Ceasing from Futile Efforts

Much of what we do in this world is busyness. We get overly involved and double-booked in our schedule; yet make no time for play, worship and fellowship with family and friends.

We burn the candle at both ends until we burn out, making our self sick in the process. We have so many irons in the fire that we can barely keep everything straight even with a calendar and sticky notes.

We have so little of our self to put into each endeavor that they are all lacking to some degree or another. We constantly run from one plate to another to keep them all up in the air and spinning.

The rare person who learns the value and secret of entering God’s rest, ceases this striving in the flesh, follows the leading of God’s Spirit each moment of the day, and trusts in God’s overall plan for their life (Hebrews 4:7-10).

They are more interested in accomplishing the works which God preordained for them to do than in fulfilling their own goals and agendas (Ephesians 2:10).

They are not tempted by the world, the flesh or the devil to compete or to get ahead in this world. The trappings of life have lost their glitter and are no longer appealing.

They line up their desires with the purpose of God for their life. They love Him above all else and they hunger and thirst for the manifestation of His presence to fill their body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your law, which showed us the futility of attempting to reach fulfillment by human means and measures. We are so glad that Your law pointed us to Christ and His finished work on Calvary.

A life in Your presence is ours once we convert from a child of this world to Your child – forever free of the cares of this life and joyously cared for by You (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:19-25; 1 Peter 5:7). Thank You for using us to demonstrate Your righteousness to the world around us and draw us ever closer to Your rivers of living water within us.

Thought for the Day:
What time is there in life for rest, recreation, serenity and fulfillment amidst the turmoil of agitated rushing after useless pursuits in a state of disorder, the tyranny of cares and the mountain of depression rising within our soul?

Understanding the Trinity

People accuse Christians of having three Gods. They cannot conceive of the concept of three persons in one God. Yet, the Bible is very clear that we have one Body, one faith, one baptism and one God who is over all, through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

 

There are many examples to explain the Trinity. My favorite is to consider a man: he is a son, a father and a grandfather; yet, just one person with three functions.

 

Another is a basketball with the outer pig skin, the inner tube and the air within the ball giving it substance and form; one ball with three parts and functions.

 

Yet another idea is an apple with the skin, the flesh and the core; one apple with three distinct parts, serving three distinct functions.

 

A triangle has three equal sides, which together make one complete shape. To my understanding, the Trinity is just that simple.

 

The confusing part with the Trinity is when God calls Jesus His son; yet, Jesus makes it clear that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). He said that if those in His day saw Him, then they have also seen the Father (John 14:7-9).

 

He also said that He had to leave the earth so the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). Clearly, one God with three distinct functions. Understanding the Trinity is just that simple.

 

There are many diverse denominations of Believers, but we are all one Body in Christ with many parts (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). God’s grace chooses us, claims us by faith, gives us hope for the future and sustains us throughout our whole life (Matthew 22:14; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, regardless of the denomination in which we choose to worship, You fill every authentic Believer with Your Holy Spirit. He joins us as one Body, one church, one Bride and one faith just as You, Your Spirit and Your Son are one. We are all one in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

Thank You for sending us Your Spirit to comfort, guide and counsel us in Your Truth. We rely on His direction through every moment of every day. We are eternally grateful to Christ for His sacrificial offering in our place, and we bask in Your presence, which fills every fiber of our body, soul and spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

Every authentic Believer is united with the Trinity who dwells within us; when someone as monumental as God moves in, there will be wondrous changes in our life.

 

True Wisdom

 

Most people dedicate their life to making this world a better place, but someone comes along right behind us and takes the credit or destroys our lifetime of accomplishments.

 

God has used many individuals to change our world, such us Richard Pearse’s airplane, Charles Babbage’s computer, Madam Curie’s radium, Alexander Fleming’s penicillin. Yet, we use their products without recalling their name or contribution.

 

The self-help gurus and life coaches in today’s society teach us that our real power comes from within our self. They tell us to trust our heart or our gut feeling. They promote intuition and self-reliance (Jeremiah 17:9).

 

They revel in all sorts of ungodliness and encourage others to do them as well (Romans 1:30-32). They set us up for failure, because apart from Jesus Christ we can accomplish little of any importance (2 Timothy 4:4; John 15:5).

 

We work diligently to inspire others; yet, we are just spinning our wheels. Apart from Christ in us we can do absolutely nothing that matters now or in eternity (Philippians 4:13).

 

Hopefully, as you sit in your quiet place, you will contemplate the presence of God in this world, realize your lack and cry out to Him for His salvation (Psalm 46:10).

 

Only when we come to Christ do we have true light and wisdom within us (Colossians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 2:14). With God in control of our life, we have the understanding and direction to accomplish His will for our life (James 1:5; Ephesians 2:10).

 

His Word lights our way in this dark and perverse world in which we live (Psalm 119:105). His presence gives us all that we need to live a Godly and fulfilling life on this earth (2 Peter 1:3).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us to prioritize our life according to Your principles and values (Ephesians 2:1-22). Humble us before it is too late for us, so that we can receive Your instruction and discretion rather than worldly gain (Proverbs 8:9-11, 17; Psalm 91:14; John 14:21; James 1:5).

 

True success in life comes only from pursuing You with our time and energy (Proverbs 3:16; 8:18, Psalm 119:1-2, 128:1-2; Matthew 6:33). Thank You for providing the opportunity for us to inherit Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ (Proverbs 8:21; Romans 8:17).

 

Thought for the Day:

God wants to give self-confident fools His true wisdom and truth along with an understanding heart. – Proverbs 8:5; Isaiah 32:6

 

We Never Die

Humanity searched for generations for the fountain of youth, so we could drink of it and never die. Reincarnation purports that we never die; we just continually come back to life in another form.

Our eternal destination depends on our choices while we live on this earth. The Bible proclaims the truth that we do not ever die. We leave earth to live either in heaven or hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:8; Matthew 25:46).

Every physical body will die and go to the grave, to be resurrected immortally at the coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:53-54). However, our soul and spirit never die, they live in the presence of Satan or God forever.

As an unbeliever, we die twice: once physically and the second death in hell for eternity (Revelation 20:14). The body and soul – the mind, will and emotions – of an unbeliever experience the unrelenting torment of a lake of fire (Luke 16:19-31).

Instead, as Believers we die to sin and the flesh now, and we live eternally in Christ. Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). Our immortal body, soul and spirit will enjoy Heaven forever.

God calls everyone to come to Christ for eternal life (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4). Pride and rebellion prevent so many people from surrendering their life in total submission to God and His will for their life.

They believe the devil’s lie that this is our only chance at life and we must live it with gusto. They do not realize that God’s plan gives us blessings in this life, as well as an eternity filled with prosperity and hope (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 40:5).

Prayer:
Father God, there is no reason for anyone to choose an eternal existence in hell (John 3:18). You call us to give up sin, so that we do not earn the wages of sin, which is death both now and for eternity (Romans 3:23, 6:23). You give us reasons to choose eternal life instead.

Thank You for planning for this eternal life to start at the moment of our salvation (Romans 6:23). Help us to humble our self under Your mighty hand, so that we will never die; but enjoy Your abundant, immortal life forever (2 Timothy 1:2; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Thought for the Day:
Jesus shared in our existence in flesh and blood; so that through His death, He could make Satan powerless over sin and death, and to forever free us from slavery to sin, fear and death. – Hebrews 2:14-15

God’s Fullness – His Love

God’s Fullness – His Love – Part 2

God has a rich storehouse of glory, which He provides to strengthen and protect us with His mighty power (Philippians 4:19). He does this in our soul and spirit, by the Holy Spirit and Christ who dwell in us.

God helps us to plant our roots firmly in His love by His dealings in our life. He teaches us to comprehend the firm foundation, which He gives us for our faith in the fullness of His love (2 Timothy 2:19).

The richness of God’s love is actually multi-dimensional. It is so grand that it has width, length, height and depth. He surrounds us in His love and allows us to experience its riches practically.

God’s love exceeds our human understanding and fills us through every part of our being with His whole Being (Ephesians 2:16-20, Amplified Bible). The more submitted we are to His Spirit, the more we feel God’s love cascading like a waterfall over our body, soul and spirit.

Our hope in God is never disappointed, and we never feel shame for our faith in His faithfulness, because He pours out His love into our heart and life (Romans 5:5).

As we wait for the manifestation of Christ, His mercy, His perseverance and endurance in our life, God’s love keeps us (Jude 1:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:5). God’s love is perfected in us as His Spirit enables us to keep His commandments (Philippians 2:12-13; 1 John 2:5).

The love of God empowers us with mercy and compassion for God’s Body and for the whole world around us (1 John 3:17). The steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord never fail to watch over us (Psalm 61:7).

Prayer:
Father God, we miss out on the riches You already provided for us, because we are too busy with our own plans for our life to concern our self with Your will for us. Remind us that You created us for Your pleasure, not for our own (Ephesians 2:10).

Help us to experience the fullness of Your love, so that we can share it with the world around us, which is full of desperate people who are dying for a lack of Your presence in their life (Psalm 52:8).

Thought for the Day:
God proved His love for us by coming as a man and dying in our place; and there is nothing in this earthly world or in the spiritual world, which shall ever separate His Saints from His love. – Romans 8:31-39

Forgiveness and Boundaries

Human beings tend to suffer in silence. We fear rejection and criticism, so we internalize our thoughts and feelings rather than confiding in one another.

Inner voices, which do not line up with God’s Word, are lies from Satan Himself. The only way to dispel His lies is by speaking God’s truth (Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 4:1).
( http://www.theophostic.com )

Once we receive our forgiveness from God through repentance and faith in exchange for our sins, then God receives us as His own precious children (1 John 3:2).

We have Jesus’ example in order to forgive those who harm us. If they are repentant, we allow them back into our heart. If they refuse to repent, then we forgive them for our sake, but keep them at a distance.

Even though we forgive them, we do not condone their behavior toward us, and we certainly never allow them any opportunities to harm us again.

We derive our self-worth through Christ in us, rather than through our own achievements. This way our esteem does not depend upon people, circumstances or meeting our goals.

It depends on God’s faithfulness and the presence of Christ abiding within us. We are secure in who we are through Christ. We live the life to which He calls us (Ephesians 2:10).

This way too, we have no need to attempt to manipulate and control the behavior of others in order to make our self feel better, safer or more secure.

Prayer:
Father God, people do tend to maliciously use us, but You encourage us to love them with Your agape love and to forgive them and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). However, we can also be wise as snakes and gentle as doves in our dealings with them (Matthew 10:16).

We point them to Your love for them, but we never again allow them to take advantage of us or to use us for their evil gain. Their opinion of us does not matter anymore, because our identity and our good name come from You (Proverbs 22:1; Psalm 52:9).

Thought for the Day:
No one is more deceived than the person who will not admit that he or she is wrong; but we can forgive them anyway and erect boundaries to keep them from harming us again.

Temple of God – Symbolic

Many pieces of furniture in the Temple are wooden (our carnal nature) overladen with gold (God’s nature). The others are either pure gold or bronze – which denote the need for sanctification.

The Temple’s construction symbolically relates to our spirit, soul and body (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14). God fearfully and awesomely created us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:4, 13).

The Holy of Holies denotes our spirit, and the Holy Place to our renewed life in Christ. The wooden supports to the hidden aspects of our human soul, the Inner Court to the acknowledge parts of our soul, and the Outer Court to our body.

Once our spirit is Born Again, the Spirit of God abides in our spirit, which is the Holy of Holies. We are in union with the Trinity in our spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).

God turns our heart of hardened stone into a new heart of supple flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). God grants to our spirit His supernatural agape love, Godly wisdom and spiritual thought processes along with His power to do all that He calls us to do (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 4:13).

God takes up residence in our spirit and makes us a new creation (John 14:23). The Trinity also works in our soul – our thoughts, will and feelings.

Our union life with God combines our spirit and soul with His Spirit and will. We no longer live isolated in this world, but are part of God’s family with His Spirit united with our spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for allowing us to operate as Your dwelling place on this earth, so that You can affect the world around us by Your Holy Spirit. Teach us to live by Your Spirit, so that we do not hinder Your work by living by our fleshly, carnal, human understanding and desires.

We love how the Temple of Solomon is such an example of our life in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22). Remind us to serve You in Your house within us (Revelation 1:6, 5:10). We have no need to rely on our self, because we can do all things through Christ who dwells within us (Philippians 4:13).

Thought for the Day:
We live a life filled within our spirit with God’s Spirit abiding in us, and we radiate His presence out to the world around us. – 1 Corinthians 3:16

The Law of Generations

When people read the fact that the sins of the fathers are passed down to the third and fourth generation, they rail against God for what they view as His unfair practice to force someone to pay for their ancestor’s mistakes (Exodus 20:5).

In reality, this verse is telling us that our sins naturally affect people for generations to come. For instance, war is a decision made by a president, or dictator; yet, this sin affects countless generations, which reap the devastation of this heinous crime.

When a man abandons his wife, it also negatively affects his children, grandchildren and many future generations (Malachi 2:13-14). Divorce even affects parents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, siblings and friends.

Murder, theft, sexual abuse, and all the sins we humans commit have far reaching affects for future generations. Sin rips the heart right out of all of these victims through no fault of their own.

The consequences of the sin we commit affect generations to come (Jeremiah 32:18). However, God also put into play similar generational affects to bless those who love and obey Him.

God blesses thousands of generations of descendants, for no other reason than as a result of our relationship with Him (Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10, 7:9). I don’t know about you, but I want my successors to enjoy God’s blessings, not the consequences of my sins.

Prayer:
Father God, we so enjoy the blessings You bestow on us each day. Even when life throws trials and tribulation at us, as a good Father, You walk through them with us, helping us and encouraging us through the difficult times. You make Your presence even more real to us when we take the time to sit at Your feet (Luke 10:42). Remind us that You have a perfect plan for our life, and help us to obey Your Spirit’s direction through every moment of it (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:16-25).

Thought for the Day:
Through all generations, the Lord shares His love and righteousness with those who fear Him. – Psalm 103:17

Overwhelming Love

Eros love is physical and human; Phileo love is what we feel for our friends; but Agape love comes from God. It does not depend on how we feel or even if we like the person or not. Agape is contingent only on Christ within us. God loved us while we were still vile sinners, and He calls us to allow Him to use us to love others in this same way (Romans 5:8).

We love God, because he first loved us and gave Himself for us as a ransom for our sins (1 Timothy 2:6). If we truly love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). God’s love for us does not depend on our lovability, and does not require that we act in a loving manner. God’s love is unconditional; however, any negative behavior on our part will break His heart.

God would not love us any more if we walked in perfection before Him, and He does not love us any less if we fail unexpectedly (1 John 3:6; Hebrews 10:26). His love for us is contingent upon His dependability, not on our deportment. Christ’s death on the cross is love in action (John 3:16). If we accept this sacrifice as the payment for our sins, we are justified and have peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Although we all deserve an eternity of condemnation, at the moment of our salvation, our spirit is reborn and our over-riding desire for sin dies. We are in Christ and He is now our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). As authentic Believers, we no longer need to wonder if we are pleasing God or doing enough to earn His love, because Christ’s sacrifice already made us an acceptable member of His beloved family (Ephesians 1:6).

Prayer:
Father God, due to the saving work of Christ on the cross, we can draw near to You and enjoy Your blessings and presence every moment of every day (James 4:8). We enjoy our continual fellowship with You. Our sins are forgiven and Christ in us makes us suitable to fellowship with You (Galatians 3:16). Remind us to set aside time for You every day and to remain in Your presence all day long regardless of the duties of family and employment. We give You all of the praise, glory and honor for everything we are, everything we accomplish and everything we have in this life.

Thought for the Day:
We enjoy the privilege of being near to God, because we made Him our sovereign Lord; He is our refuge, and we enjoy His overwhelming love and all of His generous benefits.      – Psalm 73:28, 103:2

Our God in the Valleys

We often confuse a temptation, and the verses dealing with it, with trials and tribulation. People quote the verse that God does not tempt us and use it to mean that God does not allow overbearing tribulation and trials in the life of an authentic Believer (James 1:13). They insist that trials are an attack of our archenemy – the devil.

However, temptation is an allurement to sin, and tribulation is a negative circumstance through which we are forced to live. There is a difference. Some preachers and teachers attribute all adversity in our life to Satan and his minions. However, even if Satan does cause the difficulties, he can only function with God’s permission (Job 1:8, 2:3).

Although God does not tempt us, God does ultimately allow trials, tribulation and rejection in our life (James 1:13; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6; Romans 12:12). The key to entering the depth of intimacy with God, which we all desire, is how we handle difficulties. If we lose our joy and peace when life tilts out of our control, then we are trusting in our self, and in our misconception that God will not allow His people to suffer.

God does allow tribulation and persecution in order to prove His love for us as He did for Job, or to teach us that He always walks through tribulation with us and turns everything around for our eventual good ( Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Romans 8:28, 35-37). He is our God even in the valleys of life. He teaches us to view life as He sees it, temporary and fleeting, and He instructs us not to trust in this world for our fulfillment (James 4:14).

Those who suffer most in this life learn the best that we rejoice in God’s presence and not in His presents, which He provides for us. Everything He gives us can disappear in smoke, but no one and nothing can take His presence away from us (Romans 8:38-39). The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, but God’s Saints bless the Lord either way (Job 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, we can put all of our trust in You because You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). You live within us and go through every trial and rejection with us, encouraging us from the inside out. No matter what we lost yesterday, we find Your mercy and grace with each new morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Whatever You allow to be taken away from us, You replace with more intimacy with You.

Thought for the Day:
Every trial is a seed for a miracle that God has planned for our life.