Posts Tagged ‘habits’

Change is Coming

Scripture: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Thought for Today: “Welcoming the Crucible”

God knows the secrets of the heart (Ps 44:21). In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet we still feel a bit vulnerable yielding our lives to change. We ask God to use us and we know changes are coming, but being in the crucible of spiritual discipline can feel uncomfortable even to the most mature Christian.

Our Resistance:

When God tests and tries our heart, there are always things that firmly resist, because they have become our safety net. We have relied upon ourselves and trusted in own strength at times when we could not see clearly. The Apostle Paul tells us that many have exchanged the Truth of God for lies by serving and the worship of things that offer no real peace (Rom 1:25). He reminds us that we have all gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). These issues represent the baggage of idolatry and must be rooted out for us to enjoy the freedom found in Christ.

Real Transformation:

As much as we would like to believe we can change, transformation is not really something we can do for ourselves. It takes the power of the One who knows us best. We can change habits and shift our focus, but it is God who changes the human heart. When we step into the crucible of prayer and fasting, we make the most important move toward God’s best for our lives. The refining process frees us from sinful behavior, renews our thinking and enables us to discern the will of God more clearly (Rom 12:1-2).

God Loves and Receives Us:

Transformation happens in the safe place of His Presence, where the Holy Spirit gains access to those things that hinder our progress. God knows what is best for us and He always acts in our best interest by treating us as sons and daughters (Heb 12:4-11). We are reminded that when we are chastened by God, it is because He loves us and receives us as a father cherishes and loves his child. Remind yourself today that God loves and receives you as His very own son or daughter.

“Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (Isa 55:2)

Baptism of Fire

Wreckless Abandon

The Bible says: In the Presence of God there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps 16:11)

That could make you wanna shout! Not only is it an amazing reality, but it strikes at the very heart of our sense of destiny and faith. Many Christians want to be in the Presence of God and want to learn the practice of living in the Glory Realm. It’s a natural desire, especially for those who have experienced it and tasted the goodness of God’s Presence. We all want to live in the reality of unspeakable joy (1 Pe 1:8). The sense of well-being and complete acceptance that comes with being in His Presence is more intoxicating than all that this world has to offer.

Complete Surrender:

Hear the call of John the Baptist, as he tells of the Baptism that Jesus will immerse us in when the Holy Spirit is poured out in Jerusalem. “I indeed baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire“ (Lk 3:16). God is a consuming fire, and He burns up all of our impure thoughts, habits and behaviors (Heb 12:29). Sin and rebellion in us is consumed in His flaming hot Presence. For us to walk deeper into Glory, we must be willing for unclean things to be burned up. We must surrender them completely in His Presence.

Giving Up Control:

Everyone seems to be so eager to run into God’s Presence, because they want the overwhelming sense of joy and freedom, but very few desire the unpleasant feeling of giving up control. This process of giving up sinful parts of our soul causes us fearful expectations of being left with nothing to hold onto. Yet that is the point of the fire! Its designed to break us free of those things, so that we grab hold of His truth and live by faith in Him personally and intentionally.

Proximity Matters:

If we want to grow closer to Him, we must be willing for God to burn those things up in us. The closer we live to the fire, the hotter it gets. The nice thing about the Presence is that we don’t have to do it ourselves. We just have to be willing to stay in the fire long enough.

It’s like when you put wood in a fire. You really are not the one burning up the wood, but you need to be willing to keep it in the coals, for it to burn. If we surrender all we have grown to trust to this Baptism of Fire, everything will emerge changed. That which is unholy will burn like the wood burns in a fire. As we come closer to Him, we sense our lives being touched by fire.

Fire Transforms Living:

We see the fire in His eyes (2 Cor 4:6) and we are consumed by His loving embrace (Eph 1:6). His immersion of pure, holy, flaming love captures the heart, transforms our vision and makes all things new, dependent and fruitful.

Its amazing and impossible, yet its also… just like God.

Humble Flesh

Scripture: “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish… And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:16-26)

Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin separates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by separating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting does more than just quiet the flesh… it humbles the flesh and trains it to obey the spirit, when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God!

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Humbling the Flesh

Today is day 12 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26 
Thought for Today: “Humbling the Flesh”

The Bible seems to emphasize the idea that man was created by God with three parts (1 Thess 5:23) spirit, soul and body. The spirit or inner-man is where the Holy Spirit makes its dwelling. The soul or outer-man, consists of our mind, will and emotion and is where man processes natural realities and makes decisions. The body, called the carnal man or “flesh” is the visible part. It responds to our five senses; taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, and becomes the means of expression… activity.

Sanctification:

Now in order for us to understand the value of spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, we must first recognize the broken state of our human condition. Sin seperates us from God and causes us to rely upon natural sight and human reasoning. The point of spiritual discipline is to restore our connection to the voice of God by seperating our spirit, soul and body from sinful behaviors, habits or thought patterns that are in opposition to the will of God.  

Restoring the Connection:

Its like removing the insulation from an electrical wire so that a connection can be made between a power source (God) and an appliance (activity). This process of removing the insulating barrier is what the Apostle Paul called sanctification. He felt the struggle we all have with sin and taught about dying to self, letting go of flesh desires and yielding our lives to God’s purpose (Rom 12:1-2)(Phil 3:3). He practiced and encouraged disciplines that would release and multiply the fruit of the Holy Spirit and free us to walk like Jesus.

Quieting the Flesh:

In order for us to hear the voice of God we must quiet all the other voices that compete for our attention and affection. The voice of the flesh is like a dripping faucet, consistently crying out to be fed, clothed and nurtured. Its been doing this all of our life, from a baby until now. We have given in to its desires and unless we discipline its voice, it will try to rule us.

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)

Spiritual Freedom:  

Freedom is not just living without the hindrance of the old patterns, but its the ability to live with fresh purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that God gives more grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Fasting humbles the flesh when done in unison with prayer. By making room for the Holy Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we are free to live by the spirit and fulfill the will of God! 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

In the Crucible

Today is day 9 in our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Psalm 139:23-24
Thought for Today: “In the Crucible”

God knows the secrets of our heart (Ps 44:21). In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet, we still feel a bit vulnerable yielding our lives to change. We ask God to use us and we know changes are coming, but being in the heated crucible of spiritual discipline can feel uncomfortable even to the most mature Christian.

Our Resistance: 

When God tests and tries our heart, there are always things that firmly resist, because they have become our safety net. We have relied upon ourselves and trusted in own strength at times when we could not see clearly. The Apostle Paul tells us that many have exchanged the Truth of God for lies by the serving and worship of things that offer no real peace (Rom 1:25). He reminds us that we have all gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). These issues represent the baggage of idolatry and must be rooted out for us to enjoy the freedom found in Christ.

Real Transformation:

As much as we would like to believe we can change, transformation is not really something we can do for ourselves. It takes the power of the One who knows us best. We can change habits and shift our focus, but it is God who changes the human heart. When we step into the crucible of prayer and fasting, we make the most important move toward God’s best for our lives. The refining process frees us from sinful behavior, renews our thinking and enables us to discern the will of God more clearly (Rom 12:1-2). 

God Loves and Receives Us:

Transformation happens in the safe place of His Presence, where the Holy Spirit gains access to those things that hinder our progress. God knows what is best for us and He always acts in our best interest by treating us as sons and daughters (Heb 12:4-11). We are reminded that when we are chasened by God, it is because He loves us and receives us as a father charishes and loves his child. Remind yourself today that God loves and receives you as His very own son or daughter.

“Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (Isa 55:2)

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