Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. –John 1:12-13
God chooses to accept each of us as His own children. Our role is to receive Him and believe in His name. After that, He chooses to take us as we are and give us a new heritage– born of God. That means we have access to the Father in every way that Jesus does. There is nothing in our lives that can limit the care of the Father towards His children. As a child of God, you are accepted and deeply loved.
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. –Philippians 4:8
What we put into our minds is so important – it can shape our attitude and outlook, it can bring us closer to temptation, it can bring us closer to God. We must be willing to look at our lives and cut out anything that isn’t helping us grow. If it doesn’t build us up in the way Paul writes about in Philippians, then it’s probably something that needs to be removed from our lives.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. –Galatians 5:19-21
If we want to walk in the life that God has for us, we must be willing to walk away from old sins that we have become comfortable with. If we live with these sins and justify them in any way, they become anchors that keep us away from the new things that God has for our lives. Don’t let old sins keep you from new blessings.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. –1 Peter 5:8
We face a real enemy who wants to do real damage in our lives. He seeks out to destroy those who are following Jesus. Be aware of the traps that he puts into your life. Even though Satan is powerful, he is defeated by Jesus’ death and cannot force you into anything. In your areas of greatest weakness, find others who can support you and walk with you through your trials and temptations.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. –1 Corinthians 10:13
God cares for His children, and even when the enemy attacks us with temptations, He is still in control. In our worst moments, God is willing to help us through things if we reach out to Him. He is always with us and ready to guide us through temptations and issues if we’re willing to walk in His path. Don’t let the enemy trap you, let God lead you through those pitfalls.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. –Matthew 26:41
Many of us started our journey with the Lord with great expectations, but it didn’t take too long to fail and fall back into sin. Often our Spirit is stronger than our flesh. Jesus’ solution is that we watch (be alert) and pray (find our source of strength in Him). We aren’t strong enough to face temptation on our own; we need to be dependent on the Father in prayer as we face our old desires. Our flesh will want to give in, but if we rely on the Father, He will strengthen us in our times of testing.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” –Matthew 18:21-22
Jesus has extended His forgiveness to us on countless occasions. If we’re to receive that forgiveness, then we can’t keep a record of wrongs that others have done towards us. Forgiveness is can be hard and humbling to extend (especially to those who need it often), but the Father has still forgiven us more than we could ever count.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. –Matthew 7:1-2
When we judge other people we are placing ourselves in God’s place and saying that we are capable of doing His job. Often times when we find ourselves in that place of judgement, we don’t treat others with very much mercy. What would it be like if God were to be as harsh on us as we are towards some of the people that frustrate us most? Thankfully, God is willing to extend us forgiveness if we extend it towards others.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. –1 Peter 4:8
If we’re to follow Jesus, we must be willing to love each other. One of the characteristics that love requires is full forgiveness. That means that you will need to let go of your bitterness and anger towards someone who has hurt you. You can’t fully love and forgive someone if you’re still hurt on the inside. Take those pains to Jesus and let His great love wash them away. He choose to love us when we were at our worst moments, and we should extend that same grace towards others.
You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. –Matthew 5:43-45
Our God is a forgiving God, and it grieves His heart when we are not like Him in this way. Since He has forgiven us for so much, He wants us to forgive others when they have wronged us. Often times our unforgiveness towards others will block us off from other things that God is doing in our lives.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. –Matthew 5:7
If we want to receive mercy from God, we must extend it towards others. The more that we’re willing to cover over others’ flaws and shortcomings with mercy, the more our Father will give us mercy for the worst areas in our lives. Let His mercy be a source of joy in your life that allows you to bless others with the same mercy and love that He has shown towards you on a daily basis.
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. –Romans 8:1
Don’t walk through life wearing shame, guilt, or condemnation–those are never from the Father. He freely gives us grace, mercy, and forgiveness as we come to Him. The enemy is great at heaping guilt upon us, so much so that we begin to wall ourself off from God completely. God wants to break down those walls and heal our areas of failure, sin, and brokenness. Don’t hide your darkest places from God; instead, let Him heal them.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” –1 John 1:9
Jesus’ death didn’t just pay the penalty for our sins, it even paid for the effects of our sins! We stand before Him clean and free because He paid the price. He’s never stingy with forgiveness either. He’s willing to pour it out on us if we’re willing to ask for it. His forgiveness restores us to good standing with Him and leads us to grow to become more like Him.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. –Isaiah 40:29-31
Our Father knows exactly what our bodies need. He is able to care for us and provide in ways that we never thought possible. Having our hope in the Lord gives us strength for the journey ahead. He doesn’t remove all of the obstacles out of our paths, but He gives us the strength and willingness to thrive in the middle of hard times.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. –2 Corinthians 9:8
God is a great provider, but His provision comes with a purpose. He doesn’t provide just so that we will be happy and comfortable. He provides to prepare us for the work that is ahead of us. He gives generously to us so that we can give to others and be a blessing to them just as He has been in our lives. The more of His blessings that we give away, the more that He will shower upon us. There is no limit to the grace He can give to His children.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” –1 Kings 17:2-4
God is able to provide for us on a daily basis if we are willing to listen to Him. He fed Elijah daily throughout a famine because Elijah listened to what the Lord had told Him to do. Often times God’s blessing in our lives is preceded by our following of His orders. When He speaks, we must be faithful to obey and follow Him. In the journey of following Him, He is faithful to provide all that we need.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:12-13
The way to contentment and joy within the Spiritual life is through total dependence on Jesus. Self-reliance gets us nowhere in the Kingdom of God. Only His strength can sustain us in all seasons of life. In times of plenty and in times of need, we must constantly come back to the source of all life–our Father.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” –Psalm 23:1
When we are confident in His leadership of our lives, we become less stressed about what we are trying to get, what we are trying to accomplish, and how we are trying to prove ourselves or find our significance. The Shepherd leads His sheep and provides for them every day. There is never a day that goes by where the Shepherd doesn’t think about and look over His flock. If He is your Shepherd, then you won’t lack anything.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” –Ephesians 3:16
The Holy Spirit in us is a constant source of renewal, connecting us directly to the Father. If you are in need of new joy, fresh mercy, or peace that passes all understanding, just ask. His glorious riches never run dry and He loves to take care of His children. Our Father is faithful to provide all that we need on a regular basis.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” –John 6:35
Our source of life and blessings comes from the Father. It isn’t something that we earn or deserve. All that is required of us is to come to Him and believe. He takes care of all of the provisions needed in our lives. Relying on Jesus requires much trust in our lives but it also leads to much fruit. When He calls us to come to Him, there are things that we must leave behind, but He has better things in store for us.