Monthly Archives: July 2012

Spiritual Independence

Today, the USA celebrates its independence from Britain. All across this country families and friends will gather to cook, pop fireworks and to enjoy the freedom that this country offers. It is a holiday that we all, as Americans, cherish and hold dear as we should.

As Christians, we should also celebrate our independence from sin. Many believers can point to the day where they recognized that Jesus paid the price for their spiritual freedom. Galatians 5:1 says that it was for freedom that Christ set us free. We should celebrate that freedom too.

Here are three things I’m thankful to be free of spiritually.

1. Free from the cost of sin

The cost of sin is high. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is (spiritual) death. That death is separation from God for all of eternity. We are born into sin and follow after its desires. It is natural for us to do what is wrong because it is innate in us. We are bound by it from birth.

Jesus said that He came to bring (spiritual) life abundantly. His death on the cross paid the penalty (death) for our sins. God’s love for us is so great that He did not spare even His own Son so that we could be with Him and would not have to be separated from Him for eternity. Colossians 1:14 says that He purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

2. The effects of sin

Many people live their lives in regret of what they did while they were sinners. They allow their past to keep them from the future God has for them. There is no one without a past. There is no one, except Jesus, who has not sinned and had to deal with the effects of that sin.

While we are still bound to the physical consequences of our sin, Jesus has freed us from the spiritual effects of it. Hebrews 8:12 tells us that God will forgive our sins and will never remember them again. If he doesn’t remember them, neither should we once we are forgiven. Don’t let regret over forgiven sins hold you down.

3. The chains of sin

Sin wants to bind you up and keep you from living how you were supposed to live. It desires to tie you up and to create strongholds in your life. It wants to make you a slave to its desires and will. Once Christ has freed you, don’t go back to that life again. Galatians 5:1 also says to make sure you stay free and don’t get tied up again.

We have been freed of the chains of sin that bind us. We have the power, through Christ, to not go back into that life that bound us up. Hebrews 12:1 says we are to strip off any unnecessary weight and the sin that so readily clings to us and entangles us. It wouldn’t tell us to get rid of it if we couldn’t do it! We can be free from those chains of sin.

When you think about freedom, don’t just think of your physical freedom. Think about your spiritual freedom. That price wasn’t cheap either and that freedom lasts for eternity. We can be thankful to be free from the price, effects and chains that sin brings. What’s holding you back from walking in that freedom?

This is a prayer provided by Michael Moak to help us walk in that freedom.

Dear Lord,
Today is the day we celebrate our independence in the United States of America. So, today I find myself thinking about the spiritual independence that you have given to us because of Your death on a brutal cross. Thank you for obeying Your heavenly father and placing Yourself in the role as the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind!

I’m so thankful today for your amazing and wonderful love for me and for every person that calls upon Your name! Just as America’s freedom came at a very high price, so did my spiritual freedom! It was bought by Your blood, as it flowed from your broken body, which hung on a cross of pain, suffering and torture. I am so humbled as I think that you not only knew me on that day, but you willingly chose to subject yourself to death by crucifixion because You loved me with an unmeasurable love.

Help me to live my life worthy of the price that you paid for it. And I pray that you would bring America back to the realization that the freedom within its borders is directly attributed to the blessings that You have poured out upon us throughout history because Your favor and grace is so deep and vast. I pray for my heart to fully rely on the incredible faith that comes from You alone. I also ask that you would allow me to leave a proud legacy of spiritual depth and dependence in You so that my children will grow to become men and women of God. For they are the future leaders of the United States of America.

Your love for this great nation has not ceased; therefore, once again, restore America to be the land that honors, glorifies and represents Your name and kingdom with love, obedience, and reverence. I ask all these things in the name of Your almighty and only son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Denying Your Flesh

If you are like me, there is a constant struggle to do what I know God wants me to do instead of what I want to do. This battle rages on every day. It is a constant struggle that we all fight. Some days my spirit wins and others my flesh. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where my spirit will win every time, but that doesn’t mean I should give up.

Galatians 5:16 gives us a few ways we can stop gratifying the cravings and desires of the flesh.

1. Walk and live in the Holy Spirit

I like how the Amplified version puts it. It says we are to walk and live habitually in the Spirit. That means that I have to do it consistently. It needs to be an every day practice of doing what the Spirit wants instead of what the flesh wants.

One of the ways we can do this is to fast. Fasting is a great way to deny your flesh and to give in to the desires of the Spirit. Use the time that you would normally eat to pray, read scripture or to help someone in need. By doing that, you weaken the strength your flesh has and strengthen your spirit man.

2. Be responsive to the Holy Spirit

All day long the Holy Spirit speaks to us to do something for someone in our path. We often ignore His voice or we choose not to do whatever it is. Either way, that is a lack of responsiveness to His voice and we are not only robbing ourselves of blessings, but also the person we are choosing not to help.

Being responsive means we need to purposefully decide each day to be open to hearing His voice and to doing what He asks. Each morning, I pray and ask God to open my eyes so that I can see others in need and to give me the courage to step out and obey when I hear His voice.

3. Be controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit

Being controlled is against everything in us. We are independent and want to stay that way. God says that if we want true freedom, we should give up our independence to Him. That means we need to give Him control of our lives and allow Him to guide us.

When we are guided by the Spirit, we will do the things the spirit wants us to do. We will be able to overcome the desires of the flesh that keep us from doing what He wants. We will see others like never before and make a difference in other’s lives like never before.

If you are not satisfied with your ability to do what God asks you or to deny your flesh, then there is room for growth. All of us have an opportunity to grow, but not all of us look for those opportunities where we can. If you truly want to beat your flesh then learn to live and walk habitually in the Spirit, be responsive to Him and then be controlled and guided by Him. In doing this, you will no longer give into the desires of the flesh that keep you from doing what God wants.

Here is a prayer provided by Michael Moak that you can pray to help you.

Dear Lord,

Today I face new challenges and move one step closer towards Your will for my future. And because I’m not You, I know that I have the ability to destroy everything that is good in my life and to allow the weights and pressures of this world to control my actions and emotions. So, I need You today more than yesterday. Jesus. I need Your peace and your presence to sustain me as I endeavor to follow and obey your direction for my life. Show me the path in life that you have constructed and designed for my gifts and talents. And when things get tough, and I know they will often, help me to realize that my own strength and abilities are far too small and ineffective to make the difference that Your single hand can work on my behalf in a fraction of the time. I lean on you today, Lord, for the love and power that only You can give to man. Help me to also rest in the assurance that I don’t have to come up with all the right answers or make every decision perfect. I can trust in the undeserved grace of Your favor to carry me through this day with the happiness, joy, and peace that comes from my relationship with You. Today I face new challenges but You have the already gone before me and are turning them into opportunities for Your glory to work wonders through my life. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to trust me with today! I pray all this in the mighty name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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God’s help and perspective for you

As a parent, I am always looking for that line between telling my son how to do things and allowing him to learn on his own. I point out dangers, but he doesn’t always listen when I point them out. From my perspective, I can see things he can’t and can predict things that might happen should he continue on a path.

I think God does that too. He looks from His perspective and tries to warn us of things ahead. Sometimes he gives us the ability to learn something by watching others. At other times, we are the ones who make mistakes so that not only we can learn, but others who are watching too.

Isaiah 48:17 gives us 3 things that God says He will do for us.

1. Teach us to live right and well

As our Heavenly Father, His goal is not to give us a bunch of do’s and don’ts as most people think. His goal is that we will be able to live and to make good choices. While He has set up boundaries for us to live within, He has also given us freedom to live within those boundaries.

We learn those boundaries by knowing His Word. Joshua 1:8 says that if we will meditate on God’s Word day and night as well as obey it, we will find success in all you do. He teaches us through His Word not only how to live right, but how to live well.

2. Show us what to do

I thought for a long time this meant that He would show me my vocation. Since He is my provider and my job is the tool with which He uses to provide my resources, He is more concerned what we do for Him while we are at work. Most of us spend more hours a day with our co-workers than our families. We have the ability to forge relationships that would otherwise be impossible.

Sharing the love of Christ is more impactful and easier to do with people we have built relationships than with total strangers. I’m not saying we shouldn’t show His love to strangers because we are. We just need to be listening to Him to look for others to share His love with and to do things for. He will show you what to do.

3. Show us where to go

Many people wander this world aimlessly. Some take the path of least resistance while others seems to travel a long, difficult road. Psalm 37:23 tells us that the Lord directs the steps of the righteous. He delights in the details of their lives. He wants to show us where to go so we can be His feet to carry the Gospel to others.

In going where He wants us to go and in following the paths He has laid out for us, we will find true happiness. When we do what we want, we have a long, uphill road to travel. We don’t know the way or what lies in our path. Only God has the perspective needed to guide us on the road of life.

Are you one who is wandering aimlessly and without hope? Are you wanting to learn how to live life better? Where ever you are in that spectrum, God has the answers for you in His Word. He wants to show you how to live well, what to do and where to go. Are you listening?

Here is a prayer to help you with this today. It is provided by Michael Moak. You can follow him on Twitter @Moakster.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for your patience with me as I fumble and falter in my constant struggle to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You! Thank you for giving me health, strength, mental stability and the ability to be productive and to make a difference in this world.

Thank you for being my provider and for always giving me more than I deserve. So, today, I ask you to help me share my blessings with someone else. Help me to be sensitive to the voice of your Holy Spirit within my heart that is looking for the opportunity to use me to be your hands and feet to just one person that is at the edge of their rope! Show me something about your character that I need to adopt into my life today and grant me the grace to mess up a few times before I get it right.

I ask you to use my life for Your glory today, Jesus. Push me beyond my comfort zone that I might see your love in a special, new way for the first time. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

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