Love Letters

Our life is God’s love letter to the world. He uses us to communicate to our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors that He cares about them (2 Corinthians 3:3).

 

If we do not take the time to reach out to these significant people in our life, we deprive them of the love of God through us.

 

We may even shut up the Kingdom of Heaven to them and their blood will be on our hands (Ezekiel 3:18-20). It is important that we at least plant a seed of God’s love in everyone we meet.

 

It is easy to do this. We can give them our church bulletin and invite them to join us the next week. Offering them a ride to the grocery store or to church is another easy way.

 

We can hand them a tract with spiritual truth that they may otherwise never know. Starting a spiritual book club or Bible study in our neighborhood is another great way to reach out.

 

There are retired women and men in our church who would gladly teach such a study if we ask them; or there are great study guides in the Christian bookstore to use as a text.

 

We can bake a cake for a bereaved family, give a homemade card to a sick neighbor, or baby sit for a young couple to have a date night.

 

The possibilities are endless, if we listen to God’s Spirit and follow His directives. God equips us to walk in His will through Christ in us (Hebrews 13:20).

 

With Christ living within us, we experience rest for our soul (Matthew 11:29). We stop striving to perform for God, because Christ works through us (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 6:28-33).

 

This eternal rest is only available if we take our focus in life off the temporal aspects of our existence and place it squarely on eternal matters instead (2 Corinthians 4:18).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave us Your eternal life, which no one can take from us (John 10:28). We are joined to You, and we are beneficiaries of Your divine nature (1 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Peter 1:4). We have constant fellowship with You, the Son and the Spirit (1 John 1:3, 9; Phil 2:1).

 

You placed us in Christ Jesus and we are seated in heavenly places in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:6). You provide every spiritual blessing for us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Help us to share Your love with those You put into our life. We want to give You all the honor and glory for everything we think, say and do each moment of the day.

 

Thought for the Day:

The love and integrity of the testimony of our life for God may be the difference in someone believing in or rejecting Jesus as their Savior.

 

 

Into the Silence

The world is so noisy. All around us, even out in the country, social media, TV, car radios and stores are blaring advertisements and voices almost 24/7.

 

Many people have a noisy soul too. Their thoughts and feelings are bombarding them with negative issues that demand their immediate attention. They are weary and discover no rest, even in God’s presence.

 

In sleep they dream disruptive images, which come from their troubled soul. They argue with significant others in their life and even argue with their own self; finding no peace at all.

 

Only if we disappear into our spirit and immerse our self in God’s peace can we find ultimate silence regardless of the dissonance of circumstances around us.

 

As we sit in His presence, we get lost in Him and focus on His still, small voice within us. We worship with the angels and enjoy our front row seat with Jesus in heavenly places even now (Ephesians 2:4-7).

 

We sit in companionable silence with Him as we bask in the pleasure of God’s face shining on us as He takes joy in our company (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 80:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Finding comfort in the silent presence of our significant others is also a joyful experience. We may chat amiably or snuggle silently and recharge our battery for the coming tasks which will demand our attention.

 

Holding our child as they drift off to sleep is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. We watch their peaceful features and enjoy their unconditional love as their breathing slows and their tiny eyes droop.

 

Yet, our most meaningful relationship is dwelling continually in God’s presence. He permeates us with a quiet peace, sane direction, cheerful thoughts and a holy existence. We pray or listen as the moment dictates and enjoy the constant fellowship of His company.

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in Your presence we experience deep peace, unexplainable joy, and Your comfort and support as we share with You our tears of worship or burdens. You are kind to all of us who trust in and obey You. We wait patiently for You in our alone times and in the cacophony of daily living (Lamentations 3:25-26).

 

By faith, even in our worse trials and times of testing, we joyfully count on Your faithfulness to produce endurance in our soul (James 1:2). We dwell in our spirit and snuggle under the almighty shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). You give us peace which overcomes human reasoning, and You shower us with Your blessings regardless of the hardships we experience in this life (Philippians 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:
Times of silence give us rest, hope and strength to face the next trial.

 

Dreaming Dreams

God used dreams throughout the Biblical accounts of His interaction with mankind (Job 33:15-16; Acts 2:17). He spoke through dreams to Kings, prophets and Saints of old (Genesis 15:12, 17-18; 28:12, 37:5, 46:2; Daniel 7:1-9; 1 Kings 3:5).

He also used dreams with New Testament characters such as to calm Joseph’s fears about marrying Mary and to save Jesus from sure death (Matthew 1:20-21; 2:12-13, 19; Acts 2:17, 16:9-10, 18:9-10). Pilate’s wife dreamed that he should not condemn Jesus in spite of the insistence of the Jews (Matthew 27:19).

The Word of God makes it clear that God uses dreams in our life (Joel 2:28-31). He gives us wisdom, insight and guidance to bring a resolution of issues in our life.

In our sleeping state, our soul and spirit are still very active. They are less influenced by our issues, fears and insecurities, which plague us during our waking moments.

Through dreams, God often reveals to us His character, intentions and lessons that He wants us to learn.

He will use dreams to give us wisdom on puzzling experiences in our life, peace which transcends human reasoning and direction for some activity He calls us to perform.

Satan and our own soul can inspire dreams as well as God (1 John 4:1). They are often brief and unrealistic (Psalm 126:1; Isaiah 29:8). The interpretation of our dreams will never contradict the Word of God (James 1:5).

Sleep and dreaming restores our soul to equilibrium. If dreams badger us during our sleep, we can ask God to give our soul peace and allow us to enjoy uninterrupted sleep (Psalm 127:2).

As we dream about issues that need resolution, and which we ignore during our waking moments (Ecclesiastes 5:3), God heals our soul. Our spirit sings praises to God as we sleep and we often awaken to our soul singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us such a fail proof and complex brain that works like a computer as we sleep. It categorizes, files and works through issues which need resolution. Once we are Born Again, Your Spirit who abides in our spirit, will influence this series of chemical impulses and the outcome of this activity in our brain.

We would probably explode or self-destruct with the intensity of our anxiety and other negative emotions if You did not give us the ability to work out these issues in our dreams. You are our great and mighty God; and we can never thank You enough for Your vigilant care over each and every one of us in every facet of our waking and sleeping life.

Thought for the Day:
Dreams are tangible and helpful; they are made of memories, concerns, direction, hopes, vision and reality all rolled into one plot with several sub-plots and they influence the story of the rest of our life.

True Contentment

When life is free from stress and trials, we tend to forget God, to take credit for our successes and to change our focus from Christ-centered to self-centered.

God gives us room to follow our carnal desires and to experiment with our own plans and goals (Romans 1:24); so that when we fail or get the wind knocked out of us, we will run back to Him.

A trial brings us to our knees and reminds us that only as we are weak can we be truly strong in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We no longer find fulfillment in a sinful lifestyle. God is our exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4, 149:4).

When God delivers us from various trials and temptations, our faith increases and we grow spiritually. We realize that we are now dead to sin and alive in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4).

Regardless of our circumstances, our soul finds true contentment, which comes from God alone. We gradually stop depending on our self and depend only on God. He becomes the very air we breathe.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We realize our utter dependence on His Spirit to guide us, comfort us and give us strength for each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23).

As we decrease, He increases (John 3:30-35) and draws us into a deeper walk with Him. We devour His Word, and this life-giving source fills us with faith and wisdom for living in this insecure world.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to find serenity, joy and contentment of soul in You alone. Nothing that this world offers to us equals to what You give us through Your mercy and grace. Through our total dependence on You, we find Your strength for each moment of the day as we rise up to meet the challenges life throws at us.

We can rest in You, because You have all things under Your control. We want to tell the world what you mean to us. Give us daily opportunities to be a friend in order to win a soul to Your love. Take pleasure in us as we hope in Your steadfast love (Psalm 147:11).

Thought for the Day:
Our delight is always in the Lord, because we find our true contentment and fulfillment in God alone. – Psalm 37:4

Rest in the Lord

We are driven in today’s society to have, to achieve, to acquire and to work toward prizes, which turn out to be nothing more than an empty box or trivial pursuits that never satisfy us.

Yet, for some reason, we continue to seek after that illusive prize that will make us truly happy and fulfilled. We look for the mate that will complete us, and the vocation, house and car which will give us status.

We buy a bigger television, more electronic toys, more lights to hang for Christmas than our neighbor did last year; and yet, they leave us flat-lining and they put our soul in the “hospital”.

Our soul continually cries out for rest, peace and lasting joy and fulfillment. We do not really want to respond to the drive to earn more in order to buy more; but we cannot seem to help our self.

Like the Israelites, our disobedience and prideful, rebellious heart prevent us from entering God’s rest (Hebrews 3:11). We live our whole life and fall short of entering His rest (Hebrews 4:1).

God gives us a clue during His days of creation by resting on the seventh day after six full nights and days of speaking the cosmos into existence. He calls us to join Him in that rest, so that He can restore our soul (Psalm 23:2-3).

If we respond, we will enjoy true riches for the rest of our life, because we will prosper even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). As we believe God, we receive all that He provides for us, and we have the faith to enter into His promised rest.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to cease from striving to enter your rest through the power of our flesh in a futile exercise to attain holiness (Romans 7-8; Galatians 3:1-3). Remind us to enter Your rest and to allow Your Spirit to work in us to attain that Godly life You offer (Romans 8:10-17).

Through Your Word, we clearly see that as we abide in You, and allow Your Spirit to do His transforming work in our nature and character, we will see Your fruitfulness in our life (John 15:1-14; Galatians 5:22-23). Give us the faith of Your dear Son, Jesus, to enter into Your rest now and forever (Hebrews 4:2; Genesis 2:2)

Thought for the Day:
Once we finally recognize our insufficiency to accomplish the works in our own strength, which God pre-ordained for us to do, we surrender our life in whole-hearted obedience to Christ and enter into His rest. – Ephesians 2:10: Hebrews 4:1-10

Renewed Mind – Part 4 – God-Given Emotions

Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Ignoring our soul only stunts our growth both in our soul and in our spirit.

A need for attention, dependence on others, and fear of being alone are results of abandonment issues from our childhood. Destructive acts, pouting, self-centeredness and temper tantrums all stem from deep deprivation and anger from our past.

Our lack of self-awareness and failure to accept our emotions will compound our past wounds, which we carry with us every day of our life, some of them since conception.

Our relationships suffer due to emotional, behavioral and mental deficits. Psychologically, we are stuck in the unresolved issues of our past, which prevent us from experiencing adulthood with a mature attitude.

We fail to succeed in most of our endeavors due to the lack of adult persistence, self-control and planning. Some of us are consumed with anger and unforgiveness, which we internalize.

This results in depression for which we take medication. This simply masks the pain in our soul and causes more grief as well as physical ailments such as headaches, and stomach and breathing and heart related issues.

If we allow our self to feel our anger, we can work through it to the grief buried within our subconscious mind (Ephesians 4:26). We can journal our thoughts and feelings, and ask God to help us to find the root cause of our grief and other negative emotions.

Never apologize for your emotions. God gave them to us. They are either a sign of sickness in our soul, a precaution to keep us safe, and an expression of the joy He places in the heart of His children (Proverbs 16:32, 17:22, 19:8; Ephesians 4:26-27).

After we identify the source of our negative emotions, we can grieve our losses and affirm and validate our feelings. Then we pray for God’s wisdom and healing, we forgive the perpetrators, who wounded us and caused our grief; and we move into the freedom and rest of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5; John 8:36).

Prayer:
Father God, there are few of us on this earth who did not experience some form of abuse in our lifetime. We never learned to handle our emotions and often sin because of them. We may minimize, disassociate from or magnify our feelings; but teach us to learn from them, and to bring them to You for understanding and healing.

Help us to stop blaming our self for the abuse we suffered; to release the pent up energy from our negative emotions without sinning against You or someone else; and to allow our self to cry and grieve our losses. Then we can release the incident to You and find Your forgiveness for those who wounded us.

Thought for the Day:
God and Christ both gave us clear examples of how emotions are a normal and healthy part of life.

Experiencing God’s Presence

There is no place on earth more fulfilling than living in God’s presence. He reveals to us the path of life, fills us with His joy and gives us pleasures, which last for an eternity (Psalm 16:11).

His presence abides in us and He gives us His rest (Exodus 33:14). We continually commune with Him through prayer (Psalm 145:18-19). When we draw near to Him, He comes closer to us (James 4:8).

At times, we do not sense His presence, but He is always near to us, living within us (Genesis 28:16). We find Him if we take the time to seek Him with our whole heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Regardless of our behavior, His graciousness, compassion, attention, mercy and love accompany the presence of God in our life; although our sins will break His heart and grieve His Spirit (2 Kings 13:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Brokenhearted people find soothing comfort in God’s presence; and, in our humility, He will save us from every one of our afflictions (Psalm 34:18-19).

God’s goodness is magnanimous to those who submit to Him. Words fail to describe what He has planned for those who trust Him (Psalm 31:19-20).

As our refuge and strength, God keeps us safe from every enemy, from strife and from gossips (Psalm 46:1). His plans are not evil, and He intends for us to prosper in Him (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Father God, create a clean heart in us, and help us to refresh our commitment to You. We thank You for not casting us away from Your presence or removing Your Spirit from within us when we fall into sin (Psalm 51:10-11).

We come into Your presence with gratitude for all that You do for us, and we shout joyfully in praises to You. You are our great King, our Savior and God (Psalm 95:2-3).

Thought for the Day:
We joyfully serve the Lord and dwell in His presence with a continual song in our heart and on our lips. – Psalm 100:2

Moving Forward through Forgiveness

God became man in order to atone for our sins, because we could never pay the debt on our own (1 John 4:19). Jesus loves us more than a pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45).

Jesus relinquished his royal status and gave His life, so that we can live as God’s adopted children and joint heirs with Him to receive all that the Father owns in His Kingdom (Romans 8:16-18).

God forgives us of every transgression of His law; but unless we forgive our self, Satan keeps us under his bondage to degradation and sin. The shame we feel for our behavior is fed by Satan’s lies, which He whispers in our heart day and night (Revelation 12:10).

Satan knows that if we ever forgive our self, and dedicate our life completely to the God who saved us, he will lose us forever. There is no thought, word or deed, which we commit, that is too horrific for God to forgive (Romans 5:8).

Most of our choices are mistakes that we make without thinking, although some of them are premeditated. Yet, God forgives each one, which we confess, according to His mercy and justice (1 John 1:9, 3:9). He erases the injustice of our behavior with His goodness and grace.

God has a perfect plan for us and our true joy lies in following that plan (Ephesians 2:10). It is never too late to change. We can lay down our shield of lies and our heavy burden of pain at Jesus’ feet.

We come to God in our weariness and hopelessness, and He gives us rest for our soul and births life into our dead spirit, which we carried around within us for our whole life, until the day we repent (Matthew 11:28).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit joins Your Bride in encouraging anyone who reads or hears Your Word to come to Your river of life (Revelation 22:17). Your voice penetrates the hard wall, which we build around our soul to keep out the pain of the past and the eventual pain of the future.

This wall crumbles when we face life’s difficulties with Christ in us. Help us not to patch up the wall of defenses and build it higher and thicker, and to realize that only Your love can protect us from life’s hardships and storms (Isaiah 4:6).

Complete surrender to Your call on our life will put us under Your umbrella of protection (Job 11:13-15). You give us a place of repose (Isaiah 28:12). You refresh and satisfy our faint heart (Jeremiah 31:25). You give us Your living water to drink for eternity (John 7:37).

Thought for the Day:
Forgiving others and our self is the key to freedom from the destructive aspects of life and it is the door to our freedom in Christ.

Struggling with Our Faith – Part 2

Our struggles with our faith come because God does not meet up to our selfish human expectations. He does not answer our prayers or provide for us in the way that He does for other people who claim to preach His Word.

This faulty understanding of God is not scriptural, and must fail in time. Isolated verses from the Bible, taken out of the context of the verses around them and the rest of the verses pertaining to this same issue, are not firm enough on which to rest our faith.

Our faith only grows firmer and stronger as we increase our understanding of God and His ways by considering the whole Bible in its context (Romans 10:17). God’s Holy Spirit comforts, guides and nurtures us in our walk as Believers.

The Spirit of God within us is the truest proof of our relationship to God. We no longer live according to the dictates of our flesh, conscience or human instincts.

Our life changes; we grow discontent with this world and we look forward to serving God for eternity. Reading and believing God’s Word fortifies our faith and hope and fills our Spirit with spiritual food.

Prayer:
Teach us to humble our self and to minister in this world as a servant for Your glory (Matthew 20:26-28). We will stand firm in our faith regardless of either approval or criticism from other people, or how or when You choose to meet our needs. We pray that You will strengthen our loved ones in their inner being, so that they can believe in Jesus through Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16).

Thought for the Day:
As selfishness, pride and flesh decrease in us, God can fill us through all of our being with all of His fullness. – John 3:30; Ephesians 3:19

Head Over Heels in Love

We do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated. We do not need any one to complete us, because we are complete in Christ in us (Colossians 1:27, 2:10). The more time we spend in silence, peace and rest in His presence, the more we come to know His love, which transcends any human love ever possible.

God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). He proved His love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live eternally through and with Him. This is genuine, authentic love, which we did not earn or deserve. There is nothing we can think, say or do that would discourage His love for us.

Most Believers understand that God’s hand upholds the earth in perfect balance, and keeps us all living and existing on planet earth. However, we often take for granted those issues of life, which require no thought. Things like air to breath and eyes to see. However, each of these miracles is evidence to us that God loves us.

God gives us the gift of life each and every new day. The fact that we wake up is proof that He loves us. Sadly, so many people do not truly believe that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. All through the day, He sends people, events and natural wonders to remind us of His love for us.

God also reveals His love to us in nature, and by the numbers on a clock, through an escape from a catastrophe, a hug from a friend, a letter from a distant relative, a smile from a stranger, and through so many unexpected ways throughout the day. If we are not too busy to notice His little love notes, this makes us feel so precious, cared about and surrounded by God’s love.

Prayer:
Father God, Your unrivaled peace and joy flood our soul as we sit at Your feet. They flow through us and out of us to everyone You bring into our life. You restore to us the joy of our salvation when we fail You, and You hold us up by Your generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12). We can never thank You enough for the myriad of ways, which You prove Your love to each one of us individually. You always keeps us in the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 49:16). As long as we have Your love, it is enough to sustain us throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
In actuality, God is head over heals in love with us. – 1 John 4: 8-11