The Greatest Measure of God’s Presence

We can never go anywhere that the love of God cannot find us (Psalm 139:7-12). He wants nothing more than to spend time fellowshipping with us, and filling us with the greatest measure of His presence (Ephesians 3:16-19).

In our busiest or calmest day, He is always within us, desiring to lead us by His Spirit and to direct us to do His will. Yet, in the hustle and bustle of life we often forget He is there.

We proceed through our day relying on our self-effort and human reasoning, making our own plans without consulting Him first and carrying them out with varying degrees of success.

We continue through life like this, enjoying the simple pleasures and the fruit of our labor, forgetting that God has specific work for us to accomplish for His purpose (Ephesians 2:10).

Then, we hit a brick wall and get the wind knocked right out of us. We make accusations against God, calling Him unfair, unjust and unloving.

We may even walk away from God with anger in our heart. We do not realize that we are either reaping the result of our own choices or we are experiencing the effects of Satan’s lordship and sin’s power in the earth.

When we walk away from God, we compound our problems. We abandon our best friend, our most faithful ally and our loving Father who loves to bless His children.

God is still waiting for us right where we left Him. He is calling us to Himself and wanting to cherish us and direct us in His will and purpose for our life.

Prayer:
Father God, when will we ever learn? Since you created us, mankind continually walks away from You. Even with Your Spirit abiding within us, we ignore You and do our own thing, making trouble for our self and living as a poor example of Your child.

You are our loving Creator, Father, Provider and Protector. Surround us with Your love and fill us with Your peace and joy. Submitting our life to You as our sovereign Lord, we appreciate that You are just and righteous in all of Your ways. Teach us to dedicate every moment of our day to loving You in ceaseless praise.

Thought for the Day:
Our walk with the Lord starts at the cross and continues by living in the center of God’s will, which is the happiest place on earth.

Walking in the Spirit

There is a fine line between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Our human soul – our mind, emotions and will – has definite opinions about everything, and wants to be heard in the midst of our day.

Of course, this is a very important exercise. We often neglect our body and soul. We push our body to the limit, ignoring warning signs. We discount the cautions of our soul.

We grab a protein bar instead of eating a balanced meal. We fail to exercise, because we have one more item to accomplish for work. We do not realize that we are full of destructive negative emotions.

Yet, our body, soul and spirit work much better when they are all in sync with God’s Spirit. We care for our body, pay attention to the way in which life is affecting our soul, and we stay in tune to God in our spirit.

God used the game of Scrabble to give me an object lesson on listening to the Spirit rather than obeying the thoughts in my mind.

Rather than to look for a word I already know, I listen to the Spirit and place the letters He tells me to use. I learn new words, earn more points and learn to discern between the voice of God and the voice of my own human reasoning.

When we walk in the Spirit, we stop making our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans for our day instead. We stop considering our human reasoning and seek only God’s will for everything that we do and say as we follow His desires (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Walking in the Spirit allows us to more easily discern His prompting throughout the day. The voice of our soul eventually dims, and it is easier to hear the direction of God’s Spirit for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us an example of Your love and deliverance by freeing Israel from Egyptian control. In our similar dire circumstances, You always give us Your comfort, which increases our joy (Psalm 94:19). When we are overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and fears, You are right there within us.

You care about Your children who honor and obey You (Psalm 15:19). Our only true joy is in You, because You give us triumph over life’s hurdles as we feast even now on our inheritance as Your children (Isaiah 58:14).

Thought for the Day:
When we walk in the Spirit, we listen for His peace, which surpasses human understanding; therefore, we have less anxiety, because we pray about each moment of our day. – Philippians 4:6

God’s Goodness and Grace

God’s name is used in our society more in cursing than as a prayer. The last several generations have less of a concept of sin. They consider wrong as right, and right is often viewed as wrong (Romans 1:32).

Sin is the norm for many, and church is foreign (Ephesians 4:21, 6:1; Colossians 3:9). They view Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross as a waste of a life, rather than as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.

Until we understand that God’s Word is our ultimate authority, we will not comprehend our disobedience to it, and our need to ask Jesus for forgiveness (John 14:15, 23).

Even the law of our land teaches us that there are consequences for our behavior. The police and courts hold us responsible to uphold the law, or we are sentenced to make amends.

When we transgress God’s law, we deserve to suffer the penalty of death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Yet, Jesus suffered our eternal punishment for us (John 3:16-18). He gives us His life in our spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Galatians 2:20).

When we decide to live for God, rather than for our self, we are no longer separated from Him. Jesus makes it possible for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven (Romans 10:13).

When we die physically, we will not die spiritually. The last breath we breathe on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven (Matthew 25:46). We can trust our life on earth to God’s perfect plan for us (Ephesians 2:10).

We find fulfillment, peace and joy through His love and forgiveness (Romans 14:17). We collapse into God’s waiting arms with the confidence that He will catch us and never, ever let us go (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, there are not enough days in our lifetime to show our appreciation to You for all that You do for us each day. Remind us not to take Your goodness and grace for granted. Teach us to praise You for all of the blessings You shower on us each and every day. Thank You for abiding in our spirit and making such a huge difference in our life.

Help us to learn to discern the leading of Your Spirit as we commit each moment of our day to You. We do not want to depend on our human reasoning, because this reaps mediocre results at best. We want to walk in Your Will by the direction of Your Word under the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
God improves our spiritual, mental, emotional, financial and physical health as we  trust Him, follow the direction of His Spirit, and live, move and exist only in His will. – Acts 17:28

I GIVE UP

“I can’t!” and “I quit!” are two powerful statements. They denote a desire and decision to stop trying in our human efforts. They lead us to realize that we can, only in Christ (Philippians 4:13).

They help us to die to our self and to rise to walk in the new life, which God has planned for us (Mark 8:34-35; Ephesians 2:10). His peace in our spirit confirms His will, and His joy is our strength (Philippians 4:7; Psalm 28:7).

We are dead, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We empty our self of all of our plans, goals and dreams, and live according to God’s counsel (Ephesians 4:11).

God changed us from sinners to Saints, His adopted children who will inherit His Kingdom. All that is His, now belongs to us as well (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 3:26). We are no longer strangers and aliens, but we belong in God’s family (Ephesians 2:19).

The Christian life involves much less striving than many Believers think. There is no need for us to use our humanity to accomplish anything in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We walk in the Spirit and exhibit His fruit in our character (Galatians 5:15-25). This enables us to trust in the Lord with every fiber of our being and not to depend on our human reasoning at all (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus died for our salvation from sin and eternal death (John 3:16 -18). Offering our life to His service in our vocation and calling is our daily commitment to Him in return.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for validating our worth through Your presence in our life. You set us free to live, move and have our being in You (Acts 17:28). Your mercy and love granted us forgiveness while we were still sinners (Romans 8:5), so that we in turn can forgive our self and others who wrong us during our lifetime (Matthew 6:14).

Teach us to discern the difference between the carnal or satanic voices and Your voice in our mind; so You can lead us throughout our day. Remind us not to expect certain results when we obey Your promptings, because Your ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Thought for the Day:
We do not allow success or problems to approve or negate God’s will for us, because we may not see the eternal plan, which God accomplished through us regardless of the results. – 1 Peter 4:12

Rejecting God’s Truth

One problem with human beings is that we put way too much emphasis on understanding everything. If we cannot comprehend it with our human reasoning, we reject it.

We are the created beings; and God is the Creator. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are far beyond our ability to comprehend Him from our human perspective (Isaiah 55:8-9).

God’s love for us, regardless of our religion, nationality, color and gender is unconditional. Yet, so many refuse to surrender their life to His loving kindness and grace.

It is through the riches of God’s grace that we receive forgiveness for our sins. There is nothing we can do to buy, earn or to obtain His forgiveness (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We simply humble our self and receive forgiveness as a gift through faith in Christ (John 3:16-18). We also receive a place in God’s family and we are co-heirs with Christ for eternity (Romans 8:17).

As Christians, God calls us to submit to and pray for our governing authorities so that it may be well with us (1 Peter 2:18-21); 1 Timothy 2:1-4). We truly prosper in this world, not by our hard work, but by our submission to God’s Spirit.

We do not evaluate our self by the world’s standards, nor do we live according to the example of those on this earth. We gain our self-esteem from God’s Word and Christ in us.

Prayer:
Father God, we ask You to grant us the wisdom to accept Your Word as our standard for our faith and our lifestyle. Work a submissive attitude into our soul, so that we can accept Your Truth at face value, rather than having to understand it before we accept it.

Teach us what it means to live a life of faith in Your faithfulness. Thank You so much for the sacrifice of Christ for us all. Give us a grateful heart and a new song on our lips (Psalm 40:3), so that we can praise You all the days of our life.

Thought for the Day:
If we truly want God’s blessings in our life, we can submit to the principles of His Kingdom and receive His righteousness, peace and joy in return. – Romans 14:17

Living in God’s Presence

I used to think that God wanted me to work for Him. I was under the impression that He desired for me to spend all of my time serving in the soup kitchen for the homeless, going to Bible studies, taking abandoned children into our home, helping to lead worship in my church, teaching adults how to read, witnessing to everyone I met and a myriad of other activities.

However, these very activities stole time away from my ability to actually live in the presence of God (1 Chronicles 28:9). Remember when Jesus went to the pool? He only healed one man (John 5:1-18).

Another time, when He walked through the crowd, only the woman who touched his garment was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus did miracles and taught the crowds as He saw the Father working.

However, He spent more time in solitary places communing with our Father God (Matthew 6:9-13, 11:25-26, 14:23; Luke 6:12, 22:32, 22:41-44, 23:34; John 11:41-42, 12:27-28, 14:31, 17:1-26). He lived in the very center of God’s will.

We can learn a lesson from Jesus’ life. He listened to God, heard His direction and did only what the Father said and did (John 5:19, 5:30, 8:28, 12:49). God calls us to do this same thing.

We no longer rely on our human reasoning to direct our day. We seek the Lord and He directs our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk through our day communing with our Father and following His Spirit’s direction even if it makes no human sense.

Sometimes, I actually argue with the Spirit’s leading, or discount it as a human thought, which just floated through my mind.

Maybe I am tired and I do not want to follow the Spirit’s leading. I have my own agenda for my day; so I decide to take a nap or go to the pool or play a game of Scrabble instead of obeying my Father’s will.

When I do, I quickly learn that I grieved the Holy Spirit and missed an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes, God will lead us to nap, because of what lies ahead in our evening, or He has a person at the pool or the park whom He wants us to talk to about Jesus.

The point is to walk in the Spirit, so that we do not reap the consequences of living in the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25), thwart God’s will for our life or quench God’s Holy Spirit. We will have more time to rest in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, keep our thoughts centered on You as we learn to walk in Your ways. Help us to understand that You do not want us to work for You, but to do the works, which You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Remind us that it is not by our works of righteousness, or our might and power, but by Your Spirit that we live, move and have our being in You (Titus 3:5-7; Zechariah 4:6; Acts 17: 28).

Thought for the Day:
If Jesus did not speak for Himself, do anything through His own effort or strength, or teach anything of His own devising, how can we do otherwise?                                        – John 12:49-50, 7:18, 5:19, 30, 14:31

How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.