This Free Gift is Yours

At the age of 18, I was plagued with negative emotions from betrayal by my father, who was supposed to protect me. I tired of my string of boyfriends, because I could not find my soulmate.

I wrote morbid poems about the devastation, which I felt inside, and I even contemplated suicide. This drove me to question the empty spot within myself, which called out to me for fulfillment.

Thankfully, during an extra work-day to ready our college yearbook for press, I met a vivacious red-head who shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me (John 3:16-18).

This resulted in God giving me feet like hind’s feet to traverse the heights of His love (Habakkuk 3:19; Psalm 18:33; 2 Samuel 22:34). Since then, I feel no shame in proclaiming to the world that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.

So often, we reject Christ, because we fear the rejection of our family and friends, as well as ostracism by those we respect and hold in high esteem. Yet, we are willing, by our unbelief, to alienate the King of kings for all eternity.

I share the free gift of the gospel of Christ with anyone who will listen. I view every stranger as a potential friend, and I realize that everyone I pass in a day’s time is a prospective member with me in the family of God.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our salvation, but He gives it to us as a free gift (Romans 6:23). We do not deserve it, and we cannot earn it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We simply receive it.

There is no end to God’s love. I want everyone to enjoy God’s bountiful benefits. There is no valid reason to miss out on His free gift (Psalm 103:2).

Prayer:

Father God, Your love is boundless and Your generosity is limitless. You spoil us as Your children and You share with us the inheritance of Your Kingdom for all of eternity. We simply need to believe and to surrender our entire body, soul and spirit to Your Lordship.

You do not demand perfection before we come to You; you perfect us from glory to glory once we trust You with our life (2 Corinthians 3:18). Your only requirement to receive Your free gift of salvation is that we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Romans 6:23; Mark 12:30). This is so easy to do, because we simply respond to Your love for us.

Thought for the Day:

God gives us both the desire and the ability to walk in obedience to His ways. –  Philippians 2:13

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A Better Way

As we age, events occur in our life, which influence our belief system. Maybe our parents, a school experience, siblings, neighbors, a stranger, or a combination of any or all of these factors imposed some harm on us or failed to protect us in some way.

We develop a warped perception of life caused by these painful events. Most of us adopt coping skills based on what we perceived as fact, because of these experiences.

Those without coping skills develop neuroses, which we think will protect us from what we fear the most. These anxieties, obsessions, compulsions, indecisiveness and social and interpersonal maladjustments are driven by fear and insecurity.

These perceived notions of life cause us to breathe in shallow breaths, to fear change, to act suspiciously of new people and situations, and to stay in the background; yet, we may also come out fighting when backed into a corner.

Many counselors believe that an effectual method to overcome a neurosis is to daily recite affirmations and to use human will power to change our behavioral patterns.

However, there is a better way to face the fear of the past or the challenges of our future. Only through prayer will a person truly experience freedom from the memories, which drive neurosis in our life.

As we seek God’s will for every moment of our day, He will set us free from having to face life alone (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). He is our Champion, who never abandons us (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, life is so hard. Nothing is ever easy. There are constant roadblocks, which hinder our progress. The abuse and abandonment, which we experienced in our childhood and even in our adult life, cripple us with neurosis and negative behavior.

We look to You to replace our negative character with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), for transforming our mind into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) and for giving us the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Thank You for strengthening our inner being so that we, through Your Spirit, can accept Christ as our Savior (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Thought for the Day:
Once we recognize that we are a nobody, we can come to the clear revelation that only in Christ are we a somebody.

A Hair Raising Experience

Standing in line at the registrar’s office at our junior college, I contemplated what class to switch with the chemistry class on my schedule. I overloaded my roster with heavy core subjects and my college counselor advised that I switch one out for an easier elective. The girl in front of me had long dark hair, which hung well past her hips. I could not help but compliment her on its beauty. As we chatted, we discovered we were changing classes at the same hour and decided to take a yearbook class.

I went through almost two years at that school and never saw that beautiful young lady again! We both took yearbook class, but we were teamed up with other individuals to work on the layouts we were assigned. My partner was Jane, whom God ordained to lead me to the Lord. At the end of my two years in junior college, I married the man of my dreams; and three weeks later, I was carrying our first son.

We served in a local ministry called the One Way House; but eventually, over the next few years, we moved to several cities around the country. I was riding my bike at full speed down a busy highway in Phoenix, AZ with my long, jet black hair flying out behind me and dancing with the wind. The driver of the car next to me started blaring its horn at me.

I was perplexed and a bit frightened, so I pulled into a busy parking lot in front of a chain of retail stores. To my discomfort, this same car pulled into the parking place next to where I stood beside my bike. The driver opened her door and ran around her car, flinging herself into my arms. You guessed it! This was the same girl who stood in line with me to change our scheduled classes back in junior college.

How she recognized me, I will never know; but I suspect it was the Holy Spirit’s activity. Of course, I invited her to supper that night and we spent hours catching up and playing with my two children. When she left, I gave her a record full of Christian songs. I silently prayed that this divine appointment would not be lost, but would bear fruit in both our lives.

Many years flew past since that last meeting; and no word has exchanged between us since then. However, I often think of the beautiful young lady from Chicago, IL, and wonder why she came to Pensacola, FL and then to Phoenix, AZ at the same microcosm of time and space as I did. I pray for her to this day, hoping that she found the same peace and rest in Jesus Christ that I have enjoyed for over 45 years.

I am posting this on my blog in hopes that by some God-ordained providence, she will read this and reconnect with me. If not, then I pray that we shall meet in Heaven as sisters-in-Christ, once our work for God on this earth is done. – Kathleen Del Gallo (Hill) Bradley

God is Our Defense

There is little to no peace or security in our current world economy and civilization. We never know what catastrophe the news will publicize with the rising of the sun. The atrocities we humans perpetrate on one another are unthinkable; yet, they happen every day. Since sin entered the picture through Adam and Eve, wickedness abounds (Matthew 24:12).

The pride, selfishness and rebellion of the human heart allow sin to perpetuate throughout every generation (Romans 8:6). In some twisted way, people who are hurting will hurt other people to try to alleviate their own pain. Even if we distance our self from those who hurt us, we will only find true peace when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ and forgive our enemies (Philippians 4:4-8).

Trusting God, with gratitude in our heart and on our lips for all He already did for us, will allow us to transcend the daily grind of life and move us into the realm of viewing life from an eternal perspective. Then the peace of God, which cannot be found in the world or by thinking about carnal aspects of life, will flood our soul with serenity (John 14:27).

We will experience peace, even in the most horrific earthly trials, as we draw near to God and put our complete faith in His faithfulness (1 Peter 2:23). We gain our perspective by focusing on Jesus’ example through His betrayal, persecution, crucifixion and resurrection. He teaches us to suffer victoriously and He reminds us that Heaven awaits us in all of its glory (Hebrews 12:2).

God is our defense, no matter what we experience or how people treat us. If we trust in Him, live for Him and love Him with our whole being, He turns everything around for our ultimate good (Psalm 94:22; Romans 8:28). As we experience God’s will in the mundane circumstances of our day, we will also sense His presence during our trials. Christ in us will overcome obstacles for us and He will get all of the glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, Your family is not a select race of perfectly mature and spiritual people, but it includes the outcast, the weak, the broken-hearted and the infirmed. You do not exclude anyone who calls on Your name for salvation, regardless of our human heritage or accomplishments. We are no longer strangers, but are included in Your family (Ephesians 2:19-22). The weary and distressed find rest under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91: 1,4).

Thought for the Day:
God is our only defense and our rock of refuge. – Psalm 94:22

God’s Purposes in Troubling Times

Have you noticed the slow deterioration of life, as we know it? Governments, financial affairs, justice, personal commitments, geography and climate are all failing. What hope does mankind have of surviving into eternity? There is only one sure hope and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The coming of God’s Kingdom is just around the corner. We are only ready to enter into it if we realize how intensely our fleshly indulgences grieve God’s heart and that we need a Savior. God offers us His free gift of salvation. We simply admit that we are sinners, turn away from our selfish lifestyle and turn to follow Jesus.

There is an unprecedented time of intense suffering coming to the world. Yet, God is not willing for anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He offers His ark of salvation for anyone who is willing to come aboard (Matthew 24:37). Like Jesus, we live to serve our living God. We dedicate our life to wholly yield to Him our thoughts, words and deeds.

Sometimes, we have to realize that the “prince of Persia” is hindering God’s answer to our prayers, and intense spiritual warfare is going on (Daniel 10:13). That is what my husband and I experienced when we followed God’s direction to sell our little brick, cottage home and to pay cash for a manufactured home in order to get out of debt.

It started with my six weeks of bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy. Then, we moved into a new home with termites, leaking roof, A/C breaking down every other week and a bank that had way too many hoops to jump through to refinance our former home as a rental. However, God is always the victor.

Today, He is blessing three of His families with our former home, and we started a Bible study group in our new mission field in our new community. We also have a growing number of new neighbors attending our church with us. God delights in blessing His children. He uses us in ways that we could never imagine and He always sweetens the bitter lemons of circumstances into lemonade (Romans 8:28)!

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we need to confess with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and to sincerely believe in our heart that You raised him from the dead. Then we are justified and reconciled to You for eternity (Romans 10:9-10). Give us a revelation of Your Kingdom so that we may advance its reach and prepare for its coming to the earth. Help us to have a heart for the lost that are heading for an eternity in hell. Give us opportunities to share Your love with those willing to hear Your Truth. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is already done in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Thought for the Day:
I am loving life in God’s presence, regardless of the circumstances.

Every Waking Moment

Who is mankind, that our holy God would give us a moment of His attention? We are nothing, worthless and the foulest form of life on this planet. Yet, God lowered Himself below the angels, and became a man, in order to save us and to bring us into eternity with Him forever (Psalm 8:4-6). Amazingly, God gives us His full consideration, care and affection now and always (Job 7:17).

If we relinquish control of our life to God’s Spirit, He brings us into the presence of our Father God through Jesus Christ, illuminates God’s Word to us and guides us to do God’s will (John 14:26). The Spirit then begins the lifelong process of sanctifying us as His holy temple (1 Corinthains 6:19). He slowly transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ’s perfect, divine nature (Romans 8:29; 2 Peter 1:4).

Each moment of our day, the Holy Spirit endeavors to bring us into the rest of God. We thwart Him by filling our hours with busyness. We cause our self to experience fits of stress and high blood pressure, because we do not allow our self to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Yet, God’s Spirit continually draws us ever deeper into fellowship with God until we finally, completely surrender to Him.

Then, we learn to walk in the holiness of God’s precepts. His Spirit puts His love in our hearts for one another, so that we are proof of His existence (John 13:34-35). Christ in us loves the brethren through us by His Holy Spirit. As we seek God first, His Spirit will direct us in loving one another according to His will, without enabling one another.

Prayer:
Father God, our ultimate joy is to live in Your presence, filled with Your Son, Jesus, and empowered by Your Spirit, who abides in us. Christ in us is our only hope of entering into Your glorious Kingdom (Colossians 1:27). Give us a burden for the lost, so we can reclaim them for Your Kingdom (Mark 16:15). Even the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents and comes back to You (Luke 15:10).

Thought for the Day:
May we surrender our every waking moment into service for our God and King.

Inner Transformation

God promises never to leave us nor to forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). When He seems distant, it is because we have drifted away from Him, not that He left us. Mental knowledge about God cannot compare with knowledge of God in a personal, spiritual relationship (John 17:3). This intimacy transforms us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God’s presence in our life changes us from the inside out. We are still rough around the edges outwardly; but inwardly, we have more peace and joy than ever before. The fruit of God’s Spirit replaces our carnality (Galatians 5:22-23). We fall more in love with Jesus every day. Our fears, deep-seated anger and insecurities diminish as God heals the pain of our past.

Our faith in God’s faithfulness grows with each trial, which He works out for our good, as well as through each weakness He enables us to overcome (Romans 8:28). We come to Him and willingly lay our goals and desires at His feet, embracing His will for our life. Our prayer time grows from a few moments each morning to continual communication throughout the day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

We feast on God’s Word and allow it to dictate our thoughts and behavior. When we, who know God intimately, share with others what Christ does in our life, many of them will desire to know the Lord too. I do wish our passion for God was catching, so that everyone would come to know His love intimately. However, everyone does have a chance, because He calls “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17).

Prayer:
Father God, our unity with You is our greatest joy. All of our other relationships and activities are influenced for the better, because of Your presence in our life. We love that we can be Your friend (John 15:13-15). King David gives us such insight into our relationship with You. The possibilities are endless (Psalm 63:1-8). Thank You for making us joint heirs with Jesus Christ of the glory of Your Kingdom (Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10).

Thought for the Day:
When we fully love God and keep His Words, the Trinity makes their abode in us. – John 14:23