Into the Silence

The world is so noisy. All around us, even out in the country, social media, TV, car radios and stores are blaring advertisements and voices almost 24/7.

 

Many people have a noisy soul too. Their thoughts and feelings are bombarding them with negative issues that demand their immediate attention. They are weary and discover no rest, even in God’s presence.

 

In sleep they dream disruptive images, which come from their troubled soul. They argue with significant others in their life and even argue with their own self; finding no peace at all.

 

Only if we disappear into our spirit and immerse our self in God’s peace can we find ultimate silence regardless of the dissonance of circumstances around us.

 

As we sit in His presence, we get lost in Him and focus on His still, small voice within us. We worship with the angels and enjoy our front row seat with Jesus in heavenly places even now (Ephesians 2:4-7).

 

We sit in companionable silence with Him as we bask in the pleasure of God’s face shining on us as He takes joy in our company (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 80:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Finding comfort in the silent presence of our significant others is also a joyful experience. We may chat amiably or snuggle silently and recharge our battery for the coming tasks which will demand our attention.

 

Holding our child as they drift off to sleep is one of the most satisfying experiences in life. We watch their peaceful features and enjoy their unconditional love as their breathing slows and their tiny eyes droop.

 

Yet, our most meaningful relationship is dwelling continually in God’s presence. He permeates us with a quiet peace, sane direction, cheerful thoughts and a holy existence. We pray or listen as the moment dictates and enjoy the constant fellowship of His company.

Prayer:

Father God, as we abide in Your presence we experience deep peace, unexplainable joy, and Your comfort and support as we share with You our tears of worship or burdens. You are kind to all of us who trust in and obey You. We wait patiently for You in our alone times and in the cacophony of daily living (Lamentations 3:25-26).

 

By faith, even in our worse trials and times of testing, we joyfully count on Your faithfulness to produce endurance in our soul (James 1:2). We dwell in our spirit and snuggle under the almighty shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91:4). You give us peace which overcomes human reasoning, and You shower us with Your blessings regardless of the hardships we experience in this life (Philippians 4:7).

 

Thought for the Day:
Times of silence give us rest, hope and strength to face the next trial.

 

Heavenly Throne and Earthly Footstool

In this modern era, we depreciate God in every way. We see Him as the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. We tell Him what to do, berate Him as a child, and show our disdain and anger toward Him.

We forget that He created the entire cosmos. Mankind discovers more and more galaxies with each new powerful telescope and probe, which we send out into space.

We continually discover plant and animal species which we never knew existed. We see the magnitude of His glory in nature; and yet, this does not change our respect and honor for our Creator (Romans 1:20).

Today, God deigns to dwell on earth in the hearts of Believers (2 Chronicles 6:18). We cannot possibly hide from God. He sees our thoughts, words and deeds. He desires our pure and holy worship (Jeremiah 23:24).

People refer to a building where the church meets as the “House of God”, but this is far from the way God sees it (Acts 7:38). Heaven is His throne and He uses the earth as His footstool (Isaiah 66:1). The most elegant cathedral cannot contain Him.

He is our King and the ultimate Ruler of the Universe (1 Timothy 1:17). He stretches out between the vast expanse of time and space and interacts with His creation throughout the ages.

His Lordship and holy Presence should cause us to fall on our face before Him in humility, gratitude and praise; rather than to shout false accusations at Him, demean His character and blame Him for that misfortune which Satan causes on the earth.

God is totally engaged in each individual life and works by His Spirit to bring His truth and revelation to people in each generation since Adam and Eve. There is no reason for us not to love and honor Him with every breath we take.

Prayer:
Father God, what house could we possibly build for You (Jeremiah 7:4)? There is no way to contain Your essence in a building made with human hands (Acts 7:49). The heavens cannot even contain You, because You defy space and matter (1 Kings 8:27). You hold the universe in one hand.

Yet, Your eyes are on each one of us, judging our works and considering our needs, providing for Your children through Your magnanimous love and care (Psalm 11:4; 1 Peter 5:7). We give thanks to You that there is no good thing, which we need that You are not willing to provide for us (Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
God fills both the heavens and the earth and is not limited by time, space or matter; yet, He also revives the heart of the humble and penitent, and energizes our spirit with His Spirit as a down payment for all He has prepared for us both now and in eternity. – Jeremiah 23:24; Isaiah 57:15

Ceasing from Futile Efforts

Much of what we do in this world is busyness. We get overly involved and double-booked in our schedule; yet make no time for play, worship and fellowship with family and friends.

We burn the candle at both ends until we burn out, making our self sick in the process. We have so many irons in the fire that we can barely keep everything straight even with a calendar and sticky notes.

We have so little of our self to put into each endeavor that they are all lacking to some degree or another. We constantly run from one plate to another to keep them all up in the air and spinning.

The rare person who learns the value and secret of entering God’s rest, ceases this striving in the flesh, follows the leading of God’s Spirit each moment of the day, and trusts in God’s overall plan for their life (Hebrews 4:7-10).

They are more interested in accomplishing the works which God preordained for them to do than in fulfilling their own goals and agendas (Ephesians 2:10).

They are not tempted by the world, the flesh or the devil to compete or to get ahead in this world. The trappings of life have lost their glitter and are no longer appealing.

They line up their desires with the purpose of God for their life. They love Him above all else and they hunger and thirst for the manifestation of His presence to fill their body, soul and spirit (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for Your law, which showed us the futility of attempting to reach fulfillment by human means and measures. We are so glad that Your law pointed us to Christ and His finished work on Calvary.

A life in Your presence is ours once we convert from a child of this world to Your child – forever free of the cares of this life and joyously cared for by You (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:19-25; 1 Peter 5:7). Thank You for using us to demonstrate Your righteousness to the world around us and draw us ever closer to Your rivers of living water within us.

Thought for the Day:
What time is there in life for rest, recreation, serenity and fulfillment amidst the turmoil of agitated rushing after useless pursuits in a state of disorder, the tyranny of cares and the mountain of depression rising within our soul?

Understanding the Trinity

People accuse Christians of having three Gods. They cannot conceive of the concept of three persons in one God. Yet, the Bible is very clear that we have one Body, one faith, one baptism and one God who is over all, through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).

 

There are many examples to explain the Trinity. My favorite is to consider a man: he is a son, a father and a grandfather; yet, just one person with three functions.

 

Another is a basketball with the outer pig skin, the inner tube and the air within the ball giving it substance and form; one ball with three parts and functions.

 

Yet another idea is an apple with the skin, the flesh and the core; one apple with three distinct parts, serving three distinct functions.

 

A triangle has three equal sides, which together make one complete shape. To my understanding, the Trinity is just that simple.

 

The confusing part with the Trinity is when God calls Jesus His son; yet, Jesus makes it clear that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). He said that if those in His day saw Him, then they have also seen the Father (John 14:7-9).

 

He also said that He had to leave the earth so the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). Clearly, one God with three distinct functions. Understanding the Trinity is just that simple.

 

There are many diverse denominations of Believers, but we are all one Body in Christ with many parts (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). God’s grace chooses us, claims us by faith, gives us hope for the future and sustains us throughout our whole life (Matthew 22:14; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Peter 5:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, regardless of the denomination in which we choose to worship, You fill every authentic Believer with Your Holy Spirit. He joins us as one Body, one church, one Bride and one faith just as You, Your Spirit and Your Son are one. We are all one in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

 

Thank You for sending us Your Spirit to comfort, guide and counsel us in Your Truth. We rely on His direction through every moment of every day. We are eternally grateful to Christ for His sacrificial offering in our place, and we bask in Your presence, which fills every fiber of our body, soul and spirit.

 

Thought for the Day:

Every authentic Believer is united with the Trinity who dwells within us; when someone as monumental as God moves in, there will be wondrous changes in our life.

 

Split Personality

When we come to Christ, our spirit which was dead in sin, comes alive (Ephesians 2:5). We are Born Again and everything in us is made new (John 3:1-21; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The manifestation of this change takes years.

God convicts us in areas which are negatively affecting our witness for Him. We cannot judge others. We may think someone smokes too much; but God is more interested in deeper issues, which we cannot see.

In the beginning, we are partially surrendered to Christ. We hold back whole rooms in our soul, where we do not want God to go. We slam the doors shut and sometimes even lock them.

This is why we appear to our self and other people as a split personality. Part of us is sanctified and part of us is carnal and still caught in the web of sin.

The longer we walk with the Lord, the more willing we are to surrender more of our secret self to Him. We unlock some doors, but we protectively keep some of them closed or partially open.

We are not willing to live in total transparency before the Lord and our fellow Christians. With time, we learn to trust God’s kindness and mercy. We depend upon His grace above all else.

We come to live a surrendered life when we understand that it is not I, but Christ living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). Christ is our whole life and we want nothing else (Colossians 3:4).

Total surrender to Christ produces fruit in us from the Vine (John 15:5). We develop the habit of walking in stride with God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We learn to think and speak by the Spirit too, reaping God’s rewards (1 Corinthians 2:13).

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit transforms us from a split personality into a totally new creation. We no longer desire carnality, but want only that which is spiritual in our life. We come to know Christ intimately and the power, strength and truth of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). We grasp all that Christ provides for us (Philippians 3:12).

Thank You for transforming us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Help us to live a life of whole-hearted devotion and worship to You in holiness and with eternal goals, priorities and values. We rely on You to walk with us through the perils of this life and to make us victors in all things (Romans 8:37).

Thought for the Day:
We bring glory to Jesus when we live in the fullness of His atonement and the redemption of His sacrifice, which He shared with us by His resurrection from the dead and ascension into Heaven. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

The Soul and Spirit of Mankind

Some people confuse the soul and the spirit of mankind. Many think they are different words for the same entity. Yet, the Bible is clear that they are separate (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

God originally created humans in His image and likeness as a tripartite being with a body, soul and spirit (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). We are set apart from other created beings because of this peculiarity (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Animals have a body and soul – a mind, will and emotions; but they do not have a spirit. Botanists say that plants have emotions and enjoy it when we to talk to them.

Yet, the spirit of man is our link with Almighty God. Due to Adam’s sin, our spirit is dead in sin when we are born (Ephesians 2:1). God draws us throughout our lifetime to come to Him for the rebirth of our spirit (John 3:1-21).

Yet, God also gives us a free will (2 Timothy 2:26). It is our choice to believe and to accept His free gift of salvation, or to condemn our self through our unbelief for eternity (John 3:16-18; Romans 3:23, 6:23).

Our body lives one day at a time, dying a little bit more each day. Our soul, made up of our will, feelings, thoughts, intellect and conscience, lives beyond the life span of our body.

The eternal destination of our immortal body, soul and spirit is determined by our choice to receive or reject Christ while we live on this earth (John 3:16-18).

Prayer:
Father God, help us by Your mercies to present our body to You as a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice (1 Corinthians 6:20). This is our spiritual service of worship to You. Remind us not to be conformed to his sinful world, with its dreams, goals and practices, but to allow Your Holy Spirit to renew our mind to live in Your will for our individual life (Romans 12:1-2).

We do not need to guess what Your will is, nor strain and stress about the issues of this life in which we get so bogged down every day. Your will includes so much more than obeying Your Word. It also includes fulfilling the purpose for which You created us (Ephesians 2:10). We simply enter into Your rest and walk in Your Spirit each moment of every day.

Thought for the Day:
Our spirit and soul – our thoughts, choices and feelings – are considered our heart, and God calls us to watch over our heart diligently, because out of it flows the springs of life.
– Proverbs 4:23

The Presence of God

God is present within us, and in our world through the lives of His Saints. His Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and we are His temple. We live, move and have our being in Him (Acts 17:28).

His supernatural power supplies all of our needs through His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). He abundantly meets our needs in ways we never have imagined.

Our Father rarely uses signs and wonders to accomplish His will. He works through ordinary people and often by ordinary means (John 4:48). His quiet presence is always in our midst (John 14:16; Matthew 28:20).

The fleshly desires, of our Adamic sin nature will decrease, as Christ in us increases (Ephesians 2:1-3). He replaces our carnality with His divine nature (Romans 8:8-9; 2 Peter 1:4).

Christ set us free from the bondage to sin, and He is showering us with His forgiveness, holiness, peace and joy through His Spirit (Romans 6:18, 14:17). Through His forgiveness, we can forgive our self and those who hurt us.

We have the choice now to walk in the Spirit or the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25). We are no longer deceived by the allure of the world, for we recognize it as empty and devastating.

As we put Christ as our first priority in our life, and eliminate our attachment to the world, we enjoy real devotion at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:41-42). We organize our life and reduce the excesses until we have more time for worship and service.

The faith of Christ brightens our day and His mercy and grace fuel our desire to walk only in His will. We submit to Christ as He does the works of our Father in and through us (John 5:19).

Prayer:
Father God, we please You by our willingness and obedience to Your Word. With Christ in us, we are enough – good enough, strong enough, obedient enough, anointed enough to serve You with our life (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

We serve You with joy in our heart, and we dwell in Your presence with gratitude and praise. We bless Your name, for You are good, and Your everlasting mercy and truth endure throughout ever generation (Psalm 100:2-5).

Thought for the Day:
God shows us the path of life, as well as continual delights at His right hand; and we find complete joy in His presence. – Psalm 16:11

The Name of the Lord – Our Refuge

Faith in Jesus’ name will strengthen us; and the faith which comes through Him, often gives us perfect health through Him; so that Jesus may be magnified (Acts 3:16, 4:10, 4:30, 19:17 James 5:14).

God justly remembers the work and love we show in His name as we minister to one another (Hebrews 6:10). We give thanks and praise to His name, and exalt His name as He delivers us (1 Chronicles 16:35; Nehemiah 9:5).

We praise His name as we assemble, and to the ends of the earth, and as we pay our vows forever and ever (Psalm 22:22, 30:4, 38:10; 61:8). Even the oppressed and needy praise and give thanks to His great, lovely, and awesome name (Psalm 74:21, 99:3, 106:47, 135:3).

His is the only name, which we exalt and worship (Psalm 148:13). We praise His name with dancing and with instruments because of all the good things He does for us (Ps 149:3; Jeremiah 33:9; Joel 2:26). The fruit of our lips continually gives thanks to and boasts in His name (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 44:8).

God releases our soul from its prison here on earth, so that we may give thanks to His name (Psalm 142:7). Therefore, we exalt His name forever for His wonderful works, and His perfect plans, which He faithfully fulfills (Isaiah 12:4, 25:1).

Even in trials and persecution, we praise the name of the Lord (Ephesians 5:20; Psalm 74:21). Whatever we do in word and deed, we do it all in His name and for the glory of His name (Colossians 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, all the earth will one day worship You with the glory, which is due to Your name (Psalm 66:4). There is no god like You, and we eagerly await the revelation of Your appearing, because You are the desire of our soul (Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 26:8). We love and take refuge in Your name and sing for joy because of Your shelter throughout our life (Psalm 5:11).

We cling to You and hold fast to Your promises and ways as we enjoy Your deliverance (Deuteronomy 10:20; Psalm 5:11, 9:10). Thank You for securely setting us high upon the Rock of Christ, because we experience the magnitude of Your name (Psalm 91:14).

Thought for the Day:
Due to God’s marvelous works, let us continually offer words of praise, even if it is a sacrifice for our soul to use our last ounce of strength to do it. – Hebrews 13:15

Aging Gracefully

Getting old is difficult. Energy, bodily organ functions, and attention span all diminish; while aches and pains, pill intake and doctor bills all increase. We get discouraged, lose self-esteem and feel useless in so many areas.

Eventually, we even have to cut back on our energy outgo; limiting our activities to one major event a day. Many are required to give up the keys to the car, join a geriatrics exercise program and get more sleep with less productivity.

God knew, before we were born, that we would grow old  (Ephesians 2:10). He has plans for us, which includes this time in our life (Jeremiah 29:11). We do not need to confine our self to the rocking chair on the front porch – although that is fun sometimes too.

We just change our focus and keep a positive attitude. We keep walking in the Spirit and continue to fulfill the will of God for each moment of our life. We exchange youthful ministries for the equally as important ministry of prayer and mentoring (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Titus 2:4).

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, we worship Him by singing and praying the scripture. We lift up the needs of our fellow Saints and family members, the church’s pastor and staff and the ministry leaders and volunteers, the world and its leaders, the persecuted church and the unreached people groups.

Another way to minister is by writing a blog, emailing, fellowshipping on social media and private messages and texts. This way, we can communicate and minister all over the country and the world.

God teaches us to set boundaries around our time; to take a day off; to enjoy time in nature, at the pool or walking on trails each day; to play with our pets; to write letters and books and to make cards to brighten someone’s day; to bake a pie or a dozen cookies to share with the neighborhood kids after school – all in His name and all for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Father God, when we are drained, worn and weary from life, we are still Yours with a unique calling on our life. Remind us that until our dying breath, You call us to seek You and to walk in Your perfect plan for us by Your Spirit. We surrender all to You and worship You with all of our thoughts, words and deeds.

Remind us that the girl checking us out at the grocery, the waitress, the retail clerk, the person next to us on the bus or airplane, the librarian, etc. all need us to recognize them as a person too, and to tell them that You and we really care about them. Let Your light shine in us so brightly that everyone will see our good works and give You the glory (Matthew 5:16).

Thought for the Day:
God uses us in so many ways, regardless of our age, energy level, health issues and physical limitations, to share His wisdom, ways and wonders with those He brings into our life.

Divine Appointments – The Fruit of Obedience

For my 15th birthday, my parents bought me a guitar and some lessons at the local community center. This started a love affair for me, which lasted until this day.

The smooth surface, richly colored wood and shiny strings melt my heart every time is see a guitar. I love the moving melody, which flows from the guitar’s inner chamber, and the fact that I can praise God and play the guitar at the same time.

After Christ saved me and renewed my spirit, I continually played the guitar and worshiped Him. In the wee hours of the morning, when everyone else was asleep, I went down to the basement and sang at the top of my lungs until the floor joists rattled.

When I discovered classical guitar, I felt led to take lessons. With three small children, a pastor husband and a church full of people, I looked beyond reason and common sense and signed up for classes.

My young instructor was very talented and inspiring; yet, what he showed me would take hours of practice; and I knew there were not enough minutes in the day for me to dedicate to learning this skilled art.

That week, I did my guitar class homework, but I prayed about whether or not to continue taking lessons. The Lord told me to go to one more class and to take my young instructor the book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”.

Confused, but wanting to walk in the Spirit, I did just that. My instructor politely accepted the book, gave me another lesson and promised to visit us at our church some time.

Many months went by and I forgot this episode in my life, as I immersed myself in the hustle and bustle of life. Then, one epic day, my former classical guitar instructor rocked my world.

He entered our church facility and pulled me aside. He told me a tale, which caused me to cry the whole time he related it:

His girlfriend broke up with him several weeks after my last lesson, and he had to move. In the midst of packing, he decided to end his life.

He removed his gun from his dresser drawer and placed it on the coffee table in the living room. Leaning back on the couch, he contemplated his life and exactly how to terminate it.

As he blankly stared straight ahead, his eye noticed the book I brought him those many months before. He leaned forward and opened it to a random page and started reading.

The page he opened to answered the exact question that had been gnawing at him for half of his life. He read the page twice and then continued to read, opening Josh McDowell’s book to random pages over and over again.

Eventually, he fell on his face before the Lord, repented of his sins and rose to walk in a new life. He came to our church that day to hug my neck and to thank me for listening to the Spirit and buying him that book.

God not only spared this young man’s life, but He set his feet on a new path of leading worship in the blessings and glory of the Lord. That one divine appointment had a ripple effect, which changed many lives in the future, including mine.

God has divine appointments for all of us (Acts 16:9-11, 25-34). He will even use strange and unattainable desires in our heart to direct us to the right place, at the right time, to the right person, whose life He wants to impact for His Kingdom.

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing too small or too great for You. You use our lives for Your purpose, to grow Your Kingdom and to draw the world to Your unconditional mercy, love and grace. Fill us in all of our being with all of Your fullness, so that we may have the richest measure of Your presence and become Your Body wholly filled with You (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Help us to discern the leading of Your Spirit through each moment of our life, and anoint our body, soul and spirit to make a difference in the lives of those You bring our way. Teach us to humble our self under Your mighty hand and use us for Your honor and glory (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Thought for the Day:
“Disappointment = His-appointment. Change one letter, then I see that the thwarting of my purpose is God’s better choice for me.” —Young