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

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An Uncommon Man – My Life with Charlie

Charlie is charming and endearing, even though he is six foot two inches tall, strong and muscular, and one of the most handsome men God ever created. He loves a practical joke, the Bible and eating at Waffle House.

He will do almost anything to get a laugh; and he seeks out places to go where he will have an audience to entertain. Charlie is a Pastor, and he even uses his pulpit as a venue to tell his funny anecdotes; some of which I have heard hundreds of times in our many years together.

He has been known to pick on me, just to get a laugh; but he has learned that I am overly sensitive and he will not hurt my feelings in order to reap the coveted chuckle.

The cutest thing about Charlie is that he laughs at his own jokes, and that makes his audience laugh even louder. You know a joke is coming, because his huge smile and the little glint in his eye give him away.

He is so cute, adorable really; a man of integrity and worth, hard-working, diligent, conscientious, full of common sense and of the highest character. His moral fiber is woven tighter than a woolen blanket and his love keeps you just as warm.

Charlie enjoys fishing for brim, eating farm-raised catfish on the bone, reading his Bible, drinking his morning coffee with his buddies and talking about his favorite sports teams.

He is very knowledgeable about many topics and can converse with anyone about anything. He cares very deeply about everyone’s feelings; and he no longer likes to hunt as he did in his youth, because he does not want to cause anyone, not even an animal, pain of any sort.

Charlie has been known to proclaim that his love language is food. Grilled steak, smoky ribs, chicken wings, and a big turkey dinner are all his favorites.

He has food moods that change almost hourly. I never know what to cook; but he politely eats everything on his plate and always compliments me when he is done with both lunch and supper.

Charlie appreciates me and lets me know it. He loves that his socks match in his drawer, he always has clean clothes to wear, that his home is casually spotless and orderly, and that he usually has everything he needs right at his fingertips whenever he needs it.

If I am behind or remiss or too tired, he never berates or belittles me. He never gets frustrated with me; and nourishes and cherishes me and makes a huge effort to always think of me before himself.

He makes time to cuddle me, which is my main love language; and tells me at least five times a day that he loves me. He always defers to me in making choices, which I do to him too; so our main disagreements are over which of us will be allowed to serve the other.

Politics, the news, comedy movies and TV show, and sharing funny photos or sayings on Facebook are a few of his favorite things. When he sends me his sermons so that I can make his sermon slides each week, he always writes me love notes attached to his emails.

Charlie can predict the weather better than any weatherman just by looking at radar photos of impending fronts. Almost to the minute, he can predict when the rain will start or how much time is between showers, so that we can steal a half hour at the pool for exercise.

His children and grandchildren are very precious to Charlie. He hears from them all several times a week. He patiently listens as they chat about the events of their day or current concerns in their life and he always prays for them all by name.

I adore Charlie, simply because he is so adorable. His constant smile warms my heart; and things that make him sad, break my heart in two. If he would allow me, I would fight all of his battles; but he won’t hear of that.

He vents his feelings to me, and then wakes up the next morning with his normal positive attitude fresh and new; ready to take on the world, the flesh and the devil all over again.

Charlie loves to watch civilization wake up. Newspapers are delivered, the sun breaks over the horizon several hours after he wakes up, and lights turn off in neighborhood houses as cars back out of driveways on their way to work.

Charlie works 8-12 hours a day; and some days of the week, he works morning, afternoon and evenings without complaint. He rarely takes all of his vacation days in a year; and some holidays he works while others take a play day. So tired that he can barely stand up, he rejoices in all he accomplished for the Lord with his day.

He will talk about the Bible with anyone with a question. In fact, he will talk about the Bible at the drop of a hat; and sometimes, he will even drop the hat to get the conversation started.

His favorite Biblical topic is prophecy. In his early teens, he read Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and he never looked back. Pastoring his first church at age 22, his wisdom soon caught up with his anointing and enthusiasm for God and the Bible.

During the winter season every year, people come from all over the world to hear his preaching; and many a Yankee threatens to tuck him in their suitcase to take him back home with them.

His preaching is simple, yet profound. His expository sermons are all Bible-based. He never makes a statement that he has not thoroughly researched and found true, using several sources, commentaries and other verses to verify what he is saying.

The mayor calls Charlie “the friend of the city”; and he is known by all the city council, police, fire, rescue and veterans of the community. They actually smile widely and call his name in delight when they see him out around the town.

The greatest fact about Charlie is that he is my best friend, my soulmate and my husband of several decades. He treats me like a treasure and calls me his “little woman”. Sometimes, he even adds “my little Italian woman”.

Meeting at Books-a-Million bookstore in Pensacola, Florida, we have been together ever since. We cannot believe the perfect timing of the Lord to have us both in the same microcosm of time and space in order to form a most perfect union.

We thank God for bringing us together and allowing us to embark on a journey through tough times, times of hurt and misunderstanding and times of joy and comfort, which we continually gain from dwelling together in unity all the days of our life.

The best part about our relationship is that Jesus Christ lives in both of us – dwelling in our spirit. We love one another, but we love God even more. We serve Him together and make the perfect team. We look forward to continuing as best friends in eternity, as we serve our Bridegroom together even then. – Kitty Bradley

My Soul Waits – Part 1

In our stressful lifestyle in this modern society, we are often too busy with too many responsibilities to find a place of solitude in our spirit.

We maintain the illusion that we are satisfied with our lifestyle, but our soul is dying within us, because we are spiritually bankrupt.

We care so much about this world that we starve our soul and spirit. The cacophony in our soul – our mind, choices and emotions – is deafening and dulls our spiritual connection to God’s Spirit.

The remedy for this is to develop a deeper connection with Christ through His Holy Spirit. We can quiet our soul and focus on Christ dwelling within us, even through the storms of life.

Throughout each moment of the day, our soul waits in silence for God alone (Psalm 62:1). Our focus changes from earthly goals and desires to spiritual ones.

God’s Spirit transforms our thoughts into the mind of Christ, fills our emotions with His fruit and directs our choices to walk in God’s will (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:15-25; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Christ is our all in all (Colossians 3:11). Nothing this world has to offer compares to the joy and peace, guidance and fulfillment that comes from living a life dedicated to the Lord.

Listening for God’s voice requires that we still our soul and enter our spirit, where God’s Spirit abides. We totally surrender our will, goals, fears, dreams and aspirations to the will of God.

Silently waiting on God throughout our day reduces our anxiety, silences the negative self-talk, teaches us patience and reshapes our mind into the mind of Christ.

He nourishes our body, soul and spirit as we meditate on His Word, trust Him for our daily bread and enter into union with His Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us how to empty our soul, still our mind and wait on Your Spirit’s direction each moment of our day. Silence the negative thoughts and emotions, which Satan uses to distract us from Your will for our life.

Fill our soul with Your peace and help us to restructure our priorities to put You first and foremost above our soul’s pursuits. Remind us that Your Kingdom is the only true reality in this life and everything else is simply wood, hay and stubble to be burned up in the end (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

Thought for the Day:
Physical solitude is not necessary in order for us to wait on the Lord, because He is available any time or place.

Abiding Fruit – Part 2

As God’s Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, we abide in His abundant love forever. We keep His commandments and love our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors with the love of the Lord (Matthew 22:37-39; John 15:10).

The Vine existed long before the branches ever grew, and He sacrificially shares His love and life with us (1 John 4:19). We choose to fully commit to our relationship with the Vine (John 15:16).

Separated from the Vine, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We display the fruit of the flesh, which is envy, strife, hatred, self-centeredness, criticism, worry, depression, pride, bitterness, complaining, quitting, backbiting, loving our self more than others, loving money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; inventing ways of doing evil; disobeying our parents; and as adults, we put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

Abiding in the Vine gradually renews our heart and replaces these negative issues with the fruit of God’s Spirit, which we bear through our obedience to Him. This is the evidence of our union with the Vine (John 15:13).

We rest in His grace and renew our strength as we wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). His Spirit directs us each moment of the day (John 16:13). We increase God’s Kingdom by our obedience to Him and His Word (Mark 4:26).

God’s fruit in our life is proof of our faith in God (James 2:14-26). We abide in Him, but He also abides in us, completing the sanctifying work of holiness, which He started in us at salvation (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, let us never break our connection with Your Vine. The life we receive through Your presence in our spirit is not paralleled by anything this world has to offer.

Help us to exhibit affection for others, an exuberance about life, serenity through the storms, determination and patience, a compassionate heart, and kindness that pervades our entire being (Galatians 5:22-23).

We trust that You have this world in Your control and have a perfect timetable for its culmination and the renewal of all things. Remind us to live humbly in service to You and others, and continually guide us by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
Our God, who called us, is faithful to us and will fulfill us and care for us until we abide with Him in eternity. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Our True Reality in Christ

There is no need for us to frequent the “self-help” shelf at the library or bookstore, because the Holy Spirit is changing us through His sanctifying process, until we come to the fullness of Christ in us (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When we come to the end of our self, God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, becomes our comforter, guide, wisdom, encourager and the voice of Christ, who also dwells in us by His Spirit, as our way, truth and life (Colossians 3:4; John 14:6).

Christ in us is not a separate entity from who we are. He is as much of an integral part of us as He is to our Father God (John 17:21). Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

We surrender the control of our life over to God, because to think that we actually have any control over our life is ludicrous! Life happens and is always out of our control.

Just as Jesus did nothing of Himself, we follow His example. We die to our self and trust only in God. We live in union as one person with Christ in us. He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

The sooner we come to this place of total surrender to the will of God, content in the circumstance which He provides (Philippians 4:11), the freer and more joyfully we experience each day, captivated by His Spirit and His will.

As we decrease in our desires and control over our life, He will increase His control and put His desires in our heart (John 3:30; Psalm 37:4). Christ in us is our only true reality now and in eternity.

We are dead, and He now lives in and through us (Colossians 4:3-4). There are no formulas to follow, no effort on our part, no striving or quoting Bible verse, which can make this happen.

We simply surrender all to Him by letting go of our anxiety, negative emotions and idols, which imprison us, and letting God have His way in our life.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for revealing to us that this life in not about us; it is totally and abundantly about You in us (Colossians 1:27). You free us from bondage to the devil, the world and the flesh; and You allow us to walk intimately with Your Trinity abiding within us (Galatians 5:15-25).

Surrendering to Your rest is the only step we need to take to enter into this union life with You (Hebrews 4:10-11). We stop our stress, strain and list-making and follow Your Spirit during each moment of our day. When we walk in the center of Your will we find true peace, joy and rest in Your Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Thought for the Day:
It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me, because we are unified as one being; He is the head and I am the body, which He uses for His glory. – Colossians 3:3-4

Temple of God – Symbolic

Many pieces of furniture in the Temple are wooden (our carnal nature) overladen with gold (God’s nature). The others are either pure gold or bronze – which denote the need for sanctification.

The Temple’s construction symbolically relates to our spirit, soul and body (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14). God fearfully and awesomely created us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:4, 13).

The Holy of Holies denotes our spirit, and the Holy Place to our renewed life in Christ. The wooden supports to the hidden aspects of our human soul, the Inner Court to the acknowledge parts of our soul, and the Outer Court to our body.

Once our spirit is Born Again, the Spirit of God abides in our spirit, which is the Holy of Holies. We are in union with the Trinity in our spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20).

God turns our heart of hardened stone into a new heart of supple flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). God grants to our spirit His supernatural agape love, Godly wisdom and spiritual thought processes along with His power to do all that He calls us to do (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 4:13).

God takes up residence in our spirit and makes us a new creation (John 14:23). The Trinity also works in our soul – our thoughts, will and feelings.

Our union life with God combines our spirit and soul with His Spirit and will. We no longer live isolated in this world, but are part of God’s family with His Spirit united with our spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for allowing us to operate as Your dwelling place on this earth, so that You can affect the world around us by Your Holy Spirit. Teach us to live by Your Spirit, so that we do not hinder Your work by living by our fleshly, carnal, human understanding and desires.

We love how the Temple of Solomon is such an example of our life in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22). Remind us to serve You in Your house within us (Revelation 1:6, 5:10). We have no need to rely on our self, because we can do all things through Christ who dwells within us (Philippians 4:13).

Thought for the Day:
We live a life filled within our spirit with God’s Spirit abiding in us, and we radiate His presence out to the world around us. – 1 Corinthians 3:16

Our Identity in Christ – Part 2

Our reality in life has nothing to do with this world, and everything to do with Christ (Colossians 2:17). We are risen with Christ, our life is now hidden in Him and He is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

In Christ, we enjoy all of the assets of insight and understanding, which we need in this life (Colossians 2:3). We are planted and nurtured in Him (Colossians 2:7). Through Christ in us, we have His character and nature in us (Colossians 2:9-10; 2 Peter 1:4)

Due to our union with Christ we give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18); we have the promise of life, faith, hope, and love (1 Timothy 1:1, 14; 2 Timothy 1:1); and we stand firm in our assurance in Him (1 Timothy 3:13).

As we gain our identity from our union with Jesus Christ, we can laugh at our short comings and find our fulfillment in the fact that He abides within us. We take our focus from our self and keep it on Christ.

Our identity in Christ leads us to lose interest in this life and in accumulating wealth and possessions. Instead, we turn our focus on spiritual matters and furthering God’s Kingdom now and for eternity.

We spend every waking moment praying for the lost and sharing with our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors about what Christ does in our life each day.

Many will reject us, but some will have spiritual ears to hear what God’s Holy Spirit is speaking to their heart through us (Mark 4:9). We will have the joy of watching another sinner, saved by grace, come to completion in Christ (Colossians 1:10).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for making it possible for us to be part of Your family for eternity. We know that Christ paid a horrendous price as a man on this earth to make this possible. We give Him all the praise, honor and glory as the Lamb slain before the formation of the earth (Revelation 13:8).

Remind us that sharing with the world about Your glorious provision in our life is such a small price to pay for all that You have given us. Give us the courage of our convictions to share our faith and Your faithfulness with everyone we meet.

Thought for the Day:
In Christ, our joy overflows. – Philippians 1:26