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).

More Intimacy with God

I want more intimacy with God. I do not want more of His power to do great works, or more of His blessings to enjoy a better life, or more of His authority to hold a position of importance.

I just want more intimacy with my Father, King and Lord. As Desert Skies sings, “I want to feel His hands on my soul, molding me into grace, to be a reflection of His holy face.”

We do not have to perform some task to enjoy an intimate union with Him. We simply sit at His feet (Luke 10:42). We are human “beings”, not human “doings”.

We take the time to look into His benevolent face and whisper words of love or shout our gratitude from the rooftops. We praise Him and give Him all the glory.

We follow the example of the psalmist and sing of His excellent love, impartiality, power, goodness, etc. The list is eternal (Psalm 59:16, 89:1, 100:5).

One way to have more intimacy with God is to give God more intimacy with us. We can have fun as a child of our Father and enjoy spending time with Him.

We chat with Him throughout our day even about the mundane issues we are facing or the most boring of chores or responsibilities.

We ask His advice about hurdles we encounter, the best way to perform a task and about interpersonal relationships.

As we follow the leading of God’s Spirit, even our most insignificant acts of kindness or service can make the biggest difference in the eternal destiny of our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.

Regardless of our circumstances, we can spend time worshiping our Savior and King, our Creator and God, our Comforter and Guide. This may not resolve our issues, but it changes our attitude and focus about them.

Prayer:
Father God, our soul thirsts for You, our Living God (Psalm 42:2). Our flesh cries out for You, and we attentively seek You (Psalm 63:1). You are so real to us that we can almost taste and see that You are good (Psalm 34:8). We love you with our whole heart.

Teach us to walk in peace instead of stress, joy in place of concern, and holiness rather than carnality. Give us Your wisdom, agape love, grace and mercy as we function in this life. Provide us with Your salvation, so we can spend our life with You throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
God rejoices over His loved ones with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
Desert Skies: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Desert-Skies/56135996899

Healing Relationships – Part 4

When our soul begins to heal, our personality, behavior and beliefs change. This may put our partner on the defensive and cause them to feel insecure.

Our relationship changes from independent, dependent or codependent to interdependent, and our family and friends are not used to it.

The healthy changes, which we make, will bring healing in our body, soul and spirit. It will help us to establish an interdependence with our mate, as they get used to the changes.

It will limit our negative reactions to one another, improve feelings of self-worth, change the way we meet our own needs and give us more energy to serve others as God’s Spirit leads us according to His will, rather than by codependent urges.

Intimacy increases, expectations decrease, and in conflict we blend differing ideas into a whole new concept on which we both agree. We are mutually interdependent with one another.

Unresolved disagreements cause a couple, which normally live in an atmosphere of cooperation, to form independent lives that disrupt their interdependence.

Interdependence means that it is healthy to have differing ideas, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes, because these differences bring variety to the relationship.

Interdependence is living in a mutually reciprocal relationships. It is about forming intimate connections with another human being. We share the decision-making process in our relationship and mutually care about one another’s welfare and feelings.

We are conscious in our choices, own responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and readily admit when we are wrong.

We enjoy deeper, more meaningful associations, and greater productivity, service, contribution and growth in our relationship.

We cherish, appreciate, admire, respect, enjoy, love and care about one another, and we never miss an opportunity to affirm and to validate one another.

Prayer:
Father God, help those of us with wounds from the past to heal and to have the wisdom and courage to develop an interdependent relationship with our partner, children, co-workers, associates and church family.

Give us patience with them as they too heal from the wounds of their past. Then allow us to serve You together in our individual gifts and calling, according to Your will for each of our lives.

Thought for the Day:
Interdependent relationships bring harmony and enjoyment to any marriage, partnership or community.

God is in Control

There are many areas of life, which we desperately attempt to control, but they end up controlling us instead. Circumstances, people, illness, our supervisor, spouse, children, traffic, waiting in lines, etc. all influence our day in positive and negative ways. We often end up frustrated and hopeless because nothing we do will change the negative issues we are facing.

The best solution for these problems is to pray the Serenity Pray and to ask God to give us wisdom to know what situations we can change, and which we must leave in His capable hands. We can request that He give us the strength deal with the issues that He reveals are our responsibility and the courage to turn the rest over to Him with an attitude of acceptance of His will.

If we cannot change the issues, we can praise God for them, in them, and through them. For instance, our spouse is transferred to a city far from friends and family, and we and the children are resentful about moving. The only way to overcome the bitterness that is surely to follow is to realize that God has a new mission field for the family. A fresh place in the world to make a difference for Him.

The move is no longer a problem, not because we got our way, but because we changed our focus from carnal to spiritual, from earthly to heavenly. God cares about every aspect of our life. He is not unsympathetic about our concerns. He knows what we need, when we need it, and He will supply all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19).

Prayer:
Father God, help me not to attempt to control life, but to live each moment of it in the center of Your will. When something or someone disturbs Your peace in me, remind me to keep my mind focused on You (Isaiah 26:3). Help me to walk in Your Spirit; and when something bothers me, give me the courage to lay down that idol at Your feet. I have the confidence that You will always either change me, or change my circumstances for my good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
When negative feelings assail our soul, they are attempting to communicate that something is wrong within. We can ask God to show us the root of those feelings and the idol causing them. Then, we simply surrender to His control, as we wait for His provision as only He can supply.