Be Holy as God is Holy

God calls each one of us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). As we face our flesh with each new morning, this appears to be a daunting task. Our temptations and carnal desires sometimes get the best of us.

I hear Christians saying that it is too hard to be holy, and that Jesus had an advantage over us. This is true according to humanistic thinking, but not according to Biblical principles.

Jesus was half God and half man, since God’s Spirit conceived Him in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35). He was filled with God’s Spirit each moment of the day. When his human flesh was tempted, He had the God half to keep him perfect.

We have the same opportunity to walk in holiness. When we come to Christ, His Spirit moves right in. Our body is His temple and He fills us through all of our being with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Satan’s temptations cause us to sin and to live apart from God. The price of sin is degradation and loss. Pleasure for a moment reaps for us shame and often deplorable living conditions.

However, God gives us a way to escape every temptation, which we will ever experience (1 Corinthians 10:13). As we submit to Christ in us, and walk by His Spirit’s direction, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The entire power of the Godhead, the Trinity, dwells within us (Colossians 2:9). We are free from the power of sin, and we are made to walk in new life through Christ in us (Romans 6:6-8).

Christ in us is our eternal hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Although our body is still perishing due to Adam’s sin, God’s Spirit in us gives us both life and righteousness (Romans 8:10).

God strengthens us with His power through His Spirit in our soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:16). Our hope in Him is the firm and secure anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You that Christ exchanges His holiness for our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Remind us that our witness for You depends on our righteous walk in this world. Non-Christians watch us, even when we do not realize it. Our attitude each day, and even during trials, will speak more to them than all the words we could ever preach to them.

As Your Body, the people who work in children’s ministry will impact the children in their sphere of influence; and then, these children will affect the lives of countless people during their lifetime, because of Christ in us. Even as we minister to adults, we help them to grow in their devotion to and knowledge of You. Helps us to be holy, even as You are Holy.

Thought for the Day:
As our soul yearns for God in the night, our spirit within us diligently seeks Him; and when His judgments come upon the earth, all of the inhabitants of the world learn to walk in righteousness. – Isaiah 26:9

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All Things Through Christ IN Us

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we put the emphasis on our self. WE can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

Let us quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength to obey.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser created us to bear (John 15:1).

We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). His perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony.

This way we cannot either take any credit for our accomplishments or feel as if we are incapable of acting on the Holy Spirit’s direction. We gain our direction from Christ in us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:27).

Christ abides within us from the instant of our salvation and throughout our lifetime (Matthew 28:20). God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which He allows to come our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25).

Nothing will occur in our life, which is not part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will. Since Christ dwells within us, we can do everything, which God calls us to do.

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for every

contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we come to know You in a deeper relationship, we rely on Christ as our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You, as You direct our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to live beyond human reason, as we receive His divine revelation for each moment of our day.

Love in Marriage

Marriage is defined as a union of two individuals. God phrases it as two becoming one. This means that we no longer strive to please our self, but to submit to one another as joint heirs to the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 3:7). We no longer promote our own agenda, but meld our ideas to formulate a new way of life, which meets both of our needs.

When one person in the couple gives more than the other person, there is an inequity in both power and fulfillment. This imbalance will throw off the symmetry of the relationship and fuel negative emotions, which destroy intimacy. If undetected or not dealt with, these feelings will erode even the best of relationships.

In a Godly marriage, both partners build up one another up in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11), bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2), help to carry each other’s burdens (Colossians 3:13), edify each other rather than to criticize or tear one another down (Ephesians 4:29) and find God’s will for your marriage by praying together and seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction (Jude 1:20).

We all need praise, affirmation, love, appreciation and support. No one likes to be taken for granted, discounted or neglected. We often get too focused on work, children, church activities and community involvement and end up disregarding our mate and family. This is as much of a betrayal as infidelity. Make your mate a priority, second only to God. Spend time as a family and bond with love for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, You knew us and had every day of our life planned out before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). You gave woman to man as a helpmate. Teach us to value each other’s opinions, because there are many bad decisions, which could have been avoided if a couple discussed and prayed about it prior to carrying it out. Help us to avoid blaming and criticizing and to accept one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies.

Thought for the Day:
Financial, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual fidelity is the key to marital success.

Scattered Leaves

Last week, I watched my neighbor rake the scattered leaves into mounds around his yard and then bag them. The next morning a new carpet of leaves coated his grass. Enthusiastically, he cleared the yard again. Yet, the following morning the same sight greeted my eyes with the dawning light!

I do not know how he had the joy and energy to repeat this process for an entire fall. I get tired of dealing with life’s little repetitive problems, especially when the same problems persist endlessly. I do not mind the new challenges, which I face with the dawn of each morning; but the petty, mindless problems wear my patience thin!

We often put our self in situations outside of the will of God for our life. We rush headlong into the circumstance without one prayer. At other times, God Himself sends scattered trials, to remind us to depend on Him. Once the situation resolves, we often realize that the trials were seeds for a miracle, which worked out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Hindsight teaches us that many, various experiences are a needful part of God’s plan and purpose for our life. God also teaches us patience, which He uses to perfect us (James 1:4). In the midst of our complaining, the Lord reminds us that we shall reap, if we do not get weary while we do good in His name and by His Spirit’s direction.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that if we were to stop “raking” the “yard”, which You give us, the new “green sprouts” beneath the “leaves” would die and fail to germinate in the “spring.” The “leaves” of circumstances would hinder the new growth in our spirit and soul from sprouting and reaching the life-giving Son they need for nourishment.
Lord, if we continue to trust You through the mundane issues we face each and every day, we will eventually see the fruit of our labors. Then, when we reach eternity we will hear You say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Thought for the Day:
Life flows more smoothly when we give thanks to God in everything, because we serve at our King’s pleasure.