Take Courage

With persecution of Christians increasing in the world, including in the good ole USA which was founded on religious freedom, we have to remember that the main thing is still the main thing: God will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Regardless of how many God haters rise into power, God is still in control of our individual lives. Our fears and anxiety will only add to the stress and ill health caused by their persecution.

If we learn to enter God’s rest now, while we still have our freedoms, it will enable us to better traverse the unknown treatment, loss and deprivation which we may face in the future.

God reminds us that we are actually blessed when we are persecuted for His sake. We take courage from the example set by lives such as Paul and the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 5:10-12).

We rejoice, because although we may face scarcity now, we are storing up rewards in heaven for eternity. This concept allows us to rejoice and continue to serve as the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:12-15).

God uses us to preserve the lives and to light the path of those around us and to lead them to Him. When they see His love, peace and joy in our life, regardless of circumstances, they too will honor our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to take the focus off our self and to share Your love with those who are also suffering all around us. Remind us that the endurance of Christ fills our soul, because He abides within us. Any persecution is light and momentary when compared to the glory You prepared for us in Heaven.

As Your righteous ones, we live by faith and You preserve our soul, so there is no need for us to shrink back in fear but to continue to show Your love even to our persecutors (Hebrews 10:32-39).

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of those who are elected as our officials, how much power terrorists gain in the world or how many laws are passed against us expressing our faith with words, buildings, external crosses or religious trappings, nothing can separate us from the eternal rest and love of God dwelling within us. – Romans 8:35-39; Proverbs 21:1

Transforming Our Soul

Unbelievers are spiritually dead and do not understand the issues of God, because these truths are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). There is hostility between them and God, due to this spiritual divide (Romans 8:7).

Unbelievers tend to live either legalistic or hedonistic lives. They attempt to find fulfillment without God. When we share Christ with them, many reject Him and close their heart to His Truth.

Believers are alive with Christ, and forgiven of every sin we ever committed (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13-14). Through His death, we receive victory over every principality and power, including demonic strongholds (Colossians 2:15).

Anyone can accept Christ, live as a Believer and reap the rewards of Christ’s righteousness, rather than the consequences of unbelief and a sinful lifestyle (Galatians 6:9; John 3:16-18).

Christianity includes more than one hour of worship on Sunday morning. It involves a complete change in thinking and acting, from living a self-centered life to a Christ-centered existence.

Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:4). He changes us from the inside out…our soul’s transformation affects our outward behavior and appearance. Even our physical countenance improves due to His presence in our life.

We do not attempt to perfect our self before we come to Christ. Neither is there any deed, which we ever committed that is not already covered under His blood. His mercy and grace are complete.

However, this does not imply that our behavior is not important. Christ perfects us through sanctifying our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings, and gives us a way to escape every temptation the devil uses to cause our mortal flesh to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer:
Father God, we feel so privileged to live by Your Spirit and to belong to Your family as we further Your Kingdom on this earth. Thank You for saving us through the blood of Jesus and giving us Your Spirit to perfect us from the inside out and to conform us to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Remind us to walk away from any temptation to sin, so that we do not grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Help us to live an exemplary life so that others will see our good works and glorify You (Matthew 5:16). We love You with all of our heart, mind and strength, and we look forward to serving You for eternity (Luke 10:27).

Thought for the Day:
If we live in a lifestyle of any type of behavior, which the Bible calls sin, then we are not Born Again; because a Believer cannot live in sin, since the Holy Spirit within us is grieved by sin. – Romans 8:9; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:9

We Will See Jesus – Part 2

Many people find God after the failure of all of their hopes and dreams, health and wealth, loss of family and friends, etc. How much better it is to come to Christ humbly, without any loss at all.

If we seek God for our own rewards, we have not found Him. We find a false Christ, the devil in disguise, and our works will burn up in the Day of Judgment like wood, hay and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:12-13; Matthew 24:24).

If we resent the work we do for the Lord, it is clearly birthed from our human efforts and not by obedience to His Spirit. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty and peace (2 Corinthians 3:17).

God has no fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:6); so, when we indulge in sin, we separate our self from His life-giving presence (Romans 3:11). Yet, God became man to reconcile us back to Himself (Romans 5:10).

God humbled Himself and became lower than the angels in order to unite us forever with Himself (Hebrews 2:7). Turning in repentance from our carnal ways and walking in obedience to God’s Spirit is the guarantee that we will see Jesus (John 12:23).

In the disfiguring scourging, Christ no longer resembled a man. On the cross, He willingly gave His life for us all. Only in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ can we see the manifest essence of God (John 10:30).

Whatever we do, even as mundane as what we eat and drink, we do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). No illicit sexual relationship, no intoxicating drink and no unwholesome food enters our body, which is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Our ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God and to enjoy His attention on a continual basis as we walk in obedience with our entire body, soul and spirit. We find fulfillment in no other pursuit on this earth.

Prayer:

Father God, unless we become as little children, with simple trust and adoration for You, we will not enter Your Kingdom (Matthew 18:3). Our relationship with You is not some mystical union, but real and tangible in our spirit and soul (1 Corinthians 6:17).

As sinners, we recognize our need for salvation, and that redemption and sanctification only come through the presence of Christ in us (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). Our powerful revelation of who You are stirs our heart with joy and our tongue with praise (Psalm 126:2).

Thought for the Day:

We achieve the most for God in acts of obedience, rather than sacrifice.

– Ecclesiastes 5:1; Ephesians 2:10

Even Good People Fall Short

Many people base their righteousness on their thoughts, words and deeds. They are good people and they live an exemplary life with no overt issues, which would alert them to their sinful nature. Yet, even these model citizens must come to the place where their faith is based on what Jesus did for us, rather than on their self-righteousness.

Even good people sin in their heart (Matthew 15:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20). The inclination of the human heart, even from childhood, is to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Our spirit is dead at birth, and we have only a body and soul by which to relate to this world. We innately know that we are not complete; and we look to people, places and things to fill that void. This futile exercise is continually unsuccessful.

We end up weary and some contemplate suicide. Many people are too proud and self-righteous to call out to God for His salvation. Yet, anyone who does is Born Again in his/her Spirit. Our only requirements are to turn away from sin and to believe that Jesus died for us personally. Then, God molds us into His temple and dwells within us by His Holy Spirit.

We cannot earn our spot in heaven or our access to God. This requires perfection, and we all fall short of God’s perfect glory (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take the punishment for our sins and give us the free gift of His righteousness in exchange (Romans 6:23). God’s Spirit then leads us into all Truth and reminds us of His Word, which guides us throughout our lifetime (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:13, 14:26).

Prayer:
Father God, we are mere mortals and we are all born in Adam’s sin (Job 15:14). However, You fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Through the power of Your Trinity within us, we live victoriously as we walk in Your perfect plan for our life (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our carnal, worldly friends, relatives, associates and neighbors may attempt to draw us back into worldly pursuits; but as we focus on You, You keep us in Your perfect peace and on Your straight and narrow road (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 7:13-14). Thank You, that as we surrender our life exclusively to You, we reap Your rewards (Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We find the fulfillment and completion we long for through Christ in us, who is our only hope of a glorious life now and throughout eternity. – Colossians 1:27, 2:10