A Life Worth Living

Life is only worth living as we live it for God. Jesus surrendered all to Our Father – even His crucifixion and death on the cross (Matthew 26:36-56). He gave us this example to follow.

 

God is more than one who answers our prayers. He is Supreme Ruler of the universe. We owe Him our allegiance. The least we can do is to surrender all to Him.

 

Once we realize the true meaning of Christ abiding in us, we appreciate our unity with Him, depend on Him for every breath we take, and trust in His grace and love.

 

He gives us power for our service for Him, gladness in our fellowship with Him and His Saints, and security in His goodness and provision for all of our daily needs.

 

Since God supplies all of our needs, if we do not have something we want, this means that we do not really need it at this time in our life. As we wait patiently on His timing and will, He will put His desires in our heart and we will live in true contentment.

 

When we surrender to God our cares in this life, we not only improve our outlook on life, but also our physical health, our emotional balance and our spirit’s well-being.

 

We dedicate every waking moment to Him: serving in the vocation, ministering in the neighborhood and church family, and dedicating our fun times to the service to which He calls us.

 

We enter His rest, bask in His presence and walk in His will each moment of our day and night. We join all of creation in groaning for His glorious redemption and appearing (Romans 8:19-22).

 

His abiding presence in our life fills us with hope, gives us His joy as our strength and inspires us to live in the happiest place on earth – the very center of His will.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that sin separates us from You, and apathy will rob us of the joy of our salvation. You reveal to us Your path of life and in Your presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). You never hide Your face from your children as we walk in Your will and love You with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength (Luke 10:27).

 

We joy in Your continual presence in our life, we delight in doing Your will which You write on our heart, and we draw from Your constant strength which supports us throughout our day (Habakkuk 3:18; Psalm 40:8). We owe You all of our praise and dedicate our life only to you.

 

Thought for the Day:

We rest in undisturbed repose, unimaginable joy and a life blessed with quietness and worship as we totally surrender every aspect of our life to God.

 

Our Infinite God

Through the cross of Calvary, Jesus reigns victorious over death, redeems sinners by grace and sets our feet dancing through life (Psalm 30:11). He has specific plans for our life and leads us, provides for us and strengthens us to do His will (Philippians 2:12-13).

Those who refuse to believe in Christ actually condemn themselves to an eternity in hell. The choice is ours. God does not force anyone to believe.

He simply offers the Gospel as our opportunity for salvation. What we do with His gift is our choice (Romans 6:23). God redeems people from every family, tribe, society and nation of the world through the blood of Christ.

We are all one family, one Body, one Temple of God’s Spirit. He transforms us into kings and priests to serve Him on this earth (Revelation 5:9-10). He allows us to dwell together in unity under His government (Isaiah 9:6).

God connects us all by a common thread of the cross of Calvary. We have brothers and sisters from centuries past and from every community on earth. We will have quite a time in heaven getting to know one another.

We are all one in Christ – one Trinity and one Body, with one purpose for eternity. God’s Spirit dwells within us all, unifying us, guiding us, counseling us and interceding for us through feelings, which at times we cannot even put into words (Romans 8:26).

We live a life of pardon, protection, provision, promise and privilege. Our infinite God reigns supreme in our finite existence, providing us with hope, renewal and everlasting life.

God restores our soul (Psalm 23:4) by healing our past and giving us hope for the future. He gives us absolute Truth through Christ and His Word, and helps us to focus on what is important in this life and the next.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for the fellowship which we enjoy with Your Trinity every moment of every day. Your eternal promise restores our equilibrium and keeps us walking on the straight and narrow road. Keep us ever faithful regardless of our circumstances and teach us all things by Your Spirit (1 John 2:24-27).

Help us to see that daily study of Your Word keeps us centered on what is truly important in this life and the next, with faith in Your faithfulness through the uncertainty which faces us every day. Give us Your strength to stand strong in adversity and erase our doubts with Your truth.

Thought for the Day:
Whatever distracts us from total dedication to and dependence on God is our enemy, regardless of how good and innocent it appears at the time.

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

Lift Up Your Head

Rahab hid the Israelite spies who came to scope out the land for the Israelite invasion. She was rewarded with salvation during the destruction of Jericho.

The amazing part of this story to me is that she lived in the outside wall, and God sent her deliverance before the wall fell straight down on the seventh day.

God kept her safe even through this time of destruction, as well as redeemed her from her former profession. She married Salmon; and her son, Boaz, married another gentile convert, Ruth.

Rahab is the great-grandmother of King David and is in the ancestry lineage of Jesus Christ. God truly lifted up her head and turned her ashes into a thing of beauty (Psalm 3:3-4).

Our Father God does this same thing for anyone willing to surrender their will to His will (Luke 22:42). He exalts our head above our enemies (Psalm 27:5-6).

When our soul is depressed and unsettled within us, we hope in God and praise His name, and He puts a smile on our lips and joy in our heart (Psalm 42:11).

He sets our feet to dancing (Psalm 30:11) and gives us something to shout about (Psalm 98:4). He changes our focus from the temporal to the eternal and gives us a future full of hope and blessings (Jeremiah 29:11).

Eventually, we leave this carnal earth behind and enter into the glories of Heaven, living in the presence of God for eternity and inheriting His Kingdom with Jesus (Revelation 21:23; Psalm 16:11; Romans 8:17).

Prayer:
Father God, we praise You all the days of our life and still do not have enough time to thank You for all You have done for us. We look forward to eternity and having endless eons to worship You in all of Your beauty and holiness. We give you praise, honor and glory.

Thank You for Your love for us, for holding us in the palm of Your hand and for lifting up our head when we face the trials we encounter on this earth. You fill our hearts with joy and peace; not the tentative harmony that the world offers, but Your lasting and eternal peace that surpasses our human comprehension (John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
God leads us by His Spirit each moment of the day and fills our life full of divine appointments which make a difference in our life and in the lives He brings across our path.

Fear Not

God’s plan for mankind is to live in us, to fill us with His Truth and Life, and to live in unity with our soul and spirit so that His Life is manifested through us.

He always hears our prayers and stores our tears in a bottle. He will avenge each transgression against His Beloved Saints (Psalm 4:3, 56:8). He gives us His compassionate heart, and we are His People and He is our God (Ezekiel 36:26-28).

We call out to God on His throne in heaven; and He hears and answers us (Psalm 3:4). He sustains us in every way, gives us sweet rest and never leaves or forsakes us, walking in us through every circumstance (Psalm 3:5; Hebrews 13:5).

Our God gives us relief from our distress and has mercy on us (Psalm 4:1). He delivers and blesses us, because He works out every circumstance for our good, even in death we go to live with Him (Psalm 3:8; Romans 2:28).

If we feel overcome by life’s problems, we focus on and cling to Christ in us (Colossians 1:27). Our labors for the Lord are not in vain; so we can live this life unmoved by its threats, unafraid in its trials and abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

Once we surrender our life to Christ, we realize that we are not on this earth to amass worldly goods, but to bring as many people to Heaven with us as will come humbly to God’s love.

If we are in Christ, we have no reason to fear the curse of sin or the god of this world, the devil (Mark 5:36). We live in His perfect love, which will diminish all of our fears (1 John 4:18).

As we follow the Lord in our thoughts, words and actions, we live in victory, because He lives within us (Luke 8:50). He works out everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:29).

Prayer:
Father God, life wounds us and Satan keeps us in bondage to those wounds. Remind us that You will reveal Satan’s lies, speak to us Your truth and set us free from the fear of the unknown future, free from regrets or hurts from our past, and free to walk in the new life, which Christ earned for us through His passion and death.

Teach us the fullness of our life in Christ’s resurrection. Fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible). Empower us to be a light set on a hill and use us to draw everyone to You (Matthew 5:14-16; John 12:32). Help us to live in the purpose You have for our life instead of our own plans (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
The Lord who walked on water and calmed the raging sea lives within every authentic Believer; He heals, empowers, guides, helps our unbelief and fulfills every one of us; then He sets apart His true Believers as a special and holy priesthood.
– Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:17; John 10:30, 1 John 3:1-3, 4:17; Colossians 2:10; Luke 8:30; Mark 9:23-25

Let Me Tell You, Ladies

A man loves to be useful and to feel needed, admired, accepted as he is and appreciated. As his wife, we are his biggest fan and most vocal cheering section.

We encourage our husband, show him appreciation, leave love notes in his briefcase or lunchbox, get excited at his accomplishments and care about his day. We can ask him what he needs, and do all in our power to help.

Our husband is not our mule and a paycheck. His role in life is not to function as our servant. Even if we both work all day, and we share the chores and child care, he should choose the chores he feels comfortable doing.

When our husband has a day off, he needs some of that time for himself. Family time is important, but he needs some of that time to chill, to hang with his buds, to create in his shop, to surf the waves or the internet, or to play his gaming device.

He decompresses his stress this way and can pay more attention to the family during our time together. A date night is also important for us as a couple…a time to play, laugh, make memories, form a closer bond and do something fun.

If we make his favorite meals and have everything he needs for the next day in plain view and ready for him before we go to bed, his love for us will grow; and he will make more of an effort to care for our needs as well.

If he is withdrawn, irritable, angry, or exhibiting any negative emotions, we can give him some space and some time to work out his issues. We can ask if there is anything we can do to help, and then follow through with his requests.

When a disagreement occurs, we brainstorm and pray together rather than just caving in to our partner or fighting to get our own way. Once God shows us a scenario, which we both feel good about, we proceed with unity and joy in our heart.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word warns us that all of the forces of hell, along with the temptations and disagreements of the world, unite to destroy our marriage. We often join them and make life more difficult for our partner.

Remind us that love never fails; so we can decide together that divorce is never an option, since divorce shreds our family and removes the support that our children need regardless of how old they are. Divorce makes Your Church vulnerable, unstable and defeated.

Revive us, O Lord, so that we can rejoice in You (Psalm 85:6). Satisfy us anew each new morning with your unfailing love, so we can sing for joy and rejoice all the days of our life (Psalm 90:14).

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer the other person, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

Our Strong Tower

As an infant, most of us are properly cared for by our parents; although, more often in these days in which we live, children are no longer cherished and nurtured.

Regardless of our upbringing, however, life rarely pulls its punches. It deals out a lifetime of hard knocks, abuse, neglect and disappointments.

We learn to keep more to our self, in order to give people and circumstances fewer chances to hurt us. We want to stay safe from a world, which often frightens us.

We continue to reach out to other people, and to help them in any way we can; but suspicion taints the way we view people and opportunities, which come our way.

We are programmed to believe that the good times will never last, because they never did in the past. We stop looking forward to things; and we never believe promises, because they rarely if ever happen.

We miss opportunities, which we would enjoy, because we are afraid to trust the leading of God’s Spirit. We stay home rather than to take risks to meet new people and to share God’s love with them.

We learn to build walls to hide behind in an attempt to protect our self. However, these very walls only serve to keep us restrained in the confinement of our own making.

We try to escape these walls through addictions, the wrong friends and mate, busyness, hobbies, projects and over-achieving in areas, which do not really matter.

We imprison our true self behind those walls, which were meant to keep us safe. We can never live a full life as long as we continue to hinder our whole body, soul and spirit from living free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Prayer:
Father God, we wall up our heart, because vulnerability makes us susceptible to victimization and neglect. You advise us to guard our heart from sin, but not from other people. You actually expose us to disappointment in this life to show us the magnitude of Your continual love and nurture for us.

Remind us that when we are the weakest and the most vulnerable, then You are the strongest and closest to us in order to fight on our behalf (2 Corinthians 12:9-11; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 3:22).

Therefore, we can entrust our body, soul and spirit to You and Your protection and care (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). We can run into the safety of Your everlasting arms (Isaiah 41:10).

Thought for the Day:
We fear vulnerability; therefore, we hide our true self behind walls of our own making; but God protects us from our enemies and is a strong tower into which we can run and be safe. – Psalm 18:2, 10

Transitions

Change is abhorrent to most people; however, life is full of adjustments. Much of the transition we experience as a new Believer occurs in our soul (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is Born Again; and although we still physically exist on this earth, we no longer walk according to the dictates of our physical, mental or emotional desires. We learn to walk according to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25).

Christ frees us from the bondage of our past. We are forgiven and there is no longer any condemnation (Matthew 6:14-15; Romans 8:1). We choose to change our priorities. We do not pursue anything, which prevents us from fellowshipping with God or walking in His perfect plan, which He ordained for us before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10).

We fight the carnal desires or satanic impulses, which continue to tempt us, by using spiritual weapons such as prayer, Bible reading, spiritual fellowship, and the ability, which the Spirit gives us, to corral our thoughts to the obedience of God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8). Once we come to understand that Christ lives in us, we have no desire to ever live in the flesh again (Galatians 2:20).

This allows God to destroy the demonic strongholds from our past (John 8:32). He changes our negative thought patterns to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). He heals our negative emotions and fills us with the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). He removes our negative behavior and exchanges it with acts of service to the King of kings (Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Timothy 6:15). We abide in unity with both our Father and our Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, the world follows self-help gurus and they hire life coaches to help them to succeed in life. These “experts” can only help a person to thrive in body and soul. Only You can rebirth our spirit, which is dead in sin. Only You can completely fulfill us in body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:11, 8:10). You bring us victory in every area of our life, and make us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). If we remain in You and walk in Your Spirit we will live fruitful lives (John 15:5). We love You with all of our heart and we live, move and have our being only in You (Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
We often resist transitions; and, therefore, never receive the blessings, which accompany them; instead, we can embrace the changes God brings into our life and look for the advantages He has in store for us through them.

Unity with God’s Trinity

God already knows when the world as we know it will end, and our time is in His hands (Is 46:10; Ps 31:15). He is eternal with no beginning or end. As Believers and followers of Christ, we start to see life from an eternal rather than an earthly perspective. We do not regret the past or fear the future. We live in the here and now in the precious arms of God (John 5:25).

We walk in His light, just as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). There is no lack in our life, because He supplies all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Our old nature molts away, layer after layer with each new season of Biblical revelation. We walk in the truth that it is no longer I, but Jesus Christ who lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

As the hectic pace of life increases, we need more alone (all-one) times with our Lord and Christ. We schedule times of the week as a priority to spend with God. We may not have an entire day, but we can find several hours where we rest and breathe in His presence (Psalm 46:10). The Spirit will open up opportunities for us if we will watch for them.

After hearing from God in our quiet place, there is no need to strive to walk in the Spirit. We are used to hearing His voice and He loves to commune with us. As we delight in the Lord, He puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). He works out His will in us for His glory. God’s Spirit controls our thoughts, words and deeds more and more often.

Intimate communication with God will nurture peace in our soul. If we make the time and effort to be still before the Lord, His strength infuses our spirit (Psalm 46:10). We have no need to fear, even if our whole world turns upside down (Habakkuk 3:17-19). Jesus Christ becomes for us our refuge and our tower of strength to help in any time of trouble (Psalm 46:1-3).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to allow You to crucify our flesh so that we can walk in unity with Your Trinity. You commune with us, not in a loud oppressive voice, but in Your still, small voice that confidently tells us which way to go. As we follow Your directives, we end up walking in Your Spirit to accomplish Your will on the earth, rather than living to fulfill the lust of the old, dying fleshly human nature (Galatians 5:16-25).

Thought for the Day:
Even while playing Scrabble I learn to discern the voice of God as I obey that still, small nudge to form letters into words that I do not even know; and this carries over into every day life as I read His Word and follow His direction throughout the day.

Unity with God

Once we believe in Jesus Christ, rivers of living water flow from our innermost spiritual being (John 7:38). The righteousness of God is ours, no matter who we are, because we believe in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22). We do not deserve or earn this relationship, but God loved us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

Now that we are Born Again, we enjoy unity with God, which transcends any other relationship possible on this earth. We know without a doubt that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). As our love for God increases, our love of sin, the flesh and the world diminishes.

We lay down everything that is contrary to the will of God or that robs us of time better spent with Him. God’s presence gives us confidence in His love and security through His presence. We abide in Him and He abides in us by His Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13). We no longer live a lifestyle of sin (1 John 3:9).

In Christ, we are recreated, and our old sinful desires diminish as He renews our desires (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 37:4). We no longer suffer from shame for sins and slights or omissions, which we formerly neglected (Romans 8:1). In our union with God, we love Him unreservedly with all of our heart, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37).

Our will and emotions are totally His. We feel His presence in our spirit and this affects our soul – our mind, will and emotions – as well as our body. He gives us unrestricted access to His at any time, for any reason presence (Hebrews 4:16). When we unite with the Lord, we are one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Prayer:
Father God, Satan wants our mind as his playground. Help us to refuse to allow him entry with his negative emotions and thoughts. When we realize that we are thinking about negative thoughts, remind us to take our thoughts captive, and to focus our thoughts only on what is factual, admirable, correct, pure, divine, worthy, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). When our soul is sad, downcast and disturbed within us, we can put our hope in You and praise You, our Father God, because we live in unity with You (Psalm 42:11, 43:5).

Thought for the Day:
Everyone who is baptized into Christ has been immersed in Him.
– Galatians 3:27