Praying without Ceasing

There is a penchant in humanity to take things to the extreme. Many in our society will make desperate attempts to gain more intimacy with God to the point of neglecting their duties to family and society.

They will cloister their self from life and spend their time in their prayer closet, reading God’s Word and listening to sermons. In an attempt at holiness, they desert all aspiration to communicate with anyone other than God.

Yet, in doing this they prevent God from using them to reach the lost and dying world around us. God instructs us to pray without ceasing at the same time that we do every mundane task of life for His glory (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Until the day on which He returns to claim His Bride for His own, God calls for His Saints to give Him a balance of devotional prayer in our closet and obedience to His will (1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:15).

Then He will take us home to be with Him for eternity. Our current position in Christ allows us to see life from God’s perspective and to choose our words and actions according to the will of God.

In this way, we are always moving toward perfection, which is the prize of the high calling of God (Matthew 5:48; Philippians 3:14).

 

Carrying on throughout our day, we pray without ceasing each moment in order to remain in His will (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Jesus taught the disciples how to pray using this formula (Matthew 6:9-13):

1.) Praising God’s majesty

2.) Anticipating the coming of His Kingdom

3.) Requesting our needs to be met

4.) Repenting of our sins

5.) Forgiving those who sin against us

6.) Acknowledging His Lordship

As we live in a place of communion with God during every waking moment, we have so much assurance of His love for us that we are able to rejoice regardless of the circumstance surrounding us (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:

Father God, as we walk in Your Spirit, we give thanks for everything that happens to us – the good, the bad and the ugly, because we know this is Your will and You always work out all things for our ultimate good (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17; Romans 8:28).

We rejoice and give You praise and thanksgiving for Your eternal care for everything that concerns us. We could never, ever repay You for Your personal love and care for each one of us. Thank You for taking a personal interest in our life and for providing for all of our needs.

Thought for the Day:

As we gather around the throne of Heaven, there will be a great innumerable multitude from every single nation, tribe, people and language group all standing there with us in worship and thanksgiving before our redeeming Lamb. – Revelation 7:9

True Christian Life

A life lived in total surrender to the will of God brings healing in body, soul and spirit. God’s Spirit renews our mind and transforms our spirit into the likeness of Christ (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Satan will attempt to keep us under His bondage to sin, and to prevent us from functioning with effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. He will lure us with a promise of worldly gain.

However, as we seek more intimacy with God, who abides within us, our desire for more of this world fades. We find our true identity, restful peace and complete joy in the presence of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).

Christ abides in our heart by faith and we are rooted and grounded in God’s love (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7). Our goal is to reach perfection through the knowledge of God’s Son and by growing into the fullest measure of the richness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

We live in contentment, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). We have boldness and access to the very presence of God, because of Christ’s completed work on Calvary’s cross (Ephesians 3:12).

Christ’s faith within us helps to quench the fiery darts of Satan’s lies and temptations (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13). By God’s Spirit we work in faith, labor in love and have patience through our hope in the Lord in the sight of God, our Father (1 Thessalonians 1:3).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for counting us worthy of our calling, for helping us to fulfill Your will through Your goodness, for the work of Christ’s faith and power within us, and for delivering us from unreasonable and wicked people in our life (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 3:2)

Thank You for freeing us from believing fables and trusting in endless genealogies, which only stir up more questions rather than edify You or build our faith (1 Timothy 1:4). We enjoy Your abundant grace through the faith and love, which we find in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14). You are all we need.

Thought for the Day:
As Christians, we let our thoughts, words and deed reflect the glory of Christ within us, so that we do not shame our Father God in any way. – Philippians 1:27

The Breaking Point

People often think that the life we know is better than the life we do not know. That is why women stay in abusive marriages and continue to suffer the torment. They believe they do not deserve better.

When we come to Christ, He humbles us; yet He gives us His holy boldness. We start to realize that we are not defective; and that in Him, we are “enough”.

Christ in us transforms us into all that He intends for us to be. We no longer need to strive for perfection, because God’s Spirit within us changes us from one stage of holiness to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We find our true identity and fulfillment in Christ alone (Colossians 3:3-4, 2:9-10; Philippians 1:13-2:16). We are adopted as God’s children, conformed to Christ’s image and co-heirs with Christ of God’s Kingdom.

Most of us need a breaking point in our life in order to step over the line from self-effort to Christ-reliance. The trials, which God allows in our life, are designed to bring us to the end of our self.

My breaking point was when the love of my life decided that there was no option for us, but divorce. I had no job, no alimony and no foreseeable future.

In this bewildering new world, my only option was to rely totally on God for each moment of my day. As I did, I entered a deeper relationship with our Lord; one that I continue to this day.

As I listened to His Spirit within, He led me to get a job at a Montessori school where my training and relationships taught me to nurture my own soul.

He also gave me two other jobs, so I could pay my bills and save for a rainy day. Eventually, in His perfect way and timing, He brought a nurturing, appreciative husband into my life as well, and restored my ministry as a Pastor’s wife.

Prayer:
Father God, You brought me to the place in my life where I stopped trying and gave up. I cast all of my cares on You, because I had no doubt that You cared for me. You taught me that Your Spirit will put us in the right place at the right time, if we will listen to that still, small voice within us (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Remind us that the sooner we stop trying, and enter into Your rest, the sooner our life will hold unspeakable joy, even in the midst of sorrows. Your Spirit leads us to be productive for Your Kingdom; and in the process, all of our needs are met.

Thought for the Day:
As we totally surrender our heart to God in prayer, we give Him our weaknesses and failings – even the sins we commit in secret. We no longer live in shame, but in the fearless confidence and identity of Christ in us. – Job 11:13-15; 1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:27

Be Holy as God is Holy

God calls each one of us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As we face our flesh with each new morning, this appears to be a daunting task. Our temptations and carnal desires sometimes get the best of us.

I hear Christians saying that it is too hard to be holy, and that Jesus had an advantage over us. This is true according to humanistic thinking, but not according to Biblical principles.

Jesus was half God and half man, since God’s Spirit conceived Him in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35). He was filled with God’s Spirit each moment of the day. When his human flesh was tempted, He had the God half to keep him perfect.

We have the same opportunity to walk in holiness. When we come to Christ, His Spirit moves right in. Our body is His temple and He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Satan’s temptations cause us to sin and to live apart from God. The price of sin is degradation and loss. Pleasure for a moment reaps for us shame and often deplorable living conditions.

However, God gives us a way to escape every temptation, which we will ever experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we submit to Christ in us, and walk by His Spirit’s direction, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The entire power of the Godhead, the Trinity, dwells within us (Colossians 2:9). We are free from the power of sin, and we are made to walk in new life through Christ in us (Romans 6:6-8).

Christ in us is our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Although our body is still perishing due to Adam’s sin, God’s Spirit in us gives us both life and righteousness (Romans 8:10).

God strengthens us with His power through His Spirit in our soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Our hope in Him is the firm and secure anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Christ exchanges His holiness for our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remind us that our witness for You depends on our righteous walk in this world. Non-Christians watch us, even when we do not realize it. Our attitude each day, and even during trials, will speak more to them than all the words we could ever preach to them.

As Your Body, the people who work in children’s ministry will impact the children in their sphere of influence; and then, these children will affect the lives of countless people during their lifetime, because of Christ in us. Even as we minister to adults, we help them to grow in their devotion to and knowledge of You. Helps us to be holy, even as You are Holy.

Thought for the Day:
As our soul yearns for God in the night, our spirit within us diligently seeks Him; and when His judgments come upon the earth, all of the inhabitants of the world learn to walk in righteousness. – Isaiah 26:9

Fight, Flight or Faith

To “fight or flight” is the normal human reaction to trauma. We want to defend our self or to run from confrontation on any level. We either use our human ingenuity to escape from trials or else we just sit and complain about them.

James recommends that we find joy in our trials, knowing that they are building up our faith in God’s faithfulness, as well as increasing our endurance to face other trials in the future (James 1:2-4).

James assures us that endurance will help us to walk in complete perfection and to have no lack in any area of our life. We eventually know without a doubt that God will see us through any negative circumstance.

God allows trials to teach us that nothing else matters in our life except Jesus (Colossians 3:3-4). As we endure suffering, we wait on God in every aspect of our life, and He always provides.

Our beliefs about God affect our thoughts, words and deeds. If we believe by faith, we will also think, speak and act in faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). This allows the light of Christ to shine forth from our life.

We do not have to experience trials to trust God or to walk in the faith of God’s Son (Galatians 2:20). God also blesses us in the good times of life; and He loves it when we acknowledge His gifts and give Him thanks.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to praise You in good times and in bad. Remind us that You are working out Your purpose in our life through every circumstance, which we face; and that You will make sure that everything works out to our advantage (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:28). We praise You for who You are, what You do for us and for Your Word, which encourages, guides and gives us a rich life of unending hope.

Thought for the Day:
It is impossible to please God, unless we have faith in His faithfulness.
– Hebrews 11:6

Perpetual Freedom

When we come to Christ, He immediately frees us from the snare of the flesh. Then, He puts His Spirit within us, so that we can inherit God’s Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ (Ezekiel 36:25; Galatians 4:4, 5:19). By His grace, God forgives our sins; and as His children we surrender to His Spirit, who crucifies the desires of our flesh, and teaches us to live in and walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).

We are filled with the Spirit’s fruit and our entire personality and life change for the better (Galatians 5:22-23). Whom the Son sets free lives in perpetual freedom (John 8:36). Anyone who prefers to walk according to the dictates of our flesh is living in disobedience to God and will reap earthly destruction and eternal damnation (1 John 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

As authentic Believers, it becomes normal to reject the dictates of our flesh, and to follow the Spirit instead. The more our intimacy with God increases, the less we would think of using our liberty in Christ as an occasion to sin. We prefer to walk in the Spirit, so that we reap God’s blessings and please Him with our life (Galatians 5:13).

We cannot perfect our self by our human effort, but according to God’s mercy. His Spirit helps us to walk in holiness and to inherit eternal life (Titus 3:3). The more we feed our spirit by Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other Saints and sitting in the presence of God, the stronger our spirit will grow and the more we will live in perpetual freedom (Romans 8:6-7).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for enabling us to walk toward perfection in holiness (1 Peter 1:16). We still make mistakes, but You always give us a choice and a way out of the temptation to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we do fall, we do not allow Satan’s condemnation to belittle us. Instead, we submit to the conviction of Your Holy Spirit and we respond in repentance for our sins (Romans 8:1-7). Eventually, sin grieves us and has no more dominion over us (Romans 6:14-18). Thank You for providing Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, as our Savior and as our Lord (1 John 2:2; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11).

Thought for the Day:
Living according to the dictates of our flesh is not profitable for us at all; but walking in the Spirit guarantees us a joyful, fulfilled life drenched in love and peace. – John 6:63; Romans 8:6

Trusting in the Almighty

The Lord preserves our life and inspires our devotion to Him (Psalm 97:10). He is our God and saves everyone who trusts in Him (Psalm 86:2). Our eyes are on the Lord, and we take refuge in Him. He will never leave our soul – our mind, will and emotions – destitute (Psalm 141:8). He is our constant help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Even if the earth erupts in multiple tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes, which level the mountains, surge the roaring waves from the sea and level the earth with quakes, we have no need to be afraid (Psalm 46:2-3). We simply cry out to Him, who is our provision for as long as we live on this earth (Psalm 142:5).

God listens to our prayers and pays attention to our requests. He faithfully answers us with His righteous choices (Psalm 143:1). He allows those who trust in Him to experience His unfailing love with each new morning. As we lift up our thoughts, choices and feelings to Him, He reveals His direction for our day (Psalm 143:8).

God’s hand deals out blessings and trials as we need them for our perfection. He allows defeat to mold us into His divine nature. He uses adversity to prove His faithfulness and to increase our faith in Him. Our weakness proves our need for His strength. Our independence melts in the furnace of affliction and we depend on Him more each day.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to listen to Your Spirit so that we may decrease as You increase in our life (John 3:30). Give us a hunger for Your life-giving Word of Truth, which nourishes and satisfies the longing of our soul (Psalm 107:9). Replace our hardened heart with one of flesh that is pliable under the nurturing of Your Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 11:19).

Thought for the Day:
We will not harden our heart to the Truth of God’s Word, but respond to every phrase, and trust in the Almighty as we follow the direction of His voice. – John 10:27; Hebrews 3:15

Powerless to Control Life

We usually start life under the assumption that we can achieve the American dream, but life often careens out of our control. We eventually admit that we are ultimately powerless to overcome the negative aspects of our life, and we realize that we need a Savior outside of our self (Romans 7:18).

First, we attempt to trust in a person to bail us out. We get into codependent relationships that seem to stifle us in the end. In order to reinstate our sanity, we eventually realize that we must come to believe in a power, which is greater than anything this world has to offer (Philippians 2:13).

Some people try Eastern religions, positive thinking or something that epitomizes wholeness to them. This lasts for a little while, but often fizzles out. Everyone ever born has an innate knowledge of God within his or her soul, yearning for their spirit to be reborn (Romans 1:19-23). We all have a body and soul – our mind, will and emotions, but our spirit is dead until we come to Christ (John 3:1-21).

Once we come to Christ, He helps us to clear our conscience of dead works. Feelings of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, bitterness and more melt away at His presence in our life. He also helps us to think of people to whom we need to ask forgiveness, and He helps us to make amends for the harm we perpetrated on their life (Lamentations 3:40; Luke 6:31; Matthew 5:23-24).

It is wise to obtain Christian counseling and discipleship, and to share with someone who will continually hold us accountable as we walk in God’s Truth (James 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:12). As we humble our self before the Lord, He replaces our moral deficiencies with the fruit of His Spirit (James 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23). He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that no one is perfect. We can forgive those who harm us and ask forgiveness from those whom we hurt. As we pray and read Your Word, draw us closer to You, tell us Your Will for our life each moment and give us the power to carry it out (Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:16). Thank You for totally forgiving us for our transgressions of Your ways. Sanctify us daily as we walk toward Your perfection (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:48).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing but living in service to Jesus Christ can fill the void that continually haunts our life. – Romans 12:1

We Are All Winners

We Are All Winners

We are given every opportunity as we grow up from childhood to compete with others in athletics, games, grades, hobbies and even dating. We covet the first place award, and we are so disappointed when we achieve anything less. This drive to reach perfection will drive us into an early grave. It makes us think that we can control our life and the outcome of every endeavor.

We soon learn, through a series of hard knocks, that we cannot control everything. Rather than give us relief, we allow this fact to demean us in our own eyes. We see others who always win; therefore, we must be less in every way than they are. Satan makes sure that we do not recognize that there are many others who are not in first place either.

There can only be one first place winner, and everyone else is second rate at best. Therefore, rather than allowing Satan to accuse us with this fact, allow it to be a comfort, realizing that most people do not achieve first place, but we are all winners if we are IN CHRIST. This way we can rejoice with people who do win, and comfort those who do not.

We have no reason to deride our self or to feel belittled in any way, because even the winners will lose sometimes. They cannot win at everything they try. The real goal is not to win, but to do our best. If you did your best, then no one, not even your self, can expect anything more from you than your best. It is only when we do not do our best that we deserve to come in second best.

John warns us about the boastful pride of life and points out that this does not come from God, but from the philosophy of the world (1 John 2:16). Satan is the god of this world, and he thinks that he owns the kingdoms of this world. The truth is that God gave the government of the earth to mankind, and Adam relinquished his position by believing Satan’s lie.

We do this same thing every day. We believe Satan’s lies as truth and we discount the Word of God. In truth, King Jesus now has all power and authority both in heaven and on earth. He lives within us and we abide in Him as He abides in us. All the power of the Godhead dwells inside of our spirit; and we can tap into it and share it with the world around us.

Prayer:
Father God, open the eyes of our heart and let us see You. You are high and lifted up and the earth is simply Your footstool (Isaiah 66:1). Teach us that there is nothing in this world that is more valuable than our relationship with You. Remind us that as King’s kids, we are all winners because of what our brother Jesus did for us on Calvary’s cross (Matthew 4:10).

Thought for the Day:
Never think that you can handle life on your own; seek God in all of your circumstances, plans, goals and decisions. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Forgiveness is the Best Option

Every person ever born deserves to go to hell. We can never be good enough to deserve a place with God in heaven. Earning our own forgiveness is out of the question. Disobedience brought sin into the world and only obedience to God’s Will can free us from its penalty. God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17).

 

God does not expect us to arrive at perfection by our own efforts. He gives us both the desire and the power to live a righteous life (Philippians 2:12-13). We are human with our own distinct set of flaws and foibles. Our idiosyncrasies are no better or worse than any one else’s. Therefore, we have no reason to expect perfection from our self or from any other person.

 

However, God wants nothing less than our perfection in Christ. God is all about grace. He wants us to use mercy and grace when we deal with our self and others (Luke 6:36). God desires that we forgive our self and others as well (Ephesians 4:31, 32). We are all wounded souls attempting to survive in this world. Mercy is as important to God as justice.

 

The Pharisees attempted to please God by adding to His law. They believed that more rules were better. Jesus set them straight. God calls us to forgive each other, to show compassion and mercy in the same way that God forgave us through Christ (Ephesians 4:32). If we fail to comply, then we open the door to Satan. He works havoc in our life and defeats us at every turn.

 

If we fail to forgive, we also allow our enemies to persecute us (Matthew 18:34-35). We tie God’s hands with our unforgiveness and He cannot forgive us either (Matthew 6:14). We will prevent Satan from interfering in our life, if we choose to forgive (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). We will also allow God to forgive us. Forgive does not let the troublemaker off the hook, it puts them in God’s vengeful hands and sets us free (Romans 12:19).

 

Prayer:

Father God, when You ask us to forgive, you know that we are still hurting from the abuse inflicted on us by the perpetrator. Our feelings of unforgiveness allow the offender to control a part of our life. We will never forget the infraction, but forgiveness lessons the pain of it in our soul.

 

Thought for the Day:

Forgive as You have been forgiven. – Hebrews 10:17