Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Colossians 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
I was awake early this morning and as I walked through the living room the lights in the valley below caught my attention and I paused to sit for awhile on the couch to reflect on the beauty of God's creation. The stars were shining brightly in the sky and the view of the world below my home caused me to reflect on how God has placed us, as believers in Christ Jesus, far above worldly thoughts and aspirations. We live in the world but we are not of this world. We have been born from above and our thoughts and actions are to reflect the One for whom we serve.
When Christ Jesus came to live within me through His Spirit my whole life changed. Colossians 1:13 says that I changed residences from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love.
Colossians 1:13 NLT For He has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and He has brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
When I married my husband I moved from Kansas to Tennessee. My whole life changed. My home was different, my church was different, my associations with people were new; my daily activities changed. Through my name change I became a different person. So it is when a person becomes a born again believer in Christ Jesus. We call that becoming a “Christian”; which means a Christ follower. That's what Colossians 3:1-3 is talking about. The Apostle Paul said this about becoming a Christian:
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
When a person receives Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior they become a new person! The old way of life is changed and a new way of life begins. It is by thinking and acting on what God has said in His Word that the transformation takes place. Day by day old thoughts are forgotten and new ones take their place. As a person takes their rightful place in Christ Jesus far above all that is taking place in this world they are changed from faith to faith and glory to glory.
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The New Living Translation of Romans 12:2 says: “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Let heaven fill your thoughts as Colossians 3:2 says in the New Living Translation. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Be heavenly minded! God has given you a new home!
Philippians 4:8 NLT And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
These are the thoughts of heaven. This is what we are to fix our minds on. Not the “what ifs” that come when a thought of fear enters our minds. It is at that time that we must arrest the negative thought and replace it with one that is true and honorable and right; that which is pure and lovely and admirable. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” when we change from a negative thought to a positive one.
Romans 8:5, 6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Are you caught up in thinking about what is taking place in the world around you? Do you dread the future because of what you see happening in the world? If so, then you need to change what you are setting your mind on. For the mind that is set on the things of the flesh, of the world around you is death, but the mind that is set on the things of the Spirit, or of heavenly things is life and peace. Do you long for peace in your life? Then change what you are thinking about. Begin to look into the promises of God and see who you are in Christ Jesus and all that He has promised you as a child of God.
I remember as a new Christian how my mind was being changed from the fearful thoughts of the “what ifs” to the promises of God. I used to have to stop myself in the middle of a thought and say “now, wait a minute, what does the word of God have to say about my situation?”. Then I would replace the fearful thought with a scripture that promised God's goodness in my life. I had to arrest that thought and replace it with the truth of God's word.
2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
God has delivered us from the “power” of darkness! His promises are Yes and Amen, so be it, to the glory of God through us. The devil and this fallen world of pain and heartache no longer has a hold on a believer in Christ Jesus because the truth of God's word supersedes the negative thoughts of this world. Colossians 1:13 says that “He has delivered us from the power of darkness....”. That word for “power” in that verse means “authority or right to act, ability, and privilege”. That means the devil has no more authority, the right to act, ability or privilege to control the life of a Christian. The only ground that he gets is the ground that we surrender to him. When we change our thoughts from negative to God's positive promises we shut the door on the enemy's right to act in our lives. He no longer has the authority to wreak havoc in our lives. But as long as our thinking lines up with his negative thoughts and actions we open the door and welcome him into our lives.
Will you line your thoughts up with the positive promises of God today? Or will you continue to think on the fearful, negative thoughts that the enemy brings into your mind. The choice is yours. As Joshua said in Joshua 24:15: “....choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve....But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Today I choose to serve the Lord in my thoughts, words and actions!
Father, I thank You for delivering me from the power of darkness and conveying me into the kingdom of Your Son. I thank You that the devil and all his worldly cohorts no longer have any control over me. I am seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and my home is not this world, I am just passing through. Thank You for changing my whole life when I was born again. I choose now to follow You, to live for You, to think like You and to act like You. You are my God; there is none above You nor beside You and my thoughts will be those of Your promises, not the negative fearful thoughts of the “what ifs” that the devil tries to shoot into my mind. His arrows of negativity are stopped through the helmet of salvation that You gave me when I was born again. I do not receive thoughts of defeat, discouragement, fear, anxiety or negativity. My thought are of peace, hope, and victory through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. I thank You for the victory!
Father, I pray today for those who may be struggling with fearful thoughts. I pray that they will saturate their minds with Your thoughts of peace and not evil, of victory and not defeat, of hope and not discouragement, for You came to give them life and that more abundantly. Father, help them to focus on Your ability within them to win over the attacks of the enemy in their lives. Help them to see You as the bigger and greater One that lives within them, bigger than anything the enemy would throw at them. Father, help them to replace the negative thoughts with the positive promises in Your word. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Deuteronomy 30:19, 20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
The power to choose! God has given us all a free will to choose those things that are the best for us. We each have 24 hours in every day and choices come up all throughout the day. What will we choose? Will we choose to live for Him or to live for ourselves, the world or even the devil? Will we choose to make healthy choices that will not only affect our futures, but the futures of our children and grandchildren? Choices and decisions lie within our power! What will they be?
Choices bring paychecks! When we choose to follow God we reap the benefits of God's blessings. When we choose healthy choices regarding our physical bodies we reap the benefits of good health. The choice to exercise produces a strong physical body. Good financial choices produce savings for the future; a retirement income and the security of being able to meet our obligations when we reach the age where we can no longer work to earn a living. Good, healthy choices produces the desired results: a good, healthy future!
What will you choose today?
I choose to spend time with the Lord to hear what He wants to say to me.
I choose to develop my relationship with Him because I love Him and want His will to be done in my life.
I choose to walk in His ways according to the principles laid out in His Word!
I choose to feed my physical body food that will fuel it for maximum performance!
I choose to exercise my body so it performs well throughout the remainder of my life.
I choose to love and receive those around me as Christ loved me and received me as I am.
I choose to walk in love, not hate towards my fellow man.
I choose to take control of my life before it takes control of me!
I choose to win in the challenges of life because God created me to be a winner!
I choose life over death; blessings over curses and gratitude over selfish desires!
The choices I make today will determine the quality of my tomorrows!
Father, I thank You for giving me the freedom to choose my path for today. Thank You for loving me so much that You didn't create me as a robot but You gave me the choice to make these decisions for myself. I pray that my choices today will reflect Your life within me and will line up with Your will for my life. Thank You for empowering me to win through proper choices. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, February 04, 2013
John 9:4, 5 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
I awoke this morning with Chris Tomlin's song, “I Will Rise” running through my mind. There is a reward that awaits every born again believer and it is the day that we rise to meet Jesus and spend eternity with Him, worshiping and praising Him and enjoying the good things that He has gone on to heaven to prepare for us. As I prayed this morning about that day the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “that day awaits you, but for now there is work to be done.”
Jesus said that He came for one specific reason and that was to do the works of Him who sent Him. He came to destroy the works of the devil and reconcile mankind back to the Father.
Works – Greek word ergon – means toil, occupation, enterprise, deed, task, accomplishment, employment, performance, work, labor, course of action. The miraculous accomplishments and deeds of Jesus are works of God implying power and might.
He said as long as He was in the world that He was the light of the world. As long as believers are still here we are the light of the world because the Light lives within us. We do the works of God because the Spirit of God lives within us empowering us to light up the world with His love, mercy and grace. He has given us the Light, Jesus Himself, to live within us through His Spirit, to be salt and light to those around us that need the Savior, that need to see Jesus with skin on and experience the love of God that never fails, never turns them away, never quits loving them or changes from love to hate. We are here to do the works of Him who sends us out into the world!
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
The main focus on Jesus' mind was to do the work of His Father. When others around Him were talking about food His mind went to a totally different place; the place of spiritual, not physical needs. His Spirit's hunger had priority over His physical appetites. He found deep communion with God and in doing His Father's will. Applause and material acquisitions only satisfy temporarily, but spiritual food feeds a person's inner being where the need to connect with their heavenly Father resides. God created man with a need for Him and Him alone. That quest to find God and be content and satisfied within is a spiritual need, not physical. It can only be satisfied by meeting and communing with the Father through His Spirit. Jesus came to make the way possible for man to be re-connected spiritually with our heavenly Father. Now that He has gone back to heaven His Spirit has taken up residence within believers to continue the work of leading people back to Him.
John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. “And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name I will do it.”
Jesus has gone back to the Father and we are left here as His body to do the works that He did as He instructs us. His Spirit lives within us to lead us, guide us and empower us to do those same works. When we are doing those works He has given us the assurance that He is working with us by answering the prayers that we ask in His name that are needed to complete the works that He has called us to do. Will you join me in working while it is still day....while there is still time?
Father, I thank You for filling me with Your Spirit so that I might be equipped to do the works that Jesus did. I thank You for the equipping that is necessary to continue the work that He came to do, to destroy the works of the devil in people's lives. Father, I thank You for the many born again believers that are still on this earth working while there is still time to share the good news of the gospel with the lost. I thank You for showing us where to go and for telling us how to accomplish what needs to be done. Father, I pray that we will go out with boldness to tell others about Jesus, to lay hands on the sick and see them recover, to cast the devil out of the oppressed and to raise the dead back to life again! Thank You for giving us the opportunity to work with You in establishing Your kingdom on this earth as it is in heaven. May Your will be done, Father, in the hearts and lives of the people that we come into contact with. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
The reward lies ahead of us, but for now there is work still to be done!
Sunday, February 03, 2013
John 1:1-5 (NKJV) IN the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Jesus was with God when the world was created. Everything was made by Him, through Him and for Him. (Col. 1:16) Jesus the Logos, the living Word was with God and was God. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity: God, the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit all make up the One true God!
Logos – Greek word means a transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declaration.
Jesus is the whole of God's thoughts wrapped up in a human being. He is divine revelation of the will of God. In fact, in the Book of Hebrews 1:3 He is said to be the “express image of His person” and the “brightness of His glory”. He is God in the flesh; God with skin on!
Hebrews 1-3 GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
John, back in John 1:18 said that Jesus declared the Father to us. He revealed God to us so we could get a picture in our minds of Who God is and by looking at what Jesus did when He walked on this earth interacting with mankind we can get an idea of what His will for mankind is. When we look at Jesus we see the Father at work.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Greek word for “dwelt” in that scripture means “tabernacled”. The analogy is that of the tabernacle in the wilderness when God pitched His tent among those of the Hebrews and manifested His glory there. In that same way Jesus came to earth as a man and lived among the people. He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. He understands our challenges and heartaches because He experienced them also. He defeated the enemy so that we might have the victory!
Hebrews 2:14-18 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
You and I are flesh and blood; we are human beings. God knew His man would sin even before it happened and He planned before the foundation of the world for Jesus to pay the price to redeem mankind. Jesus, God's only Son, became the payment for the sin of the world; God's own sacrifice to reconcile His man back to Himself. Jesus came to earth to be like us so that He might destroy the works of the devil and take back the authority that was given to him in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve when they sinned. Jesus had to be sinless to be the sacrifice for man's sins. He was tempted in all things just like you and me, yet without sin. He lived a life of victory so He could be the sinless High Priest that paid the penalty for the sins of the people. Since He was tempted and didn't sin, He now can offer help to those of us who are walking out our humanity. He is ready and willing to save, heal, deliver, set free and empower us to walk out our Christianity in victory!
Because of Jesus' victory over sin, death and hell we, who have received His salvation personally, can now come boldly before the throne of God's grace as born again believers to receive help in our time of need. There are two primary times when we need help where sin is concerned: before we sin when we are tempted and after we have succumbed to the temptation and sinned. If we run to Him before we sin we can receive strength to overcome the temptation. But after we sin we need God's forgiveness. We can then run to Him, not away from Him, to receive the forgiveness and cleansing that we need to wipe away the guilt of our sin.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Are you running to Jesus, your great High Priest in the face of temptation and sin, or are you running away in shame thinking that you can handle this on your own. You can't....you need Him!
Run to the Lord, not from Him!
Father, I thank You for Jesus and His role in your plan to redeem mankind. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Father, I pray for those who may be struggling with sin and the guilt of failing to overcome the temptation of sin in their lives. I pray that they will run to You to confess their sin and receive Your forgiveness and cleansing. Father, I ask You to restore unto them the joy of their salvation as they confess their sins to you. Thank you, Father, for equipping us for the victory. I thank You that when we are tempted we can come to You for help. Thank You for granting us the victory! In Jesus' name I pray! Amen.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
When we look at the beginning of mankind and his life in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of man we see how God intended for His man to relate to Him. We can understand how God intended for life to be for mankind.
In the beginning God created man in His likeness and image and gave him authority over all that was in the Garden; all the wild-life and plant life. He gave him rule and dominion and the ability to subdue all that God had placed under him.
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God gave His man supreme authority in his own sphere of influence. He empowered him to rule over the earth; his sphere of influence. Man was to be in communion with his God and then pass on to his world that which he received from his God. Communion with God was the key to releasing his authority in the world. That all changed when sin entered the picture!
When sin entered into Adam's and Eve's lives the first thing we see happening is their fear of God; they were afraid to come into His presence to commune with Him. Sin hinders a person's ability to come boldly before God's throne to receive the help that he needs. It causes a person to want to run away from God and hide from Him instead of running to Him to fellowship and commune with Him. Sin hinders a person's ability to hear God's voice and feel His presence.
God wanted His man to fellowship with Him; to experience all that He had created him to be and do. Sin broke the channel of communication and caused his man to lose his confidence in exercising his authority over the world that God had given him. Sin caused man to be afraid of God; where he had once run to God to get his significance and acceptance, he now hid and cowered down from Him because of the effects of what he had done. Man's ability to hear the voice of God was now blurred and condemnation from the enemy now played a bigger role in his awareness of his God and what God thought of him. He now knew the evil of his world, just as the serpent had said, but it wasn't as great an idea as had been presented to him when he had been tempted to eat of that which God had said to stay away from.
Isn't that what sin does to us today also? Doesn't it hinder our ability to feel love and acceptance from our heavenly Father? When you sin don't you feel like running and hiding to escape the watchful eye of your Father in heaven? Does condemnation haunt you and give you the feeling of never being any good to anyone because you can't get control over a sinful habit?
Well, I have good news for you! God knew that His man would sin and that his communion with Him would be broken because of it. He planned ahead of time for what He knew would be needed to free man from the power of the enemy and the sin that so easily besets us. He made a way where there seemed to be no way! That way was made through the sacrifice of Jesus for the sin of mankind! God is in the restoration business! He restores what the enemy steals from us. When Jesus died for your sin and mine He made it possible for us to come back to the state that we were in before the Fall of man, in the Garden of Eden, where we lived in communion with our heavenly Father. Jesus restored our authority in our world. He gave back to us everything that sin took from us!
Romans 5:17-21 NIV For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Jesus restored back to us everything that we lost when Adam and Eve sinned. Condemnation comes through sin; the door was opened for the enemy to enter into our lives through sin. God told Cain when he was thinking about killing his brother that sin was lying at the door waiting to have him; but that he should master it.
Genesis 4:6, 7 NIV Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will yo not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
God told Cain to keep the door to sin shut. If he had listened to God he would have been able to stay in right relationship with Him. He would have continued to be able to live in communion with his heavenly Father. But Cain chose his own way over God's. And he opened the door to the enemy's work in his life.
The only ground that Satan can take from a believer is the ground that we relinquish to him through sin. Sin opens the door for the devil to wreak havoc in the life of a believer. It diminishes our authority over our sphere of influence; it dims the voice of God in our hearts and it gives the enemy a foothold in our lives. Sin destroys our relationship with God and opens our lives to enemy attack. The way to stop it is to close the door to sin!
Romans 6:12-14 NKJV Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
When we submit ourselves to God and resist the temptation of the enemy to sin, we are taking an active part in closing the door on the enemy's ability to ruin our relationship with our God.
What are you doing to close the door to sin in your life? Are you living above the temptations of this world and the lure of the enemy to be independent of your heavenly Father? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hearts through asking God to forgive you and He will restore you to a right relationship with Him. The channel for communication will be cleared and you will once again be able to fellowship with Him and hear His voice. Don't allow the enemy to block your receptors!
Father, I come before You this morning to thank You for the way that You made for me to be in right relationship with You; through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. Father, I thank You that I can come boldly before Your throne of grace to find help in my time of need because Jesus made the way for me. Thank You for your forgiveness for my sin. Father, I lift those up to You who may be struggling with sin in their lives. I pray that You will show them that if they will confess it to You, agreeing that it is wrong, and ask You to forgive them that You will do as You have promised to restore their relationship with You. Father, give them the courage to run to You and not from You. Father, draw them by Your Spirit to once again be set free from the effects of sin and the evil one. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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