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.

Advertisements

Hungry and Thirsty

Jesus proclaimed that we are blessed when we hunger and thirst after His holiness, because He shall fill us (Matthew 5:6). We hunger for spiritual meat and drink, rather than spiritual junk food.

Junk food gives us the false impression of being satisfied. We feel full and enjoy the taste; yet it leaves us lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, which our body needs to function.

The same is true spiritually. If we dabble in religion, we get fat and malnourished. Yet, if we respond to the Holy Spirit when He draws us to God, we are filled with His goodness (John 6:44).

When we hunger and thirst for God we find His blessings, peace, joy and love. He gives us His eternal perspective. We live to do only the will of God with our life.

We align our life with His Word and His Spirit, praising Him with unceasing songs, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:17-19). As a city sitting high on a hill, our light cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).

We are His Body and He works in and through us; continually drawing us to His side and filling us with His spiritual blessings and eternal presence (Ephesians 1:3).

We make a difference in our world, because we do the works of our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16; John 6:29). We see the fruit of our spiritual labors and we rejoice and are humbled to be of service to our King.

Prayer:
Father God, let our life be a shining light into the dark world around us. Help us to avoid sin at all cost and to live as a testimony of Your saving grace in our life. As we love You with all of our heart, remind us to lean on You and not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Remove any pride and rebellion from our life, which hinders us from obeying Your Word. Help us to walk in Your Spirit, to live the Christ life in this world, to follow where You lead us and to rejoice ever more in the center of Your will for each moment of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in the Lord because we know His name, nature and character and realize that He never forsakes those who seek Him. – Psalm 9:10

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.

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

If you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven, if you are bitter about something or if you are angry with God for some reason, that will keep you from feeling His presence in your life.

Sometimes people, places, things or even animals take the place of God in our heart. We form an unholy physical tie and/or “soul” tie with them, which hinders our spiritual growth (The soul is our mind, will and emotions).

Every part of our self, which we hold back from God, is controlling our life. We have to give Him ALL of us. It is not a mental decision, but a total commitment to live our life God’s way, rather than our own way.

We dishonor our self and our family and the family of God when we continue to live in sin (Ephesians 5:1-7, Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:1-4). A true Believer will never live a sinful lifestyle.

With each sin we commit, we are hammering the nails back into Jesus’ hands, shoving that crown of thorns back on His head, sticking the sword in His side again and hanging Him on the cross to die in public shame once again (Hebrews 6:6).

Those who are truly Born Again might fall into sin once, or even twice, but then our heart breaks and we run from this disobedience, because we realize that we are breaking God’s heart with every sin (John 5:18-21; 1 John 2:3-6, James 1:12-16, 1 John 3:7-10).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that going to church, serving in a ministry, praying to You, getting baptized or even tithing our income are useless activities, if we are not Born Again. We are just doing good works, and that does not get anyone into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:12-14, 7:13: Matthew 5:27-30).

We must be Born Again by Your Spirit and walk in Your will and Your ways (John 3:1-21). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, humble our pride and rebellion, help us to forgive our self and others, and strengthen our inner being so that by Your Spirit we can make a true commitment, which leads to salvation (Romans 10:10)

Remind us to live our life one day at a time. When Your Spirit prompts us to stop some behavior, or to start doing something else, help us to obey (Philippians 2:12-13). We have confidence that we will slowly grow in Your grace and come closer each day to sensing Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Look for God’s little hugs throughout the day – a coincidence, a flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, the numbers on the clock, a bird’s song, snuggles from your pet, an unexpected phone call or card in the mail, even the smile of a stranger. God will hug you with something that will make you feel special and loved, so watch for it.

Freedom from Sin

So often we humans cry out to God to free us from the addictions of the flesh, which harass us continually. However, we are more interested in being free from the effects of these sins than in living an ethical life.

We have no interest in being justified from our sins or having a personal relationship with God, we just want to be free from the consequences of our obsessions.

Then we wonder why God does not answer our prayers. Our pride and rebellion against God, and our insistence on living life according to our own plans, prevent God from showering us with His blessings (Romans 1:18:26).

Actually, sin is not our problem. A lack of relationship with Jesus Christ is at the root of our sin and all of our other problems. The cessation of sin can only be accomplished through the presence of God in our life.

Satan will not easily give us up; yet, when we receive a new heart of flesh, then we are more sensitive to the conviction of God’s Spirit, and we more readily submit our flesh to Him for sanctification (Ezekiel 36:26).

Once we fully come to Christ for our salvation and totally surrender our life to God, we seek Him rather than His benefits, regardless of the trials and unhappiness we experience. We live and walk in His Spirit (Romans 8:5).

As we set our mind on things above, the things of this earth have no more attraction for us. Our mind is renewed with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). God’s Spirit crucifies the desires of our flesh for us (Romans 8:13).

As we submit to the leading of God’s Spirit, He replaces our carnality with the fruit of His Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:22:23). This only occurs once we are children of our Daddy God (Romans 8:15-17).
Prayer:
Father God, expose Satan’s lies in our life and help us to cast down his arguments and to take captive every thought, word or deed, which fights against our relationship with You (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Thank You for setting us free from sin, so that we can be slaves of righteousness instead. Now we can reap the blessings of a moral life (Romans 6:18). We are so grateful also that you sent Christ to purchase our salvation on Calvary’s Cross (John 3:16-17).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, who is our life, we are forgiven and given the righteousness of God in Christ. – Colossians 3:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21

Pointless Rebellion

Some people refuse to adhere to the traditions of our society (Romans 13: 1-14; Hebrews 13:17). They buck the system and rebel against human and Biblical rules and regulations. Therefore, God cannot bless them (Isaiah 1:20).

These people actually yearn for approval, but since their basics instincts are not well received, they decide to go the other way and live in defiance and revolt in every area of life.

Some even become a thorn in the side of society and often end up in prison. The rebel really wants to comply and gain approval, but since they do not measure up, they grow bitter and hate everyone, even their own self.

God’s standards are higher than the system of this world; yet, many of our society’s rules are patterned after Biblical truth (1 Peter 2:18-21; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). The nonconformist views God and the government as rule-makers, which do not accept or validate who they truly are inside.

If rebels would surrender their lack of self-esteem to God, they would find acceptance in His family. God creates a clean heart in us and renews His Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).

At some point, we all start to realize the futility of attempting to control our own life. The alternative is to trust in God’s plan for us (Ephesians 2:10), and to walk in the Spirit through every issue we face (Galatians 5:15-25).

Even if things do not progress as we think they should, if there is an apparent setback or imperfection in our life, God’s love helps us to retain our faith in His faithfulness.

Prayer:
Father God, a rebel in this world is also rebelling against You. They want their body, emotions, thoughts and goals to be accepted by those who are supposed to love them, regardless of their behavior.

This attitude stems from pride. You resist the proud, but You exalt the humble (James 4:6). Please teach our rebellious loved ones to call on Your Spirit, to humble their pride, to submit to Your calling on their life and to surrender control of their life over to you.

Thought for the Day:
When we consent to God’s will and obey His Word, He proves that He cares for all of our needs. – Isaiah 1:19; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22

A Fulfilled Life

As humans, we are so engrossed in our soul that we fail to realize that our spirit is dead within us (Ephesians 2:1). We instinctively know there is a missing ingredient within, but we ignore this fact much of our life.

This causes us to delve deeper into the realm of the soul – the thoughts of our mind, our fleshly choices and the tyrant of our emotions. We seek satisfaction in any way, time and place we can find it.

We refuse to believe anything, which does not make sense to our human understanding. We even perverted the Serenity Prayer to relate to the “god of our understanding.”

As fallen humanity, we are so blinded by our pride and rebellion to the Truth of God’s Word that we miss out on the blessings, which God wants to provide for each and every one of us right here and now, as well as in the future.

The power of God for salvation is freely given to everyone who chooses to believe, without regard to color, age, race, financial status and ethnic background (Romans 1:16).

Our righteous God reveals a fulfilled life in His love to those who choose to reject the counsel of our pride and rebellion; and instead, to have faith in His faithfulness (Romans 1:16-17).

Prayer:
Father God, You freely give all things to those who put their trust in You. You infuse us with Your joy, which is our strength to live a fulfilled life in this sin-cursed world. Even creation cries out for the revelation of Your sons, so that You will restore the former glory of Paradise to the earth.

Thank You for moving by Your Spirit in my life and giving me the faith of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to believe in You (Galatians 2:20). Thank You for showering me with Your love every moment of my day and teaching me to follow the direction of Your Spirit through each one of them. Dwelling in the center of Your will is the happiest place on earth.

Thought for the Day:
We can conqueror every negative aspect in this life, just because of God’s love for us. – Romans 8:37-39