The Perfecting Work of Patience – Part 2 Entering God’s Rest

 

The only striving the Bible encourages us to do is to strive to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10-11). We do not use self-effort to arrive at any other phase of our Christian walk.

The reason we have to strive to enter into God’s rest is that it goes against our natural human tendency. Our pride and rebellion spur us on to do things our way, and submitting to God chafes our soul – our mind, will and emotions.

We want to feel accomplished and to believe that we earned the degree or trophy or crown of glory by our hard work and effort. The truth is that we will throw our crowns at Jesus’ feet, because we will finally realize that He, not us, earned and deserves them (Revelation 4:10-11).

In our free will, we can choose to disobey God’s Spirit at any time; but then we reap the consequences of sin, as well as discipline for our disobedience from our Father who loves us a His children (Hebrews 12:4-12).

On the other hand, attempting to discipline our self to walk in good works and obedience to God’s Word is often fruitless and counterproductive. The more we strive toward perfection the more our flesh draws us back into sin and rebellion.

We can only walk in perfection as we rely on the promises and Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4). Our obedience to God is both inspired and empowered by His Spirit within us (Philippians 2:12-13).

“Let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4-8) is not telling us to be patient or to get patience. It is simply telling us to submit to God and to allow patience, which is a fruit from the Holy Spirit, to do its perfecting work in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

This takes all the stress out of life for us. We walk in freedom and joy, with God’s peace in our heart regardless of circumstances; knowing without a doubt that God has a seed for a miracle in the midst of every trial.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that our part in our spiritual walk is simply to surrender to the work of Your Holy Spirit in our life. We are but a lump of clay, and You are the Master Potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isaiah 64:8). You are our Alpha and Omega and You give us Your living water as we thirst for You alone (Revelation 21:6).

Teach us that the Christian walk is not about self-effort, but about submission to You first and foremost in all areas of our life. We concede to You in everything we think, say and do; and You direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). We walk in Your ways now and serve You for eternity in Your new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1).

Thought for the Day:
By trusting in God to save and to perfect us in every way, regardless of the circumstances of our life, we enter His rest and remove all stress from our life.

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Life’s Disappointments

Considering the disappointments of our past, the uncertainty of our future and the unexpected surprises which meet us with each new day, we often feel frightened by a world that can be very overwhelming.

We always wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. We search our soul to discover if we did something to deserve the trials we are experiencing. We shrink from the pain and suffering inflicted upon us.

Regret and anger over our past mistakes, depression and loneliness in our current experiences and hopelessness and fear concerning the future make us regret the day we were ever born.

Yet, when we allow God to open the eyes of our understanding and to open our hearts to His eternal love, our life takes on a whole new meaning.

Our compassionate Lord experienced the same degree of suffering and degradation, which we do; and He understands how we feel. He suffered so much more than we ever will and He did it all for us.

He uses the sin-caused circumstances of daily living to strengthen our character, perfect our patience and draw us ever closer to His bleeding heart (James 1:4-8).

He is our hope, and our expectations are in Him alone. Apart from Him, there is no joy and peace in this life. He satisfies our longings and fills our empty soul (Psalm 107:9).

He heals broken hearts, answers our doubts, calms our fears, strengthens our endurance and gives us hope for a tomorrow filled with His presence, regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, we depend on your mercy to see us through this life, on Your grace to make us victorious over every negative experience, and Your goodness to give us a miracle from every trial. From Old Testament examples and New Testament encouragement we realize that You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You help us to remain faithful regardless of our experiences, never losing hope, never slandering Your name and always walking in Your righteousness; so we do not cause anyone to doubt Your goodness. Nothing can ever separate us from Your love except the distance that we put between You and us (Romans 8:35-39).

Thought for the Day:
As we are fully aware and present in each moment of life, we see how God is weaving them into a beautiful tapestry for us to enjoy.

God’s Wondrous Love

There is nothing in the created world or in the supernatural world, which can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love is not one dimensional; it is four-square.

It has height, depth, width and length, and is an abundance of all-encompassing love. God’s love fulfills our life and endows us with non-paralleled, unfathomable gratification (Psalm 107:43).

We not only know about His love in our mind, but we can also feel it and experience it through His wondrous gifts and blessings, which He showers on us each and every day.

God’s love accompanies His presence within our Born Again spirit. We bask in His fullness each moment of the day, and we walk in His Spirit throughout our lifetime (Galatians 5:15-25).

Even though our King Jesus sits on His throne at the right hand of our Father God, He also lives in us by His Spirit (Mark 16:19; Colossians 1:27). His love frees us from fear and anxiety (1 John 4:18).

We maintain our faith in God’s faithfulness, and we look for the seed of a miracle in the midst of every trial. We know without a doubt that He will work out everything for our ultimate good (Psalm 118:1; Romans 8:28).

We prove our love for God by obeying His commandments (John 14:21-23). They are not constructed to restrict our life, but to keep us healthy, joyful and in the center of His love.

The fruit of our obedience is an open door between us and God, so that His love pours over us like a waterfall every day of our life. Our joy is full, because Christ dwells within us (Psalm 16:11; Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, in the abundance of Your love for us, we live in contentment regardless of our circumstances (Philippians 4:11; Ephesians 5:20). We gratefully count our blessings, which never end, rather than taking them for granted (Psalm 103:2).

We surrender to Christ in us and enter into Your rest. We resist the human tendency to interrupt our joy, shatter our serenity or rush the fellowship of our time in Your presence (Hebrews 4:10). We effortlessly float in the river of Your love and allow Your Spirit to move us along according to Your will and purpose for our life.

Thought for the Day:
When we realize that nothing this world has to offer is more fulfilling than the gift of love from Calvary’s cross, we fall on our face in repentance and then rise up to worship our living God. – John 3:16-17;

The Problem with Revival

Ever since Adam’s failure to walk according to God’s precepts in the garden, God’s whole creation longs for the freedom, which God’s presence brings to our life (Romans 5:12, 8:19-23).

We all desire revival to bring us closer to God. Revival is a time of intense concentration on God’s truth and His Spirit. We sit still for several days cloistered with Christ’s Body.

God immerses us in His presence, because we take the time to rest at His feet. The music and the preaching of God’s Word brings life to the spirit and the soul – our mind, will and emotions.

The problem with revivals is that as the memories of the revival fade, the soul no longer feels the euphoria, which was present during the revival; therefore, our soul will look to the world for new feelings of elation, rather than to the Lord.

Israel is a perfect example of this issue. In their entire history as a nation, they always fell back into the world after every revival (Hosea 14:1; Psalm 78:10-11, 40-42, 56-57). The casual church member is no different in their behavior.

Only a remnant of Believers respond to revival in their spirit, as well as their soul. Our spirit experiences a deep immersion into the presence of God. His peace influences our attitude and outlook.

Authentic Believers gradually realize that our soul is even more satisfied as we spend more time with God than with the world. We find the joy of the Lord as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We wake every morning and luxuriate in the presence of God all through the day. Even at night, our spirit rejoices as we sleep; and when we wake, there is a song of praise flowing through our mind.

In times of trial, we maintain the peace and joy of the Lord, realizing that there is a seed for a miracle in every negative experience we encounter. We enjoy fellowship with our brother, Jesus Christ, by His Spirit who dwells within us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for keeping us as the apple of Your eye, and sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:8). When we encounter trouble, we are always safe in Your dwelling place, as You hide us in the shelter of Your sacred tent and put us high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5, 32:7).

Teach us that revival is an attitude of our heart, not a week of meetings or a group experience. We can dwell in a time of revival each day of our life, as You renew a right spirit in us and make us ever mindful of Your presence our life (Psalm 51:10).

Thought for the Day:
We have an advantage in our life over the Saints who lived prior to Christ, because we actually have the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us; and He is continually reviving, comforting, correcting and drawing us closer to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. There is always something negative happening to us in some way or another: financial, physical, relational, mental, emotional, etc. We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble even seems to happen in “threes.” We are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We try to climb the corporate ladder in order to provide our family with as much security as we can. We compromise our quality family time in order to work overtime to bring home more money. We often work two or three jobs in order to give our children more than we had when we were growing up. We fall into the trap of buying them the latest toy on the market at inflated prices.

This schedule produces even more health, mental, emotional and relational problems. Some of us even work our self into an early grave. We resemble the hamster on the little metal wheel, going round and round, but never really getting anywhere. We amass material possessions, but they keep breaking down or coming out with an updated model, so that we feel the need to get a new one.

When we come to Christ and entirely surrender to Him, we begin living in His perfect plan for our life. We no longer fear the next shoe dropping, because it usually ends up being a glass slipper with King Jesus using the entire event to provide us with a special place in His Kingdom along with miraculous blessings through every negative event (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:19).

Prayer:
Father God, the life You give to us in Christ supplies us with joy and peace, which transcends all human reason (Philippians 4:7). We are blessed when we trust in You, so we place our confidence in You. You plant us like a tree by Your streams of living water, and our spirit has constant nourishment. We do not fear whatever life throws at us, and we flourish no matter what happens to us (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You put Your plans in our heart and bring them to fruition, as we walk in Your Spirit (Psalm 20:4; Galatians 5:15-26). You sustain us, bless us and shine Your favor on us. You are always gracious to us and You keep Your eye on us, so that we walk in Your peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we no longer fear trials or difficulties because we know they hold the seed for a miracle, which will surely happen.

Scattered Leaves

Last week, I watched my neighbor rake the scattered leaves into mounds around his yard and then bag them. The next morning a new carpet of leaves coated his grass. Enthusiastically, he cleared the yard again. Yet, the following morning the same sight greeted my eyes with the dawning light!

I do not know how he had the joy and energy to repeat this process for an entire fall. I get tired of dealing with life’s little repetitive problems, especially when the same problems persist endlessly. I do not mind the new challenges, which I face with the dawn of each morning; but the petty, mindless problems wear my patience thin!

We often put our self in situations outside of the will of God for our life. We rush headlong into the circumstance without one prayer. At other times, God Himself sends scattered trials, to remind us to depend on Him. Once the situation resolves, we often realize that the trials were seeds for a miracle, which worked out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Hindsight teaches us that many, various experiences are a needful part of God’s plan and purpose for our life. God also teaches us patience, which He uses to perfect us (James 1:4). In the midst of our complaining, the Lord reminds us that we shall reap, if we do not get weary while we do good in His name and by His Spirit’s direction.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we were to stop “raking” the “yard”, which You give us, the new “green sprouts” beneath the “leaves” would die and fail to germinate in the “spring.” The “leaves” of circumstances would hinder the new growth in our spirit and soul from sprouting and reaching the life-giving Son they need for nourishment.
Lord, if we continue to trust You through the mundane issues we face each and every day, we will eventually see the fruit of our labors. Then, when we reach eternity we will hear You say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Thought for the Day:
Life flows more smoothly when we give thanks to God in everything, because we serve at our King’s pleasure.

Spiritual Healing – Part 3

Focusing on God

We often react to people and situations without thinking. We usually over-react because we do not have all of the facts. Then, because of our insecurities, we exaggerate the incident in our mind and end up falsely accusing others. At other times, the action from the other person pushes buttons from our past and we are instantly incensed ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

Sometimes, we allow another’s behavior to continue until we cannot stand it anymore, and then we finally react in anger. Change will often affect us negatively; or if we get tired, we will get grouchy and easily angered. The cure for this is to focus on the will of God in the situation. This brings instant peace to the circumstances.

As we stay focused on God, we live in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). We also give God charge over our attitudes, behavior, desires and thoughts. Any time our attitude turns negative, we can be sure that we are either neglecting some legitimate need that we have, or we are harboring an inordinate need that is an idol in our life and that we need to surrender to God.

If we fail to consult the Lord about the issue, then we often end up inappropriately dealing with it our self. As a Believer, we can realize that nothing will occur in our life, which is not already part of God’s plan for us. He works out even the most horrific issues for our good (Romans 8:28). This reminds us to look for the seed of a miracle in every trial. God is good all the time.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word advises that sweet and bitter water cannot come out of the same well (James 3:11). Fill our mind with Your thoughts. Keep our thoughts focused on only that which is pure, true, noble, righteous, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Cleanse us from any wicked way in us and lead us in Your everlasting ways (Psalm 139:23-24).

Thought for the Day:
Love does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking or easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5