Hungry and Thirsty

Jesus proclaimed that we are blessed when we hunger and thirst after His holiness, because He shall fill us (Matthew 5:6). We hunger for spiritual meat and drink, rather than spiritual junk food.

Junk food gives us the false impression of being satisfied. We feel full and enjoy the taste; yet it leaves us lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, which our body needs to function.

The same is true spiritually. If we dabble in religion, we get fat and malnourished. Yet, if we respond to the Holy Spirit when He draws us to God, we are filled with His goodness (John 6:44).

When we hunger and thirst for God we find His blessings, peace, joy and love. He gives us His eternal perspective. We live to do only the will of God with our life.

We align our life with His Word and His Spirit, praising Him with unceasing songs, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:17-19). As a city sitting high on a hill, our light cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).

We are His Body and He works in and through us; continually drawing us to His side and filling us with His spiritual blessings and eternal presence (Ephesians 1:3).

We make a difference in our world, because we do the works of our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16; John 6:29). We see the fruit of our spiritual labors and we rejoice and are humbled to be of service to our King.

Prayer:
Father God, let our life be a shining light into the dark world around us. Help us to avoid sin at all cost and to live as a testimony of Your saving grace in our life. As we love You with all of our heart, remind us to lean on You and not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Remove any pride and rebellion from our life, which hinders us from obeying Your Word. Help us to walk in Your Spirit, to live the Christ life in this world, to follow where You lead us and to rejoice ever more in the center of Your will for each moment of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-28).

Thought for the Day:
We can trust in the Lord because we know His name, nature and character and realize that He never forsakes those who seek Him. – Psalm 9:10

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Focusing on Christ in Us

The Christian walk does not involve us living for Christ, but Christ living in and through us. We are not motivated by desires, obligations or expectations, but by the will of God.

We keep our focus on what Christ did for us on Calvary, and we no longer pursue this world or its benefits. We daily walk in God’s Spirit and live in the eternal realm now.

Grace overcomes the stress in our life and leads us to receive whatever God has in store for us each day. We live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Acts 17:28).

We surrender control over our life, as well as the outcome of our efforts, to Christ. Jesus keeps us in victory, even during negative issues, which we encounter.

God replaces our carnality with His spirituality, our flesh with His Spirit and our motivation and desires with His good, acceptable and perfect will for our life (Romans 12:2).

God’s guiding hand leads us by His Spirit and blesses us with the fruit of our labors in Him. As a new creature, we shed the weight of our carnality and walk in the newness of His life in us (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 128:2).

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for giving us a new nature through Christ in us by His redeeming work on Calvary’s cross. We no longer live in the flesh or pursue the issues of this world; because they have no more appeal to us.

Remind us that we died in Christ and we now abide in His resurrection power (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22). We live, move and have our being in Your Spirit, doing only those works, which You prepared for us before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
As we focus on Christ throughout our day, we do not have to make plans or provision; we simply follow His Spirit’s direction, as we obey through one word or action at a time, and He supplies all of our necessities and the direction, which we need.

A Life of Change

A relationship with Christ changes our whole life. Our nature, desires, friends, spirituality and lifestyle will all change. Sometimes, it even changes our address, family dynamics, church attendance, values, goals and dreams. The biggest change comes in the form of who we are. We are brethren, related to other Believers; and children of the Light, adopted into God’s family.

Satan attempts to convince us that we are still sinners. We even call our self “sinners, saved by grace.” This cripples our walk with God and keeps us tied to the earthly realm. Our focus is negative, which does not allow us to live in victory over sin. We subconsciously think that we have no recourse but to sin. Satan cripples our walk with this lie (John 10:10).

The devil wants us to believe that we have not changed, that God is not real and that the Christian walk is ridiculous or impossible. However, God is the author of sweeping transformation. He changes us at our very core, and His power has a positive effect on our daily walk, as well as our eternal destination. We can certainly resist sin, because it no longer appeals to us.

God turns us into Saints who walk away from sin and toward Christ. We leave a world that is dark in disobedience and deprivation and walk toward the light of the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). Our spirit, once dead in sin, is now Born Again (Colossians 2:13). We no longer struggle with our identity, because we see our self as a child of God (1 John 3:2). We have value in our relationship with Him.

Prayer:
Father God, when Christ moves into our life, He radically changes our motivation and behavior. Your Spirit gives us the desire and the power to walk in holiness (Philippians 2:12-13). Our character takes on Your divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The fruit of Your Spirit replaces the negative characteristics of our personality (Galatians 5:22-23). We live and move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
We build on salvation with sanctified living and we reach for the prize of the high calling of Christ. – Philippians 3:14

Feasting on God’s Word

I have spent the last few months gardening in containers, which are spaced throughout my tiny outside flower garden. Some plants did better than the others. My tomatoes flourished and are still producing juicy, rich tomatoes. The peppers did well and are still sparsely bearing fruit. However, the okra, squash, green beans, celery and onions all failed to generate any usable fruit.

This reminds me of Jesus’ parable concerning the four types of soil: some seed fell upon the path, others among the thorns, many within the rocks and then just a few on the good soil. If the ground is hard, thorny or rocky, there is no room for the roots. It is only in the garden of prepared soil that a plant can take hold and grow to full maturity.

Similarly, our spiritual food is found in the rich depths of the Word of God. The only way to withstand the winds of adversity or the scorching trials and temptation we encounter in this life is to have our roots sunk deeply into a spiritually fertile environment. Jesus said that we will know His disciples by their fruit.

If His disciples are to produce fruit, they need good, rich, tilled, spiritually fertilized soil. As we receive God’s Word with conviction and repentance, we are ready to receive the proper nourishment. We feast on God’s Word, reading it every day to prepare the soil, so that we will bloom where God plants us.

Many of today’s churches are barren wastelands with nothing spiritually nutritious to offer the Believer. They focus on providing glitz and glitter to attract people, and then they supply only spiritual junk food, rather than wholesome nourishment. However, God is still raising up an army of teachers with every generation – those people who faithfully sow the seeds of the truth of God’s Word.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to feast on Your Word throughout the day. We eat three physical meals a day, and we need at least that many spiritual meals in order to have a healthy spirit and an intimate relationship with You. Provide us with teachers who seek You in prayer before they share Your Word. Lead us to a caring and loving fellowship of Believers. Even in these end times, please keep a remnant of spiritual teachers, preaching Your truth on which we can feast, Biblical principles, which enable us to bear much fruit.

Thought for the Day:
A lifetime commitment to feast on God’s Word gives us the spiritual strength to minister for Him in every area in which He calls us.
– Ephesians 2:10

Drawing Near to God

The world in which we live, and everyone in it, is held captive by sin. However, through faith in Jesus Christ we are given God’s promised salvation (Galatians 3:22-23). Now, with a sincere heart, we can draw near to God. Our mind, sprinkled by the blood of Christ, is cleansed from a guilty conscience and the pure water of God’s Word washes us clean (Hebrews 10:22).

We can only abide in God after we first seek Him and His Kingdom, and live in the truth that He lives in and through us. He will never, ever, for any reason leave us (Hebrews 13:5). As we wait on Him day by day, He grants us the grace to abide in Him. We rejoice in His fellowship and we work in His power. We completely give up our self to Him and live by faith in His faithfulness.

God allows trials to test our faith, which increases our perseverance through them (James 1:3). Thankfully, Jesus is both the developer and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Even the prophets of old knew that the righteous live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4: Romans 1:17). Since Jesus’ faith and Spirit abide within us, we multiply the works of Christ on this earth (John 14:12).

The core truths of God’s Word energize the authentic Christian and thrill our soul. First and foremost, we wait on the Lord, we live in His presence continually and we enter into His eternal rest on a daily basis. Once we completely surrender to Christ, God takes us up spiritually into His Holy Temple (2 Corinthians 5:1). We abide in His rest, and all of our work on earth is done only through Him.

Prayer:
Father God, even if other people refuse to believe in You, their unbelief does not make our faith in You worthless (Romans 3:3). Through the blood of Jesus, we become Your righteousness, and You wipe away our sins through Your love and forbearance (Romans 3:25). Help us not to grow weary or to lose faith in Your promises, but to remain strong in Christ’s faith in us, as we give You all of the glory (Romans 4:20).

Thought for the Day:
We are justified and reconciled to God by faith, not by our own good deeds. – Romans 3:28, 4:14; Ephesians 2:8-9

The Tyranny of Self-Effort

Our human effort can never produce spirituality. No amount of carnal exertion, ceremonies, rituals or precepts can govern the spiritual world. Repentance is the first step to true spirituality. This humbles us and allows God into our life. The more we worship our Creator and King, the more spirituality we encourage in our life. This creates a new attitude and mind-set in us.

God gives us gifts to use to minister to the lost and dying world around us (1 Corinthians 12:4). We testify to others about what God does in our life. Many will turn a deaf ear, because their life is ruled by the tyranny of self-effort. However, some who are tired of servitude to the dictates of the flesh will be ready to surrender their life to God and to enjoy His love and blessings like we do.

The steady habitation of our spirit by the Spirit of God gives us peace and joy, which transcends what the world and its religions can offer to us. Our connection to God becomes our foremost priority. We deepen our relationship through prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Believers and Christian service in our community. We encounter God’s hand in our life through many significant ways.

God cares about us. He even lived in human form and suffered in every area in which we do (1 Peter 2:21-22; Hebrews 4:15). God cannot fellowship with sin, so we must not grieve His Spirit with our carnality and self-effort (Habakkuk 1:13; Ephesians 4:30). God’s Spirit continually transforms us with the mind of Christ. If we give our constant attention to His will and ways in our life, we will sense God’s powerful presence.

Prayer:

Father God, we relinquish every area of our life, which serves as a distraction to us from following You with our whole heart. We confess every sin, which stands between Your heart and ours. We trust in Your faithfulness and surrender our anxieties and stress to You for Your miraculous healing and provision. Remind us not to allow the cares of this world to choke out our focus on You (Mark 4:19).

Thought for the Day:

A personal encounter with God on a daily basis will free us from the tyranny of self-effort.

Spiritual Pursuits

Most people never give much attention to spiritual pursuits, and they allow the requirements of life to push and pull them through their day. Denying their flesh never enters their mind and they cater to their glutinous habits in every area of life. They even resist all opportunities to deny their self or to pursue spirituality. Disillusioned with life, they permit bitterness to defile them. They harbor unforgiveness towards others, as well as toward their self.

There are a multitude of distractions in today’s world, which keep us from pursuing a deeper walk in Christ. The world, the flesh and the devil do everything in their powers to sidetrack us from a holy walk of obedience. Trivial pursuits, negative emotions, misplaced priorities, worldly ambition, work-related burdens, school demands, fleshly temptations and family obligations all require our time and energy and pull us away from God. God has a solution to this dilemma.

He sent the Holy Spirit to help us to draw near to Him, so we can resist the devil and his demons until they flee from us (James 4:7). The Spirit also directs us to evade disruptions. He helps us to plan the minutes of our day to accomplish the works God created for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Once we allow the Sprit to guide us, the temptations of sin no longer appeal to us (Galatians 5:16-25). God’s Spirit enables us to walk in holiness and to make a difference for Christ in the world.

Our righteousness is based on Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross, not on our own effort to win His favor (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23). We do not use self-effort to reach holiness, but we are Spirit-led through each moment of our day (Titus 3:5). We live in victory over sin and death and in the hope of our resurrection with Christ from the dead (1 John 5:4; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; 1 Peter 1:3). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are no longer satisfied with the mediocre life of sin and deprivation.

Prayer:
Father God, we commune with You in our spirit, and we walk by the direction of Your Spirit each moment of our day. We find our self reaping rewards of fulfillment and satisfaction because our schedule works like clockwork. We experience a freedom that we never had when we lived by the dictates of our fleshly, carnal nature. Remind us how much You love us and help us to make You the top priority of our day.

Thought for the Day:
We never please God more than when we make Him our priority and follow the leading of His Spirit moment by moment throughout our day.