Our Spiritual Ears

Preoccupation with the affairs of this material world will dull our spiritual ears to heed God’s Spirit in the spiritual realm (Matthew 13:15). This opens us up for Satanic deception, worldly influence and fleshly temptations.

 

We may even miss the coming of the Lord. He will come when we least expect Him, as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4). That is why God calls us to watch and pray.
We open our spiritual ears, watch and prepare for His guidance, comfort and coming. We live in holy anticipation and expectation. Our sole desire as we function in His calling for our life is His will.

 

A sign of the end times is spiritual apathy, which starves our spirit. We are so focused on our flesh and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – that we are spiritually asleep.

 

We put other pursuits ahead of our Bible reading, gathering with God’s Saints, prayer and obedience to God’s Spirit moment by moment throughout our day.

 

Circumstances constantly affect our fulfillment and contentment. We suffer from spiritual anemia. We measure our self-worth from our human accomplishments.

 

The future frightens us and we feel compelled to abandon the spiritual side of life in order to make provision for our physical and emotional needs first (Matthew 24:38).

 

We forget that we are created in God’s image as triune beings and that He has a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). As we take care of His business, He takes care of ours (Matthew 6:26).

 

His Kingdom is our inheritance and His immortal provision will replace our mortal existence if we will place His will above our own. He calls us to occupy the earth for Him until He comes (Luke 19:13).

 

Prayer:

Father God, spur us to release our desire to settle for mediocrity in the spiritual realm in order to excel in the carnal world. Help us to take our foot out of the earthly realm and to plant both feet firmly on the Rock of Christ.

 

Remind us that there is no salvation in pretending to be a Christ-follower. Only a life dedicated to the pursuit of Your will can bear any lasting, spiritual fruit. We want to receive Your free gift of salvation, sanctification and glorification by faith and abide in You forever (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

Thought for the Day:

Walking in spiritual completion allows us to persevere in times of trial and tribulation by the power of God’s Spirit within us. – Colossians 2:10

 

 

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Secret Intents and Motives

When we depend on someone else for our sense of value, we put our self into bondage to that person. Our motives, goals and opinions revolve around that person’s whims.

People come and go in our life. They have unrealistic expectations of us, tire of us and dump us on the curb like a useless sack of trash.

However, Jesus never ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He died for us in spite of our self and our failings. He approves of us in Christ and fully accepts us with all of our idiosyncrasies (Hebrews 13:8).

We can also put our self into bondage to religion by attempting to earn God’s love and acceptance. We drive our self endlessly to work harder and to do better to please Him.

The truth is that our “self” is already crucified with Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). At Salvation, we are fully accepted in the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:5-7). God’s Spirit fills us to the brim and overflows on everyone around us.

We prove that we love Him by our obedience to His Word (John 14:15). We do not always keep each letter of the law all the time, but our motive in life is to walk in His ways (Galatians 3:24; Psalm 86:11-17).

God sees our whole heart – including our secret intents and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). He encourages us to keep our self unspotted by the world. (James 1:26-27).

Jesus loved us even when we did not love Him (1 John 4:19). We feel secure in His love, because it is not dependent on whether we earn or deserve it. It is a free gift, which lasts forever (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Prayer:
Father God, the world values human attributes like popularity, physical features, power, influence and financial abundance; but You reward faithfulness to Your Word. You discern our secret intents and motives and discipline or bless Your children according to the desires of our heart (Jeremiah 17:10).

Help us to shed the trappings of this world that we carry with us into our relationship with You. Purify our thoughts and teach us Your ways, so that we want only what You want and value only those things which bring You honor and glory forever and ever.

Thought for the Day:
We attempt to justify our motives and actions, but the Lord weighs them on His scales; as we consult the Lord, He will guide our steps and establish our plans in His will. – Proverbs 16:2-3

A Changed Attitude

At any given moment of the day, when we least expect it, circumstances arise that cause fear and despair to darken our attitude. Heaviness shrouds our spirit and joy flees in retreat.

Eventually anger may arise to shield us from impending pain and we explode and strike out at those around us. For the smallest offense, we react with severe sharpness that leaves the other person cut to shreds.

Our soul pours forth a storm of abuse that drenches the recipient to the point of drowning! Then we feel guilty for over-reacting and causing someone else pain and unhappiness.

Our anxiety and depression deepen and we withdraw into a stoic abyss. James did not believe in his half-brother’s deity until after His resurrection.

However, God used James mightily to further His Kingdom in Jesus’ footsteps. He remembered things Jesus taught and shared them with the Body of Christ both then and now.

One very famous concept was something very similar to what the apostle Paul taught. James reminds us that when we are tempted to sin, we can consider it a joyous time.

This occurs because we know without a doubt that when our faith is tried, the circumstances allow God’s Spirit to use our faith in Christ to work patience into our life.

As we learn patience, we lose much of the anxiety and grief which circumstances used to spawn in our life. Life is much simpler; we want less of this world and more obedience to His Spirit.

We realize that regardless of issues we are experiencing, we have need of nothing. God is our supply, and He has everything in His control (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the same Creator who made the majestic mountains, the depths of the sea, the myriad of galaxies in the heavens and the variety of species of plants and animals on this earth. You also have a wonderful plan for each of us, filled with love and peace through our Rock, Jesus Christ.

Most people prefer to make our own rules and live according to the dictates of our own heart, rejecting You for much, most, or all of our life. Some of us totally spurn Your offer of love and lead a hate campaign against You. Others attempt to earn our salvation by our good works.

A few of us will receive Your free gift of salvation through Christ (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Even then, we look to You to forgive us each day for transgressing against Your will and way for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As we allow God to sanctify our carnal nature, we grow into a more mature Christian, exhibiting the fruit of His Holy Spirit and having the nature of God as we readily and fully surrender to God’s sanctifying process.

The Perfecting Work of Patience – He Who Began a Good Work

Is our salvation and sanctification our responsibility, or is it the work of God’s Spirit within us? Some will say, “We are to work out our own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12) Others will counter with, “It is the Holy Spirit who gives us both the desire and the power” to do that (Philippians 2:13).

Most people agree that salvation is through grace by faith; but believe that we have to work for sanctification (Ephesians 2:8). Yet, the foolish Galatians were reprimanded by Paul for attempting to perfect themselves through their own self-efforts (Galatians 3:1-3).

Paul was amazed that they actually believed they could sanctify their life by their works. Paul constantly reminds the early Saints that nothing in our Christian walk is by works, because then we could boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God is not interested in our ability, but in our availability to His Spirit. The works of the flesh can only be crucified by the work of the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16). We live and walk only by the Spirit of God; otherwise, we spin our wheels and end up exhausted (Galatians 5:25).

We boldly claim that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13); but when we put the emphasis on “we” can do all things, we fail time and again. We pull our self up by our boot straps until they are totally worn off.

This verse is actually saying that we cannot do anything except “through Christ”. When we completely capitulate to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to both save and perfect us, we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10).

It is the Spirit, not our self-effort, which transforms us from one stage of sanctification to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). Even the armor of God, which Paul encourages us to wear, is the work of God’s Spirit in our life (Ephesians 6:10-18).

God’s Spirit transforms our mind to the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). He also renews our character with the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). He who began the work of salvation in us, will continue to perfect us through His work of sanctification (Philippians 1:6).

Prayer:
Father God, we humans do not want to admit that we are helpless without a Savior. We want to believe that even if we cannot save our self, we can attempt to perfect our self through our diligence and self-discipline by obeying Your Word.

Remind us that we can do good works only as we abide in the faith of Christ within us (James 2:17). We could not justify our self by keeping the law and we cannot sanctify our self through self-effort either. Keeping the law never gave us life prior to salvation and there is no way that walking in obedience to the law can perfect us after salvation. Without Your Spirit doing the sanctifying work, we are totally lost and undone.

Thought for the Day:
When we do choose to obey, the desire and ability is generated by God’s Spirit within us; God has a perfect plan for our life, and we find it only when we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is made without human hands and includes every person who humbles him or herself under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-9; James 4:10).

Salvation gives us the keys to the Kingdom, as coheirs with Christ (Matthew 16:19; Romans 8:17). We inherit everything God gave to Jesus through His obedience on the cross.

Kingdom living affords us serenity and contentment, in spite of our trials. We learn to give thanks to God our Father regardless of our circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 4:12, James 1:2).

Dwelling in the Kingdom of God on this earth guarantees that we will flourish in the true riches of life. We love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, body and strength; and He works out every issue for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

In God’s Kingdom, Christ loves the church as a husband should love his wife (Ephesians 5:22-32). Our marriage vows signify to both mates an indissoluble pledge, which divorce-proofs our relationship.

This way, our children recognize our genuine faith and see the hand of God in our life. This causes them to want these same blessings in their life as well.

They marry Godly mates and raise our grandchildren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Psalm 145:11-13). They enjoy the continual blessings of living in God’s Kingdom.

Often, God will lead us by His Spirit in ways that do not make human sense. His ways are higher than ours and He has an eternal purpose for us regardless of our earthly circumstances.

This requires that we relinquish our human effort and understanding in order to continue doing His Kingdom work. When we please God in all of our ways, He makes even our enemies to dwell in peace with us (Proverbs 16:7).

Prayer:
Father God, You rule over all the kingdoms of this world from Your throne in Heaven (Psalm 47:7-8). All greatness, power, glory, honor, victory and majesty belong to You. Everything in heaven and on earth belong to You. You provide us with esteem and wealth, power and productivity, strength and success (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).

We are so glad that Your Kingdom abides forever and ever, and that we will spend eternity in Your physical presence as well as Your spiritual presence, which we enjoy now (Psalm 9:7, 45:6, 103:19). Thank You for Christ in us and for placing us in Christ, to completely surround and immerse us in His presence.

Thought for the Day:
God’s dominion is from generation to generation since the beginning of time and His everlasting Kingdom endures forever and ever. – Daniel 4:34-35

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.

Abiding Fruit – Part 2

As God’s Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, we abide in His abundant love forever. We keep His commandments and love our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors with the love of the Lord (Matthew 22:37-39; John 15:10).

The Vine existed long before the branches ever grew, and He sacrificially shares His love and life with us (1 John 4:19). We choose to fully commit to our relationship with the Vine (John 15:16).

Separated from the Vine, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We display the fruit of the flesh, which is envy, strife, hatred, self-centeredness, criticism, worry, depression, pride, bitterness, complaining, quitting, backbiting, loving our self more than others, loving money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; inventing ways of doing evil; disobeying our parents; and as adults, we put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

Abiding in the Vine gradually renews our heart and replaces these negative issues with the fruit of God’s Spirit, which we bear through our obedience to Him. This is the evidence of our union with the Vine (John 15:13).

We rest in His grace and renew our strength as we wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). His Spirit directs us each moment of the day (John 16:13). We increase God’s Kingdom by our obedience to Him and His Word (Mark 4:26).

God’s fruit in our life is proof of our faith in God (James 2:14-26). We abide in Him, but He also abides in us, completing the sanctifying work of holiness, which He started in us at salvation (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, let us never break our connection with Your Vine. The life we receive through Your presence in our spirit is not paralleled by anything this world has to offer.

Help us to exhibit affection for others, an exuberance about life, serenity through the storms, determination and patience, a compassionate heart, and kindness that pervades our entire being (Galatians 5:22-23).

We trust that You have this world in Your control and have a perfect timetable for its culmination and the renewal of all things. Remind us to live humbly in service to You and others, and continually guide us by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
Our God, who called us, is faithful to us and will fulfill us and care for us until we abide with Him in eternity. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24