Setting Aside Our Pride

Philippians 2:8
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The fact that Jesus left His divine state to become a man illustrates an act of humility that surpasses anything that any human could imagine. Accepting the lowliness of man, it would have been reasonable by any human standard that He would a least appear as a king. Not so for this divine man, He took not a royal station but accepted a position in a lowly manger. His state within humankind never advanced to any level above the lowest elements of society. He worked His entire ministry in the streets and hillsides among the common people.

Aside from His transfiguration before Peter, James and John, His splendor was never to be seen by man until He ascended to His seat beside His Father in Heaven. In the meantime, He endured a life of poverty and suffering which ended in an exposition of public hatred, ridicule and scorn. Then, having no place for personal pride, He accepted death so that we may have life.

Let us lie at the foot of His Cross each day and learn from Our Savior King. Let us take note of His complete obedience to the Father under all circumstances. Let us allow our personal pride to dissolve in the face of knowing why He made these choices – to save us from our sinful and prideful nature. Let us be inspired by His faithfulness and His promises. Let us humble ourselves to the point of putting the old man in our lives to death so that our new man in Christ may live.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we humbly bow before Your throne, asking Your forgiveness for our sins. We thank You for providing the way for us to overcome our sinful nature. May we cling to the Cross of Our Savior. May we learn to set aside our pride and serve those around us in the manner that You call us. May we ignore the scorn of the world as we are obedient to Your calling on our lives. We ask all these things in the name of The Captain of Our Salvation, Jesus Christ.

Lifting Our Voices in High Praise

Psalm 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

We are stirred up in our hearts to praise God. We are first moved to praise Him for the magnificence of His creation. We are inspired by the Holy Spirit to praise Him for His holiness and His love expressed through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus. We learn to praise Him because of His power and His glory that we see expressed in our lives every day.

Let us praise God out of the faith that He has built in us through His Holy Spirit. Let us praise God as we are comforted by His goodness and His grace. Let us praise God with the joy of the expectation of life in His eternal kingdom. Let us praise God with the unshakeable confidence that the victory is ours through God’s greatest gift to us, His Son, Jesus.

Let us praise God with the love and delight that He alone has placed in our hearts. Let our every breath be filled with praise for Our Savior, Our Redeemer, Our King. Let us praise Him by allowing our lives to be living testimonies of the Son of God who has come to dwell within us.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we lift our voices toward You in high praise. We bring our thanksgiving for Your precious Lamb, Jesus. We proclaim His holiness and His righteousness. We give thanks for His presence in our lives. We pray Father that You open our eyes so that we may see the presence of Your Son in the tiny things in life as well as the large things. May our every breath praise Him as we come know just how dear He is to You and to us. We ask all these things in the name of the One whose steadfast love never ceases, Jesus Christ.

The Center Point of All We Do

John 2:24
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.

Jesus knew that He could not put His trust in any man. He knew their nature, their dispositions, their affections and their evil schemes. Jesus knew what we need to know. Simply put, man cannot be trusted, especially ourselves. The evil within the heart of each man is a snare that cannot be overcome without the grace of Our Savior.

We must put our trust in Jesus Christ alone. If we put our trust in Him, we will find it appropriate to love Him above all things. If we put our trust in Him, we will be drawn to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we put our trust in Him, we will be guided and equipped to tell others about Him and to give Him all the glory. If we put our trust in Jesus, we will live according to the plans that He has set aside for us.

If we doubt the Lord in any area and put our trust in man instead, we will fall short of God’s plans for our lives. For the fullness of life, we must trust the grace of God in all things.

Let us put our trust completely in the Son of God. Let us make Our Savior the foundation of our lives. Let us make Jesus the center point of all that we do.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You for providing Your Son, Jesus, to be the foundation of our trust in You and Your promises to us. May we live each day in complete faith that Your Word is the foundation upon which our lives are built and sustained. May we face each day knowing that Your Son is the source of everything we need. May we lean not on anything from man, but seek everything from Your grace. We ask all these things in the name of our all-sufficient Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Mercy of Jesus Christ

Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

In the flesh, it is very difficult to deliver a full confession of the sin in our lives. We simply are not equipped to deal with self-condemnation without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Our carnal minds are not able to fathom the real joy in the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ.

It is very important that we confess our sins and repent of them quickly. We should not hold on to them for any reason – not even to punish ourselves. We must take God’s merciful grace and cleanse ourselves of our sins. We must recognize that Jesus Christ has atoned for all of our sins for all eternity. To hold on to any sin, even its guilt, is to continue to unnecessarily suffer its destruction in our lives.

Once we have cleansed ourselves of our sins through confession, the Holy Spirit will come along side us and lift us to a new, higher level relationship with the Father. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to inspect us and to reveal to us the darkness of sin in our lives. Let us surrender to the urgings of the Holy Spirit to repent of our sins so that we may be cleansed. Let us rejoice in the peace, comfort and freedom that we are given as we confess our sins and receive the perfect love and forgiveness of Our Savior. Thus let us take our relationship with Our Heavenly Father to a higher level.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your loving kindness, Your mercy and Your grace that has provided a way for us to be cleansed of our sins and freed from its destructive power in our lives. We thank You Jesus for settling our sin debt for all eternity. We exalt the name of Our Savior. We pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to uncover all of the sin in our lives so that we may quickly confess it with our mouths. May we escape the darkness that has overcome us and live in the precious light of Our Redeeming King. May we reach higher and higher in building our relationship with You, Father. We ask all these things in the mighty, holy and precious name of Jesus Christ.

Our Path of Service is Secure

Luke 9:61
Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”

In the final passage in Luke 9, there are a number of verses which point out the costs of following Jesus. In essence, each cost mentioned really applies to the type of excuses we will come up with to delay following what the Lord is calling us to do.

One of the most common excuses for many of us is “I am not capable or I am not ready to take on such a task.” There is a faith gap that prevents us from believing that we can do what the Lord is asking of us. We question the calling because it goes against our natural instincts.

Other common excuses seem to come from our friends and our family. The world is eager to step in and divert us from any calling of the Lord. It is remarkable how quickly those around us can cause us to step away from what God has ordained for us.

When we finally move forward with what God has asked us to do, we find out it never was about our ability nor about our worldly affairs. It was about our faith in God. When God calls us to do anything, large or small, we should leap into action with confidence in the One who called us. It is through Him that the good work is done. We are only instruments of His love.

Let us block out the questioning of those around us. Let us shield ourselves from the attacks of the enemy. Let us step out in faith upon the path of service that the Lord has prepared for us for He has already secured our way.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You for choosing us to be instruments of Your good work. We rejoice in knowing that we can share Your love with the world around us in so many different and powerful ways. We pray that You open our eyes and prepare our hearts so that we do not delay any good work that You have set aside for us. We ask all these things in the name of the One that determines our steps, Jesus Christ.

Empowered to Overcome All That Comes Against Us

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Jesus spoke directly to the apostles before He left the earth. He wanted the apostles to know that even though He would be leaving them in the flesh that He would still be with them in spirit. He wanted them to understand that He would be with them always as He is with the Father always. He wanted them go forward in peace, without fear, having faith that the victory was theirs through Him. He wanted them to be empowered by knowing that He had already overcome all the tribulation that the world and Satan himself had to offer. Through His indwelling with them, they would have the power that they needed to endure all things.

And so it is with us. When we accept Jesus as Our Savior, His Spirit indwells with us. We become one with Him as He is one with the Father. We receive all that the apostles were told that they would receive.

Unfortunately, one facet of the things to come for us is the fact that we will face tribulation. We will encounter the fierce opposition of the evil one and of those who represent him. And we will certainly face the persistent opposition of our own flesh. But Jesus wants us to be of good courage and hope for He promises to provide all that we need to overcome anything that is thrown at us. When we surrender to Jesus, we have all that we need to overcome the temptations of Satan, the infirmities of our own flesh and the carnal offerings of the world.

Let us allow our faith to override our fears as we are swamped by trying circumstances. Let us face every trial in life with the peace, the comfort and the confident hope that Jesus has promised us.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we humbly come before You in thanksgiving for the power that You have granted us through Your Son, Jesus. We pray that You teach us how to develop and enjoy our relationship with Jesus. May we find our strength in Jesus, just as Jesus found His strength in You when He was in the flesh. May our victories over our tribulations bring honor and glory to You, to Your Son and to the Holy Spirit. We pray that our victories become living testimonies that will draw others to Jesus. We ask all these things in the name of the Upholder of All Things, Jesus Christ.

The Powerful Mediation of Christ

John 16:23
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

Why is it that we do not have enough faith to believe in all the promises that God has given us through His Son, Jesus? There is certainly an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove that God has power over all things. Why can’t we believe in His simple promises to meet our every need and to work out all things for our eternal good?

The medium of access to the Father is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the mediator between Almighty God and man. The sacrifice of the life of Jesus and His righteousness speak loudly in heaven. The account of His blood pleases the Father, thus His mediation is powerful and guaranteed. In His name, all prayers are heard and all blessings are bestowed.

When we fully surrender our lives to Jesus, we will have all the faith that we need to go boldly to the the throne of Our Creator. We will ask for things with confidence in the power and the promises of Our Mediator. We may find a number of things we do not fully understand, but we will never find our prayers unanswered.

Let us boldly claim our rights under the power of our mediator, Jesus Christ. Our Father in heaven granted us these rights through the sacrifice of His beloved Son. Let us glorify the name of the Father and the Son as we seek with bold assurance what has already been set aside for us.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we come before You in the name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We thank You for every blessing that we receive in His holy, mighty and precious name. We pray for the wisdom and the strength to surrender all that we are and all that we have to You in His Name. We rejoice in knowing that we will serve You for all eternity with never a need again. We ask all these things in the name of the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ.

Unwavering Faith in God’s Promises

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.

This passage might seem to suggest that God had let His promises to Moses slip His mind for some period of time before He fulfilled them. That interpretation would be inconsistent with who God is. God had not forgotten Noah for He does not and cannot forget His promises to His children.

But it is quite possible that Noah, a man of extraordinary faith, may have been wondering if God had forgotten about him and his family. Surely Noah had a few anxious thoughts when he and his family spent year upon year working on the ark with no sign of rain except the ridicule that was raining down upon them. Surely Noah was getting a bit on edge after spending seven months on the waters before the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Can you imagine the anxiety waiting another three months before any other mountain tops appeared above the water? Surely Noah was beyond frustration when the doves he sent out returned to the ark without having found a landing place. But God in His faithfulness remembered Noah and the promises that He had made to Noah. On the twenty-seventh day of the fourteenth month, God told Noah that he and his family could now go out from the ark. Noah finally took his family and all the animals out to the earth that was perfectly prepared for them.

It seems reasonable to assume that Noah and his family surely wanted off the boat before it was time. But God was not going to let them leave the boat until the earth around them was properly prepared. As we go through life, our expectations often lead us to question whether God has remembered us. We are simply placing our desires ahead of God’s perfect plan for our lives. The God of Faithfulness never forgets us or His promises to us.

Let us have unwavering faith in the promises of Almighty God. Let us have unflinching trust in His perfect timing. Let us rejoice in what He has provided for us even before we see it.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your faithfulness to Your promises. We rejoice in knowing that You will not let a single promise return void. We pray that You will give us the grace we need to build our faith when we are waiting on Your perfect timing for our lives. May we never doubt You. We ask all these things in the One who is faithful and true, Jesus Christ.

Is Prayer Without Ceasing Possible?

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

When Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing, most, if not all, were probably thinking that he was asking for the impossible. Let us consider whether prayer without ceasing is possible.

Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant. It may be formal or in the form of an outburst. It may be offered in secret or in public. It may be a personal solicitation or it may be intercessory.

Prayer presupposes a belief in a God who wants to hear from us and wants to extend His perfect control over our lives. Prayer is offered in reverence with a humble sense of inadequacy and unworthiness as we bow before the holy and righteous God of heaven. Prayer is offered in thanksgiving for everything we already have been provided and are currently experiencing. Prayer is rejoicing in every moment as we recognize the presence of Our Savior and the fullness of what He has done for us and is willing to do for us. Perhaps most importantly, prayer is listening for His response as we commune with Him.

Prayer is recognizing that we have a daily and continuous need for the intervention of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we start each day of our lives, we can be sure that we will encounter new trials and new challenges in our service, whether it be carnal or spiritual. We would certainly be wise to call on the counsel and power of the Holy Spirit to aid us along the way lest we falter.

If Jesus Christ is the foundation of our lives, prayer is as natural as breathing. We are always needy. We benefit considerably by being continually before the Throne of Grace. Indeed, kneeling is not required. We can pray without ceasing just by recognizing the constant presence of the One who longs for our attention.

Let us discover how prayer without ceasing is possible. Let us live moment to moment in constant awareness of the One who dwells within us. Let us open our senses to constant communication with Him.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we praise You for who You are. We thank You for all that You have provided and continue to provide. We submit to Your control over our lives. We pray that You will teach us how to make prayer to You as normal and as regular as breathing. May our lives be a continuous flow of our reverent acknowledgement of Your presence and power in our lives. We ask all these things in the name of Our Refuge in the Storm, Jesus Christ.

Strengthening All Relationships Through Christ

Revelation 3:2
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

The message to the church of Sardis in the book of Revelation was, “You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” The people of Sardis were urged to wakeup and strengthen what remained of their relationship with God or they would see their relationship with God disappear.

Today we are often guilty of sitting back and watching as the enemy tries to destroy not only our relationship with God, but our relationships in our marriages, our homes and our extended families. We need to wake up and strengthen these relationships through Jesus Christ. These relationships were placed in our lives by Almighty God. Just as Jesus Christ should be the foundation for our spiritual lives, these family relationships should be foundational elements in our natural lives.

The enemy knows how important these relationships are to us. He knows that if he can destroy these relationships that he can weaken our relationships with Our Father in heaven. The enemy knows this well and does everything possible to “divide and conquer”.

Divide and conquer can be very subtle…at least at first. Divide and conquer appears as meals eaten alone because the family is so busy. Divide and conquer is going to bed angry with a spouse over a relatively unimportant issue. Divide and conquer is skipping the family reunion because of some prior squabble with one family member.

We cannot be passive. We must wake up and be constantly on guard to protect our relationships. Our marriages, our homes and our extended families are treasures. When conflicts occur, we need to move swiftly to repair the damages and rebuild what the enemy is trying to destroy. We must be proactive in nurturing activities that keep the relationships alive. We must build walls of protection that withstand the assaults of the enemy.

Let us seek first to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. With Him as our sure foundation, let us be resolute in our efforts to build and protect all the personal relationships that God has given us as treasures on this earth.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the treasures in life that You have provided through our marriages, our homes and our extended families. We pray that You will provide us with the armor that we need to fight against the enemy that seeks to take away our treasures. We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us to make Jesus Christ the foundation of our lives so that we can build indestructible walls of protection around our treasures. We ask all these things in the name of Our Sure Foundation, Jesus Christ.