Changed from the Inside Out

As I learned to enter God’s rest and walk in His Spirit, I experienced intense withdrawals from my former codependent lifestyle. I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

One moment I would say or do something codependent and the next moment I would step into my new role as a Spirit-led Believer and say or do the opposite. I confused people by this dual personality.

 

Gradually, I decreased in my role as a codependent and Christ increased in me. I learned to say “No” unless God told me to say “Yes.” He taught me to let the job go undone; so others whom God was calling to that role would step up and do it instead of me.

 

I started to see and appreciate the gray hues and tones in life, rather than seeing only black or white. My flexibility increased and my rigid extremes decreased.

 

The demon of perfectionism left my soul and I found joy in the messes of life as I had more time to enjoy other pursuits, which God called me to do. I actually left dishes in the sink and went to bed.

 

God’s Spirit slowly changed my perspective from a carnal, earth-bound outlook to a spiritual, heavenly-minded one. He also healed my wounded soul, traumatized and dysfunctional since childhood and young adulthood ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

I released the shame and feelings of defectiveness attached to the wounds of the past and accepted His divine character and the fruit of His Spirit in their place (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for exposing Satan’s lies, which made me believe that I had to earn love by my behavior. Your Agape love opened me up to expect unconditional love from the significant others in my life. The fear, insecurity, defensiveness and over-sensitivity, which plagued my life decreased as I learned to trust You in spite of the untrustworthy people in my life.

 

You taught me the reality of the fact that You work out everything for our good, even the negative experiences in our life, which threaten to choke the very life from our soul (Roman 8:28). You trained me to look for the seed for a miracle in every trial. You are our worthy, benevolent Father and we are completely loved by You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-destructive behaviors – driven by frustration, anger and a wounded soul – diminish as we learn to enter God’s rest and bask in His peace and joy, which are our true source of strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

True Contentment

When life is free from stress and trials, we tend to forget God, to take credit for our successes and to change our focus from Christ-centered to self-centered.

God gives us room to follow our carnal desires and to experiment with our own plans and goals (Romans 1:24); so that when we fail or get the wind knocked out of us, we will run back to Him.

A trial brings us to our knees and reminds us that only as we are weak can we be truly strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We no longer find fulfillment in a sinful lifestyle. God is our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4, 149:4).

When God delivers us from various trials and temptations, our faith increases and we grow spiritually. We realize that we are now dead to sin and alive in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4).

Regardless of our circumstances, our soul finds true contentment, which comes from God alone. We gradually stop depending on our self and depend only on God. He becomes the very air we breathe.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We realize our utter dependence on His Spirit to guide us, comfort us and give us strength for each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30-35) and draws us into a deeper walk with Him. We devour His Word, and this life-giving source fills us with faith and wisdom for living in this insecure world.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to find serenity, joy and contentment of soul in You alone. Nothing that this world offers to us equals to what You give us through Your mercy and grace. Through our total dependence on You, we find Your strength for each moment of the day as we rise up to meet the challenges life throws at us.

We can rest in You, because You have all things under Your control. We want to tell the world what you mean to us. Give us daily opportunities to be a friend in order to win a soul to Your love. Take pleasure in us as we hope in Your steadfast love (Psalm 147:11).

Thought for the Day:
Our delight is always in the Lord, because we find our true contentment and fulfillment in God alone. – Psalm 37:4

New Life in Christ

God loved us while we were still sinner; but if we do not walk away from our sinful lifestyle, then we do not belong to Him (1 John 1:9, 3:9). God demands whole-hearted commitment from His Saints (Philippians 3:8-9).

We prove our love to God by our obedience to Him and His Word (John 14:15). Once we come to Christ for salvation, His Spirit fills our spirit and soul, and we learn to walk in step with Him (Galatians 5:25).

We discard our old nature, the personality we are born with, and we put on our new nature, which God creates in us through His Spirit (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10).

God’s Spirit changes us from the inside out. His divine nature and the fruit of His Spirit replace our weak human character (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:15-25). We ask God to try us and test us and examine our heart and mind (Psalm 26:2).

We learn to walk in His truth and enjoy His love, which is always surrounding us (Psalm 26:3). We look forward to spending eternity with Him and enjoy His eternal life even now on this earth (John 17:3).

Nothing will ever separate us from God’s love; not even adversity, demonic activity, earthly circumstances, personal relationships or evil people devising our demise (Romans 8:35-39).

We live, move and have our entire being in Christ (Acts 17:28). We consult God for His plans for every moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk in joy and peace in the center of God’s will.

Prayer:
Father God, the fact that You love us while we are still sinners helps us to realize that You desire that no one will eternally perish in the lake of fire (John 3:16-17). However, we often condemn our self by insisting that we live life our own way, instead of in Your will for us (John 3:18).

We attempt to fit You into the mold of our image for You, rather than to allow You to conform us to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Remind us to humble our self under Your mighty hand (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10), and to serve You until our dying breath (Psalm 146:2).

Thought for the Day:
When we come together as Believers, let us share what God is doing in our life, how we recently sensed His presence in our life, how His grace saw us through a particularly trying experience, what He is teaching us from His Word and what He is perfecting in our life.

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

If you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven, if you are bitter about something or if you are angry with God for some reason, that will keep you from feeling His presence in your life.

Sometimes people, places, things or even animals take the place of God in our heart. We form an unholy physical tie and/or “soul” tie with them, which hinders our spiritual growth (The soul is our mind, will and emotions).

Every part of our self, which we hold back from God, is controlling our life. We have to give Him ALL of us. It is not a mental decision, but a total commitment to live our life God’s way, rather than our own way.

We dishonor our self and our family and the family of God when we continue to live in sin (Ephesians 5:1-7, Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:1-4). A true Believer will never live a sinful lifestyle.

With each sin we commit, we are hammering the nails back into Jesus’ hands, shoving that crown of thorns back on His head, sticking the sword in His side again and hanging Him on the cross to die in public shame once again (Hebrews 6:6).

Those who are truly Born Again might fall into sin once, or even twice, but then our heart breaks and we run from this disobedience, because we realize that we are breaking God’s heart with every sin (John 5:18-21; 1 John 2:3-6, James 1:12-16, 1 John 3:7-10).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that going to church, serving in a ministry, praying to You, getting baptized or even tithing our income are useless activities, if we are not Born Again. We are just doing good works, and that does not get anyone into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:12-14, 7:13: Matthew 5:27-30).

We must be Born Again by Your Spirit and walk in Your will and Your ways (John 3:1-21). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, humble our pride and rebellion, help us to forgive our self and others, and strengthen our inner being so that by Your Spirit we can make a true commitment, which leads to salvation (Romans 10:10)

Remind us to live our life one day at a time. When Your Spirit prompts us to stop some behavior, or to start doing something else, help us to obey (Philippians 2:12-13). We have confidence that we will slowly grow in Your grace and come closer each day to sensing Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Look for God’s little hugs throughout the day – a coincidence, a flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, the numbers on the clock, a bird’s song, snuggles from your pet, an unexpected phone call or card in the mail, even the smile of a stranger. God will hug you with something that will make you feel special and loved, so watch for it.

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

Transforming Our Soul

Unbelievers are spiritually dead and do not understand the issues of God, because these truths are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). There is hostility between them and God, due to this spiritual divide (Romans 8:7).

Unbelievers tend to live either legalistic or hedonistic lives. They attempt to find fulfillment without God. When we share Christ with them, many reject Him and close their heart to His Truth.

Believers are alive with Christ, and forgiven of every sin we ever committed (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13-14). Through His death, we receive victory over every principality and power, including demonic strongholds (Colossians 2:15).

Anyone can accept Christ, live as a Believer and reap the rewards of Christ’s righteousness, rather than the consequences of unbelief and a sinful lifestyle (Galatians 6:9; John 3:16-18).

Christianity includes more than one hour of worship on Sunday morning. It involves a complete change in thinking and acting, from living a self-centered life to a Christ-centered existence.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:4). He changes us from the inside out…our soul’s transformation affects our outward behavior and appearance. Even our physical countenance improves due to His presence in our life.

We do not attempt to perfect our self before we come to Christ. Neither is there any deed, which we ever committed that is not already covered under His blood. His mercy and grace are complete.

However, this does not imply that our behavior is not important. Christ perfects us through sanctifying our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings, and gives us a way to escape every temptation the devil uses to cause our mortal flesh to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer:
Father God, we feel so privileged to live by Your Spirit and to belong to Your family as we further Your Kingdom on this earth. Thank You for saving us through the blood of Jesus and giving us Your Spirit to perfect us from the inside out and to conform us to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Remind us to walk away from any temptation to sin, so that we do not grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Help us to live an exemplary life so that others will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16). We love You with all of our heart, mind and strength, and we look forward to serving You for eternity (Luke 10:27).

Thought for the Day:
If we live in a lifestyle of any type of behavior, which the Bible calls sin, then we are not Born Again; because a Believer cannot live in sin, since the Holy Spirit within us is grieved by sin. – Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:9

The Perfect Balance

Have you ever wondered if this world is the only stage on which our life plays out? Our body is a temporary dwelling place, such as a tent (2 Corinthians 5:1). We live in it only during our time on this earth.

Within our body is our soul and spirit. Until we surrender to Christ, our spirit is dead in Adam’s sin. Once we walk away from our sinful lifestyle and dedicate our life to Christ, our spirit finally comes to life (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

Our body’s health is affected by our emotional, mental and physical decisions. Our spiritual decision or indecision in this life determines our eternal destination (John 3:18; Luke 6:45).

When we die physically, our body goes to the grave and turns to dust. Yet, our spirit and soul go on to eternity in either heaven or hell, depending on our belief or unbelief in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9).

Our moral decisions in this life are based on whether we allow our soul – our thoughts, decisions and emotions – or our spirit to direct our paths.

We can choose to walk according to the dictates of the world, the devil and the desires of our flesh, or we can walk in the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:15-25).

Through sanctification, our soul is transformed and we have the mind of Christ and the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:16).

As the redeemed of the Lord (Psalm 107:2-8), we talk about the incidents of God’s blessings in our life with anyone who is interested in listening.

Some of these people may decide they want this same blessed life and ask us how to get it. We simply share the gospel with them: “Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Mark 1:15).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word, the Bible, tells us that when we see Jesus, we shall be changed, because we shall be like him (1 John 2:2-3). Jesus is in an immortal body, which never ages or gets sick. Your Saints shall have an immortal body for eternity too (1 Corinthians 15:53).

Remind us that, while we dwell on earth, You have a specific purpose for our life. We should not clutter our days with endless activity, but we do not sit passively either, as life passes us by. Instead, we walk in the Spirit and fulfill Your will for our life (Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
Satan will try to tempt us to walk in immorality or to detrimentally occupy all of our time with busywork, rather than walking in obedient devotion to God.

Eternally Secure

Doomed by our sin, and following the crowd in a sinful lifestyle, made us servants of Satan, who is actually our adversary. Our life was full of evil and under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3).

But in His rich mercy, God loved us so much that even though we were still dead spiritually, He became a man to free us from the penalty of our sins.

God’s love for us is so great that He gave us His undeserved favor by sending Jesus to die in our place (Ephesians 2:4-7). He did not come to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:16-17).

Only those who refuse to trust in Christ for eternal salvation are already condemned, because of their refusal to believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 3:18).

However, those who believe that Jesus is the son of God and our Savior are children of God. Christ in us helps us to love one another and to love our Father God as we obey His Word (1 John 5:1-4).

Once we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Savior, there is nothing in heaven or on earth, which can separate us from His love (Romans 8:37-39).

Even though we have not yet seen God, He lives in us by His Holy Spirit. This is our proof that we are in Him and He is in us (1 John 4:12-17).

God began His saving work in us and will continue to sanctify us and to help us to grow in His grace until Jesus comes again for His Bride, the Church (Philippians 1:6).

Our eternally secure salvation gives us an anchor for our soul – our mind, decisions and emotions, because Salvation give us this connection to God.

God dwells in the Holy of Holies in heaven, as well as in our spirit, along with Christ, who is our great High Priest and constantly intercedes for us (Hebrews 6:19-7:1)

We are crucified with Christ, and the life we are now living on this earth, we live in the power of Christ within us (Galatians 2:20). We are citizens of God’s Kingdom and we belong to His household forever (Ephesians 2:19).

Prayer:
Father God, through Your kindness, You saved us when we trusted in Christ rather than in our self for our salvation. This is not a reward for our behavior, and we can take no credit for it (Ephesians 2:8:9).

You created us as human beings and provided us a new life in Christ before we were ever born. Therefore, nothing we do to earn our way to heaven will bear any fruit toward salvation (Ephesians 2:10-11).

Thank You for sending Christ to make us all, Jews and Gentiles alike, Your unified family, by breaking down all the walls, which used to separate us. Because of You, we are no longer strangers and aliens to heaven, but members of Your own dear family (Ephesians 2:14).

Thought for the Day:
Apart from God, and far away from a life in Him, we are His enemies; but in Christ we are God’s children and He is near to us, living in our spirit, and making us eternally secure – Ephesians 2:12-13

Victory Regardless of Trials

Biblical guidelines help to establish a routine in our life, which encourages wisdom and safety. Prior to our relationship with Christ, our spirit was dead in sin and our soul was carnal at best. Our body reaped the negative results of our sins and we were children of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan used us as tools for his evil plans (Proverbs 16:18).

If we continue to practice a sinful lifestyle or to maintain a worldly attitude and world view, the Spirit of God does not dwell in us (Romans 8:9). We are not truly Born Again. We prayed a prayer, but did not consecrate our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God only forgives the repentant heart of the penalty of our sins. He brings us out of the kingdom of Satan’s darkness into His glorious light (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our only true liberty comes by choosing to live under the grace and mercy of God. Jesus advises us to deny our self, to bear our burdens through His peace and to follow Him (Matthew 16:24). When we do, we find true success in our life and live victoriously over every set back and obstacle (Romans 8:31-39). God showers us with His blessings and we feel His love flowing over us like a waterfall.

Authentic Believers derive our identity from the fact that we are God’s child, as well as from the wonderful account of His love for us. The human, Adamic nature is wiped clean and we no longer dwell in the flesh or focus on aspects of this world. Once we come to Christ, He replaces our former carnal tendencies with His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Through His regenerating power within us, we live a life honoring Him and furthering His Kingdom on the earth.

Prayer:
Father God, increase our concept of what it means to live in Christ and to dwell in victory regardless of the trials in our life. We are secure in Your love and mercy. Remind us that our husband, Jesus Christ, desires a pure and holy bride without spot or wrinkle (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25). You provide Your grace so that we will choose holiness and not live a destructive life of debauchery and lust.

Thought for the Day:
As authentic Believers, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God as we live a victorious life in Christ. – Romans 8:38-39

God is Always in Control

Although we feel like every trial is the end of our life, we can walk through each one of them with courage, because God’s future plan for us is just on the other side of this mountain. We need the experience of this current ordeal in order to face what lies ahead. Our faith in God’s faithfulness is strengthened by every negative aspect in our life, because He delivers us from them all (Psalm 34:19).

We enjoy our powerful hope because of God’s wisdom and goodness. Although we know that in this world we surely will experience tribulation, He goes through every one of them with us, and He already overcame every trial known to mankind (John 16:33; Hebrews 4:15). Each negative aspect we experience will turn out for our ultimate good and also conforms us into the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

Our Father God is in complete control of our life. Nothing happens to us that is not already part of His plan for us. This is true, even when we reap the negative consequences of our foolish behavior, because He knew what we would do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10). In fact, He loved us even while we were still sinners, although each sinful choice we made broke His heart (Romans 5:8).

God no longer sees our past sins, but the blood of Christ and His love, which covers a multitude of our sins (1 Peter 4:8). We no longer suffer condemnation for our sins, because we are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). As Believers, we are the Bride of Christ and we look forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb as His beloved spouse (Revelation 19:1-10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for using the negative aspects of life to strengthen us for future ordeals and to draw us closer to You. Remind us that You will never leaving us alone, because You live within us and accomplishing all things through us (Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:13). We rest in the fact that You are in complete control and nothing will occur in our life, which is not in Your perfect will for us.

Thought for the Day:
We may foolishly make our own plans for our day, but God always directs our steps. – Proverbs 16:9