Secret Intents and Motives

When we depend on someone else for our sense of value, we put our self into bondage to that person. Our motives, goals and opinions revolve around that person’s whims.

People come and go in our life. They have unrealistic expectations of us, tire of us and dump us on the curb like a useless sack of trash.

However, Jesus never ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He died for us in spite of our self and our failings. He approves of us in Christ and fully accepts us with all of our idiosyncrasies (Hebrews 13:8).

We can also put our self into bondage to religion by attempting to earn God’s love and acceptance. We drive our self endlessly to work harder and to do better to please Him.

The truth is that our “self” is already crucified with Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20). At Salvation, we are fully accepted in the Beloved of God (Ephesians 1:5-7). God’s Spirit fills us to the brim and overflows on everyone around us.

We prove that we love Him by our obedience to His Word (John 14:15). We do not always keep each letter of the law all the time, but our motive in life is to walk in His ways (Galatians 3:24; Psalm 86:11-17).

God sees our whole heart – including our secret intents and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). He encourages us to keep our self unspotted by the world. (James 1:26-27).

Jesus loved us even when we did not love Him (1 John 4:19). We feel secure in His love, because it is not dependent on whether we earn or deserve it. It is a free gift, which lasts forever (Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Prayer:
Father God, the world values human attributes like popularity, physical features, power, influence and financial abundance; but You reward faithfulness to Your Word. You discern our secret intents and motives and discipline or bless Your children according to the desires of our heart (Jeremiah 17:10).

Help us to shed the trappings of this world that we carry with us into our relationship with You. Purify our thoughts and teach us Your ways, so that we want only what You want and value only those things which bring You honor and glory forever and ever.

Thought for the Day:
We attempt to justify our motives and actions, but the Lord weighs them on His scales; as we consult the Lord, He will guide our steps and establish our plans in His will. – Proverbs 16:2-3

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God’s Fullness – His Presence Within

We have the opportunity to enjoy the richest measure of God’s presence in our life. He is already there, but we often ignore Him, or fail to seek Him out more than during a few moments of devotion a day.

God wants to fill us with all of His fullness. He desires to flood our entire body, soul and spirit with the richest measure of His Presence (Ephesians 3:16-20, Amplified Bible).

He starts to work in us the moment we come to Him for salvation. Then He commissions us to carry out His purpose in our life (Ephesians 2:10).

God wants to do more for us and in us than we could ever imagine, dream, desire or hope. He will do it too, if we simply surrender every area of our life to Him.

He not only gives us strength to live each day, but He also fortifies that strength with all the unrestricted resources and mighty power available to us through His Holy Spirit, who is abiding in our body, His Temple (1 Corinthians 6:19; Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 3:16).

Jesus Christ actually lives in our spirit by our faith in His finished work on Calvary’s Cross, so that the love of God will firmly unite us to Him with its power (Ephesians 3:17).

Our life will follow God’s path of fulfillment, and we will receive God’s intense and continual love from Him, His Body and our family and friends, who He brings into our life.

Our sinful desires melt away like wax. We cannot boast in the presence of God, because we do not earn it, it is a free gift (Psalm 68:2; 1 Corinthians 1:29). We reverence His presence in our life and value Him and His Word more than all the riches of this world (Psalm 19:10).

Prayer:
Father God, the power and authority of Christ increases in us as we decrease the hold we have over our life; so help us to totally surrender to and trust in You. You promise never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). You will continually abide in us regardless of our thoughts, words or actions, even though we may grieve Your Spirit.

Over the years of our service to You, make Your presence more real to us each day and help us to abide in You each moment of our day (John 15:4-5). Help us to send the roots of our faith deeper into Your love, so that we can willingly serve You with our whole life.

Thought for the Day:
God gives us the richest portion of His love, and fills us completely with His divine presence; flooding every fiber of our body, soul and spirit with Himself.

– Ephesians 3:19 Amplified Bible.

Proof of God’s Love – Part 1

I love the discipline of the Lord, because I know it is a sign that He loves me (Hebrews 12:5-6). He points out idols, which I erect in my life; and He helps me to lay them down at His feet.

They are not obvious idols like money, addictions, covetousness or seeking other gods. They are sly, subtle idols, which usually stir up negative emotions in my soul.

For instance, I like everyone to be happy. I am tenacious and dogged, and I will move mountains to ensure that those I love are happy and content.

However, having everyone delighted and satisfied is an idol in my life. This state of sublime joy is impossible to attain through human effort.

I have to be willing for my family members to be unhappy and discontent, and to stop trying to fix things for them. I need to lay my family’s happiness at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to work out His will in their lives.

Another idol, which He recently exposed in me, is that I like having my ideas valued and taken to heart. I come up with good ideas, because of the analytical mind God gave me.

However, some people reject my ideas before they even hear my whole thought (Proverbs 18:13). They acclaim ideas, which other people have; but disdain most of my ideas. God delivered me from these idols and so many more.

The Lord only disciplines His children (Proverbs 3:12). This is a sign of His enduring love for us and that He cares enough to remove things from our life, which have a negative effect on us.

Prayer:
Father God, remind me to walk in Your Spirit and not to care if people receive my efforts to do Your will. They have issues of their own that You are working out in their soul. Their behavior and words are no real reflection on me.

I want to make a difference in people’s lives, but I do not want to walk outside of Your will. I lay down my need to help others and I commit myself to Your will for my life and theirs.

Thought for the Day:
Idols come in all sizes, shapes and packages; God will reveal them to us as we listen to His Spirit each moment of the day.

Understanding Emotions

God gave us emotions to express our self and the mood we are experiencing at any given moment. They are an important part of our soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and choices. Each emotion has many variations of intensity and nuances of feeling, such as annoyed, angry and enraged. We often think that we are too vulnerable when we express our true feelings, so we hide behind masks, which help us to pretend.

We suppress our feelings in an attempt to be patient and to get along with people, trying not to nag or to complain. Once our patience runs out, however, this usually compounds the problem due to a rise in the intensity of our feelings. Prior to the point of frustration and anger, it helps if we will calmly express how someone’s negative behavior or words are affecting us and making us feel. No one is perfect, and we all have value and worth.

As we take frequent stock of our emotions, we get a clue as to how we are really doing in that moment of time. If we are not being treated properly, our emotions give us a clue that this abusive behavior is not acceptable. Our underlying thoughts fuel our behavior. We simply need to get alone and take the time to journal or to think, in order to get in touch with how we really feel at the core of our soul.

Sometimes, following the roadmap that emotions give us leads us back to the disturbing incidents in our past, which still affect us today. Then, once we understand the cause of our emotions, it is much easier to explain to others how we really feel. Their offensive behavior may be just a misunderstanding, or a lack of discernment or manners on the part of the other person. That is why relationships work out better if we express how we really feel before our soul hides behind a mask.

If the other person sees no problem with their words or behavior, or if they consistently disregard our needs, we can erect boundaries to protect our soul from their painful words and behavior. Putting distance between them and us, or changing our focus about how their actions, opinions or beliefs affect us, will ensure that our heart is not constantly bombarded by their insensitivity and callous behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to choose our words carefully and to speak up when we are violated by another person’s words or actions. Help us to change our focus about their behavior, so that we can maintain the relationship without severing the unity between us. When the whole world misunderstands or criticizes us, You are holding out Your arms, ready to pour out Your love and grace on us in our time of need. We can unburden our heart to You, sharing with You our deepest feelings without any fear of censure or ridicule.

Thought for the Day:
We can pay attention the red flags that our negative emotions give us and use our words to express how we really feel before we let our emotions dictate our behavior.

Waiting Patiently on the Lord

In the spiritual life, we can actually cherish our human weaknesses, because they keep us humble. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). He provides eternal blessings to those willing to give up everything in our life, which we value more than Him. (Matthew 13:45-46). He helps us to die to the temptations of our flesh and to walk in His mercy and power.

 

Self-sufficiency is the enemy of the Cross of Calvary. It prefers to struggle along, pulling itself up by it bootstraps and muddling through life in human reasoning and flesh. Once we come to realize our total impotence and insufficiency, we are able to lay our flesh on the altar of God and gain His forgiveness, regeneration and authority in exchange.

 

In this place of total surrender to Christ, we find His power to allow Him to accomplish all things in and through us (Philippians 2:13, 4:13). We are crucified with Christ and He abides in us (Galatians 2:20). We enter His rest and live, move and have our being from this place of serenity and love in Him (Acts 17:28). Our soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – enter His rest, and our hope comes only from Him (Psalm 62:5).

 

Hoping in the Lord, we are never put to shame (Psalm 25:3; 31:24). He exalts us and we inherit His Kingdom (Psalm 37:34). We wait on the Lord with courage and He strengthens our heart (Psalm 27:14). Waiting takes patience and most human beings lack patience; especially in today’s instant society, where we get everything we want at the push of a button.

 

As we envision our self dead in the tomb and then risen with our glorious Lord, we live each day in the realm of the Holy Spirit. Nothing of this world holds any value to us any more. We put Christ as our first priority and we place our total focus on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Living in the power of His resurrection, we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day. 

 

Prayer:

Father God, waiting on You with patience reaps so many rewards for us. You avenge our wrongs (Proverbs 20:22). You save us and we rejoice in You and Your salvation (Isaiah 25:9). You are good to those who hope in You and who seek Your face (Lamentations 3:25). Teach us to make You the priority of every moment of our day and to seek Your will for each of them.

 

Thought for the Day:

God hears the prayers and gives His attention to those who patiently wait on Him with their whole being. – Psalm 40:1; 130:5

Perfect Perfectionism

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day are ideal examples of religious perfectionism (Matthew 5:20). They took the words of the prophets and the law of God and turned them into a formula for success rather than a guide for life. They perfected their outward behavior without having an inner change of heart. They were clean on the outside, but inside they were full of decay and corruption (Mathew 23:27).

They reeked of inner darkness and death, which comes from the flesh. Jesus wanted to create a clean heart in them (Psalm 51:10), and to transform their carnality into perfect spirituality by His Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to do the same thing for us today. He desires to give us His new nature and to mold in us a new, pliable heart instead of the stony one, which is the result of life’s devastation (Ezekiel 36:26).

As God’s Spirit changes our nature to that of Christ, then our behavior changes right along with it (2 Peter 1:4). The more we affirm the work of God’s Spirit in our life, the freer we become from the lies and bondage of Satan and his demons. Our identity no longer derives its strength from our carnal efforts, but from the love, which Christ has for each of us.

We consistently act in accordance with Biblical principles rather than by perfectionistic perceptions of God’s law. We stand in the power of Christ within us, knowing without a doubt that we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ and part of His beloved Body of Authentic Believers (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 12:27). We walk in the victory of Calvary with the assurance of eternal life.

Prayer:
Father God, eternal life starts the moment we acknowledge our sins and surrender our life to You (Mark 1:14-15). Our intimacy with You, Your Son and Your Spirit grows each moment of every day for the rest of our life; as we spend time in prayer, Bible reading, fellowshipping with other Christians and worshipping together as Your Body on earth. Christ did more than forgive our sins, although that is the reason for our praise to Your name; but He also came to accept us into Your eternal family and give us an abundant life in You both now and forever (John 17:3; Ephesians 1:6).

Thought for the Day:
Eternal life is not the duration of our life, but rather the value of our life in Christ.