My Hiding Place

I have a secret hiding place. It is my safe house, my shelter and fortress, my place of rest and rejoicing. Whenever my soul is afraid, I run into it and find safety, balance and serenity.

My secret hiding place is called the spirit of man (1 Corinthians 2:11). Prior to our coming to Christ, this safe place is all boarded up and inaccessible. Sin destroyed it and it is uninhabitable.

Yet, when we surrender our life wholly to God, our spirit is born again. We meet God there. From the moment of our salvation, He dwells with us in our spirit by His Holy Spirit and He never leaves (Romans 8:9, 16; Hebrews 13:5).

As we mature in our walk with God, we no longer live through our body or soul – our mind, choices and emotions. We do not depend on our human skills, talents or capabilities, but we give God full reign in our life.

We walk this earth in our body in union with God’s Spirit who abides within us; but we function in life through our spirit rather than our body and soul (1 Corinthians 3:16).

God still uses our body and soul for His purposes in the earth. He transforms our personality and capabilities and makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We are no longer tied to the earthly realm, influenced by sin and hindered by human insufficiency. Our external world my fall down around our ears, or people and experiences may attack our thoughts or emotions; but like Paul, we rejoice in the tribulation.

We experience life from our safe place: our spirit within us (Galatians 5:25). Our carnality is dead and it is no longer us, but Christ who lives in and through us (Colossians 3:3).

We are controlled, guided and filled through our entire being with all of the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19). We experience eternal life as a reality even now, by intimately knowing the only true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent (John 17:3).

Prayer:
Father God, due to Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, we can leave behind the cares of this temporal world and touch the glories of Heaven. Our spirit is filled with Your Spirit and we feel safe and right at home there (Revelation 3:20). We live in step with Your Spirit from within our spirit, separated from our body and soul and viewing them as from a distance.

Regardless of what the world, the devil or our flesh attempt to entice us to participate in, or the amount of pain and grief they try to distract us with, they have no effect on us or lure for us, because we live in our spirit by Your Spirit and no longer through our flesh.

Thought for the Day:
Christ is our whole life and we live by His faith; He gave Himself for us, because He loves us completely and unconditionally.
– Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is made without human hands and includes every person who humbles him or herself under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-9; James 4:10).

Salvation gives us the keys to the Kingdom, as coheirs with Christ (Matthew 16:19; Romans 8:17). We inherit everything God gave to Jesus through His obedience on the cross.

Kingdom living affords us serenity and contentment, in spite of our trials. We learn to give thanks to God our Father regardless of our circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 4:12, James 1:2).

Dwelling in the Kingdom of God on this earth guarantees that we will flourish in the true riches of life. We love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, body and strength; and He works out every issue for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

In God’s Kingdom, Christ loves the church as a husband should love his wife (Ephesians 5:22-32). Our marriage vows signify to both mates an indissoluble pledge, which divorce-proofs our relationship.

This way, our children recognize our genuine faith and see the hand of God in our life. This causes them to want these same blessings in their life as well.

They marry Godly mates and raise our grandchildren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Psalm 145:11-13). They enjoy the continual blessings of living in God’s Kingdom.

Often, God will lead us by His Spirit in ways that do not make human sense. His ways are higher than ours and He has an eternal purpose for us regardless of our earthly circumstances.

This requires that we relinquish our human effort and understanding in order to continue doing His Kingdom work. When we please God in all of our ways, He makes even our enemies to dwell in peace with us (Proverbs 16:7).

Prayer:
Father God, You rule over all the kingdoms of this world from Your throne in Heaven (Psalm 47:7-8). All greatness, power, glory, honor, victory and majesty belong to You. Everything in heaven and on earth belong to You. You provide us with esteem and wealth, power and productivity, strength and success (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).

We are so glad that Your Kingdom abides forever and ever, and that we will spend eternity in Your physical presence as well as Your spiritual presence, which we enjoy now (Psalm 9:7, 45:6, 103:19). Thank You for Christ in us and for placing us in Christ, to completely surround and immerse us in His presence.

Thought for the Day:
God’s dominion is from generation to generation since the beginning of time and His everlasting Kingdom endures forever and ever. – Daniel 4:34-35

To Burn Brighter Still

We often encounter winds of adversity in our life. Satan means for them to snuff out our light; but God is faithful – not only to give us grace to withstand the storms, but also to allow them to help us to burn brighter still.

We may experience discomfort from a fiery trial, a disappointing loss or a daunting challenge; but we will always have light, because the Son within us never fades.

It is human nature to respond to adversity by fighting back or by grumbling and complaining. In resorting to this negative behavior, we actually lose our serenity altogether.

Even through circumstances, which rage out of our control, God provides a place of rest for us (Hebrews 4:11). The key is to patiently accept that He has everything under His control.

As the Great Physician, our Father God often applies His scalpel to some part of our life that is sick or diseased. He makes a clean cut and leaves no scar. Though He wounds, He will never break (Matthew 12:20).

He only operates when it is absolutely necessary, and when He knows it is for our ultimate, overall good health. He uses life’s circumstances as His surgical tools to remove dead weight from our life.

He may remove some cherished person, home, job, etc, but He knows the plans He has for our future (Jeremiah 29:11), and what He chooses to remove is not part of those plans.

When we realize the truth that God is always constant and sheds His love and wisdom on us regardless of our circumstances, we learn to be content in whatever condition we find our self (Philippians 4:11-13).

This way, we will never experience the depression of hopes dashed against the cold reality of a faded dream. Instead, we will rest in the solid constancy of a never changing Son who never fails us nor forsakes us (Isaiah 60:20; Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, sometimes, we foolishly fill the void in our life with earthly treasures. We play the game of “if only.” “If only I could have this possession or that person, I’d be complete.” Remind us that even when we attain our heart’s desire, the newness eventually wears off, the meaning evaporates and we are empty once again.

Help us to see that it is only when we completely surrender to Christ in our life, and when we do not try to replace Him with earthly treasures, that we remain happy and fulfilled with true joy now and throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
Whatever we cherish as the desire of our heart is actually our god; if Jesus is our purest desire, we will feel the fulfillment, which only comes when we live a life entirely surrendered to the will of God.

God is Our Defense

There is little to no peace or security in our current world economy and civilization. We never know what catastrophe the news will publicize with the rising of the sun. The atrocities we humans perpetrate on one another are unthinkable; yet, they happen every day. Since sin entered the picture through Adam and Eve, wickedness abounds (Matthew 24:12).

The pride, selfishness and rebellion of the human heart allow sin to perpetuate throughout every generation (Romans 8:6). In some twisted way, people who are hurting will hurt other people to try to alleviate their own pain. Even if we distance our self from those who hurt us, we will only find true peace when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ and forgive our enemies (Philippians 4:4-8).

Trusting God, with gratitude in our heart and on our lips for all He already did for us, will allow us to transcend the daily grind of life and move us into the realm of viewing life from an eternal perspective. Then the peace of God, which cannot be found in the world or by thinking about carnal aspects of life, will flood our soul with serenity (John 14:27).

We will experience peace, even in the most horrific earthly trials, as we draw near to God and put our complete faith in His faithfulness (1 Peter 2:23). We gain our perspective by focusing on Jesus’ example through His betrayal, persecution, crucifixion and resurrection. He teaches us to suffer victoriously and He reminds us that Heaven awaits us in all of its glory (Hebrews 12:2).

God is our defense, no matter what we experience or how people treat us. If we trust in Him, live for Him and love Him with our whole being, He turns everything around for our ultimate good (Psalm 94:22; Romans 8:28). As we experience God’s will in the mundane circumstances of our day, we will also sense His presence during our trials. Christ in us will overcome obstacles for us and He will get all of the glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, Your family is not a select race of perfectly mature and spiritual people, but it includes the outcast, the weak, the broken-hearted and the infirmed. You do not exclude anyone who calls on Your name for salvation, regardless of our human heritage or accomplishments. We are no longer strangers, but are included in Your family (Ephesians 2:19-22). The weary and distressed find rest under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91: 1,4).

Thought for the Day:
God is our only defense and our rock of refuge. – Psalm 94:22

Receiving God’s Love

I grew up and then married into homes with conditional love. As a child, I wished on the first star every night that I would be good, so my parents would love me. As a young bride, I tried to do everything my husband wanted, so I would earn his appreciation and love. As a baby Christian, I made continual lists of every commandment, which I discovered in God’s Word, so that I could earn God’s love.

I strove for half my life to win approval from those I loved. It was ten years after I came to Christ that I finally realized that God’s love is not only a free and unconditional gift, but that it also lasts forever (1 John 3:1). We trust in God’s love for Salvation, and we can trust in His love for every area of our life (Psalm 86:14; Galatians 3:1-3).

We do not need to spend time or energy on trying to earn God’s love (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). Even when we were dead in sin, God’s great mercy and love reached out and saved us (Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 4:9-11). Nothing in heaven or earth can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We are crucified with Christ and He loves us too, and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).

We cannot be good enough, holy enough or spiritual enough to deserve God’s love (Hebrews 4:9-12). It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). If the Christian walk depended on us, then we would have no need for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. As we allow the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit to fill our soul and spirit to the point of saturation, we bask in the Sonshine of His love.

Prayer:
Father God, as baby Christians, we continue to experience negative thoughts and attitudes, but we want to have Your mind within us. Remind us to set our boundaries to protect us from the negative people in our lives that tear us down (1 Corinthians 11:1). Please bring us to a place of inner healing and help us to walk in complete serenity through faith in Your goodness (Jobs 34:19). You live in us, rejoice over us with joy, quiet us by Your love and exult over us with singing (Zephaniah 2:17). You diminish all of our fears and insecurities, because You care about us (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Thought for the Day:
Since God in us is love, we can love and forgive our self and love one another. – 1 John 4:7-8

Not My Will, but Yours

Life often requires a balancing act. We find ourselves thrown off center by confusion or a catastrophe, which comes when we least expect it. Our normal peaceful life spins out of control. Each compartment of our life, which we meticulously created to provide us with security and a safe haven, suddenly tilts to one side.

We feel disoriented, insecure and fearful. Reacting with negative emotions can create even more problems. We panic and make poor decisions. We hectically, yet unsuccessfully, try to manage the disruptive people and events in our life in an attempt to make us feel safe again, but this never helps. In fact, it usually increases our anxiety, when these people react to the frustration we create in their lives.

Part of the problem occurs when we acquire more possessions than we need. Our life slowly sinks under a burden of stress created by trying to pay for this accumulation. Another factor comes if we lean toward making sinful decisions, because we end up reaping what we sow. A third aspect transpires when we tip under the weight of the demands, which others place on us.

So, let’s simplify our life. We can sell unnecessary possessions and discipline our spending habits, make wiser choices in the future and maintain a life of purity and serenity. We can also simplify time and energy, which other people demand from us, by doing on that which God’s Spirit directs us to do for them. Peace comes when we trust God to order our lives (James 1:2-4).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, as we walk the tightrope of life, help us to focus on the equilibrium You provide for us within each moment that we live, rather than focusing on the spinning details of our negative circumstances (Hebrews 12:2). Life wavers like the ocean, with a continuous ebb and flow, but You give us the words of the prayer, which never fails: “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42-43)

Thought for the Day:
When we trust God more and strive less, serenity seeps into every area of our life, no matter how the circumstances play out around us.

Waiting Patiently on the Lord

In the spiritual life, we can actually cherish our human weaknesses, because they keep us humble. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). He provides eternal blessings to those willing to give up everything in our life, which we value more than Him. (Matthew 13:45-46). He helps us to die to the temptations of our flesh and to walk in His mercy and power.

 

Self-sufficiency is the enemy of the Cross of Calvary. It prefers to struggle along, pulling itself up by it bootstraps and muddling through life in human reasoning and flesh. Once we come to realize our total impotence and insufficiency, we are able to lay our flesh on the altar of God and gain His forgiveness, regeneration and authority in exchange.

 

In this place of total surrender to Christ, we find His power to allow Him to accomplish all things in and through us (Philippians 2:13, 4:13). We are crucified with Christ and He abides in us (Galatians 2:20). We enter His rest and live, move and have our being from this place of serenity and love in Him (Acts 17:28). Our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – enter His rest, and our hope comes only from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

Hoping in the Lord, we are never put to shame (Psalm 25:3; 31:24). He exalts us and we inherit His Kingdom (Psalm 37:34). We wait on the Lord with courage and He strengthens our heart (Psalm 27:14). Waiting takes patience and most human beings lack patience; especially in today’s instant society, where we get everything we want at the push of a button.

 

As we envision our self dead in the tomb and then risen with our glorious Lord, we live each day in the realm of the Holy Spirit. Nothing of this world holds any value to us any more. We put Christ as our first priority and we place our total focus on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Living in the power of His resurrection, we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day. 

 

Prayer:

Father God, waiting on You with patience reaps so many rewards for us. You avenge our wrongs (Proverbs 20:22). You save us and we rejoice in You and Your salvation (Isaiah 25:9). You are good to those who hope in You and who seek Your face (Lamentations 3:25). Teach us to make You the priority of every moment of our day and to seek Your will for each of them.

 

Thought for the Day:

God hears the prayers and gives His attention to those who patiently wait on Him with their whole being. – Psalm 40:1; 130:5