Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

Advertisements

Puzzling Pieces

When I assemble a puzzle, I start with the corner piece; then I build the frame of the puzzle before attempting to find all of the inner pieces. This brings order and clarity to the puzzle.

Our walk as Christians follows this same principle. Jesus is the main cornerstone on which we base the rest of our life (Ephesians 2:20; Matthew 21:42). He helps us to line up the other three corners and to build the framework of a successful lifestyle.

We use God’s Word to place the parameters within which we frame our thoughts, words and deeds. These are not restrictions, but a simple plan, which gives our life order and clarity.

The inside pieces are a beautiful tapestry, which God weaves throughout each moment of our day by His sanctifying process; adding brilliant colors and beautiful scenery which enhances our existence.

Each new piece that He adds makes the panorama come to life and brings logic to some puzzling pieces that made no sense in the past. The enigmatic life experiences in our future fall into place with ease when each new aspect is added.

With the safety of God’s spiritual border around our life, our fears and insecurity fade, anger diminishes, earthly focus switches to spiritual focus and dependence on God replaces self-reliance and codependence.

Through our total commitment and surrender to God’s will we experience the richest measure of His presence, the multi-dimensions of His love, and the magnitude of His mercy, grace and peace (Romans 8:35-39; 2 John 1:3; Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible)

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that our true identity is found only in Christ and that Your Holy Spirit continues Your sanctifying work in us. Teach us to follow Your voice each moment of the day and to do the works You created us to accomplish before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

The parameters of Your love give us peace and security and help us to experience the fullness of Your presence and Spirit within us. Give us Your wisdom and understanding to enable us to walk worthy to wear Your name, to please You completely and to bear spiritual fruit through every good work we do (Colossians 1:9-10).

Thought for the Day:
In the midst of the puzzling aspects of life on this earth, God gives us healing from our past, trust to face the future and clarity of thought in each new moment.

An Alien Within

Prior to coming to Christ, we determined our daily routine by our priorities. We valued, worked toward and pursued anything that would assist us in reaching our goals. We developed this habit, day in and day out, living by our human reasoning and working to please our self and to secure our future. Then, the Spirit of God moved in and encouraged us to entirely shift our mind-set.

Prior to Salvation, our flesh formed habits as we trained our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions to respond and react in certain ways to the challenges and trials of life. We were used to living independently of any restraints or parameters for our behavior (Romans 8:7-8). We served our self and made sure we would come out on top (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 5:15). We did good deeds for others, but we wanted the praise.

Salvation sets up a dichotomy in our life, which causes a tug-of-war within our soul. God wants us to put to death the carnal deeds of our flesh, so that we can live an abundant spiritual existence (Romans 8:13-14). Yet, our flesh wants to maintain the status quo and control our own life. The tie-breaker is God’s Spirit, who rebirths our human spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5).

Now, our old nature is dead and we are Born Again by God’s Spirit. Spiritually alive, we partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4). The nine fruit of the Spirit replace our formal carnal character (Galatians 5:22-23). We no longer live independently, but in dependence on God’s love and will.

Our former traits, alien to God’s ways, still influence our thoughts, words and behavior. However, we can crucify these independent and willful tendencies on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-26), and obey the will of God instead. We willingly submit our old fleshly habits to the work of God’s Spirit within us (Romans 8:12-13). We restrict the deeds of our flesh by renewing our mind and surrendering our life to Christ (Romans 12:2; Mark 10:28-29).

Prayer:
Father God, by Your saving faith, a gift to us from Your mercy and love, we receive Your Holy Spirit who influences and transforms us. You draw us to Your heart and You renovate every aspect of our life by Your Spirit. This free gift is priceless and we thank You for the sacrifice Jesus paid for our eternal life (Ephesians 2:8). Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment of our life (Galatians 5:16-25).

Thought for the Day:
Each day we walk in more victory over the flesh by dwelling in the Spirit and following God’s desires for our life. – Galatians 5:16-26