The Lord is Our Refuge

 

As we enter adulthood, we attempt to provide security and stability for our self and our family through our vocation, savings account, two jobs, marrying someone who is already rich, etc.

 

Yet, we often find that our choices oppress our life and cause us more trouble than they help (Psalm 9:9, 52:7). In this world of sorrows and trials, we need an anchor for our soul, a stronghold where we can take refuge (Psalm 18:2).

 

Once we realize that the Lord is our light in the darkness, and our only real salvation, we release our fear of the unknown and humbly go to Him as our defense (Psalm 27:1).

 

He gives us His strength to traverse any trouble we encounter (Psalm 37:39). Even when we allow the stress of our trouble to disconnect us from Him, He is still there waiting for us to turn back in Him (Psalm 43:2; Hebrews 13:5).

 

The Lord is strong enough to tremble the whole earth with His voice; yet He is a gentle refuge for those who trust in Him (Joel 3:16; Psalm 62:2). The Lord lives forever and is the Rock of our salvation (2 Samuel 22:47; Psalm 18:46).

 

He desires that we meditate on Him and His goodness day and night, and that our thoughts, words and actions line up with His Word (Psalm 19:14). This proves our love for Him.

 

To those who stand against Him, He is a stumbling stone, a snare and trap for their wayward feet; but to His Saints, He is our sanctuary who offers us safety and shelter from any trouble we experience in life (Isaiah 8:14).

 

Prayer:

Father God, we cry out to You in our adversity, knowing that You are our only Rock and our Refuge (Psalm 89:26). We cling to Christ as our cornerstone, who gives us stability and order in our life (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16). The world rejects You, but we stand firmly on the solid footing You provide for our life in every circumstance (Matthew 21:42).

 

You are our precious Savior and we put our faith and trust in You (1 Peter 2:6-7). You are a great mountain and You fill the whole earth with Your power and majesty (Daniel 2:35). You spoke through age-old prophets and then confirmed their words as they came to pass, even over centuries of time (Daniel 2:44-45). This builds our faith in Your faithfulness and we know that we can trust in You.

 

Thought for the Day:

We humbly pursue our Living Stone by faith and do not attempt to earn His love or salvation by our works; so He rewards us with inner peace and joy, which transcend our earthly existence.

– Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:4-8

 

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Natural and Spiritual Mind

The natural mind cannot comprehend spiritual truth with the intellect. Without the Holy Spirit of God resident within our spirit, God’s truth seems foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Without the Spirit of God, we pick and choose what we want to believe from the Bible, if anything at all. We attend church services to feel good and make friends. We may even find a place of service in the church and community.

Our inner being needs strengthening by God’s Spirit, so that we can receive Christ in our spirit (Ephesians 3:16). If anyone is willing to trade pride and rebellion for humility and submission to God’s Spirit we can experience salvation (Matthew 5:5).

Then God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness and gives us the richest portion of His presence, so we become a body completely filled with all of God Himself (Ephesians 3:17-19).

As we are quiet before the Lord, He inspires us (Psalm 46:10). Christ abides within us by His Spirit, influencing our thoughts, words and deeds; helping us to fulfill God’s pre-ordained purpose for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

We stop stressing over life, or attempting to find God’s will, or to make a living and to amass worldly goods. We enter God’s rest, and He floods us with His peace and joy regardless of life’s circumstances.

God directs each moment of our day and provides for our every need (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are the only Bible some people will ever see, so let us live life in God’s fullness and righteousness.

We exemplify to them God’s reality, love and peace, which transcends all human understanding. We are the branch on the Vine, bearing fruit used by a lost and dying world to nourish their souls and strengthen their spirit, so that they too can believe (Ephesians 3:16; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, we realize that all of You dwells in every Believer at the moment of salvation; but Your Word teaches us that we can increase the intimacy of our union with You (Psalm 42:1-2; Zephaniah 3:17; John 14:21).

Remind us to pursue You rather than worldly gain, and to taste and see just how good You really are (Psalm 34:8; Hebrews 6:5). Your Word is sweeter than fresh honey to our mouth (Psalm 119:103). We delight in You always and rejoice in Your presence in us through every trial and tribulation we ever experience in this sin cursed world (Philippians 4:4; Psalm 37:4; Matthew 28:10).

Thought for the Day:
At the coming of Christ, the whole earth will be filled with His glory, just as the waters now cover the earth. – Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34

Uncommon Love

Although God causes the sun to rise on the evil as well as the good, and although He waters the land belonging both to the righteous and the unrighteous, it does not mean that God approves of their evil or unrighteous behavior.

If unconverted people would really pay attention, they would recognize that the whole earth is actually full of the lovingkindness of the Lord (Psalm 33:5).

At times, evil people advance in this world quicker than the righteous, which seems totally unfair to us. As humans, we would take a totally different approach. We would zap our enemies and annihilate them.

Yet, God often makes sure that unbelievers experience the same joys and benefits from His love that Believers do. He draws them by His love, just as He drew us by His love, even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

At times, we are frustrated by the sinner’s blindness to the goodness of God, and we lament that they do not praise Him for His love and kindness (Psalm 107:8).

They know about God; yet, most of them reject Him or even accuse Him for everything that goes wrong in their life. Their foolish hearts get darker and darker in the midst of God’s obvious wonders (Romans 1:21).

Nevertheless, God pours out His blessings on the unjust as well as the just (Matthew 5:45). Then, He calls us to mirror His love to our unsaved friends, relatives, associates and neighbors by laying our life down for them (Romans 5:7).

Prayer:
Father God, give us the same mercy and grace toward sinners that You showed to us. Keep us from expressing the frustration we often feel towards their resistance to Your love. Help us not to judge them, but to accept them right where they are; knowing that You will convict them in your timing and way.

Remind us often that we are no better than the sinner, because the only difference is that we are already saved by Your grace. Let us lay down our life for them. Give us the chance to prove to them that our motivation for serving them is nothing more than Your love for them in us.

Thought for the Day:
God desires that we continually pray for the salvation of the sinner; and that we utilize every opportunity to take as many of them to heaven with us as will have the humility to surrender to God’s love.

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

Struggling with Our Faith – Part 1

When we struggle with our faith in God, it does not happen because Jesus is an inadequate evidence for our conviction. Jesus is actually the very foundation of our Christian faith.

Other religions diminish His importance in human history and call Him a good teacher, but refuse to give Him the elevated status as Emmanuel – God with us in the flesh (1 John 2:23).

The facts surrounding His miracles are proof enough that He is who He claimed to be. However, when we add His resurrection from the dead and His appearing to people for 40 days before His ascension (Acts 1:3; Luke 24:50-53), we have to conclude that He is God.

Christianity recognizes Jesus in His rightful place for all time. Jesus existed before He was born as a baby on the earth (John 8:58). He is the physical manifestation of God in human form (John 14:9).

If we take Jesus’ words for who He was, we have to believe that He is God. He actually told people that He came from above and that He is not from this world (John 8:23, 17:16). He shared in our Father’s glory prior to his short human existence (John 6:62, 17:5).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to discern the voice of Your Spirit within us, so we can avoid living according to the dictates of our flesh or the devil. We revel in both the glory and humility of Christ who abides within us (John 14:6). We want to follow His example and live in the center of Your will, rather than according to our human desires and impulses.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus existed as God prior to His advent on this earth; yet, He humbled Himself as a servant and a sacrifice for our sins. – Philippians 2:6-8

Too Proud to Believe

Our human penchant for self-centeredness and rebellion stems from our pride. Pride is the downfall of every human being. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). This is what caused Adam and Eve to believe the serpent’s lie that they could be like God. Mankind still wants to be like god, and many New Age religions promote this falsehood, as if saying or believing it will make it so.

 

The wonderful news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ dwells within us and gives us the nature of God, as we are led by God’s Spirit. He also gave us His Word, which is His ultimate wisdom. Over the years, hundreds of Biblical prophecies were fulfilled just as they were predicted to occur (Isaiah 42:9). This proves that the Bible is true and trustworthy. We can stake our life and our eternity on it.

 

God’s Word also informs us of historical and scientific facts, which it took humans years to discover using experiments and research. These scientists and historians validated the scriptures as the result of their studies and tests. Actually, the truth was in front of them all along! Even today, mankind is still finding answers to age-old questions in the pages of the Bible.

 

Prophecy, history, archeology and science continually prove the veracity of the Bible (Psalm 119:160). We can believe it, because its words are true (John 3:12). God, Creator of heaven and earth, gave us the answers to our origin and our destiny, which people of every generation still ponder. Archeologists uncover, almost daily, the proof of Biblical claims. Yet many are still too proud to believe.

 

Prayer:

Father God, there is no reason that we should allow our pride to prevent us from accepting Jesus as our Savior. We thank You for bringing us to our knees through the circumstances in our life. You humble us for our benefit, and then You bless us for our humility. You are an amazing and loving Father, and we cannot find anyone or any philosophy, which mankind invented, that fulfills us and completes us like You do (Colossians 2:10). You gave us Jesus as our sacrificial Lamb and He dwells within us by Your Spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

With specific details, simple truth, and flawless precision, God’s Word consistently reveals to us the origin of our past and the destination of our future.

Jars of Clay

God created us as fragile, clay jars to contain the greatest treasure this world has ever known. We have the light of Christ shining in our hearts, and His power is constantly available to us in every situation (2 Corinthians 4:7). Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross cleansed us, consecrated us and set us apart to God (1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:10-12).

 

Jesus chose us to be a royal, holy people who exclusively belong to God’s family (1 Peter 2:9). He bought us with the price of His life, so that we would glorify God in our thoughts, words and deeds (1 Corinthians 6:20). God’s Holy Spirit exchanges, in our soul, the fleshly carnality of our old nature for the holiness and spirituality of God’s Son (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:13).

 

Christ manifests His life in and through us. The individual members of Christ’s Body die with Him, are set free from the powers of this world and are raised to walk in new life in Him (Colossians 2:12,20). When we realize our human powerlessness, dependence and worthlessness apart from Him, we enter into a place of His spiritual power and authority, and our identity is centered in Jesus (Luke 10:19).

 

We faithfully walk before Him in humility and total reliance on Him for every need in our life (Genesis 17:1). People see Christ in us and realize that we are set apart for Him. An example of this phenomenon is Joseph in Potipher’s and Pharoah’s service, as well as his time in prison. They recognized the power of God in Joseph, and respected him and elevated him in power and authority.

 

Joseph accepted God’s plan in spite of his brothers’ duplicity and abandonment, as well as false accusations against his character. He knew that God would work out everything, even prison, for his good. Joseph gives us an example of someone entirely sold out to God. God will bless our life as He did Joseph’s, if we will put our complete faith in His faithfulness.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You are more to us than a help in times of trouble, the pardon for our sins and our fire insurance policy against hell. You are also our King. We do not live according to our plans and purpose and ask You to bless us. We live in constant, total surrender to Your plans for our life, and we reap the blessings of a child of the King. Thank You for sending Jesus to redeem us and to reconcile us to Yourself. Remind us to live each moment of our life in Your service and not in selfish ambition and self-serving goals.

 

Thought for the Day:

As we obey God fully and keep His commandments, we are His treasured possession from among all the people in the whole world. – Exodus 19:5