SPIRITUAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT! & SPIRITUAL GROWTH! 2
“Your attitude should be the same as that of CHRIST JESUS:
Who, being in very nature GOD, did not consider equality with GOD something to be grasped, but made HIMSELF nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, HE humbled HIMSELF and became obedient to death ~ even death on the cross! Therefore GOD exalted HIM to the highest place and gave HIM The NAME that is above every name, that at The NAME of JESUS every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to The GLORY of GOD The FATHER!” Philippians 2 ~ WORD FOR TODAY ~
~ THOUGHT FOR TODAY ~
JESUS CHRIST is our ONLY PERFECT example. He was both miraculously divine and yet still a sinless human man. He never did, said, or thought anything wrong. How amazing! He died upon the cross & rose with ALL POWER to SAVE us from eternal damnation… He overcame sin in the flesh for mankind. For this we should be eternally grateful. He was RIGHTEOUSNESS personified in the purest highest form ever. It is because of HIM we too are able to overcome sin in the flesh as we submit to HIS WILL & HIS WAY. He truly is THE GLORY of GOD!
Many serve the Lord to be served. Many serve to have power and authority over others. A dedicated committed servant of the Lord is willing to serve the Lord with gladness. They realize that absolutely nothing is hidden to Him. He or she seeks above all to be pleasing to the Lord. We all are accountable to the Lord for our actions. It is so very important to build a strong sure foundation upon the Word of God! Whenever we stand upon His Word He stands with us.
Serving the Lord does not mean that we are to make others or ourselves feel comfortable in sin. Sin actually separates us from God. We are supposed to “Walk in the Light.” We can choose to call upon our Lord and Savior to Help us anytime, anywhere 24/7. HIS WORD is necessary Spiritual Food for our soul. His Word is alive and it quickens our souls. It is important to hide His Word within our hearts. As we embrace and implement its Truth in our daily lives we becomes spiritually stronger. God wants us to be whole!
“Therefore whoever HEARS these sayings of MINE, and DOES them, I WILL liken to him to a wise man who built his house on The ROCK; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it DID NOT fall, for it was founded on THE ROCK!” MATTHEW 6
We should make a sincere attempt to live in anticipation each day as though our Lord were going to return. Our main focus in life should always be the Lord. This actually is what helps us to better navigate through the maze of life. God is Omniscient. His Word lights our path. Make it a point to regularly and consistently spend time with the Lord in His Word. This is how we continuously grow in His grace, love, wisdom and understanding. We should daily seek the direction of the Lord in all areas of our lives.
We should not want our Lord to be a stranger whenever we see Him face to face. Therefore Live Everyday; “To GOD Be the GLORY!”
Serve the Lord because HE deserves to be served. “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” I Corinthians 7
Upon the profession of our FAITH HIS HOLY SPIRIT becomes alive within us and HELPS us to rise above sin. God has created each of us with a purpose in mind. It is our choice to discover His Will for our lives. We All need Him as Savior and Lord. It is a BLESSING & a PRIVILEGE to be able to call upon HIM as our Personal Savior. “For ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of The GLORY of GOD!” Romans 3.
Let’s not continue to make excuses for any sin or shortcomings. Instead learn to call upon JESUS! Whenever sin beckons, allow the Savior to help you rise above it. God wants us to be complete in Him. This is how we become better people. This is how we become whole. When we live to please the Lord we will always eventually become victorious! Always remember;“What can wash away my sin; nothing but The BLOOD of JESUS! What can make me whole again; nothing but the BLOOD of JESUS! O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other HELP I KNOW nothing but the BLOOD of JESUS!”
CHRIST in you the HOPE of GLORY!
There is a marvelous freedom and security we receive as we sincerely learn to trust GOD! No one or nothing can begin to compare to the magnificent difference it makes having the Lord within your life. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!” II Corinthians 3 But we must never abuse that liberty by justifying any wrong behavior in ourselves or others. Jesus Christ died so that we might have life more abundantly. This is inclusive of a rich inner spiritual life. Through His Holy Spirit we have been given the power to overcome sin when we rise above temptation. This is possible when we discipline ourselves to His principles. All who believe in the Lord & accept Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord & Savior, will eventually defeat death and arise to experience the Eternal Life that awaits us in Heaven!
GOD has a plan and purpose for your life! It is your/our responsibility to seek HIM above all others and everything else. We should desire to KNOW what HIS WILL is for our lives. God wants us to live our lives in Peace. HIS Peace does not mean that we are without difficult situations or conflict. We simply learn to respond differently rather than just react. Our priorities are different from those of the world if not they should be. We should readily repent when convicted or found in error. We instead opt for discipline and elect to live our lives to please God who in any given situation can give us His peace that surpasses the understanding of man. Be thankful and bless His Holy Name!
It is so very important to consistently spend time in the presence of the LORD in HIS WORD! Flood your mind and heart with His precious Word for it is necessary spiritual food to enlighten your soul! It is here you can have a one on one encounter with the Lord and discover Jesus Christ; “The Hope of Glory!”
It is only in the Lord that we can become spiritually whole! This becomes possible when we subscribe to ponder, embrace and daily implement the wisdom from God’s Word because we;
“Seek first the Kingdom of GOD & HIS righteousness and everything else will be added to you…” Matthew 6
“Whatever you do, work at it with your heart, as working to the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance form the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving… Colossians 3
“Let the PEACE of CHRIST rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to PEACE. And be THANKFUL. Let the WORD of GOD dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to GOD. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the LORD JESUS, giving THANKS to GOD the FATHER through HIM…” Colossians 3
We can call upon the Lord 24/7! Be encouraged knowing that our Lord is everywhere that you are “…For it is GOD who works in you to will and to act according to HIS GOOD purpose!” Philippians 2
“…To them GOD has chosen to make known among the gentiles the riches of HIS mystery, which Is CHRIST in you, The HOPE of GLORY!!!” Colossians 1
May the Grace, Joy, Hope and Peace of our Lord be multiplied within your heart through Jesus Christ our Lord! Praise be to our GOD, Father & Lord; “The Hope of GLORY!”
Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law: yea, I shall observe it
with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments: for therein
do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear; for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
Statutes = Permanent and unchangeable regulations.
Law = What God has taught us in His Word that he requires of us.
Commandments = Recognizing the “authority” of the Commander, and the necessity of
obeying the content of the charge.
Testimonies = God has testified of Himself, and His will, in His Word.
Judgments = Decisions God has made as a Judge, in order to make earthly
behavior conform to his heavenly standard.
Precepts = Instructions from God regarding the duties of man.
Teach Me Oh Lord
Trust is a very crucial ingredient in any relationship. When you have trust in someone or something you are confident that you can rely on them or assurance that it will do or function as it should. The trust one has in the Lord supersedes anything else. You trust a chair when you sit in it? When you trust the Lord you begin to realize that your life is not your own. Upon this revelation you begin the process of slowly and surely relinquishing the things that inhibit your spiritual growth. Your desire to please Him becomes your main priority. You are also actually better able to relate to those around you.
Proverbs 3 says “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Of course this is easier said than done. But there is a significant value lesson in this Truth. What does it mean when we say all? Is it not to imply that we exclusively, wholly or entirely commit to whatever it is we are trusting? Trust is developed over a period of time within a relationship. Once trust is developed it brings about a certain stability that is indicative of the relationship. It also yields a sense of security and permanency.
When you truly put your trust in God you can unquestionably rely on Him. God is not like us He does not change! There is no doubt that He will do just what He says. In order to know what He says you must take time in His Word. This is also why it is so important to develop an ongoing relationship with Him. God knows our hearts. Before we even ask Him anything He knows what is best for us. To the degree you exercise your trust in Him you begin to grow spiritually.
You know that whatever happens in time (even the bad stuff) GOD WILL work it out for your GOOD!
You begin to lean on Him more. Your understanding begins to open and you become more aware of people, places and anything surrounding you. Your insight and perceptions of Him also broadens. You embrace His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord! When this happens your desire to acknowledge Him more and more in your life is cultivated. You gradually begin to take fewer detours and shift your priorities. You are able to relinquish many of the things and plans that are contrary to what His plan is for your life. No, This does not mean you become rigid or legalistic. Just the opposite you acquire a new found freedom. Remember this type of trust opens your understanding. You consciously realize that you are fully exposed to God. “Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” I Corinthians 4
Trust again is a very crucial ingredient in any relationship. On our country’s currency it even says “In God we Trust.” But do we really? I often wonder since there has been a plethora of attempts to remove this statement from money; has this type of reasoning contributed somewhat to the overall downfall in our economy that has resulted in a universal recession? Due to the shifting in our ever changing moral barometer, has this too resulted in less trust? Does this gesture display a lack of trust in the Creator who our founding pioneers founded this country upon? It is important to always give credit where it is due. It is always important to keep in mind from whence we have come.
According to Proverbs it is quite clear how very important it is “to TRUST in GOD in ALL our ways” in order for our path to be made straight.” I believe all of God’s Word! As I grow spiritually daily it is my prayer that I continually shift to leaning on Him and not my own understanding. As His child I want to “acknowledge Him in ALL my ways so He will make my path straight.” Life is precious and trusting in God, our Creator and Maker of heaven and earth the Author and Finisher of our FAITH, you really can’t go wrong. It is important to remember from whence we have come…
“TO GOD BE THE GLORY!”
It is through God’s plan of salvation we are given the gift of eternal life. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we embark upon a spiritual journey. His precious Holy Spirit comes to reside within us. The Holy Spirit is there to comfort, protect, lead and guide us. To help us understand what the Word really means. His Word is there to be a “lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our path.” In Galatians 5 you will find the Fruit of His Spirit and the works of the flesh. This will help you to know the difference between, when you are walking in the Spirit or walking carnally in the flesh. This is also another reason why it is so very important to know the scriptures for yourself. God will never lead you to do anything contrary to His Word. His Word tells us every now and then you will find a true believer. The scriptures actually say “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”
God loves us so much that He allowed His only begotten Son to leave heaven and take upon Himself a body of flesh. Jesus conquered sin in the flesh for us. So we might have the gift of Salvation! He was born, lived a sinless life was crucified dead and buried. Then he arose with all power! We never become the power, yet we are allowed access. Jesus truly demonstrated His love to us by actually showing us what it is to travel on that narrow road. If you study the life of Jesus Christ you will find that He encountered many things. He was persecuted, mistreated, lied upon and maligned. He was called evil. He was betrayed, misunderstood and abandoned by the very ones He came to help. The scriptures are not just some mere stories written to amuse us. They are there to show us the way. To help us grow spiritually mature and encourage us on that narrow road travel.
The Bible is supposed to be the final authority for the child of God. It is supposed to be our road map for life. As His children we are His Church. The Church is His Bride. One must remain watchful and prayerful. Life will allow many thorns and thistles in order to derail the child of God. That narrow road often appears to take the form of a roller coaster? For some taking a detour onto wide road traveling becomes an alternate route. Regardless as to what is going on about us we must strive to sincerely live each day keeping in mind that Jesus is going to return for His Church. This also helps you to be prepared for whatever obstacles are put in your path. One must learn to lay aside the things that attempt to distract or derail your path. So much of the world has been allowed to creep into the Church. For many it is hard to tell the difference. You must know the Word for yourself in order to not be deceived. Remember the Word tells us that the wheat and the tares are growing together. On many occasions evil is called good and good is perceived as evil. In many cases the world and its way has really become the final authority. Learn to trust God!
Lord help us! Don’t be dismayed! Absolutely nothing gets by God! God knows who are His. Rest assured. When you truly know His Word, you would know that nothing or no one can change that! God’s Word is TRUE! Jesus stood on the Truth. God knows what has happened, is happening and what will happen! We can rely on the Truth! People have an amazing ability to twist the truth in order to suit their purpose. To take things out of context in order to make things appear and seem a certain way. Some people will believe anything and anybody. You never have to force yourself or God’s Word upon anyone. Just be patient. Learn to “be still and know.” You do not have to stoop to their level. Just know in the long run it will only backfire. When anyone tries to oppress you, you never have to be afraid especially when you know that Psalms 27 is true! “The Lord is my Light and my salvation, who shall I fear….” Truth erases doubt and will give you a sure footing. It takes the Truth to bring things to the Light and dispel lies. God does not operate in the dark. There is nothing hidden or uncovered to Him! “Wait on the Lord.”
Study the life of Jesus. You will find that He was there in the very beginning and will be there through eternity. Many consorted together to derail Him. False witnesses were even hired to justify their case against Him. Simply so things could appear a certain way and cast doubt upon His credibility? To undermine His good intentions, perhaps with man but certainly not with God! Just to prove their case against Him. Jesus never sinned. He remained focused and faithful. We too must learn to keep our focus on God. You can rest assured when you know God knows the intentions of your heart. He knows everything. Romans tell us “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” You do not have to walk after the flesh. Yes, we have all “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But as you grow stronger spiritually we are to sin less. This is why we need a Savior. To help us stay on the right path. It is so important to know the Lord and His Word intimately. The Truth really can set you free! You can rely on the Truth! Not to just read it for the sake of reading. But to consistently study, embrace and digest its contents and seek your path forward. Get off that wide road traveling it leads to destruction. The Truth will untangle a multitude of opinions it will free you from a swamp of uncertainty. It is able to keep you on the right path. God really is able to keep you from falling!
The word scripture comes from the Greek word graphe, which means; what is written. The scriptures are truly the inspired Word of God. They were written to help us navigate through this maze of life. Many times Jesus said nothing. There were times He simply said “It is written.” God does not intend for us to be mislead. Narrow road traveling is possible. Difficult situations and suffering are a part of life. But so is His joy even in the midst of sorrows! He wants us to hide His word in our hearts. It is very important that you remain patient and be prayerful! Jesus wants us to be consistent and stable. Not to let how things appear sway you from what you know is right. In John 17 you will find another one of Jesus’ wonderfully recorded prayers; “I have given them your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the TRUTH, your Word is TRUTH.” When you place your trust in Jesus you become sanctified. He will protect and keep you. You can rejoice and praise Him knowing He has a plan for you as well as each one of His children.
You can depend on God’s Word. It is here to help us through this maze of life. To nourish, feed, water, protect and cleanse us. It is there to keep us on the path that leads to Him! But there are some things that you need to know and expect, to help you live your life seeking His purpose. It really is not about how things look to others. Know who you are and who you belong to! Always be ready to give and answer for the hope that lies within! What is important is what God knows! Do you really know what it means when you say Jesus is your Savior? It means that you are now a child of God. I must tell you, you should know as well, you also become target practice for a lot of spiritual warfare.
It is true the saying that “the moment we admit life is difficult it becomes easier.” II Timothy 3 tells us, “In fact everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But for you to continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know from who you have learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” For the child of God what makes it easier is knowing that the Lord is there 24/7. “He will never leave nor forsake you.” His Word is there to comfort you, help and sustain you, guide you and see you through it all. Whenever you become burdened you must learn to take responsibility and then shift your load to Him. God will never fail you! He promises to “supply all of our needs through Christ Jesus” You must read, know, continuously study, trust and allow His Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word for your path forward. The Word of God is our road map for narrow road travel. Life is a quest. Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Quite often when you find your self in a difficult situation if you are not prayerful your first response will be to respond carnally or in the flesh. To impulsively respond and seek to gratify self or to blame others rather than take your part of the responsibility. This is again when it is important to know; “That the Truth does set us free.” God always has a remedy. One just has to be open and willing to take heed to His way. Remember that narrow path I’ve been talking about? Always remember the Fruit of His Spirit is available. Remember God has a plan for your life. His promises are true! Nothing is too hard for God. Keep your focus! Mediate on the Lord’s Word. The WORD of God tells us to “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians gives us additional insightful words to ponder when going through, “Finally my brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Whatever you have earned or received or heard of Me, or seen of Me put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” God is awesome!
Do you desire to walk in integrity? Do you desire to be whole? Do you really know that there is absolutely nothing in life that God is not aware of? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” God in His infinite wisdom knew from the very beginning of time that we would have to endure many situations, trials, sicknesses, grief and yes difficult people. His Word tells us that He knew us before the foundation of the world. God has given us so many examples to remind us daily who He is. You see “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament display His handiwork!” So why is it that so many elect to walk contrary to His Word?
You see many do not simply understand that God really has provided everything that we need in order to live and properly function in this world. God has given us the Bible that contains 66 books which have been divinely inspired. He sent His Son to purchase with His life; a plan of salvation for us! It is through His plan of salvation we access His overflowing abundance. It is through Him we are given the opportunity to walk in integrity.
Walking in integrity provides you with a sense of wholeness. It gives you an assurance to know when you are walking with the Lord your steps are ordered. This does not mean that bad things will not happen. I assure you they will. But if you are quietly still you will be able to recognize the author of its origin. You will be able to soar above your situation and rest in the arms of an all powerful and mighty God. You see God is awesome and He is mighty in battle.
Life today is very complex. The world is full of people who subscribe to a multiplicity of belief systems. Many simply have no moral or ethical barometer to determine what is right or wrong. Many live in lifestyles entrenched in a multiplicity of addictive behaviors. You also have those who do not really believe in God but they attempt to live life by doing good things. Then you have another group that is just mentally insane! On the other hand you have many who profess to be believers that opt to employ a distorted fragmented partially clad truth system. That is really not truth at all. Then you have those who know without a doubt they are children of God. They realize that they live in the world but they know that they are not of the world. So therefore we have global conflict.
What are you saying? As a child of God you realize that you live in the world. But on a spiritual level you know that you must not conform to its belief system. You withdraw on your Faith account. You beseech God for direction. You do not walk in the counsel of ungodly people. How do I do this? You must learn to walk in integrity. You must pray that the Lord illuminates your understanding to help you see your path forward. You seek solace in the scriptures for further guidance. You accept the truth even when it is painful. You lay aside the weights that so easily make an attempt to hinder you walking in the Light of God’s Word. Daniel’s life displays an excellent example of integrity. His peers were intimidated by his character. For this they plotted against him. Yet, Daniel remained faithful to Godly principles. God took care of Daniel. Walking in integrity causes one to walk against the grain. You see the Truth is always the pathway to God!
We who are Christians must seek to resolve our earthly challenges in a spiritual way. This does not mean to adopt some fairytale never never land faulty belief system. Neither does it mean I can do anything, say anything or live any way and God will just have to forgive me mentality. After all we are not under the law we are under grace. It means to responsively take personal responsibility for your actions!
There will be consequences for behavior! Don’t t use or manipulate others who are weak and are ignorant to God’s Way of living in order to get your way! Integrity will help you walk in meekness. Meekness is power under control! The world system is not the system that God wants His children to operate within. The law is for the unlawful. But if you know the truth it does not matter. Many choose evil over what is right! You know that whatever trumped up charges someone tries to infer against you they will simply have no weight. Just remember Daniel! Obedience to God is vitally important for the believer. You must choose to walk in integrity!
Walking in integrity is not an easy task. You see it also means to stand for what is right in the eyes of God. You may have to go some places and be some places you would rather not be; but only for a season. Just know God walks with you wherever you go! But you must be certain you have not crossed your will with His! You abandon the need to manipulate the situation. Integrity does not have to fight its way into anything. Grace which is a by product will sustain you. You instead elect to pray and seek God’s guidance. It is through this guidance you can obtain the spiritual, physical and emotional energy to endure. To soar above your circumstances. This will give you the spiritual clarity to operate in spite of! Your faith will assure you God will eventually pull down any strongholds! By faith you know the Holy Spirit will illuminate the darkness that tries to perpetrate a fraudulent simulated light.
It is very difficult to properly relate to someone who lacks integrity. They quite often subscribe to the idea that they can do whatever is necessary to get what they want. They have a very difficult time dealing with anyone who does not agree with them. They often resort to fragmenting the truth to solicit support of those who are partially informed. You do not have to resort to their tactics! Do not be dismayed when they hurl insults. Just know that they are coming from a place of insecurity. A child of God must “walk by faith”. This means you have to keep walking in the Light even when you are not sure how things will turn out. But through faith you know God will work it out for your good! That you must focus on Him when those who walked with you at one time walk no more. You see the narrow road to God is not full of travelers. But it is the path that leads you over through and beyond the wide road that leads to destruction. The faith that God has instilled in you as His child will daily illuminate your path. Diligently study His Word! It will give you healthy realistic boundaries. Integrity will assist you. It will provide an invisible shield to insulate you from the claws of the many wolves that adorn sheep clothing!
Whenever you are in doubt of direction seek Godly direction. Often a simple whispered prayer will suffice. Because God really does know where you are, what you have done and better yet what you are going to do. Please do not subscribe to the counsel of the ungodly. Beware of those who talk right and walk left. Who use the grace of God as a license to sin! Who indulge in unspeakable behavior! Who live to satisfy the flesh and have an insatiable desire to star in an imitation spiritual spotlight. You see with God there is absolutely nothing that is hidden! Therefore you realize that there is no need for an audience when you know that you have God’s attention 24/7. To much is given much is required! You can then walk humbly in His Light because you know that “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world”! Know there can be no true peace and contentment where truth is not welcomed. God is the Spirit of TRUTH! But you can share with anyone who asks “This joy that I have the world did not give it to me.” Neither can the world take it away! Do you really want to be made whole? Begin today to walk in integrity! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DeBorrah K. Ogans is a Marriage Educator, licensed Christian Counselor, Life Coach and ordained Minister. She is certified through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling in Creation Therapy and holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Clinical Counseling. She is the author of a pre-marital guide “How Do I Love Thee: Things You Need To Know Before You Say I Do,” and “Holy Matrimony: Now That You’re Married”. DeBorrah has written extensively and has a plethora of columns and commentaries on life subjects that are widely published.