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?

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Serving in the Body of Christ

The Body of Christ is too busy for its own good. We neglect our Lord and one another, because we make our own pursuits more important than God’s will for our life (1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 2:10).

The government took over so many of our ministries, because the needs went unmet. Take, for instance, the care of our elderly. They go unvisited and feel unwanted, because we do not make them a priority in our churches.

Elderly Saints, who ministered for the Lord all of their life, need and deserve our attention. Rides to doctor appointments, visits, taking someone out to lunch, cards, phone calls and praying for one another are just a few ways that we can minister to our elderly.

Parents are so busy today that children’s workers in the Body of Christ can fill in the gaps and encourage our children to grow up in service to God. Many adults give their children and youth leaders credit for their dedication to God. We influence eternity by our service to children now.

However, caring for the children attending our churches is another neglected ministry. We already raised our children, or we are in the process of raising them, and we want nothing to do with children’s ministries in the Body of Christ.

Single parents need the most help. We can babysit to give these parents a chance to allow their Inner Child to play. Gifting these hardworking parents with a certificate to go out to eat or to buy whatever they need at a retail store is also helpful on their tight budget.

Many churches end up hiring people in order to have someone committed to the children, since very few people will commit to this ministry. Our children need Godly authority, responsibility, approval and nurturing in the same way which God relates to us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

If we all band together, the care required in these vital ministries will not be a burden on any one person, but will be a blessing for everyone involved (Romans 15:7).

We can make time for God and His Body as a priority in our schedule. Before we do anything, we consult the Lord and live each moment in His perfect will for us (Ephesians 2:10). While living by the Spirit, we will all function as a valuable member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to love Your Body as You love us. Allow us to be Your ambassadors to Your Body. Unconditional love and acceptance gives Your Body the assurance we all crave as human beings, regardless of our age or social/economic status. Remind us to give one another grace in our failings and to encourage one another in our successes.

Give us listening ears and the ability to recognize body language in order to be present with one another, rather than taking each other for granted. Help us to make one another feel safe to share our issues with each other, so we can bear each other’s burdens as You expect us to do (Galatians 6:2).

Thought for the Day:
If Satan can keep us in bondage to our failures, he cripples us in our service to God and His Body; as we learn to nurture and forgive our self, we will have an increased ability to accept, nurture, affirm and forgive one another. – Mark 12:30-31

Living in Contentment

As we live in the presence of God, and enjoy the still, quiet moments of our devotion time each day, then our schedule, to-do lists and responsibilities fade into the background of our mind.

Cleansing our soul and life, of dead works and all negative emotions, enables us to freely hear God’s voice. Unhindered by the destructive influence of the devil’s lies, we walk in the Spirit. ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

Continually praising God for His provision in our life teaches us gratitude for what we have, which overshadows our longings for what we do not have. We learn contentment at His feet (Philippians 4:11).

While we praise God for who He is, for His blessings and for His perfect plan for our life, we consult Him throughout our day and hear His will for each moment of our life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This way, when work deadlines, emotional turmoil in our family, rushed schedules, slander and false accusation, and a lack of fulfillment in our life all upset our sense of stability, we have God’s Spirit to return our soul and spirit to peace and rest (Hebrews 10:4).

Once we learn to live in the gratification and fulfillment, which walking in the Spirit afford us, we never go back (Galatians 5:15-25). If life pulls us from the shelter of God’s wings, we scurry back under the shadow of our Almighty God (Psalm 91:1,4).

We accomplish more in our day under the instruction of God’s Spirit than by the direction of all of our lists, calendar reminders and sticky notes. The light of God’s Son brightens each step of our way (John 14:6).

Prayer:
Father God, draw us to Your side and never let us go. Wrap us in Your everlasting arms and help us to experience the contentment of living in Your presence (Deuteronomy 33:27). Lead us to accomplish Your will, rather than our will, for every moment of our day.

Remind us to look for divine appointments to share Your love with people we meet. Help us never to look past someone who may need Your light in their life, simply because we are too busy. Our days are numbered, and we want to live each one of them in the center of Your will (Job 14:5; Psalm 39:4).

Thought for the Day:
As we contentedly dwell in the Kingdom of God and seek His will for each moment of our life, God provides for all of our needs. – Luke 12:31-32

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Living in this world apart from Christ is wearisome at best. There is always something negative happening to us in some way or another: financial, physical, relational, mental, emotional, etc. We struggle from day to day and almost never awaken without some trepidation over what will happen to us next. Trouble even seems to happen in “threes.” We are always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

We try to climb the corporate ladder in order to provide our family with as much security as we can. We compromise our quality family time in order to work overtime to bring home more money. We often work two or three jobs in order to give our children more than we had when we were growing up. We fall into the trap of buying them the latest toy on the market at inflated prices.

This schedule produces even more health, mental, emotional and relational problems. Some of us even work our self into an early grave. We resemble the hamster on the little metal wheel, going round and round, but never really getting anywhere. We amass material possessions, but they keep breaking down or coming out with an updated model, so that we feel the need to get a new one.

When we come to Christ and entirely surrender to Him, we begin living in His perfect plan for our life. We no longer fear the next shoe dropping, because it usually ends up being a glass slipper with King Jesus using the entire event to provide us with a special place in His Kingdom along with miraculous blessings through every negative event (Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:19).

Prayer:
Father God, the life You give to us in Christ supplies us with joy and peace, which transcends all human reason (Philippians 4:7). We are blessed when we trust in You, so we place our confidence in You. You plant us like a tree by Your streams of living water, and our spirit has constant nourishment. We do not fear whatever life throws at us, and we flourish no matter what happens to us (Jeremiah 17:7-8). You put Your plans in our heart and bring them to fruition, as we walk in Your Spirit (Psalm 20:4; Galatians 5:15-26). You sustain us, bless us and shine Your favor on us. You are always gracious to us and You keep Your eye on us, so that we walk in Your peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, we no longer fear trials or difficulties because we know they hold the seed for a miracle, which will surely happen.

Alone With God

How often do we plan to spend some time alone with God, and some earthly distraction looms before us, demanding our undivided attention? We look wistfully at our little prayer chair or prayer closet or secret place and feel the draw of God’s Spirit on our spirit. However, the world pulls our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – away from our Beloved Father.

Whenever God claims our attention, Satan makes sure that our mind wanders and our affections are torn. We cannot even finish the train of thought in our prayers before demonic activity highjacks our attention. God longs to liberate us from the demands of our temporal life and to set us free to soar with Him in the spiritual realm. He wants to remove us from our busyness and give us His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

Martha, Jesus’ friend, was distracted by the duties in her world too. She demanded that Jesus order Mary, her sister, to help her to get dinner ready. Jesus told Martha that Mary already chose the best course for her time. There would be plenty of opportunities for domestic activity when Jesus was not in their presence (Luke 10:42). Our duties are always with us too; so schedule time alone with God.

God wants our undivided, focused attention with our vision and thoughts on nothing other than His face. Then God comforts us, inspires us, directs us and loves on us from the depths of our soul. We must jealously guard this time, setting it aside every day or even several times a day. We also commune with God without ceasing all throughout our day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You call some of us to the ministry of intercession, and Your Spirit prompts us to lift up certain ones in prayer. Yet, we also spend alone time with You, because in Your presence is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11). You mold us by Your grace and replace our carnal flesh with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). As we contemplate Your glory, You shape us into the image of Christ, our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Thought for the Day:
Much is accomplished in the spiritual realm when we make the time to spend in the presence of God.

Marital Wisdom

The Bible is a complete marriage manual, which God provided for us to use. It covers every little detail and even suggests consequences for a man who fails to follow its precepts (1 Peter 3:7). A man needs to listen to his wife and take her seriously (Colossians 3:19). If she mentions his inconsiderate habits, he can change them (Proverbs 28:13).

 

As the stronger vessel, he can carry heavy items or open the door for her, especially if she has both hands full (1 Peter 3:7).  He assists in the care of their children by helping with homework, enforcing table manners and supervising bath and bedtime (Galatians 6:2). He helps with the laundry, dishes and vacuuming, especially if she also works a full-time job (Ephesians 5:28). Above all, he speak kindly to her (Colossians 3:19).

 

Resentment will foster irritation, anger and impatience in your tone of voice and body language; so keep a short account of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Sometimes you may not even know what is causing these negative emotions, so take time to pray about it. Do not withhold physical attention from one another, except for a consensual time of prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians 7:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:4).

 

Not many men will neglect their own body, and God commands men to care for their wife’s need with as much consideration as they have for their own needs (Ephesians 5:28). A godly husband honors his wife and appreciates all that she does for him and his family. He ministers to his wife’s body, spirit and soul – her mind, will and emotions, in the same way that Christ cherishes His Bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-23).

 

Leave love notes, phone messages, emails, texts and little gifts to remind your wife that you cherish her. Spend time together having fun. Schedule a date night into your weekly calendar and guard it fiercely. Make one another your main priority. Ask what you can do to help each other every day. Pray together and submit to one another as joint heirs to the grace of life (Ephesians 5:21).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach each husband to shepherd his wife and children as the loving caretaker of their body, soul and spirit, considering his family’s needs above his own, laying down his life for his loved ones as Christ did for His Bride (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 5:25).

 

Remind all wives to give their full attention to their husband and to listen to him daily and show joy over his victories and concern about his setbacks. Teach her to show respect and appreciation for him for all that he does for their family and home (Ephesians 5:33). Help each couple to work together to raise their children in Your nurture and counsel.

 

Thought for the Day:

Take time in your marriage to nourish and cherish one another. – Ephesians 5:29