God’s Presence in Trials

God’s goal, through His Spirit, is to sever our connection to the vine of the flesh, the world and the devil, and to graft us into the Vine of Christ. He does this through the process of salvation. Then God’s Spirit continues to convict us of our sins, as well as to give us the desire and the power to relinquish it (Philippians 2:12-13).

Our Savior dwells within us, and cannot associate with fleshly pursuits. He provides trials to insure that no flesh glories in His presence, but that He receives all of the glory due to His name (Psalm 29:2). God never uses trials for punishment, but He will use them to discipline us for our protection. God only withdraws His presence from us when we sin.

God also allows failure in our ministry or personal life to humble us into realizing that we do not live life according to our will, but according to His will. God may even allow our body to fail in some area, as a testimony that prayer is the only reason we are still living. In fact, God may chose not to heal us on earth, but to take us Home with Him in Heaven.

We do not need to live in fear and desperation; but simply to live in intimate fellowship with our Jesus, who abides within us. We get lost in His presence and affection. He fills us with His Spirit and thrills our soul with His blessings. There is no relationship on earth equal to this, because He knows us from the inside out.

We do not name and claim the victory, but we cooperate, as Christ in us works out our deliverance and sanctification (Psalm 18:6). Even our negative circumstances, when they are in the will of God for us, work out for our good (Romans 8:28). God will use trials to draw us back to Himself and to prove His love for us (2 Chronicles 15:4).

Prayer:
Father God, the Rock of Ages is our foundation, which no person or demon can ever shake. You allow us to be tested beyond our strength; often pressed out of the area of our expertise and abilities; but not beyond Yours. You do this so that we will learn not to trust in our self. Give us Your grace, as You use trials to prove us. Remind us to take You at Your Word and to believe in Your promise of ultimate victory.

Thought for the Day:
God purifies our life through fire, proves our faith as genuine when we go through various trials and suffering, and He will present our faith at the return of Christ to the earth. – 1 Peter 1:7

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Raised to Walk in a New Life

– Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12

Jesus poured out His life on this earth for all of mankind. During three years of ministry, He had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). He was criticized for eating with publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10). He experienced rejection, even from his own people (Matthew 13:57). Jesus ultimately laid down His life on Calvary’s cross for the salvation of anyone willing to accept His redemption (Rev 22:17; Acts 17:11).

Then on the third day, He raised up His own life again to exactly fulfill the Biblical prophecies about His life, death and resurrection (Isaiah 7:14, 53:12; Psalm 49:15, 24:7-10). Jesus then delivered those who died prior to His death and set them free (Ephesians 4:8-9). He became the first child of God to raise from the dead (Colossians 1:18). Then God lifted Him up to the greatest measure of His glory and authority (John 17:5).

God raises us to walk in a new life as well. Since Christ now lives within us by His Spirit, His power and authority are working in the life of every authentic Born Again Believer. As we walk in His Spirit, we fulfill the will of God. We mature in our walk of faith and we realize the awesome attributes of God in us. This humbles us and causes us to bow to Him in complete surrender.

God’s Spirit points out sin in our life, and then we cooperate and allow His Spirit to transform us both with the mind and character of Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Philippians 2:12-13). He frees us from sin and the corrupt desires of our flesh. He cleanses us from the root issue causing our penchant for sin. We die to our humanity and allow God to mature us in the Spirit, so we can live in the fullness of His resurrected life (Ephesians 3:19).

Prayer:
Father God, You never, ever leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). We have faith in Your faithfulness. We rely on You and relinquish to You our worries, fears and insecurities (Matthew 6:25-34). Your love provides us with safety in the storms of life, as well as the provision we need in order to walk in our new life on this earth. Help us to glorify You on this earth just like Jesus did (John 17:4).

Thought for the Day:
Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith are not dependent upon our circumstances or our feelings or even our health, but only on the Holy Spirit within us in our new life.

Knowing God Intimately

While visiting the hospital, I asked a lady I met in an elevator if she knew the Jesus who died on the cross, which was similar to the one she wore around her neck. She looked at me with widened eyes and declared, “Well, not personally, no I don’t.” I quickly encouraged her with the truth that He wanted a personal relationship with her, if she was willing.

There is a vast difference between the concepts of knowing about God and actually knowing God personally. When we intimately know God, we have eternal life (John 17:3). Earthly pursuits tie up our time and rob us of unity with God. Our Christian goal is to imitate Jesus in every time span and place in which God calls us to serve Him. We exchange our plans for His, and we live for Him one moment at a time.

Even at work or with the family at home and in services with our church family, God calls us to function in the ministry, which He planned for us to perform (Ephesians 2:10). Like the Apostle Paul, our main goal in life is to know God (Philippians 3:10). We live each moment of our life pursuing God’s Kingdom on this earth and living a lifestyle in harmony with Biblical principles.

God’s grace sustains us throughout life (2 Corinthians 12:7-12). He liberates us from the trauma of our past as we seek the root and cause of every negative emotion, which plagues our soul. In this way, God sets us free to serve Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, will and strength (Matthew 22:37). We may experience deep darkness in tribulation, but Christ is our life and light (John 6:47; Isaiah 60:19).

Prayer:
Father God, we want to intimately know the love of Christ and to be filled with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Teach us how to walk worthy of You, so that we may please You in everything we think, say and do, bearing spiritual fruit and increasing in our knowledge of You (Colossians 1:10). Help us to share Your gospel of Christ with everyone who desires to know You.

Thought for the Day:
If we do not love, we do not know God, for God is love. – 1 John 4:8

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Flowing from Our Union

God calls us to live as Spirit-filled Believers (Ephesians 5:18). This starts when we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation (Romans 8:9). A renewal of His fresh anointing in us each day allows rivers of life to flow from within us (John 7:38). This Holy Ghost power enhances our life and empowers our ministry for God’s Kingdom.

Sin clogs the communication between us and God and it grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Therefore, we confess every sin, great and small, on a daily basis. The Spirit leads us to live a consecrated life and to put down addictions and vices, which cripple us. Even an unkind word, a fit of temper, an unscrupulous act or a little white lie are all things we deal with on occassion.

Staying confessed of our sins humbles our flesh and gives us greater victory over those sins the next time Satan tempts us with them. Humility allows us to willingly surrender our day for God’s purpose. Of course, we must go to work to earn a living, but we can do our job directed by God’s Spirit. This way, we accomplish more and are in the right place at the right time to live out God’s will for us.

We are branches on the Vine of Christ (John 15:5). Consider a branch. It does not work or stress or struggle. It simply rests in the vine. That is the life God prepared for us. We rest in Christ and His life flows through us and nurtures us. When we bear fruit for Christ, it does not separate us from Him, but flows from our union with Him.

Our ministry is not a drain or wearisome, but a natural outpouring of the nutrients from the Vine to the branch. Ministry does not rob us of time for prayer, but is the result of prayer and our union with the Vine. The Spirit strengthens us with might from within (Ephesians 3:16). He anoints us to accomplish God’s will for our day. He blesses us with perfect peace, rest, joy and strength.

Prayer:
Father God, as branches of the Vine we are absolutely dependant upon the life of Christ flowing through us. You are the Vinedresser and You prune us so that can bear more fruit (John 15:1; 15:8). You know just where to separate us from the aspects of our life that are dead wood and preventing our fruitfulness.

Thought for the Day:
The branch depends on the vine for everything.

A Surrendered Life

In spite of His trepidation over facing His separation from our Father, as well as taking on the weight of the sin of the entire world for all ages of time, Jesus faced the cross in the power of the eternal Spirit of God (Hebrews 9:14). As authentic Born Again Believers, we have this same Spirit living within us. We overcome every trial we face through His power, and we reap minimal consequences from any fiery dart, which Satan sends our way (Romans 8:31-39; Ephesians 6:16).

Through every moment of life, God illuminates our life with His Spirit. We maintain a healthy conscience, as we remain penitent before the Lord. We often step out in faith to perform some work or ministry for God, which we deem noble and necessary. However, if God does not direct us, we simply grieve Him in the process (Ephesians 2:10). Faith without works is dead, but faith used to perform dead works is even more lifeless.

Peter is an accurate example of a man who lived in the flesh. It wasn’t until he denied Christ that his remorseful tears brought complete surrender to God. He fell on his face as a failure and rose up in the power of the Holy Spirit. Overall, Peter accomplished much in the power of God. Paul is another example. He actually fought against God, but the bright light of the revelation of God humbled Him and illuminated the error of His thinking and behavior.

God will do the same thing for all of us who desire to live a Godly life. We sit before Him in our spirit and we ask His direction for each moment of our day (Proverbs 3:5-6). Then we go out with joy and we are led forth by His peace (Isaiah 55:12). We are sons of God and we walk by the Spirit (Romans 8:14). Jesus is our Lord and King and we are His subjects. We desire only to do works, which brings Him pleasure (Philippians 2:13). By His divine grace and mercy, we live a life totally surrendered to His will.

Prayer:
Father God, the cross is our birthplace, Jesus is our motivation and Your Spirit is our sanctifier and guide. In surrender, we display the humility of Jesus death and the power of His resurrection. Your Word is the two-edged sword, which divides our carnal human nature from Your nature within us. We live simply and desire only to further Your Kingdom on the earth. We know without a doubt that You will provide for us every good thing, which we need.

Thought for the Day:
In total surrender to the Spirit of God, we live the adventure of the fulfilled Christian life.