Pleasing Our Father

As parents we often have unrealistic goals for all of our children. We want each one of them to succeed in scholarship, sports, social status and personal relationships.

We may want them to succeed in an area in which we failed or were not allowed to participate. This activity may not even interest them by any stretch of the imagination; however, we push them to excel where we could not.

However, no two people are ever alike. God created each of us with our own bent toward the gifts and talents, which He equipped us with in order to walk in His will (Ephesians 2:10).

To force our child to play ball rather than to follow the desire to read, to read and listen to classical music in place of playing in a rock band, or to sculpt and draw instead of butting heads with a quarterback is thwarting God’s purpose for their life.

We may have an ancestral home or family business that we cannot wait to share with our progeny, when in reality God is calling them to the far reaches of the world as missionaries.

Our dream may include our child studying as a doctor or lawyer, in order to have the financial means for their family that we were not able to provide for ours.

However, our children are just on loan to us from our Heavenly Father and His will for them is much better than our desires for them will ever be.

God does call us as faithful stewards over our children’s lives, to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), to give them a solid foundation in God’s Word (Deuteronomy 11:19) and to teach them by our example to walk in God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, You do not care about how much we do for You, because You desire that we walk in Your Spirit. You do not want us to depend on our good works to earn a place in heaven, because You already reserved a place for us through Christ’s sacrifice.

In order to please You, all we need to do is have faith in Your faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6). You created us with a purpose and desire for nothing more from us or our children than to walk in Your will for our life.

Thought for the Day:
As children of our Father God, we please Him by obeying His Word in total surrender to His will for our life.

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Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

Transformed Life

We often measure our success by our accomplishments. We crave the affirmation of our parents and peers. When we do not receive this validation, or when we fail to succeed in life, we lose all hope of a meaningful existence. We often change venues and attempt to receive recognition and triumph in some other area. We may enjoy fame for a while, but soon even that is hollow and vain.

There is only one way to truly succeed in this world. Once we surrender our entire life to God, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We grow in ways we never thought possible. Our hard heart is softened (Ezekiel 36:26), our knowledge increases concerning eternal conquests, our emotions level out, and our relationships deepen.

The Word of God penetrates into the most private areas of our life and transforms our mind and enlightens our soul (2 Timothy 3:14-16). God blesses us with His love in more abundant measures than we could ever deserve (2 Corinthians 9:8). We have the power, along with all of God’s Saints, to understand the width and height and depth of His love, and we realize that nothing in this world can ever take that away from us (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:38-39).

Our appreciation and adoration of God increases daily. We submit more willingly to His cleansing power in our life. God starts a work in our soul, which lasts a lifetime, and we see changes every day in small increments in every area of our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions (Romans 12:2). He molds us like a Potter with a hunk of clay, makes us into vessels for His service (Isaiah 64:8).

Prayer:
Father God, once we are totally broken, subdued, weak and humbled, we are ready for Your transforming power in our life. Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, so that we will walk on Your straight and narrow way according to Your precepts (Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:105; Matthew 7:13-14). You take our broken, useless lives and turn them into priceless works of art for Your glory. Remind us not to rely on the thoughts and intents of our heart, but to submit to Your Spirit’s transformation in our life (Proverbs 27:3; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Thought for the Day:
We are broken for God’s glory and then raised to walk in New Life with Him.                   – Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12

Taking Thoughts Captive

Our old, carnal nature is very susceptible to temptation. Satan attempts to distract our passion for God by stirring up our former desires for sin. His lies remind us of forgotten memories, which trigger negative thoughts and behavior from our soul. The devil knows that if he controls our thoughts, he will also control our actions.

Discouragement often opens our ears to hear Satan’s lies, but focusing on the positive, beautiful aspects of God and His Kingdom keeps our mind on praiseworthy issues (Philippians 4:8). A grateful attitude will ensure our success in this area. The friends we keep, the people we work with and our other associates may influence us to sin or to walk away from God (1 Corinthians 15:33).

However, as we bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, Satan has no power over us (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). As we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the former lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We seek to build God’s eternal Kingdom, rather than to erect our own little kingdom here on earth (Colossians 3:1). Issues which grieve God’s Spirit grieve us as well (Ephesians 4:30).

We can also meet with an older Believer for discipleship, to learn the elementary teachings of the Word (Hebrews 6:1). We devour the Word of God, by using a Bible translation we understand or by using a topical Bible. We attend Bible studies with our church family and in our community. God’s Spirit perfects us in holiness with the mind and divine nature of Christ (2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:4).

Prayer:
Father God, if we sow sin, we will reap corruption (Galatians 6:7-8). That is why You encourage us not to fellowship with unbelievers who walk in darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-15; Job 4:8; Proverbs 22:8; Hosea 8:7). You pour out Your wrath on all ungodliness and unrighteousness, which prevent Your elect from knowing Your Truth. Submitting our life to Your Word and living according to Your precepts is the only way we can enjoy a fulfilled life on this earth and be ready to rule and reign with Christ in eternity.

Thought for the Day:
We have less of a desire to partake in carnal behavior every day that we spend with the Lord.

Living in God’s Presence

Many people are too busy to hear the call of God’s Spirit within them to abide alone in His presence and to come and rest a little while. We fill our days and nights with chores and activities, and then sit in front of the TV or radio if we have a moment to spare! We also have texting, instant messages, and social media to keep us occupied; sometimes, even after we turn off the light and go to bed!

God’s Spirit is calling us to cease from our labors and to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-10). God captivates us and draws us closer to Him with each passing day. He calls us to wait on Him and to luxuriate in His holiness, love, peace and joy. In our spirit, we experience the delights of fellowshipping with the Spirit of the King of Kings. We focus only on God and tune out the world around us.

Our desire for intimacy with God increases daily. In our quiet times, He reveals to us the truths of His Word and the answers to our questions. We choose to make our self available to service in any area, which God highlights for us to do. We live in more and more victory over sin and more peace in our soul (Isaiah 26:3). The angel of the Lord camps all around us to protect and care for us (Psalm 34:7).

The divine nature of Christ replaces the carnal nature of our humanity (2 Peter 1:4). We are more spiritually minded and we care less about the aspects of this world. We sit at Jesus’ feet and soak up His presence, even if we sit in companionable silence. We eventually physically leave this place of solitude, but we remain there spiritually through each moment of the day.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we can come to the place where we live in Your presence and never leave. We can carpool the children, give our boss 100% of our effort, provide for our family and nurture our mate as we dwell under the shadow of Your wings. We can view life’s disappointments, heartbreaks and successes from Your eyes and react to life’s stresses with Your character rather than our human nature.

Thought for the Day:
We continually remain in God’s presence each moment of the day and walk in His Spirit to accomplish the works, which He calls us to perform. – Ephesians 2:10

Laying on of Hands

The apostles used the method of laying on of hands in order to impart God’s calling on those they commissioned to follow in Jesus’ footsteps (Acts 13:3). This has become a basic principle and doctrine of our Christian faith (Hebrews 6:1-2). In fact, spiritual power and anointing is actually transferred by this practice (Genesis 14, 17-19).

For example, spiritual power came on Joshua when Moses laid hands on him (Numbers 27:16-23; Deuteronomy 34:9). Jacob passed God’s blessing on to Ephraim and Manasseh by the laying on of hands (Genesis 48:13-20). Paul declared that the gift of God, which Timothy possessed, was imparted through the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 1:6). Since the early church, the body of elders transfers the gifts of the Spirit to other men who are going into the ministry (1 Timothy 4:14).

When someone intends to set aside their life for full time service to the Lord, we pray for them by the laying on of hands (Acts 6:5-6). We also lay hands on people coming for physical healing (James 5:14), and deliverance from Satanic oppression and possession (Luke 4:40-41). In the ministry of the laying on of hands, we share blessings, spiritual anointing and encouragement (Matthew 19:13-15; Daniel 10:16-19).

Frankly, there is a danger in laying hands on someone who is not mature and full of God’s Spirit. Therefore, this should not be done without careful prayer, examination and consideration (Numbers 27:18; 1 Timothy 5:22). The power received by the laying on of hands is visually evident. Simon actually saw this and wanted to buy it for himself (Acts 8:14-19). God anoints people into His service and uses the leadership of the church to impart His gifts.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for giving us Your power and anointing and for allowing us to share these gifts with one another. Please give Your wisdom to the leadership of Your church to know with whom to share these gifts, and who will not seriously desire to walk in Your anointing for Your glory. Remind us to always use them for Your glory and not for our own power and success. Keep us from glorying in the flesh, but cause us to walk in humility and grace.

Thought for the Day:
There is a spirit in each one, given to us by the inspiration of Almighty God, which provides us with understanding. – Job 32:8

Perfect Strength in Weakness

There are times in life when we beg God to help us because of some physical illness, emotional turmoil or trial in our spiritual life. Paul did this too. He had a “thorn in the flesh” and begged God to remove it from him. There is much speculation about what that thorn was, but it does not really matter.

The crux of the issue is that God’s grace was sufficient for Paul to excel in life in spite of it (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Paul actually learned to brag about his imperfections and infirmities, so that the power of Christ in him would give him rest for his soul. God’s power, strength and ability are perfected in our weaknesses.

All we need to flourish in this life is His grace. Whenever we are weak, Christ in us is our strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). The prophet Daniel relied on God’s strength in his times of weakness too (Daniel 10:19). The warrior and national leader of Israel, Joshua, found strength and courage in his times of fear (Joshua 1:9).

If we have personal power, we would not need God; and we could boast in our abilities and accomplishments (2 Corinthians 12:1). However, our life in Christ is not about us at all (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is why God uses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the mind of those who consider themselves wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Our faith does not rest on human abilities but on God’s power within us (1 Corinthians 2:5). A surrendered life is the successful life. Out of God’s glorious riches, He empowers us by His Spirit, which abides within us (Ephesians 3:16). We can excel in the will of God and live a fulfilled Christian life, because He lives in us (Philippians 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, You remind us not to be anxious about anything, but to come to You in everything, letting You know what we need. We start from a place of gratitude for all You have already done for us, and then we make our requests known to You. This results in a shower of Your peace on our life, which transcends every negative aspect that we are experiencing (Philippians 4:6).

Thought for the Day:
God’s peace guards our mind and heart in Christ Jesus, in spite of what life throws at us. – Philippians 4:7