-11).

Prayer:
Lord, help us to resolve to follow Your will for our life, giving You prominence in our thoughts and obeying You in all we say and do by the power of Your Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13-14). Help us to shed the trappings of the old man and to soar in the freedom of Your Spirit (Ephesians 4:22-24). Remind us to live by faith in Your faithfulness and to walk in Your righteousness (Romans 1:16-17).

Thought for the Day:
When Christ appears, we shall be completely like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – 1 John 3:2-3

The Fruit of Holiness

Our current civilization accepts sin as normal. For instance, we live together in sin because it is accepted in our society, but it is not accepted in God’s society. We white wash our sinful behavior and are not fit for the presence of God in our life (Matthew 23:27). Only holiness and trust in God unite to make us effective ministers in God’s Kingdom.

Our spirit vitally needs holiness for fulfillment. We cannot walk in godliness without living in holiness (Matthew 5:6). Our spirit shrinks from carnal behavior, which our soul – our mind, will and emotions – often pursues. Through Sanctification, God’s Spirit conforms us – body, soul and spirit – to the purity of Christ Jesus, our Lord (Matthew 5:8).

There is no need for legalism, criticism or judgmentalism in holiness. This is a private walk, not relying on human self-effort, but simply the leading of God’s Spirit with each individual. God may deal with you to stop smoking as His first priority in your sanctification process; but in our sister, He will deal with it last, because there are other issues in her life, which He wants to deal with first.

God uses His Body as the hands, feet and heart of Jesus on the earth (Matthew 5:16). Through an attitude of purity, we minister in love to those whom God brings our way. The fruit, gifts and ministry of God’s Spirit flow through us to affect the world around us for Christ (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:7-13). With a heart fully dedicated to Jesus, we are used by God to change our world.

Prayer:
Father God, Your family represents Your reputation on this earth. Too many people claim membership in Your family and live for the devil. This tarnishes Your name and Your effectiveness. Lead us to live in holiness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Your justice is righteous, and we embrace Your discipline, which causes us to hear Your loving kindness with each new morning (Psalm 143:8).

Thought for the Day:
Righteous living is possible to achieve in our life, because it is birthed by God’s Spirit in an ever increasing measure of holiness within us.